Almost every day, a friend or family member of mine asked me to buy something from them. I get it on text messages, on social media and even over the phone. I'm sure you can relate to that feeling of, "oh no it's Sally calling again, she's wanting me to buy Avon". We've all been there, and we all know someone who is selling something. To be completely transparent with you, I have done about 5 of these direct sale companies myself.
When Keira my firstborn came along I was determined to be a stay at home mom, so I joined Mary Kay. You pay $100 for the starter kit, you get brochures, a bag, and sample products to use at parties, plus your website is free for 3 months. You do have to sell so much within a 3-month span to keep you active as a consultant.
I did okay at first, but back 11 years ago the internet was not like it is today, and I had to do a lot of house parties. It cost me a lot of gas, and in products because I had to have the products to sell them. Needless to say, I could only make it about 1 year before I called it quits. I still love Mary Kay beauty products but the high price keeps people away.
I needed to make extra income so when my second daughter Sasha came along I thought I'd try going with Avon. My mom had sold Avon, and I was familiar with a lot of their products cause I've used them all my life. When I joined Avon it was $25 to join, you had to buy your campaign books every two weeks, and had to sell a certain amount to stay active each month. The website is also free for three months, but you do pay $10 a month after that.
Now, I am not going to lie, I actually did really good with Avon. I got a downline and began making money even when I wasn't selling due to the people who I signed up. I had regular customers, and even became the lead for my area. I really loved selling Avon, and it didn't hurt that I also loved the products as well.
We ended up moving and I lost all my regulars. I actually did Avon for about 3 years before we moved, but it never was a full-time income. It gave me gas money but that's about all. Needless to say, after losing my regulars, my business died a quick death.
Now Avon offers you 3 start-up kits. One that cost $25, one that's $50 and one that's $100. Funny thing is, I still get calls for Avon and I have not been active for over 5 years now.
After I went to work outside of the home when my youngest daughter turned 3, I worked in childcare. I was the pre-school assistant teacher and moved up to be in charge of the extended care department. Being around all those kids took its toll on my health, and I got sick a lot. One of the teachers suggested I start taking Juice Plus.
She said since she started taking the vitamins she hardly ever got sick. So, yet again I signed up to sell another product and this time it was Juice Plus. It cost you $50 to join but you do have to enroll in monthly shipments of the vitamins as well. I was okay with that being I needed them for work.
Honestly, I have to say they did work. When I was regularly taking Juice Plus, I hardly ever got sick. As a matter of fact, I was being called in to sub for the subs who had gotten the funk going around, and I was healthy as a horse, while everyone else was sick around me. Juice Plus is all the servings of vitamins and veggies your body needs in a day, put into a capsule. My kids even loved the vitamins gummies they have.
Overall, I never made a penny with Juice Plus. Not a cent! I bought it for myself, and my kids but ended up spending a lot of money on it because the cost of the vitamins were about $50 a month. Yes, they work. I did not get sick and did feel better, but honestly, that's high way robbery in my eyes. $50 a month for vitamins! The worst part was that I could not sell them to anyone, no matter how hard I tried. Epic fail as far as virtual franchises go!
I told myself I was done with direct sales and didn't want to have anything to do with them again. Well, my friend Joann called me and invited me to a girls party at her house doing our nails. I thought sure why not, sounds fun, plus I had never heard of Jamberry Nails before so I was curious.
I went to the party and had an absolute blast with all my mom friends. The nail wraps were so pretty. You cut them to fit your nail, then used this cute little heater to heat them up. Then you press them on and they stay on your nail for a few weeks. It was adorable and you can guess what happened. I was sold and ended up joining the team of my friend who had the party.
I have to admit, selling Jamberry nails was by far the easiest MLM I've ever done. The designs are so cute that they really sell themselves. Plus, they are very inexpensive. The nail wraps only cost $15 and you can do your toes twice & nails twice with that one sheet. The startup was $100 but you got a ton of stuff. I never did a house party with Jamberry nails, I did all my parties on Facebook and I did okay at first.
As far as perks go, Jamberry Nails is where it's at. I got so many free wraps that I still have some to this day. It was short lived though, the fad died after only 5 months of me selling it. I think it was also my fault because I started getting aggravated that my hair would get stuck in my wraps while I was taking a shower. I'd get so frustrated that I'd tear them off and it started damaging my nails. Again, my fault, but it was pretty annoying.
After yet again swearing I was done with these MLM things, I got introduced to the amazing smelling world that is Scentsy. I am a sucker for nice smells. I love candles and always had them burning in my house until my younger daughter burned her finger by putting it in the hot wax one day.
After that, I threw out my candles and started using plug-ins. That was until I was invited to a Scentsy party with a lady from my church. I was hooked from the moment I walked into her house and smelled the baked apple pie scent.
The warmers never get hot enough to burn little fingers, and the wax has no chemicals. I promised myself I was not going to join another MLM so instead, I bought Scentsy from her. I think I was probably her best customer because I bought a lot of Scentsy. After a few months, she says to me, "you know Sheena, as much as you buy from me it would be worth it for you to sign up and be a consultant so you can get the discount and just buy from yourself." Lightbulb! I bet you can guess what happened next!
Yep, I signed up and am still currently selling Scentsy. Although I only made money during Christmas, the rest of the time I just buy from myself. Plus Scentsy, as much as I love the products, makes it really hard to ship. In order to get free shipping, you have to make $200 in sales. So, if you have a party that only makes $100 in sales, then your host has to cover shipping, and I just think that stinks. Plus, you have to pay for shipping for the catalogs, and any marketing materials you buy.
The perks are not good like others I've seen, and the warmers can be as much as $50 or more, for one warmer. So a little on the costly side in my opinion. I honestly just love the scents and how my house smells every day. I've tried other things and Scentsy has the best smelling scents by far. That's really the only reason I still sell it. However, I have not made my quota this month, so I will probably lose my consultant status come next month. I'm honestly okay with that, I think I'd rather buy from someone else then have to spend $200 every three months.
Pros and cons:
So, why did I tell you about these experiences? I wanted you to see that I have done many multi-level marketing sales. It's true you can make money doing them if you hustle. Yes, I know people who drive the pink Mary Kay car and have opened an Avon store. Even the lady who I signed up for Scentsy with is a director now because she's made so many sales. She's been on two cruises just last year paid for by Scentsy, so yes it's possible to make money doing these businesses.
- When I was doing these MLM businesses, It did teach me how to market my products, and how to conduct myself as a businesswoman.
- I gained some great people skills and learned to speak in front of a group comfortably.
- Confidence and excitement about the products kept me going.
- Learned a lot of skills on what to do and what not to do.
- Direct sales gave me a goal to work towards.
- Didn't really make enough money to make an impact.
- You become THAT person that everyone hates to talk to.
- Friends start avoiding your calls, messages, and text.
- You spend more money on products then you sell to keep you at consultant status.
- You are your best customer and sometimes the only customer.
But let's break it down for a minute.
You pay $100 on average to join this MLM company. You become the representative or salesperson for that company. Then it's your job to market the crap out of it to make a sale. Now this MLM company is getting FREE marketing because you're doing it for them. But wait, then after you make a sale, you don't get to keep that money...nope, you only get to keep a small percentage of that sale you just did all that work for.
Some of the companies I signed up for, were as little as 10% of my sales. So here I am, working my butt off, taking time away from my family to work this MLM business to make my sale so that I can stay in the representative status for a lousy 10%! Let's think about this for a second. The company has all these people all over the world selling their products, having you do all the work, and then asking you to pay them for it!
Let's go even further, you are not only doing a lot of work for very little back, but you also have to buy a certain amount of products each month to stay active. Or you have to sell a certain amount of products to continue having the consultant status. So, you pay to join the company, and pay to keep selling the products, while only making a small amount back, does this still sound like a good business plan for your future goals?
When you join these companies they sell you on a business idea. You'll be your own boss, leave your corporate job behind and have freedom. But, what you're not seeing is they are getting rich from your hard work, while you are only making pennies.
Anytime you join these companies the first thing they tell you to do is write down 20 names of people you know right now, that you can sell these products to. That might be okay at first, but I know from experience that I avoid those friends now.
True story, I had a really close friend who I adored, started selling a diet product and would only call me to ask me for a sale. After a while, I stopped answering her calls, and sadly we hardly talk anymore. It happens with family members as well. You don't hear from someone in a long time, and they message you out of the blue, you get all excited, just to realize they want you to join their jewelry company.
I was that person, I got blocked by friends who were tired of me pitching my products. I get it, I hate that as well, and when you join these MLM just understand you will start to be disliked. You will upset your friends, and you might even lose some friends due to it. So in the simplest terms possible, before considering this type of thing, ask yourself, do you want to be hated?
I have a solution if you are still wanting to have your own business. I'm putting together a mentoring program where I will be coaching you on how to find work at home jobs, or how to start your own! If this is something you'd be interested in here is a short survey for you. As a bonus, if you leave your email address, you'll be among the first to be notified when the program is starting.