The Power of Pink:
A Success Story
This success story comes to you in the form of an interview. Beth Coehlo, an Independent Sales Director for Mary Kay Cosmetics tells her success story of starting a home-based business part-time, and turning it into a lucrative full-time endeavor.
Your Small Business Guide (YSBG): How did you come to hear about the MK opportunity?
BC: I had been a Mary Kay customer for 25 years, and for 25 years, every single consultant that I had – and I had probably had 4 different consultants over those 25 years – would say to me, “Beth, would you please listen to the Mary Kay opportunity because you’d be so good at it!’ And every time I would say, “No, please don’t ask me that. I am just not interested in sales.”
Back in June2004, I got an email from my independent consultant at the time, and she said, “Beth, I need some help with my training. Would you just listen in on a phone call this week for me so I can get some training?” I said, “Sure, I’ll listen in.” I got on the phone on June 29th at a 7:00 p.m. phone call and Independent Sales Director Candy Jackson explained the Mary Kay opportunity. When I was done, I thought, “This is a no brainer!” I would never even listen to the facts before. So, I listened and I signed up that night. The next day I (placed) an inventory order, and in my first month I sold $3,000 worth of product. And remember, I don’t sell anything.
SBG: What was it that attracted you to the Mary Kay opportunity?
BC: One thing that attracted me was that we had lived in Egypt for a year and we didn’t pay any kind of income tax. This was our first full year back, and I knew we were going to have to pay income tax, so I thought, “I need a home based business. “ That’s what they talked about on the call. That was one of the benefits of Mary Kay – having a home based business so you’d have the tax benefits. I thought, “Oh! I need that!” So, that’s the one key thing that really attracted me.
YSBG: So how long have you been a Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant and Mary Kay Independent Sales Director?
BC: I have been a Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant since June 30, 2004. I became an Independent Sales Director in November of 2006.
YSBG: Now that you have been in it for several years, what do you find most attractive about the Mary Kay business opportunity?
BC: Mary Kay is based on two principles. One is that it s a company of integrity, and Mary Kay said that we will do unto others as we would have them do unto us. To be able to work with people who hold that believe is amazing. It’s just terrific to be around that positive belief system. The second is “Faith first, family second, and career third.” That is huge for me. Because having a child who is gifted is like having a special needs child—they are both ends of the same spectrum. I love the flexibility Mary Kay gave me while she was in middle school and in high school to be able to be at her beck and call, rather than at an employer’s beck and call. Which is me. I know that not all employers require that of you, but just to have that freedom is great. In Mary Kay, I can live my values, surrounded by people who share those values.
YSBG: What is the most you have every made in a month in your home based business?
BC: In Mary Kay, there are three different avenues of income. The first is building your team. My highest commission check from Mary Kay was in my third month as an Independent Sales Director when I finished “On the Right Track” and they gave me a bonus. My check for that month was $5,000 from Mary Kay.
YSBG: Great! And that’s not including your own personal sales, right?
BC: Right. The second avenue of income is sales. My highest sales in a month has been about $5,000, which meant $2, 500 profit (because there’s a 50% profit margin) so that was $2,500 in my pocket. The third avenue of income is earning the right to a free car, and I do drive a Mary Kay car. I shouldn’t say “free” because I earned it, and it is a 2 year lease.
YSBG: How long had you been involved with Mary Kay before you earned the right to a Mary Kay car?
BC: Well, I actually was a slow-poke compared to some people. I had been with Mary Kay for two years. Now, people who come into Mary Kay and earn cars – the shortest time period is 6 days, but once we go into qualification, the company actually gives us four months. People earn it in anywhere from 6 days to 4 months. You hear success stories all the time. People earn it in three weeks, six weeks, nine weeks, whatever. And once you earn it, you earn it for two years and then you have to re-qualify after two years. It’s just great! By then you have built your business and it’s a lot easier to qualify than when you are a brand new consultant.
YSBG: What advice would you give to someone who is choosing a home based business opportunity?
BC: I would recommend that they find out as much as they can about the company itself, and then match it with their own desires. What type of commission structure do they have? If you are going to put in the effort, you want to be earning the money for yourself, not just for the company. Find out as much as you can about their reputation by talking to other people. I would caution you – do not just go to the internet and research the company. Actually use the phone, call, and talk to people who have done the business. Most companies will provide you that information. The truth is that any home based business has work involved. If you go on the internet and you read someone trashing a business opportunity, you have no way of knowing that person’s credibility. Did they put the effort into it? Did they do what they needed to do to be successful? Or are they one of those people who stands there and expects someone to just give (success) to them? I recommend that you really check out any business opportunity. Call the company. Ask if you can speak to their independent sales representatives, and ask them what their challenges were.
YSBG: Do you have anything else you would like to add?
BC: Yes! When you investigate a company, find out if they have territories and if they have quotas. Those kinds of things are very important. If you’re going to have quotas and you have another position outside of your new home based business, that could present problems for you. Make sure of that. Also, is there a territory you will be confined to? If not, that’s great! If so, know what your limitations are.
YSBG: Some home based businesses are well suited for people who want to work part-time. Others are not well suited for part-times; they are better suited for people who want to go at it full-time. Some are really good for part-timers, but you can’t earn enough to ever go full-time. Where does Mary Kay fall in that continuum?
BC: That’s a good question. With Mary Kay, we actually sit down with someone as they are making their decision to join us, and we ask them what they want out of the business. We ask them what kind of income they want to earn, and because Mary Kay has been in business for 45 years this year, we’re able to say, “This is how much you would have to work to have that kind of income potential.” Now, many women who are currently earning between $15 and $20 per hour in their regular jobs, can replace their income. Women working at a professional level can also replace their income. For example, Independent Sales Director, Candy Jackson who was a Vice President of Human Resources for Bank of America works this business approximately 40 hours a week. She replaced an income of $80,000 per year plus bonuses and now she makes between $100,000 and $130,000 per year working 40 hours per week. At the bank, when she was making $80,000, she was working 60 to 80 hours a week. So, it’s about what you’re willing to put into it. What a home-based business really teachers people is how to manage their time effectively. I can tell you, with a Mary Kay home-based business, you can’t sit in front of the computer all day and expect results. If you want to make money, you have to focus on income producing activities – calling clients, meeting new people, and servicing your current clients,.
YSBG: Very good. Have you ever investigated any other home-based business or self-employment opportunities other than Mary Kay?
BC: Actually, I have. When I was about 18, I moved to California from Ohio, and I was an Avon lady. I sold door-to-door, when Avon still did door-to-door sales, and had territories. I did very, very well at it, but the commission base was not very good, and I was a college student, so it didn’t fit me very well. I also had people approach me about things like Tupperware and other home-based businesses, but they just weren’t for me. The reason Mary Kay works for me is 1) I use the products every day; 2) I believe in the products and Mary Kay’s 100% guarantee, so I have a comfort zone. That would be another suggestion for people. Make sure you’re selling something you believe in because if you don’t, you’re never going to make money at it. You really have to love it.
YSBG: Is there anything else you’d like say?
BC: Just thank you for giving me an opportunity to talk about Mary Kay!
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***Please note that the opinions contained in this interview are those of Independent Sales Director Beth Coehlo, and that they are not necessarily the official views of Mary Kay Cosmetics.***