Friday, August 21, 2015

My Direct Sales Experience

We all know THAT person.....the one begs you to host parties, promises you longer lashes/no wrinkles/can't-live-without kitchen gadgets/ a deliciously scented home etc. You know how that friend posts incessantly on social media about how they are "financially free" and get the privilege of working from home. For about 8 months last year, I was that person. I came across a facebook targeted marketing ad for a Christian home decor company called Mary & Martha. Hmmm, I had just started a new and much less stressful teaching job. I found that without the long work commute and crazy hours, I had more time available. I love home decor. I love Jesus. I love the idea of getting rich. I love the idea of working from my pajamas with TLC daytime TV in the background. I love the network opportunities and damnit, I would love to be a full-time teacher and a full-time business owner. This was only leading one way. "Sign me up!" Now, don't get me wrong, the people I was connected to via Mary & Martha were sweet and I loved the products. I still do. I mean look at some of this awesomeness:

I really connected to the message of the company: "Live in the AND." It's all about living in community with others AND God. It's beautiful message and every time I see an ampersand (the company logo) I smile.

I fell in love with the products and still use them/have them in our home. It's good stuff. BUT.....(oh, there's always a but when it comes to direct sales), I just struggled with being that person. I know the products are over-priced and I pushed them on my facebook page and gave catalogs to friends. I researched expos (hundreds of dollars for a booth? Hell to the no) and even did an afternoon holiday gift expo where there were literally ZERO customers. I threw about half a dozen online parties and three in person ones. I hustled. I spent hours on it. I baked treats for my gatherings, bought door prizes, and brainstormed ways to get more exposure to my own "business." And you know what? After all the expenses (initial signup and throughout the process), I made a whopping $150. Ouch. (disclaimer: I did get a few hundred dollars worth of free stuff from the catalog so that was a nice perk). I'm glad I tried it. It was a fun adventure. I learned a little bit about marketing (I loved the Monday night phone sessions that amped up representatives to sell! sell! sell!) and hopefully the people who bought products from me are enjoying them. Shout out to my mom and mother in law for being my best customers! I hope you're enjoying your placemats and butter dishes.
Direct Sales companies are wildly popular in Utah and I get the appeal. I do. It's a human connection to a product and can't we all use a little more human connection these days? It's fun to see people excited about a product, but in the end, it just wasn't for me. I was becoming "that person" and I just didn't want to be.
Basically, I can sum up my experience by that old adage, "If it's too good to be true, it usually is." I'm still holding out for the gig where I can get rich/do minimal work/stay in my pajamas. If you know of a job like that, please, by all means, sign me up.

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