Avon Testimonial

I started selling Avon in January of this year. I signed on as a representative right before the winter holidays, and I also signed on as an E-rep, allowing me to operate an online store and sell to people who would otherwise be too far away to deliver to. My experience thus far has been…interesting.

Starting Off

It wasn’t what I expected. The way my upline manager met with me, in my home and face-to-face, but still with an impersonal feeling, left me kinda feeling like… huh? What just happened? I had expected simply to meet with her and discuss what would be involved in the process, since she had pushed me to have that meeting, but I ended up going ahead and signing up that day. After my initial appointment with my upline Doris, I spoke to her only one other time, when she called a week later to check in on me.

There are good and bad upline managers. Some help you get going, maybe help you throw your first Avon party and get you started with some supplies. Some, on the other hand, do the bare minimum, sign you up with your initial “kit,” and expect you do go at it. Mine was one from the latter group, and so I was really on my own from the beginning.

Learning the Ropes

To supplement my lack of instruction from my upline, I turned to online resources. Avon supplies a very nice training section of their website which any representative can access. The Beauty of Knowledge courses go over how to make sales, how to enter your orders, understanding how much you’ll make off of your sales, et cetera. It was very useful. I also made use of the official forums to ask more experienced representatives for advice.

I knew I would run into one problem with selling Avon: I’m not an outgoing, pushy, make-the-sale type of person. I’d learned to be firm when talking to insurance companies at my former job, but talking to potential customers is a whole different kind of firmness. Still, I was ready to try, and so I started going out with my few brochures and doing what I could.

The first couple campaigns went well enough that I decided to start ordering more brochures. After all, I was mostly breaking even, so it was worth the risk to try and actually make some profit. Instead of 10 brochures per campaign, I pushed it to 20 and then to 30. Things got fairly busy at that point – on my end but not with incoming orders. I still received maybe two or three orders each campaign, but I was keeping myself busy with running around trying to take brochures to various places (and trying to share one car with Hubby).

Doing the Work

After a few more campaigns of this workload, I began to feel worn out. I seemed to only have time for Avon and blogging, and I wasn’t happy with it. I was stressed, feeling pressured to do more, and yet I was disappointed that I was not seeing any positive results from how hard I was already working. Around this time, also, my husband was having to spend weeks at a time doing field training, and I was getting lonely and somewhat depressed. I started to think that Avon just wasn’t for me.

Rather than giving up, I decided to cut back on what I was doing. I lowered my brochure orders to 20, then 10, and my orders stayed around 1-2 per campaign. The truth is, for the last month or two, I haven’t been trying very hard at all. There are so many things important to me, so many things to spend time on, and this just hasn’t been one of them.

I’ve enjoyed selling Avon, though. I really have. I got to meet new people and try something new, something I never pictured myself doing. I got to try Avon products for the first time for less than I would have paid if I hadn’t been a representative. And I like them a lot! I got to experience the fun of running my own business and organizing my time and my supplies the way I wanted them. And I really liked being able to provide people with products they love. That was the best part.

But I’m feeling now like I’d rather use my time and energy on writing, drawing, housekeeping, reading, and studying. And I’m starting to feel like my organizational skills would be of more use in running my website and my home. I guess I just feel like I’ve given it a good run, but it’s just not my thing. And, besides, I’m losing money at it.

Moving Forward

So here’s my plan. Unfortunately, it starts with dropping the online store and my status as an E-representative. The cost of maintaining that is not worth the one-per-month order that it gets. I apologize for the inconvenience to those of you who have been using my online store from time to time.

The second part of my plan is to stop ordering brochures. I have to pay for them, and I have to spend the time handing them out when I get them, and it’s just not something that I can keep up with financially or otherwise.

The third part of my plan, however, is to maintain my status as an Avon Independent Sales Representative, at least for now. Customers will still be able to email or call me with their orders, and I will still be able to submit orders and get products to deliver to them. They just won’t get their own personal copy of the current brochure with their order.

Summertime In Avonland

Avonland is the invisible land that binds together those of us who use AVON products. Like you, me, and Bob! 🙂

My point is, that summer has arrived, in the real world as well as in Avonland. Do you have sunscreen? Bug repellant? Awesome flip flops? Extra deodorant? Travel-sized toiletries for vacation? A mini burger grill basket or a hot dog roller for the family BBQs?

I mean, I’m not trying to say that you need all of these things. Or rather, I’m not trying to say that you need all of these things. 🙂 Maybe just a couple.

Skin So Soft original bath oil is on sale again, and that’s one great product to have not just in the summer, but all year-round! It has so many great uses. Here’s one website called Becky’s Biz that lists 101 uses for Skin So Soft. I would just re-post them, but I don’t want to steal her work. I’ll just highlight a few:

    • Bath oil and after-shower moisturizer
    • Use to remove makeup
    • Insect repellant
    • Good for cleaning and conditioning natural wood
    • Polishing furniture
    • Removes crayon marks from most surfaces
    • Flea bath
    • Open a towelette and use as an automotive air freshener

If you’re interested in trying out a new product or restocking on an old, you can order any time by visiting my store. There’s a link to it in my header! Browse by current brochure or by categories and brands, and place your order online at your convenience! And you can always email or call me for assistance. I do ask that only local residents select “personal delivery” for their orders, as I can only drive so far to make deliveries. Everyone else, please select “direct delivery.” It just means that Avon ships it directly to you, without shipping it to me first. If you want to be kept updated about special offers (such as sales and free shipping) just let me know, and I’d be glad to put you on my mailing list!

Milspouse Blog Hop

imageRiding the Roller Coaster recently started a blog ring for Military Spouses. As I begin to write this post, there are two hundred blogs included! I found out about it through two blogs that I read frequently: Jesstagirl and Her Officer & The Albrecht Squad. In hopes of meeting more great people like them, I’ve decided to jump in on the Milspouse Blog Hop!

image

 

 

 

RE-Introduction

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Michelle, or Michy. I got married in October to my best friend of 9+ years, who also happens to be in the US Army. He has served for five years, has been deployed to Iraq twice, and is my hero for that as well as for the things he does every day to make my life so much fuller. We don’t have any children yet, and I find that makes me kind of an oddball in the military. It seems that most couples have children very soon after marrying, if not before.

I am a housewife, problogger, Avon lady, aspiring novelist, artist, and more. Most importantly, I’m a Christian, and so is Hubby. We trust God to take care of and provide for us as we face trials. I write about a variety of things on this blog, as you can see from the category list on the left, but all of them are topics that I know personally.

Hubby and I also have a newly created vlog on YouTube.com/ocipura, which we’d love for you to check out. For more information about me, visit the About section of this website. And if you want to keep in touch, please, feel free to subscribe, follow me on Twitter, or visit my Facebook page!

Vlogging: The What, Why, and Where

We started a vlog! I may not have gone through with it if it weren’t for the fact that my husband turned out to be just as interested in the project as I am! So, we’re starting/have started a joint vlog!

What & Why?

We’re vlogging about life. I don’t promise that there will be a video for every day, but I do promise that the vlogs will chronicle our days. They won’t be super fancy, but hopefully they will be entertaining. You’ll see a lot more of me than of him, as he’s gone a lot for Army business. I want to give a feel of every day life in our shoes (as soldier and Army wife) as we go through crazy training schedules, friends getting married, selling Avon, deployments, and potty-training (you’ll just have to watch to find out what that’s all about!)

Where?

We’re posting the videos on YouTube, on my channel: www.youtube.com/ocipura. You can see that there are already several uploaded! As yet, there is no regular posting schedule.

Help Me Out!

You can really help me out by encouraging me and showing your interest, both here and on YouTube, for one thing. For another, give me some feedback about whether you think I should include videos in my blog posts, as in embedded, or not. I was thinking that I should just include a link to the most recent vlog at the bottom on my blog posts! What do you think?

Do you have a vlog, about Army life or something else?

Housewiving vs. Sims

Inspired by a xanga post I read earlier yesterday, I wanted to talk a little bit about being a housewife. I love being able to take care of our home. It’s a big job, and I know that if my husband and I both worked full-time outside jobs the house would suffer for it. But being a house-wife or a house-husband is about more than just housekeeping. (Let’s see, there’s budgeting, cooking, decorating, and some other things…  :-P)

When I first read the above-mentioned post, I was really impressed by the author’s insight into things we might take for granted. I am still impressed. I am a pretty big fan of The Sims, starting from the first version of the PC game, which my best friend and I would stay up all night playing, at times (and go to bed dreaming of smoke alarms and green diamond things over everyone’s heads). I never really thought about all the ridiculous things in the game quite as in-depth as this before:

“If I don’t want to be with you anymore,
I simply don’t call you or invite you over,
and our relationship fades without the
drama of breakups.”

“I don’t have laundry and wearing the
same outfit everyday isn’t gross at all.”

Easy Peasy…

Sounds great! It would certainly make housekeeping much easier. I mean, sure there are some puddles to mop up when the sink breaks – or you could just leave them for a day and they’ll dry up on their own. And, of course, you still have to load the dishwasher even if unloading is magically automatic. I like the sound of that. Every meal take the same amount of time to make and creates very little mess and literally no clean-up aside from the dishes from which you eat. Dust is non-existent, as is mud – due to the lack of rain.

But Not So Different…

But that’s just the housekeeping side. What else is involved in being a housewife? In another post, I mentioned that I liked selling Avon because I could make my own hours. One of the important parts of being a housewife is for me to be able to be good company and a good helper for my spouse. I do that by trying to do most my my work while he is doing his work. That way, when he comes home, we can have a meal together, watch TV, play a video game, or just hang out. This applies even if when he comes home he wants to spend some time alone, doing his thing.

This is an area where I find real life to be very similar to The Sims. When I play The Sims, I find that I have to put quite a bit of concentrated effort into initially growing the relationship of the two Sims who I want to marry. After that, I sometimes forget that they still need to spend time together until one of them suddenly pops up with a wish to kiss his spouse or hug her, or woo-hoo with her. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day grind, even in a game like that, and forget that relationships require time and effort. Actually, they require much more time and effort than taking care of the house.

So To Wrap Up

Are there other similarities you see between The Sims and real housewiving? I didn’t want to include too much in one post, but feel free to bring up other aspects of being a housewife that you find equally important! What do you do to take care of your home and your family?

Starting up an Avon Business

I’m a new Avon rep, yes, but my perspective is fresh, and my personal experience is recent enough that I can still remember the difficulties.

I got into Avon for reasons similar to what others say: I liked the flexible hours, the working for myself, the additional income, the discount on products. I think it’s a good endeavor for women who are not otherwise employed, or who are students. I would advise that if you think it will be easy money, think again. It’s not hard to break even, but it requires effort to make a profit. You have to treat it as a job, or else you won’t get an income from it.

Startup:

It’s easy to sign up. If you don’t know an Avon representative personally, you can just get on the website and fill out a form. Then, an Avon rep in your area will contact you. It costs $10 to get started, which pays for the “kit” you’re given. If you have a good upline manager, you will also be supplied with a few brochures for your first few campaigns.

I’d suggest you register for the website youravon.com as soon as possible, which will be a couple of days after you are appointed as a representative. The website gives you access to product reference guides, online ordering and payment, and much more. Some of the useful things took a while for me to find, on my own. I would specifically point you to the “community” tab, where you can find forums (message boards) for communicating with over representatives and, on the left hand side, a link called “Avon advantage,” which will show you all of the business partners that will give you discounts on products for being an Avon rep. One of the most useful ones will even give you free business cards, minus shipping costs.

Do the online training courses, especially if your upline manager is not in contact with you frequently enough to answer all of your questions. You should try to finish these within the first few campaigns if you have the time.

Marketing:

When I first talked to my sister about Avon, she immediately assumed that, since the brand is so well known, I must be doing little-to-no work and getting tons of sales. Wrong. As evidenced by my own sister, who has known of my business for a month but has ordered nothing, Avon does not simply make money grow on trees for me. It does, however, sell itself. To a degree.

The good thing is that it is well-known. But you have to get your name, and more specifically your brochures out there. Buy some printable address labels as soon as you can and print out something with your name, phone number, email address, and website if you’re an E-rep. Stick them on your brochures. Get on some nice, business casual clothes. Then go out and do it. If you walk into a business or up to a stranger with a brochure, the worst that they can do is say no (to avoid embarrassment, check businesses for “No Soliciting” signs). The more brochures you get in people’s hands, the more potential customers you have, and the more calls you can get.

More than anything demos or samples or gift baskets or sales, you should make it a priority to get brochures out. Just do it.

Bookkeeping:

Keep your Avon money separate from your personal money, and keep accurate, thorough records. This means saving receipts for anything that might be a business-related expense. Traveling to make a delivery = gas money. Printer cartridges, printer paper, internet service, and gas money are all business expenses to track. I’m no tax expert, but I know you can write off business expenses, so keep good records! Start early so that at tax time you’re not running around stressed, trying to find those long lost receipts.

Things I Didn’t Know:

When I started my Avon business, I was probably less familiar with Avon than most people. Maybe you’re in my position, maybe not, but I want to go through a few things I didn’t know or understand at first. Hopefully it will help you out.

1. Campaigns & Brochures – Each brochure is good for one campaign, and a campaign is 2 weeks long. At the end of the two weeks, the brochure is expired. The new brochure may have different products available, or it may just be they’re available at different prices. You put your order in at the end of the campaign, and then you receive your products and make deliveries. And that’s how it goes. Every. two. weeks. Also, you pay for your brochures. They’re not expensive, and they do get cheaper the more you buy in bulk, but they’re not free.

2. Upline & Downline – Your upline manager is whoever is above you, who appointed you. It may or may not be your district sales manager. It may just be another representative. At any time, you, too, can become an upline manager, but be aware that the first “appointment” you make must be done with you, your upline, and the new rep. And you won’t receive any extra commission right away.

3. Ordering Early – Don’t do it. I learned the hard way, following the advice of my upline. If you want to submit your regular order early, forget it. If you try to add another order to your regular order after it has processed, you may be stuck with an “additional order” fee. For some reason Avon refuses to add items to an order once it has processed, even if the deadline for submitting orders hasn’t passed yet and the order hasn’t shipped yet. So I’d advise to just avoid it. Don’t order early because it gains you nothing.

From Whence I Came

For now I just want to share a little bit of how I got where I am now. To me it is evidence of God working in my life!

My writing – I’ve always, always loved to write. I admit that in fourth grade I despised “Writing Wednesdays,” but that was just because I was being forced. The first stories I wrote (that I remember) were in second grade. Our teacher would staple together little booklets, and we would fill them in during class. I swear I filled in almost twice as many as other kids. I’ve also kept some sort of journal almost all my life, starting when I was probably in first or second grade until now.

I enjoy writing. I enjoy grammar and languages. I didn’t learn to enjoy it at school, but in a lot of ways despite school (I did not enjoy my composition or English classes very much). Now, I’m at the point of having participated in NaNoWriMo twice, winning both times, and dreaming about one day publishing a novel. But speaking of writing, this leads right into…

My blog – Blogging is something I wanted to get into because of how much I enjoy writing. It’s a thrill to move my fingers across the keyboard and have words appear, words that mean something. I enjoy trying to make my words flow and have a certain “sound.” In person, I’m quiet. After being so shy throughout my childhood, this quietness is sort of stuck in me, and I don’t really mind it. It just means that I usually won’t speak up unless I’m sure what I’m saying is relevant and important/useful. But it’s a different story here. Here, I can and will say what I want to, when I want to, and I know that only those who are interested will continue to read. And I’m okay with that! It’s a way for me to express my opinions, experiences, and thoughts that I might otherwise hold back, afraid no one is interested.

My art – I come from a very artistic family, on all sides. My father’s mother painted numerous landscapes, one of which is currently hanging in my living room! I have a niece whose drawings get better every time I see them. My mother’s brother, aunt, and grandmother are all very artistic, and even my stepfather brought in some income for a while by selling his art online. My husband is a whiz with a pen, with paint, with almost any medium he’s tried, so our kids may end up artists as well!

As for me, I never saw myself as an artist. I was just another kid who drew people’s faces. Until, one day, I decided to really try, and I impressed myself. I took an art class in grade school, and a tried a tutorial online one time, but other than that, I’ve been completely self-taught, and I’m proud of how far I’ve come.

Avon – I started selling Avon for a number of reasons. One, I had recently quit my job due to getting married, and I wanted to help bring in some extra income for our little family of two.

Second, I wanted the flexibility of a basically self-employed status because, as an army wife, my husband’s schedule can sometimes be unpredictable. I want the freedom to be able to work when my husband is working, so that I can be spending time with him when he’s not working.

Third, I wanted the challenge. I’m an opinionated person. I can be forceful when I need to be, as I demonstrated at my previous job when I had to speak with insurance companies regarding lack of payment on claims. And I’ve taught myself to be less shy than I used to be. But being a salesperson, developing relationships with strangers, and being assertive is another story completely. I didn’t know if I could do it, but I was and am determined to prove that I can. And you know what? I’m really loving it. Also, I get discounts on products that I’m growing to love.