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.
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.
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.