flying $$

Money has a tendency to do this, especially the less you have.

I still like Avon and plan to continue selling it. But I have come to the conclusion that it may not be “the answer”. In fact, I foresee Avon ladies going extinct.

extinction

Avon Ladies, on the verge of extinction

Allow me to explain.

People do like Avon. I have only met a few who did not and it was mostly over allergy issues. But marketing takes consistent drive and motivation. I have a few customers from businesses that I have visited. I acquired one from hanging books on mailboxes. (Important note: I was recently informed that even if you don’t put it in the mailbox and just hang it on the outside, it is still illegal, so don’t do it.)

To acquire the one customer I probably hung at least 50 books and that is expensive, read on to find out more. My district manager went around with me and I got about ten numbers from random people who accepted books from me. Not one of those has materialized into an actual customer. I do not like approaching strangers and I am even more uncomfortable asking for that person’s phone number. Plus, when I call, I feel like a telemarketer – which is essentially what I am. I tried telemarketing and not only was I no good at it, its a miserable way to make a living.

not another telemarketer

So the avenue I have tried thus far that I like the most is hanging books on mailboxes. But that avenue is now closed – I have this strange aversion to breaking the law. Now the only option to door to door. That scares me and I would need to be sure I take someone with me. I tried it the other day and people have a tendency to not come to the door even though you can be pretty confident they are home. I had one open the door and look very surly. He took my book but it was far from a warm and fuzzy experience.

Another option would be to “toss” – meaning to throw them in the driveway like the paper boy. That requires good weather because the literature bags Avon sells do a poor job of keeping out the moisture. The weather here lately has been nothing short of bizarre. It is August and it is raining more often than not. When it is not raining its blazing hot and disgustingly humid.

Now lets visit the subject of profit, or lack thereof. At least three barriers exist that make attaining profitability a challenge to say the least.

1) Avon reps have to buy all their own books. They run from 21 cents if you buy 100 or 67 cents if you only buy 10 at a time. The second 100 is slightly less. I learned from experience that 200 books are unbelievably difficult to get distributed before the next campaign arrives. Every two weeks is a campaign and they are numbered. You are allowed to order up to 2 books back – so it is currently #18 and when I place my order in about a week I can order items listed in #17 and #16 but that is the last time #16 can be ordered from. I still have some of those *&%*&*& to get rid of, um I mean, distribute. If you have any life outside of Avon distributing more than about 20 books a campaign is just not a reasonable venture to attempt.

For simplicity, lets assume an order of 100 books = $21. Samples are very important. For the recent campaign, I purchased skin care samples – 5 packs of 5 each at $3 a pack. That is really not very many. I have also purchased quite a few fragrance samples as the fragrances are higher priced items. Twenty dollars on samples equates to $41 out the door. My first few campaigns I was guaranteed 40% commission and after that I have to reach a certain sales level to attain that. But wait, not all of the items are at that rate. The items not manufactured by Avon like the clothes, shoes, and kid stuff are at a flat 20% commission. There are more of these items in the book than I realized. Anything with a diamond is a 20% item and the promotional merchandize for breast cancer research or domestic violence ranks a 0% commission.

I had an order of $248 but a bulk of that was 20% commission items. My earnings were $63 so deduct the $41 and you are left with $22. Then deduct the processing fee Avon charges every representative to place an order. In this case it was $6.95. After those deductions I made $15.05 which doesn’t even come close to covering what I spent in gas to market and then deliver the products. Also, if you allot any value at all to my time I am drastically in the red. It is costing me money to market and sell Avon products. I thought jobs are supposed to pay you, not the other way around.

Now that I am past my initial campaigns I have to reach an order total, before taxes, of $425 to be eligible for 40% commission. With so many items under 10 and 20 dollars, getting to that number will be a challenge.

Anther fun fact: reps pay for shipping to return products so if I have a customer who doesn’t want to pay I have to return her order, costing me money. I had one customer that I gave an order to and she gave me her card number but I wasn’t able to process the card. She said she would pay for that and the next order in cash when I delivered the second order. When the second order came in she was suddenly very difficult to reach. I had to visit her work 6 times, call her more than I could count, text her multiple times and still she came up with interesting excuses. My personal favorite -“Oh, I forgot my debit card at home. You have to come back. No, actually I will come to you. What is your address?”. Guess what? She never showed. I finally got fed up and called the corporate office for her work (a restaurant I won’t mention to avoid legal troubles). I told them they lost a valuable customer and she was making them look bad by using her position as manager to obtain credit and then not pay. Two days later I had my money. My nerves and my stomach were in knots over the whole thing and I was so very grateful when it was resolved. But my enthusiasm for the job definitely diminished. Now I have another missing customer but thankfully her total is only $25. Part of this is my fault. I need to be assertive and ask for payment when the products are ordered. But all of my customers are previous Avon buyers and they would not take kindly to a change in operations and having to pay up front. Traditionally money is due when the products are delivered.

A good friend of mine was my “upline” and she has stepped away citing one reason being too many customers were slow or reluctant to pay.

(off topic: I read that complaining people live longer so I should get a few more years for this post)

Now onto the topic that may be the straw that broke the camels back – The internet. It seems it is feasible for someone to purchase from the Avon website without being referred to a local representative, or any rep at all. Avon takes all the money. Hold on to your bloomers, it gets worse. Amazon – one of the largest online shopping arenas – has over 4000 Avon products for sale, many at considerably lower prices than I can offer as a rep. I have to wonder how anyone can offer discounts of 50% or more! My husband thinks that Avon is either directly behind this or has their finger in the pie. I hate to admit it but I think he is right. I brought up the subject of Amazon at my first sales meeting and was quickly shushed and told that if an Avon product gets posted for sale, they are in violation and they go after them to have it removed. Quite a few of the products are fulfilled by Amazon which means it is coming from their warehouse and being shipped by them. Avon has to be aware of this and has to be profiting, otherwise as big as they are they would do something about it. I haven’t done the price comparison but I did searches and discovered that Mary Kay and Rodan & Fields products are also listed for sale on Amazon. These are two of the big direct sales companies that are supposed to be dedicated to seeing their reps succeed.

Bottom line, Avon, like most big companies out there, is out to make money for Avon. If it really cared about its reps, it would remove processing fees and provide at least a few books for free. And they would do something about everybody and their brother being able to bypass the Avon ladies and buy online.

DISCLAIMER: I AM NO EXPERT AND THIS IS MY EXPERIENCE AND MY EXPERIENCE ONLY. OTHER PEOPLE HAVE DIFFERENCE EXPERIENCES AND SOME MUST BE MAKING MONEY BECAUSE SO MANY DO IT.

baby disappointment

Disappointed

More on this subject:

http://voices.yahoo.com/surprising-things-consider-becoming-215669.html?cat=31

I had the best lunch the other day. I am a strange one and  I had ordered a bread-less sandwich in a sandwich shop.

lunch box menu

The Lunch Box Menu

The owner, Tim, was accommodating and fixed a chicken salad “sandwich” on a bed of lettuce, with chips and a diet coke.

lunch box tim

Tim – the owner of The Lunch Box

Its a nice cozy little eatery tucked in the back of the most adorable book and gift shop. It was miserably hot that day and their air conditioning was working perfectly. Tim was friendly without being too friendly, a quality I  appreciate. I was early for  lunch so I was the only patron. I was able to have a nice chat and then enjoy my lunch. I highly recommend both The Lunch Box: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Lunch-Box/115926781883691 and the bookstore: https://www.facebook.com/stonebridgebooksandgifts

The bookstore has a live music venue that has lots to offer.

live music

Live music venue

Check out their website for more info on the music: http://anewthing.biz/

The proprietor of the bookstore is a wonderfully friendly person and a joy to chat with. Stop by and visit with Jo Ann, there are tables at the front where you can sit and relax.

Jo Ann

Owner of Bookstore

a new thing!

A New Thing! Stone Bridge Book, Music and Gifts & The Lunch Box can be found on 116 North Main Street in Ashland City, Tennessee. Main Street aka Highway 12, can be easily accessed by taking Briley Parkway to Hwy 12 and following the  signs to Ashland City.

Ashland City is a quaint little town on the Cumberland River with a nice assortment of restaurants and recreation. A relaxed and enjoyable time can be had by all with a visit here.

(FYI: I was not compensated in any form for this blog entry. I just really enjoyed the place  and wanted to share my discovery with all of you.)

Women uplifting

women uplifting women

UPLIFT TO BE LIFTED UP

Women are incredibly powerful, in singular and even more so, in concert. We possess skills and abilities in our emotional vault that allow us to be incredibly compassionate and unbelievably cruel. My church recently hosted a women’s brunch where the speaker discussed how we often feel the need to crush others – men and other women – so we can feel more powerful. She urged us to realize that it is not necessary to throw our weight/power around to feel superior.

I agree. I would like to urge us all to find true uplifting. If you have to decrease the power and stature of others to lift yourself up, the growth you gain is weak and artificial, falling easily. Imagine a group of women holding hands, standing in a circle, attempting to levitate. If one must push their neighbor down to rise up, most of their energy is expended in that effort. But if we are all focused on helping our neighbor to rise, we find ourselves on the rise, seemingly with little or no effort. In helping others up we discover the strength to come up ourselves.

When the urge strikes, and it will, to put someone down, turn it around and challenge yourself to find something to say that will be uplifting for that person. When you do that, you will grow in ways you never before imagined. Also, keep in mind that the fault you find in others is likely to be one you suffer from as well. Negativity can find itself very easily. The challenge is to find the good. Anyone can point out defects. It takes character to illuminate the positive and help it grow.

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Wow, Forty-four years old today. That seems awfully old, to me anyway. I don’t feel like I am in my mid 40’s – not at all. My brain is still stuck in my 20’s – hopefully my maturity level is not but sometimes…

My birthday present to myself turned out to be 15 pounds and at least one dress size. I haven’t been clothes shopping so I couldn’t say for sure. I was thinking this morning that I am a college graduate with no job (income generating anyway) but aha, that is not true! I do have a job. I am an Independent Sales Representative for Avon – the company for women!
(Of course my most important job is Mom, can’t ever lose sight of that.)

Today I will go out and hawk my wares, so to speak. I have a follow up visit to do and then some more places to visit to hand out books. My goal is to make this a full time wildly profitable venture. I am determined to stay home with my children and provide for my family. I have faced challenges before that may have seemed unsurmountable. I broke them down into bite size pieces and attacked them step by step. My first year goal is to sell enough so that 10% of it set aside will allow me to walk in next year’s Avon’s 3 day Breast Cancer Walk in my hometown San Francisco, California June 2014. Therefore I need $2300 minimum to donate as a walker, $90 for the registration fee and roughly $1100 for expenses there, airfare etc. That totals 3490 and we will call it $3500 for simplicity sake. Therefore, by next June I will need to have sold $35,000 – in eleven months time. 44 weeks to pull it off and I am 44 – is that cool or what?! On with the math, that breaks down to $795.45 per week. Lets call it $800 to simplify the math.

20 customers spending $40 or
40 customers spending $20 or
53 customers spending $15

and that is per week. Basically I need to be taking orders from at least 50 people/sources every week. Broken down into six days because Sunday should be a day of rest, not of taking orders. 9 people a day to take orders from, six days a week. In order to get 9 active customers per day I would say I need to be talking to 18 people a day.

18 a day, say 10 minute conversation, at the most, gives me 180 minutes which is 3 hours. I spend my mornings with my guys focusing on them, teaching, playing, connecting. Then when they go down for quiet time, Mommy goes to work. I will do my best to not try and do both at the same time. I don’t want my children to feel neglected or that they are not my top priority. They mean the world and are the real reason I am doing all of this.

Drive, passion, goals, dreams – they are coming alive. I see it, I can do it, by the power of The Lord that lives in me. My success will be a testament to His power, grace and loving support and of course His all powerful love.

Find the words and awaken the soul

 

 

Almost three years ago, I found myself with a dilemma. Either go back to work and part with my beautiful babies for upwards of 12 hours a day, or become a stay at home Mom. I chose the latter. I waited a long time for these little miracles and I could not imagine giving away their babyhood to strangers. I promised hubby that I would go back to work when they were a year old. The first year at home – that would be great for them and for me, right? Except when that date loomed I hated the idea and took a part time job waiting tables instead. That was fine except I had to spend weekends away from my family and time with my husband went to nearly nothing.

I decided to pursue working from home. My first idea was selling cookies. I make some absolutely…

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Red Caboose Park is located at Hwy. 70 And Colicejeanne Rd., Nashville, TN 37221. The best way to get there is Hwy 40 to Hwy 70 Bellevue and go up the hill. You will pass all of the strip malls, stores, etc and then it turns residential. Shortly after you will see an intersection with three churches. That is your road. Turn right and then turn left into the first driveway. That is the parking lot.

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Parking lot, Red Caboose Playground

 

Next door is a community center and public library: the Bellevue branch. The community center has a toddler area equipped with toys and toddler ride on toys. Its a good option if the weather does not cooperate. The library is closed on Fridays but the community center is open and the restrooms are decent.

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community center toddler area

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Entrance

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Larger view of entrance

table

A picnic table right outside entrance that allows you to watch your kids play while you eat.

larger picnic area

There are other tables plus a large area that is shaded where a group could congregate.

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This park has alot of sturdy wooden play structures fun even for the older kids.

Overall, this park is amazing and its really the fence and seating area that make it so great. Not many playgrounds sport a good fence. This is a completely free kid venue and good place to spend the day. The community center and library have decent restrooms and there are plenty of eating establishments both up and down the hill with drive thru options so you can bring your lunch and enjoy it there.

Find the words and awaken the soul

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As a stay at home Mom, I often feel pulled in so many directions. Kids, chores, errands, small business, friends, church…and on and on and on. I almost feel like I have to do more than other Moms because I “get” to stay home. If I want time off, I almost feel guilty because hubby has to go off and work while I stay home and have fun. I think its because there are days that I feel so unbelievably blessed to have these twin boys. I just think to myself that I am the luckiest person in the world. Those days I am happy to be the sole operator of the dishwasher, washing machine and the dryer, the only one who can coordinate putting two dirty boys in the bathtub, the only one who can, well you get the idea. I love what I do and I love who…

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