When was the last time you saw an Avon brochure? If it has been quite awhile, you may surprised to learn that Avon has a lot of exciting new products as well as the tried and true classics and favorites. Rosemarie Kahn is a Gold Leader and top seller with Avon, where she has lead award winning teams for many years.
Rosemarie discusses the trends she sees in her industry, the challenges she has faced, and what she is most proud of with her role as a ‘parent-preneur’. Rosemarie also shares some wonderful advice for others who might want to start a business like hers.
What motivated you to start your business?
I had worked other direct selling/mlm companies prior to Avon. I always dreamed of being a successful business owner and I found it very appealing that many of the mlm companies’ start up costs were very reasonable. However, for some reason or another I never achieved the levels I wished for through the previous companies. After getting married and purchasing our first home, I would frequently find an Avon brochure on my door. I was not an Avon user at the time but loved cuddling up in my bed at night with a cup of tea and going through the many pages of products. I was really surprised at the affordability and decided to place some orders so that I could experience the products. Soon after I decided to join the company. I was not really looking for much except to get my products at a good discount and maybe sell to a few people here and there. After attending my first meeting and seeing the sales amounts of fellow representatives I decided to get serious about Avon. Not long after, I was introduced to the Leadership program and started building my own team. It took me approximately six years to build my business to a point where I could leave the 9-5 working world and make Avon my main source of income.
How did you get your first customer?
I passed around a couple brochures at my previous job and one of my coworkers was thrilled to find out I was selling. She was already an Avon customer that no longer had a current Avon Representative and she was excited to place an order with me.
What kind of background or expertise do you have in your field?
Since I had been involved with another work from home business dealing with cosmetics and skin care prior to Avon I did have some training in the field although I was very happy to find that Avon offered much free training and support to help me grow my business.
What trends do you see in your current industry?
Honestly, the last two years have been my most profitable ever. Regardless of the economy I find that customers still find the money to purchase such items as lipstick, perfume or a skin care product. We also offer many daily needs items such as shampoos, deoderants, etc. Customers who have been paying higher prices for beauty items are more likely to consider our affordable products when watching their budgets without risking the quality.
What are the most demanding aspects about your business?
We adopted our daughter from China when she was a year old. During her first year with us, this was the point when I truly understood the ‘juggling act’ as a parent and a home based business entrepreneur. As a mom I wanted to give all my time to her and yet I wanted my business to continue its normal flow. I soon realized that I would have to make some changes in order not to feel overwhelmed. There were some Avon responsibilities I could do while she watched “The Wiggles”, took a nap or played with her favorite toy but it still was not enough time for me to be on top of my business as I was before. I found a great local babysitter and a mother’s helper (she sat for my daughter at my house while I was home) and between the two they covered about 15 hours per week. This really helped me catch up on my phone calls, do deliveries and coach my team without being distracted. I also started having some customers pick up their orders instead of having to personally deliver them and I held team meetings at my home. Now that my daughter is older she loves playing Avon with me. She thinks it’s fun to help me stamp my brochures, unpack and bag products and even likes to say a few words at my trainings.
What are the most rewarding aspects about your business?
I love that my earnings are based completely on my efforts. I also love the flexibility. My business allows me to schedule my work according to my family’s needs and not the other way around. The relationship building is also great whether it is with my customers or my team members. I have met some of the most wonderful people through Avon, not just business partners but also true friends.
What advice would you give to someone interested in starting a business like yours?
If you are interested in starting your own Avon business you first need to understand this is not a get rich quick business. You have to handle it just asa you would any other small business. The sign-up cost ranges from $10 to $20 depending whether you meet with someone in person or sign up online but you must invest time in building your customer base. The cost of our brochures are very reasonable (approximately 100 for under $20 – though you can order as few as 10) and you can distribute them to your friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, etc. I did not start off as a high seller but consistency paid off. Recruiting is not a requirement but if you find that you enjoy selling the product and are looking to increase your earnings, it is another way to earn additional revenue. I think it is also very important to team up (be recruited by) someone in which you like and feel you will work well with.
What are you most proud of as a ‘parent-preneur’?
I am most proud that my daughter is able to see that her mom can be both a devoted, loving and responsible parent while still having a career. I am also happy to be a ble to share the financial responsibility of our home and family with my husband. It’s a very satisfying feeling to put in the effort and see rewards. I think my daughter, even at a young age, understands that it is important to work at something you enjoy and the rewards one gains by being responsible. Because my career consists of connecting and socializing with people, my daughter has grown into a very friendly, polite and cutely entertaining little girl.
What has been the most effective way for you to promote and market yourself?
Handing out my brochures very consistently, word of mouth and through referrals, advertising both print and online, setting up tables at fairs. Fund raising is also a fun way to help a worthy cause while meeting new customers. My most recent Avon fundraiser helped my daughter’s pre-school raise money during the holiday season.
Why is Avon special to you?
It helps me support my family but it is more than just a source of income. It is an opportunity that allows anyone to start their own business at a minimal cost to earn extra money based on their schedule and personal commitment. It has been a major source of income for me for many years. It is also a community of women and men with similar aspirations. I have made many beautiful friendships through this business.
How do you measure your success?
By the income I earn, but also by the luxury of building my business on my own schedule. I am very happy that I was able to work from home when my daughter was young.
Ever felt like throwing in the towel?
Actually, not really. Of course there have been times of frustration or concern that come with the waves of having a small business but those feelings have been very short lived. It’s those who learn to ride the waves that increase their chances of success. The time and effort I have put in my business continues to pay me through my residual earnings and that is very rewarding. Plus, I’m currently experiencing the benefits of working my business online through social media.
What is one thing you wish you would have known before you started?
I wish I would have had a better grasp on working my business online earlier. There is much to gain for those that know how to navigate in a social media world while also building a face-to-face business.
What is the best advice you have for someone who is just starting out?
Seek out other business owners that inspire you and when possible pick their brains. Listen to what they say and apply their advice, techniques and tips to your business. Their trials and tribulations helped lead them to success and can help you put into play things that work while avoiding things that may not.
What is the best advice you received?
When I first started, a fellow Avon Representative advised me to reinvest half of my earnings in my first year back into my business for marketing purposes (brochures, advertising, tables, customer incentives etc). It helped me grow my business quickly.
What does your ‘milk money’ provide for you and your family?
My milk money pays for our mortgage, my daughter’s school, groceries, clothing and my daily spending.
One of the biggest misconceptions that parents who want to quit their job make is in the financial preparations. If it takes at least a year to build a business from home, then logically that would mean you would need to save at least your full annual income to live off of in that year, right? WRONG.
No wonder so many people think it is impossible and remain STUCK in a less than desirable situation.
The good news is that you are NOT STUCK.
The bad news? There are still sacrifices to be made.
Before losing all hope, create a financial spreadsheet. Cut out all of the expenses that go along with working outside of the home, such as daycare expenses, house cleaning, commuting, etc. With your spouse’s income, you should only be in the negative $200-$500 a month. If you are higher than that, go back to the drawing board and see if you can’t cut something else out. Sacrifices will need to be made for a short time.
Once you have gotten your expenses down to no more than -$500, multiply THAT amount by 12 months.
For example: 500 x 12 = $6,000
Now isn’t that a more logical annual goal to save before you quit your job? $6,000 is much more attainable to have saved than $60,000, and should minimize the fear of jumping without that safety net.
Furthermore, this now gives you a new income goal as a first time business owner.
You have enough of a safety net for a year… and that is more than enough time to get your small business up and running. Remember, you don’t have to REPLACE your monthly income. The goal now is to earn $500/ month. Sure, it may take you a few months to get there, but when you do, you won’t have to dip into your safety net anymore… or if you have a down month, your safety net should still be there for you.
Don’t look now, but you are self-employed.
Before you know it, you’ll be thriving as a self-employed career parent. You may even get used to the less expensive way of life. Once business picks up, you’ll need to think about how to scale it up, hire some outsourcing support, or even scale it back for busier times of the year. You got this!
1. Please tell us about your business and the service that you provide:
Special Events Company, provide invitations, theme ideas, centerpieces, favors, just ask and I will find (florists, caterers, DJs, etc…)
2. What motivated you to start your business?
I have been giving people party ideas for years as well as throwing great parties not only for my kids but for my husband and our friends, it was time to get paid for my creativity!!
3. What kind of background or expertise do you have in your field?
I was the PR/Marketing Manager and Special Events manager for The Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner.
4. What trends do you see in your current industry?
More home parties.
5. What are the most demanding aspects about your business?
Meeting your client’s budget and giving the WOW factor!!!
6. What are the most rewarding aspects about your business?
Seeing the person who the party is for, thier face when they see the event all pulled together. Seeing people have fun at the events I create and getting their feedback.
7. What advice would you give to someone interested in starting a business like yours?
Be specific with what type of events you want to do and go for it, put yourself out there, be positive and know that it takes a while for people to call you, but once they do, they will keep calling.
8. What are you most proud of as a parent-preneur?
Showing my children that if you have a passion for doing something, take the chance, work hard and you can be very successful and happy at the same time.
9. How have you been able to balance your time between work and your family?
It is very hard but I try to work when the children are in school or when they are in bed. If they can help me with a portion of the event, they do. We are successful together and support each other in our family.
10. What has been the most effective way for you to promote and market yourself?
WORD of mouth and making “friends” with reporters in the local papers. Within one year of being an official business I have had 7 articles written either about me or thanking my company.
Finally: What does your “Milk Money” provide for you and your family?
As a new member, I hope more exposure for my company and potential new clients.
What is local marketing, and why do smaller businesses need to engage in it? This means targeting people in your area.
Obviously many businesses can go after people around the country. However, others can only do business with local customers.
Restaurants and financial planners are prime examples of smaller companies that do business with only local people. There’s only so far people are going to drive to do business with you if you have a physical location.
However, if you have a business that lends itself to national customers, you can also target local customers separately. There are some people that would simply rather do business with local companies. Therefore, you might want to do some local advertising apart from your national efforts.
So how do you get more local customers? There are a number of ways that work. Here are four you can start with: #1) Newspaper advertising
This is one of the cheapest ways to target people in your area. When done right, it can be effective.
The problem with it is that it’s very untargeted. The majority of people reading the paper will not be interested in your product. However, if even a small percentage respond, it can be effective. #2) Yellow pages
This is another one of the “traditional methods” of local advertising. It’s been around a long time, and when done right it can again be effective. #3) Direct mail
This is hands down one of the top local advertising methods. This is where you buy a list of people in your area based on certain characteristics. You can choose based on age, gender, income level, etc. then you would send out an advertising campaign to them.
This way, you can choose exactly who you want to focus on. Therefore, it’s more targeted than the previous two. #4) Internet
Online advertising is another effective strategy to get local customers.
So how do you convert traffic into sales? Now that you know how to drive traffic to your offer, you have to focus on making sales.
Get their contact information.
This should be your main goal, so you can keep marketing to them. The average customer requires at least four to seven touches before they do business with you. Therefore, if you give up after the first contact you are probably missing out on the majority of your sales.
Track each advertising source separately.
You might want to track each advertising method, so you can tell what’s working and what isn’t. For this reason, you might want to send the traffic from each source to a different place so you can tell what’s working and what isn’t.
The bottom line is, local advertising can be effective when done right. Implement these tips, and you will get your marketing efforts on track. Julianne Alvarez-Wish is a military wife, mother, business owner, professional writer, blogger and legislative advocate. She is the Director of Communications for Our Milk Money, the Colorado State Leader for the National Association for Moms in Business and the owner of Buy By Mom and Buy By Mom Blog. She is the Colorado Springs Stay-at-Home Mom Examiner for Examiner.com. She also blogs at A Wishful Thought. Her passion, purpose and goal is to help parents work from home so they can be home with their children.
It is that time of year gain. We just had Halloween. Now, the holiday season is in full swing!
In these challenging times, we want to offer you a place to advertise your holiday products and services where you can get an inexpensive yet high visibility ad. That place is the Our Milk Money Holiday E-Gift Catalog.
Please note that although we have had a substantial increase in our subscriber base this year, we have decided not to increase the ad prices. As always, we are committed to offering you affordable promotion at the best possible value.
The Our Milk Money Holiday E-Gift Catalog will be advertised heavily online and via our weekly radio show: This Little Parent Stayed Home. It will also go out to all of our Facebook and Twitter followers.
The Our Milk Money Holiday E-Gift Catalog will be emailed out three times! Once on November 21st, once on November 28th and again on December 5th. In addition to that, the ads will also be posted on the Our Milk Money site for 1 1/2 months for all to see!
The staff of Our Milk Money has been challenged to do their holiday shopping with the Parents of Our Milk Money. We are extending the same challenge to you…let us all support each other this year by doing our holiday shopping with each other.
If our staff needs ideas on what to purchase for the holidays. we bet our subscribers do too! This is where we need YOUR help! Be the expert on your products and tell us what we should be purchasing from you. When you send us information for your ad, be product specific. The ad opportunities:
Top Banner Ad: Only 1 available! This spot will consist of a 468 x 60 banner along with up to 300 characters of text.
Bottom Banner Ad: Only 1 available! This spot will consist of a 468 x 60 banner along with up to 300 characters of text.
Middle Button Ads: Unlimited spots available! These spots will consist of 125 x 125 buttons with up to 100 characters of text.
What we need from you:
In years past, the most successful ads have been those that included a call to action so we recommend your ad promote a specific product or service or offer a significant discount to Our Milk Money supporters.
Email address where we can send you a paypal invoice
Best: URL to a button or banner; if you don’t have one we will need a jpeg button or banner
A product title and description
Include price and any discount you may be offering
Link to purchasing information for your product(s)