Tough Cookie Mommy

    Recently, I had the pleasure of collaborating with a fellow blogger, Dakim, in order to better inform his readers about the financial opportunities that becoming an Independent Avon Sales Representative can create for individuals.  Dakim had recently written a review and analysis of Avon on his blog and he asked me if I would be willing to grant him an interview to give his readers more information about Avon from the perspective of a representative.  As soon as I checked out his blog I realized that he was a serious and knowledgeable blogger and I immediately decided that I would collaborate with him on this project.

    Here is part of the wonderful post that he published, along with my responses to some of his interview questions.  You can read the post in its entirity by visiting his blog at:

What do you like most about working with Avon? Least?

I like the fact that I am my own boss. I can set my own hours and dedicate as much, or as little, time to the success of my business. There really isn’t anything that I like least about Avon because I am impressed with every facet of the business.

What was your initial investment? How long did it take you to become profitable?

My initial investment was only 10 dollars. I received a start-up kit which included campaign brochures for two campaigns, an Avon tote bag, some product samples, and basically everything that I needed to jump-start my business. My Avon business started to become profitable when I started to dedicate time to advertising and getting the word out about it.

How did you discover your passion {What led you to Avon}?

I have used and loved Avon products for years. I started selling just to have access to their products and to be able to purchase them at a discount.

What skills do you believe someone would need to be successful with this product?

You definitely have to have people skills to be successful at selling Avon. It is important to provide personal service to your customers and to show them that you appreciate their business.

How do you maintain your drive/motivation?

I maintain my drive/motivation by attending monthly sales meetings at my District office and engaging in networking with my fellow Representatives as well as sharing ideas of best practices.

What advice would you give others who want to start their own business?

Don’t be discouraged by others or by your own lack of confidence. You have to believe in your own ability to be successful. Also, if you want to become an independent Avon Representative, contact me and I can point you in the right direction.

What’s a typical day like? If there is such a thing.

It is important to maintain contact with your customers to keep them up to date on current product offers and promotions. Additionally, the goal of every single day is to share Avon with at least three other people.

What steps do you recommend someone who is currently working for a company but wants to start their own business take before leaving their job?

I wouldn’t recommend that anyone leave their job unless their business is established and turning enough of a profit to address all of their financial needs. This kind of financial freedom requires a lot of time, work, and dedication.

What has surprised you the most about working for yourself? What’s the biggest challenge? How did you overcome the challenge?

The thing that has surprised me the most about working for myself is that I am really good at it. I think we can be our own worst critics sometimes and tend to stand in our own way of being successful. The biggest challenge is managing having a career and dedicating enough time to running your business. The way that I have overcome that challenge is by scheduling time to devote to my business daily.

If you could go back in time, what would you do differently to prepare for being an entrepreneur?

I would have started sooner.

Who or what inspires you?

My children inspire me to be the very best that I could be at everything that I do in my life. They also encourage me to be successful so that I may provide them with the best possible life.
Tough Cookie Mommy

    This past week, I pre-ordered some of the Reese Witherspoon perfume "In Bloom" gift sets, the new Patrick Dempsey "Unscripted II" cologne, and the handheld camcorder/camera.  The purpose of pre-ordering products is to anticipate your customers' holiday shopping needs in advance and to have these items on hand to show to other prospective customers.  It is the first time that I have evaluated my customer base and made predictions about the items that they would be interested in purchasing.

    The reason why I chose these three items to pre-order was that these were the three items that caught my eye and that I would fervently seek out for my own holiday shopping.  Also, these were some of my favorite items in the new holiday brochure.  The Reese Witherspoon perfume smells heavenly and is being offered in a gift set for the price of 39 dollars which includes the perfume, a scented lotion, and the scented shower gel.  If my customers purchased these three items separately, they would pay 64 dollars as the perfume alone costs 34 dollars.  This is an incredible value, in my opinion, and I am excited that that I will have some of these on hand to offer to my customers. The Patrick Dempsey cologne smells wonderful and is comparable to some of the expensive retail brands so I wanted my customers to have some gift giving option for the men in their lives.  Lastly, the Camcorder is simply amazing!  It is made by Sharper Image and can record video, take pictures, and is an MP3 and MP4 player.  It is about the size of a credit card which made it even more appealing.

    Once I knew that I would have these items on hand, I began to contact the customers that I had anticipated would be very interested in adding these products to their holiday gift inventory.  I immediately knew that I had made the right decision.  All of the customers that I had predicted would want these products for the holidays did not disappoint me.  I am almost completely sold out of most of the items that I pre-ordered.  My customers really appreciated having access to these products in advance and loved the fact that I am gift wrapping the items for them.

    It really pays off when you get to know the needs and preferences of your customers.  Not only do they appreciate the personalized service and attention, but they also love those little extras like not having to worry about gift wrapping because you also provide that service.  I think that these are the little things that separate me from other Independent Avon Representatives.  My customers know that I take pride in knowing each and every one of them on a personal level in order to provide them with the best service and products possible.  Customer Service is indeed an integral part of my Avon business.
Tough Cookie Mommy

This afternoon, I attended an Avon Red Carpet Event. Basically, it was a large luncheon at a nearby restaurant where Representatives from four districts got together to learn about up and coming items that will be available through Avon. The invitation promised door prizes, raffles, and an exclusive sneak peek at three exciting items that will debut in Campaign 24.

As I arrived, I was pleasantly surprised at the turnout as the restaurant was almost completely packed. Also, I enjoyed the casual way that everyone was just mingling and networking. The District Representatives introduced each item and went around so everyone could check out each product individually. In between the presentations, we were all eating and talking about some of the techniques that we use to make our Avon business successful.

I am extremelly excited about having the opportunity to offer these new items to my customers. First, we were introduced to the new Reese Witherspoon perfume, "Bloom", which is comparable to many of the high priced brands that are available at retail stores. The perfume itself smells heavenly and it comes in a beautiful bottle with a flower shaped top. Second, we smelled Patrick Dempsey's new cologne, "Unscripted II", which has a very musky and manly scent sure to entice a lot of men. Lastly, we viewed a demonstration of the new Sharper Image palm sized camcorder. I can definitely tell you that the brochure picture does not do this item justice as it is simply amazing.

Besides the added bonus of learning about upcoming items, I really had an opportunity to network and to speak to other independent Avon Representatives about what things work for them. It was great to see how eager everyone was to share their selling ideas with each other. I really left the meeting with a lot of good new ideas about how to market my products and my business.

The wisdom that I would like to impart here, to my fellow Avon Representatives, is not to pass up the opportunity to attend sales meetings and other networking meetings that are offered by your district. This is now the second event that I have attended that has been hosted by my district and I am all the better for it. I firmly believe that it gives me an edge over other representatives to be actively involved in district events. Additionally, the opportunity to network with veteran representatives is invaluable as they have vast experience in reaching new customers and retaining them. I would love to hear about some of your experiences with these kinds of events...
Tough Cookie Mommy

This past Tuesday, I recruited the first member of my downline. She learned about me through one of the forums that I advertise my Avon business and she had gotten in contact with me over the summer. Initially, she just called me over the phone and we discussed some of the benefits of becoming an independent sales rep that I had experienced personally. Of course, she was initially apprehensive and unsure, however, over the course of a couple of weeks, she really warmed up to the idea.
Finally, she called me up this past week and told me that she was ready to sign up and eager to be in business for herself. This was very exciting, not only because she would become the first member in my downline, but also because I knew that this would be a great opportunity for her since she is a single mother trying to make ends meet with three teenage children.
We arranged to meet at the District Office in order to conduct her initial interview and to provide her with her start-up materials. I have to admit that I was a little nervous because I wanted to make sure that everything was explained to her thoroughly and that she left the interview with a sense that she would be supported throughout her venture.
As I reflect on the recruiting process, here are some tips that I have learned along this journey that I would like to share with other Avon Reps who are trying to recruit their downline:

1. Market your Avon business on as many free and social forums as possible. Let others know that you sell Avon and that you can share this business opportunity with them.

2. Make yourself available to speak to potential customers and recruits. Be professional and return phone calls and maintain an open communication.

3. Be honest with prospective recruits. Do not promise them that they will become rich tomorrow and let them know that their Avon business will only grow as much as they want it to grow based on the effort that they put into it.

4. Follow up with your downline and support them as they begin to grow their business. Their success is your success.

5. Always maintain professional relationships and do not mix business with anything else.