Last updated: June 05. 2014 6:06PM - 1036 Views
By Heather Meade hmeade@civitasmedia.com

Submitted photosIndependent consulting is an increasingly popular way to be your own boss, make more money, and meet new people. There are many benefits, but there are also challenges, and being self-motivated is the best way to overcome those challenges, independent consultants agreed.
Submitted photosIndependent consulting is an increasingly popular way to be your own boss, make more money, and meet new people. There are many benefits, but there are also challenges, and being self-motivated is the best way to overcome those challenges, independent consultants agreed.
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DARKE COUNTY - Who wouldn’t enjoy being their own boss? Making their own hours? Bringing in additional income, or getting to spend more time with their families? These are just a few of the reasons that many decide to do independent sales consulting for things from make-up to weight loss and healthy living supplements to purses and candles.

Rita McCans has been her own boss for 39 years, next month, she said. She began selling Mary Kay products, make-up and skin care products, to bring in some extra money for her family, she said.

“I thought it would be a good idea to make money when I left the house, instead of spending it,” McCans joked.

McCans said she’s continued selling the products because she started out making $50 a week, and grew to making as much as $100,000 a year, though income fluctuates from year to year, she added. Six years after getting started, McCans earned a free car and car insurance in 1981, and has earned several since, in addition to the cash option that she has chosen to take, she said.

“It was a substantial savings to our family [having no car payment, or car insurance payment], and because I was sharing my job with others, and teaching them how to have their own businesses,” McCans said. “Plus, Mary Kay is an incredible company; she teaches people how to be successful in business, she gives us the tools, and we take them and put them into action.”

Over the past 39 years, McCans said that the development of technology has probably tripled the independent sales industry.

“When I started, I didn’t even have a cell phone,” McCans recalled. “They weren’t even in existence, yet. So we went from not having cell phones, to having them; not having computers, to having those. It’s been challenging to keep up with, because I was not in the era of computers…Social media is such a vast vehicle to carry the word of your product and your business. You can touch people that we’d never have dreamed of when I started my business…It’s made an incredible difference. I think there are more people successful in their own businesses today because of the advances in technology.”

McCans reported that the 20 and 30-something age group is the fastest growing of Mary Kay’s consultants, because they are so well-versed in technology.

Many other independent sales consultants utilize Facebook and other social media to advertise their sales, grow their client base, and communicate with their current clients, too.

Dana Burkett sells YOUnique, an all-natural make-up line; after just two months, she said she was able to quit her full-time job because she was able to double her daily income. Part of the reason she began was to supplement her income, but a large part of why she continues, is that it allows her to spend more time with her children, working her schedule around their sporting and academic events, she said. She also appreciates that the company was founded in the U.S., and the products are all-natural, gluten-free and chemical-free.

“I never used to wear make-up because it felt heavy, and I never really felt like I knew what I was doing. When I got pregnant with my daughter, I didn’t want her to feel the same way,” Dana noted. “Along with that, there have been so many amazing rewards of working with this company. Most people would automatically think money, and yes, the income is great and I have the flexibility to do things with my children that I struggled with before. But for me, it’s sharing these products, meeting new people and loving what I do that hold the greatest benefit.”

That’s another reason many decide to continue, or even begin, selling products, said Nikki Pearson, who started selling Advocare because she “knew the products worked; and people love them.” And while she’s currently only selling to friends and family, she noted that within Advocare, there’s a sense of community, not competition; others agreed that was the case with their independent sales companies.

“I’ve never attempted to compete with other Thirty-One gals,” said Debra Winterrowd, Thirty-One consultant. “God has always provided customers and more than that, God has provided amazing Thirty-One sisters who I have enjoyed getting to know…they truly are a wonderful group of ladies, always there to help and uplift one another. I have made life-long friends from all over the country through Thirty-One. It has been more of a blessing than a business!”

Brittany Bankert, an Arcanum resident, began selling ItWorks wraps to make extra money, but was skeptical at first because of the number of products out there that claim to help people “lose weight, feel better and look younger,” she said; once she’d actually tried the products, she said they worked, and she wanted to continue selling them, not only to bring in additional income, but to get a discount on the products, which she uses herself.

Another Arcanum resident, Brittney Marley, said she started selling Discovery Toys as a way to help finances so that her husband, Nathanael, didn’t have to continue working two jobs. She found that reaching out to preschools to try to sell the lifetime-guaranteed toys wasn’t fruitful, and so she has stopped actively reaching out to sell the products, though she is still considered a consultant.

Kayleigh Parks has been in direct sales since 2007, though not the same company, she said. In 2011, she joined Gold Canyon, which sells candles.

“Being successful in direct sales is all related to your drive,” Parks noted. “How successful do you want to be? Because of this, and being your own boss, you can run your business pretty much how you want within the company policy and procedures. SO if you only want to do catalog shows, or work two nights a week, you can…It’s all up to you, which is what I love about direct sales. I’m my own boss, I work the hours that are best for me and my family, and I can make as much or as little as I want.”

The biggest thing in independent sales, agreed Rita McCans, is that sales people have to be self-motivated, and surrounding themselves with a team that’s there to help them.

“When you’re starting out, you have to make sure the people teaching you, really care about you. I think that’s so important,” McCans, who has 150 women in her Mary Kay unit, added. “New consultants have told me how important that has been for them, too. It’s good to have people willing to help and support you; which is why it’s so great that our consultants aren’t competing, they’re helping.”

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