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Looking for a Side Business or Flex Job? This Working Mom Says Avon Works

Selling beauty products isn’t for everyone, but it can be a lucrative side business or full-time gig if you're willing to learn—and work.

This working mother of two makes enough selling this beauty brand to pay her mortgage! 

"I was looking for a way after I had my first daughter to stay with her but also have a career."

By Maricar Santos , WorkingMother

When you've got bills to pay but don't want to give up time with your kids, whether you already work full-time or not, you might be looking for a flexible way to generate income. There's consulting or freelance work in your industry, but there's another long-standing option you could consider: selling Avon

Founded in 1886, Avon offers people a way to earn money independently. Today, the company has nearly 400,000 independent sales representatives in the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada. To earn money, you can focus on selling products including beauty and fashion items, or team building.

[post_ads]While there's an ongoing stigma associated with direct sales and multi-level marketing, independent sales representative Lydia Osolinsky, a married working mom of two young daughters who lives in northern California, has built a successful Avon business. You could say Avon is in her blood: "I come from an Avon family. My mom sold on and off throughout my childhood and still does. She's been really successful." So successful, in fact, that Lydia's father was able to quit his job so he could help support her mother with her business, both emotionally and with household responsibilities.

So when it was time for Lydia to contemplate a career change, considering Avon was kind of a no-brainer. She was close to finishing graduate school when she began to rethink the career in academia she was studying for. "It really wasn’t what I wanted," she admits. "After I had my daughter it helped me reevaluate some things." In 2009, she turned to Avon and became an independent sales representative while still in graduate school. "Once I was able to decide to drop that career path, I really wanted to pursue a career with Avon and have my own business. That’s what was going to get me what I really wanted—to be my own boss, to be at home with my kids when I want to be, to have the recognition, excitement and challenge of having my own business, and to have financial gain," she says.
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To make her business a success, however, she had to change her understanding of sales. Her notion of selling to customers was the hard or high-pressure sale—something she wasn't comfortable doing and which she later found wasn't necessary when selling Avon. Once she realized this, she changed her approach. "I just talk from my heart about what I like. It comes naturally. People gravitate towards it because it’s so much more genuine and authentic."

Today Lydia is not only a sales rep but also an executive leader with a nationally recognized team of small-business owners. She makes most of her earnings from building and mentoring her team, which translates to enough to pay her mortgage solely on her Avon business. "My husband and I both have careers, but I'm also home with the kids," she says. "If something happened to him, I have the security of knowing my business could support us in that way."

[post_ads]Lydia feels her Avon business gives her the flexibility to be with her kids while earning money. A typical day involves getting her older daughter ready for the day, taking her to school, caring for her baby, checking emails and, of course, networking—even if it's while she's at the park playing with her kids. After her kids go to bed, she spends time writing and working on her blog. For other working moms like herself, she thinks selling Avon can be a great opportunity. "It can really be adapted to whatever you like to do and however you like to work, and whatever you want out of it."

As for the direct-sales stigma, Lydia has a new view: "I don’t really encounter much stigma. It seems like more of a thing of the past. What I see now is an explosion of direct sales companies. I see so many people taking on new opportunities. Once you present it as a way to support another person in your community, people are usually really excited to be able to do that with their money."

Lydia's Tips for Avon Success

Find something you connect with. You don't have to be a beauty guru to be successful at an Avon business. "Because we have good coaching, mentors and training tools, as long as you connect to something the rest can be learned," Lydia says. And other things can make you more passionate about your job. For example, Lydia was most excited about the teaching opportunity and the ability to work with a team and help others build their own business. "I've always worn makeup, but that isn't the main focus for me, though I know for many it is." Her favorite Avon products: Perfectly Matte Lipsticks and Anew Vitamin C Brightening Serum.
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Listen to your customers. Get to know your clients' needs, including what they want, what they like and what they enjoy doing. "Matching the product or business opportunity to what suits them is the best strategy," Lydia says.

Figure out what you're really good at. There's no one-size-fits-all strategy for being successful with Avon. It really depends on the individual and what works for you. Some strategies include putting your business online, making YouTube videos, posting on social media, blogging, talking to people when you go for walks and doing fundraisers at your kid's school, Lydia says.

Be genuine. Gush about the products you love, Lydia suggests. "If you’re just a friend or a friendly person talking to someone about something you really genuinely care about, people are really responsive."

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Career Advice: Looking for a Side Business or Flex Job? This Working Mom Says Avon Works
Looking for a Side Business or Flex Job? This Working Mom Says Avon Works
Selling beauty products isn’t for everyone, but it can be a lucrative side business or full-time gig if you're willing to learn—and work.
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Career Advice
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