Am i doing the right thing? & good news

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Am i doing the right thing? & good news
Sun, 06-01-2003 - 2:14pm
Hi everyone,

I have been MIA for awhile and for many reasons.

First is my REAL GOOD NEWS! Our credit card debt, which was $13,000 in January is now at about $11,100 -- so we are right around the corner from being in the $10,000 -- which I was hoping to be at this point. THEN, I should be sending another $700 (tuition reimbursements) to credit cards VERY soon. I have been taking $75 out of each paycheck (so $300 a month) and putting that right to a credit card!!!

Here is my confusion part.

DH and I want to be in a house next year. I was recruited into Mary Kay about 2 months ago. Yes, I have met WONDERFUL people and my recruiter is doing so well that she even paid off ALL her credit card debt in a few months through really working her Mary Kay. The thing is -- Mary Kay is her full time job. I can not have that kind of not knowing how much my next paycheck will be, so I am working full time, going to school, and doing Mary Kay.

This past month, May, my total sales were ~$600. I earn 50% of that. So $300. Out of the $300 they teach you to reinvest 60% and profit 40%. I did that. While I could have written myself a paycheck for $130, I only wrote it for $100. Then I sent that to a credit card. That is the point of me selling Mary Kay.

Somehow, after paying myself and placing my next wholesale order, I only have $43 in my business account. Which is fine I guess because I have about $70 in credit card transactions I have not transferred over yet. And I have 2 outstanding invoices totaling about $40.

Anyhow (sorry this is real long -- kind of need to explain each aspect).

So DH also is "self" employed on top of his job that he works 40 hours a week -- AND he is looking for a new job. I know it sucks because of the economy but there are special circumstances making his job very difficult. Well, he brings in about an extra $300 a month with this job. By tax time, we end up owing. Last year it was only $700 which is not too bad, but still owing. I am freaking out that Mary Kay is going to do the same. Everyone says there are tax advantages to owning your own business, but we have yet to see them. We don't own a house (that is what we are trying to do) and that is when we WOULD see the benefits.

Okay, got all that. Here we go with my "Am I doing the right thing?" question.

In one month (which was more hectic than any other month I will do in Mary Kay) I wrote myself a $100 paycheck. Only a $100 paycheck. Now I know that some will say, "That is $100 more than you had." Yes, not denying that. BUT, I am worried that if I am making only $100 a month, will I owe in taxes and will it end up costing me more than it's worth?

If I quit, I would feel bad because I am starting to build some clientele. BUT I have an AWESOME recruiter that would take great care of them. Otherwise I was thinking I could become personal use and every 3 months place my wholesale of $200 that is required, and then give my friends a 20% discount -- which still gives me a 30% profit -- but will that still screw me with taxes? Second, I know that DH really misses me when I am at these parties and I am not so sure I like being gone at them. Yes, if I only do like 3 or 4 a month, that is only like 2 hours each time, but I am so much of a homebody. After working all day I want to enjoy my night and then my weekend. And while it is neat and all to make the extra $$, I don't always feel great after a party.

There are pros and cons. The pros and the most obvious is $$. Then the women I meet, and then that I am developing the ability to ACTUALLY speak in front of groups. Cons -- I have an apt and the bags and product clutter my office, I don't know what will happen come tax time, I am gone at meetings every Monday and at parties 3-4 times a month, I am getting REALLY worn out.

Even though there are more cons, the ability to speak in front of groups is a big pro for me. BUT there are other ways to accomplish that.

Plain and simple. I want to pay off all my debts. I am wondering if I thought I saw a "quick fix" (which never exists) and jumped in. The neat thing is I regularly wear makeup now and care about skin care. I am trying to determine if it is best to, come January, just have DH and I BOTH quit doing the independent thing.

I know this is not ALL debt related, but boy do I need some encouragement and advice. I really don't want any negative feedback -- but would appreciate any thoughts. This support group is wonderful and I hope everyone else is doing well.


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Sun, 06-01-2003 - 6:58pm
It sounds like you are doing GREAT! Congratulations on everything.

I think whether to continue Mary Kay and the other independent thing is totally a personal decision. Some factors to consider:

If you are now wearing make-up and taking care of your skin, is this an extra expense, and if so, you need to take that amount out of your profit calculations to be sure you're still making money.

Learning to speak in front of groups is an incredibly valuable thing, and I think it's wonderful that you can make money while doing it.

Make sure you are keeping *very* good records of your expenses, so you don't end up paying more taxes than you should!!

As for taxes, I do some small jobs on the side--writing for magazines, mostly, but also sewing diapers and dh does some computer consulting. What we do is, every time we get a check for any work we've done, we put 30% of it aside in a special savings account. Come tax time, we already have the cash to pay the taxes.

Now, unless you're right on the cusp of a tax bracket and not keeping careful track of your expenses, you're not going to owe more taxes than you earn. However, it is *very* important that you keep track of those expenses and keep your records, so that you don't end up paying taxes on money that you haven't really netted.

I would talk to your recruiter about all these concerns. Granted, she's going to paint a rosy picture because she wants to keep you on board, but she can probably offer some practical suggestions for keeping your records and preparing for tax time and so on.

As for missing dh--that's hard, and only you can decide if it's worth it. But the decision will be easier once you have a grasp on how much money you're actually going to make. Also, is there a chance that if you really work this, you could eventually quit your full-time job? If so, it might be worth it for a while to persevere and work toward that goal (if it's a goal you're interested in). Two nights a month sounds pretty doable to me, but only you can make that decision.

I think you're asking all the right questions, and I'm sure you'll make good decisions.



iVillage Member
Registered: 08-14-2002
Sun, 06-01-2003 - 11:00pm
Sounds like you're doing the right thing, just getting a little butterflies about it. The Mary Kay venture is only two months old, so you haven't had much time to determine if it will be successful for you. You say you are making only $100 a month, but this is only after two months. I'd say give it some time, build your clientele (reorders can be money in your pocket with very little effort), and keep very good records.

I'd also advise you to talk to a tax adviser about the extra income you and your DH are bringing in. It might be wise to pay extimated taxes quarterly to prevent that nasty surprise next April, or as the other poster suggested put some in savings so you have the cash available at tax time. A tax adviser can help you decide how much extra you should be sending to Uncle Sam to stay ahead of the game.

Also, remember to keep your reciepts for business expenditures (talk to the tax advisor) to get every tax advantage that's available to you.

side note: I had a second job for a few years to pay off old debts, and this company took out WAY too little in taxes - when combined with my wages from my full-time job, I was in the next higher tax bracket and tax time was a nightmare. My solution: Set up an extra $$ amount with both jobs to be paid on my taxes from every check. The next year, I got a little back from federal and broke even on state. It saved my butt. The extra income I had was well worth the little extra I paid in taxes.

So maybe you thought you saw a "quick fix" and jumped in. This isn't necessarily bad, you know, unless you give up too soon or the quick fix wasn't a realistic option in the first place. Just don't be too hasty to "jump back out" before you've given it a chance to work. Building a home-based business isn't a quick fix, as you know, and it takes time, effort, perseverance and patience. If you handle the business well and keep good records, your chances of being successful are better.

Just my two cents. Good luck to both of you.



iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 06-02-2003 - 12:06pm
Thank you for your replies.

I know 2 months is not that much to base it on. I am just really scared. I would rather do one-on-one facials instead of the parties, but I know that the $$ is in the parties.

As far as doing it FT -- I know it is not the job for me FT. What I ultimately want to be doing is working in an Education setting, but I know that DH and I need to set ourselves better financially to do that because they do not pay well in that field. I found a job opening and ALMOST applied, but it was almost $3.00 less an hour than what I am making now. Right now, at this point in time, we can not do that.

I have GOT to get debt paid off and save $8,000 more dollars. Once we do that, we are buying a house. I have NEVER been so determined!

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-02-2003
Mon, 06-02-2003 - 1:17pm

I joined Mary Kay and I think it is a great company. I always admired Mary Kay

herself (unfortunately she passed away) and I enjoyed the positive meetings, nice

people, and support for women in business. I think they try to be ethical and apply

the Golden Rule which is also great.

I hate to say this but in my case and I think in many others, it is not that easy

to make a paying career out of Mary Kay. I'm not saying it can't be done or isn't

being done, but:

many women end up having to work full time and do Mary Kay part time with the hope

that they can someday do it full time..... (unless they have the thousands of dollars needed for the investment in inventory which you are supposed to have before you start

taking a profit)...unless this aspect of the business has changed

you have to have an inventory which is very expensive (again unless this has changed)

it requires a lot of time as well as money

women today don't seem as interested or have time to do house parties as they used

to when the company started - so you have to sell them on having the get together or even trying the product (to be fair the product is good if you can get them to try it)


I'm not telling you not to do it...but, I think it is more difficult than many Mary Kay recruiters represent. Also, there is a very high turnover in the company of people who

either quit or couldn't make it.

I don't think it is easy to use it as a vehicle to make extra money due to the

time and investment which is needed and the above factors.

I do admire the company in terms of good product, great motivation, and the fact

that they seem to try to be ethical. A customer can always return something for no

or any reason for a full refund.

What you could do is try to talk to a larger group of women who have done Mary Kay,

both those who have been successful and those who haven't and try to find out what

it really took to succeed. It is possible that some women have a greater affiinity

for this type of business than others.

I hate to say this but my impression is they try to make it look easy when it isn't

easy. It also requires a good business plan and very strong selling skills, both

of which can be learned. I'm not saying it isn't a viable business opportunity but

I don't think it is will require a lot of time, investment, hard work and

the ability to handle lots of rejections or nos.

I think people in the company try to be positive (which is good) but it also means they

don't really freely talk about the downside of the business.

Perhaps talking to some other people who are honest about what it took for them to

succeed in terms of time and investment might be helpful.

Best wishes,


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Mon, 06-02-2003 - 1:39pm
Thanks for your reply.

I think the environment is wonderful. I love the people. I LOVE the product. But if I quit, boy it would be hard to go back to paying FULL price!

Like you were saying -- I am noticing more people are NOT turning a profit than ARE. It is those people who are doing it 100% full time that are doing it. I can not live not knowing what my paycheck will be.

First off, though, if I DO quit, I certainly can not quit this month. My SIL is holding a party for me June 17, so I can't cancel -- I would be such a jerk. And I already put an order in for all of my Trend Look cards. I mean, I could dovetail it, but I know she would not appreciate that. Second, I started I think with A LOT of doubters and I don't want them to see me fail. I pushed so hard to start and while I am motivated, I am not sure this is for me. I like the selling and marketing aspect -- not the presentation aspect. I know this has made me more positive, but I think it is also wearing me out. If I tell people that, they will laugh because they see how little I DO do it -- but the thing is, I am SUCH a detail oriented person that I spend way too much time obsessing over figures and everything.

What it comes down to, I think, is that I want to sell here and there, I don't really want to do the parties (just one-on-one's every once in awhile) and I want the discount. I don't think I want to do this even as much as I am...............and I don't have the strength to quit. People around me are such doubters and always rolling their eyes. Because when it comes to things like working out and stuff -- yeah I am one of those who joined the gym but never goes. So therefore, in certain people's eyes, why would I "finish" this. And the sad thing is, the one person who does this IS MY SUPPORTER in this. I don't have a fear telling DH -- I know he would support me; it is these few other people. I feel like I have failed. Not failed because I can't do it -- but failed because I am not sure I WANT to do it.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-08-2003
Mon, 06-02-2003 - 1:54pm
Funny.... (not really though), Mary Kay is exactly what got a dear friend of mine into credit card debt in the first place... she bought the suggested inventory, couldn't make a go of it since she had two kids and busy life, then ended up in credit card debt that stayed with her for years. I think she said they bought back her some of her inventory at a discounted price, I don't recall for sure though. So I've always thought of that kind of part time income negatively ever since hearing her story.

In Canada we have all our tax forms & brochures online at the government's web site and I have a spreadsheet here that I created from our latest tax return calculations. I use it to estimate what a part time income would do to our net family income (DH's taxes go up and our monthly benefit for children goes down).

I have also gone to the online tax return places and worked it out that way. You can enter all your income info, play around with different income amounts and see what your net taxes work out to. Generally you can sign up free and they don't make you pay until you actually want to file or print a tax return, and I never get that far.

I think it would definitely be in your best interests to find out what your tax implications will be from this income, you could end up finding out you're grossing $1 or $2/hour after expenses. Or by the same token you could find out you're doing well. At least you would know.