We featured local Momtrepreneurs on Small Business Saturday, and this time we are digging deeper to find out the answer to every SAHM's question: Is there any way to make money from home? I see so many moms on my feed who work as independent consultants for Multi-Level Marketing companies such as Rodan + Fields, and they seem so...satisfied! It can’t all be inspirational memes and before-and-after selfies. Seriously, how are they so darned motivated all the time? I can barely make sure everyone has their socks on!
But since it's a consultant's job to sell, how can I find someone to drop their pitch and tell me what it's really like?
Enter Anna Lowden.
The deal with Anna
Anna lives in Eastchester with her husband and two young daughters. She was working for a hedge fund in New York City when she began her then side gig with Rodan + Fields more than two years ago. She knew it wasn’t get-rich-quick, but she figured if the products work, she can talk about results and make commissions. She thought she would earn a few hundred dollars a month. After putting in the hard work, her income became more than that, enough to supplement her life as a SAHM while she worked on the business from home. She didn't fully replace the finance income she walked away from, but she believed in the saying "You can make up for lost money, but not lost time."
She had a moment a year into the R + F business when she realized committing to Rodan + Fields was her answer: She took a half day off from work, and while pushing her youngest daughter on the swing at the local playground, she kept getting emails from her boss and coworkers with things they wanted her to do right away that could have been done without her. It was so stressful that it soured her quality time with her child. Good mood gone, she went to pick up her oldest child from preschool and realized she didn’t know where her daughter’s backpack was or even the teachers' names. Her NYC career was turning her into a disconnected mom, and it was devastating.
Now Anna lives the dream of making a good living working from home and still having time for her family, friends, and herself. She even makes it look easy! But ever the skeptic, I wanted to talk to her to find out the question on all our minds: What's the deal?
(Spoiler alert: I have not signed up to sell R+F. Bringing this blog to you every week is job enough for me. This isn’t a sales pitch to join or buy, just an insider peek into the world of work-from-home moms.)
The deal with Rodan + Fields
Products from Rodan + Fields have been popping up in Best Of lists in Allure and other beauty magazines for several years. And who can forget a little product called Proactiv that started it all? Proactiv is legit. It’s the #1 acne brand in the world. I don't want to live in a world where Kelly Clarkson, Katy Perry, and P. Diddy are wrong.
Why all this skepticism about selling products from home? Multi-Level-Marketing companies get a bad rap because there are some shady brands out there. I watched Lula Roe go from excitedly whispered about to seeing Facebook parties everywhere and now with its oversaturation I'm seeing tons of Going Out Of Business sales. But I have friends who still love the brand. Other MLMs like Pampered Chef and Jamberry remind me of impulse buying at a holiday market. A modern version of the guy in the trench coat saying "Wanna buy a watch?"
Proactiv came out in 1995 and was marketed mostly to teens. Today Rodan + Fields is known for turn-back-the-clock skincare breakthroughs. Their current sensation is Lash Boost. A lash enhancer that's billed as Latisse without the weird side effects. The before-and-after photos speak for themselves, so the first thing Anna wanted to do to chip away at my skepticism was get me started on an 8-week, once-nightly application of Lash Boost, with selfies of my progress throughout.
Did it work??? Read on to find out!
The deal with independent consulting
Rodan + Fields is respected in their field and written about in magazines, beauty blogs, even The New York Times. Their products used to be available at department stores, but the decision was made in 2008 to turn the power over to their international team of independent consultants like Anna to sell products and manage teams of salespeople. So let's say you want to Take The Future Into Your Own Hands, Be Your Own Boss, and [insert meme-able empowerment metaphor here] and join Rodan + Fields? Here's our insider interview with Anna:
BabyGotChat: This is called the skeptic's guide because, let's face it, you guys all seem so...happy! Who trusts happy people? There must be some miserable part to this that we aren't seeing. Let's start with the initial investment. If I want to start selling tomorrow, how much do I have to spend?
Anna: Well, you run and own a business. So would you ever start one without an initial investment? When I enrolled I wanted the deepest discount. That means getting the largest business kit at $995. You get just about every product plus samples, and it's a value of over $2,100. But there are other options that are less expensive to buy into. Even one as low as $45 that contains no products.
BGC: So why not just buy the $45 kit?
You have to think about what you want from your business. If I am going to talk to people about products and test for my own results I didn't think I could do it on the $45 or even the $395 plan. So I went all in, knowing I could test drive everything for 60 days. Rodan + Fields has a generous back out policy. If it’s not for you, you can return everything for a 100% refund--even empty bottles! There is no risk on purchasing a business kit or even buying a single product as a customer.
Then once you get your kit, you receive training on how to use and talk about the products. I recently had a chat with my team where I asked them, "Which kit would you choose now if you could enroll again?" And all of them said the $995 kit! It's because if you're willing to start the business you're going to want to obtain and learn the whole inventory. If I opened up a bakery and had nothing to see or taste, just pictures of items, would people come and buy from me? Think of it like that. My business partner Tina explained it like this and it was right on target!
BGC: Okay, so I buy my products. Now what? I can beg my friends and throw skincare parties, but once that well runs dry, how do I find real repeat customers?
Anna: Funny! When I began none of my close friends became my customers! But I asked all of them about it . . . maybe way too much as a newbie now that I think about it. I built my own network, met new people, and used social media such as Facebook and LinkedIn to help me build. I’ve only done online Facebook parties for personal friends and I never ask my buddies to host parties, but of course I'd be open to it!
I also just ask people flat out: Are you happy with your current skincare routine? Do you have results you want? No one wants to look old, and our products are transformative and preventative. We're number 1 in North America for a reason. If someone asks me about my lashes, that starts the convo and usually ends up in a sale. We meet new people every day so in that way the well will never run dry. Everyone has skin. I have dozens of people that have been ordering from me for over two years.
BGC: In those "MLM made me bankrupt!" articles I've read (the companies mentioned in those articles were not R+F, by the way), they say the hardest part is keeping up with the monthly purchase requirements. Do you have that at Rodan + Fields? And do you ever worry you're not going to sell enough?
Anna: No minimums. If you want full access to your individual consultant website that's provided by R + F, you'll pay $24.99 a month. Then to make the most on your commission you can sell $80 (includes 25% off as a consultant) worth of products, or purchase some for yourself or to replenish your kit and samples. Did I mention some of this is a tax write-off? But these are optional programs. If you are building a big business you will want things like a linked website. It's there to help you grow and be successful.
And no, I’m never worried I’m not going to sell enough.
BGC: Do you have to recruit other people to sell?
Anna: No, you don’t have to. You can choose to sell skincare part-time and use the money for your shoe fund, or you can try for a larger income which involves enrolling others. We do not earn income or commission when we enroll consultants. We only earn commissions from products sold.
BGC: What do you say to people who think Rodan + Fields is a pyramid scheme?
Anna: People sometimes ask me this, and it turns out they don't even know the definition of one. I find it so funny. In a nutshell, pyramid schemes are illegal. Pyramids are not sustainable and they fall apart quickly. It’s a scheme when only money is being exchanged--not products. And I just mentioned we are not paid to recruit, which would be one big red flag if we were. We only make income from product sales.
This is one of the only business models where you can make more money than your boss. I’ve had team members join me that have outearned me some months. The current top earner in our company began four years ago. Our business has been around for ten years. So is the person at the top really the making the most? Not at R + F. Our business model is so fair. It's not possible to sign people up and then sit back doing nothing. You learn to train, grow, and lead.
Guys, the doctors Rodan + Fields are in the top 30 self-made women list in Forbes with Tory Burch, Madonna, and Beyonce. This isn't a fly-by-night scam. It's here to stay.
BGC: Thanks, Anna!
Anna: Happy to give you guys the real deal. I just want to add that this is my unique story. For info on Income Disclosure or typical results, please search, "Rodan + Fields IDS."
The deal with my lashes
So there you have it, folks! It appears as though those over-the-top seeming "Rodan + Fields changed my life!" stories are actually real. At least for those women. The most important thing to realize is, like anything else, you'll get out of it what you put into it. If your goal is to sit on Facebook for a few hours asking friends and family to mail you money for skin cream, you'll probably sell a few jars of skin cream. But if you're looking to work, “Britney, Bitch!” style, and treat being an independent consultant as you would any job that requires hours of work in exchange for pay, you might just have the talent for this. The upside is that you choose the hours and the location.
And by the way, Lash Boost DID work! My lashes are longer and fuller looking. I have to admit, it’s hard to be a hater when I feel so fab. If you're interested in learning more out the products or business you can message Anna Lowden on Facebook or click here to visit her website.
Join us at our upcoming meetups!
Monday, December 4, 10:30am - 12:00pm at Lil Chameleon. BYO baby/toddler and meet other moms! $5 cash at the door.
Friday, December 8, 9:00am - 11:00am at Larchmont Toddler. Free Shake, Rattle & Roll music class followed by free open gym at Larchmont Toddler. Plus get 10% off registration for new families for a Winter 2018 class at Shake, Rattle & Roll if you sign up during the event. It's free to attend but you must RSVP here.
Thursday, December 14, 8:00pm - 10:00pm. Mommy's Night Out drinks in collaboration with the Bronxville Moms Meetup Group! Location TBD.
Follow us on Facebook and Instagram. And as always, check our website for events and weekly library programs. We've just made a whole easy-to-navigate chart so you know exactly where to go for free educational fun that doesn't overlap with naptime!
See you next time!