This week’s interview is with Nikki Newmark, she joined Avon to gain career independence and flexibility after her previous career as a Kindergarten teacher.
Tell us about yourself (in relation to Avon)?
My name is Nikki Newmark and I am an Avon Representative in President Council.
You joined Avon 16 years ago, how much time (months/years) do you feel you invested in the business before you were able to say I’m financially independent?
I invested a lot of time and effort with the company. It is a lot of work, but if you stick with it, it is a business that will continue to reward you for a lifetime.
When you first started what was the biggest challenge when it came to cultivating clients/customers?
When I started Avon, I was the new kid on the block at the time. But I have great neighbors and they decided to help me along by taking my books to their jobs for me when I first started.
Were you surprised by how easy/difficult it was to find clients/customers?
I was not that surprised that people wanted to help me. I have determination to do whatever it takes to be successful at this new venture of mine. You have to decide what you want and then go for it.
What was the biggest hurdle you faced in your business?
I was new to my area, so a little hurdle was that people didn’t know me personally. Luckily, people know Avon and the products so that helped me a lot.
What was your largest triumph in your business?
Last year I rose to number 20 in the nation. I was so happy and surprised, and this success sent me on an all-expenses paid trip to Puerto Rico with my Avon peers. I was very thankful that I could share this with my son as well, and Avon took care of all of the expenses for the both of us. He doesn’t live in America with me currently, but he traveled to make it an even more special trip for the two of us.
If you could give someone two pieces of advice in regards to starting a business with Avon what would they be?
It’s a business that offers the opportunity to reward you for a lifetime if you stay with it. As a company, they’re willing to help their people grow, which in turn helps Representatives grow along with their business. Add work and determination and you’ll reach success!
What are three things you wish someone told you in regards to starting a business?
- It’s not an overnight success like the lottery
- Focus is key, don’t listen to the naysayer
- Don’t allow other people’s negative influence to affect you
What do you find the most difficult about selling?
When a new product is released, I have some difficulty selling the product to my customers, but I’ve learned to buy my samples and let the customers try it and see how they like it – it pays off.
Were your family and friends supportive of your decision to leave the workplace for financial independence?
At the time, I had few friends and my kids didn’t live with me. But I knew I had mouths to feed and people to take care of, so I needed to do what was necessary to make this happen. So, I just went for it and they have supported my efforts to this day.
How did your family feel when you decided to make the transition from teaching?
They knew I wasn’t happy teaching. I’ve always been an independent person, so they were happy that through Avon, I was able to make this happen.
Did you start your work with Avon before leaving your career as a teacher?
Yes, I started selling Avon while still teaching, and soon started to make more with my Avon business than I was on a teacher’s salary.
When the naysayers appear, what do you do to combat their negativity?
I show them all of my Awards and Accolades and all of the trips I’ve been on, all because of Avon.
Did you find it difficult to separate friendship from business?
At first I did experience some difficulty because friends were treating me still as a friend, rather than a business. Once I set guidelines that needed to be followed in order to process their orders, I was able to find a way to keep a clearer distinction between friendship and business.
Are your friends your customers or do you avoid selling to friends and family?
I sell to anyone that has the ability to spend – friend or foe. If I bring you your order, you won’t receive it until it’s been paid for first. Experience will teach you many things that you need to keep in mind when running a successful business.
As a mother of two, what work/life balance challenges did you face when starting out with Avon? Are the challenges the same 16 years later?
The challenges are the same whether you have small children or grown children. They’ll always need your support and you always need to be there for them, emotionally and financially.
I find myself thinking about work well beyond my working hours, I can’t imagine what would happen if my office was actually in my home. If you work in a home office do you find it hard to walk away at the end of the day?
When you have a home office, people know that is where you live and conduct business, so think you’re available 24/7. I try to keep standard working hours and during the off hours, direct people to my online website. Sometimes you have a busier week than others, but you find a way to balance it all.
What do you think are three essential traits a person needs to be a successful entrepreneur?
- Must be a people person
- Must be patient
- Must treat your customers with courtesy and respect the way you want to be treated and the rest will follow
What is the #1 thing you wished people told you before going down the adventure of entrepreneurship?
Must be willing to work hard.
If you want to learn more about Nikki’s business you can find her online.
Disclosure: As a paid Blogger Ambassador for Avon, I will be discussing many aspects of Avon’s brand; from the entrepreneurial side, to career, to beauty tips, Avon staples, and more in a series of posts. The opinions in these articles are mine and are not indicative of the brand.