I hear from many women when it comes to network marketing these phrases,
"There's a stigma."
"I'm never going to be successful."
"I feel embarrassed."
Sound familiar? 🤷♀️
Today I have brought on the expert Mary Kay Kemper to help us talk about, unpack, examine this STIGMA around network marketing.
Whether you are a network marketer or you have an opinion about network marketing and direct sales - you're going to want to pay ATTENTION to this conversation!
Mary Kay is an ambassador of LimeLife and a platinum director. She's been in this business eight-plus years, and her team brings over $77,000,000 dollars a year in!
This is a woman who's not BULLSHITING around!
This is not a woman who was just dipping a toe in feet, has jumped into the pool, and has figured out how to make it work for her.
To connect with Mary Kay, you can find her on Facebook @MaryKay Duffy-Kemper or Instagram @mkstylista
Jen: You know, what I hear from many women specifically when it comes to network marketing, is “It’s bullshit.” “There’s a stigma.” “I’m never going to be successful.” “I feel embarrassed.”
Or there's a stigma out there for people who are network marketers who are hitting us up to buy their products. So today I have brought on an expert to help us talk about, unpack, examine this stigma around network marketing. So whether you are a network marketer or you have an opinion about network marketing and direct sales, you're going to want to pay attention to this conversation because I'm talking today to Mary Kay Kemper.
Mary Kay is an ambassador of LimeLife, and she's actually at an incredibly high level. She's a platinum director. Actually, she's been in this business eight-plus years, and her team brings over $77,000,000 dollars a year in. She's in charge of a team that has over 23,000 people in nine markets. So I'm talking to her today.
This is a woman who's not bullshitting around. This is not a woman who was just dipping a toe in feet, has jumped into the pool, and has figured out how to make it work for her. So when I reached out and I said, “Hey, did you ever have a stigma around network marketing when you started,” she was like, “Oh, yeah. And let's talk about it.”
So, Mary Kay, thank you so much for being here to talk about this sensitive topic.
Mary Kay: Oh, my gosh. Such a sore spot sometimes.
Hi, Jen. Thank you so much for having me. I'm so thrilled to be here today.
Jen: It's my pleasure. And my dog is definitely going to bark, you guys because the UPS man deigned to come on my street.
Let’s start talking about your business. Tell us about how you got into LimeLife,. How you got into network marketing. And who do you serve?
Mary Kay: Awesome. Awesome.
So, as you mentioned, I've been in network marketing for almost eight years. Actually, my eight-year anniversary will be February 4th of 2021. So almost eight years. Sometimes it feels like yesterday, sometimes it feels like a lifetime.
But I got into network marketing very intimidated, very unsure, very scared.
I am a corporate woman. I came from the background of Corporate America, and I worked on Wall Street for 12 years, the last five of those 12 years working for JP Morgan Chase in the heart of Manhattan to high yield bond sales. So I was very much raised as you go to work, you get a job, you work from 9 to 5 or maybe in Wall Street, 7 to 7. But you get your two weeks vacation, and that's it. I didn't really have an entrepreneurial mindset. I didn't know really what that even meant. And I didn't think that I even had a skill set for that. When I was asked and I was approached to help start LimeLife because it was really a very new idea at the time.
I know the co-founders very personally. And they came to me with this idea. So they were in retail. They ran a company called Alcone Company, which is a distributor of all the hard-to-find professional brands in makeup. So they serviced Hollywood. They service TV Studios. They service Broadway, and they provide them with professional-grade makeup for celebrities. And they're also the place where any beauty, professional, or makeup artist might go after cosmetology school to build their kit. But it wasn't something that the everyday woman would go there to purchase their products.
So the concept was bringing professional makeup to every day, women through LimeLife. So it's basically a magnetic customizable palette system where you get to choose your colors, you get to choose your shade, you get to choose what you want and what suits you, and create your palette of professional makeup.
So it was very scary, to say the least, but even for our co-founders, they came from the retail world. So when they had this brilliant idea, because who wouldn't want the makeup to the stars, right? When they had that brilliant idea, and they went to consultants and they were asking them, “How do I do this? How do I help women make more money, retailing professional makeup?” And the consultants kept coming back with the idea of direct sales and network marketing as the way to go.
And they were like, “Oh, really? Okay, let's figure this out.”
And one of my CEOs, and as I mentioned, knows me personally. She came to me as a potential customer and said, “Would this be something that you'd be interested in purchasing?” Right. And at the time, I said, “No, I'm not a celebrity. I don't want a red carpet. Why do I need that rate of makeup? And then I tried the product.”
Jen, I got to tell you I was so blown away. And I was like, “Okay, this is better than anything I've used.” I felt and looked more beautiful. I knew that this was a secret. And I called my CEO back up and I said, “I don't just want to buy these products. I want to help you launch this idea.”
So I was very fortunate to be the very first person to join this company. And when she came to me and said, “We're going to bring this as a network marketing company,” I nearly passed out on my floor because, as you said in the introduction, I had the stigma.
I thought that that was Plan B for losers.
Jen: Thank you for saying that.
Mary Kay: Yes, that was it. That's all I kept saying, you know, Yeah. And I had all the naysayers. I had a family that was like, “If you do that, I will not support you.” It was a lot of negative naysayers and negative feedback from what we call a warm market. Not just warm, but hot market.
Jen: The people that love you hot.
Mary Kay: My hottest market was telling me that they would be embarrassed if I were to do a business like that.
Jen: These words are the words I hear all the time. Losers. Embarrassed. Shameful. I won't support you. I can't support that. That is bullshit. I hear this all the time. Yes.
Mary Kay: And so then it became because I knew these co-founders of my particular company so well.
And I knew their heart. And I knew the mission and the purpose of why they were bringing this to market and why they were bringing it as a network marketing model. So I got behind the mission. I got behind the idea. I got behind the purpose of why they were doing this. And I really looked at it as a business.
Okay, so think about it. If there's a business where somebody says to you, I've got the next million-dollar idea. Would you like to get behind it? Wouldn't you say “Yes”?
Jen: What I’m curious about, though… You believed in the products. And I think a lot of women who get into network marketing, believe in the product. They've used the product. They love the products. They want their own business. And people are telling them, you can do this. You can do this as a business. It's eventual freedom for you. Time, freedom, money, freedom, creative freedom, whatever.
Mary Kay: Which it is.
Jen: And then you have people in your back pocket saying, You're crazy, you're a loser. This is not a real business. So what I want to know is when you have, like, two of the three pieces of the equation, how the hell do you move forward?
Mary Kay: Great question. Great question. And the answer is, you authentically be you. If you get to change the narrative, you get to change how you should go up in this business. You get to change how you run this business.
So when I looked at it as a business, it's a product people want. It's a compensation plan that pays me. Well, it's a mission and purpose. And co-founders that I believe in and trust. The only thing that made it network marketing or direct sales or whatever you want to call it is the mode of transportation that the product is going to go through. That’s it.
Jen: It’s fascinating. So I actually use a lot of products from network marketing companies. Yeah, my shampoo, my makeup, and skincare. Actually, there are so many that when I actually drive by a CVS at this point, I think who is shopping at CVS? Like, I buy everything through these companies that are either organic or whatever. I really wonder who's buying all of this. Like, who is buying Suave is what I want to know, right?
So I get that you get on board with everything. But when you have somebody new, come on to your team. What are the stigmas that they're dealing with? Besides, maybe somebody has told them they're not gonna support them. What are some of the other problems that keeps them from onboarding?
Mary Kay: Well, it's number one is fear and judgment, right? And so I always believe, like, if you're in the judgment of yourself, you're judging others, right? They're probably out there looking at maybe context from some other network market, or how somebody else is doing the business. And they're judging that. So they're projecting that onto themselves, right?
And that's why I say the way you do this business is the way you're going to do this business. And so when somebody on my team comes to me and says, “I feel like I'm sales-y.” Yeah, well, the fact that you even are saying that means you're not sales-y.
Jen: The fact that you're, like, aware enough
Mary Kay: You're aware of it. So you're not going to do it.
I mean, people that are sales-y, we don't even know that they're being sales-y.
Jen: You’re telling me the people who drop into my DMs and go, “Hey, girl.”
Let's talk about that. So how do we make this our own? Yes. Let's talk about this. How do we make it our own?
Mary Kay: Yes. So this is what I love about LimeLife so much. And it was honestly a commitment that I made as a very guide because I believe that you create a culture. You create a culture in a network marketing company and be very careful and be very, very precise about the culture that you do join. It really does dictate everything across the board.
So when we started my LimeLife, we really wanted it to be a safe place for people to unlock their magic, to unlock their purposeful life. Not being a network marketing pro, not being celebrities, million-dollar earner.
Who are you? What do you want in your life? And how are you going to use LimeLife as a vehicle to get that? And so we, in my opinion, we grow CEOs here.
Jen: I love this.
Mary Kay: We grow CEOs. We don't grow a bunch of robots that are being fed a system that then tens of thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands of people are all doing at the same time. Which, to me, that is just that's manipulation. I mean, I think that’s people being manipulated or coerced into “Look at me with all this success. And look at me with all of these wins.” And when it's not actually based in truth. It's a little, not the truth. I mean, maybe there's a little bit of truth in it, but not the truth in it.
And so what happens is they get told on any given day, everybody's going to post Blob Blob, whatever that might be. And typically, that would be a high engagement post. Maybe ask your network a question so that you get a lot of algorithms or whatever, and then they'll follow that up, right with an impact post. Look how this company impacted me.
And people get that.
Jen: You know, I think that the bottom line is what you're saying is LimeLife has created a culture of empowering people to be independent in their choices as to how they're going to grow the business for themselves. That's what you mean by throwing on versus “Here's a plug-and-play system and model. And here are the exact posts on the exact day.” And you have to do it in kind of this robotic formula.
Mary Kay: Exactly.
I'm not generalizing, let me be very clear. I'm not trying to generalize. I'm just saying that I think that's what's contributing to the stigma. People are seeing that they're feeling that they're seeing it on their feed, whether you think they are or they're not. And, you know, I'm a big energy person. And when you start to build energy around that when you feel like I'm not really feeling authentic about this or “I'm not really feeling like this is speaking to me, but I'm going to do it anyway because I'm being told to do it. And I'm told if I do this, my business is going to grow, right?”
That's an energy that that particular person is putting out there too. And it is felt. Whether you believe it or not, it is felt. It duplicates and it multiplies and it is a real thing you're going into.
Jen: If you're considering going into an MLM or you're somebody who has been part of an MLM and you're still struggling to get traction, you're saying the very first question to ask yourself is, do I feel like I can be me in the confines of running this business?
Mary Kay: So I feel like I can do this authentically me? And listen, I have built my seven-figure business off of social media. Because social media did not feel authentic to me. I'm in my late forties. I feel like I missed a decade of social media, as I feel like the 30-year-olds, they get it. It's like they grew up in social media and they know how to do it. But for me, that's not where I was going to reach my network.
Network marketing is about building relationships, networking, and building relationships when you build authentic relationships. And I told you at the beginning of this interview, my own family did not support me. It did not support me, which intimidated the heck out of me. And I thought to myself, well, what do I do now? And I really learned that I have to build relationships. I have to build trust around me around my product, around my brand, and do it how it feels good to me. I think a lot of people don't even realize in network marketing that they're plugging into a system that doesn't feel authentic to them.
And that's where it gets mucky because your network, your people, your friends, they will feel that. And I'm going to be honest with you, Jen. There have been times even in my LimeLife business where I have seen... Comparison is a real thing in this business.
And I've seen other people doing it away. And I was like seeing them having success. And I lost my way quite a few times. And it was an instant drop in my team’s success and in my success. So the minute I got back plugged into me and why I do this business and using LimeLife as a vehicle for the life that I want.
Jen: Everything shifted.
Mary Kay: Unicorns and Rainbows.
Jen: Mary Kay is not fooling around. She's a seven-figure earner, and she's got a huge team underneath her, and she's really working on her life and work balance. This is a woman who's constantly doing the work. So that's why I really wanted to talk to you today. So you've really given us some good insights into what to look for, how to think about marketing.
And frankly, what you're talking about when it comes to marketing is what every marketer should be doing, which is developing trust and relationships because it's a marathon. It's not getting into somebody's DMs and converting them right away. So everything you're talking about here is good marketing management.
Anyway, I'm really curious, though. Is there an element of the people that you manage where you see them using this bullshit as a crutch to keep them from having the money that they desire, having the life they desire? Like this old story of like, “Yeah, but it's network marketing, and I feel yucky.” Like, I feel that that is kind of bullshit.
Mary Kay: Oh, my God, I'm so glad you said that. Oh, my God.
Can you say that louder? Can you say that louder? You say that louder. Can you say that louder?
And I'm going to tell you, Jen, I had that exact feeling. So I told you at the beginning of this interview, I was broke growth before getting into network marketing. I had two options in my life. I was going to claim bankruptcy, or I was going to put my home in foreclosure. That was my reality. That was my truth.
And I still even almost said no. Like, how dare. How dare I? I'm broke. I should be accepting anything at this point, you know? And I almost said no because of my own judgment or fears, or even worse, that somebody else is going to come to rescue me.
Somebody else is going to be good and give me the life that I desire and it's going to all workout and money grows on trees and God will provide or whatever I might have been thinking at that time. But definitely was not thinking that I could save myself.
Jen: So this is all about deciding whether you're in an MLM and you call it direct sales or you just want to start your own business. This is about deciding to be your own goddamn hero.
Mary Kay: Yes, Yes. Your own hero. Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes.
Be your own hero.
Whatever it is that you want. One of the questions I ask people when they join my team because it's really important for me to understand how life is occurring for someone. I can't be a good leader or a good mentor until I understand them. Because what might come easy to me most likely will not come easy to them. Vice versa. So it doesn't become a conversation of how many people are you going to sell to or how many people are going to try to recruit. Does it become a conversation about how does life occur for you?
What are your dreams? What are your wishes? What is it that it looks like for you?
Because if somebody is having, you know, a marital problem or a relationship problem, they're most likely not going to have very good energy or motivation to go out and sell lip glosses tomorrow.
Jen: But the way that you're empowering them. I think when you ask them that question, “How is life happening for you?” That empowers them to ask that of their customers. How is life happening for you right now? Are you feeling like a piece of shape? You're probably not going to really want to be buying lip gloss right now, right?
Mary Kay: How can I serve you is always the basis of my conversations. Every single day.
And so that I think is what has rooted my team in such a stable place, number one. There's a lot of movement in network marketing, and for me with LimeLife, it has always been for the higher and greater good anytime somebody has left. And anytime a challenge or anything, I always fully in full faith trust that everything is happening for the greater and higher good, because I believe that people have journeys and maybe their journey here has ended and they're ready to go somewhere else. I think another stigma associated with this industry is once you get in, you can't get out. Because maybe you joined a friend and you don't want to that friend. Or maybe you’re afraid to fail for that friend.
And that's why I ask what's going on in your life, what's happening? Talk to me about your life, and how can I support where you're at?
Jen: You just keep going back to the point over and over again that if this isn't serving you and it's not authentic to you and you're not making a for you, then you're doing it for the wrong reasons. Whether that person is like saying “You shouldn't do this. You’re a loser,” or this person is saying “You have to do this because you're on my team,” like those are not good reasons. So you have to like your reason is what I'm hearing you say over and over again.
Mary Kay: Have to like your reasons. Absolutely.
And you have to trust that everything you need, you have, right? You have everything you need. And then it's up to you to figure out how is this going to resonate with my life and fit into my life because the residual income of this business is so crazy good. It's a brand.
You know, Jen into 2021 if people are not looking at a plan B, if people are not looking at another revenue stream, I really think they're missing out on something really significant. So I get that there's stigma, context, whatever you want to call it, it's time to let all that go and find a company that you can support. Find a product that you use with full integrity and that you love, engineer it and share it and simply share it and then trust and surrender the rest of it. You know, there's a lot of surrendering even for me who has this multi, million-dollar business.
I don't know. I can't control people actually coming to my business and saying “Yes,” to me. I can't control customers actually buying from me. Nobody can. So there's a lot of trust and belief, and then you have to surrender and say, “I’m doing everything I can. I'm being as authentic as I can in this business, and that what I will find its way to me. Always.”
Jen: You are definitely bringing legitimacy to a business that people are so quick to say, “That's bullshit.” And you don't have to like all the tactics that are brought to you like you have every right as a to say “No, thank you. I'm not interested.” You have a right to do that. But people have judged this industry rather than judging the tactics. And that's a mistake that people have made that's holding us all back from supporting each other. And it's holding women back from having huge incomes and a huge impact in the world.
Mary Kay: Huge mistake. It is a huge mistake. And I'm not going to say that it's not hard work because it is the hardest work I've ever done in my life. But it is the most rewarding purposeful, life and freedom-filled life. So another thing that people may hear in network marketing is Team No Sleep.
And I work seven days a week. And I'm going to you right now, I run the biggest team at LimeLife. I am not Team No Sleep. I have balance in my life. I have freedom. If I am trying to sell a life of freedom, I better be living it.
Jen: Yeah. Because you don't want to be a hypocrite.
Mary Kay: Exactly. And I teach my team to do the same.
You know, there's so much you can get done in 20 minutes a day in this industry. And again, that comes back to the comparison thing because you're going to leaders within your organization that are Team No Sleep. That are going all these things that are creating these amazing systems that are giving the AH-A training. And you have to be content enough in your leadership and in the way you're doing the business to say that serves them, that's not my path.
And so that's another amazing thing about LimeLife is that we have examples of different types of leadership that are at the top of the company. And the key to this business is creating duplication. You want to be duplicated. You want people to look at you and say if she can do it, I can too. You know, for me, that is one of the biggest things that I wake up every day and set the intention for is that people will believe in themselves because when they believe in themselves…
Jen: Before we got on our recording, I said “It's Dorothy and The Red Shoes. It's literally about believing what you can accomplish.”
Mary Kay: I have the sign in my office. You had the power, my dear. You just have to find yourself. That sits in my office and I look at it every single day. And it's really true. Everybody has limitless magic in them. And if you're with the right network marketing company that really supports you and the people over the profit, you are going to unlock even more of that magic.
And you're going to step into your most purposeful life. And that has absolutely been my journey here.
Jen: I'm so proud of you and so happy for you. And I want to say thank you for talking about this with me because I feel like we have to shine the light on the fact that this is an issue and that we talk about it. The message is over and over again. If somebody is listening to this and they want to follow you, how can they get into your energy? How can they get into your orbit?
Jen: And I suggest that you do, especially if interested in like, does she walk the walk? Does she do this authentically? Go follow Mary Kate and watch what she does. Watch how she shows up. It doesn't feel bullshitty people. And this is one that has multiple seven figures going on our business and has the creative freedom, the time, freedom, and the financial freedom to do the other shit she wants to do. So if she's not inspiring you…
Mary Kay: I got big dreams, Jen. And you know, I'm a single mom of three kids, recently divorced and, you know, I'm so grateful for every single day that I get to work this business, which is a home-based business and I get to be with my kids. I get to do what I need to do with them on days that they're not feeling their best or that I to go somewhere with them. And it's just I have so much gratitude for this industry. So please, please, just find a that you love, find one you can support and believe in. Find a leader who resonates with you and believe in yourself and there isn't anything you can't do and accomplish for sure.
Jen: Go be your own hero.
Mary Kay: Yes. Oh my God.
Jen: Thank you so much for your time and energy today and your expertise and for talking about this topic. I appreciate it so much.
Mary Kay: Thank you so much. It's so good to see you. And I get some of you people out in the social media world. Thank you so much.
Jen: Alright, everybody. I want to say thank you for showing up and staying with us through the conversation. We ping-ponged around a bit when we got there because Mary Kay and I honestly could just talk for hours so we're lucky we got this all done.
Mary Kay: Thanks, Mary Kay.
Jen: Thank you.