≡ Menu

Mary Kay MLM Compensation Plan Review 2.0


Introduction to Mary Kay MLM Compensation Plan

Both of my parents have hobbies that have the potential to consume a lot of time and, if taken to an extreme, also considerable amounts of money.  The fact that both of my parents work in the education field means that leisure activities are even more concentrated in the summer than they are in most families without school-aged children; my father was a high school guidance counselor until he retired, and my mother still teaches at a Montessori school.  In my childhood, we spent many winter afternoons playing Risk: The Game of World Domination, but if it were up to my father, he would spend most summer afternoons fly fishing.  He is such an avid fly fisherman that, if left to his own devices, he would buy enough flies to leave most of the frogs in the Midwest hungry.  I guess you could say he’s pretty fly for a fisherman.  (Hey, why aren’t you laughing?  My friend Trevor, who used to talk my ears off about the proto-Indo-Europeans whenever there was a lull in the action at our job at Wendy’s, used to get a kick out of that joke.)  As for my mother, her hobby is making table centerpieces for parties.  She has made the centerpieces for the wedding receptions for several members of my extended family and has even been known to spend the summer making centerpieces for the upcoming Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, taking into consideration that, when those holidays actually come around, she will be too busy with class preparation and parent-teacher conferences to spend time applying glitter to the silk tendrils emanating from the papier-mache pumpkin that will make our Thanksgiving feast a little more festive.  If it were up to my mother, every family dinner would have a unique custom made centerpiece on the table, whether it be a pipe cleaner groundhog or a paint-spattered tablecloth to commemorate the first family Paintball game of the year.

The reason that this does not cause tension in our household is because both of my parents understand the concept of moderation.  My dad does not conveniently make plans with his fly fishing buddies on days when our relatives from my mom’s side are scheduled to visit.  My mom probably has a mental scrapbook full of ideas for the centerpieces at my niece Emma’s high school graduation party (Emma is currently in kindergarten), but she has enough self-control not to buy any materials for them yet.  Both of my parents are mature enough not to put their hobbies before their family or their responsibilities.

You may be wondering what this heartwarming story about my parents, who love each other either because of their quirks, in spite of their quirks, or some combination thereof, is doing at the beginning of my Mary Kay review, and I will tell you.  Mary Kay has a reputation bigger than the powderpuff pink Cadillacs it bestows as prizes on its highest selling distributors, bigger, even, than the Texas-teased hair of its legendary founder, Mary Kay herself.  This, when I searched online for Mary Kay reviews on other sites dedicated to reviewing multilevel marketing (MLM) business opportunities, the first thing that caught my attention was not any of the usual MLM sites, but rather a blog called Pink Truth, in which former Mary Kay consultants share their stories about the MLM business opportunity that consumed their lives, one powderpuff pink promise at a time.  There are stories of Mary Kay consultants who charged more and more product orders on their own credit cards just to maintain or increase their ranking in the company, who spent all their time and all their money traveling to Mary Kay conventions that were replete with specially made Mary Kay suits and jewelry to be worn exclusively by high ranking Mary Kay consultants, and who had less work-life balance they would have had if they had instead spent that time trying to make partner at a law firm.  There are stories of women who sacrificed their financial well-being and their personal relationships to the powderpuff pink peer pressure machine.  There are posts by the ex-husbands of Mary Kay consultants who squandered their families’ savings and neglected the care of their children to chase pink Cadillacs into the distance.  If it sounds like I am being unfair by singling out Mary Kay, perhaps I am.  This type of financial and social ruin is certainly a possibility with any MLM company, and Mary Kay does deserve credit for never claiming that its products cure cancer, autism, and ADHD.

The thing that made me the most upset when I read Pink Truth, and this is also the thing that upset the site’s writers the most, was how much work the Mary Kay consultants put into promoting their businesses and supporting the consultants in their downline and how little they got in return.  When they asked for advice about the problems they were facing or voiced their frustration, they were met with blame if not outright ostracism.  Unfortunately, this happens to some degree in a lot of MLM companies.  One now erstwhile Mary Kay consultant made an interstate trip to visit a struggling distributor in her downline team to help her prepare for a big sales event.  This trip was one of the things that led to her leaving the company, since she was appalled when she saw just how many unsold Mary Kay products were in the distributor’s basement that the distributor had been buying to stay active in the company.  It was either this Mary Kay consultant or another writer on Pink Truth who said that almost every Mary Kay distributor she knew ordered her own merchandise and had her family members sign up and drop out numerous times just so she could stay in the game, yet she kept putting on the same fake smile and giving the same empty encouragement to everyone in her downline.

Mary Kay: The Company and Its Products

Mary Kay

Even if you are a dude, I am sure you have heard of Mary Kay cosmetics, and I am sure you have seen the pink Cadillacs and other pink cars that the company awards as prizes to its highest sellers.  The company was founded in Texas in 1963 by Mary Kay Ash.  She founded the company in order to provide business opportunities for women at a time when few women, and especially few mothers, had well paying 9 to 5 jobs.  The company’s motto is “God first, family second, business third” or something along those lines.  (I am quoting it from memory based on what I have read on other Mary Kay reviews.)  Mary Kay products include makeup as well as other personal care products such as skin creams and fragrances.

The Mary Kay Compensation Plan

Some MLM companies let you click a link that will display the company’s compensation plan in all its fine-printed detail, but no such luck with the Mary Kay website or the Mary Kay compensation plan.  I was, however, able to gather a few details about it by reading Mary Kay reviews and from reading Pink Truth.  The latter hinted at the names of many of the leadership levels, but it used abbreviations for many of the terms used within the company, further intensifying my wish to read through the Mary Kay compensation plan and its appendix of terms and their definitions, if it has one.

One of the most notable aspects of the Mary Kay compensation plan is the Mary Kay cars.  Lots of MLM compensation plans include a bonus (which is usually very hard to earn) in which the MLM company will make payments on a luxury car for the very successful distributor to drive.  The car is meant as a status symbol, but it is usually a pretty standard luxury car, like a black Mercedes Benz, so that you can’t tell whether the driver is a successful MLM salesperson, a real estate agent, a celebrity dog groomer, a jewel thief, old money, or another type of person who might have the means to own a black Mercedes Benz.  The Mary Kay cars are a bit different.  First, there is no mistaking a Mary Kay car for any other type of status symbol car.  Second, whereas other MLMs will make payments on your car until you fail to meet your sales and recruitment quota and then take away your bonus and leaving you to find some other way to come up with the money for your next payment, Mary Kay will lease you the pink Cadillac for 24 months and, if you fail to meet the requirements to qualify for another 24 months, it will take the car away from you, leaving you to ride the bus home with your huge box of overpriced lipstick.  According to Pink Truth, there are also special Mary Kay suits and Mary Kay rings available only to high-ranking Mary Kay consultants, but I was unable to find details about how these perks fit into the Mary Kay compensation plan.

Advantages and Disadvantages


  • Mary Kay has name recognition. It is the 6th largest MLM company in the world, but it is easily the most recognizable.
  • Those pink Cadillacs are quite a sight to see.
  • Mary Kay does not sell nutraceuticals.


  • Mary Kay consultants are encouraged to sell Mary Kay products through home sales parties, and MLM home sales parties are one of the world’s least pleasant ways to spend time.
  • The company does seem to expect a huge amount of dedication and perky demeanor from its distributors. Just reading Mary Kay reviews made me tired; I can’t imagine what it is like to actually be a Mary Kay consultant.


Mary Kay and its home sales parties need to go the way of rhinestone-studded jackets and “power suits” with enormous shoulder pads.  Times have changed since 1963, and there are plenty of business opportunities for women that do not involve using the word “party”, which is supposed to refer to something fun, as a front for selling dollar store quality lipstick and eye shadow at department store prices.  If you are a woman who is interested in business but who considers family obligations enough of a priority for them to influence your choice of employment, there are so many other things you can do that will be so much less ruinous to your bank account and personal relationships.  You can learn search engine optimization.  You can be a voiceover artist.  You can study biomedical engineering.  You can sell homemade pies at the farmer’s market.  The possibilities are endless, and they are almost guaranteed to improve your financial situation more than MLM will.  If you really want a pink Cadillac, then by all means, save your pennies from the SEO gigs you take on, buy the pink Cadillac you so greatly deserve (or better yet, buy a Cadillac of another color and spend a Saturday morning painting it pink), and drive down the road, making everyone behind you smile when they see your vanity license plate that says SEO MOM.  Of course, if what you really want is to run yourself ragged day in and day out trying to impress other women, then you always have the option of joining a sorority, a Mommy and Me group, or the PTA.  Or take a cue from my parents and my buddy Trevor, none of whom have aspired to be rich, and get your kicks from the simple things in life, like playing Risk with your kids, imagining the centerpieces you will make for parties that will take place in the distant future, and passing the time at your miserable job by talking about the proto-Indo-Europeans.


What do you do to keep yourself from getting too carried away with your expensive hobbies?  Schedule a call with me, so we can exchange stories.  While I have you on the line, I will give you my best advice about how to make money through your own online business.


{ 0 comments… add one }