Questions you should ask yourself if you’re thinking about becoming an independent consultant

Because I’ve been an independent consultant for two companies (Scentsy and Perfectly Posh), I’d like to say that I’m somewhat of a subject matter expert when it comes to talking about independent consultant-based companies. Yes, I still am a Perfectly Posh consultant, and in no way am I trying to blow smoke up anyone’s you-know-what when I say that I like being a consultant for them. The same is/was true for Scentsy, but I let myself go inactive because, 1) I was going through a divorce at the time and I really need to save every penny I got from my full-time job, and 2) I just couldn’t keep up with selling “home goods”. It just wasn’t my thing…

Anyway, you’ve obviously stumbled upon my post because you’re really thinking about hitting that button of being an independent consultant for whatever business – Scentsy, Perfectly Posh, LuLaRoe, Pampered Chef, My Thirty One, Pure Romance, etc., etc. BEFORE you make that commitment, really ask yourself these questions to see if being an independent consultant is something that would really fit into your life.

 

Question #1 – What’s the start-up fee? How much is the consultant starter kit?

For Scentsy and Perfectly Posh, the start up fee is $99. So, that was a pretty easy piece for me to justify… For $99, I got a good amount of products that I could keep for myself or demo. Whatever I did with it was really up to me! When a company is only asking $99 to start up, I generally feel like they’re not the type to run their consultants down to the ground. In both companies start-up kits, it really made it easy for you, as a new consultant, to start your business as soon as you receive your kit… Granted, its also easy to mention to your family and friends that you just started your own business and they can check out your website, well before you receive your kit.

LuLaRoe and Pure Romance are the two main companies that I think about when it comes to astronomical consultant start-up kits. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the last time I checked, both companies require their consultants to pay about a grand or so in order to become a consultant. If you have to take out a loan, or put your starter kit on a credit card, perhaps that company is not for you. If you really need to be an independent consultant for some reason, you should probably explore other companies with lower start-up costs.

Question #2 – In addition to the start-up fee/new consultant starter kit, are there other fees you need to pay?

For Scentsy, I had to pay a $10 fee, I think, every month in order to keep my personal webpage active. That fee usually came out of my commissions or, I could also make a recurring payment from my bank account. $10 doesn’t really seem too much to maintain a webpage, but I felt it was pretty significant when you’ve started an independent business to make money in the first place. For most consultants, we stay at the level were we make occasional sales and not even bother trying to recruit others to become consultants. And if that’s the case, they would have to sell $40 worth of product in order to maintain that webpage. Hopefully you can see my point about this. Also, I haven’t personally experience this, but what happened IF you didn’t have enough commission and didn’t do automatic payments for your webpage? Then you’re pretty much a consultant with no platform online to conduct your business. That sucks…

Question #3 – What’s the quota in order to remain active?

I feel like this question is probably THE most important question to find out before you join any company. For most people, they decide to join an independent consultant-based company so they can make money on the side. It does NOT do you any good to join a company if they expect you to sell $300 in personal volume/retail sales in a month. What I’ve realized about myself is, when a company demand such sales, I don’t hit up referrals or marketing as hard. Instead, I just bite the bullet and buy for my personal “inventory”. In the end, I would make only $75 on my own purchase just to be an active consultant. Unless you are the type that would be interested in doing vendor events, this could work out for you, but I didn’t feel like I had that type of support to do that sort of thing. In the end, it was a total waste of money for me.

And speaking of personal inventory. When I was going through my divorce, I didn’t realize how much I spent on “inventory”. It was ridiculous!! I was able to sell off some of the stuff, but “unique” warmers and scents were difficult to get rid of that I ended up donating them to local charities.

Question #4 – How often do you need to hit it?

I had question 3 and 4 as one originally, but I ended up feeling that this question deserves a place of its own. The example quota that I used in question 3 was $300 in a month. Although I don’t really think there is such a company that would do that, you just never know which is why you need to make sure you have that answered before you join a company. I don’t mean to start my “recruiting” spiel about Perfectly Posh, but I seriously feel that this company understands that most of their consultants are stay-at-home mothers or women who have full-time careers. In other words, they are definitely not the type of company that wants to drive consultants away. The quota for Perfectly Posh consultants is $300 every 6 months in order to remain active. Completely do-able, and something that wouldn’t give you a knot in your stomach when the deadline’s approaching.

Question #5 – What are consultants (and former consultants) saying about the company?

When news articles started appearing about how former LuLaRoe consultants were teaming up to file a lawsuit against the company, I started laughing. As harsh as this may sound, it doesn’t make sense to take out a loan when you’re already swimming in debt, just to start up a business to get out of that debt.

Surprisingly, a ton of former LuLaRoe consultants have taken to YouTube and talked about why they decided to leave the company. If there are multiple videos of consultants discussing why they left the company, that’s a clear sign that maybe you shouldn’t join that company. Or, at least, maybe wait a couple months for the company to potentially fix itself and make piece with their unhappy consultants.

Question #6 – Have you noticed if the consultants are “pushed” to create a “team”?

Alright, so its one thing for a consultant to occasionally mention to a friend or really awesome customer, that they should also become a consultant. Its definitely another thing if the encouragement in joining a company almost sounds like a cult or “drink the Kool-Aid” type. If you notice someone really pushing you to the point of technical peer pressure, you should steer clear… Or, at least, from that particular consultant. It’s pretty obvious that they only want you for your commissions which would almost seem like a never-ending cycle once you join under them. They’ve successfully pressured you into joining, and now they’ll continue to pressure you into making money for them.

Yes, some consultants do enjoy working for a specific company and whatnot, but building a team and getting people to join under them should not be their immediate focus. And if that’s the case, then they’re taking the recruitment approach like a pyramid scheme. I can’t tell you how many times my husband thinks my Perfectly Posh business is part of a pyramid scheme. In some aspects, yeah I can see that, but its really not. The only person I technically recruited is my friend’s wife who decided to join on her own accord. I never asked her to become a consultant, nor would I have ever pressured her or anyone to.

Question #7 – Do yoactually use the product? Can you see yourself continuously using the product?

THIS question is pretty much why I left Scentsy, aside from my divorce. At times, I feel like a frugal person and I don’t typically waste money on things I deem as materialistic. I mean, yeah it’s awesome to have a house that beautifully decorated and smells nice, but I just couldn’t justify selling home goods. Why would I, as a consultant, continue to push for sells in warmers and wax sets when I wouldn’t even want to buy the products for myself? Granted, Scentsy does have a great reputation for long-lasting scents and kid/pet-friendly ingredients & products, but it really wasn’t for me to continue selling. At times, I could almost feel my non-verbals coming out whenever someone didn’t think twice about shoveling out $100+ for warmers and a handful of wax bricks.

Question #8 – How often does the company “change”? (Ex: new lines/extensions)

I didn’t stay with Scentsy long enough for me to see their extension into the essential oils market, but I did see my best friend go through the transition. She didn’t seem to mind since she absolutely loves essential oils anyway. However, if I did stay with Scentsy long enough to live with that transition, I’d probably quit. And I don’t mean it in a way that I’m against essential oils, because I’m not. For Scentsy to go down that road almost feels like they’re only adding random-ish extensions to their company to remain relevant and to remain at the “top” of the market they do business in.

I could say the same is true for Perfectly Posh because they have a bath bomb extension, lip color extension, and now an anti-aging line; but for Perfectly Posh, these extensions make sense to me because they still deal with skincare/beauty products. I suppose having an extension into essential oils for Scentsy makes sense, too, because it still falls under the home goods realm. Really, its what you make of these line extensions and how you want to conduct your own business, but I still feel that paying attention to varied line extensions may be covering some underlying issues with the company… I could be wrong, however.

Question #9 – What are you true intentions of starting up your “own business”?

I intentionally saved this question for last since I knew that this question can be related in almost all of the other questions. Really ask yourself, why do you feel so compelled to start your own business? What really appeals to you in becoming an independent consultant? For me, my reasoning has always been about making money on the side, which never really happened. I wasn’t making enough money on the side to be able to make family vacation trips or be able to buy myself fancy things. If your aim is to make this a stable career, you may have to do some more research on your own since being a stay-at-home mom and running an independent business is sometimes not always compatible.

 

I hope this article helped you make a solid decision on whether or not you want to “own” your own independent consultant business! If you’re an independent consultant, please share some questions you might also be helpful for newcomers 🙂

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