People are finding newfound financial freedom in what is aptly named the “you economy.”
Sometimes called the “freedom economy,” these direct sales jobs allow employees to earn extra income or make enough money to be financially stable with the perk of having a flexible schedule. Many factors cause people to launch a non-traditional career like this, including trying to makes ends meet as a student or wanting to work from home.
Jaci Tischler, a senior agriculture communication major, started selling Mary Kay, a cosmetic line based in Addison, Texas, as a hobby when she graduated from high school. At the time, she saw selling Mary Kay as nothing more than extra income during college.
“It’s been crazy,” Tischler said. “In the beginning, honestly, I did not think that I would fall in love with this.”
For the first four months, she treated selling Mary Kay as a hobby and worked about four to six hours a week. She worked from her residence hall at Texas Tech, but when she came back from Christmas break, she ran out of her financial savings and at the same time, became finically independent.
“If you’ve ever been in that position where you have no income coming in and you have no job – yeah, it was terrible,” she said.
She had to choose between getting a full-time job she “wouldn’t love” or working more hours for Mary Kay.
Six months after increasing her time commitment to the beauty company, she received a promotion and her first Mary Kay car.
“The greatest blessing ever,” Tischler said of receiving the car.
When she graduates in December, Tischler plans on continuing to sell Mary Kay full-time.
Windy Rosemeyer, a resident of Houston, started selling Plexus, a weight management supplement, in a fashion similar to Tischler’s role with Mary Kay.
When Rosemeyer started out, she sold the product to supplement her teaching income with the hope of eventually being financially able to stay home with her son.
After a year, she tripled her teaching salary by selling Plexus and started selling it full time.
“I loved teaching. It was my life and I loved it – until my son was born,” Rosemeyer said. “Then, he became my passion. I love what I do now so much more because I get to be my son’s room mom and get to be on the PTO board and have lunch with him whenever I want to. “
According to Small Business Trends, about 1 in 12 households — which translates to about 10 million people — rely on independent work for more than half of their income.
Millennials make up the largest group of direct sellers, with more than one-third of the age group involved in independent work.
Danielle Hathcoat and her husband, D.J., started selling Advocare, a line featuring multiple health supplements, when a couple they knew told them about the program.
Hathcoat went to one meeting with the friend, and after hearing the stories of the women at the meeting, came home to tell her husband, “It would be stupid for us not to try.”
Now, seven months later, she said they enjoy the extra income and freedom the company offers. For the moment, Hathcoat does not plan on leaving her position at UMC Health System to sell Advocare full-time. She said it is nice to know if she ever wanted to stay home with her future kids later in life, she could still have a full-time income.
Each direct sales company is different, but Tischler said working for Mary Kay has brought her many perks besides a car, like the lasting friendships she has made through the company.
“Mary Kay has definitely changed the course of my entire life,” Tischler said.