Success Stories: Victoria Houlston

“It all began when I saw some pyjamas in the Avon brochure one Thursday during the Covid lockdown! I thought I would sign up to become a Representative, earn a bit of extra money and get a discount to use on the PJs at the same time.

“I shared some posts and links on my Facebook profile and within 48 hours I had sold £450 worth of products and got the discount for my new pyjamas! By the Monday – four days later – I’d got a taste for it and decided I would give it a go longer term.”

The Weekend That Changed My Life

“One Friday in September 2020 I got the news that I was being made redundant. I had been furloughed during Covid for a few months and had started my side hustle as a bit of a distraction more than anything.  It was a way to earn a bit of extra money, so I had only been spending a few hours a week on it.

“That weekend, I decided that I was going to put all my focus into building my direct selling business. Rather than it just being a way of bringing in a bit of money on the side, I wanted to see if I could make it work as a bigger venture.

It turned out to be a pretty significant weekend, as I also found out I was expecting my second child!

“My husband and I discussed my decision and he was fully supportive, but we both agreed that if my Avon business wasn’t making enough income by the time my redundancy money had run out, then I would look to return to ‘traditional’ employed work. However, I was pregnant and knew that doing that wouldn’t be easy. I am a very driven person, and this made me even more determined to make my Avon business a success.”

Direct Selling And Me

“In the last 18 months, since investing more time into my business, it has exploded. I now typically earn between £2,000 and £3,000 a month, which is more than I have ever earned.  I repeatedly qualify for Avon’s Rep incentives as recognition for my sales and growth. In just over two years, I have qualified for all-expenses-paid trips to Canada, Mauritius, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Berlin and have a trip to Dubai and Bangkok coming up.

“I work around 25 to 30 hours a week now, but to be honest it sometimes doesn’t feel like work. Typically, I spend an hour each morning building my social media profile algorithms, which increases my business page’s exposure. So yes, it’s helping my business so I call it work, but I would spend an hour on social media anyway. Now, I’m scrolling and building my business at the same time.

“My little boy goes to nursery three mornings a week, so I tend to do most of my work in that time when I am not with the children. Work could involve speaking to people online who are interested in ordering products, or maybe even want to ask about becoming a Rep themselves. I might put out some live content on my Facebook and Instagram, such as make-up tutorials or a Q&A or deliver some brochures, collect order forms, and package up orders and deliver them. It’s nicely varied which is great and it works around me and my family’s lives.

“Not only does direct selling allow me to earn more money than I have ever earned before, but it also allows me to be present for my children at any given time. My husband often works away so the flexibility that comes with this way of working means I can be there for all the school drop-offs and pick-ups. If I were still employed and working full-time, we would have had to have considered the school’s wrap-around care, the availability and whether we could afford it. Doing this has alleviated so much pressure on us as a family.

“I often suffer with my mental health too and some days I find things more difficult than I would on a typical day. When that happens, I need to be able to do the tasks that I feel I can handle, and direct selling allows me to do that. I am in charge of my work, my time and my day.”

The Rewards

“Direct selling used to be a way of people earning a bit of pocket money, but I think people are seeing the opportunity and choosing this way of working in a different way nowadays. So many people want to work more flexibly and be their own boss. Plus, if you’re really motivated, you can put in that extra effort to make a real difference to your finances, perhaps to pay off the mortgage earlier, or to save more or to top up a pension in retirement. My work with Avon has enabled me to buy a new car and pay for my family to go on holiday to Florida next year.

“However, for me, beyond the money, the flexibility of my day-to-day life as a result of working this way, and the incentives that I have qualified for during this journey, plus the enjoyment I get from working with others in the industry, are some of the biggest rewards. I mentor quite a few people now, and some of my team couldn’t afford to buy their children Christmas gifts last year – now they are earning a decent income that is making a significant difference to their life. That’s what gets me out of bed in the morning. It’s fantastic. I just wish I’d started sooner!

“When I started my Avon business it was something fairly casual; something I thought I would do while on furlough to keep me busy. It certainly wasn’t something I thought I’d be doing forever, but now I can’t ever imagine giving this work up.”