She overcame a lot of obstacle in her career, and she never let failure get the better of her. Her fist career was in direct sales and she was quite successful.
But she also found that it was difficult for a woman to progress in the corporate world especially in the 1950s and 1960s – even after twenty–five years of success.
She says, “I had worked my way up to being a member of the board of the company only to find that, even though our sales force was made up entirely of women, governed by an all male board, my opinions were of no value. I constantly heard, ‘You are thinking like a woman again!’ I felt rejection in the worst form. So l decided to retire.”
Her retirement didn’t last long. By the time a month passed, the idleness became unbearable. She was ready to start her own business.
If she was going to encounter obstacles, they would be there only because that would give every woman who worked in it unlimited opportunities.
She purchased the formulas to the best beauty product she’d ever found, worked up a marketing plan, and prepared to set up a corporation.
It didn’t take long for her to hit her first obstacle. When she visited her attorney to make legal arrangements for the corporation, he insulted her and predicted her failure.
He told her, “If you are going to throw away your life savings, why don’t you just go directly to the trash can? It will be so much easier than what you are proposing.” Her accountant spoke to her in similar terms.
Despite their attempts to discourage her, she moved ahead. She sank her $5,000 life savings into her new business – every cent she had.
She put her husband in charge of the administrative side of things as she worked feverishly to prepare the products, design the packaging, write the training materials, and recruit consultants.
They were making wonderful prayers. But then a month before she was to open for business, her husband died of heart attack right at their kitchen table.
Most people would never have been able to go on after that. They would have accepted defeat and faded away. But not her. She kept going, and on September 13, 1963, she launched her business.
Today, the company has more than $1billion in annual sales, employ more than 3,500 people, and empowers 500,000 direct-sales consultants in 29 markets worldwide.
She received just about every award an entrepreneur could dream of. Despite all the rejections, Mary Kay Ash made it to the top before her death.
What’s your excuse?