Elizabeth Demas was awarded the 2010 Woman of Enterprise award. This is a national-level award from Avon Products, Inc. Here is how Avon describes the award:
The Avon Women of Enterprise Awards was the first corporate-sponsored recognition program honoring women entrepreneurs. Among the business owners was always one Avon Representative who, in true partnership with Avon, had achieved the pinnacle of success. These women exemplify all areas of excellence that personify Avon’s vision of being “the company for women,” and embody the company’s five values: trust, belief, humility, respect and integrity.
<Article originally featured here on Avon’s website for Avon representatives, published in 2010.>
Elizabeth Demas of Gardner, Kansas, has often been told how lucky she is since she started selling Avon less than seven years ago, in 2003. But it’s more than luck that has brought this fast-rising Avon star to the top. This is a woman with a plan, and she knows how to work it. Even better, she’s passionate about bringing others along for the ride.
A few months before Elizabeth became a Representative, she was laid off from her job as a computer technician with a major telecommunications company. She didn’t feel so lucky then. Her severance pay and then unemployment insurance quickly ran out, and the then mother of two was still jobless.
But Elizabeth was not without resources, and more prepared than you would think. While working for her former employer, she worked towards her MBA––now completed––with an emphasis on information technology. She was reading business books and researching companies online, too. Over the years, she had tried many direct-selling companies, and even had plans to start a home inspection business, but they fell through.
Maybe it was luck, though, that day in 2003 when Elizabeth discovered Avon on the Web. She was struck by all Avon had to offer, including the Leadership Opportunity, and knew without a doubt that she had found the business venture she was looking for. Elizabeth decided, then and there, she could create her own luck with Avon.
Being new in town, Elizabeth started her Avon business the old-fashioned way—by knocking on doors and talking to people face-to-face. She gave out samples and followed up. She says, “I must have knocked on thousands and thousands of doors, but it paid off. Six months later I had made President’s Club, became an Advanced Unit Leader and won a cruise to Key West.”
Planning Her Work and Working Her Plan
How did she do it? Planning and perseverance—or, as Elizabeth says, “I know I will succeed by planning my work and working my plan.” Inspired by the Rich & Famous of Avon videos, this Advanced Unit Leader made recruiting, training and mentoring new Leadership Representatives her passion. She advises potential Recruits, “Write down your goals and your plans to achieve them. And take advantage of the Leadership manual and other Avon business development tools.” To recruit, she creates and hands out flyers, and uses the Power of 3, talking to three people about the Avon Opportunity every day. She hosted weekly Grand Openings for her Downline, averaging one or two new Recruits a day.
Elizabeth took advantage of Avon’s Incentive opportunities, such as a Triple Fast Start Bonus—a 10-campaign challenge that she achieved in only 8 campaigns! She makes her plans visual, creating “goal posters” that she hangs in her home office. They include photos and notes on the goals she’s already reached, and the ones she’s set out to achieve. She explains, “After formulating my plans in my mind, I use my goal poster to map them out. This way I’m always aware of what’s going on from campaign to campaign.”
And, Elizabeth doesn’t do it alone. All along, she’s partnered with and been guided by her District and Division Sales Managers, who have been key to helping her grow her business, which for the past five years has included ownership of a Licensed Avon Beauty Center (LABC)—one of the top LABCs in the nation, and growing. Elizabeth, who is on the 2010–2011 LABC Council, also collaborates with her fellow LABC owners. She’s held conference calls with them for over a year now, covering finances, inventory control and how to best jump-start sales in a slow economy.
Her Business Grows, But Her Time Is Her Own
Today, Elizabeth is a President’s Inner Circle member and halfway to Executive Unit Leader. She makes more money than she ever did as an IT professional. But best of all? She controls her time. She explains, “Control over my time is so important to me. When I had my third son two years ago, not one person complained when I took my baby with me to the store for the first seven months! What other job would allow you to do that?”
The flexibility of Elizabeth’s Avon business allowed her to give undivided attention to her newborn. “However,” she says, “once my son celebrated his first birthday, I decided it was time to re-dedicate myself to the growth of my business.” And that growth has been phenomenal. In just the last year, she’s enjoyed more than a $100,000* Sales Increase, tripled the size of her Downline and added four Unit Leaders. (Her Downline now includes 127 members, including 5 who are at President’s Club level or above.)
“In addition,” she continues, “I worked extremely hard and won last year’s Bahamas cruise five times over—more than anyone else in the nation. It really is something I’m exceptionally proud of.” By C-4 of 2009, Elizabeth had achieved more than $350,000 in Total Personal Sales, and by C-3 of the same year, over $300,000 in Total Unit Sales. In fact, she’s won Avon’s cruise Incentive five different times and also won $2,000 for mentoring her Downline in the Mentor and Grow Incentive.
Her achievements have been recognized outside the Avon world as well. Elizabeth has been honored at the state capitol as one of Kansas’s 2008 Emerging and Existing Businesses of the Year, and she’s been interviewed multiple times by local television stations and the Kansas City Star. And this fall, she’s due to be the keynote speaker as part of Global Entrepreneur Week at a local chamber of commerce.
Elizabeth’s planning and hard work have brought her a very long way indeed, in a very short time. She is grateful to God; George, her husband of seven years, who is loving and supportive; and her positive mother for where she is today. In fact, she runs her business based on one of her mother’s favorite sayings, “God helps those who help themselves.”
But Elizabeth also believes in helping others, and gives back to her community in many ways. She organizes yearly fund-raisers in her store, both for a local shelter for domestic violence survivors, and for an organization that supports juvenile diabetes research. And she’s also participated in an event that uses shopping to help breast cancer survivors.
In off hours, Elizabeth likes to read and exercise, and she enjoys spending time with her three children and husband, George.
Elizabeth Demas has a little something to say to her fellow Representatives about luck: “I want you all to know that you, too, can create your own luck. Develop a plan to reach your goal, and then get out there every day and work that plan to perfection. You’ll be surprised just how much luck comes your way.”