‘I MAKE THOUSANDS TALKING TO WOMEN ABOUT MAKEUP’
Laura Duncan may be an Avon lady but she wants you to throw what you you know about the traditional doorto-door cosmetics salesperson out the door (-to-door). – and approximately 1 200 representatives as well.
‘I put in many hours at night when the kids are in bed, and spend a lot of time on social media, but I don’t look at it as work. It’s a hobby to me. I’m working from the couch, and what I do is up to me. I can spend the day watching movies if I want to and work later at night. Gone are the days of doorto-door – you have an online store and a mobile app so you can sell digitally, and customers can have direct delivery or have a rep drop off their purchase.
‘The best bit is building friendships across the country. Plus, I can take holidays whenever I like. The incentives get you working hard: I’ve taken seven free overseas holidays so far courtesy of Avon, and got countless gifts.
‘I left school at 15 – so it goes to show you don’t need to go to university. You can do whatever you want in life; you just have to have the passion and commitment and dedication. I’m living the dream!’ I studied investigative services before applying for a probationary licence. Once you get your full licence, you can work independently.
‘When starting a case, I get instructions from the principal investigators on the subject, a description of the subject, their name and, if I’m lucky, a picture and a physical address. Most people we’re assigned are involved in cases like insurance jobs, civil liability, workers’ compensation, cheating on partners and custody issues. People have different reasons for wanting a job done, but they all want information on what the other person’s story is.
‘We have to be discreet: the nature of the job means we’re passive observers and must avoid people seeing us. I haven’t been caught but I’ve come close. It’s easier to get caught if you’re doing surveillance on someone who’s been followed before and has a high awareness: they’re paranoid, looking around – and if you tail them for too long, they’re not afraid to confront you. The adrenaline rush is exciting but also dangerous – you don’t know what the subject is planning or what might happen next.
‘We have a rule that if you don’t see a subject for five hours, you cut the observation and try later. We work independently and in pairs. Even in pairs, we position ourselves in different places, so we have a better chance of following someone. It’s also handy to have a colleague close by if there is a safety risk.
‘Like with any industry, there are quiet periods. Low season is around tax-return time (when companies are busy fi ling) and over the Christmas holiday period (when people are happy).
‘The best thing about my job is the flexibility of time arrangements and what you do. It’s not a desk job. You have to drive, walk, run. You do invoicing and collate information, but you go to different places every day – and that’s what I like.’