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She Wanted to Sell Avon at Age 17, and It Led Her Down a Path She Never Expected

In 2004, an Avon district manager gave Georgiana Haynes's sister an Avon catalog. She was considering being a representative, but decided it wasn't for her at the time. Georgiana, on the other hand, was interested right away when she saw the brochures at home--even though she was shy and unsure of how much Avon reps make.

"I went to the office of the district manager after school and asked him for more information about the business," Georgiana told FirstforWomen.com. "He said I was too young to start."

Since she didn't want to wait until her 18th birthday because she was eager to start putting money away for college, she wasn't going to let her age stop her.

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"I asked my mom to come meet with him and open an account. For the first few months my Avon account was in her name, but I ran the business."

She got a training kit, and it was in there that she first laid eyes upon Donna Reed-Mitchell. An Avon rep hailing from Jamaica and living in New York City, just like Georgiana's family, she had created a million-dollar business.

"Her story made finding success with Avon more realistic. I didn't know other representatives or what the possibilities were. Knowing Ms. Mitchell's background was so close to my mother's and that she was able to accomplish so much inspired me."

A few months before graduation, Georgiana got her first order from classmates and their relatives, totaling over $100. That cash went toward college supplies.

When she turned 18, she officially took over the business from her mom. That fall, she started pursuing her architecture degree, all while continuing to sell Avon.

"That period of my life was a good time to start a business because I was already in 'study mode.' I reviewed Avon's training material at night and in between classes, and shared brochures with classmates, faculty, and staff on campus to build my customer base. In situations where I was too shy, I would leave brochures with my contact information in lobbies, lounges, and stores."

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And because Georgiana was her own boss, she set her own hours and ran her business from her phone and computer. She wound up making between $100 and $200 a month on average.

In 2009, she graduated with her bachelor's in architecture--and more than $20,000 of debt.

But she works four days a week as an architectural designer, and two days a week plus evenings on her Avon business, which rakes in about half of what she earns from her full-time job. She promotes Avon beauty products and clothes by showing them off on social media to shake that outdated image of what an Avon lady is.

By April 2016, at age 29, Georgiana became completely debt-free. Now, she's headed to Tahiti, but not on her own dime.

"I won the trip in a raffle at Avon Repfest, a national conference for representatives."

It's not the first time she's won a prize through her lucrative side gig.

"I finally had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Reed-Mitchell in 2013. My local Avon division manager invited her as a speaker and held an incentive for winners to have lunch with her as the prize. I worked hard to make sure that I won!"

Got a motivated high schooler at home? Maybe selling Avon can pay her way through college.