By M. Scott Morris Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, Tupelo.
Leigh Ann Leslie believes she's doing what's she's supposed to do, but that wasn't always the case.
About seven years ago, she realized she hated her job.
"The reward there for working hard was more work: 'You finished yours, can you finish theirs?'" the Tupelo resident said. "Did they give me any more money? Uh-uh."
She was 26 at the time, and she had a plan. A few years earlier, she'd signed up as an independent consultant for BeautiControl, a cosmetic, skin care and spa treatment company based in Texas. She hadn't done much with the company, but she decided it was time to try.
"People thought I was nuts when I started doing this job: 'You're going to do what? Sell lipstick? You don't wear lipstick,'" she recalled. "They were right, I didn't. Now red is my signature color. It kind of taught me to take care of myself."
These days, Leslie, 33, is her own boss. An assistant helps her on a part-time basis, and she has about 850 consultants working under her.
"We can sell the products, and we can recruit others," she said. "I have people in 19 states. If they need me, they call me."
One of her recent rewards for doing more work was a red 2015 Mercedes C250 Coupe.
"I'll probably keep it, just because it's fun. It drives and handles really well," said Leslie, who took the cash option a few years ago when BeautiControl tried to give her a Ford Mustang.
Back when she first decided to work seriously with the company, Leslie attended a conference in Dallas, where Darren Hardy, publisher of Success magazine, was a featured speaker.
"He said, 'You can be anywhere you want to be in this company in six months if you can get the negativity out of your life,'" Leslie said. "That's what I did. I got the negativity out of my life. Once I was dating a guy who was negative, and I had a lapse in the business. I had to go back to what I teach my people."
She shares Hardy's lesson, but she also has her own wisdom to impart. Leslie said she focuses on making people feel good, rather than on selling products.
She puts on spa parties at homes, businesses and schools. Her first one was a disaster that stretched over four hours because she kept showing one product after another. She's learned to keep things to about an hour, and she demonstrates a select few of her favorite items.
"I do a spa, so I pamper women," said Leslie, who has "Spalady" on the license plate of her Mercedes. "Women have so much to do. They feel guilty for taking care of themselves. I teach that it's OK to relax. I tell them, 'You're taking care of yourselves so you can take care of other people.'"
Leslie said it's not a complicated job. If she can do it, anybody can.
"It's simple, but it's not necessarily easy because you have to do it every day," she said. "You have to be a self-starter. I had to figure out that I never wanted to have a boss again."
She's proud of the business she's built, but she doesn't take all the credit.
"I come from good people who love to work," she said. "Nobody can say anything negative about them, my mom and dad. They're great people."
Who cares if they thought she'd taken leave of her senses a few years ago?
"They didn't believe this was a real job at first, but they do now," she said. "This is definitely what I was created to do. People were created to love each other and make people feel good, and that's what I do every day."