Is Direct Selling Right For You?

by Joe Plemon on July 14, 2009

The Businessman
Creative Commons License photo credit: h.koppdelaney
With unemployment rising and more people looking for new and innovative job opportunities, it is no coincidence that Mary Kay Cosmetics reported a 22 percent increase in its new sales force in the first quarter of 2009 and Avon reported a 51 percent increase in March of its direct sales representatives.

I do not question the credibility of Mary Kay or Avon, but I challenge you to think about what you are getting into before you sign up with any direct sales company. Hopefully, these thoughts will help.

Don’t swallow all of the promises.

If anyone tells you that you can make a six figure salary by working only a few hours a week, they are lying to you. If it was true, everyone would be doing it. Great salaries take great dedication and much hard work.

Don’t believe that anyone can be a great salesperson.

With lots of training and practice, some people can develop sales skills, but very few can simply purchase a product line and suddenly become a successful sales person.

Understand how multilevel marketing (MLM) works.

Whatever the product line, the top money makers are those who succeed at recruiting others and motivating their recruits to recruit others. The real business is recruiting, training and motivating. If you think you would be good at this, consider it. But, because of the pressure to constantly be recruiting, there is a temptation to say that the business doesn’t really require any selling or much of your time. Again, this is simply not true. You might be able to make a decent income by simply selling the product but the odds are against you. According to the Direct Selling Association, the median income for a direct salesperson is $2,400 per year, with only 10% of sellers doing so as a full time job. And fewer than 1 percent of all MLM salespeople ever recapture their original investment.  Here’s a poll by another blogger on people’s experience with Multi Level Marketing.

Be Cautious

Be cautious about internet solicitations promising riches by starting your own internet sales business. If fortunes could be made magically by entering a few keystrokes, why do these companies need you?

Am I saying never to start your own business? Of course not. I am saying if something sounds too good to be true it probably is. The perfect fit for you, whether it is cleaning houses or marketing your grandmother’s cheesecake recipe, is whatever you are passionate about and good at.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

CindyS July 23, 2009 at 7:56 am

I am a Shaklee representative. I do it because I love their products and feel better when I am using them. I do sell a bit through direct sales but I keep my membership active because I get the products at a discount and it only cost $19.95 for membership. That said, I make a decent bonus payment every month with very little effort so I use that $150-200 bonus to pay for my vitamins and cleaning supplies. If I worked a little harder at it, I could make more. If you treat it as a job and work at it, it is possible to make money in MLM. The kicker is that like any other business, it takes work but then again unlike a job, there is no one telling you that you can’t get a raise if you work harder.

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