I am in an online women’s business networking group and I’ve seen so many posts lately from women who are looking for extra income during this pandemic. I always chuckle when someone makes a comment that they are looking for a new business idea but close with, “NO DIRECT SALES.”
Typically, I hear those types of comments from people that have had a bad experience with direct sales OR have been influenced by someone that has. As a 24-year native to direct sales, who has taken a shot at four different companies, I am eager to share some honest feedback. I happen to believe that for SOME, there is NOTHING OUT THERE COMPARABLE to what a direct sales business can offer, not only the seller, but also the buyer!
Honestly, when I took my first stab at a direct sales business, I signed up because I wanted to stay home with my babies AND make money because our family NEEDED the income. HOWEVER, I had NO IDEA that some people saw me as being in, let’s go ahead and say it, “one of those pyramid schemes!”
If you are in a tight spot financially right now, and really would like to make some extra dough, I hope you’ll read on to see some genuine feedback on the direct sales community, the pros and cons, and hopefully open your eyes to the reality of these very legitimate opportunities.
Common Myths of Direct Sales
- Only the people at the top make the big bucks.
This one is totally not true. In the company that I worked the longest for, I made some pretty good money. In fact, I made more money than many of the women in the “lineage” of ladies above me. Why? Because making money depends a lot on YOU, not WHEN you signed up, but your willingness to put the time in and to learn all the things that WORK in direct sales.
- Only the people with TITLES make real money.
Now this one is partially true by design. Most direct sales companies DO want you to SELL, but they don’t want you to sell like, say, someone that sells furniture or cars. Nothing against a good furniture salesperson or car salesperson, but businesses like that require you to be working in order to get the sale, right? Direct sales wouldn’t be so appealing or lucrative if it depended on us selling all the time. Most people get into direct sales because they CAN’T spend 8 hours a day to make extra income. They already HAVE a teaching job, for example, or, already have a full-time job at HOME with 3 small children! BUT, they need MONEY. Some need a little, some need a lot. If you want just enough to buy a new outfit every week, or a nice dinner out, you can sell your way to that! However, if you need to make a mortgage payment or change your lifestyle for the better, you will need to embrace more than just selling.
You will need to get others selling TOO and by doing that you make money even while you sleep, even while on vacation, and, more importantly, you will make money while you are being the president of the PTA, taking care of your three toddlers at home or while you are at your teaching job.
The TITLES come in when you move from just selling to training others to do what you do. Signing someone up to join you comes with some responsibilities attached, though! No one joins a company like ours hoping to fail. Sadly, there are many out there that “sign” people up to get some extra points to go on a trip or to get that promotion but don’t do what it takes to reach down and help their newbies get their businesses off the ground. However, those who are out there that are doing it right? Wow. These people are amazing! We do team meetings and public speaking gigs. We teach technology and send out cute little cards and gifts to reward a job well done. I could go on and on. Training someone to be successful at a business in our industry is one of the most fun things that I do. In most companies, this behavior earns you a TITLE, and those with a title do DESERVE to be paid more because they are DOING MORE. It is not too different from any company out there, is it? When I was a teacher, my department head made more money than me because she did more. The football coach, who was also a teacher, got paid more because he did more. I bet that if you look at the employees at any legitimate company and their hierarchy, it will look like a pyramid and so will the paychecks!
- Products that are sold by direct sales companies are poor quality and very expensive.
Well, I can’t say that I have bought products from every direct sales company out there BUT I have certainly purchased from A LOT of them. The reason for that? I find that you get BETTER quality for BETTER prices and definitely with BETTER service!
Let’s look at an good example. If I go to Bed Bath and Beyond to pick up my food chopper, it will be pricey unless I use the 20% off coupon. Even with the coupon it will not be cheap, right? I will most likely have to find the item myself and then check out with someone different. If I had purchased this item from my Pampered Chef Consultant then I know I can expect a certain amount of service! If I buy from her more than once, I can assure you, she will know my name and maybe toss something free in my bag. She will definitely provide some recipes that go with the tool and suggestions on making sure it lasts a lifetime. If you are lucky enough to be a sales rep for a direct sales company, you can likely be very proud of your product line! Direct sales MEANS we are selling directly to our clients. No expensive storefront to pay for and no expensive advertising. NO MIDDLE MAN. For these reasons, direct sales companies are able to offer great products for reasonable prices and STILL be profitable for the sales force.
- You will never make any many in direct sales.
Well, true and untrue. MOST PEOPLE DO NOT GET INTO DIRECT SALES TO MAKE A TON OF MONEY. They do it to get their products at COST. Sure, most go in thinking, “If I make money, GREAT. If not, at least I’ll get a good discount!”. Can you imagine starting any other kind of job like that? Tell the employer that it’s totally okay if you make not one dime? Most enter direct sales with different expectations than if they were employed to work a 9-to-5 job and, hence, they generally get different results. HOWEVER, I know that women making 6 figures are in the MINORITY for sure but did you realize that of those women that DO make 6 figures MANY OF THEM ARE IN DIRECT SALES? That’s the reality. THERE IS MONEY to be made. But, it’s like anything else. If you don’t work it, you will not make money. If you quit too early, you will never rise to the top. It takes time and there is no way around that. Expecting a company to generate the $5K a month that you earned while working 40 hours a week at another company is possible AND MORE but it is NOT possible overnight and if anyone tells you that… RUN.
- If I sign up to sell a product with direct sales, I will go into debt.
True and untrue. Let’s say you decide to join Stella & Dot, a very nice jewelry company, to get your jewels at a discount. You decide (since you’re getting a good discount and it is your new BIZ) to buy way more than you have the money for and you also start with the attitude, “If I don’t make money, it’s ok.” Well, you will likely go into DEBT.
It is not the direct sales company that is making you spend more than you should. I suspect that people that do this already have debt issues before they start! All direct sales companies are VERY transparent about how much you make when you SELL a product. The amount you make when you BUY a product is ZERO! If you are not coming into the business to SELL, you are worried about going into DEBT, then you probably will. However, after the initial investment, if you only BUY things for yourself using your PROFIT, you will NOT go into debt and you may just end up making some GOOD MONEY, AMAZING FRIENDS, and a LIFESTYLE that others will envy.
I hope this is helpful. I know so many successful women in the direct sales industry. I genuinely believe there is NOTHING LIKE IT if you want to start making money on YOUR TERMS.
Want to know how to be SUCCESSFUL in a direct sales business?
Stay tuned for a future blog on just that topic. I love what I do and am happy to share how it is done! Thanks for reading!