Going into direct sales is not a decision to take lightly. It isn't the same thing as deciding to apply for a work at home job because you're essentially starting your own business, and starting a business almost always means spending money upfront.
So yeah, you have to really think about that. If you buy your start up kits for companies like the Stella and Dot stylist opportunity etc., and it doesn't work out, you're only out the money you spent. However, you keep the items in your starter kit.
So before taking the leap, you have a lot to think about. Some questions to ask yourself:
Are you prepared and willing to take a risk?
While some people disagree, I don't believe that direct sales is a scam. It's MLM, but it's not a pyramid scheme.
That said, there's no way around the fact that jumping in is a risk, just like with any sort of business you would consider starting. This is because you have to spend money to make money. You have to network. And of course, it's necessary to push your product on others. Not everyone is comfortable with all of that.
You also need to realize that if the company you've invested in goes belly up, there's nothing you can do. Because you don't really own the main business. So to start, you may feel safer to invest in a company that has been around for a while and has stood the test of time rather than taking a chance on a newer opportunity.
What direct sales opportunities are there?
The sky is really the limit here. There is a direct sales company for pretty much anything you can think of. You can sell books, makeup, jewelry, cooking/household items, candy, handbags, scrapbooking supplies, diet supplements, toys, and more. There are even direct sales companies for men now.
You can browse my list of direct sales opportunities to get an idea of good, reputable companies.
Do you have the right personality for sales?
Not everyone is cut out for sales. It helps a lot if you're a people person, and better yet, fairly influential. If you find that people in your immediate social circle tend to look up to you and take your advice to heart, you might do well here. But if you are very introverted and don't enjoy being around people or trying to communicate with others you aren't closely acquainted with, then this might not be the industry for you.
It's worth mentioning that I know a few people who never in their wildest dreams figured they would succeed in sales and tried it on a whim. These same people found in themselves a natural “talent” for it they never knew existed. So you just never know.
How much can you afford to spend on a direct sales starter kit?
You definitely don't want to get in over your head if you can't afford to. Fortunately, most direct sales companies that are reputable have starter kits that are in a good price range for the average person. There are some you can get in on with as little as $50 or even less, but then others might run you up over $200. And many direct sales companies are cheap or free to start.
For example, you can become the Avon lady for just $25! And you know Avon is a reputable, known company, so this is a very low-risk why to try your hand in direct sales. If it doesn't work out, you're only out the $25.
How big is your social circle?
You might need to have parties to sell your product, and that means asking people in your social circle to have them for you and invite people they know. Then of course you can try to recruit some of their friends to have parties for you, and so on, and so on.
Getting the ball rolling with this is easier if you have a lot of connections. But if there is something in it for the party hostess (and there usually is in the form of free products), then you might not have that much trouble getting them to do it.
Even if you don't have a big social circle, that doesn't have to be a complete deal breaker. These days, I'm seeing more and more people promote online and via social media. People are even having Facebook parties for their products now! Going this route means that you can extend your reach far beyond the people you know in real life.
Do you believe in the direct sales company and product?
How do you feel about the product you're thinking of selling? Selling comes easier when you're familiar with the products and genuinely like them. People will see through you if you don't believe in the products, so be sure to sell something you can honestly stand behind.
Do you understand that direct sales is not quite the same as a work @ home job?
These are home business opportunities, and the amount you make will be up to you and how much effort you put into it. There is potential for it to become a career, but you are not guaranteed any sort of income for working a set amount of hours like you are when you have an actual salaried or paid by the hour work at home job.
Get advice from someone with past experience in the industry
Finally, I would recommend speaking to someone you know who is involved in direct sales. Get their advice. Find out what they did to make it work, or why it didn't work. This will help you make your decision.
I would also suggest doing some reading. There are a number of excellent e-books out there with detailed information on making direct sales work (written by people who have managed to do it). Below is a list of highly rated e-books on Amazon you can read:
- Success Secrets of a Million Dollar Party Girl
- Be a Party Plan Superstar – Build a $100K a Year Direct Selling Business From Home
- Avon Selling Secrets – Sales Tips From an Ex-Rep
- Grow Big 60+ Ideas For Party Plan Profits
- Wealthy WAHM – Party Plan Business Blaster
Good luck in whatever you choose to pursue!