Maybe you’re a stay-at-home parent, looking for a way to earn some extra income now that the kids have gone back to school. Or maybe you have retired and your pension isn’t quite enough to meet your spending habits. Or your business is being shut down due to economy downturn.
Or maybe you just need the cash. Whatever the reason, topping up your income by selling goods in your spare time is a way anyone can boost their bank balance this autumn.
Direct selling is not new. Companies have long identified the impact empowering people to sell their products to friends, neighbours and strangers, can have on the bottom line. And for the sellers, it’s a way of balancing the needs of their family, or their day-to-day job, with a way of earning some extra income.
WHAT IS DIRECT SELLING?
As the name implies, it means selling products or services direct to customers, without the costs associated with advertisements, wholesalers, and retailers.
“The concept is about selling products away from the retail environment,” notes Lynda Mills, director general of the Direct Selling Association of Ireland. In effect it’s a bit like running your own business, but with low start-up costs and low risks and you can do business anywhere.
Once you pick a product to sell and join that company, you will typically get a mentor and some training to bring you up to speed with selling it.
However, the clue to whether or not it might work for you is likely to be in the title. If you don’t feel comfortable selling, and maybe pushing customers – who might be your friends or family – off the fence and into opening their wallets, it may not be the road you should take. If you really want to do this business, you have to do 96% of people don’t want to do.
WHO CAN DO IT?
Anyone. Anyone who’s looking for a bit of an extra income, really. Traditionally, direct selling was the domain of women, many of whom worked in the home but were looking for ways to generate an income. Now men are also getting involved, often working alongside their wife or partner.
“You don’t have to have any previous experience. Once you have passion the company will provide you with the necessary tools to do that job,” says Mills.
And it’s not just for the young. Some are aged 50 and over. As long as you’re over 18 year old, you can start the direct selling business.
HOW MUCH CAN I EARN?
This is the key question, naturally, and there is no easy answer. While the media may frequently run stories on people who have become millionaires by selling cosmetics door to door, it may be wiser to limit your expectations.
As Mills notes, it’s “certainly not a get-rich scheme”.
According to Mills, you can typically expect to earn commission of between 30-40 per cent on each sale, with some companies offering as much as 45 per cent or some even more up to 64%.
“It’s down to each individual to set their own goals. You can turn direct selling into a career, and you can look at it as a full-time occupation and earn the amount you would if you were employed. But it’s not going to happen in the first month,” she warns.
One way of boosting your income even further, if you have successfully proven yourself, is to bring other salespeople on to your team. If you do, the company will then pay you a small percentage on what they sell.
“It’s another way of earning money,” notes Mills.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO GET STARTED?
To start selling, you’ll need to invest about $100 or so in an introductory pack, which will give you a range of the company’s products which you can then start selling. Some companies require you to invest $1000 or so. Some companies even start with nothing. You just need to purchase the business kit for very few amount of dollar like $10 or so. It depends on every company’s mission how they’re helping those new people.
You should also check when investing whether or not you are entitled to a refund on your products if you are unable to sell them. After all, if you’ve parted with a significant sum of cash for products, you don’t want to be stuck with them if it doesn’t work out for you. So check the terms and conditions before you sign up to anything.
HOW DO I SELL MY PRODUCTS?
Traditionally, direct sellers sold their products through parties or coffee mornings, and this route to market still holds for many people. But direct sellers are also now using social media and the internet to sell their goods.
DO I HAVE TO PAY TAX?
If you currently don’t have an income, or have one that is less than your country’s minimum income, direct selling is likely to be more attractive as you won’t have to pay income tax on earnings of less than the figure.
If, however, you are looking to supplement your existing income, remember the Revenue is likely to treat this in the same way as other earned income.
HOW DO I PICK A PRODUCT THAT SUITS ME?
“I always suggest that people choose a product range that they can relate to and feel passionate about; if they’re a young mum, for example, they may be into selling children’s books, or selling clothes if they have a passion for clothes,” advises Mills.
Opting for an easily recognisable brand that is well marketed is another obvious choice.
However, a familiar brand may attract more consultants, which could diminish your selling potential, so another consideration should be to assess how many consultants of a certain product may already be serving your area.
And don’t necessarily go for the brand that pays the best commission rates. If it’s a difficult product to sell, with poor brand visibility, high rates of commission won’t matter unless you can bring in the orders.
MY ADVISE TO SUCCESS IN THIS BUSINESS
Maybe you’re kicking around in your head is that, “Oh my goodness, people have seen me in other companies and things of that nature.” You have to be willing to not be addicted to how you’re going to look socially if you want to change your life.
This is especially true in the direct selling profession. If you deeply care what the Jones’ think or what your neighbors think, or what your warm market or friends and family think, then you’re just never going to create direct selling success anyway, whether you’re relaunching, whether you’re just getting started. It doesn’t matter. One of the greats that say this in his own way, Eric Worre says that you need to be willing to accept a social downgrade if you’re going to be serious about direct selling.
I’ll just give you my scenario. I had been in 2 different direct selling companies. I had made some sales in a couple of them, but I’d never created anything that lasted. When I was in 2 different direct selling companies, and I failed, I didn’t have a check coming from any of them. Then I went into my 3rd one and this time I got check coming in that company.
I went to the same people. I went to those 2 times before, except, this time I said, “Hey listen, this may or may not be for you. I’m going to run with this thing. I’m going to crush it. If you’re open to it, great. If not, no big deal.” Some of them said, “Well, how long are you going to be in this one?” I said, “You’ll see.” I did very, very, very little convincing. I did very little, “Let me tell you what I’m going to go.” Don’t tell anybody what you’re going to do. Go do it. Go show up. Go make it happen.
I had some of those people that doubted me ended up joining my business.
Don’t bother trying to convince someone that you’re going to be serious this time. Who cares? Go show them. Go show them. If they want to come along, great. If they don’t, don’t worry about it. That would be my answer is don’t care about a social downgrade, don’t care if they doubt you. You don’t need their acceptance to become a top earner.
You don’t need the acceptance or approval of anyone to create serious direct selling success, now go out there and make it happen and show what CAN be done!
I hope this will help you who is thinking of start your own home based business in direct selling industry.
To your success,