I’m pretty sure that everyone out there has a friend, or knows someone that is in direct sales. And for good reason. Trying to start a business from scratch is hard, hard work. If you can avoid some of the work, and buy into a business where the product is already there for you, and the brand name created, it can make things easier!
If you are not totally sure what a Direct Sales type business is, here is the quick answer!
Think of a company like Mary Kay. They own the company, but allow consultants to join to sell their products. Consultants pay a fee to join, and earn a certain percentage off each sale they make. It can be a really good thing, or a total flop, depending on what business they join and how hard the person works at making it take off.
The very best business decision Sean and I ever made was for me to join Lilla Rose, which is a direct sales company that offers Flexi hair clips, headbands, bobby pins, etc. This has gone far beyond just bringing in a few hundred dollars a month. It can cover rent, bills, etc. and has been a huge blessing for our family! I’m now a Director with Lilla Rose (there are only a handful of Directors), and have a team of over 450 ladies!
However, my very first paycheck I received from them was less than $30.00.
People can easily get discouraged with Direct Sales. The enrollment costs are normally pretty reasonable, so it’s easy to join and see what will happen. In order for you to really make a business from a Direct Sales company, you have to be willing to stick with it past the first few months.
How can you succeed in Direct Sales?
Consider what company you are going to join. Once again, it needs to be something you are passionate about doing. There are a lot of different companies out there you could join, so you have a good chance of finding a product that you just love. Keep searching until you find the right company!
Be legal. Start this new adventure from the beginning as a legal business. Research the local laws and figure out your taxes. Set up a separate business checking account, so you can track all of your expenses and income more easily. At the end of the year when tax time comes, it makes things much less complicated!
Consider the Compensation plan. A lot of the companies I see offer consultants the chance to earn 20% up to 50%. Definitely try to find companies that offer the higher compensation if possible. With Lilla Rose you automatically make 30% for each sale you make, but every single month you can earn up to 45% of each sale, depending on the amount of sales you have. It is very possible to reach to that 45% goal each month if you are actively working your business. You will have to work a lot harder to earn a great income with a 20% compensation plan. If you love the product it might work for you, but definitely take it into consideration.
Find a product that people need to purchase more than once. This is really important to some people, not as much to others. You need to decide if it’s a priority to you. If you sell a product like a supplement or makeup, you will get more reorders from customers who want to keep using the product. It makes it nice where you don’t have to find brand new customers constantly. I’ve seen lots of reorders with my Lilla Rose business though, as ladies just want different sizes and styles of clips.
Share the joy, but don’t be a spammer! It’s definitely ok to share on Facebook that you started this company, and are excited about the products. But your personal Facebook page is just that, personal. It’s not the place to promote your business every single day! Create an actual business Facebook page or group, and share your product information there.
Value your friendships! This goes right along with what I just talked about. Friendships can be ruined from one friend getting into a direct sales business, and then putting a lot of pressure on the other friend to host a party, or buy lots of products from her friend! While it is definitely ok to let others know you started a new business, jealously guard that friendship over your business! If your friend shows zero interest, leave it that way, instead of texting, calling, and sending message after message to her inbox. You will have to think outside just your circle of friends to grow your business.
Where to Sell Your Products?
Home Parties – I actually love going to home parties! I think they are a lot of fun, and it’s nice to have a mommy night out and visit with friends. The best home parties are those with low pressure. Have a clean house, some fun games and yummy snacks. Show the products, and let them know you are there if they want to place an order. Don’t push every single person to place an order though, not everyone has the money budgeted and some ladies might just need a night out!
Shows – Book a show at a convention, outdoor event, a vendor show, etc. Shows can be a lot of hard work, but you can also earn really good money through these shows. Trying to balance the high fees that sometimes comes with these shows is difficult. If it’s your first year, try to ask around and see if you know anyone that has gone to this show before. Make sure it’s well advertised and well attended before spending several hundred dollars to go. If you have zero money left after joining a company, try to only book home parties for awhile.
Grand Opening Party – Have a huge grand opening celebration when you first join! Invite everyone over to your house, host the party yourself (if allowed by your business), and get the interest flowing from that initial party.
Facebook Parties – This has become a really popular way for stay at home moms to earn an income but not leave home! Create a Facebook event, and send out personal messages inviting your friend to that event. Don’t add your entire friend list to that party without asking them! You can set a live time where everyone comes to the event page and learns about the products and has a chance to purchase, or you can just have an ongoing event (like a week long) where you post new information every single day. If you feel brave, you can even make videos to share in the event!
Catalog Party – If you don’t want to do actual shows, consider giving a friend some catalogs and a few samples that she can show her friends. She will turn the orders back into you in a few weeks. You probably won’t have as successful of a party this way, but it can be less work for the consultant and the hostess.
Blog – This definitely isn’t an option for everyone, but you could consider blogging and then sharing the product you sell on your blog. This is not a fast and easy way to earn income, but if you can’t get out and about easily, this might be a good option.
What to Avoid
Direct sales businesses have sometimes had bad reputations given them, and for good reason. Just like other businesses, some direct sales companies are not set up properly.
Avoid businesses that have high enrollment fees. I would be really cautious about joining a company that required thousands of dollars up front, just to join the company. The only exception would be if you are purchasing actual inventory that you can sell, and the enrollment fee and inventory fee is all packaged together. Make sure you clearly know how much the fees are, and what is inventory.
Avoid businesses that primarily depend on you recruiting others to join under you. The product needs to be able to sell itself and earn you a profit, without being required to enroll others under you. It can be a great blessing to grow a team, but it’s not required.
Avoid businesses where you are required to stock inventory constantly. A friend of mine was in a cosmetic business where they were required to keep inventory. She said sometimes it would expire before she could get it sold, and then she was out that money. I love the fact that Lilla Rose never requires us to purchase inventory! If you sell at shows or parties you will probably want to have things on hand, but definitely make sure that you have control of what inventory you purchase.
So, can you really make this work? Pick a business that feels right to you, be legal, be kind, and be loyal to your friends, and you might discover that you really can do direct sales without the bad reputation!
If you are interested in joining a Direct Sales company, Lilla Rose is offering a special sale until the end of this month! You can receive free shipping on your enrollment kit, and you can join for as little as $49.99! There are no website fees, no monthly or yearly quotas, no pressure to sell, sell, sell, and you will make some awesome friends through the Facebook group set up for Lilla Rose consultants!
Check out this page where I have a lot more information on becoming a Lilla Rose consultant, and please let me know if you have any questions!