So we are exploring and researching great ways and options for others to make money on the side and from home. You know we have our list of Over 100 Ways and Counting to Earn Extra Income and want to build the list – but want to include ideas that can realistically make you money, not just add items to fill up a list.
One question that keeps nagging at us is “Are Direct Sales companies and opportunities and good way to make money?”
We freely admit that we don’t have the definitive answer to this! We have had our own experiences with direct sale companies (including being “successful” in one company in particular – see below) but don’t want only our experiences to taint our view of these types of companies.
First, what is a direct sales company?
Well, we turned to Wikipedia for the answer:
Direct selling is the marketing and selling of products directly to consumers away from a fixed retail location. Peddling is the oldest form of direct selling. Modern direct selling includes sales made through the party plan, one-on-one demonstrations, and other personal contact arrangements as well as internet sales. A textbook definition is: “The direct personal presentation, demonstration, and sale of products and services to consumers, usually in their homes or at their jobs.”
We want to answer many of the questions: What are the benefits? Are they worthy being a part of? Can you really make a living or income as many representatives claim? What are the best companies out there?
We both personally are very frustrated by the world of Direct Sales as there are so many different factors. Some companies are legitimate. Some are seemingly a get rich quick type of scheme. Then there are some where it seems like sales are made based on high-pressure or guilt from a friend or neighbor having a party (c’mon admit it, you cringe when your friend invites you to another of those parties!); when you’re invited by your friend you can’t not buy something as it would be so rude to not help the hostess (again, your friend) earn credit. With all of this, it is hard to wade through all of the red tape and figure this out from an honest money-making perspective!
Now I, Cassie, am coming at this from the view point of two perspectives: 1. Having once been in direct sales with one company and 2. As a customer or invited guest to many home parties of direct sales companies.
Before I share my perspective, I am putting this out there for everyone to gain perspective from more than my own experience! I can’t say that it is fair for me to say whether it works or not from just my one little perspective!
So SPEAK UP and share your thoughts on this topic in the comments below!
First, in our Deep in Debt to Debt Free Series, I shared an installment about my hope of joining a direct sales company to help us get out of financial trouble, only to find ourselves thousands more in debt in the end. We bought into the full inventory – you know the line you’ll only get out of it what you invest into it. It was a lot of work and if I didn’t work the 60-70+ hours a week and engage in high pressure sales, then it didn’t work. It was a bad experience financially, even though being a part of the company was a lot of fun, high energy, social and filled that part of life that many women desire. Alex and I joke that in the end, it was like I paid a lot of money to be in a feel-good social club that had high energy continuously! I am not denying that part of it, but I wonder if they really work from the money making perspective? And yes, I “earned” the car (not to praise myself but to let you know how committed I was to the company) although it cost me a lot in the long run (you’ll have to read the story to find out the details).
I also ask because I found some interesting information on the Direct Sales Association (DSA) website in the FAQ section:
Q. How many Direct Sales companies are there?
A. It is impossible to estimate the number of direct selling companies operating at any given time. This is a result of several factors. First, most states do not require direct selling companies to register as such. Therefore, no exhaustive list exists. Second, as with any business, many direct selling companies do not thrive in the direct selling market and have a relatively short life span. In fact, many companies may even come and go before they could even be “counted.” However, DSA estimates that the sales made by its members account for about 90 percent of all direct sales in the United States.
This answer from the DSA just confirms to us that first there are a huge number of direct sales companies, but even more so just how careful you have to be signing up with one. When they state “many companies may even come and go before they could even be ‘counted’”, it makes us wary of where that “high-cost investment” (that ironically most press so heavily for a successful consultant) goes when they go out of business. One answer for sure is not back into your bank account. This is where we need your help to find those reputable companies that you have been of a part of yourself and also those companies to stay away from!
So that brings me to the next question: I get that being a part of a company for the supplies at cost is a great way to save (sometimes they call them “personal use consultants”). So are all of the requirements for the product discount worth it? Is it really helping your budget or too much of a temptation to buy more than you would normally? This answer could vary, but as a customer, I have run across some companies whose products I really do like, but I find them to be WAY out of my budget. I wish I could get them, but we would probably still be debt if I acted upon my likes while attending a party for a companies products. I just have a hard time reconciling the expense, especially if it is something I don’t need. And if it is something I think I need, nearly every time I have been able to find a much more affordable counterpart – even when compared to the representative’s discount.
So help us out with this – is there something to this? We would love your help in answering these questions.
- Have you had experience making legitimate money with a direct sales company?
- Did you have to go into debt or invest money to get started and how much to be successful?
- How much time did it take you?
- What are the best companies out there for someone to consider being a part of? Alternatively, which are the worst?
And from a customer’s experience
- Do you buy regularly from Direct Sales companies?
- If so, why? Because it was a good value? A good product only found through that company and worth the cost? To help the hostess get to her next level of hostess gifts?
Let’s get this conversation started and SPEAK UP on this topic with open honest discussion. Let’s not make this a taboo subject!
Photo Credit: MLM Files