Dollar Dollar Bills, Y'all

Marketing Disclosure

Money Monday - Starting Your Direct Sales Business

Bosses are lame and we want to retire from traditional work by age 35. Not having to answer to "the man" is one of the reasons we started ThePennyJar. Being your own boss, setting your own hours, and being in control of your goals is rewarding. To help you decide if a direct sales business is right for you we conducted a very non-scientific poll. Let's discuss!

What is a direct sales business? This is a position where you sell a product or service on behalf of another company. You are in control of your hours, marketing, and staffing. How well you manage these activities will ultimately impact how well your business does. One of the most well known direct sales businesses is Avon. Make sure you pick a product you will have a passion for selling before you get started. Over half of our survey respondents ranked picking a product you love as one of the most important factors for success. You'll also want to consider whether starting a business is right for you.

When picking the company you want to work with, do your research. According to our survey, having access to a mentor was a key element when it came to launching a new business. Many direct sale roles require that you hit a sales quota each month to remain in the program.  Mentors will have a track record of success and will be able to help steer you in the right direction to avoid costly mistakes while you get your footing.

Once you pick your product you should determine what your initial investment will be. Most of those in our survey spent less than $100 starting up their business. Remember, this should include your marketing budget. Will you have a website, advertise on the radio, use Facebook, etc. Websites and Facebook can be set up with very little investment. Print and radio advertising can add up quickly. A majority of business owners reported earning their investment back within the first 6 months of launch.

Still interested in a direct sales business? Here are some words of wisdom from some industry insiders.

The Biggest Pros:

  • The flexible hours. If you're a work at home parent or trying to run a direct sales business on top of your 9-5 job, you can succeed with structure. Most marketing and follow-up activities can be completed off-hours while the rest of the world is asleep.
  • The additional income. Who doesn't like extra income?
  • Tax benefits. Business expenses are tax deductible. Save those receipts!

The Biggest Cons:

  • Payout structure. Again, do your research. Make sure the company you are choosing is going to treat you fairly.
  • Buying your own product. If you love your product, you may find yourself spending your earned money on more product for yourself!
  • Control. While the business is yours to run day-to-day, the overall product and pricing are set by the company. This can impact how you market and your overall success.

The Biggest Challenges:

  • Expanding sales outside of your circle. You can't just hound friends/relatives for sales and be successful. Be sure you are comfortable talking to people and actively selling a product before you go down this path.
  • Keeping up with marketing technology. Facebook may require your posts to meet certain requirements to rank well in user feeds. You will constantly need to figure out how to get your audience's attention.

Best Words of Advice:

  • Make sure you have a support network. This type of business can require late hours. Make sure your significant other is on-board before you start.
  • Have a system for following up and being consistent. If you don't follow-up on potential sales, someone else will.
  • Be enthusiastic and have fun. It's easier to get people to love your product when you love it too.
  • Keep your expectations realistic. You won't become a millionaire overnight, regardless of what your company rep tells you.

Unless you have a parent or relative that is going to give you a million dollars in seed money to live the American dream, a direct sales business can be a great way for an ambitious person to earn some additional income or launch a full fledged career. Whether you're looking to help pad your bank account or #retireby30, just remember that everyday we're hustlin'.

While most of our survey respondents chose to remain anonymous, shout outs to Christina from JamBerry, and Jacqueline from ItWorks for helping make this post possible!