You can barely believe it yourself, but you are actually considering joining one of those direct sales companies. You swore that you’d never, I mean NEVER, be “that girl” — you know, the one always trying to sell some product to all her friends and family.
But that was before you gave birth to the most perfect human on the entire planet. Now, you can not possibly consider returning to an office job, but you need to earn money. And the people in your life who are doing direct sales seem pretty darn happy about it . . .
So, which one do you choose, where do you go? If you know very little about the direct sales industry as a whole, deciding on the right company can be hard.
Not to worry, I gotcha.
A couple of months ago I took a giant leap of faith to follow God’s calling on my life and left behind a wonderful business in direct sales. I was the #7 producer in this multibillion dollar company that I loved. Based on my experience there and through countless conversations with women who have explored direct sales in other companies — some with smashing success, some with frustrating results — here are a few tips for you:
1. Find out the truth: Can you make any money with this company? Be smart. You’re looking to start a BUSINESS. Even if it is for fun, it’s still business. Understand the company’s compensation plan and exactly how you will earn an income.
Direct Sales companies can range from offering 5% profits on your sales to 50%, and typically you can choose to have an additional stream of income through building a team. It’s great being a part of the newest coolest thing, but not so much if you are only earning $3 every time you sell a $30 item. You want to make money, so be realistic about it.
2. Ask a recruiter this question: “If I want to bring home $500 in the next 4 weeks, can you tell me exactly how to do this with your company?” Knowing the compensation plan is step one; now you should see how that plays out. You want to know, on average, how many appointments you’ll need to hold and/or how many items you need to sell to make this happen. This should be an easy answer for your recruiter and they should be able to explain the variables. Be wary if they tell you all you need to do is post online.
3. Know this: It matters who you join under. People will rarely admit this, and I’m sorry to be the one to say it, but it REALLY does matter. If the person you are considering joining under is a hot mess, untrustworthy, or flits around from company to company, they are probably not going to guide you to success. If you feel there is no easy way around joining under a hot mess (like, maybe she’s a good friend or the only person in town who’s part of the company you’re eyeing), start working and get to know the director or manager she is under — someone who is doing it successfully.
4. Make sure you really like the products of the company you are considering. Your passion and excitement for a product will sell a heck of a lot more than your detailed product ingredient knowledge ever will. People buy on emotion and excitement, which is why it’s also important to start right away; don’t wait until you know everything.
SIDENOTE — I got a little lucky in this regard. I was very successful with my company and did not try the products before I joined. I was just helping my daughter and fell in love with them once I tried them. But I’m positive I would have never become my company’s #7 producer if I didn’t genuinely believe in what I was selling.
5. Pick a company that has a consumable product. This means a product that customers are continually using up and reordering every 1-3 months, not a one-time purchase. With this being said, I have purchased a direct sales clothing line for years and I would not look at this as a traditional consumable product. Think like a consumer and ask yourself if you would buy this product over and over.
6. Stop thinking this is a get-rich-quick gig. If that’s what you’re looking for, direct sales isn’t your path. Direct sales is about building a business that can give you a flexible life and match your income to your efforts. It works when you do, doesn’t matter the company. Work it, girl, and you will love the life direct sales will give you.
7. Research whether there are buyback policies in place if you decide in 3 months that you don’t like the business. It’s OK if the answer is no, just make sure you educate yourself. Some companies have buyback policies through the first year, allowing you time to really give it a shot and determine whether you’re a good match.
8. Be a real business person, even if only for a few hours a week. If you just opened up the most fabulous shoe store, you would tell everyone about it, online and in person. You’d have grand openings and more. Treat this business the same. Don’t just try to build online; you will drive your friends crazy and they will quit following you. Make real relationships with people and you will go much farther, much faster. This is not a 9-5 job and sometimes it can be a little all over the place, so prepare to be flexible.
9. Don’t depend on anyone else for your success. You are responsible for educating yourself and being passionate about building your business. Reputable companies will give you the tools to empower yourself, so there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. The company tends to do things the way they do because they know it works. Trust them and trust yourself.
10. Don’t worry about being shy. Success in direct sales is not based on having the most outgoing personality in the room or knowing the most people. Can that help? Sure. But I have watched quiet, introverted women crush those outgoing girls many, many times over. It’s about passion, ambition and consistency.
11. Don’t ask the opinions of people who know nothing about the industry. Just don’t. And definitely do not take advice from people you would not trade places with. Talk to people who inspire you, who seem happy and successful doing what they’re doing.
12. Don’t make decisions out of fear. Every single person is scared when they start. EVERY SINGLE ONE. You are not alone. I was scared. You are better than you think you are and you CAN do things that are out of your comfort zone. Girl, if I can write a book, then you can for sure do this. You will learn.
Direct sales changed my life in more ways than I ever dreamed. My dearest friends came through it (and they are still my closest friends today), it blessed my family financially, I became a much better business woman and, best of all, I came to know the Lord through it.
I can only begin to imagine the beautiful things direct sales will bring to your life. Give God a chance to work through you, give yourself a chance to blossom into something new, and take a leap of faith. Just choose wisely, because all companies are not created equal.