Bills got you bummed? Credit card debt keeping you up at night? Everyone knows that feeling out of control of your finances is stressful. Fortunately there are ways to earn extra income, and chances are they’re right in front of you.
You probably have a friend or family member who does direct sales, but their Facebook posts or chatter at Sunday dinner may be all you’ve heard about their side gig. If you have questions about the business model, including how it works (and if it will work for you), here are some answers:
Direct Sales, Explained
Direct selling is a business model that allows individuals to sell products and services directly to the consumer. Sales usually take place in a non-retail environment, such as through in-home product demonstrations and parties or online. This systems eliminates the middleman, allowing distributors or representatives to earn based on personal sales, according to the Direct Selling Association. Products sold through direct selling are usually not found in typical retail stores, which means purchasing through a distributor is the only way to obtain the product.
Don’t confuse direct sales with multilevel marketing (MLMs) or network marketing; the terms are not interchangeable. While multilevel and network marketing are forms of direct selling, not all direct selling models involve MLMs. For example, you may have wondered if popular direct selling company Amway is a pyramid scheme. The answer is no. Amway offers Independent Business Owners an opportunity to sell home, health and beauty products as part of the company’s single-level marketing model. The sales representative is only paid commission on the sales he or she personally makes. In this case, there is no recruitment of other sales team members or commissions earned from their sales.
Pros of Direct Sales
Direct sales jobs are generally designed to be home-based businesses, so it can be done around the schedules of kids, spouses, and other jobs. The company you partner with usually provides marketing and promotional materials, and you can work super early in the morning, at midnight or on weekends—whenever you wish. Unlike MLM companies and pyramid schemes, you don’t have to purchase thousands of dollars of inventory with your already-tight budget, and you typically sell high quality products that people actually want to buy.
Cons of Direct Sales
To address the cons associated with direct sales, let’s start with one of the myths—namely, that anyone can do it. While it is true that anybody can technically sign up to do direct sales with a company, it generally takes a special type of personality to have the can-do spirit to make it work. It will take time, organization and patience on your part. In addition, another myth of this type of work is that you’ll earn big bucks, really fast. While it can happen, most people in direct sales are not driving Lamborghinis after a few weeks on the job. You will probably earn some decent income to help alleviate your financial hardships, but it will take dedication and hard work on your part to get there.
Is It for You?
Do you have the personality and drive to do direct sales? Only you can decide. If this flexible side gig sounds appealing, give it a try. The extra income you bring in can help you get caught up with your bills and sleep better at night, which is definitely a good thing.