How to Choose the Right Direct Sales Company for You
So you're watching people share their product love on Facebook. And the freedom and flexibility of being your own boss sounds very appealing. And the low start up costs make it doable. But which company should you choose? Here's some things to consider as you browse companies.
Would you be selling a consumable product?
Selling a consumable product is hugely beneficial. You build a clientele and with regular follow ups customers will reorder every couple of months or so to stock up on the products that they love. This is so much easier than having to make that hard sell every time. Work smarter not harder right?
Are you required to carry stock?
This is an important detail to look into. Some direct sales companies will require you to purchase additional products (apart from those that come with your initial investment kit) to show. Ask a rep if you can truly start your business with only the contents that come in the kit. Also be sure to find out if will you will be expected to replace stock items on a seasonal basis (for example fall vs spring collections). This can get expensive very quickly.
Are there autoships?
An autoship is committing to a minimum order amount per month (that will automatically ship). This can be something a client signs up for. Or sometimes the autoship is a representative (ie, you) requirement. Autoships have some pros and cons. As a rep, having clients sign up for an autoship/monthly order commitment is a great way to get long-term regular sales. But the con is that it's difficult to get people to agree to the commitment in the first place. It's like trying to secure a sale x12. If the autoship is a rep requirement, I only find it to be a pro if A) the order amount is very small and B) if it's for a consumable product that you will absolutely 100% use up. The con is that having an autoship ties you into a financial commitment regardless of how much work you can put in that month. So say you need to pull back from your business a bit. It could be for various reasons (health, or maybe a vacation or perhaps you have a baby, etc). Well the autoshipment still gets sent to you and your credit card is still charged. The beauty of direct sales is that you can work as little or as much as you like but an autoship can feel punitive. You pay regardless of how your business did that month.
What is the minimum requirement to stay active as rep?
Every direct sales company will require you to buy/sell a certain amount to stay active as a rep. I've seen this number as high as $1000/month! The company I'm with has a very low amount ($250 CAD/90 days to stay active). Remember that when you start your own direct sales business, it takes a little bit of time to build a regular clientele. So having huge sales requirements from the get-go can be extremely challenging. Make sure you know these numbers before you choose a company. It will give you an idea of how attainable they are. Also make sure to look at the requirements for ALL the statuses/ranks in the company. It's important to get an idea of how much MORE would you be required to sell per month as you promote.
Are you allowed to be your own hostess? If so how many times a year?
Every time someone hosts a cooking class with you (be it in-home or online), the company rewards them with free and discounted items. Essentially they earn items for opening up their network to you. In the company I represent, I am allowed to be my own hostess. So anytime I have single orders from clients or need to do a bulk order for local customers, I place the order(s) under a cooking class with me as the hostess. Now I'm earning all of these reward bonuses ON TOP of my commission. This adds up fast. Now I have extra gifts - for my hostesses, for draws and giveaways or for my team. And none of it comes out of my pocket. It's smart business. Some companies will cap how many times a year you can be your own hostess (yikes!).
Are you required to do in-home parties and events?
This was THE deciding factor in my choosing the company I did. I was a stay-at-home mom of two kids under the age of two. We had one car and live(d) in a semi-rural community (there are no city buses or trains). I wanted to start my own direct sales business but to attempt in-home parties or vendor events (craft fairs, etc) with a newborn and toddler and little-to-no access to a vehicle was next to impossible. So I had to find a company that would allow me to work my business entirely from home. Now that my children are a bit older and we have two vehicles I can do in-home parties and events if I CHOOSE to do so. I adore having the freedom to decide what works best for me.
Also if you have large network of friends/family/etc that don't live in your area, working your business online is crucial. Your reach will be much further and won't limit you to your immediate surroundings.
Are there website fees?
All fees will of course contribute to your bottom line so make sure you know how much it's going to COST you to run your business before you start. Most direct sales companies provide you with a free ecommerce site, but not all.
Are you passionate about the company?
To be successful in anything you have to show up first. Are you going to show up for something you feel mediocre about? I wouldn't. If you love the product or you deeply are pulled deeply by what the company stands for/their mission, it won't feel like work. It will be easy to focus on (and where your focus goes, your energy flows).
I hope these points were helpful in your choosing a direct sales company. If you're curious to learn more about the company I'm with, checkout this page. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions you have.