The Reality of Direct Sales

We know them; we are a part of them.

Direct selling companies have grown exponentially over the years and now cover most items we use.  Not only does this give the consumer options, but it sucks us into selling the products we fall in love with.

We have heard the spiels about ‘Be your own boss!” and “Work from home and at your own convenience!” and even “Get paid to sell the products you love!”  They’re all fabulous slogans and to some extent they’re true.  The products – at least the ones I’ve tried – are in deed awesome, you certainly get to work from home and at your own pace.

But it’s far from that simple to be successful.

When you sign up to be an independent representative of a direct selling company, you have to invest, either an initial start up package, or a straight up start fee.  These things vary from company to company, but are offered by pretty much all of them.  On top of their startup packages, you’ll need to purchase brochures/books/catalogs.  They’ll also offer you various products to help ‘get you off on the right foot’.  These could be bags for your catalogs, business cards, table clothes, various branded merchandise etc.

Essentially you need to be prepared to spend some change in order to see any kind of return.  On top of this, a lot of these companies have quotas you’ll need to meet in order to stay active.  To avoid this, you’ll need to be invested enough from the get go to make this work.  Otherwise you’ll be footing the bill yourself in order to remain an active rep.

So yes, it’s a great way to make extra cash if you need a little something to subsidize your income or if it will be your sole focus, but only if you have the time to commit.  Otherwise it will end up being a costly and disappointing experience.

There are an enormous amount of people jumping on the bandwagon.  This means you need to push even harder because the network you currently have to jump-start your new venture, may already have connections to the same company.

I’m in no way saying that you should avoid these companies.  I’m currently an active rep of two myself, with one ending this month.  For me, I couldn’t continue selling something I couldn’t endorse.  I also didn’t feel the time and money it required yielded enough of a return for me.  The business side of my brain won out.  For me it was all about the opportunity costs – the cost of choosing to be a representative over doing something else.  I’m already a full time university student trying to keep up with the monstrous pile of work I have and on top of that I am a portrait photographer and writer/blogger.  For me to take time away from either of those things in order to break even on an order or even make $20 was way too high for me to continue putting in the effort (and money) it required.

If you choose to become a rep, I truly wish you all of the success in the world – I may even look you up sometime!  I still love buying from a lot of these companies and will continue to support my friends – though it’s hard with a lot of them selling the same things – eek!

Much love guys!

-T-

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Hi! I'm a professional portrait photographer and lifestyle blogger from a small little city on the east coast of Canada.

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