Three Ways to Make Money in Direct Selling

Man inserting a coin in the piggy bank.

If you’re looking for a little something on the side—extra money, flexible work hours—direct selling might be the place to start. The retail model can be used for both part-time and full-time business ownership.

If you set the right expectations it could become a great side business. It is important to understand the basics of the job so that you can discover the many ways in which direct sellers can make a living.

Ask yourself questions

As a general rule, you can become an independent contractor by selling products to commissions through a direct-selling company. Before committing to anything, discover if you’re a fit for the job. Consider these questions when assessing your suitability for the job:

  • Do I enjoy selling?
  • Would you like to start a small business?
  • Am I passionate about the company’s products?
  • Are my expectations realistic about the return of my investment?

Next, you need to locate a company. A great place to start is the Direct Selling Association’s (DSA) list of the largest 25 reputable direct selling companies. Select a company with a proven track record for product quality and integrity—like USANA Health Sciences, which produces high-quality nutritional products.

Next, look for the company’s compensation plan. You should find it online. It should be easy to find online. The minimum commission you will receive should be from retail sales, as well any sales that are made by people you enroll in your company. You may also see a minimum requirement to remain an “active” seller. You should choose a company with low startup costs and a strong return policy.

Armed with realistic expectations and a reputable company with a fair compensation plan, you’re ready to get out there and earn.  

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Develop a Strategy

Direct selling is like most entrepreneurial adventures—you get out what you put in. You’ll want to match your hustle with your goals. You have many options to make money.

1.   Sell Products

Get passionate! Use the products to find passion. If you tell a compelling story, customers will notice that you are passionate about what you do.

In-person sales—They’re a great way to build meaningful relationships with customers. When you authentically share and recommend products, you’ll see repeat purchases and more customer referrals. You’ll get to know people as you recommend specific products to solve their individual needs.

Selling Online—Most direct selling companies offer a branded website customized with your personal information. Customers can buy from your site and you will get credit. Any social media marketing campaign should aim to persuade potential customers that they click on your link.

2.   Form a team

It’s natural to share things you’re excited about. You and your potential team members can benefit from sharing. On the flip side, never pressure people into something they’re not interested in or suited for. The best way to grow your team is to politely invite people to join you—your enthusiasm and authenticity will be contagious.

Selling products is essential for leading your team. The nature of direct selling calls for sharing and selling products and having your team do the same. You’ll earn money from commissions outlined in the company’s compensation plan:

Commissions for teamsBased on products purchased by members of your team, you will earn a percentage. You’ll earn a percentage of their sales, providing you’re an active seller. The fastest way to make money is through team commissions.

BonusesThese bonuses are awarded based upon specific qualifications. You may be eligible for “matching” bonuses based on the growth of your team’s sales or “leadership” bonuses for top earners.

3.   Get Incentives

Direct sellers love to be motivated by contests and other incentives. If you have the right qualifications, you could win valuable prizes and extra cash.

Recognition is often the most rewarding reward. Not only do incentives give you prestige within the company but also titles and awards. Each time that you achieve a particular goal, recognition is usually given. For example, you may achieve a “pace setter” title if you enroll three new team members within a month of signing up. Other titles may include “leader,” or “director,” and vary for each direct selling company. Sellers are often awarded with pins and watches or tech gifts when they achieve new titles.

If you love kudos for milestones, some companies’ incentives could be great motivation to grow your business.

Giving and taking

It is not easy to make money. Like many other ventures, the success of your business is directly related to how much effort you put in. And as you work your business, review your goals versus the time and effort you’re putting in. Be realistic about your goals, and evaluate your return on investment.

So before jumping into a new business, ask important questions, do the research to understand what you’re getting into, put yourself out there, and connect with people. Enjoy the ride.

Entrepreneurship Life published the article Three Ways to Make Money Direct Selling.

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