Direct Sales & Network Marketing

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Direct Selling AssociationDirect Sales is a method of distribution of a consumer product or service, person-to-person, away from a fixed retail location, marketed through independent distributors (sometimes referred to as representatives or consultants).  The Direct Selling industry is the UK's largest provider of part-time earnings and accounts for over £40 billion of sales each year worldwide.

Network Marketing (some times called multi level marketing or MLM) is a form of Direct Sales whereby a distributor can increase their sales by building their own distribution network (sometimes called a team or organisation).  This is achieved through recruiting and supporting new distributors and each person is paid a percentage on the sales turnover of their network.  A representative's income is therefore proportional to the size and productivity of the network they have built.

What Products Are Sold Through Direct Sales

Many diferent products and services are sold through Direct Sales all over the world, which include:

- Cosmetics and personal care products
- Health and well-being products
- Home and garden products
- Residential and business utilities e.g. phone, broadband, gas and electric
- Fragrances
- Jewellery
- Clothing
- Financial services

In the U.K all reputable companies will probably be members of the the Direct Selling Association (DSA) who are the national trade association of the leading firms that manufacture and distribute goods and services sold directly to consumers.

The Association's mission is "To protect, serve and promote the effectiveness of member companies and the independent business people they represent. To ensure that the marketing by member companies of products and/or the direct sales opportunity is conducted with the highest level of business ethics and service to consumers."

To view a list of some of the companies that are offering part time or full time opportunities, please visit the Compare Direct Sales Companies section.

Benefits of Running a Direct Selling Business

People join the Direct Sales industry for a variety of reasons.  Some people are simply looking to make a small part-time income.  Others love the products or service that a particular company offer and want to get paid for recommending and selling them.  Some more ambitious people see it as the vehicle to help them achieve financial freedom and a different lifestyle.  Whatever your reason for wanting to look at Direct Sales and Network Marketing, below are the five key benefits the industry has to offer:

  • Flexibility - you can choose when and where you work and who you work with.  Most people start a Direct Sales business around other work and/or family commitments
  • Low Cost / Risk - you can start most direct sales businesses for an initial investment of under £200, which allows most distributors to get into profit within weeks, rather than months or years.  Most franchises and conventional businesses require investments of thousands of pounds
  • Proven system - as with a franchise, you're buying into a proven business system, which includes products or services that are priced to sell and priced for profit, a proven marketing system, administration, legal structure, and management
  • Training & Support Structure - many Direct Sales companies and network leaders offer excellent training and support programmes for new and more experienced distributors
  • Leverage - through network marketing, distributors have the opportunity to tap into the two secrets of the wealthy: leverage and residual income

Other benefits include an increased social network and new friends, tax benefits, discounted products / services for one's own use, helping other people and recognition for achievement.

Direct Sales tends to suit people who have an entrepreneurial spirit, but who don't want the risk and isolation that can often come with starting a new business from scratch.

Things to Bear In Mind With Direct Sales

No industry or business is perfect and Direct Sales is no different.  Here are some things to consider before joining a Direct Sales company:

  • Products - do you believe in the products / services?  This is important as you will probably not be able to enthusiastically and honestly recommend them to others if you don't believe in what you're selling.  Consumable products are also the best products to sell through Direct Sales as this gives you the opportunity of repeat business
  • Company - many companies jump on the MLM bandwagon only to fail within a few short months or years.  You're probably better joining a company that has been trading for at least 5 years, has a strong track record and is in a strong financial situation
  • Startup Costs - you should not have to invest more than £200 to join a Direct Sales company and this should cover everything you need to get started, which can include product samples, catalogues, marketing material, business manual etc.
  • Support System - does the company, team and person you're considering joining with take support and development seriously?  Earning a significant income in Direct Sales requires the consistent application of some key skills and a good company will have a training and development programme that distributors can work through at their own pace
  • Time - the Good news is that in Direct Sales you're the boss and can choose your own hours.  The Bad news is that in Direct Sales you're the boss and can choose your own hours.  In other words, success requires commitment and discipline even if you're working on a part-time basis

The statutory wealth warning for Direct Sales and Network Marketing Opportunities is:

"It is illegal for a promoter or participant in a trading scheme to persuade anyone to make a payment by promising benefits from getting others to join a scheme. Do not be misled that high earnings are easily achieved."

In other words, Direct Sales / Network Marketing is not some sort of get-rich-quick scheme. Some unprofessional distributors market the business as such and can sometimes give the industry a bad name.  If you do decide to start your own Direct Sales business, join a good company and conduct yourself and your business in a professional manner at all times and the financial and personal rewards can be significant.

What Next?

If you're interested in joining a Direct Sales company and you're still wondering about which company might be right for you, please visit our Opportunity Listings section, which lists many of the top companies that offer opportunities in the U.K.  You can quickly compare Direct Sales & Network Marketing opportunities and find out more detailed information about each one.

Do your due diligence; don't jump into the first opportunity because it seems like the 'next hot thing' and good luck in your search.

Useful Links

>>> Earning Income & Direct Sales Videos & Podcasts
>>> Direct Sales & Network Marketing company listings
>>> Earning Income Blogs & Articles
>>> Earning Income Forum
>>> Money Minds free Newsletter


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