Heidi Thompson, Scentsy President & Co-Owner

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Direct Sales is Not For Everyone

Oh yes I did just say that.   Allow me to repeat: “Direct Sales is not for everyone.”   Personally I’ve been involved in direct sales since 1988 and because of the various platforms available from which to sell (namely internet marketing for me) it is a good fit “¦ for me – but not for everyone.

All too frequently I hear companies and existing consultants tout that “Anyone can do this business!”   Ok, perhaps anyone who has $39.99 or $99.95 on their debit card can sign up for a starter kit, but that does not mean that everyone should.

For example, have you seen the latest teen craze in jean pants – Skinny Jeans? I’ve also heard them called cigarette jeans because they’re so skinny, each leg looks like a slender cigarette.   These jeans can be found in a size double zero all the way up to a size 12 and higher. For those not terribly familiar with women’s sizes, a size 12 is not gi-normous by any means, but it is far from skinny. Many women who would attempt to wear a size 12 and higher skinny jean would look like two pigs fighting under a blanket.   Just because they can wear them, does not mean they should.

Same same with direct sales.   I believe in stretching your perceived limits; I embrace growth and challenges; I get the benefits of getting out of your comfort zone; yet I don’t support trying to squeeze a square peg into a round hole.

Below are some considerations to truthfully ponder before starting a direct sales business.   I know that for every example I cite there are indeed success stories of those who have overcome these challenges and have become financially successful.   However, life is pretty short to have to work so hard at something you don’t love doing or that you have to force yourself to do.

Direct Sales may not be for you if:

  1. It looks so easy – some products are an easy sell, but running a direct sales business takes confidence, persistence, dedication, patience, flexibility, organization, creativity, the ability to follow company policies, and the necessity to actually show up for work – ideally on a daily basis.
  2. You think others would be doing you a favor by hosting a party – if you have the mindset that your hostesses would be “having a party for you” or “doing you a favor”, you’ll need to change your stinkin’ thinkin’ or find another avenue in which to work at home.   You have to believe that you are offering a fantastic product and will benefit your hostesses.
  3. You don’t have much contact with the outside world – if you tend to have a very small circle of friends and associates and don’t have opportunity or desire to leave your home much, it’s going to be challenging to find new customers, hostesses and recruits. Note: not impossible, just an uphill challenge.
  4. You don’t have strong Internet marketing skills – if you do have contacts (see #3 above) you could be just fine.   But if you don’t have much contact with the outside (offline) world and intend to work your business by Internet Marketing, yet don’t possess knowledge, skills and abilities in that area, you can certainly learn, but plan on it taking some time. Just because you build your website, they will not come.
  5. Public speaking scares the pants off of you – if you’d rather have a root canal and a pap smear at the same time than speak in front of a group of people, a business in product sales may not be for you.
  6. You don’t have the financial investment for a start up kit.   Some direct sales starter kits require more financial investment than others; but regardless, if you don’t have the scratch to purchase your own start up kit, then it’s not time to start a business.   Nothing ventured, nothing gained. If you’re not vested in your own business, it has a strong probability of failure.   All businesses require some sort of investment.   While I embrace initially not spending a wad on non-essentials, such as logo wear and other marketing collateral, you will likely need some additional funds for items such as business cards, internet hosting, product samples, etc.
  7. Someone talked you into it – if you didn’t have the gnawing sense that you had to be a part of a particular direct sales company, but rather you were pressured, bamboozled, got caught up in some rah-rah hype or simply didn’t have the peace that surpasses all understanding, then don’t do it.   Far too many former consultants fall into this category and have closets full of dusty starter kits.

You might want to pass this article along or bookmark it so that the next time you hear someone say that “Anyone can do direct sales” you can point out that perhaps while anyone can sign up for direct sales, it may not be the best option for all. (Put the skinny jeans down and find a more flattering trouser cut pant!)

Of course, if none of the seven reasons above pertain to you, then you very well may be the next Direct Sales superstar.   What are you waiting for?   I’ll see you at the top!

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