Since I was 10 years old I realized what direct sales was and what it wasn’t. My parents owned an insurance agency, and on the side, they had another business selling cleaning products. Today we call it a side gig or side hustle. For me as a child and teenager, I just knew it was being a smart entrepreneur.
My life was surrounded by their cleaning supply gig. We literally had all this laundry detergent in our basement. Lots and lots of detergent. They would work all day, and in the evenings once or twice a week people would come over to our home to hear their presentation on the perks of the products. My dad would put two glasses of water on the table and demonstrate the effectiveness of their products by putting a tablespoon of a name-brand product in water and showing all these fillers that would come to the surface. Then he would share his detergent and it would completely dissolve in water. As a 10-year-old, I found it incredibly fascinating. Network marketing or direct sales was always so intriguing to me because my parents had a full-time business, but I saw how they could generate extra income in the evenings, and weekends with this type of business, which allowed us to take some great vacations and travel in our motorhome.
I dabbled in a few direct sales businesses myself after college. I was involved in a company selling tea and later music and travel. As I look back, I never really worked those businesses. I felt I was talked into it by my friends. However, I wasn’t dissuaded by this type of business. I always knew people who were in these businesses, and they had lots of success because they were hard workers. And as my daddy always explained, the profits were the companies to share because they simply had alleviated the middlemen who were taking their shares.
I had amazing corporate jobs and was doing well financially and climbing the proverbial corporate ladder, at the time so I wasn’t focused on my long-term future. When you are in your 20s, you aren’t thinking about someone pulling the rug from out from under you and losing your job, or the economy tanking and you needing another income to keep your family afloat. When the economy crashed in 2008, like many others, my husband and I personally lost so much of what we had spent years working to attain. So shortly thereafter, I was introduced to another direct sales company.
I learned from my parents that companies come and go. The founder sells the company and then what happens? I knew I couldn’t handle that happening. If I were to get involved in direct sales again, it would only be with the right company. I also knew direct sales was not a get-rich-quick proposition. I understood you have to work harder on the front end to build a successful foundation of customers and team members before you could reap the long-term benefits and reduced time commitment. Understanding the leverage component, if done correctly I would condense a 30-year career into 3-5 years, and could build quite the lifelong legacy.
Here are seven things you need to consider when looking at joining a direct sales company:
1. Who owns the company? The business must be in the business for the right reason.
2. Who manages the business? Is it the owners or do they hire top professionals to run the company?
3. What products do they sell? You need to partner with a company that has an opportunity for a massive, worldwide market.
4. How are you paid? You need to join a company where there are no income limits and the pay plan must be simple to understand and follow.
5. Is the timing good to join? Is the opportunity just as good to join early in the company’s history as it is 30 years later? If you have a global product, the timing will always be evergreen.
6. Does the company provide professional training? A successful business system has to be duplicable.
7. Do the leaders on your team know where they are going and is that someone you want to follow? Do you see their vision, are they integrity driven and are your goals aligned?
The world of commerce has changed so much over the past 10 years. Everyone is finding a way to keep up financially and squeeze out the middleman. Our shopping habits are all about convenience and going online. We want things delivered to the doorstep, and we want products that provide immediate gain, and can save us money or medical visits, etc.
The caliber of companies has changed the industry too. The founders of my company are world renowned doctors who had already build a multi-billion dollar brand. Their credibility and track record immediately separated them from the others. They’ve made an enormous positive impact on the industry over the last 10 years and giving back is at the heart of everything we do.
So what should you do if you are looking to join a direct sales or network marketing company? Do your research and your due diligence. Know your partners. Just because a company has a great product doesn’t mean they will make a great partner or that they have the financial backing to withstand the long term.
For me it comes down to my motto: Live more, Give more. If you are looking for a way to live more, give more and serve others, and be more present for your family, then the answer is finding the “right” side gig. I’m so thankful I had my parents’ examples to learn by. They certainly lead the way to me finding the perfect partners and company for me.
Send me a message if you would like to brainstorm on your next business venture, side business, or just want a little more perspective.