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Why Direct Sales May Not be What You Expect

Updated on July 10, 2019
TraceyWalsh profile image

Mother, grandmother, and wife. Always aspiring for bringing the past to the present through my Writing, traditions, cooking, and hobbies.

Are direct sales ventures viable side hussles?

Have you ever attended any Home Party style direct sales event?

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Home Party Princess House direct sales

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Your Avon Lady is Not Calling Anymore

Since I am slightly older than some, you may not remember there was such a thing as door to door sales. At this point direct sales do still exist, but have taken on a new persona. No longer does someone come knocking on your front door. Indeed, you are more likely approached by Email or Social media. The Internet definitely has changed the face of direct sales. Does the amnimity of direct sales consultants aid in determining today's impression held by the public? Perhaps, but societal paranoia also plays a factor. Because of this, when a stranger carrying their wares comes knocking on our front door, we become suspicious and doubtful. Just recently my town Facebook forum posted concerned citizens’ depictions of a stranger going door to door at different times with multiple attempts. Admittedly I totally understand their caution, but after a few days sharing Security camera images, and police involvement it was discovered the stranger simply was trying to sell his wares!

When Direct Sales were Popular

Previously in our not too distant past one of the most popular direct sales representatives was your neighborhood "Avon Lady". Women dressed in tailored dress suits drifted our streets carrying their wares. They entered your home offering free demonstrations of all the season's new products. At this point, many women were stay-at-home mothers/"housewifes". Considering this, a periodic distraction from the ordinary everyday probably came as a welcomed event. It became a chance for the direct sales consultant to entertain their hostess with a makeover and provide a convenient customer service based shopping experience.

Door to Door Direct Sales

"Avon Lady Calling" Vintage direct sales
"Avon Lady Calling" Vintage direct sales

Why Direct Sales Appeal to Women more than Men

For the same reason sales companies targeted women back in the day, they still try to appeal to the lady of the house. Clearly it is us women who do most household purchasing! Consequently, direct sales companies usually consist of merchandise to directly effect the female needs. For example make-up, vacuums, cleaning products, and kitchenware are some of the popular door to door sales items.

Direct Sales Industry Statistics

Under 25 Yrs
25-34 Yrs
35-44 Yrs
44-54 Yrs
55-64 Yrs
 
 
 
 
 
8.2%
21.4%
26%
23.3%
14.3%
 
 
 
 
 

Who is the Direct Sales Person

By comparison of a direct sales person today to that of the 1960's, you will be surprised to note little difference. According to the Direct Selling Association there are 6.2 million people in the United States who build their business in direct sales. Many of the long established companies built their sales forces from women and some men who needed employment without the traditional boundaries of a brick and mortar style job. For instance, a wife and mother with time constraints to be home for school aged children and husband could enter the work force without needing to conform to the usual 9 to 5. The Direct Selling Association claims as much as 75% of consultants are female and 25% men. Similiarly consultants today structure their work schedule around their other responsibilities restricting their ability to keep normal business hours. Admittedly many who enter into this business, endeavor as a side hussle to supplement their income or build their clientele until they feel safe jumping to entreneurship. In short, it is a safe assumption many enter direct selling in hopes of owning their own business based on statististics from the Direct Selling Association 85% white/caucasian of todays 6.2 million.

Direct Sales supplemental income

The Promise of Prosperity
The Promise of Prosperity | Source

What Direct Sales Companies are Still Active Today

Notably many long established direct sales companies like Avon and Princess House are still active today. Have you ever attended a direct sales home party? Certainly a lot of you can answer yes on this poll question. Consequently, do your cabinets hold any Tupperware or Pampered Chef? Furthermore, even a number of newer companies decide distributing their products directly in your homes. For example, Traveling Vineyards tantalizes you with wine tasting parties in hopes of you and your friends purchasing spirits. I like to look at it as a way companies personalize themselves to their customers. Unlike your vintage Avon Lady‘s visit with an individual housewife, home parties gather as many possible prospects with hostess. In this situation, you invite your family and friends into your home. However the principle remains the same in that personalized customer service comes through an entertaining demonstration, one on one assistance in making orders, and answering questions in person.

The Basis of The Direct Sales Platform

Convenience of personal customer service based shopping experiences
Convenience of personal customer service based shopping experiences

Can direct sales work for you?

Altogether our discussion regarding direct sales validity as a source of revenue for you, I just want to say “do your research before investing.” Considering the previously mentioned average individual‘s sales per year figures, you don‘t want to over extend yourself in inventory and other expenses. I personally can attest to this as an independent consultant myself. For the same reason, you can conclude direct sales can be a viable side hustle. However, you need to exercise caution, educate yourself, and understand that “extra” $5000 possible a year doesn't include expenses and taxes comes with an awful lot of footwork and hard work!

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2019 Tracey Walsh

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