Direct Sales: The Ultimate Side Hustle
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Tupperware. Avon. Amway. I remember all of these brands growing up as a kid in the ‘70’s and ‘80’s. If you’re as seasoned as I am (code for older), you might remember salespeople coming by and ringing the doorbell. Now that I’m much older, I can only think about how hard that must have been: knocking on a random door in hopes of making a sale. I don’t think I could have done it. I couldn’t have taken the rejection.
The rep would visit your house, demonstrate the latest item, drop a sample here and there and maybe have a cup of coffee while they were at it.
The focus was more about building a relationship than it was about making a sale.
Direct sales looks a lot different now than it did back in the day.
I can’t remember the last time someone peddled their wares on my doorstep.
Direct sales can be a surefire way to make some extra money or even become your main gig.
So let’s jump into the topic of direct sales, what it is, how you can rock it and things you just shouldn’t be doing as a business owner.
Let’s get started!
What the heck is direct sales?
Simply put, direct sales is selling a product or service directly to a person, instead of through a retail store. Direct sellers are business owners and not employees of the company in which they sell products or services.
How can you make money through direct sales?
Well, there are a few ways.
You can make money by just selling the product or service. This is known as single-level marketing.
Or you can introduce the opportunity to others and you can train them to sell. You’ll not only earn money from what you personally sell but also from what your recruits sell. This is called networking marketing or multi-level marketing, sometimes referred to as MLM.
The benefits of direct sales
Done well, a direct sales business can be done in your spare time. Meaning, no need to quit your full-time paying gig to build your financial empire.
Many direct sales companies require a low investment. You pay for a starter kit and start selling. If the business doesn’t work you, in most cases, you can keep the starter kit and you’re just out the money you paid upfront.
Listen, business is hard work. That’s why not everyone is cut out to own and run a business. That’s just the way it is. There are some who have the natural gift of business ownership and some who are more gifted in the way of supporting a business owner.
So, let’s talk about that for a minute. Do you have the juice to make a business work?
Any business has a degree of risk. You could make a boatload of money, you might make just enough to pay a bill or two or (gasp!), you might even lose some.
Owning and operating a business isn’t for you if you want or need a guarantee.
Tips to be a direct sales rockstar
Don’t be afraid to sell.
Guess what? If you want to be a successful direct sales business owner, you’ve got to sell: whether its the actual product itself or the business opportunity. You’ve got to be persuasive, caring and in tune with that your customer wants and needs. That requires to ‘get out there’ and share. And with that will come sales. You can’t just buy the starter kit and hope customers will find you. Uh uh - not happening. Now, that doesn’t mean inundate your family and friends with info about your new business. Which leads me to my next point:
Sell the opportunity and the problem it solves, not the product.
Here’s the deal: when I buy something, it’s usually because that particular thing is going to solve a problem I have.
For example, I love soy-based candles. I love the smell of them, the fact they last a long time and burn a lot cleaner than other candles.
That’s what you need to sell me, not the brand name.
Because honestly, I don’t care about the brand. I care about what it’s gonna do for me.
As a business owner, you need to tell your potential customers how your magic thing will make their lives easier.
That’s what they want to hear.
Sell the solution and not the thing itself.
Stand out with a blog
I don’t know how many direct sales representatives there are but I can only imagine the number is really high.
That’s a lot of potential competition. But don’t let that bother you, honey.
There’s a way you can stand out from everyone else by blogging. Because while they’re trying to sell the thing, you’re sharing the benefits.
But Regina, blogging is too hard!
But dragging your inventory from house party to house party isn’t? C’mon, now!
You’re gonna reach way more people with a well-built blog than you can ever fit in your living room, you know what I’m saying?
My friend Suzi has a free blog plan that will walk you through everything you should do in your first year of blogging. Just click that pretty little picture to the right to get your copy.
Build a list/customer base.
Who wouldn’t love having a slew of loyal followers to promote their business?
That’s where a list comes in, baby.
Let’s say you sell essential oils. You can create some type of quick freebie (referred to as an email opt-in) and share the benefits of using essential oils. Folks sign up for the freebie on your blog and you can then have permission to share other helpful information with them. Use an email platform like ConvertKit to stay in touch with your loyal followers.
Building a list = building relationships.
And you can’t do that by slapping a link to your storefront all over the place online. Who’s gonna trust that?
That’s called spam. And we don’t want that.
Dig a bit deeper into the whole list building thing by clicking here and checking out some of the resources.
Knowledge is key and you can never know too much. Study up on the direct sales industry before making a final decision. Below are some resources to help you out:
Are you a direct sales business owner? Share your opportunity in the comments. You’ve got my permission :)
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