The original work from home opportunity, what does direct selling look like in 2020?
Over the past few months, many Canadians have been working from home — and while it has taken some adjustment, it has temporarily become the new normal.
Many have enjoyed the shorter commute to the office, a more casual dress code, breaks and meals at home, and many other positive benefits.
Did you know? Direct selling was the original work-from-home opportunity, and now many people are seeing the benefits this flexible industry could offer.
What is direct selling?
Direct selling is a form of retail where products and services are marketed directly to the consumer, no physical store required.
You may remember from your childhood, the Tupperware ladies that your mom knew and went to parties with, and the Mary Kay/Avon ladies that offered Personal Appointments. They’re still going strong, as are many other men and women in direct selling, who cater to clients that enjoy high-quality products, shopping from home and personal service.
Direct selling is about building relationships and connecting with people.
It’s also an avenue for the entrepreneurial-minded. People who thrive working independently and are looking for a business opportunity with low start-up costs and minimal risk. Direct sellers enjoy being able to control their work hours and the level of income they earn.
How direct selling got started
Direct selling has been a way for people to sell goods and services, ever since there were goods and services available to offer.
However, the formal direct selling business model we are familiar with today was established in the late 1880’s. “This was when David McConnell first recruited Mrs. P.F.E. Albee to sell his perfume in her town and the Southwestern Company refined its door-to-door approach of selling books,” says the Direct Selling News. (For more of direct selling’s long history, click HERE.)
Since then, direct selling has become a $22 billion market, engaging almost 100 million people around the world.
How does direct selling work?
Many companies are set up in a direct selling format. It’s likely they all differ slightly, but this is how it works.
For a low start-up cost, you purchase your business under the umbrella and support of the established brand.
The investment usually buys your business kit (the products you will use to demonstrate) and access to the training and marketing materials. Essentially, you’re buying the rights to become a seller for the company.
In direct selling, products can be demonstrated and sold in a group demo, person-to-person demo, over the phone and online. There’s no physical shop. This is about being social and bringing people together at a time and place, physically or virtually, that’s convenient.
When you make a sale, you make a commission on that sale. It’s that simple.
What does direct selling look like in 2020?
Many of the great benefits that originally piqued the interest of entrepreneurial thinkers to direct selling still apply today.
You create your business hours to suit your schedule. You work on your own, but you’re still connected with a bigger community and a company that offers support and rewards. You choose to share and sell a product that you believe in.
What has changed?
The virtual aspect of social selling has made direct selling even more appealing to a wider range of people.
From the very beginning of a direct seller’s business, online training programs are used to better set business owners up for success, and online groups to offer advice in a supportive community setting.
Social media has opened up a free marketing and networking tool for direct sellers. Social media not only helps direct sellers to build a community, but it also allows them to choose what they’d like to share, speak to their clients’ needs, and become an authority on their subject matter. This helps business owners extend their reach to new clients, while also connecting with their existing clients.
Online ordering platforms and even virtual demonstrations help create wider access to the products you’re sharing, especially in a remote area.
Direct sellers can now tailor their services to meet the needs of their customers, but to also suit their own needs. Approximately 89% of direct sellers work their business on a part-time basis as this best suits their lifestyle.
Things to consider before starting a direct selling business
The risk is low when starting a direct selling business, but that doesn’t mean it should be taken lightly.
Here are some questions you should ask yourself before you get started.
1. Am I passionate about the products?
There’s plenty of choices when it comes to Direct Selling companies.
Whatever direct selling business you’re thinking of joining, the thing that matters most is passion.
Over the past 15 years in Canada, ENJO has noticed that our most successful ENJOpreneurs have pride and passion in the products they sell.
Passion really drives your business and creates an authentic purpose, as well as building rapport with your clients, something you can’t underestimate in business.
2. Am I ready to talk to people?
Even though virtual platforms and social media have made direct selling more accessible, real success comes from building genuine relationships – and that means talking to people.
Many ENJOpreneurs would tell you that, while at first they felt nervous about in-person Demos and Client Care Calls, they quickly become second nature, you just have to be ready to make the calls and build relationships.
3. Am I resilient?
The great thing about Direct Selling in 2020 is that you can utilise social media to build communities of like-minded people. People will follow you because they have a genuine interest in what you have to say.
However, it’s important to remember and respect the fact that not everyone is going to be receptive to the message you’re sharing and the products you represent.
Understanding diverse points of view and accepting “no” is part of any business.
Is it time to create your own new normal?
Now more than ever, people are considering different ways to work to suit their lifestyle or supplement their income. These past months have been a wake-up call for many, who look at their “pre-pandemic” life and consider which parts they want back once the world returns to “normal”.
This change in how we want to work is shining a strong light on the direct selling industry, especially since it empowers people to make changes to their work-life balance.
It’s important to do your research and map out how you want to run your direct selling business, and whether the time is right to take the step into working for yourself.