“Direct Sales” seem more popular than ever, and more in my face than ever. Some claim they are a great way for Moms to make money when they otherwise couldn’t. Maybe thats true, but the numbers say otherwise. There are countless articles on-line showing that on average people involved with direct sales only end up making about $2 per hour for their efforts, I don’t feel the need to argue that you aren’t going to make real money doing it. There are tons of much better options to work from home and be your own boss. Options that pay a living wage.
My beef is something else. My problem is the stress that “Direct Sales” put on personal relationships.
I still vividly remember my first encounter with “Direct Sales,” I put direct sales in quotations becuase they are anything but direct. I was invited to a stamping party, by someone who I thought was my friend and wanted me to become a closer friend via this event. Stamping was not something I was interested in doing, but I went anyway becuase I valued the budding friendship. I had no idea I was in for a a bait-and-switch. Not once did the invite mention a company name or the word sale. I thought it was going to be friends sitting around participating in something together and sharing good conversation. Nope. It was essentially a class on how to use the products, which we were were then expected to buy at the end. I was outraged. I did my best to put on a happy face and sit though the sales pitch, but I refused to buy anything and my friends weren’t happy with my choice.
I’ve always been frugal. I don’t buy shit I don’t need. The last thing I would need or want was stamping supplies. Why did they invite me to the event in the first place? Becuase my money was of more value than our relationship. I as a person simply became a dollar sign to that friend. She got kickbacks for every dollar made off her party.
My first experience with direct sales was far from my last. Not long after that I had several friends get involved with Amway even declaring things like, “Just watch I’ll be retired in three years.” None of them are retired and I’m pretty sure they’ve all quit Amway since then. Around the same time I had some friends getting involved with Pampered Chef and Scentsy. Once again I learned that my money was more important than our friendship as I was invited to more sales pitches. I even once told a friend, “You don’t want me to come, I will eat the free food and not buy anything.” She assured me, “I’m sure you’ll find something to buy.” I went out of obligation. I didn’t buy anything. Why would I? I was a college student eating mostly fast food. I had no need for kitchen gadgets.
Today I cook and I cook a lot and I have a real need for good kitchen gear. Yet I would never buy from papered chef, because I know you get the best bang for you buck at restaurant supply stores. Thats where I buy most of my kitchen equipment, because I do research before almost every purchase. I don’t need a sales pitch becuase I do my research before I’m willing to hand over my money. I can also use the internet at anytime to order most items direct from the manufacture. That is real direct sales right there.
Direct sales companies are simply saving money though their model. By not having to pay for a retail storefront and not having to pay any employees a living wage, they get to keep a lot more of the money from each product. If they cared about their sales people, they would pay their sales people a steady income. When you are working direct sales, you are essentially a sales person paid on commission only. And since you are self employed instead of employed by a company you aren’t having any wages withheld for taxes and come tax season you are having to pay the entire burden yourself. As someone who is starting a business with a goal of paying my employees well this turns me off as well. I can’t feel good giving a company my money when they can’t bother to pay their sales people for their time.
Today I’m constantly barraged with invites to buy books, oils, clothing, cleaning supplies and more. Its hard. I don’t know how to handle it when I feel like I’ve just become a dollar sign to people.
Its even more strange to be in the process of starting a business and have this happening. I only post about my business in the way that it relates to my personal life. I don’t view my friends as customers, becuase my target market is much wider than my circle of friends. If no one from my friends list ever visit my business I would be just fine finically. I don’t want any kind of business that makes my friends into dollar signs.
The biggest reason I say no to direct sales is becuase it is harmful to relationships and that doesn’t sit well with me. If you are going to use social media to promote your direct sales, please, make a business page and invite me to like it. This give people a chance to be involved and follow you if they want without having to feel like they are simply the sum of what is in their wallet.
If you are looking for better ways to make money from home I highly recommend checking out the personal finance and small business subreddits. There are lots of great ideas on there that don’t involve working for a large company. I’d also suggest learning some digital skills. Learning photoshop or illustrator or web design is a great way to work for your self and make really significant income. Don’t sell yourself short with direct sales, there are so many better options!