With the rising cost of living and the ongoing challenge of balancing family and work life, it’s no wonder that many mothers returning to work seek an alternative to the traditional 9-5 working life. Over 400,000 people in the UK work as direct sellers, with the industry continuing to grow in popularity.
What is Direct Selling
Direct selling is the term given to any kind of face-to-face selling outside of a standard shop. Many products are sold in this way, however not everyone would think this is direct selling.
Direct selling includes products bought from a catalogue delivered by a direct sellers – like cosmetics or homeware, products bought in a group party environment – like kitchen equipment or jewellery, products demonstrated in a customers’ home such as vacuum cleaners or make up, or products bought direct from a direct seller at events like craft fairs or fitness clubs – like cards or nutritional supplements.
For example direct selling includes Barefoot Books, Forever Living, Avon, Kleeneze, Mary Kay, PartyLite and The Pampered Chef.
What to Expect when Starting out on your Own
When people begin direct selling they purchase a starter kit, which is on average £100 for a business kit and sample products but sometimes is free. They can then begin selling the products to their friends and wider networks, keeping a percentage of the sales they make.
The Benefits of Direct Selling
For many mums direct selling offers the perfect way to balance work and family life. Direct selling is incredibly flexible and you can work as many hours, when and where you choose, to fit around your own life and commitments. When you start direct selling, you are effectively running your own business, so it’s very much a case of what you put in you get back out, as well as giving you a level of flexibility that standard jobs just can’t offer.
The Direct Selling Association (DSA) was established in 1965 and is the trade body for the industry in the UK. It is responsible for promoting the sector and regulating member companies. All of the DSA member companies sign a code of conduct which ensures they comply with ethical trading standards.
There are over 120,000 working mums working in the industry who are attracted by the benefits that direct selling has to offer, including:
- Flexible working – 82% of direct sellers work part time around other commitments.
- Variety – there are dozens of member companies to choose from, with products ranging from cosmetics to kitchen equipment to nutritional supplements.
- Support- all direct sellers are supported by their member company, and the DSA respectively.
- Networking- direct selling enables you to meet like-minded business people and build your business as much as you wish.
Keeping it Safe
Especially when you start up and choose a company to work for, there are some pitfalls to avoid.
- Always choose a reputable company – always look for the Direct Selling Association’s logo when choosing a company to work for. All member companies of the DSA sign a code of conduct which ensures they uphold ethical trading standards. By choosing a member company, you and your customers will be protected by the DSA.
- Expect that not everyone will says yes – you will often hear the word ‘no’, but this does not mean failure. You have to keep positive and think of it as another reason to move onto the next ‘yes’.
- Don’t pay more than £200 for a starter kit – It is easy and cheap to start your own direct selling business – on average £100 for a business kit and sample products. The law prevents the initial outlay to be over £200, and a DSA member will never ask you for more in the first seven days. Starter kits often contain products to a much higher value and many companies even charge nothing for this.
For more information and how to get involved, visit dsa.org.uk
Author: Lynda Mills, Director General of the Direct Selling Association (DSA). The DSA was established in 1965 and is the trade body for the industry in the UK. It is responsible for promoting the sector and regulating member companies. All of the DSA member companies sign a code of conduct which ensures they comply with ethical trading standards. For more information and how to get involved, visit dsa.org.uk