Tag: "Direct Selling"

How to be a successful direct seller

How to be a successful direct seller

The direct selling industry has experienced a boost over recent years as more people have turned to direct selling as a way to boost their income and enjoy flexible working. Over 400,000 people are currently involved in direct selling in the UK and it is the largest provider of part-time work, bringing £2 billion to the UK economy.

If you’re thinking about getting starting in direct selling, the DSA has put together top tips on how to become a successful direct seller.

Think about how you’d like to sell

There are various different ways you can sell through direct selling – it could be through parties, catalogue or face to face. Think about what your strengths are and how you would like sell products. For instance if you enjoy organising social events, then you may prefer a direct selling company that specialise in parties and demonstrations, but if you prefer one to one relationships perhaps a catalogue based company might be for you.
selling-direct

Be passionate

It’s important that you chose to work with a direct selling company with products that you are passionate about. If you are selling products that you love using and are enthusiastic about your passion will shine through to your customers.

Think about your customer base

Another aspect to bear in mind is your target market. If you have lots of friends and family who love cosmetics then a beauty product company could be a great fit. If you are a sporty and regular gym goer, you might know people who also work out regularly so a health and wellness direct selling company might be more suitable for you.

Always choose an ethical company

The Direct Selling Association exists to protect, serve and promote direct selling and ensure high level of business ethics and customer service. All member companies have to meet the DSA’s code of conduct – by choosing a DSA member company, direct sellers and their customers can be safe in the knowledge that they are working with a reliable and ethical firms.

For more information and how to get involved, visit dsa.org.uk

lyndaAuthor: 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

Creating my own Flexible Work - Personal Assistant, Entrepreneur, Franchise holder

Creating my own Flexible Work – Personal Assistant, Entrepreneur, Franchise holder

When Vicky Matthews took voluntary redundancy from a high-street bank after the birth of her second child, she vowed no-one she ever employed would suffer the same inflexible and negative experience she’d endured since becoming a mum. She really needed flexible work.

Now, seven years on, Vicky employs three very happy part-time staff in the head office of her personal assistant business, Pink Spaghetti, all of whom work around their busy family commitments.

Inflexible Employer

“I’d worked in project management for the same high street bank since starting as a graduate trainee,” explains Vicky. “When I became pregnant, I requested a three day working week after maternity leave. This was declined and I was told four days was my only part time option. A job-share was never considered.

“An even bigger blow came when I was told my current senior management position was not feasible on a part time basis and that I would need to take on a new, lower, middle management role.

“I had been their golden girl but when I returned from maternity leave, I felt my position within the company was tainted. My opportunities for promotion and recognition were gone, so after the birth of my second child three years later, I took voluntary redundancy.”

A New Start – Flexible Working

After taking time out to spend with her young family for a couple of years, a chance meeting at a baby swimming class saw the beginning of a partnership that would see Vicky’s dream of creating flexible employment come true. A poolside chat with her now business partner, Caroline Gowing, revealed the pair had all-too-similar experiences and after discussions about their respective talents and experience, the foundations were laid for an award-winning business venture.

In 2009, three years after their first meeting and with Vicky’s youngest child still at home, the friends launched Pink Spaghetti, a home-based, pay-as–you-go personal assistant service. Clients aren’t tied by a monthly retainer and only pay for the hours they need, which is a major selling point for the predominantly female, home-based clients who are often juggling work and childcare.

Pink Spaghetti, whose strapline is ‘Let us be your 25th hour,’ will take on any task from its clients and to-do lists frequently include the bizarre alongside the mundane. Sourcing reindeer for a Christmas event and attending a client’s wedding as a paid witness have featured alongside travel booking, running social media accounts, holiday cover, managing email newsletters and book keeping.

Growing the Business – Franchise Holder

The formula proved a resounding success, so much so that after three years of steady growth Vicky and Caroline decided to grow their business through franchising and now operate in 10 UK territories, from Chester to Portsmouth.The flexibility the pair needed in their own lives has proved a major pull for franchisees, almost all of whom have children and tales of inflexible employers forcing them out of the workplace.

“Our franchisees come to us with years of valuable business experience and yet find themselves unable to find a job that fits around their families,” says Caroline. “We have franchisees from all backgrounds, but they all share the same desire to not have to choose between work and family.

“From our own experience, we knew that our business model works as both a part time opportunity, to fit around the school day or nursery hours, and that it can also be scaled up as the children get older.

“One of our franchisees has proved just how scalable the business is, by buying a second neighbouring territory and taking on employees of her own. We also have franchisees with very young children who work just a few hours each day. They know that the opportunity for expansion is there once it suits their family.”

Flexible Work from Home

Ever since that first meeting in the swimming baths, flexibility has been the driving force behind Pink Spaghetti. As owners, Vicky and Caroline have the flexibility to manage their business in a way that suits them. For clients, the Pink Spaghetti service frees up much-needed time, and for franchisees, Vicky and Caroline’s model allows them to grow their franchise at their own rate and fit in work around their own commitments.

But, more importantly, the pair have been able to provide flexible employment to busy working parents. Pink Spaghetti’s head office, in Northwich, employs three part-time members of staff. Lucy works school hours four days a week. Katherine does three days, two to fit around school times and a third shorter one to allow for a nursery pick up. Leigh-Anne is currently on maternity leave, but before the birth of her second child she was able to work two long days at the office in order to make the most of her son’s hours at nursery. When she returns from maternity leave, Leigh-Anne has opted to switch to two short days.

This flexible and family friendly approach was cited as a best practice case study in a report handed out at a recent Working Families conference. The charity was greatly encouraged that employees can pick their own working hours, and are able to change them at short notice, where feasible.

“By accommodating our employees’ needs for flexible working we are offering them the kind of benefit that money can’t buy,” says Vicky. “In return, employees work harder and have more work satisfaction as their needs are being met and their voices heard, which is key for retention.

“After what I went through in my previous job, I feel very strongly that I want to set an example to other employers.”

But what about Vicky? Her business is providing a positive work life balance for her employees and franchisees, but has she achieved the flexibility she was striving for?

“I work from home, I can do the school drop off and pick up and I don’t have to miss important milestones like special assemblies and sports days.

“I love my work, both servicing our own Pink Spaghetti clients here in mid-Cheshire and supporting our franchisees to grow their own businesses. When I took voluntary redundancy seven years ago, I wasn’t sure what was going to happen next. It’s been a fascinating journey and I wouldn’t change any of it.”

 

Author: PR Agent on behalf of Vicki

April 2015 (2)Attached picture (left to right) Aylesbury & High Wycombe franchisee Rachel Martin, Pink Spaghetti co-owner Vicky Matthews, Luton & Bedford franchisee Anne Little, Pink Spaghetti co-owner Caroline Gowing

What is direct selling, and is it for me?

What is direct selling, and is it for me?

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

lyndaAuthor: 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