If you need to augment family income, don't overlook direct marketing. These businesses may be called network sales or multi-level marketing (MLM), sadly MLM's have gotten a bad name. However, they are not all bad, often it is the associate or business owner that you sign under.
Avon, Mary Kay, Tupperware, Watkins, Encyclopedia Britannica, Fuller Brush are a few of the companies I am very familiar with because of personal interaction with business colleagues or in the case of Watkins a personal association. Direct sales companies reward their associates when they bring in a new sales person or associate under their umbrella, that is also what a legitimate MLM does.
However, the first order of business should be selling or marketing the company product. If you are harassed by an acquaintance, friend or family member to 'hurry and get involved with the business,' step back and take a deep breath. Is the person concentrating on the product or the body count he or she can bring in? This is often where the infamous term, 'pyramid scheme' rears its ugly head. Still it does not mean the company is a pyramid scheme, it may simply be that the person you are talking to has a skewed view of what should really be taking place. There are countless legitimate direct sales companies, but like any other business, each one must be checked out closely.
I have always called companies like these, the poor man's franchise. A franchise is a turnkey business which means it has everything you need, plus direct counseling to help you get started in your business. I believe that the businesses below qualify under that umbrella as well.
You may not be able to buy a franchise cosmetic business, but you can have a Avon or Mary Kay cosmetic business. I know that some businesses offer a web site with merchant tools that allow customers to order products online and pay by credit card (there is usually for a monthly fee for the business owner.)
Some things to consider before you spend your money:
- Can I afford to be in this business? When you look at all of the requirements do you feel that this particular business worth your time, effort and money?
- Is the start-up cost reasonable? If you are being asked to put up hundreds of dollars to get into a business, it may not be for you. There are good business that start for less than $100.
- Must I buy a certain amount of product before I am qualified to join this particular company? If the answer is yes--think twice before investing.
- Are there boundaries? Are you restricted to a particular area or can you sell and market anywhere in the country? If you are restricted it will be very hard to grow your business.
- Must I sell a certain amount of product per month? If the answer is yes--and you don't meet quota you may end up buying the product each month yourself.
- Would I use this product for myself or my family? If your answer is no, why would you want to sell it or be associated in any way?
- Does the company have people to help me when I have a question?
- Does the company have reasonably priced, good looking and professional marketing materials for purchase?
- Can I get a web site? How much will it cost? If you can't get a web site you will a limited clients. If there is a web site available it should be very reasonable since most are turn-key, one-and-same sites with limited customizing. If there is no turn-key site or you don't want one, are you allowed to build a simple site to direct potential buyers to the main site? What are my limits to advertising?
- Are the product prices reasonable? Are they consumer friendly? If the prices are not reasonable, it does not matter how 'exclusive' they are.
Will you get rich in direct selling? It is doubtful, but if done right, the reward is two-fold, extra spending money and the knowledge that you can hold your own.
Visit these BellaOnline sites, Business Owners and Small Office/Home Office, both have business information for you. See Related Links.