Thursday, March 25, 2010

Direct Sales Career and a Family? Yes You Can!

I just spent the afternoon my grandchildren, and I owe it all to my direct sales business. I recently learned that I can hire my grandchildren to do some light work for me (like putting stickers on catalogs and other literature or addressing party invitations). They love it because they're earning money and believe me, these kids love money! I pay them an hourly rate with half going into their custodial accounts. I love it because I have more time for income-producing activities. But the best part is having another excuse to spend time together. We just spent about two hours this afternoon sitting around the dinner table chatting about nothing in particular and laughing a lot.

That's just one of the many reasons I love direct sales. Not only do I get to schedule my job around my life instead of my life around my job, I can involve my family in my business. I even have friends in direct sales whose husbands help them do their presentations! By finding ways to involve my family in my business, it makes it feel more like the family's business. If you have a family and you've ever wanted to do something just for yourself, you know how quickly you can begin to feel guilty. Your family wants you to be happy, but sometimes they can feel threatened or abandoned. Involving them in your decision to begin a direct selling career and then involving them in your business where possible will alleviate their fears and allow them to support and encourage you in your new venture.

So if you're married or have a significant other, ask them to come along with you when you meet with your recruiting consultant. She'll be more than happy to talk to both of you and answer any questions either of you may have. After all, with your family on-board and supporting you in your new business, there's no limit to what you can achieve!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Planning a wedding? Don't go to the mall, go to your livingroom!

No, I'm not talking about shopping on-line from your couch. I'm talking about shopping from your couch, with your own personal consultant at your side. Sounds expensive? Think again! Today there are thousands of direct sales companies covering just about everything you can imagine. From skin care & make up, jewelry, clothing, candles, home decor, food & cooking, wine ... The list goes on and on! There are even direct sales companies for pet products! I haven't found one for wedding gowns, but I bet if I searched enough, I would.

But back to how this helps you. Just imagine being able to contact an industry professional to help you with whatever you need. Want to coordinate your bridesmaids look? Call a skin care/make up and a jewelry consultant. Need ideas for what to serve at all the parties coming up? Call a wine and food consultant. Buying a new house with your groom and need decorating ideas, or having a home wedding and need to spruce it up a bit? Call a home decor consultant. Many consultants will offer private consultations, at no charge to you. They can "bring the store to your door!"

And they can help you even further. Say you need bridesmaids gifts - host a jewelry party, and you can earn them for a deep discount, or even for free! Want to do something special for your bridesmaids? Have a spa party, a skin and make up party, or a pleasure party. Come to think of it, wouldn't a pleasure party be a fun bachelorette party?! Tons of fun without the expense or drama of hiring a limo to go club hopping.

The possibilities are as endless as your own imagination. There are several resources available to help you find a local consultant. I've listed just a few below, or you can contact your local Direct Selling Women's Alliance (DSWA) chapter (link provided below).

So, don't get off your couch, call a direct sales consultant and let the store come to you!

By the way, even if you're not planning a wedding, you can still get some great products for amazing discounts, or for free, just by hosting a girls night in!

Resources:
DSWA Chapter Listing (just click on your state): http://www.dswa.org/chapter_listing.asp

Listings of Direct Sales Companies:
www.internetbasedmoms.com/direct-sales (a good list with companies listed by category)
http://www.npros.com/homebusinessdirectory.asp (tons of companies, listed alphabetically)
NOTE: I have only included these two listings because they are true lists of direct sales companies. Most lists have links directly to a specific consultant who has paid to be on their list.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Can You Have a Debt-free Holiday with Direct Sales?

It's the Holiday Season, but spirits this year can be a bit low. Experts tell us the recession is over, but budgets are still tight, unemployment is still on the rise, and people are struggling to figure out how to survive the holidays. Many people are turning to direct sales to fill the financial gap, but is this really a viable option? It absolutely can be, but before you take the leap, here are a few things to consider.

Retail sales are on the rise, but consumers aren't expected to spend too much this year. However, that doesn't mean you can't have a successful direct sales business. First you need to decide what product and what company you want to work with. Think about companies you buy products from. You'll be more comfortable selling a product you already use and love, and that will make people more comfortable buying from you. You'll also want to find out what the start-up cost is, whether or not you'll get everything you need for at least your first 5 or 6 shows, and how many parties you'll need to do to recoup the start-up cost (based on average sales).

Next you'll want to make your FRANK list - a list of your Friends, Relatives, Acquaintances, Neighbors, and parents of your Kids friends. Let them know you're starting a home business, and ask them if they'd be willing to help you out by hosting a show. Make sure to stress what they'll get for helping you (the hostess benefits). Be positive and excited - you want to get them excited about hosting a party. You may also want to offer them some incentive for getting 2 or more bookings at their party, such as extra free or discounted product or a discontinued item. This will help dissuade your hostesses from telling their friends "just show up, you don't need to book a show." Your goal is to get 2 or 3 bookings from every party to keep your business going, so you need to get your hostesses working with you.

Now it's time to book your starter show, schedule your first 6 or more shows, and order your kit. The more shows you book at the very start, the better off you'll be. Remember, you will have cancellations, so you want to over-book. Having at least 6 shows scheduled when you start your direct sales business will help get you going strong. Your recruiter will work with you every step of the way, teaching you how to coach your hostesses, how to get bookings at your parties, how to increase your show attendance, etc. It may not be easy - you'll be spending a lot of time on the phone getting bookings, talking to hostesses, getting advice from your recruiter, etc. But if you're willing to put some effort into it, a direct sales business can be a great way to make an extra $1,000 a month or more in just 2 or 3 nights a week!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

How much jewelry is too much?

Ever since I started selling jewelry, my husband has begun to pay more attention to women's jewelry, and is becoming a self-proclaimed expert regarding women's jewelry fashions. As a woman who sells jewelry, I am already a self-proclaimed expert. ;) So we were both shocked while watching a local news program recently when we saw one of the news reporters wearing way too much jewelry. She had on a very large chunky necklace, oversized hoop earrings, big chunky bracelets on each wrist, and a huge ring on each hand. It was so distracting, I don't even remember what segment of the news she was covering! Each piece on it's own was attractive, but the combination was just a mess. Our eyes kept going from the large necklace to the big bracelets to the huge rings - there was no focal point.

And that is the point of jewelry - making a focal point. Jewelry is supposed to accessorize your outfit, not distract from it. It should become a part of a whole look. Wearing one bold statement piece is great and can really spice up an outfit, but the eye needs a focal point - one focal point. Something to draw the attention and make people think "wow, what a great outfit!" I find myself going back to the old rule of thumb - if you have to ask, it's too much. If you're looking at your outfit in the mirror and you have to ask yourself "is this too much," it is. Make sure you've created an whole image by choosing pieces that will complement each other, not fight with each other for attention. Take a step back and look at yourself as though you were looking at a stranger, then ask "what would I think about this outfit if I saw it on a stranger?" You want to look polished and "put together" - you don't want to look like you're playing dress-up.

If our news reporter had worn the necklace without the earrings, one smaller bracelet on one arm, and one of the rings on the opposite hand, she would have made a much more desirable impression. Or she could have worn just the earrings and the big bracelets. Wearing a large bracelet on each wrist can create a balanced look, and is a very popular trend. Remember, keep it simple, wear only one statement piece at a time, and make sure to evaluate your entire outfit before you walk out the door.

Now go knock 'em dead gorgeous!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Necklaces - To layer or not to layer?

There's so much conflicting information out there on how to wear necklaces. Some sites tell you layering is the hot trend, others say keep it minimal. So what's the answer? Well, it depends! Generally one necklace at a time is fine. For example, when you're at work, less really is more. Wearing too much jewelry at work can make a very professional outfit look trashy. Although it is still OK to wear one statement piece, it shouldn't make too much of a statement. But when it's time to trade your flats for heels and go hit the town after work, adding another necklace can take an outfit from office appropriate to nightclub ready. After all, isn't it easier to bring an extra necklace and a pair of shoes to work than to bring a whole new outfit?!

The video below shows 3 different styles, and how to take them from day to night by just adding one or two layers. Play around with the outfits and jewelry you have to see how many new looks you can create. You can easily bring new life to your wardrobe just by mixing up your accessories. And don't be afraid to mix colors ... but that's another blog! Stay tuned!



video

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Is it a party plan, or a pyramid scheme?

So I've finally decided to join the world of blogging, but the question remained - what to blog about? The obvious answer is what you know, but I found the better answer was what do I get asked the most. Being in direct sales and with a "party plan" company, it's a standard part of our presentation to talk about the opportunity with our company. I make it a habit to present the opportunity, then allow guests to ask questions for a chance to win a prize. One of the most frequent questions or remarks I hear is "is it a pyramid?" Which made me realize that very few people understand the difference between a legal multi-level marketing (MLM) company and a pyramid "scheme." This was confirmed when I did a search for "mlm vs pyramid" and got 193,000 results!

I've read many articles and found some good resources to explain the difference, but the most basic answer to "is it an MLM or a pyramid" is this - if you're able to buy a tangible product or service, odds are it's an MLM, which is a legal, legitimate business. If you're presented with an opportunity to subscribe to a service which promises lots of income with little or no work on your part, it's probably a pyramid scheme. Most pyramid's work on the idea of signing lots of people up for a subscription, and they make money off those people and everyone they sign up too. Sounds a lot like any legitimate direct sales business, but here's the difference. Pyramids depend on signing people up, and eventually they'll run out of people and everyone's income stops. There's rarely a tangible product or real service provided, and if there is a product, it's intended to be sold over and over.

For example, I read a story on mlmlegal.com (see link below) about a case of tuna. Party 1 sells a case of tuna to party 2 for $10. Party 2 then sells the case of tuna to party 3 for $20. This continues until party 10 buys it for $500, then complains to party 9, who sold him the tuna, that it was rancid. 9 refers him to 8, and on up the line until he reaches party 1. He complains that the tuna is rancid, and 1 say "so, what's your problem." 9 says again, "this tuna is rancid, it's inedible." 1 says, "well, the way I see it, you don't have a problem." 9 asks "what do you mean? This tuna is inedible! It's worthless!" To which 1 replies, "you don't understand - this tuna is not for eating, it's for selling." That, in a nutshell, is a pyramid scheme.

Multi-level marketing, on the other hand, does have a "pyramid-like" structure - people sign-up, they recruit people and make residual income off their sales and their recruits' sales, and on down the line. But the difference is they are actually selling something real. The income potential is real because, even if they never sign a single recruit, they still earn a commission on their own sales. Now, if you're thinking this still sounds like a scheme, ask yourself this - what does the management structure at your company look like? Does it look a little like, well, a pyramid?! And if you don't like the idea of someone making money off your purchases, here's another question - how many people make money off your purchase when you buy a product from a "brick-and-mortar" retailer? The salaries of everyone employed by that company depend on your purchases, and someone, somewhere, is sitting in their nice mansion that all the money they made from owning that retailer has bought them.

Further, most pyramid schemes will charge you large "membership" or "subscription" fees to join. Although there is typically a fee to join a legal direct sales firm, it is usually fairly small and can be earned back relatively quickly. But it's literally a small price to pay for starting your own business, and most companies will provide you with the samples and materials you need to get started, as well as ongoing training and support. It's a very economical, easy way for anyone to own their own business. And the money won't just "come rolling in," any legitimate business requires work, but with direct sales you are able to set your own hours, decide for yourself how much you want to work, and set your goals to achieve whatever level of success you wish to reach with whatever company you're with. For those who are not afraid to work and are able to move up within their companies, the income potential is phenominal!

So, the next time someone approaches you with an opportunity, whether to host a home party or to consider the opportunity with their company, ask a few questions to determine whether it's a legal multi-level marketing company or a pyramid scheme before you say yes or no. And remember, by buying products and services through party plan and direct sales representatives, you're not fattening the wallet of some mega-millionaire, you're helping a hard working individual to feed their own family, and to truly live the American dream of owning their own business.

SOURCES:
http://www.stopspam.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=51&Itemid=63
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/768049/pyramid_schemes_vs_mlm_defined.html
http://www.usatoday.com/money/perfi/columnist/lamb/0006.htm
http://www.mlmlegal.com/pyramid.html
http://www.fraud.org/pyramids/pyramid_mlm.htm