The Advantages & Disadvantages of Direct Selling
Why You Should Consider Direct Marketing
There are many misconceptions about direct marketing, direct sales and multi-level marketing. This article is an overview of some of the advantages and disadvantates involved in direct selling.
One year ago I was approached by a friend about joining her in the new Rodan + Fields Dermatologist business opportunity. I politely declined and explained I had worked with The Southwestern Company, Avon, Shaklee, and several other companies that involved network marketing, direct sales or in-home parties. My experience at that time was that while you could make a few hundred dollars a month in these companies as well as have a lot of fun with the products, there was not a great deal of income potential or security in multi-level marketing. I was wrong.
In today's uncertain economy with so many businesses closing or downsizing, for a person who is self motivated, direct sales has become one of the most stable types of jobs to have with many advantages:
You Are Your Own Boss
Instead of depending upon the whims of a boss or manager, or building a business for someone else who might cut you lose at any time, in direct marketing, you are building for your own future by building your own business. Although a good product and good brand are necessary, most of direct sales depends on you and your own work ethic, not on the whims of others. And since you are your best employee, the chances of you firing or laying off yourself are very slim.
You Set Your Own Hours
Need to come in late one day? Fine. Need the day off? OK. Need to move your vacation up a week or extend it by a couple of days? No problem. Just make sure you keep the appointments you set and treat your schedule like the work schedule it is.
Direct Selling Historically Does Well in a Down Economy
While the sale of big-ticket items falls off during a bad economy, and people may avoid stores and malls, direct sales of low to middle-priced items usually does well in a poor economy. Even in a bad economy, people have some disposable income, and while they may not be in the market for a house, car, or entertainment center, a smaller-priced item brought straight to their house, workplace or computer is more likely to be purchased.
Direct Selling Disadvantages
In addition to not being able to manage your time wisely, the disadvantages include getting involved with a company with a weak product line, poorly-recognized brand, inadequate pay plan, little or no training, or a company that has either gone into debt to get started or already saturated the market with their products.
Finding the Right Direct Selling Company
There are some good reputable direct marketing companies out there. In the case of my friend and her direct selling business, she was offering me the chance to get in on the ground floor of a company that was not only just getting started with a new division of anti-aging skincare products, but that had already established another business and recognizable brand -- Proactiv Solution. Because of the success of Proactiv, Rodan + Fields Dermatologists is already financially solvent with a track-record of success, a recognizable brand, excellent training, great compensation plan, and moderate-priced products in the growing skin care industry, proof that there truly are some good business opportunities out there with successful, reputable businesses. 
The right direct marketing business combined with a self-motivated, disciplined personality is a formula for success in direct sales.