Monday, June 15, 2009

What's Your Back Up Plan?

Recently I've seen several articles like this one talking about how the ranks of direct sales companies are increasing due to the economy. And I have also observed many people signing up for these opportunities to make some extra cash. I have been a part of direct sales industry myself for over 27 years. I signed up the first time in 1969 to make some extra money to buy an area rug for my living room and to send my children to kindergarten. It was hard work, but I reaped the benefits and I was very successful. I was able to be with my children, take them to their after school activities, etc. I won trips, jewelry, furs, silver, and bought four new cars, among other things for my family. I did the home parties, placed the orders, put together the orders, delivered the orders, etc. It was hard work, but I loved the benefits especially the trips. Even walked away with a substantial amount of money which we used for a down payment on a larger home with a pool. Things changed (life happened) and I decided to pursue something else, the corporate job.

I did the corporate thing. Went to work for a company that boasted they never laid anyone off. Well in the mid-90s that changed. This got me to thinking. I needed a back up plan. I had been successful in direct sales before, I could do it again. I decided on the company and after the second call to the representative, she agreed to come out and talk with me and my husband. I ordered my inventory, a lot of it, and started my part-time business. Eight years later my company (the corporate job), after being bought out for the second time, offered me early retirement. I took it with the plan of working on my part-time business full time. Back to the home parties, placing orders, delivering orders, stocking inventory, etc., etc. I didn't have quite the same success as the first time, but I did advance in the ranks, won a couple of trips, jewelry, and other awards.

Which brings me to the present. Along the way with the above company I discovered another service that I signed up for that I could use to help make my life easier to send invitations, thank you cards, birthday cards, etc. which was an on-line greeting card service. My intention was to use the service for my current business. Well like anything else, I started telling my friends and family about it and they decided to start using it. After signing up a few people and receiving my commission, I looked more closely at the compensation plan. Didn't take me long to make some changes in my focus. No home parties, no inventory, no deliveries, a service everyone needs and uses, both men and women, it's international, costs less than you can buy the product at the store, it's fun and easy, all I needed was a phone and a computer and people to talk to. These are just some of the reasons why I'm excited about the service I offer today! Even my daughter told me, 'Mom this just suits you better.' I totally agree.

Why am I writing this you ask? The article that I referenced in the beginning could just as well be written about the greeting card business, it's just that the companies mentioned have been around longer. Here is my advice to anyone considering the direct sales, network marketing, MLM business, etc.:

- Find a product/service you love first and foremost
- Something you will use - at least if you love it and use it, you will receive the benefit of a discount for yourself
- Consider the price of the product/service. Can a comparable product/service be purchased elsewhere at a lower price?
- Something you will feel proud to present to your family and friends
- Consider your target audience - Who will you sell your product/service to
- How will you sell your products - Are you required to hold home parties? Stock inventory? Think about the time and expense of travel and the inventory for demonstration products.
- Costs to get started and what is included in the price
- Consider subsequent administrative and other costs - monthly charges for websites, marketing material, yearly fees, training, etc.
- Basic requirements to remain active
- Ongoing support from your sponsor - someone who is going to be there when you need them
- Any meeting attendance requirements
- Training - How much training is required before getting started
- How long will it take to re-coup your investment?
- Understand the compensation plan and how you will receive payment - in products, credits, money, and at what intervals
- Consider the integrity of the company - how long in business, management, debt, growth, testimonials of other representatives.

Having been in the industry, I will say there are some good and not so good companies out there, just do your 'due diligence' before signing up. Don't be blinded by the glamour and the hype of making tons of money overnight. I will be the first to tell you that yes you can make money, earn awards, trips, etc., however it takes time, work, and persistence. For the majority, it doesn't just happen (overnight). But when it does happen there's no greater feeling of accomplishment and success.

Yes, I love where I am now and love offering this wonderful service to others.

If you would like to know more about what I'm excited about, Click Here.

I would also love to hear your comments regarding your experience with direct sales, network marketing, MLM, etc.

To Your Success!
Painted Lady Enterprises
"Helping You and Your Business Look Good"



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