Before you begin an at-home business, it’s a great idea to do some research into the various direct marketing companies before you sign on the dotted line. If you’re naturally self-motivated and have basic business and social skills, you’re already ahead of the curve and can make really good money with the right company. Of course, you should only join forces with a company that carries the type of products you actually use and enjoy; otherwise, what’s the point? I venture that it would be easier to get Michael Moore to vote Republican than it would be to sell products you don’t care about.
In fact, when you begin your own at-home business, you’ll quickly discover that you’ll be branded with the company you represent. If you aren’t eager to share your affiliation, then you might as well throw in the towel before you ever invest. The more faith you have in your products, the more believable and convincing you’ll be when you share what you have to offer. And, the more receptive your potential customers will be to what you have to say.
- Make sure the company provides actual products or services. How long has the company been in business? In other words, is it a “tried and true” or reputable company? Will potential customers understand what it is you’re offering them or will they be asking, “What the heck is that?” all the time.
- Be sure that you agree with the company’s mission statement. It should be one you agree with and can stand behind. Are they aligned with any charity you support or disapprove of on a personal level?
- Know what type(s) of national advertising the company does. Do they invest in marketing their own products or services, or are you going to be expected to do all of the marketing on your own? Any time you have your own business, you will be expected to invest in Self-Promotion, but the company should be promoting the brand itself.
- Find out what the initial investment will cost you. If it’s money you’re willing to only recoup (via the discount for buying the products for yourself) within the first few selling cycles, then great. If it’s a very large initial investment, or any amount that would be difficult to recoup, you may want to seriously consider other options. If they insist that you pre-purchase and carry inventory, require that you sell large minimum amounts before you’re compensated, or that you make hefty financial investments in stocking up or purchasing products before you even have a client base, RUN for the hills.
- Understand and be comfortable with the company’s compensation plan. Will you be collecting money up front from customers or does all of the money go directly to the company … which means you’ll be waiting around for a commission check. You’ll want to know exactly how and how often you’ll be getting your pay.
- Never sign up through the company directly. This sounds counter-intuitive, but believe me, you’ll want to be linked to someone who is taking their business seriously enough to recruit and develop a downline and who is going to be on the same “front lines” in the day-to-day operations that you are –not some pencil-pushing fat cat sitting behind a desk at corporate. (No offense to the fat cats at corporate, but they rarely understand what it’s really like to be “in the field” of real world selling experience.)
- Speak with several Representatives of the company, not just the one who wants to recruit you. Ask to speak to a few of their downline members in order to get a more honest appraisal of what to expect. How does this leader mentor their team/downline? Are they readily available to their team or are they difficult to get hold of when you need them?
- Be sure it’s something that you can actually SELL. Many direct selling companies offer “luxury items” (body wraps, time-shares, etc.). Make sure that you’re offering a product that consumers actually want or need. Is it a “one-time” buy? This makes it difficult to build a customer base. Or, is it a consumable? (makeup, skin care, vitamins, etc.). This is something that the same customers will come back to you for, time and time again — provided you offer them excellent service.
Once you have done your research and feel comfortable moving forward, dive in and have fun! You really will enjoy the flexibility, indepence, and freedom (not to mention the discounts) that being an independent representative affords!