So, what do you think about MLM/Direct Sales/Network Marketing? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 16 Old 05-14-2007, 01:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm just curious.

I have had some modest success selling for a direct sales company in the past that has since folded.

Do you ever buy products through direct sales consultants? I actually kind of enjoy going to home parties and will usually buy something (even if it's inexpensive.) So I'm not anti-MLM. I was never a high pressure sales person or active recruiter. In fact, I would be so honest with potential recruits even if it meant losing the lead - because I would hate to have someone regret signing up.

Do you think MLM is a good option for moms who want to earn extra money at home? Thoughts? Opinions?
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#2 of 16 Old 05-22-2007, 05:22 PM
 
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Having sold Avon for 6 1/2 years I like it and have had a lot of customers who like it too.

And I've bought from Pampered Chef, Tupperware and other companies as well.

I was always truthful with customers too and because I hate high pressure sales I didn't give them high pressure to buy. I did make sure I asked for the sale though which is important. It's up to them to say 'Yes' or 'No'. Not asking for the sale can often lead to lost sales so be sure to follow up with phone calls for orders.

Oh, and I always made sure they knew they could get samples from me and backorder from the last campaign. Things like that make a difference.
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#3 of 16 Old 05-22-2007, 05:34 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for responding and resurrecting my 'dead' post! ;-)

Congrats on many good years with Avon! Yes, asking for the sale is important! There is a difference between not wanting to be a pushy salesperson or just not having the confidence to think anyone would want to buy what you are selling.

We have a decently successful home business already - but I struggle between wanting to start another party plan business for extra money. Sometimes I feel like NOBODY really makes any decent money from it, and other times I do think there is potential if you want to work for it. I certainly don't have room in my life for a hobby - but something with real potential. I am currently an Usborne consultant, but haven't sold or bought anything in over a year.

I am hoping to hear more opinions on the subject!
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#4 of 16 Old 05-22-2007, 11:02 PM
 
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I think most of them have the potential for anyone to make money, but you have to really work and stay on top of everything.

And I do buy from people. I like going to parites, and I like supporting people's businesses. And I've done a few myself with moderate success.

Doing my best every day with DH , DD (11) , and DS (4)

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#5 of 16 Old 05-24-2007, 09:59 AM
 
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Originally Posted by marisa View Post
Sometimes I feel like NOBODY really makes any decent money from it, and other times I do think there is potential if you want to work for it. I certainly don't have room in my life for a hobby - but something with real potential. I am currently an Usborne consultant, but haven't sold or bought anything in over a year.
To make money you have to work at it. Also I think it depends on your product, the price point and the clientele you have.

For a while there with Avon I was making money, as I expanded more and more, more and more money went to coffee, lunch, diesel, etc. Also after about two years people were totally stocked up on personal body care products and didn't need to buy as regularly. Once the prices on the giftables and lifestyle products went up people didn't buy them as much as they could get them cheaper at Walmart. :

The key is finding products that are used up so you get the repeat sales. That's where getting people onto skincare products can really help boost your income. And weeding out the customers who take up too much of your time and money because they don't buy often enough or want to tell you their life story every time you bring their order over.

It is always evolving, I had to remember to be flexible and realize I was selling to make money. Once I realized that I was able to make the changes I needed to make and things were better.
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#6 of 16 Old 05-24-2007, 12:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The Wal Mart thing brings up another issue - it's tough to find a company that doesn't just offer things people can't just normally buy at Target or Wal Mart. That was a good thing about Usborne, because unless you are buying from a consultant - you can't get the full range of 1300+ titles. But now even Amazon can hurt your sales now that they are doing bookfairs and many customers just go buy their Usborne books used. The beauty of a home party though is that you can earn free books. In investigating other companies, I see alot of imported junk and stuff I can't imagine promoting.
The recommendation you make about consumables is a good one.


And here is my words of advice to anyone reading - I would be be very careful about joining a company that has been in business less than five years. I was a consultant for two different new companies that closed down business. Your investment and hard work is completely wasted. In looking at the My Mommy Biz listing of party plan companies, new ones are added probably every week, and I guarantee in two years most of them will have folded. These businesses don't plan for growth and are often undercapitalized.
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#7 of 16 Old 05-25-2007, 02:12 PM
 
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Other things to also think about are :

Are the products consumable-meaning are you going to get repeat orders or is it more of an occacional-seasonal thing

And how easy is it to order. I myself have two small children and will order online before I call someone with my ds and dd going wild and screaming in the background
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#8 of 16 Old 05-25-2007, 02:55 PM
 
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I like the MLM that I am involved with now for 3 important reasons

1) There is no expectation or advantage to carrying inventory
2) Everything ships directly to the customer so that I don't have to pack things up or drive all over town
3) I can work it at whatever pace is good for me (which is 1 party a month right now) and that's a-okay.

I've been involved in 2 MLMs in the past and what made them incompatible with my lifestyle was the expectation to carry inventory and having to get product to the customer after a party.

Since I don't have to put any money into inventory, the only thing I have to buy is catalogs from time to time and those are cheap. I put profit right into our savings account and that's a nice little bundle that keeps growing.

So, some are great and some are terrible but I think the key is finding one that fits with your lifestyle.
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#9 of 16 Old 05-25-2007, 09:47 PM
 
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I buy from one direct sales company because i have not been able to find products better than what they sell relating to my health. I was involved with the company from a business standpoint as well, so i ahve a lot of "inside" info I guess, and really trust the products. I'm not longer in the business side of thigns though.

I'm mixed. Part of me doesn't feel like it's a real business if it's direct sales. Having a business of my own that does not involve direct sales, I feel much more confident selling my own things and being responsible for my own business than I do selling for someone else - what woudl you do if you realised the company had lied to you, and as a result, you had lied to your customers? I've seen this happen with other companies, and I had proof of other companies continuing to do this while i was involved in direct sales, and it just made me feel that direct sales businesses just aren't "real" and i do try to avoid them. You have no control over anything but your own end, and yru own end it s teeny tiny peice of the pie compared to the rest of the company. Granted, mainstream "real" businesses do lie too, so you really have to do your research, but when you buy mainstream you aren't responsible for lieing to your own customers, just being lied to. What do you do if customers have repeated trouble with the main company with billing or shipping? You have no control over that end usually. What if the company is driving more and more people away because of their service or product, do you just quit and find another company? Then you're looked upon as a "jack of all trades" and people run when you come near them because they don't want a sales pitch or to hear about the newest business you've just signed up with. lol.

But, and this is just me, I'd rather support a local or small business than a direct sales business if I can. I realise that there are products out there that are unbeatable in direct sales, which is why I continue to buy through one company. But those products are few and few between.


Are direct sales a good way for a mom to make money? It really depends on who you know, how much money the company will require you pay into them to start, and then each month before you get a paycheck, if you really believe in the products, if they're something people are going to come back toyou to buy again and again, if the company is reputable, and what your local competition is in nearby stores. For a hobby, they probably work well. but it takes a really long long time (and a lot of time) to really be successful enough for it to start paying for its self and to build up a solid customer base and all of that. Small businesses take along time to become successful also, and there are expenses involved with them too... So it just depends on the moms situation I guess.
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#10 of 16 Old 05-25-2007, 11:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by StormySar View Post
I feel much more confident selling my own things and being responsible for my own business than I do selling for someone else - But, and this is just me, I'd rather support a local or small business than a direct sales business if I can. I realise that there are products out there that are unbeatable in direct sales, which is why I continue to buy through one company. But those products are few and few between.
Yes, I do really agree with this; I feel much more pride selling my own goods that we make. And people are usually more open and interested with a business that is your own. There's not that MLM stigma that immediately puts people on guard.

I'm just a little burned out from manufacturing my product - even though I know we did really well last summer when I was stocking alot...I'm just not as inspired anymore and have been going through alot of sickness during this pregnancy. I need something easier. I love retail, but my house is tiny and I can't keep inventory in my home.
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#11 of 16 Old 05-26-2007, 12:02 AM
 
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Originally Posted by marisa View Post
Do you think MLM is a good option for moms who want to earn extra money at home? Thoughts? Opinions?
I think Mom's can make money but they need to put in time. I don't think there are any get rich quick plans out there (and I wouldn't trust a company that says there were). I think you would need to believe in/love what you sell (that way if you don't make money you can enjoy the stuff ) and research the company and what they are about.

StormySar - I am curious why you don't feel like direct marketing isn't a real business?
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#12 of 16 Old 05-26-2007, 08:44 AM
 
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Believe me, after having both my own business and being involved in a direct sales company; The direct sales is much easier for me. And probably for many people. I sell Natural and Organic Skin Care under my own label. Right now, I have to purchase wholesale products, mix, bottle, label, sell, keep up my website, keep up on the latest trends, it is very time consuming.And not worth the $ per hour when it all gets figured out. And I have had my wholesalers tell me one thing about % of ingredients and then turn around and say something different. I only deal with reputable wholesalers that I have researched -so that can happen with any business- I think that either way, direct sales/mlm or your own creations if you have pride in what you are doing and believe in what you are selling that is what will matter most.
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#13 of 16 Old 06-01-2007, 06:20 PM
 
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I believe in direct sales b/c I believe it's set up how women "work." Meaning, we tend to ask people for advice, listen to each other, etc. This is what direct sales is. That being said, there are some important points to consider:
1. You MUST believe in your product. Then it's not sales. It's sharing.
2. You do have to put in time in order to succeed. The most successful person IRL I know does Pampered Chef as a fulltime job. But she has no kids and no childcare issues. Though you are working at home, if parties are essential to your success, you have to do them.
3. Direct sales success is a snowball. Starts out small and slow. Then, when you are established, it takes off. Parties beget parties. And when you do need time off (baby coming, vacation, etc), it can sustain for a little while on its own. But you must build the foundation to see that happen.
4. Establish yourself as the professional in whatever it is your selling. People will seek your advice and remember you. Remembering you means future sales!

I guess that's it for now. I could probably write more, but that's the meat of it!

Zia+Lane+Sonora=Mi Vida Loca! :
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#14 of 16 Old 06-01-2007, 06:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Amylee, I recognize you from a couple of businesses you have had - MOE and Clever Kingdom, right?
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#15 of 16 Old 06-01-2007, 06:48 PM
 
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Yep, I have. I did GREAT with MOE. A nice downline and sold pretty consistently. Then they shut down their direct sales arm. CK I didn't do any parties or anything. I signed up for the discount, as I was already busy with other business ventures. Then they started having all kinds of problems, so it was good I never pursued it.

I think somebody else already mentioned it, but companies do shut down or change their sales model. Just like NFB, which I moved to after MOE. It was disappointing, but I took it as a sign it was time to shift focus for me.

Zia+Lane+Sonora=Mi Vida Loca! :
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#16 of 16 Old 06-01-2007, 06:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I did good with NFB and was very disappointed when I started having trouble with them taking 2 months to send out an order. Then they shut it down altogether.

I felt bad for the people who spent alot of money and time investment in building big downlines and then all of the sudden, it's over.

I also signed up with Marlo Quinn, who sold mineral makeup, all natural body care and soy candles. They filed for bankruptcy early this year.
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