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direct sales

Four years ago, I started really paying attention to a friend’s Facebook posts. She kept advertising a skincare company she was working for, built by the two dermatologists who created ProActive. It was called Rodan and Fields. She told me she was making lots of money, and that this company had changed her life and her family’s financial situation. (And truly, for her, it had.) After asking questions for like three months, I decided to jump on board. It was a pretty large buy-in cost, but, with her help, I did make that money back within three months.

I’m still with Rodan and Fields. I still work with this same woman. She’s awesome and super encouraging. I have clients, and my paycheck pays for my kids preschool tuition. It’s how I contribute when I don’t have a paying writing job. (And for those of you who are freelancers and artists, you know that consistent work is hard to find.) It’s a fantastic side gig. A little work here and there, and I make a paycheck.

When I first started working with Rodan and Fields, there weren’t too many direct sales reps out there. Some of my friends sold Thirty-One, and others sold Tupperware. I’d been to a few parties here and there, but it wasn’t super overwhelming. But over the last few years, the direct sales market has taken off.

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Photo Credit: dsa.org

Between Shakeology, (Beachbody), Jamberry, Rodan and Fields, Thirty-One, Arbonne, Beauty Counter, Younique, and now, LulaRoe, it seems many of my friends are invested in some type of company or another. We all know how much I love the LulaRoe brand, and I love Younique make-up. Of course, Rodan and Fields is my go-to for skin care. I’ve also tried Shakeology, and do like it. So this is not a post about slamming direct sales, or network marketing, or anyone who chooses to make money this way. Obviously. I’ve done it for years now so I get it. I really do.

What really intrigues me though, is why these direct sales models are skyrocketing. Who are these companies targeting to be their sales reps and why? I think they’re looking for women in their thirties, women who are stay at home moms, women who need a little extra cash, women who don’t necessarily have a lot of time or desire to work outside the home, but who want to have a purpose larger than their household. Allure, in their article on the success of the Rodan and Fields business model, said that a Rodan and Fields consultants, “is probably a mother in her thirties or forties who needs a flexible job.” This is the demographic for consultants. Why? We have a little extra time. We talk to a lot of people. We usually need the money, and we want a little extra purpose.

When I see my daily Facebook feed  inundated with various selling strategies, I wonder what we’re all really doing. Why are we doing this? Yes, we’re doing it to be able to spend time with our families, make extra money, and share a product we’re in love with, but beyond that, what is our actual why? For some of us, maybe in this world of being needed all the time and having no personal time, we need a goal to reach, a feeling that we’re contributing, a sense that we’re part of a team or a company, even if that just means we share similar social media strategies and get on weekly business calls. It makes us feel relevant. We all need that as moms sometimes. To feel that our worth is not just wrapped up in the way we smear peanut butter on bread or fold four loads of laundry. We helped someone find an outfit they love, we helped them choose make-up to feel more confident, we gave them advice for a skin care line that will help erase sun damage. We feel like we’re contributing.  When someone tells me they’re happier because the eye cream is perfect, I feel proud to be doing this as a part time job.

Demographics and statistics say the sales market is changing. Direct sales is taking off. Why? Because it can all be done from your computer or your phone. BUT. Sometimes I have to wonder. All this energy we’re putting into direct sales, what is our big WHY. Financial independence? Maybe. But becoming a multimillionaire- that probably won’t happen. Those of us in direct sales all know people who have been successful. But it’s not everyone. So why are we spending so much time selling someone else’s products? I have to wonder, in the end, is the joke on us?

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photo credit: Internet computer business via photopin (license)

2 thoughts on “A Direct Sales Confession

  1. Not sure what the answer is to these questions, but it’s a fascinating social experiment to watch! Like you, my FB feed is full of direct sales these days… Funny – I didn’t even know you are a R+F rep!

    1. a social experiment…that’s definitely a fantastic way of putting it! And yup.. going on five years now ;)

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