As a Shop Girl I completely support anyone willing to dive into direct sales. After all, it is the gateway drug into strategic sales and job opportunities where charisma is key. It forces the consultant to step out of their comfort zone and stand for something without having to put their family’s livelihoods on the line. Reps are granted the flexibility to call the shots, to practice self-discipline, and stretch their legs into leadership. This shopgirl attributes much of her rapid success in retail to her start with PartyLite as a college kid.
That being said, in my stint as a PartyLite rep, I was not a small business owner. I never felt that way despite the endless efforts of those higher on the pyramid attempting to influence me that I “owned” this destiny. Indeed I did own my personal destiny, but as far as PartyLite was concerned I was a glorified manager, without any of the perks of professional training or a storefront.
According to the SBA a small business should make less than 7.5 million dollars annually. Or have 500 or fewer employees. A small business is considered an opportunity for the community more than it is for the shop owners.
The Positive Products of a Small Business:
- Employ local individuals
- Pay into local taxes
- A dream coming to life
- Developing/maintaining prosperous neighborhoods
- Reflection and Representation of the community
- Inhabited Real Estate
Many direct sells leaders will tell their consultants that since their reps technically have no manager that means they practically operate their own small business. Considering these facts one may think of just the small fraction of the income they make or the few amount of consultants on their team and they are wowed by this illusion that they have their own small business. That is not the case though, and here is why.
- Profit Does Not Impact Local Community:
- If an employee works for Scentsy the majority of their profit does not go to their pocket but to Meridian, Idaho (well unless you are one of the 75k that live in Meridian). Which means your Scentsy purchase has contributed to the 100-500 million dollar business that is not being dispersed within your own prosperous neighborhood, but more your consultant’s prosperous household and a far more beautiful Meridian.
- No Huge Stakes:
- If a rep invests to sell LuLaRoe, their 5,000 dollar investment that seems to take forever to pay off, does not equal the struggle of a small business owner who placed their home up for collateral. When a LLR consultant pulls out it’s just a headache on their bank account, and if it is more than that they should have sought a direct seller with a far lower buy in.
- No Ultimate Decision Power:
- A Mary Kay rep has no real say in their product, only the illusion of say as they are granted the ability to pick and purchase their own inventory. Beyond this Mary Kay Reps have no real power in major decisions on who produces the product or what that product contains. They do not own the business, and it is not a small one.
So, while I respect the effort and push it requires to make money without a storefront, I also find my stomach churning when I have my Facebook feed filled with Scentsy and LulaRoe Reps posting memes that encourage you to “Shop Small” or “Shop Local” by supporting their endeavors. And though I have picked on Scentsy, LuLaRoe, and Mary Kay, they are almost all fantastic companies to consider for those who are interested in direct sales.
Also if you are already in direct sales, or if you are considering it, here are some additional tips to help your personal endeavors succeed!