Creating a new income stream
I love exploring and sharing ideas on new ways of creating an income. So here’s another option.
Today we’ll delve into Direct Sales, and its close cousin Multi-Level or Network Marketing.
I can hear some of you gasp. Maybe you’ve already decided this isn’t for you? Please hang on a minute, put those quick judgements aside and read this 2-minute article.
To start, much of what makes this form of self-employment attractive is:
- You are the boss.
- You select your own goals and KPI’s.
- You decide on how you want to spend your time.
- You get to choose your clients.
It’s all up to you and no one is going to move the goal posts! Does that sound attractive?
In this post we’ll go through some of the jargon, show you what to look for when considering opportunities, and why it’s such a great option for over 50s.
Have you noticed how in your 50s, your colleagues are getting younger and younger?
Nothing wrong with that, of course, but if you wanted a change of employer, there’s a good chance you’ll find that you are no longer an attractive prospect to an employer. Crazy, I know, but true! So, you might have to stay where you are because you’re not in control of the decision!
That’s why my friend decided to become self-employed. She wanted to be in control and to know that as long as she did the work she’d be rewarded. And she knew that she’d continue to earn even if she slowed down a bit.
Here’s her story and how she chose her network marketing path – it might save you some time.
What is Network Marketing?
It is a marketing strategy designed to provide two revenue streams: from direct sales to customers; and from commission based on the sales of recruited team members. Team members are also known as down line distributors or business builders. Network marketers are expected to sell products directly to consumers by means of relationship referrals and word of mouth marketing. They are also incentivised to recruit others to join the company as distributors.
It is possible to make a steady income from Network Marketing and similar work and there are a lot of options to choose from. When looking at any option check out:
- the compensation plan
- the saturation level of the product
- the relevance of the product to your target market
- the company itself – support, training, communication, ethics, etc
These differ greatly from company to company. Look for one that provides residual income as well as income arising from your sales volume each month.
This is what you get paid on a regular basis for work you’ve already done. For example;
- Rental income from a portfolio of properties
- Dividends and Interest from Investments
With network marketing the residual income comes from the activity within the organisation that you have built. This is where you need to look closely at the rules…
In some network marketing companies the residual income peters out very quickly if you stop working!
You might have to achieve a certain level of personal sales volume each month in order to qualify for payment of your organisational commission.
Look for a scheme where the company enables longer term residual income from what you have built and from the people you have inspired, coached and mentored along the way.
If you live in a small town and your product range is limited then saturation can be reached quite quickly if there is a very active team leader and team at work. All credit to them but if you join them you might find that a lot of the people you talk to are already customers. Saturation!
Relevance to Your Target Market
First, what is your target market? You can answer this by knowing who you are interested in, who you are comfortable with and what you care about and love to talk about. For example, if you’re passionate about animal rights you probably won’t want to be involved with cosmetics companies whose products are tested on animals.
My friend is interested in the environment and in wellness so she likes to talk to like-minded people whether they are young or old, male or female. She tried a cosmetics company but got really bored and started to lose her energy and enthusiasm because her target market was confined to women who like skin care and make up. She happens to enjoy hanging out with men too, and with families, and pets. Diversity!
Who to Choose
It seems that most of the network marketing companies are based in Europe or USA with some sort of Australasian base somewhere in Australia. You can’t change that but you can check things out:
- How much support will you get?
- How much real product information is available?
- What sort of reputation has the company got?
(But be careful of info you find on the internet – ask around too and make your own mind up)
Explaining The Jargon
There are lots and lots of terms that are used to describe this kind of work – here’s three of them:
- Multi-Level Marketing (MLM)
- Network Marketing
- Direct Sales
However, they are all similar in that they involve selling products to people and building a downline (or network or organisation) of people who will consume AND sell products.
My friend has looked at a few over the years and none of them have really done it for her. She found that most of them have a narrow product range – cosmetics (e.g. Nutrimetics, Avon, Mary K); candles and essential oils (e.g. Scentsy, doTerra); health supplements (e.g. Isagenix, Mannatech).
But she wanted a broad range of products that make sense to a lot of people so none of these were the answer for her.
She also wanted a company that works hard to provide support, to protect its reputation and vision.
She was determined to work from home and eventually settled on a different approach altogether – Consumer Direct Marketing with Melaleuca.com. This is a patented business model whereby the marketing executives talk to people about environmental and personal wellness.
If people want to use the products then they open their own accounts and shop directly with Melaleuca and it’s more like a shopping club in that sense.
She Does Not Sell Products!
90% of these customers are just that – customers, and they shop every month. They are men and women of all ages, most with families, so my friend gets to talk to a very wide range of people about things that matter – the environment, our food chain, our health and so on.
Some of Melaleuca’s customers are also business builders (my friend included), earning a living. All they have to do is keep telling the Melaleuca story and keep helping their team members tell the Melaleuca story. As a business model it’s a simple and effective alternative to MLM and it is immeasurably easier than Direct Sales.
No taking orders, no packing up and delivering people’s orders, no collecting money, no returns handling, – the list is long.
It’s also easier than Party Plan sales where you have to pack up and take your range of products with you to each appointment (Tupperware, Intimo, etc.) and you look like you’ve come for the weekend!
The best success comes down to discipline and hard work, coupled with a passion for helping people.
You Plan Your Own Day. How Awesome Is That?
My friend likes to get up really early and take her coffee to her office where she works for a couple of hours. She tells me that for her that is a wonderful time of quiet and focus and energy.
Then she takes a break to have breakfast, have a shower and do a few chores. Then she’s on to the phone or off to her appointments. It’s idyllic really! Imagine, no commuting!
BUT this is only a benefit if you approach your work with discipline and structure. Otherwise you’ll end up either working seven days a week and all hours or, just as bad, putting things off until tomorrow (which never comes of course) and getting nothing done.
Stick With Your Values
My friend chose Melaleuca because she found that the approach was tried and true and seemed to work all over the world.
She found that the approach was simple. It’s explained, taught, and defined clearly and simply and as long as she sticks to what works, she knows it’ll be successful.
She really liked the wide and relevant product range. The potential for residual income looked stronger and more durable than other plans.
And she likes the people! She found that the company and its people have substance and integrity and that there is a genuine and consistent intention to help people.
So, she’s happy and loving life over 50!