Recently, our industry has been under attack by an investment analyst named Bill Ackman. He is convinced that direct selling is a scam and pyramid scheme (even though the FTC has already ruled that direct sales is a legitimate business model) that preys on the “financially unsophisticated” and “lowest income people.” It appears that Mr. Ackman believes this because he thinks that unless you are making millions of dollars, you are not successful in direct selling.
What Mr. Ackman fails to recognize is the fact that direct sellers define their success in many different ways. Sure, the potential is there to make a lot of money. But you’d better be prepared to work long hours for many years to make that happen (just like with any entrepreneurial venture.) Plus, you have to be good at it. (Not everyone is, just like with any entrepreneurial venture.)
The fact is, many people join direct sales businesses for reasons OTHER than making a lot of money. They are not joining to put that kind of time in. Instead, they are looking for a SUPPLEMENTAL income…something they can do in their spare time. Or perhaps they are just looking for discounts on products they would use anyway. Or a social outlet. Or personal development. There are all kinds of reasons people join, and many of these people consider themselves successful because they reach the goals they’ve set for themselves, while enjoying some personal development along the way.
If you’d like to show Mr. Ackman that your definition of success is just as legitimate as his, I invite you to participate in a project I’ve started, called “I Am Direct Selling.” It’s a Tumblr blog where people can share their direct sales success stories. And the stories that have already been shared are incredibly compelling. Here’s one that’s already been posted:
One of the great lessons of Direct Sales is not to measure your success by that of any other rep in your company. When you meet the goals that YOU set out to achieve, then you are a success. Whether those goals are earning a few hundred extra dollars a month, an incredible vacation, becoming debt free, gaining new skills, making a positive difference in the lives of others or making a six figure income. There are as many goals as there are direct sales companies to join. And honestly, if you are in direct sales as long as I have been (17 years) with Usborne Books and More, your goals will change over time. Being successful will look different from year to year – and it’s so much more than income level.
I love this industry because it builds people up and encourages continuous improvement and trust among co-workers, rather than constant competition and office politics. It recognizes growth and performance with rewards, recognition and increased income, rather than extra responsibility with a little pat on the back and no raise. It provides the flexibility that allows us to put what we value most in life first and plan our work life to honor those values. It provides incredible income opportunity for those who want it, and reaps great financial rewards for those who are willing to help others find the success they desire.
It’s easy to pass judgment on an industry from the outside. Those of us on the inside of Direct Sales understand our success is not tied to the definitions of any investment analyst. Our success is tied to our determination to touch our business each day and reach the goals we set forth to achieve within our chosen company.
You can read more of these inspiring success stories here: http://iamdirectselling.tumblr.com/ When you click the titles of individual posts, you can like and share them with the buttons at the bottom.
If you consider yourself successful in your direct selling business, and love what the business has done for your life, I encourage you to briefly share your story here: http://iamdirectselling.tumblr.com/submit Remember, this is not a place to promote your business opportunity. Rather, it’s a place that direct sellers from throughout the industry can share their own definitions of success, and show that you are not being somehow “duped.” And PLEASE remember to sign your name at the bottom of your story!
Don’t let anyone discount the success you’ve experienced because it doesn’t meet their narrow definition. Let’s fill the web with our direct sales success stories. My vision is to collect hundreds or even thousands of these stories, to show Mr. Ackman how powerful and beneficial this business model is. Won’t you join me? Please share yours here: http://iamdirectselling.tumblr.com/submit and then pass it on to everyone you know in direct selling. If you tweet about it, please add the hashtag #IAmDirectSelling.
Let’s create a movement. We ARE direct selling!