What Does It Take to Be a Successful Direct Seller?

Thinking about a career in direct sales or network marketing? Wondering if it’s right for you? What does it really take?

Sure you’ve probably heard about the benefits, such as:

  • Make your own hours
  • You can’t be downsized or laid off
  • You determine your income by your level of effort
  • Earn travel and other rewards


But what does it really take? Here are some facts to take into account as you consider a direct selling or network marketing career:

  • You have to work. You will not make money if you don’t sell stuff. The more time you put in, the greater your paycheck will be. Don’t expect to make a million dollars working 10 hours a month.
  • You need to talk to people, both in person and on the phone. Be prepared that you’re going to be on the phone a lot. You’ll also have meetings and other in-person events. The foundation of this business is networking, and talking to people.
  • You’ll have to work hours when other people are home. This is when you can reach them. This means you may be out several nights a week. Yes, you can probably pick which nights those are. But you’ll still be out of the house. Be prepared for that.
  • You’ll need to make arrangements for your kids. You won’t be able to be constantly interrupted if you want to get anything done. So it’s best to make child care arrangements during your work hours.
  • You need to be pretty organized and self-motivated. Sure, your company can help you with systems. But at the end of the day, you’ll need to stick to that filing system, and make yourself get on the phone. No one can do that for you.
  • You will make more money if you recruit people onto your team. Not because you get paid when they join (that’s illegal.) But because your compensation for coaching and training people you recruit is that you get a percentage of their sales. The more people you recruit, the more they sell, the more you make. It’s that simple.
  • You can’t do it all on the computer. You still have to talk to people, get on the phone, etc.

Direct sales can be an incredibly fulfilling and rewarding career. You will NOT make a million dollars overnight, and you will not put your direct sales business on auto-pilot. But if you are willing to put in the time and do the work, there are many rewards, including income, travel, recognition, lifelong friends, and much, much more. Ask any successful direct seller and they’ll tell you the same.

There are a lot of people that love this industry. But don’t kid yourself. It’s work. And it’s not for everyone.

But when you find a great, ethical company that you love, you can find lots of rewards in a direct selling or network marketing career.

Your thoughts?

14 Responses to What Does It Take to Be a Successful Direct Seller?
  1. lyndsey beaman
    May 9, 2012 | 1:13 pm

    Thankyou again for this blog! Just needed some motivation and inspiration, thankyou. Onwards to sales!

  2. NooraK
    April 4, 2011 | 10:07 am

    Thanks for putting this together! I agree with Brett. If it does scare someone away, I probably wouldn’t have wanted them on my team anyway!

  3. Susan McGlade
    April 2, 2011 | 9:07 am

    Bravo for telling it like it is! This is definitely a “keeper” for sharing with prospects considering starting their own businesses. This is a unique and rewarding industry, but the effort involved to be successful should never be sugar-coated.

  4. Nuala McDonald
    April 1, 2011 | 5:22 pm

    It is so important that people joining a network marketing business have a big enough “why” for joining. There are so many ups & downs but it is your “why” keeps you going. If you know your why, the how becomes easy.
    As you say, you have to work hard for success & many people who join have no experience of working for themselves & this can be difficult to adapt to. However, it is a brilliant concept & well worth putting in the time & effort to build a business. It has definitely changed my life in so many ways.

    • Yvonne
      April 24, 2015 | 9:17 pm

      I agree, it’s gone pretty slow and I get discouraged as I see so many others moving up. I have not given up and won’t

  5. Valerie Long
    April 1, 2011 | 3:13 pm

    I truly agree with most of your post, but I have never felt like I was working hard. I do put hours into my business to promote my product, but the product sells itself. I have made money from day one, and continue to make money.

    I have put in the hours, but I am so blessed that this business has helped keep my family afloat in this economy.

  6. Brett Duncan
    April 1, 2011 | 2:20 pm

    Love this post. Too many people get involved in direct sales with the wrong expectations. I remember the first time I heard a distributor who actually knew what they were talking about approach every prospect with … “If you work really hard for two years, you could create something special and sustaining.” They pulled no punches, and it also filtered out the half-hearted.

    Every direct seller should print this out, make copies and hand out to every prospect considering joining your team. You may think it’s gonna chase them away, but it’s actually going to set expectations for the long haul, which is what you want.

    Brett Duncan recently posted..Niccolo Machiavelli on Entrepreneurs and Ideas

  7. Jill Shea
    April 1, 2011 | 2:20 pm

    I agree with you Jennifer, it’s not about getting rich quick. It take time, dedication, consistency, determination and did I say time? 🙂
    If you want it to work for you it can work, it’s all up to you and what you do with your time in the business. I’ve been in the industry for over 11 years and I am most thankful for the freedom, flexilibility and wonderful women I get to work with each day.
    Blessings to you,

  8. Angie Bricker
    April 1, 2011 | 2:00 pm

    Fabulous post!! Thank you! I am growing my team with Just Jewelry and loving how this business brings out my passion for empowering people to take charge of their future. It’s truly changed my life!! I’m no longer shy either Carrie and it feel great!

  9. Carrie
    April 1, 2011 | 11:20 am

    I got into it my biz to learn more about wine. I thought, “What do I have to lose? If I don’t like it, I’ll quit.” 7 years later – I’m still here. I had no idea what was involved to be successful, but learned by doing and from others. And although I’ve become successful financially, the thing I’ve taken away most is the personal development. I’m no longer the shy girl that I was just out of college. I’m a much more confident person! So don’t be turned away by the fact that you’ll be on the phone or have to speak in front of people. It just may change your life! 😉

    • Yvonne
      April 24, 2015 | 9:22 pm

      Yes , I agree I want the personally development so much. I believe my co workers at my current regular job think I’m a joke and that I won’t be successful because they think of me as a co worker and I’m not in managment.

  10. Nancy Rago
    April 1, 2011 | 9:08 am

    I did not start making money until start of my second year. I was braking even for the most part but also had to put seed money into my AVON business to keep it going. Now I am reaping the rewards!

    • Yvonne
      April 24, 2015 | 9:22 pm

      Wow that’s so encouraging!! Thank you!

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