Contributor: Don Karn
Why are we seeing an upturn in the number of people turning to direct sales as an income source in the last few years? The economic recession that began in 2008 is often seen as the trigger for this upturn; but I believe two other triggers have played equally significant roles. First, we are seeing a change in family dynamics, where more Moms and Dads are looking to work from home, eliminating time-consumers like commutes that cut into family time. There is also a growing acceptance of direct sales as a worthy profession, not merely a “Plan B” that people resort to when their Plan A fails them.
This worthy profession of direct sales also has a pervasive culture of mentoring that welcomes people from all backgrounds and levels of experience. We like to say, “You are in business for yourself, but not by yourself,” so the brand-new direct salesperson comes in knowing that there is training in place and a mentor who will show him or her the ropes. Effective mentors can show new people ways to maintain balance in their lives, providing plenty of space for the new business and their other lifestyle needs. Perhaps best of all, the learning curve in direct sales can be a gentle, non-intimidating one because of the industry’s tradition where duplication is the easy, effective training method. How many other professions can boast such a welcoming atmosphere?
While the direct sales industry has indeed seen growth in recent years, there is work to be done. I believe one of the first and very essential steps is in semantics: Ours is better termed a profession, not an industry. Once people think of direct sales as a worthy profession, they can move on to the second step: Direct sales can be a career choice, not just something that many people turn to as a back-up plan, a fill-in for family extras, or something to try when other income sources decrease or dry up. We in direct sales need to promote what we do as that worthy profession, our Plan A, our career choice. When people start choosing direct sales as their career–one where you have mentoring at your fingertips, where you are your own boss, you set your own time schedule and your success is all yours (for years and years), the direct sales profession will grow in a way that will make other growth industries pale by comparison!
DON KARN has been a corporate executive in leading network marketing companies for over 30 years. He is a Board member of Gabriel Media Group, Inc. (publishers of Networking Times), a Board member of the ANMP, and a frequent contributor to Networking Times.