Going back to work after having kids can be tough. It’s hard to know what the right thing to do is. Wouldn’t it be perfect if you could find a job that you can fit around your family easily? Well, you can, and lots of mums are doing it. It’s called direct selling and the main perks are: flexibility, you’re running your own business and the start-up costs are minimal.
With the rising cost of childcare and the challenge of balancing family and work life, it’s no wonder so many mums are seeking an alternative to the traditional 9-5. Over 400,000 people in the UK work as direct sellers – and around 120,000 of them are mums.
Direct selling’s biggest draw is undoubtedly its flexibility – 95% of sellers run their business part-time, and 62% run their business alongside another job. It’s your business and you can work as many hours as you want to, when and where you choose.
If you like the sound of this but you’re not really sure what it is or whether it’s for you, then read on as we’ve some insight and advice from Lynda Mills, Director General of the Direct Selling Association UK. The DSA is the trade body for direct selling, so they know what they’re talking about!
So, what is direct selling?
It’s where products are sold directly to consumers outside of a fixed retail environment. This may be in person, over the phone or via social media, at a party with product demos or through a catalogue.
What would I be selling?
There’s a huge variety of products on offer; cosmetics, cookware, home interiors, books, food and fashion. My advice to anyone thinking about starting up is to consider what you’re interested in and look into companies in that sector. Passion goes a long way!
How do I know which company to choose?
Firstly, look for the DSA logo – the DSA has been the recognised trade association for direct selling in the UK since 1965. Member companies sign a code of conduct which ensures they uphold ethical trading standards and best practice. DSA membership protects you and your customers.
If you’re worried about doing it alone, don’t be. Every company provides training and support – help is always available in this industry.
It’s relatively cheap and easy to get started, which is what makes direct selling so accessible. No DSA member company will ask you to pay more than £200 for a starter kit – this contains core products to help you get started.
Who will I be selling to?
Start by talking to family and friends, then move on to friends of friends, neighbours, parents from school, work colleagues – your network will soon grow. Remember to nurture these relationships – keep in touch when you have special offers, new products or are hosting a party.
How do I make money?
You’ll get paid a percentage of the value of your sales. This industry doesn’t guarantee a fortune; it’s like any other business venture though – the more you put in, the more you’ll get out. My advice would be to set achievable goals; take it step by step and don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to do everything at once.
For more information on direct selling, visit the Direct Selling Association website: www.dsa.org.uk.