Friday, 24 April 2015

Mommy Money Matters - Direct Sales

Whether you take 3 months or a whole 12 off, maternity leave is a very special time between a parent and child. You wake up together every morning, primed to spend the day sharing new experiences. It's a really amazing thing to be able to be there for every milestone, and to teach your child about the world. Even something as small as the first time touching grass is a memory to be kept close. So, it's no wonder that when it's time to head back to work, many moms start looking into options to stay home while still bringing in an income.

One popular option is direct sales. If you have a Facebook page, or have attended a mom-to-mom sale, you have probably heard of these companies. While each company has a slightly different business model, the jist is the same: independent consultants use word of mouth and social media marketing to sell products locally. There are no store fronts, just community representatives selling at in-home parties, local events, and online. It is very easy to get into direct sales, a nominal fee to get started and you're on your way to running a business from your home. Many women and men find that they can be successful and flourish in this arena but there are a few things to consider if you're new to this type of work.

Direct sales requires a consistent commitment from you. You only make money if you sell your product, so you cannot sit back and expect the money to just roll in. You have to reach out to friends, family, and new people you meet through networking to set up parties and direct traffic to your online site. You may find that you have a huge surge of profit in your first few months as those close to you rally around your new business and get introduced to the product, followed by a few months of weaker sales as you attempt to broaden your client pool. 

You also need to find a balance between getting the message out to those around you and overwhelming people with information and sales pitches. Some people have negative opinions about direct sales, or have many friends working for different direct sales companies, and feel burdened by party requests. You just need to read your audience and focus your energy on people who show interest, and don't pressure those who don't. Start a business Facebook page to share information with your friends who want to be in the know, and limit posts about your product on your personal social media outlets to 1 out of every 5 (or whatever ratio works best for you). Also, show don't tell. Instead of telling people the new line has arrived, post a picture of the pie you baked in your Pampered Chef pan or of your Jamberry manicure at a recent wedding. It's less aggressive, and shows people the product in a visual way. Pictures tell stories in a way words can't when it comes to sales. 

Direct sales requires confidence, dedication, and product knowledge. You have to have a passion for people and communication. It is not a job that everyone can do, so do your research before signing up with your favourite company. If you're thinking of trying direct sales as a way to boost your income, or in order to stay at home with your baby, I suggest you PACE yourself.

P - Pick a product that you are passionate about. Self-reported averages aside, the company you'll make the most money with the is the one that aligns with your lifestyle and allows you to sell a product you believe in.

A - Accept that it's not a "get rich quick" career. It takes consistent effort, and hard work to be able to continually share your message with new people. Be prepared to put in time every week to maintain your online presence and reach out to new contacts and acknowledge that most people never make a full-time salary doing direct sales.

C - Consider keeping your current job ... until you are totally comfortable in this new role. We admire bravery, and nothing shows commitment more than jumping right in with both feet, but remember why you're doing this: for your family. It won't help your budget or your bond with your partner and kids if you add a lot of stress to your lives. Once you know you like direct sales, and you have a feel for it, then make an informed decision to scale back to part-time at your current job, or go full-time with sales.

E - Educate yourself as an entrepreneur. Read up on entrepreneurship and what is involved in this choice, but also read up on information relevant to the product you're selling. Before you jump into a trunk sale, house party, or Facebook page, make sure you have valuable facts and information to share. You'll be more successful if people see you as an expert in health, fashion, skin care, etc.

If you want to try direct sales as an income booster, read on for some information we've compiled about some of the most popular options. If you've decided it's not for you, stay tuned as we look into other stay-at-home money making options for moms in future posts!

                           DIRECT SALES COMPANIES FOR CANADIAN MOMS                          

Company: Stella & Dot

What's Your Passion? Fashion / Design / Style

What You'll Be Selling: Accessories like jewellery, scarves, and clutches.

What You'll Earn: Up to 35% commission on personal sales (trunk shows in people's homes and through your online link). They boast an average of $800-$1000 in sales per trunk show and as a beginner you can expect to bring in $200-$500 a month with a 3-5 hour per week time commitment. You'll also earn a commission on introducing new people to the sales team. Payment is simple as any money you earn is loaded onto a VISA card weekly but it does cost you a small monthly fee to keep the card. If you choose not to use the VISA card, you can have your earnings transferred into your bank account at .15 cents per transfer.

What It'll Cost You: The Stella & Dot Starter Kit is $199. When you sign on as a stylist, you receive $350 of product credit in your name and 50% off anything above and beyond that during your 30 day jump start period. After that, stylists get 25% off year round but there are chances to get 50% off when new lines launch based on your quarterly sales. You must pay shipping on any orders you place. While you don't need to buy an inventory, you will need to buy samples for each new line of products as they are released in order to showcase the pieces at trunk shows, so expect a cost for upkeep. There is also a nominal fee for attending monthly meetings (to pay for the space and food) but they are crucial for learning new techniques and getting support from your team.

"I love the freedom and flexibility. I had been a Stella & Dot customer for years and was on maternity leave hosting a party, and thought why not! I love the company and what they represent; giving each woman a means to style her own life. The extra money helps. There are no monthly minimums to sell and incentives if you sell a certain amount. I personally love meeting new people and this company allows me to do just that. Either through online sales or trunk shows. A Stella & Dot trunk show is a fun experience: there is no cost to host, I come and set up my samples (jewellery, bags , scarves, little girls collection, etc.) you invite your girlfriends, colleagues, neighbours, and family over and we have fun! Our average hostess earns $250 in free product credit and 4 items at 50%."

- Jacqueline (Stella & Dot Stylist)

Check out the newest accessory lines or get more information about becoming a stylist:  |
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Company: Juice Plus+

What's Your Passion? Health / Wellness

What You'll Be Selling: Health supplements like protein shakes, bars, and capsules.

What You'll Earn: As a "Direct Distributor" you'll earn a 6% commission, and as a "Virtual Franchisee" you'll earn a 14% commission on your sales, but there are minimum sales volumes to hit to get either of these titles right away. You get additional commissions for growing a sales team and there are cash bonuses for hitting targets in specified time frames.

What It'll Cost You: There is a one time $50 application fee to become an independent representative, making this the lowest fee to entry of all the companies we're looking at in this post, but you are required to purchase product samples, marketing materials, and other necessities for running your Juice Plus business.

"Our beautiful daughter is the love of our lives and brings us happiness we never could have imagined. I cherish every moment that I have with her, but I soon realized I could not make a good living and be home with my daughter enough! So like any woman would do, I did my research and asked mothers or women like myself what my options were to escape this lifestyle. Several woman told me about this unique wholesome food product that is really good for the body and it was called Juice Plus. Within a week of myself, my husband, and my daughter being on the product I noticed huge results. After a month I had more energy and had completely eliminated caffeine from my diet. Even my daughter started making healthier choices on her own and drinking a lot more water. So ultimately, because of my experience with this product and seeing the health benefits my family was receiving, I decided I wanted to become a representative. The chance to share my experience, make extra money, and help educate others about a healthy active lifestyle seemed like a no-brainer. All I paid was a one time fee of $50 and I now can say I own my own successful business, using only word of mouth and social media. With only doing this part-time, from my home, I have brought in an additional $1500 in my first two months. By this fall I will hopefully be working from home full-time. The best part though will be the all the extra time I can spend raising my daughter!!! To me that is the greatest feeling in the world!! This has been the best experience and investment I have ever made and want to share it with the world!"

- Casi-Lee (Juice Plus+ Representative)

To learn more about this line of health food supplements, or to get information on how to become a consultant yourself: (
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Company: Steeped Tea

What's Your Passion? The perfect cuppa!

What You'll Be Selling: Loose leaf teas and associated accessories.

What You'll Earn: You'll get 20-30% commission on personal party sales depending on how many parties you have per week. With one party a week you could be looking at $450 a month in income, and at three parties a week you could potentially be making over $1600 a month. There is a chance to earn commission for team sales if you recruit two or more active consultants.

What It'll Cost You: The Steeped Tea Starter Kit costs $99 and includes popular teas, accessories, a tea pot, and the forms you'll need to run your business. You do not need to maintain an inventory to stay in business, but you'll want to have samples and catalogues to share. You can buy "kit boosters" for around $45 each. In order to be considered a consultant with ordering privileges, you are expected to have a minimum of $100 in sales in a six month time frame.

"I wasn't necessarily looking to get into direct sales when I decided to start with Steeped Tea, BUT for me it just made sense. My cupboards were full of tea, Steeped Tea was a great local, high-quality product, and I was looking for something to supplement my income to support my family. I signed up and fell in love! I also wasn't necessarily looking to grow a TEAm, but Steeped Tea made it easy. The support for consultants is remarkable - the company and founders want you to succeed. I have found the product to be incredibly marketable, it really just sells itself and my customers continually come back for more - who doesn't love tea or know someone who does?!"

-Erin (Steeped Tea Consultant)

To learn more about the world of loose leaf flavours or get information about this sales opportuni-tea:

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Company: Arbonne

What's Your Passion? Skin Care

What You'll Be Selling: Skin care, cosmetics, fragrances.

What You'll Earn: You will earn a 35% commission on the resale of products that you bought in advance at a 35% discount. You will also earn a 15% commission on orders placed by "preferred customers" (a title that has a lower registration and renewal fee associated with it). There are non-monetary bonuses, as well.

What It'll Cost You: There is a $95 registration fee to become an Arbonne independent consultant, and a $36 renewal fee every year. In order to maintain your rank as a consultant, you must sell $1,200 in a 12 month time frame. If you do not, you will be reassigned as a preferred client, unless you start again. You are expected to buy the product at a discount and then maintain an inventory for resale, so this is a more expensive option to start.

"The main thing about Arbonne is the fact that everyone is independent. This gives each person an equal chance to make money. You are part of a team, but you can also grow a team of your own. With a small start-up cost you can earn a pay check at your show or party. The team part of Arbonne is fantastic so you always have others you can call or message if you need help. Most of the people who sell the products also use them, thus allowing them to experience the true quality of the products."

-Dale (Arbonne Representative)

To learn more about the skin care products on offer, or to discuss joining a sales team: ID # 115230241 or

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Company: Pampered Chef

What's Your Passion? Cooking / Baking

What You'll Be Selling: Professional quality cooking tools.

What You'll Earn: You'll earn between 20-25% commission based on your monthly personal sales, and 33% commission if you build a sales team. Two shows a week could potentially net you $1,100 a month, while four shows a week would be closer to $2,300 (based on their self reported averages). Plus, you get discounted prices for product for yourself, to use and to demo.

What It'll Cost You: You have the choice between the $195 New Consultant Kit, or the $125 Mini Kit, to get you started. Both have the products you'll need for your first couple of shows. You don't need to maintain an inventory, orders are shipped directly to customers or party hosts. You'll want to purchase products for demonstrations, though, and this collection will grow as you stay with the company.

"Pampered Chef has changed my life in more ways than household income. Pampered Chef has given me the confidence to speak in front of large crowds (I may still fumble a little, but who doesn't, right?). I can be there for my boys if they are sick, or if they forget to take something to school. I am my own boss, and I get to raise my kids myself. My shows are like fun girls' nights out, and I get to have adult conversations. I love helping other moms start their own business, and teaching them great new family meal recipes. With our Freezer Meal Workshops, we have even more ways to help busy parents feed their families. Pampered Chef and I can help you solve many challenges.. pay off a credit card, buy a new car, go on a family vacation. You can work the business full time or part time, and I will show you how to make money and have a lot of fun doing it. Questions? Feel free to contact me."

- Roberta (Pampered Chef Director)

To learn more about the cookware or to get started with sales:
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Company: Jamberry

What's Your Passion? Style / Nails

What You'll Be Selling: Do-It-Yourself nail art and accessories.

What You'll Earn: You'll make a minimum of 30% commission on personal sales, and up to 10% in sales bonuses based on your monthly retail volume. There are also product credit bonuses (based on different criteria depending on how long you've been a consultant), marketing credit bonuses, and rank advancement bonuses. Payment is made weekly via Propay (a prepaid debit Mastercard that has money loaded directly onto it) or cheque. If you choose cheque, you must earn a minimum of $30 in that month and there is a fee of $2.

What It'll Cost You: The Jamberry Starter Kit will cost you $119 dollars (plus shipping and handling), and includes sample cards, brochures, 4 sheets of wraps, and the tools you'll need for demonstrations. You must sell $200 worth of product per month to be considered an active consultant to earn bonuses (however, if sales are under $200 for the month you would still earn your 30% commission) and $600 in any given 12 month period to remain active with the company. You have the option to maintain an inventory but it is not mandatory. New lines are leased every 6 months.

"Out of all of the direct Selling companies, I often get asked why Jamberry? It is because I LOVE the product, I believe in it, and have a passion for it. Any product you choose to sell; you have to love, use, and believe-in to be able to sell successfully. I started as a Jamberry consultant because it was a low cost investment which included all of the application tools and some free wraps for me to play with (along with a whole business and all of the necessary marketing materials). A lot of women in this country get their nails done so why not show women how to have beautiful nails at fraction of the cost. Who wouldn't want a $3 manicure!? I figured that if it didn't fly as a business opportunity then at the very least it would be a fun hobby for myself that I would love. In less than 2 months I had paid off my starter kit and started making money. I love that with Jamberry I get paid every week, the commissions scale is excellent, the support from other consultants and the company as a whole is exceptional, I get to meet new people, and essentially I get paid to have pretty nails. This is the kind of business where you can make your own hours but the outcome will be determined by how much work you put into it. I make sure that I talk about my business everywhere I go and am always giving out free samples. You are your own best marketing tool and so are your customers-people notice our beautiful nails and word of mouth spreads like wild fire! My biggest piece of advice when it comes to direct selling is to be patient and keep working at it and you will see that your business will build!"

-Brenda (Jamberry Nails Consultant)

For more information about becoming a Jamberry consultant, or to check out what's trending in nail art:

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Company: Thirty One Gifts

What's Your Passion? Style / Organization

What You'll Be Selling: Accessories like bags and totes.

What You'll Earn: Up to 25% commission on every sale you make (house parties and through your online link). There are non-monetary incentives as well based on sales performance. You also make a commission on the sales of people you have recruited to your team as new consultants.

What It'll Cost You: The Thirty One Gifts Enrolment Kit is $135 (plus shipping and handling). When you sign on as a consultant you receive over $500 worth of supplies and samples. There is a minimum number of parties or cumulative sales needed every quarter in order to remain an active consultant and you are responsible for purchasing swatches and catalogues for each new line in order to stay current.

"I originally got into thirty one because I love their organizing products. Then I started selling it because of how great their product is and how well they stand behind it. I've never had a product that they wouldn't exchange or refund. Plus, the best part is how they empower women! I've never worked for a company who supports and promotes women so much. They do so much to encourage and uplift us. They treat us more than fair. The product is made in China and they hire women there. Instead of paying them the cheap China wages they empower them by paying them more and United States wages. If they never stood behind their product or encouraged women the way they do I wouldn't have a deep love for them like I do. Plus, you know, doing this on my own hours so I can keep my family first is not a bad side of it either."

-Vicki (Thirty One Gifts Representative)

To learn more about the newest in organizational d├ęcor or to become a consultant:

Trendy Totes with Vicky Veale

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**Note: With many of these companies, a personal business website comes included in the starter kit, but only for a trial period. You'll have to pay to maintain a website after 3-6 months, so make sure to include that in your business budget, as it is a crucial selling tool!

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