The other day I read a blog post where someone had once again asserted that 99.9% of direct sellers lose money. It’s an eye-catching line and it’s memorable. It’s a line that’s often repeated by opponents of direct selling as means of discouraging potential sellers. It’s also false.
In fact, more than half of direct sellers report that their net income from direct selling, after taxes and expenses, is positive. In addition, positive net income is reported by nearly half of new direct sellers – those representing their current company for less than a year. The research from our sales force survey also shows the following:
• 89% of direct sellers rate their personal experience in direct selling as excellent, very good, or good;
• 84% of direct sellers say that direct selling meets or exceeds their expectations as a good way to supplement their income or make a little extra money, and;
• 91% of direct sellers say that direct selling meets or exceeds their expectations as a business where the harder they work the more money they can make.
Does this mean that all of these people are making six-figure incomes? Of course not! In fact, most are probably earning very modest amounts – exactly meeting their goals. One of the advantages of direct selling is that you can set your own goals and develop your own schedule to meet those goals. Many people begin direct selling as a way to earn a little extra money in their spare time – they’re not looking for a fulltime job.
I’ve always found this 99.9% myth fascinating because it essentially asserts that nearly 15.2 million people in the U.S. and 60 million people around the world continue as direct sellers despite losing money. Are we to believe that five percent of the U.S. population would continue in a business where they are losing money? Simply put, most people do not lose money in direct selling.
Further, anyone who gets involved with a legitimate direct selling company should not risk financial loss by doing so. The DSA’s Code of Ethics, for example, is designed to protect direct sellers and customers. Inventory buybacks (which include sales aids) and other provisions of the code allow sellers recourse if there’s an issue with the company.
It is my hope that everyone who tries direct selling will begin with reasonable expectations and a clear understanding of the path to their goal – hopefully information found on this site will help with that.
Certainly, direct selling is not a fit for everyone – but no one should risk financial loss by giving it a try. Managing expectations for new independent sellers is critical for success, and is an issue I’m sure we’ll address more than once on this site.
The bottom line is, just as it’s wrong to tell someone considering the direct selling opportunity that they’re guaranteed to succeed, it’s just as wrong to tell them that 99.9% of direct sellers lose money and that they’re guaranteed to fail.