The American Dream Revisited

It is no secret that the middle class in America is shrinking—recent studies reveal the attributes commonly associated with middle-class status have become increasingly difficult to achieve in recent years.
The American Dream

But for many, direct selling provides such an opportunity.

In 2010, the Department of Commerce published a study to determine what it would take for families to achieve the aspirations of the middle class, which it defined as home ownership, car ownership, opportunities for vacations, health care, retirement savings and the ability to financially support children through college.

According to the report, by this definition, it is much more difficult today for Americans to identify as members of the middle class. Although the national median family income is just under $60,000, the report reveals that even two-earner families making well above that figure would struggle to reach middle-class status today.

In fact, even as the median family income has risen in recent years, the rise in income cannot match the more than 50 percent jump in the cost of housing and the double-digit increase in the cost of college, the New York Times recently reported.

But, while many struggle to acquire the attributes of the middle class, others have found direct selling provides a viable solution.

“What I love about this business is you get out what you put into it,” said Karen Eschebach, Co-Founder of Clever Container. “It is not for the get-rich-quick, but for those that reap the benefits of hard work and perseverance. The extra money earned can go toward all sorts of goals, and the opportunity to earn trips and gifts as well as recognition at national conferences continues to ignite that spirit!”

“Direct selling has made being a business owner more accessible, more attainable and more fun than ever before,” said Chris La Fleur, Director of Corporate Communications & Publications for Isagenix. “It’s not just a way to make money. It’s a path to financial independence that promises a bright future by helping others.”

While direct selling has helped countless men and women work toward achieving the attributes of the middle class, the sales channel is also positioned to benefit from another trend that has garnered a bit of surprise: the increase in the number of parents aspiring to stay at home instead of remaining in the traditional workplace.

According to a recent Forbes survey, younger generations have increasingly expressed a desire to achieve enough financial success that they can take time away from work to be a stay-at-home parent. The survey reports that this is particularly true among women, stating that 84 percent of the 1,000 U.S. women polled said staying home to raise children is a financial achievement to which they aspire.

When one considers how difficult it is for today’s working men and women to achieve even middle-class status, direct selling provides a very necessary opportunity for both members of a household to earn an income, even in the event one chooses to be a stay-at-home parent.

“Direct selling appeals to people from all walks of life, but we find that it is especially appealing to women and men alike who have made a conscious decision to stay at home to raise their kids,” said Lynae Parrott, Managing Director for Gold Canyon. “Many may have pursued a college education and a career outside the home, but as their family has grown, they look for ways to stay home and still be able to contribute to the family finances. Selling a product like Gold Canyon’s gives them the supplementary income to afford their family the little extras and have a little fun doing it!”

“Direct selling offers far greater flexibility in regards to when someone can work, compared to a traditional job,” said Krystina Feucht, Marketing Director for Life Force International. “A person can fit 60 to 90 minutes of business activity into a day on their own schedule and not be held to a set work time, or worse, a schedule that changes every week. This leaves them with the ability to fit their business into their life with less stress, and it makes it more likely that a family member within the house might engage in it with them, increasing their chance of success.”

Additionally, social media platforms have made it easier for direct sellers to connect with others and expand their businesses, Krystina noted.

“They can maximize these free online resources by engaging multiple times each day, which again allows them flexibility without increased cost,” she said. “The community that comes with being a part of a direct selling team can lend support that increases the rate of success. A person doesn’t have to do the ‘job’ all by themselves. They can lean on and participate in the community with the idea that it supports growth for their entire team when the team can help an individual be more successful.”

While direct selling has helped millions of men and women achieve a work-life balance and pursue opportunities to stay at home with their children, the business model has also helped countless men and women achieve other goals commonly associated with the American Dream.

Although there is much debate about what defines the American Dream today, the founding principles of the national vision remain the opportunity for prosperity, success and upward social mobility. And, as many struggle to achieve such goals even while maintaining a full-time career, direct selling continues to empower millions to reach both financial and personal success.

“With the direct selling business model, finding the right company, products, compensation plan, training and growth potential can equal unlimited earning potential,” Chris said. “Direct selling is the most powerful and effective business model of the new millennium. The direct selling ‘social’ business model is one in which you make an introduction and share information concerning a particular product or service. It is natural, simple and effective.”

“At Ruby Ribbon, nearly half of our independent stylists have a full-time job,” said the company’s CEO and Founder, Anna Zornosa. “Many of them are professionals—several are lawyers, many are teachers or nurses and some have reached senior levels in corporate sales professions. Their motivation for joining us often centers on their desire for work that builds community with other women, and which provides an element of fun.”

The intangible benefits of direct selling—such as social empowerment and the opportunity to gain business ownership experience—are certainly among the top reasons fully employed men and women elect to start a direct selling business. And, these motivating factors correlate with employment trends outside the sales channel.

According to a recent Bloomberg report, six percent of individuals with a bachelor’s degree or higher work a second job, compared to just four percent of individuals with a high-school degree or less, revealing that the opportunity to meet expenses is not always the top reason American workers pursue more than one job opportunity at a time. In fact, the report revealed that a third of those polled who held the highest level of education said they pursued a second job merely because they enjoyed it.

“We hear all the time that our consultants who have full-time jobs start selling Gold Canyon because they want a fun, creative outlet,” said Gail Gioffredi, Managing Director for the company. “The day-to-day tasks associated with their full-time job can seem mundane or mentally draining when compared to the Gold Canyon opportunity.”

“Currently, at Clever Container, we have lawyers, doctors, business owners and family business owners as part of the makeup of our sales consultant and leadership team,” Karen said. “Many started [their Clever Container business] as a second job because they loved the product and the story.”

As such, Karen has seen firsthand how direct selling has helped many pursue their own vision of the American Dream.

“Sometimes, you’ll have someone join your company with no previous experience, however, they are so excited about the product that they put themselves on the line and come out of their shell by sharing not only the product, but also the business opportunity,” she said. “The ‘If I can do it, so can you’ attitude emits from them and they continue to grow and share their story. Next thing you know, they are earning the trips, incentives and titles. They are truly success stories because now they are believing not only in the American Dream, but also themselves.”

Source: Direct Selling Associaiton

Troy Dooly is recognized internationally as an influencer in the areas of personal branding, leadership development, marketing campaigns, organizational expansion, and corporate launch strategies. Dooly is a speaker, results coach, and radio host. He is a founding member, show host (Beachside CEO) and News Director of the Home Business Radio Network. He is a founding member, and currently serves on the Board of the Association of Network Marketing Professionals