Is the Job of Direct Sales for You?

Kelly Ann Butterbaugh

Ultimately it was an act of timing. At a time in my career when I was being "downsized" and the looming dread of losing $15,000 of income a year was getting closer, I took on a job of direct sales. Direct sales involves working for a company which sells its products through shows in a hostess' home. The more well-known direct sales companies are MaryKay, Tupperware, and Home Interiors, although there are countless others. For me the lure was the money that a consultant earns.


As with any job there are ups and downs to the career in direct sales. For some it is a dream job, supplementing the family's income, but for others it isn't what it's made out to be. Evaluate both sides before tackling this endeavor as a way to supplement income.

The Ups

As a home consultant you create your own hours. You do the promotional work at your own leisure and you decide how much time you want to put into your new business. If you need a day off, you take it. There are few jobs which offer this level of flexibility.

The income is comparable as well. While all companies are different, most pay in percentages of sales as well as in free or discounted products. The company for which I worked paid me 25% of my sales, and my average show brought in $400 in sales. Calculating my time put into a show, I was earning about $25 per hour.


The other opportunity that the consultant faces is advancement in the company. This is a self driven advancement depending upon sales and the number of new consultants you bring to the company. There is no waiting for an opening and then vying for a position; what you make of yourself is what you become.

The Downs

Yes, direct sales offers a great opportunity to some, but to others it falls short. The biggest requirement that one must have no matter what others say is the ability to sell the product. It is your job as a consultant to book shows, sell your products, and recruit new consultants.

Another problem is the time. Know that while you are creating your own schedule, most home shows are held in the evenings or on weekends. Also, for every hour spent working at home another will be spent making deliveries or doing shows.


Time isn't the only cost; one must invest money for samples, flyers, postage, and more. After the initial purchase of the starter kit, samples are constantly needed. Postage is constantly rising which means it costs more to mail promotional literature. A perk hidden within is that all of this can be deducted from taxes.

While there are many more perks and pitfalls to this career, the best advice given is talk to those already involved. After two years of moderate success, I found that the job didn't fit me, or perhaps I didn't fit it. I found that I did better writing about products than selling them.

About The Author: Kelly Ann Butterbaugh is a freelance writer who regularly contributes to a variety of magazines as well as online newsletters. She teaches writing in the public school as well as at the collegiate level. Contact her at or visit her website at


April 28, 20150 found this helpful

I am having my first sale/party this May. I am very excited to see what comes of this. I bought all the jewelry I will be selling. I will be doing cash and carry. So,no mailing or delivering for me. I am planning one party a week for June. I been online reading all kinds of helpful tips. I think the best part for me so far is working for myself.

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