Direct Sales – Yay or Nay?

Because I have six children, working outside the home simply isn’t an option for me. I would be paying more in daycare/after school care costs than I could even make in a week. And, honestly? Who would hire a woman with 6 children? Odds are stacked against me that someone would be always be sick, and I would have to call off work. Therefore, going out and actually getting a job right now just isn’t going to work.

You all know that I run my own business offering blog design, website design, graphic design, and social marketing. I love that, but times are tough for everyone, and my income isn’t steady.

I used to be fortunate enough to have a paid blogging gig. But, that went belly up in September, and I wouldn’t return to the company if they decided to bring back the program for personal reasons. {I’m “not allowed” to talk about those personal reasons, either. Just know it wasn’t a healthy situation.}

I need some kind of income, though. My husband has a great job, but we live paycheck to paycheck – as most families do, but there’s no money if the car breaks down, or other unexpected expenses arise. And, I like being able to contribute to our household. I don’t want my husband to feel like he has to kill himself to support the 8 of us.

Over the past several weeks, I have had 2 opportunities arise as a means of generating income. However, they are both in direct sales. I have a history with direct sales, and it’s not a good one. I worked with Discovery Toys for awhile and they still owe me $7.85… the only money I ever made with them. And I’m pretty sure I only made that money because I was the one that bought something. Then, I tried Avon. I lasted a little longer with Avon, but I really never made much at all. My only “clients” were friends that lived in Chicago, and I was living in Ohio at the time.

I have no problem hosting parties or giving parties. Lord knows I am the ultimate hostess. I love getting together with friends and having a good time. But, there are 2 problems I’ve found with direct sales:

  1. I don’t have friends that are willing {or able} to host parties.
  2. I don’t like to push people into buying things. I hate when people do it to me, and I don’t like to do it to others.

I’m sure you can see my dilemma. What’s the point of investing in a direct sales company if I’m just going to flop again?

Let me share the two opportunities that have been presented to me and see what you think:

  • Scentsy – I have a friend that is a Scentsy consultant and she is doing quite well with it. In fact, I have had several people approach me and tell me I would be great as a Scentsy consultant, and should consider joining the company. I have had the opportunity to do several reviews with Scentsy products, and I am always impressed. I do not know of anyone in the local area that is a Scentsy consultant, so that may be an advantage. And the one thing I love about Scentsy is that all of their items are wickless. With kids, that is definitely a plus.
  • Pink Zebra Home – Now, just the name of this company is enough to make me giggle with glee. And if you look at the consultant’s package, the products are totally me. I could have a lot of fun with it. I don’t know anyone in the local area that sells Pink Zebra, so that’s another bonus. BUT, if people don’t know the company, will they be willing to buy?

I just don’t know what to do. I have prayed and prayed about this, and the answer still isn’t clear. So, I figured I’d come to my readers and ask for your opinions. Have you worked in direct sales? What have you experiences been? Have you worked {or do you currently work} for either of the companies listed above? And tell me honestly, can a mom of 6 even do direct sales or is it just one more thing I’d be taking on?

I would love to hear your opinions on this.

Angie Vinez (2958 Posts)

Angie is a wife and mother to 8. Her life revolves around cooking, cleaning, laundry, and other household duties. She is passionate about her life in Christ and wants to encourage other mothers in their own walk of faith. Angie is active on many social media networks, loves technology, photography, and graphic design, and loves creating blog designs for other mom bloggers.

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  1. Angie……….I am in the same dilema………I just signed on to Thirty One gifts…….I got my items today and I was soooooo impressed!!! I have done Mary Kay,Pampered chef,Tupperware….but this one truly sells itself. I personally signed on to start a fundraiser for a gentleman I work with who’s wife and daughter both have stage 3 cancer….he is collecting cans for his “fund” to take them on a trip before they pass. I really wanted to do somthing for his family and decided whatever I make 100% of the proceeds would go to his fund. I am really hesitant about signing on to things but I was totally sold when I saw these products. Good luck with your decision.——-Julie

    • Julie,

      I ♥ Thirty-One Gifts. The only problem is, I know too many people around here that sell it. And since we’re in SUCH a small town, I just can’t justify competing with them. I wish you lots of success, though, and I hope you’ll keep me posted on your progress. 🙂

  2. I hear you and know exactly what you are experiencing. I’ve been a Mary Kay consultant and that went well for a couple of years though I realized I didn’t like conducting facials or skin care classes which was the premise behind the company. A try before you buy mantra. I very much enjoyed selling the product though. I made money but not a steady income.

    I then opened a gift shop using SMC as a wholesaler. I enjoyed that but again not a steady income. Between that and working a 9 to 5 retail, I realized I loved collectibles and enjoyed retail. I opened an ebay store for about a year, did very well and really enjoyed what I was doing but the fees ate almost all my profits. Then I decided to go it alone and open my own online collectible shop on Bonanza. I’ve been doing that for about three months and absolutely love it. Not a steady income but something I enjoy.

    I think for you, the thing to do is find what you enjoy and take it from there. While the utmost thought for most of us when trying to make a steady income online or from our home is money, that should be secondary to doing what you love to do. Find that first and then concentrate on the income.

    Anything you do from home or online needs to be advertised and promoted on a daily basis. You have to get the word out that you are in business and concentrate on finding steady customers who will come back on a regular basis for your product.

    The Pink Zebra that you mentioned sounds like it’s something you would enjoy. Even though people may not know the company, they will buy a product from someone who shows they love the product and what they are selling. If you as the seller show enthusiasm they’ll buy.

    I’m sure you will do well no matter what you choose. Just choose what you enjoy.
    Joanne Olivieri recently posted..Self Image

    • Thank you so very much for your input. I’m so glad you’ve found something you enjoy, and I hope it works out for you this time. I’ve got lots more thinking to do. The good news is, I can’t do anything until we get our tax return money back, so I’ve got a little more time to think about it. {No jumping into any decisions!} Would you share a link to your shop with me? I’d love to see it!

  3. Hi,

    I tried it in the past, and it’s no good for me personally for the same reasons you mentioned. I’m not against someone else doing the direct sales, but just not for me. It was terrible. I love the product (still use) but can’t bring myself to try and convince others to use it, even though I’m convinced it is a wonderful product. The only advice I’d have is to not pay the company money if you can get away with it (or start off by showcasing only products you would buy no matter what, even if you weren’t going to be trying to sell them to others) and see what happens. If it gets off to a great start and the Lord blesses – so be it. You’re now the Pink Zebra lady =)

    • See, that’s how I am? I can love a product so much, but actually asking people to take out their wallets and pay me for that item? Well, that’s where I struggle. Definitely going to be praying about this some more. Thanks so much for your input!

  4. My family has struggled with a way to bring in some extra money as well. I have considered doing a direct sales option, but I just don’t think it’s for me– for the same reasons you said. My husband and I have dabbled in online sales, such as books and various things on ebay. We have done really well with it. Though it’s not steady, whenever we list things, they always sell quickly. That’s because we always comparison shop and make sure our item is the lowest listed, even if it’s by 50 cents. We have looked into doing a more steady online venture, like buying gift cards or something else wholesale and then reselling online. However, we haven’t found a good source for this yet.
    Desiree @ Wee Share recently posted..$10 Sam’s Club® Gift Card Offer PLUS $25 Gift Card Giveaway!

    • That’s a very interesting idea, Desiree. I hope you’re able to find a good source, because I think it would be a great venture for you.

      I guess I’m just going to have to keep thinking about this. I really don’t know what to do. Sigh.

  5. This was my predicament in 2010… well, without the six kids and with a full-time job. I really wanted to supplement our income to help pay for our eventual adoption, and I am a nut for papercrafts, but I didn’t know if I could sell it. As luck would have it, three weeks after I enrolled as a Consultant with Close to My Heart (, we were blessed with our baby boy after three years of waiting! It knocked me back a year and change, but I’m finally ramping back up and so far it’s going well. For me I find the key is that true and honest belief that you’re selling the best product. It’s so much easier to sell when you know your friends are already using something similar. (Why buy papers at JoAnn’s when you can get them from me and get more bang for your buck?) 🙂

    Good luck with whatever you choose!
    Amber recently posted..Second Fiddle

  6. This is not about what you can sell, but I noticed really recently that you were talking about Southern Savers. You could save your family a lot of money by getting in to couponing. Last year I saved over $1600 by couponing. I know it’s not a steady income but it will reduce your family’s costs significantly and you’ll have a little extra cash on hand. That’s what I did when Matt was the only one with a job and I had no money for a hobby. =) Hope this helps. Love ya!

  7. I’ve been a Mary Kay consultant for about five years now, and I have the same problems a few other people mentioned. I believe in the product 100% and recommend it to others wholeheartedly, but I hate asking people to buy stuff, especially expensive stuff (even if the quality and time it lasts makes the price worth it).

    Another thing to consider is how being an independent consultant complicates tax returns. You might already have that part down since you have your own design business, but it’s frustrating how much more difficult doing my taxes is now!

    I think your biggest challenge, though, would be finding people to host parties. You mentioned that you don’t know many who are willing/able to host, and that’s a huge part of direct sales. Once you get some loyal customers, it’s easier because they reorder when they run out, but building up your customer base can be really tough (again speaking from experience!)

    Wishing you the best of luck with whatever you choose to do!
    Kate a.k.a. Gwenelle recently posted..Wordless Wednesday: Dinnertime?

  8. Hi Angie!

    I love your post and I can’t tell you how much it resonates with me and probably a lot of women. I was exactly like that, not wanting to bug people I know with the company I was selling for, and it turns out it wasn’t really something I wanted to do. An ah-ha moment for me!

    I think you’ve got to go with what you’re passionate to sell, use, and be able to tell others about it.

    I absolutely LOVE Jewel Kade jewelry and it helps it’s not everywhere (lol) but this love for the products, company, somehow makes all the fears like approaching people go away. I hope you find your “it” company soon :). I’d love to tell you more about Jewel Kade.

    Janette Stoll recently posted..Jewel Kade: New Spring Catalog & The Grammy’s!

  9. Hi. Pink Zebra is great! I joined in November and am loving it! I was with another “candle” company last year and my area was saturated, so when I found Pink Zebra which was brand new I had to jump on board. People are loving our products and our Sprinkles. Our new spring line is being released on the 15th. I would be glad to send you a catalog and some samples if you would like. Just let me know.

  10. I have not read through the responses but I would personally say nay. I was in direct sales for quite some time and made really good money BUT it wasn’t easy (lugging around product, being away from home, etc.). And to really make it in direct sales, you need to sponsor AND do home parties. I also think you will put out more money than you would working online and it seems you are looking to make more money, not spend more at this time.

    You have to invest in any business but I think the investment is way less with an Internet business.

    Sure you can sell some online in direct sales but it’s not as easy as some make it out to be. I loved the company I was a part of, it was just too much work when I could make a whole lot more online at home doing other things.

    You have a great blog platform here and I think you could make more money in just advertising than you could in direct sales. Plus there is affiliate marketing too.

    Just some of my thoughts from someone who has been there.

    Now if you want to get out and connect with others locally direct sales could be good for you.
    Angie @ Losing It and Loving It recently posted..Healthy Smoothie Recipes: Green Smoothie Bible

  11. I’ve been an independent distributor for a large MLM for a few months. I’ve been having a hard time getting people to check out my product. The company I work doesn’t provide any marketing tools on the web. I felt stuck and really didn’t want to reach out to my friends and family. A colleague of mine told me about iBoostBiz, Checked out the site and was totally blown away by the thing. This online marketing system was the component I was looking for. I never used a prospecting system before and was a little nervous I wouldn’t know how to use it right. I was wrong. The system is really easy to figure out. They offer really great lead captures with great movies that help me generate qualified leads. I have been using it for a few weeks now and I am getting pretty good results.

  12. Hi there, As I am researching Pink Zebra and Scentsy I stumbled upon your blog. I am enjoying reading about you and your family. I am a mom of three and run a full time preschool with daycare from 6am-6pm Monday – Friday. Busy is my middle name! One of my daycare moms is a Scentsy Consultant and gave me my first warmer and bars two years ago for a Christmas gift. HOOKED I was!! LOVE LOVE LOVE all there warmers and bars. Lately I have been hearing about Pink Zebra and have gotten some samples of their Sprinkles. I loved them too! Scented wax has kinda become my hobby because I really love it so much. I am now considering selling it. I feel to have a chance to make money Scentsy is too popular right now. Pink Zebra isn’t and it is new and seems very fun. I am seriously looking into to it. Plus I have discovered the following party plan candle companies as well that all seem to offer great stuff. I have gotten their samples as well: Mia Bella, Gold Canyon, Soylicious, Bellaroma, and For Every Home. Hope this give you some more ideas!

    • Hi Angie,
      I came across this blog and was just curious if you have been able to find the right “fit” for you? I am a Pink Zebra Consultant. Everything about this company reeled me in….I love bling, I love fun patterns, colors, I love candles, warmers, etc. The BIGGEST thing that drew me in was the fact that it is a ground floor opportunity, so it is still unknown in ALOT of places. I LOVE the unique sprinkles and how versatile they are to use for other purposes than just warming or burning as a candle! I made car fresheners, put some in my vacuum so it releases the wonderful aroma every time I am vacuuming. I also have reed diffusers in my laundry room (where litter box is) and in the bathroom in our RV. Once I had joined, I started researching the company/products, as well as a known competitor, and I was shocked at what I learned! I was diagnosed with Melanoma one year ago and was fortunate that we caught it early on, so I just had to have the cancer and a few lymph nodes removed, but no chemo or radiation. While researching about the wax in PZ’s products, as well as a competitor’s, I learned that the majority of candles, wax chunks, discs, etc. have A LOT of harmful ingredients! I learned much more about Soy based candles and melts and their advantages, as well as the typical candle wick, which contains a metal core that when lit, emits harmful particles into the air, versus 100% cotton wicks, which are safe. Pink Zebra is dedicated to providing quality products that are eco-friendly, and THAT now is the main reason I love the company so much! Their soap and lotion line of products and reed diffusers are no different….the moisturizing lotions are enriched with aloe vera & Vitamins A, E & B-5, to promote healing, and moisturing oils of olive, coconut, avocado, and shea butter to hydrate. They are free of sulfates & parabens, and are not tested on animals. I apologize for the book……as you can see, I could go on & on about Pink Zebra and their products. As someone stated above, I also was very reserved about trying to sell product to people or get them to join my team, as I am more of an introvert, but my love for these products, and the company’s dedication to provide environmentally safe products has made it easy for me……I don’t feel like I’m working at all…..just having fun! Again, as someone stated earlier, find what you are passionate about, your “why”, and you will just know at that point what is the right “fit” for you! I pray you will be blessed with just that right opportunity for you!

      Bobbi Jo Nickerson