But pyramid schemes are illegal and the vast majority of their participants lose money.
They rely on recruiting new representatives to profit (not product sales), charge reps large upfront fees and convince them to buy large amounts of inventory that is not returnable.
In direct sales, independent representatives (also known as independent distributors, sales representatives or consultants) market their products in a variety of ways, including one-on-ones, home parties and the Internet.
Most direct sales firms are multilevel marketing companies, or MLMs.
Do an Internet search to find out the buzz about a company and whether its sellers or regulators have reported problems.
After running a search for recent articles and blog posts, do another one using the company’s name and words like “scam” or “complaint.” 3. You’ll want to learn how much you’ll pay in start-up costs and ongoing expenses before agreeing to become a company rep.Its roughly 200 members must abide by the group’s code of ethics.At this site, you can search by the name of a company or a product or service category.While that figure may seem shockingly low, it’s important to realize that 89 percent of direct sellers run their businesses part-time; most work under 10 hours a week.Also, many reps go into direct sales because they want to buy their favorite products at a discount and have fun earning a little extra spending money.“Every aspiring direct seller should ask this question: 'Am I prepared to put the time and effort into achieving my goal? You have to be willing to work for it." Pagliurolo told me she thinks women in their 50s are probably the best candidates for direct selling.“They are educated, they’ve been active volunteers and they are the CEOs of their households,” she said. Actually, though, many people attracted to the lifestyle benefits of direct sales seem to forget this.(Direct sales simply means offering products directly to a customer away from a fixed retail location.) What Direct Selling Offers A few big direct-selling pluses: Pretty much anyone can enter the field. (MORE: 3 Jobs You Didn't Know You Could Do in Retirement) In my new book, , I offer up the story of Karen Pagliurolo, a direct sales superstar.You can set your own hours, taking time off to travel or visit the grandkids, if you want. A former nurse and stay-at-home mom, she’s now a regional manager and sales consultant for the high-end direct sales fashion company Etcetera, hosting trunk shows four times a year in the basement of her home in Winchester, Mass.Even then, you must allow time to build your customer base.(MORE: 3 Great Jobs to Ride the ‘Age Wave’) "The number of hours you invest in your business will determine how quickly you grow,” said Mary Christensen, author of .