A career in direct selling: How to choose the right organisation

On World Entrepreneurs’ Day, are you considering starting your own business or wondering where to begin?

On World Entrepreneurs’ Day, are you considering starting your own business or wondering where to begin?

Published Aug 21, 2023


Author: Konrad Szałkiewicz, Country Director Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia & South Africa

On World Entrepreneurs’ Day, are you considering starting your own business or wondering where to begin?

Setting up on your own can seem like a daunting prospect to many people even though you’ve got great ambition and some great ideas burning to get out.

The good news is that you don’t need to go it alone. Millions of entrepreneurs across the world are running their own businesses, with the support of a huge network of people and trusted brands who are there to help, guide and mentor them – crucial when you’re starting out. This is where direct selling can be a good choice for new entrepreneurs.

In Europe, there are about 6.6 million direct sellers who work for themselves and make money selling well-known products directly to their customers face-to-face and without the need of any business premises. For many of them, it’s a great opportunity to be their boss, to choose their own hours and to develop a network of sellers should they wish to grow their business further.

The benefits of becoming a direct seller

Recent research from the European Association of Direct Sellers (Seldia) shows that becoming a direct seller is accessible to everyone without any prior experience necessary. In fact, in the research, a third (32%) of Herbalife’s direct sellers (independent distributors) reported having less than three years’ experience in the industry.

Another key finding was the value of the ongoing training, development and support they receive from Herbalife and other distributors. Over 80% of Herbalife’s independent distributors said that they’d sharpened up their business skills, while 81% said that they’d learned how to work more effectively in a team, with 87% reporting that they now have better interpersonal skills overall.

1. What to look for in a credible direct selling organisation

If you think direct selling could be the entrepreneurial opportunity for you, take a look at my top-tips for success.

2. Research your options

Take your time and look for a direct selling company that's got a good track record. Consider the amount of time that it’s been in business as well as the depth of research and development behind its products - a good indication that their range has been tried, tested, and refined to reflect what the market wants.

3. Member of a direct selling (trade) association

In South Africa Herbalife is a member of The Direct Selling Association of South Africa. The association sets the high standards for the direct selling industry as a whole and, therefore, each member organisation. This includes a strict code of ethics and conduct, including how it incentivises and rewards its direct sellers. You can rest assured knowing that companies who are members of a direct selling association are legitimate and credible and in full compliance with the law.

4. How much stock do you have to buy upfront?

Look for a direct selling organisation that isn’t going to saddle you with huge amounts of inventory and that will ease you into the business gently. In the same survey, 90% of our distributors said that the low start-up costs were a key factor in them starting their businesses while 88% said the low risk of financial loss was key.

At Herbalife, a new distributor starter pack costs only R614.71 which is enough to set you on your journey before you decide to buy any more stock. There are no minimum order values or requirements to make regular orders. Herbalife also offers a 12-month money back guarantee on unused products as well as your initial membership fee.

5. Avoid big claims

A credible and legal direct selling company will clearly disclose the potential income you could earn from your business and will certainly not make outlandish claims or guarantee you a huge income. However, direct selling gives you an opportunity to determine your hours, so you’ll likely get back what you decide to put in. If you only have a few hours a week to devote to your business, that’s fine; if you want to throw yourself in completely, go for it! You set your own goals and work at your own pace.

Look for a supportive community

At Herbalife, we make sure that new distributors are supported from day one with other like-minded individuals who have been in their shoes - whether it’s in-person or on-line. Look for a direct selling organisation that has your best interests at heart with people will help you to succeed.

It’s not always easy starting your own business but a great feeling once you’ve find the right one for you. I was encouraged to see in the same survey that 83% of our independent distributors said that their businesses give them great ‘job satisfaction’ – a far higher number than the European average, which sees only a quarter of us saying that we’re happy in our work. Great news for the future of entrepreneurship.