Direct selling is the business model of the 21st century

Network marketing. Multi-level marketing. Direct sales.

The business model goes by many names, but the concept is the same. Direct selling is the sale of a product from one person to another, away from a fixed retail location. In the United States alone, the Direct Selling Association estimates direct sales revenue at nearly $30 billion a year. There are some 16 million salespeople in the country, and approximately 66 million direct sellers worldwide.

For an industry with this breadth and momentum, myths and misnomers still persist among those unfamiliar with this business model. Those who understand the strength of the system know direct selling is really defined by residual income, time freedom and personal growth.

Now for those myths we mentioned ... Let's bust them one by one.

MYTH:

Network marketing is a pyramid scheme.

TRUTH:

Like many innovations, network marketing was ridiculed at first. However, after a famous 1979 court case, direct selling was recognized as a legitimate business opportunity. Pyramid schemes are closed down by authorities and their owners prosecuted because they do not offer any real product or service. Conversely, network marketing organizations only reward their members on the sale of a legitimate product or service.

MYTH:

You have to be good at sales to succeed in network marketing.

TRUTH:

Statistics show that successful network marketers do not share a common background of sales experience, nor do they all have common personality traits — with the exception of hard work and willingness to learn. Successful direct sellers learn the business, share their experiences and then duplicate their success.

MYTH:

Owning a traditional business is the only way to get out of the rat race.

TRUTH:

To start a conventional business takes substantial investment in terms of both education and startup fees. Hiring staff, sales and marketing, bookkeeping, taxes, inventory control and purchasing can be overwhelming for a new business owner. Network marketing, on the other hand, provides all of the infrastructure, tools, systems and training needed to succeed. You’re in business for yourself but not by yourself. The investment to become a direct seller is substantially smaller than starting a traditional venture, while still offering a “sky is the limit” potential in terms of income, happiness and time freedom.

MYTH:

It would be embarrassing to be involved in direct sales.

TRUTH:

Leading financial expert Robert Kiyosaki calls it “the business of the 21st century.” Billionaire investor Warren Buffett calls it “the best investment I ever made.” And Fortune magazine calls it "the best kept secret in business." The industry was born in the 1940s and has continued to grow with staggering momentum, with a 91 percent growth rate in the past 10 years alone. Not only did it survive one of the worst financial crises in modern times, it actually thrived. Direct selling is now considered by experts to be one of the most viable, proven, thriving and fastest-growing business models in the world.

MYTH:

All network marketing companies are the same.

TRUTH:

Succeeding in network marketing comes down to aligning with the right company. How do you know which is right? A solid network marketing company has an experienced management team, scientifically backed products, a proper training system, a generous compensation plan, and ideal timing and positioning in the marketplace.

BY THE NUMBERS

85 PERCENT

of sellers report a good, very good or excellent experience with direct selling

74 PERCENT

of U.S. adults have purchased products from a direct seller

91 PERCENT

of direct sellers work part time