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How to Start a Direct Selling Business

How to Start a Direct Selling Business

You’ve done the research, and now you’re ready to take the first steps to start a direct selling business. The idea is becoming more mainstream as the industry experiences year-over-year growth, and there are more reputable companies than ever to partner with as you fulfill your vision of success.

Many opportunities exist to build your brand in a way that suits your style—this isn’t an industry reserved for extroverts. You can grow your base on social media, make connections at in-person events, or branch out to people in your network.

Whatever your goals look like, here are simple tips to get started and stay on track as you establish yourself in the direct sales sphere.

Measure Your Ambition

Write down your goals and be realistic. What do you want out of this business? How much effort will you put in to accomplishing your objectives during your first month? Your first year? Decide how often you will assess and re-establish your metrics of success. And remember, the only failure is not trying: there’s nothing wrong with moving the goalposts, so long as you continue to move forward and learn from your experiences.

In direct sales, you don’t have a boss—one of the perks of starting a business—which means you need to be extra vigilant to stay on track. Set reminders to follow up on your goals regularly and adjust as necessary.

Crunch the Numbers

Another benefit to consider when looking to start a direct selling business is the relatively low overhead and startup costs. Since most companies ship directly to your customers, you don’t need to commit to a large, on-hand inventory or warehouse space. There are still costs to consider, like startup or processing fees to open your business, recurring product purchase requirements, and possible fees for access to first-party sales tools. These costs vary from company to company, so add up all the potential expenses to visualize how much you’ll be spending before you earn.

You should also invest in yourself and your business. How much will depend on the amount of time and effort you plan to put in, but here are a few ideas to consider.

A Professional Website

Some direct sales companies, like USANA Health Sciences, allow distributors to create a website that mimics the corporate page and shopping experience. This is a great way to show customers the quality and trustworthiness of your business.


Local listings, blogs, sponsored social media posts, Google Ads—there are a million ways to capture the eyes of potential customers.

Product Samples

Many direct sales companies offer variety or sample packs, smaller sizes, or lower quantities, which are perfect to give out to potential customers who seem seriously interested in what you’re selling.


Your company may offer in-person or digital events where you can learn from industry experts and network with other business owners.


Small business owners depend on digital tools to track expenses, sales, taxes, and other key figures. See what your company offers and ask other business owners for recommendations.

Additional Costs of Doing Business

Embossed business cards, a laptop or tablet, a webcam and mic for crystal-clear online meetings, fancy-but-not-too-fancy shoes—the list of ways you can spend goes on.

Write Your Story

You have a great, personal reason to want to start a direct selling business. Share it with the world! You owe it to yourself to hone your storytelling skills and crystalize what makes you stand out. You’ll solidify your reason for being in business, and customers will resonate with the emotion of your narrative and drive. Write (or type) out a brief personal history, expanding on the moments and people who made you who you are and helped guide you to exploring entrepreneurship. Consider hiring an editor or recruiting friends to proof your prose. Before you know it, you’ll be walking to the beat of your autobiography.

Speaking of stories, keep a daily or weekly journal of your progress and experiences. Include “hard” metrics like sales dollars, customers and team members recruited, and hours spent building your business. But also include “soft” data—personal or general information, like important lessons learned, friendships made, or moments of personal growth. These can’t be measured on a spreadsheet, but they’re important all the same.

Fill Out the Paperwork / Cross Your T’s and Dot Your I’s

Boring but necessary—do your due diligence and find out how your state and district handles independent business owners. Keep a clean sales record and work with a financial consultant to ensure you’re compliant with codes of conduct. It’s a lot of work, but doing things correctly when you start a direct selling business will save time and help you avoid any nasty surprises along the way.

Accept a Helping Hand

The network of people around you can lift you up when you’re down and keep you accountable when you need it. There are no failures so long as you push on, and your family and friends may be exactly what you need for that extra oomph of inspiration. Keep your people in the loop as you grow your business—they want to see you succeed just as much as you do and will offer advice along the way (for better or worse).

You should also seek advice from other entrepreneurs who have started a similar business in your area. They will likely be glad to make the connection, and many will be happy to share lessons learned.

Ready, Set, Start

With this list in mind, you’re another step closer as you work to start a direct selling business. Keep pushing forward, one day at a time, to make your dream a reality.

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by Rebecca Jones // Contributor to Businessing Magazine.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.