When I raise the subject of Network Marketing, what comes to your mind? Many, I am sure, are cringing at the thought of pyramid schemes and dodgy sales people trying to get you to buy something you definitely don’t want. Well, if your perception of network marketing and direct selling has been tainted by some bad experiences, try to overlook them for a moment and bear with me for a while because the reality of the industry is somewhat different.

The international direct selling/network marketing industry is worth more than $114-billion a year through the activities of 65-million sales people. In South Africa 1,11-million direct sellers are involved in the R6,34-billion rand industry. Direct selling is not for everyone, but for those who make a success of this unconventional career path, there are lots of benefits to be enjoyed.

So what is network marketing?

Network marketing is a form of business where entrepreneurs are given the opportunity to build their own businesses. There is usually a product that is sold and entrepreneurs build their businesses by getting others to start and build their own businesses in the same way they did. The entrepreneurs are paid by the partner company for growing the network of business owners.

What are the benefits?

1.  Making money on the side or as your main career with no limit to how much you can make.

In traditional business, you earn exactly what has been agreed upon with our employer with perhaps only the chance of an annual salary increase. Direct selling allows you to earn as much as you want to, because what you put in is what you get out. You might start by just doing it on the side to earn a bit of extra money, but you can eventually make it a career move with limitless potential.

2.  Working flexible hours as and when you want to.

The 8-5 slog is not for everyone, especially busy working moms who would like to see their children during daylight hours. Direct selling offers you the opportunity to work when and where you want to, and could be a good opportunity for a non-working mom to contribute to the household income without sacrificing all her time to an employer.

3.  Earning rewards, incentives, overseas trips and passive income.

Direct selling has many benefits and rewards including constant incentives and even overseas trips offered to entrepreneurs who achieve well. Another wonderful extra is something called passive income. Once you have built up your business with many entrepreneurs linked to you, you will begin to earn passive income that is not determined by what you do, but just be the existence of a growing team under you in the network. This passive income could grow to become a healthy retirement plan, continuing to pay you even after you stop working.

4.  Low start-up costs.

No other business opportunity has such low start-up costs, most of which have small registration fees and some have small capital outlays.

5.  Anyone can do it.

Anyone can become a network marketing entrepreneur. You don’t need a fancy qualification or years of experience. If you partner with a good company that wants to help you succeed, they will provide you with all the training, resources and support you need to learn about the business and how it works and how to be successful.

The most important thing when considering network marketing is to find a reputable company with a beneficial compensation plan to partner with. You will be disappointed if you don’t do your homework and choose the best of what is out there as there are many excellent opportunities and as many doomed ones, so take your time to choose the best and then give of your best to make this new career venture work for you. This Network Marketing: It could be just what you are looking for to help you take back control of your life was written by Joanne Delaurentis and published on Women Inc, the complete resource for the working woman. Women Inc offers articles on entrepreneurship, management, personal effectiveness and issues beyond the workplace (www.womeninc.co.za).

Small Business Forum

The Small Business Forum is an independent network of entrpreneurs and small business owners established to encourage and support the creation, growth and development of small business in South Africa.

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