Direct sales can be an amazing way to earn extra money, meet new people, or even replace your income. All those things can happen, and they’ve happened for my wife. I want to share some things I’ve seen over the past 10+ years and teach you how to make money in direct sales.

I must admit that this article is a passion piece for me and something I’ve wanted to write about for a long time after seeing some of our customers succeed while others have lost thousands of dollars.

While reading below, you may shake your head in agreement with me, or you may get upset because I am calling out some things you may currently be doing or have done in the past.

That’s 100% OK.

The direct sales industry needs a better image. It needs YOU to succeed.

After reading this article, I hope you can implement as many of these tips as possible.

I don’t want to see you with thousands and thousands of dollars in inventory sitting in your home office, collecting dust, or wasting away.

That’s a huge waste of money.

I don’t want to see you spend thousands of dollars on this shiny new thing or that new training you may never get to and never get value out of it.

If you find value in this post, here’s my big ask: please share it with as many people as possible in the direct sales and network marketing industries.

The more successful we all are, the better it is for everyone.

How to be successful in direct sales.

Direct sales tips for success #1 – Focus on generating sales first

I’ve spoken with many of our customers over the years. I enjoy it. Selfishly, I love learning about their businesses. Probably more than they enjoy talking to me.

I love helping our customers with their questions about using our program and just general business as well.

You see, many direct sellers have never run a business before.

That’s one of the fantastic things about this industry.

Anyone can do it!

I’ll always remember the time I spoke with a new direct seller who was excited about the new company she joined.

Instead of asking me about systems to save time, how to sell, this thing called “follow-up” she’d heard about from her team or any other revenue-generating activity, she asked me about spending thousands of dollars on building a new home office for her direct sales business. She wanted to know if she could write it off from her taxes.

Now, I’m all about maximizing your deductions, and not that this question is bad; it’s just the wrong focus for someone new.

Your first focus should be on generating sales. If you don’t have sales, you don’t have a business.

All the other stuff is meaningless if you don’t have sales.

Tax deductions, the software to help with this or that, and the training courses all come AFTER you generate sales.

There are many strategies for generating sales.

  • Sell at vendor events.
  • Host a party.
  • Host an open house.
  • Host an online party.
  • Do a mystery party.
  • Connect with your target market online or offline.
  • Create content and share it on social media.
  • Start your own blog.
  • Start a customer buyer’s club.

It doesn’t matter where you start (although some are much quicker than others) as long as you focus on generating sales first.

And if you are concerned about recruiting, building a customer base solves that problem for you.

Networking with your target market and being seen as a kind, knowledgeable solution solver with great products and a great opportunity solves that too.

Direct sales tips for success #2 – know your ROI BEFORE spending money

If you spend money on anything for your business, you need to know that you’re going to return multiple times the amount you’ll spend in either time savings or additional earnings BEFORE spending that money.

If you won’t earn multiple times that amount, don’t spend the money.

In case you’re wondering, ROI stands for return on investment. A return on investment can be saving hours of time or generating extra sales or commissions.

One thing I love about Direct Sidekick is that it’s easy to see the ROI from using our program. If you save even a couple of hours per year on your accounting and inventory management, you’ve got a positive ROI!

Now, if you’re like many of our customers who tell us before using Direct Sidekick, they spent weeks before tax time, estimated at 40 – 60 hours, and now they can finish their accounting for the year in a few hours.

Now that’s an AMAZING ROI!

Would you pay $60 a year to save 40 hours?

Yep, no-brainer, right?

What are you spending money on for your business?

Are you paying for a service and not earning your money back in time savings or sales? Time to cancel.

If you’ve done a vendor event that didn’t have much traffic and sales were tough to come by, it’s best not to do that one again. Don’t get me wrong; I’m a huge fan of selling at vendor events.

But, if the organizer didn’t do enough to generate steady traffic so you can generate good sales, it’s time to find a different one.

The point is, know BEFORE you spend your money that it’s worth it.

If you can’t be sure because you’re testing a new software/process/event, start small and see if you get a positive return. If you do, great! Double down and keep doing it.

Direct sales tips for success #3 – If your goal is to earn money; treat it like a business.

People join direct sales for different reasons.

Some join for community and new friendships. If that’s you, then enjoy the community. Generate some sales and plug into your new community.

If your goal is to earn enough to cover groceries and your mortgage or to replace your full-time income, then you need to treat your business like a business.

That means being consistent with working your business. Whether that means scheduling a couple of nights per week or even just one, you schedule it and stick to it.

That means knowing how much money you have coming in and going out of your business.

That means setting up a plan for your business and sticking to it.

If you work for someone else, do they let you skip because it’s nice out? Or because you’re tired?

Don’t skip your scheduled work time for your business, either.

Set up a plan, schedule your time, and work diligently towards your goals.

Direct sales tips for success #4 – Serve your customers first

Want to know the quickest way to lose a customer?

Reach out to them constantly, trying to sell to them.

Now, if instead of only reaching out to your customers when you want to sell them something, you CONSISTENTLY provide value to them, you’ll earn customers for life.

What does this look like?

One thing we do at Direct Sidekick is we offer a free course (free as in no cost, no obligation to use our accounting program, systems you can implement with or without our program).

Why do we do this?

It’s the same reason we wrote this article; we want you to succeed!

If you follow the systems in the free course and this article, you’re much more likely to succeed in your business than if you don’t.

If you succeed in your business, it helps you (obviously), but it also helps the industry.

What if, instead of hearing stories about people losing money when they joined the direct sales industry, we heard people talk about how they earned enough money to cover their mortgage?

Don’t get me wrong, we’d love to have you as a customer, but if you don’t need Direct Sidekick yet, we still want you to succeed.

How can you provide value to your customers?

If your company offers green cleaning products, what about sending your customers tips for living “greener” or providing them with a monthly cleaning calendar?

If your company offers supplements, what if you set up a free challenge or training program to get the most out of using your product?

If your company offers clean makeup, what about if you provide free tutorials on how to use the products and change with the season?

You get the idea. Find ways to provide value to your customers, and they will be customers for life!

Bonus, who do you think they will call when they need your green cleaning products or supplements or clean makeup?

You, of course!

Direct sales tips for success #5 – Know what you want to achieve AND WHAT IT TAKES TO ACHIEVE IT

That second part is the key that many overlook. It’s easy to say, “Know your why,” and create amazing vision boards so you are always reminded of why you’re in your business.

I agree that these are essential things to do. It sure helps when you’re having a bad day or when you feel like nothing is going right.
But the next step is equally or more important.

Having a goal is good, but it’s just a wish without knowing how to achieve it and without a PLAN to achieve it.

Figure out what you want to achieve, then spend time setting up a plan to succeed.

And when I say a plan, I mean a detailed written plan.

For my wife, that meant knowing how much she earned at an average party or vendor event.

Knowing how much she wanted to earn each month. Then, doing the math.

When she started growing her team, she was able to figure out what she earned, on average, bringing on new recruits.

This allowed her to increase her monthly income goal, continue to host parties, sell at vendor events, and train her new teammates.

If you don’t know what your goal is, or you don’t have a plan to achieve it, start figuring those two things out ASAP.

Did you notice I didn’t say to list your top five or ten goals?

Start with one goal that will make a difference in your life, and do whatever it takes to achieve that one thing.

If you don’t know where to start, sign up for our free course or reach out to us personally, and we’ll be happy to help.

Direct sales tips for success #6 – Earn lifelong loyal clients with CONSISTENT customer follow-up

This is one of the quickest and easiest ways to grow your business. We’ve already covered this topic in depth before, but take what you’re earning monthly in your business today and multiply it by 1.5.

So, if you’re earning $500 per month, how does $750 sound?

Or, if you’re earning $2,000 per month, how does $3,000 per month sound?

$5,000 per month, how about $7,500 per month instead?

By implanting this one thing, you will be able to earn this new number while solidifying your relationship with your customers.

Things NOT to do if you want to succeed in direct sales

Tips for direct sales success #7 – Don’t be spammy

Do not reach out to people you went to high school with, being vague, offering them this “amazing opportunity that has changed your life.”

If someone reached out to you like that, how would you respond?

Do not comment on their posts, DM them, and then quickly try to sell from them.

That’s spammy, and it’s easy to see.

It’s part of the reason why some people believe the industry has a bad reputation.

If you reach out to someone, be genuine. Have a real interest in them.

Don’t try to sell to them.

Provide real value and over time, you’ll earn a customer for life.

I’ve said that line a few times in this article.

You see, that’s how you build a real business.

Tips for direct sales success #8 – Do not give your discount/commission away.

THIS IS ONE OF THE MAIN WAYS YOU EARN MONEY. If you have a friend or family member who owns a business in another industry, ask them if they will give you their best-selling product or service at their cost.

Occasionally, someone may say yes, but the point I’m making is that most of the time, in business, nobody is giving their income away.

So, why would you?

Why would you work hard to teach others about your product, show them how to use it best, provide amazing customer service, and field their questions and complaints … FOR NOTHING?

You shouldn’t.

You don’t want to give your discount away or always be running a sale so as to train your customers to expect your discount or wait to buy from you until your next sale, do you?

You’re not going to earn anything for your time.

You don’t want to find out when filing your taxes that all the time you spent on your business earned you nothing or even cost you money after your expenses.

Sell your products for what they are worth and earn your income!

We get asked all the time how we calculate our inventory costs in Direct Sidekick. I’ve found out that we’re getting asked this because some direct sellers want to price their products based on their costs.


If you got a great deal on some of your products, great! You can sell them and earn MORE on them.

Don’t give your income away.

Tips for direct sales success #9 – Do not recruit your best customers

This one may go against what your company is telling you.

This doesn’t mean not to offer your opportunity to your customers. You can, and should, share your opportunity.

What this means is if you have a loyal customer who has no intention of selling your products, that you’ve invested time into them with great follow-up and customer service and is consistently buying from you, do not push them into becoming a “casual consultant” or “discount customer” or whatever your company calls it.

If you’re currently earning 20% – 40% (whatever your sales commission is) on their sales and you’ve built a great relationship with your customer, why would you change that to doing the same amount of work and earning 3-5% on their sales?

I say the same amount of work because do you really believe this casual consultant is going to log in and place their own orders, learn all about your products and do it on their own?

Sometimes. Maybe.

But most of the time, you’re still doing this for them. You’re still sending them information on promotions and new products, just like when you earned 20% – 40% on their orders.

Again, this is not to say never let them know about your opportunity or answer their questions if they ask you about joining your team.

I’m just saying, why give that commission away for nothing?

Tips for direct sales success #10 – Don’t buy inventory unless you have a plan to sell it

As an accounting and inventory management software company, I can tell you that some direct sellers have a ton of inventory.

Having inventory is not necessarily a bad thing. If you can get good deals on your products and sell them to earn more than you would by placing your customer’s order directly through your company, great.

If you plan on selling at vendor events to generate more sales, new customers and leads to follow up with, and more bookings, great!

My family loves doing vendor events.

I always say, “Where else are you going to go where hundreds or thousands of potential customers walk up to you and ask about your product?”

Nowhere right?


Do not buy inventory without a plan to sell it.

Don’t have thousands and thousands of dollars of inventory sitting in your home office.

It could go bad, it could get damaged, the packaging could change. Any number of things could happen.

Also, why spend money on something that isn’t going to make you money for a long time? That’s what happens when you don’t have a plan to sell it.

If you do have inventory, it’s time to contact your local customers about porch pickup orders, sign up for lower-cost vendor events, or start an inventory sale.

In business, inventory is meant to be sold to earn income, not to be accumulated.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, I see many direct sellers succeed and unfortunately many who have not. The difference is what is written above.

If you have any tips that have been great for your business, please share them in the comments section below.

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One Comment

  1. 10 Do's and Don'ts for How to Make Money in Direct Sales 1
    April Dunham-Filson April 30, 2024 at 6:17 pm - Reply

    I loved this article! Each one was something to remind me of what I am doing and why I am doing it. Sure there are things that I need to brush up on, but knowing I have a plan and where I want to be is so important. Thank you for reminding me of the important things!

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