Direct Selling Agents: Successful Career Option for Housewives

sales woman Are you a person who wants to be a little more than a home-maker or a stay-at-home-mom? Do you have the desire to be your own boss? One segment of entrepreneurship might suit you well and that is - Network marketing, better known as direct selling.

Rashmi Tiwari, who took a plunge in direct selling five years ago, says, “I wanted to start my own venture. But my baby girl was just two months old and I did not have enough time to devote to starting my own company. But the urge was very strong and I had to begin. Direct selling provided me the solace.”

Today Rashmi has a large clientele, which she has established through direct selling. She enjoys her work and the freedom of being her own boss.

The beauty of direct selling is that you don’t have to create a product or a business plan. All you have to do is look for a company that offers a product or service you believe in and can get passionate about. Rashmi says, “Direct selling is very much like entrepreneurship, in fact it combines the advantages of entrepreneurship and the ease of a nine-to-five job.” In direct selling whether one wants to work part time or full time is up to the person. This makes it a good career opportunity for women.”

A study on women entrepreneurs involved in direct selling conducted by the government of Himachal Pradesh says that 72.48 per cent of the respondents were housewives prior to their joining the enterprises. In India over 300 products are sold through direct selling. As per Indian Direct Selling Association (IDSA), there are more than 200 direct selling firms operating in India and most of them are small and regional players. Amway is the largest Direct Selling FMCG Company in India with Investment in excess of USD 35 million (Rs 151 crore) in India. It sells around 75 products in four categories in India - nutrition and wellness, beauty, personal care and home. The company has over 4,50,000 active independent business owners.

Many other companies have followed suit. Avon is the world’s largest Direct Seller. The company has sales of USD 7.7billion. The company also has a strong presence in India. Tupperware India Pvt. Ltd is another company, which has established its presence in the market of direct selling products. Through this unique selling method, Tupperware has recorded remarkable acceptance and success in India. The direct selling industry in India has grown from USD 20 million to USD 600 million in the last 10 years. And with the government likely to come out with a legislative framework for direct selling in a few months from now, more international companies are likely to foray into India in the next two years. So the industry is set to cross the USD 1000 million mark by 2010.

With no initial investments in terms of infrastructure or manpower, direct selling has made entrepreneurship more attractive especially for women who want to be part time entrepreneurs. (1)

Another crucial trigger for the explosive growth of the direct selling industry has been the ripple effect. The people who had initially rejected the scheme outright have turned believers after watching their friends, relatives or colleagues make a fortune, literally overnight. So the distributor driblet of the 1990s has begun to mass into a wave now: 1.2 lakh distributors in 1997 have bloated to 11 lakh now.

An overwhelming chunk-65 per cent-of this grid comprises women, largely housewives, who with their unique networking skills-kitty parties now look more like product demo sessions, lunches and dinners are peppered with sales pitches-have contributed significantly to the success of direct selling. What has helped, of course, is the flexible work hours, no qualification bar, little seed capital and high income potential. (2)


- Suniet Bezbaroowa (views expressed in the article are that of the author)


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