One very easy and popular way that mums can make money is to start up a distributorship business.
Most of the 'party plan' companies are run in this way and it is a very low cost way of getting started in what can be a very fun business.
The basic components of a distributorship is that you are an independent person who sells products (or services) on behalf of a company. The company may impose certain conditions on you as to the sales and advertising you may use, and they often provide stationery, advertising and training for you but generally they do not tell you how much you must work nor do you have any sales targets. You also have to find your clients yourself and you do not have a set territory. In this way a distributorship is different to a franchise, and for this reason it is often cheaper to set up.
There are many advantages to this kind of business for mums who are just starting out on the money making path.
- Generally the investment up front is quite small. Most distributorships subsidise a "starting package" so you can get some products cheaply and get started very quickly.
- You can work as little or as much as you like, picking hours and locations to suit yourself and your family.
- It can be a very sociable business, starting with your existing friends and allowing you to build many new friendships and contacts.
- Some products can be easily sold to groups of mums at toddler groups and parties in the home, so it is perfectly possible to bring your baby or toddler along with you while you work and you do not have to worry about childcare.
- If you are selling a product that your family loves and uses, you can generally get some products for your family at very reasonable prices.
My first step into self-employment was to run a small distributorship business while my children were small. It got me out meeting people and gave me some confidence back in my abilities. It felt good to have a small amount of money that I had earned myself and meant that I did not feel so guilty about buying the occasional treat for myself. It also got my brain working again in a work way, which set me up for the other business activities that followed.
However it must be said that for most people, a distributorship is not the final solution to making the sort of money that they want to from home. I do have a couple of good friends who make a proper full-time income from a distributorship business, but for the majority of distributors, it is a part time solution, that makes a small amount of pocket money but no more.
For me after a while I found the main disadvantages as follows:
- For many distributorship businesses you make the most money by manning stalls at the weekend in leisure centres or by doing parties in the evenings. These working hours did not suit me or my family, which meant that my working opportunities were limited.
- The company I worked for imposed a minimum order value on its distributors. This meant that if I sold less than that at an event, I still had to invest some of my money to buy stock in order to get the products that the customers wanted. I ended up with large quantities of stock, not all of which was saleable, and although I made a profit on paper, not all of it was in my pocket.
- I discovered about myself that I am not a natural salesperson. I found it demoralising to set up my stall, in place after place and sit there while nobody bought. It was also quite exhausting getting the stuff out of the car and setting up my display - once I started going to toddler groups with 2 small children it got to be a chore rather than a pleasure, and I'm sure that probably reflected in my face and put people off. Now that I've witnessed my successful friend in action, I realise that there are some natural sales skills which i just don't possess, and I have since discovered a career that is a little less front-line.
- The final thing that put an end to my distributorship business is moving house and finding myself in the same road as a very successful distributor for the same business. The thing about distributorships is that nobody is given a territory. This means that the distributorship is not as expensive to acquire as a franchise, but also means that you cannot control the amount of competition in your area.
In summary I would say that a distributorship is a great way for mums to get started in business. For me it wasn't the final solution, but it gave me a great start and confidence boost into finding the self employed career that I wanted.
If you want to find one the best way is to look in any of the small magazines that are distributed to parents in toddler groups or online. One of the ways that distributors increase their earnings is by recruiting a team, and you will find no end of willing distributors willing to take you on, train you and get you started. We also have distributorship opportunities on the Business and Jobs board, or of course you can advertise your own opportunities there.
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