SOURCE: L'Bel

January 03, 2011 05:00 ET

Is It Time to Work for Yourself?

MISSION, KS--(Marketwire - January 3, 2011) - (Family Features) The tight job market has a growing number of people looking to become their own boss. In a September 2010 Citibank small business survey, 81 percent of small business owners still like or love what they do, and 75 percent said they would start their businesses again, even knowing about the challenges they would face.

But starting a business in a recession isn't always easy. Getting a bank loan is tough and credit card companies are reducing lines of credit. One way to feed your entrepreneurial drive in this economy is to consider a career in direct selling.

Direct sales is a dynamic industry -- one that many entrepreneurs and stay-at-home parents are diving into. According to the Direct Selling Association, more than 15 million people sold about $30 billion in products and services in the US in 2008. Nearly one-third of those sales were for personal items such as cosmetics, jewelry, and skin care.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) and the Direct Selling Association Education Foundation (DSAEF) have partnered to help educate those interested in pursuing direct sales for themselves.

Here are three questions the BBB recommends asking if you're thinking about a career in direct sales:

  • Do I have what it takes to be a good salesman? Most natural sales people are outgoing, comfortable speaking in public, and self-motivated. But those are skills that can also be acquired. Before diving in, make arrangements to shadow several direct sellers so you can see what it takes to be successful.
  • Is this a product I can believe in? Genuine excitement is catching, so if you really believe in the product, a lot of the work is already done for you. And the opposite is true, too -- if you wouldn't buy the product for yourself, you'll have a very hard time selling it to anyone else.
  • Do I risk financial loss by joining the company? Legitimate companies generally have low start-up costs -- typically less than $100. It's also very important to understand the company's buy-back policy so that you will know your rights should you choose to quit the business.

Direct selling can be very rewarding. Denise Pagano from New York did her homework and decided to become an Independent Beauty Advisor for L'Bel, a premium skin care and cosmetics company. "Once I tried the products, I couldn't wait to start sharing them with my friends," she said. "I felt good about working for a company that's had over 40 years of success, and it's turned out to be a great fit for me. I get to set my own hours, I can sell online, one on one, or at L'Bel Beauty Parties -- whatever works best for me."

Denise has also benefited from the coaching and education provided by L'Bel, as well as the online support offered. "In my Beauty Advisor Office Suite, I can communicate with people, manage my business and access more training and resources." To find out if working with L'Bel could be a possibility for your career, visit www.lbelusa.com.

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