With direct sales, there are some definitely advantages and disadvantages in comparison to starting from the ground up.
Recognition – This is a big benefit to direct sales in that the company works on recognition so you do not have to work as hard. People get to know the product even if they have not dealt with you personally. Think about how many know what Tupperware or Avon is, even if they have not bought the product.
Advertising – Many direct sales companies help with your advertising in that they run ads in various locations, they create advertising materials for their sales force, and they keep changing things up to assist you.
Product Selection – They allow you to have a variety of product available to your customers without you having to guess as much as to what people want. You can get product lines that are only 10 products up to lines with hundreds of items.
Tools Provided – Directs sales can be less work than an independent business, in that the Home Office takes care of a lot of details for you. They do market research, they typically develop websites for you to use, and they create a lot of training materials. You still have to work hard, but you have tools provided as well.
Product Control – You do not control what products are available to your customers, and when the products change. There may be a product your customers really like, but the company does not find is selling well, and they pull it.
Amount of Work – There is no recognition when it comes to your own business. You are literally starting from nothing and you have to let people know you exist, that people can buy from you, and what you have. You will have to create your own website and find your own customers. You will have to research what people are going to want and how much inventory you will need to carry.
Costs – Starting your own business can be expensive. Even if all you look at is getting the proper licenses and bringing in inventory to get going, you are looking at several thousand dollars. Keep in mind when buying through wholesalers; you typically have to buy in multiples, so you may have to buy 3, 6 or 12 of an item at a time. Not to mention creating a website if you want to sell online and the costs associated with it.
A great idea may be to start with direct sales, get educated, get trained, and then strike out on your own if you still want.