Direct Marketing – Too good to be true?

Posted: 11th February 2015

With so many direct marketing schemes about, it’s difficult to know which the right scheme is for you.  Direct marketing can be fun and if you’re prepared to put a little work in, you can reap the rewards. This article sets about helping you understand how to make the right choices for you and about avoiding the pitfalls of “get rich quick” claims whilst dispelling the pyramid scheme myth.

Network Marketing? Direct Marketing? Party Plan? Pyramid Schemes? – they offer great money making opportunities right? But we’ve all heard that pyramid schemes are scams and know someone that knows someone who has lost money. Yet the world seems to be full of people boasting about their successes and riches gained from this type of business.What are you supposed to believe? And should you give it a go?

Firstly you need to understand a couple of things about this type of scheme, and then I will focus on how you go about finding the right scheme for you.

Pyramid schemes, rather like those old fashion chain letters were devised so that there were high volumes of people at the bottom of the business paying into the scheme with a few people at the top reaping all the benefits. Eventually when people stopped investing the scheme would collapse leaving investors without a return on their funds.It is unlikely that there was a tangible consumer product involved.

Network or direct marketing schemes (sometimes known as multi level marketing – MLM) will have a product.A small investment will be made for a starter kit to enable the seller/consultant to demonstrate the product and take orders.Sometimes sold by party plan or direct to a consumer.Those at the top of the structure do earn more money because they have built teams and everyone within the structure has the ability to elevate their status.The more you put in the more you get out.

FACT – pyramid schemes are illegal in the UK and no longer exist.

FACT – The Direct Selling Association (DSA) regulates direct marketing companies in the UK to ensure that sellers and consumers are protected, ensuring everyone gets a fair deal.

 Why become a direct marketer?

There are many reasons you may wish to take up an opportunity with a direct marketing company.

  • Flexibility/working from home or around children or another job.
  • Work where you want and when you want.
  • Supplementing an existing income.
  • Ability to save for a special occasion? E.g. holiday or Christmas.
  • Career change.
  • Easy way to start a business or be your own boss.
  • Discounts on the products
  • Save for retirement.
  • Improve your social life.
  • Be part of a team or to build your own team.
  • Control over earnings – the more you put in, the more you get out.

There are simply hundreds of companies out there, with more being launched every day, so how do you choose one?

  • Check the company is registered with the DSA.
  • Do your research. Talk to people in the business as well as those who declined the opportunity to get a balanced perspective. Whatworks for one person doesn’t for another.
  • Try the product? If you wouldn’t use it yourself it can be harder to sell.
  • Does the product have special beneficial features that make it more saleable, i.e. organic, natural, UK made, not tested on animals etc
  • Do the company offer free training and support?
  • Look for a company where you can order to customer demand rather than having to hold stock so that you’re never out of pocket.
  • Does the company have easy opt out clauses.A good company will allow you to cease trading at any point, allowing you to try the scheme without high risk.
  • Does this company provide a start up package at low cost (Typically  £100) so you can start trading & what is included?
  • Is the brand a household name – a well known brand is easier to sell.

If you are looking for a get rich scheme I’d advise you against this type of business.There are still unscrupulous people who will tell you that you can earn thousands.There are people making a lot of money in network marketing but they do work hard for it – if that’s for you go for it.The rewards are there if you’re prepared to go and get them. If it sounds too good to be true it usually is so step away. You will also need to register to complete a tax return and probably need to take out an insurance policy.

From a personal perspective, I chose Neal’s Yard Remedies because I wanted an ethical product from the health and wellbeing industry to sit alongside my existing business Reflections Coaching. I knew nothing about the beauty industry.I’ve been doing parties and events for about 12 months and have some regular customers now.

I love the company for its ethics, (cruelty free, paraben free, organic).I’m enjoying the social side of it and have converted completed to organic beauty products and can feel the difference.

I’m now recruiting my own team and using the coaching skills I already have to support others starting their own direct marketing business.

More information about direct marketing is available at

Carolyn Trafford is a consultant for Neal’s Yard Remedies Organics, the world’s first health and beauty company to get 100% for ethics in The Ethical Company Organisation’s Good Shopping Guide amongst many other awards. Email  or Visit Carolyn’s website HERE