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Making money from home

Bonnie_2  Who wouldn't want to make some cash working from home on your own schedule? Clearly direct selling (also known as multi-level marketing) isn't for everyone. But more people are finding it a viable way to earn some income at a time when costs are high. The big benefit: you can work from home on your own schedule, putting in as many hours as you wish. But you must put in work and time to make decent money. And, you must research the company first!

     Bonnie Ross, a stay at home mom for eight years, turned to Silpada silver jewelry to bring her household some extra income. She hosts a couple parties a week, putting in about 15 to 20 hours. She says she gets to meet interesting people and sell a product she loves. Apparently, believing in your product is key to success in direct sales. You also need to be able to pitch your product to family, friends and even strangers and recruit others to sell the product under your network.  Ross says she choose Silpada because  ``silver catches people's attention . . . it jiggles and shines so it's like I'm a walking advertisement.'' Her website is bonnielovessilver@comcast.net. Carmen Rojas, 20, chose to be an independent consultant with Passion Parties as her fulltime job. Her strategy is to market online, word of mouth and with car magnets. Her website is passionpartybycarmen.com. Only two months into it, she's still working to recoup her initial start up costs but sees potential in her line of adult toys, lotions and other items.

      Here are some smart sales strategies from some of the direct sales consultants I interviewed for my article in The Miami Herald: Be aggressive about lining up your initial round of parties, set yourself apart from other consultants through marketing or car magnets, target special events, encourage repeat business, view everyone as a potential customer. My article also gives suggestions for what to ask before getting into the business.

     Family Circle Magazine also published an article on direct sales this month. In all, there are more than 250 companies who do direct sales. Avon and Tupperware may be the best know but the hot businesses today are online shopping portals, earth friendly products, adult toys and satellite phones. To ensure a company is legitimate, make sure it is a member of the Direct Selling Association. Members have agreed to a code of ethics and violations are reported.

    Have you had any experience with direct sales? Do you see it as a the perfect part-time, maybe even full-time job?