Please Note: Barefoot Books has updated their compensation plan making this post out of date. Please see my best direct sales companies blog for an updated overview.
Though I have been receiving requests for a few months asking for recommendations of some of the best direct sales companies, I have been putting it off. I have not been putting it off because I don’t believe in direct sales, I have been putting it off because in the past I have been involved in probably more than my fair share of companies and I totally stank at it. There were no problems with the companies, I simply got in way over my head in expected outcomes with what I was willing to put into the business. Direct sales can be a very profitable home business, but it is work.
When I set out to research a few companies for these posts, I had very particular requirements:
- Minimal Start-Up Costs
- No Required Minimums to Maintain
- Relatively Unsaturated
- Good Training
- No Outrageous Promises
- A Means to Run Your Business Online
The first direct sales company I ran across that fit those first two (big) requirements was Barefoot Books. This company provides high-quality books and CDs for children. It was started by two moms with the core values “Imagine, Explore, Create, Connect, Give Back”. I can stand behind those values. They also have two brick & mortar stores which provides a little more trust on my end. So, I signed on up.
Your New Market as a Barefoot Books Ambassador – Anyone that has kids or knows any kids. That’s a pretty big market. You also have the ability as an Ambassador to do fundraisers, that opens up your market even further.
Product Pricing - You are primarily looking at items priced between $6 and $20. Pricing matters! As someone who was an Arbonne Consultant at one time, I can tell you that choosing a company with products priced inline with what your acquaintances are used to paying is important. The Average Joe is used to paying these prices for children’s books.
Online Presence – YES! They will provide you with a storefront at no charge. You can tell a little about yourself, link up to your other sites (bonus), upload your picture. Many companies charge a monthly fee for this service, Barefoot Books provides it for free. They also provide pre-made banners, buttons and campaigns.
Promotional Materials – These are inline with typical pricing. Catalogs are $1, a pack of 30 flyers is $6. They also have quite a few displays available.
Training Materials – Good stuff! They have several PDF files available to help you with setting realistic goals, planning a launch, creating a display, marketing online and off, having a party, etc. They encourage you to blog and participate in social marketing which are prohibited by some direct sales companies. They also send out start-up emails your first 60 days. They have a blog to keep you up-to-date on the latest news. They also provide E-Chats, webinars and even one-on-one coaching, if needed.
Community - Gotta love a good forum. There is one onsite here, and the folks seem very friendly and helpful. They also hold Ambassador Conferences.
Commission - You will earn 20% starting out. That can go up to 40% depending upon your sales level. As is typically the case, you can also earn from your downline. You do have to maintain monthly minimums to earn from your downline commission. That is customary.
Saturation - I obviously can’t speak for everyone here, but during my research I only found a total of 17 Ambassadors in my state. All are more than one hour’s distance from me. Looking at the saturation level is important. With a number this low, it is likely I would be the person introducing people to a company they hadn’t previously heard of. That also means they don’t already have a go-to consultant. If I can get them excited about this new find, they are going to be excited to introduce it to their friends.
Start-Up Cost – The process recently changed from being free to requiring the purchase of a Starter Kit for $139.99. This kit includes a variety of best selling books to show your family, friends and at parties. It also includes the necessary sales aids to get you through your first events. This is a minimal cost compared to some direct sales companies. You can also sell the books in your kit at-cost or below to recoup your investment right away.
I am happy to recommend Barefoot Books as one of the current best direct sales companies meeting my personal requirements. They promote community among their Ambassadors. They provide you with more than enough avenues and advice to make your business a success. They do not hide the fact that you are going to need to put in the work. They don’t pressure you into pressuring everyone you know. They understand the value of being online.
Please visit my direct sales blog for even more of the top home party business opportunities.