What is direct selling and how can I do it?


Ever wished you had more flexibility, or wanted to work for yourself? One way of doing just that is on the rise in the UK – direct selling.  Direct selling is selling outside of a fixed retail environment, based principally on face to face contact with customers.  

Direct selling provides flexible working without relying on the traditional jobs market. One of the main attractions is the unique opportunity it provides to manage your own business and set your own working hours, with 82% of sellers working part time. Your working pattern can be just a few hours a week or, for some, a full time occupation. It is, for example, a perfect opportunity for mums to return to work, as it fits in with their family commitments. It can equally suit a professional person who wishes to earn some extra money alongside their main job.

With over 400,000 direct sellers in the UK, this thriving industry is worth in excess of £2 billion to the UK economy.  Recently we have seen huge growth in the number of over 50s, working mums and men joining the direct selling community, and this variety reflects the huge choice of products available to sell and just how easy it is to get involved.

Earnings vary depending on the time and effort invested. It really is what you make it, and sellers enjoy the opportunity to expand their business at their own pace. Getting involved in direct selling is cheap and simple – on average it costs £100 for a business kit and sample products. It is open to everyone regardless of age, background or prior experience, and provides scope to make your business your own, with products you feel passionate about.

The Direct Selling Association (DSA) was established in 1965 and is the recognised trade body for direct selling companies in the UK. All DSA members sign its code of conduct which ensures members are ethical, so if you are thinking of getting started in direct selling always look for a member company. The DSA website has a full list so is a good place to get started:

Sellers can choose from 62 member companies, which sell products ranging from books, clothes, gifts, greetings cards, health and beauty, home ware, jewellery and toys. With so much variety, sellers can ensure that they pick a product that fits in with their lifestyle and that they feel passionate about and will enjoy selling.

Words By Lynda Mills, Director, Direct Selling Association