If you’re looking for a good way to make some extra money in your spare time, or for a chance to work from home with a more flexible schedule, selling products from home is often an easy and reliable method. However, it’s important to start out with a good plan. Women who are interested in starting a home sales business for a way to add extra income while working around their family’s schedule may want to take this online course on becoming a successful sales woman before starting out. This course on keys to sales success can also be helpful for a new sales career.
One of the first things to do is decide which products to sell from home. There are a few good industries to choose from and a variety of companies, some of which are already widely known, some newer. There are two basic categories of products to choose from: consumable goods, like food or beauty products, that will be used up and eventually replaced, like food or cosmetics; and non-consumable goods, like kitchen supplies.
One of the best-known and best-established home sales companies, and a good example of the non-consumable category, is Tupperware. They have centered on selling kitchen accessories through what might be called a social marketing strategy, where compensated hosts give parties in which guests are invited to look over, and order, the current product line.
You can still host Tupperware parties with the help of company consultants, as the company has been promoting since the 1950s. The original structure was intended to help women make an independent income and empower themselves, a goal the company continues to promote in the US and internationally.
They offer public opportunities to become consultants as well as party hosts. The products themselves range from the more familiar food storage containers to bakeware, gadgets and cutlery. While the non-consumable nature of the products might seem to limit potential for ongoing repeat business, the introduction of new products and use of Tupperware parties to expand the market provide opportunity for expansion and profit.
Another older, familiar brand name that’s still fully active is Avon, which sells cosmetics and other health and beauty products. A multi-level marketing company that also became a household name in the 1950s, and also has used economic empowerment of women as a key element of its brand, in the last several years Avon has shifted from a door-to-door model to a strong online presence, both on the buying and selling ends. As with other consumable-goods sales, the key to the business model is inspiring repeat business through brand loyalty.
Herbalife is also a multi-level marketing company in which sellers are paid additional commissions for recruiting others into the business. Similar to the Tupperware model, they tend to involve on distributors bringing the people around them into an increasing association with the company, with repeat business being a strong profit center. They began by focusing on weight-loss products and feature a variety of nutritional supplements and other health-care products. A more recently founded company than Avon, since the 1980s they have reached a high level of market share based around communities where they have gotten an initial foothold.
Vault Denim is a distribution-based business, in this case of designer jeans, focused on selling overstock from other companies. Their business model, while it includes commissions from sponsoring other distributors and from heading up teams, also centers around the party model, where a company fashion consultant and host discuss the products with guests who are able to try on jeans and bring their purchases home form the party.
Distributors also are able to use more common retail strategies, such as creating displays in clothing boutiques with cooperation of the boutique owner. Unlike the companies discussed above, Vault is purely a third-party distributor and does not produce its own products, but rather provides a discount on products available for a higher price elsewhere.
Jockey Person to Person is somewhat unique in being a home-based sales division for a company that also sells through more conventional retail outlets. Like many other home-based sales companies, their mission statement has centered on providing business opportunities for women as well as a more personalized, intimate sales experience. They also primarily use home-based sales events, or Style Shows, and provide a full clothing line, with seasonal rotation.
Other companies, such as Pink Zebra, focus on smaller-scale consumables, including scents and scented products such as candles and soaps. They also use a business model involving sponsorships and sales parties. Though they occupy something of a niche, over the last several years they have become a thriving company, with competitive products as well as competitive sales compensation rates, in part by creating a communal, family atmosphere among consultants.
A similar company, Scentsy, includes incentives for sales party hosts if their guests go on to host their own parties, creating a less common version of the commission incentives offered by other companies. They also suggest a variety of types of parties, such as open houses or a model closer to door-to-door sales.
Another company that encourages parents to earn some extra income on a flexible basis is Usborne Books, a children’s book publisher that encourages the party sales model as well as working with schools and libraries. As with other businesses, this one provides product discounts for hosts and consultants as an incentive to join.
Your Own Products
The companies described above are just a few examples of places you can go to start your own business selling established products associated with an established company. Depending on your interests and on what kind of work setting you’re looking for, though, you may be more interested in products to sell from home that you make yourself.
Home décor items, clothing, and jewelry are common products for independent home businesses to produce and sell. You’ll want to give thought to what areas your interest and skills lie in, as well as what sorts of materials are easily available to you. It’s a good idea to start with something simple while you’re still establishing your business.
There are a number of outlets to sell your own products, as there are with products marketed from companies. You may want to start with this online course on finding the right customers for your business. As with Tupperware parties, you can circulate your products among friends and family, and spread word of mouth in that way. In many communities, flea markets can provide opportunities to set up stalls and sell products. You can also make deals with local stores where your product might complement existing inventory. In some cases, as with selling products from a company, getting access to a trade show may be a good option to spread distribution.
Selling online, either on eBay or by setting up your own website, also is an important part of selling products from home. Shipping mail orders will take preparation, including making sure you have supplies and space to set up the shipping, but is a good way to expand your reach, and can still be profitable as long as you account for the cost of materials and postage.
Whether you decide to sell something you’ve made on your own or join up as a distributor or party host for a larger company, these 8 options for digital entrepreneurs will help give you more advice about building up the online side of your sales business, as well as giving you further ideas for at-home businesses that can be run online. If you get started and fell the need to build on what you’ve already learned about selling products from home, this online course can help you expand your skills and your business.