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Latest Issue: Sept/Oct 17

248,000 Brits building composite careers with direct selling

New figures released today have revealed 248,000 people are building a composite career with direct selling, with 62 per cent of the UK’s 400,000 direct sellers having another job. Direct selling allows people to work for themselves by selling products directly to consumers through parties, face to face and online.

The new figures from the Direct Selling Association (DSA) show that workers are now shunning the corporate ladder in favour of a composite career path, taking on jobs in different areas to broaden their skills and experience. A composite career involves combining a variety of part-time jobs to create a full-time career that suits your lifestyle and interests. A reduction in the number of full-time jobs in conjunction with the growth of the sharing economy with services like Uber and Airbnb has caused a shift in attitudes towards work, with flexible working now topping the list of priorities for many. The direct selling industry is at the forefront of this change, with almost 95per cent of sellers working part time on their business.

The results, taken from a first of its kind DSA survey of direct sellers in the UK, show that direct sellers have a huge variety of other jobs including golf pros, accountants, yoga teachers and therapists.

Over half (51 per cent) of direct sellers work less than 10 hours per week on their business, providing the opportunity to build other skills as part of a portfolio career. For the first time, DSA data shows how direct sellers are utilising social media to boost their businesses, with 38 per cent of respondents citing Facebook as the most effective channel to reach consumers.

Lynda Mills, Director General of the DSA says: “Our results show that 56 per cent of respondents were drawn to direct selling due to the flexibility to design your own career and take on numerous jobs that interest you. This new kind of work can provide the security of more than one source of income, plus the opportunity to work around your lifestyle.”

Direct selling includes products bought from a catalogue delivered by direct sellers (such as cosmetics), products bought in a group party environment (like kitchen equipment or jewellery), products demonstrated in a customers' home (such as make up), or products bought direct from a direct seller at events like craft fairs or fitness clubs (like cards or nutritional supplements). Members of the DSA include Stella & Dot, Amway, Usborne Books at Home and Forever Living.

Direct selling provides individuals with a unique opportunity to work flexibly around other commitments and run your own business. When people begin direct selling they purchase a starter kit, which is on average £100 for a business kit and sample products. They can then begin selling the products, making back a percentage of the sales they make. The DSA is responsible for promoting the sector and regulating member companies.