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Direct selling offers a low-cost alternative to traditional business ownership. In direct selling, products and services are marketed directly to customers through personal explanation and demonstration, generally in their homes, the homes of others or via online resources.

Each Independent Sales Consultant (ISC) or distributor sets their own personal goals and objectives and works as much as she or he chooses. Success depends only on individual ambition and willingness to work. There are no restrictions to becoming a direct sales entrepreneur. It is open to all without regard to gender, race, education, marital status or previous experience. ISCs must be 18+.

The Freedom To Choose

With more and more people going into business for themselves, as they focus on family, leave the corporate world or look for a “side hustle”, the direct selling industry is one of the fastest-growing industries in Canada.

More than one-million Canadians associated with DSA member companies run their own part-time or full-time business in direct sales, enjoying:

  • Flexible hours and increased family time.
  • The opportunity to work from home.
  • Income tied to effort.
  • Potential for personal and financial growth.
  • On-demand support and training from an established company.
  • Control of their own destiny.

Getting Started

You probably already have the basics: an interest in people and a desire to succeed. You’ll be taught the rest, and you’ll earn as you learn. Direct selling may answer your dream of running your own business with little risk and strong corporate support.

Legitimate direct selling companies, like those in the DSA, focus on selling excellent products and services at competitive prices, providing  a popular, low-cost way for you to start your own small business.

Not all direct selling companies belong to the DSA. Those who do pledge to abide by the DSA’s Codes of Ethics & Business Practices, their commitment to ethical business practices and consumer protection. Dealing with a DSA member company is an assurance of trust and integrity.

We’ve made finding your fit in this industry easy. Click here to access our member directory.

Be sure to get answers to the following questions when considering partnering with a direct selling company:

  • What, if any, start-up investment is required? Legitimate companies want to make it easy and inexpensive for you to start selling products and services.
  • What training does the company offer? Choose a company that invests in training. It’s your best guarantee of being prepared to do your best.
  • What is the compensation structure? Get all the facts about bonuses, profits, commissions and responsibilities.
  • What are the company’s guarantees and return policies? They’ll be important to your customers and to you.
  • How do other sales people feel about the company? Check with them, or ask the company to provide histories of people in the business.
  • What happens if you decide to leave the company? The DSA Codes of Ethics and Business Practices require that an active DSA Member company permit an independent salesperson to return products in saleable condition on reasonable commercial terms.
  • Does the company have substantial sales to consumers? If it’s “NO”, don’t get involved! Direct sales, like any other healthy business, is built on sales of products and services to consumers.

Don’t be rushed into a decision about starting your own business and avoid any company refusing to answer questions about its products and services, startup costs, average earnings, etc. Legitimate firms want to make long term money for you and with you as you build your business by selling consumer products and services. That’s the credo of the member companies of the DSA.

Business & Compensation Structures

Multi-Level Marketing

Multi-Level marketing is a form of direct sales where independent sales consultants have the opportunity to sponsor new ISCs and build their own sales team. As well as being paid commissions for sales of the company’s goods or services, sponsoring ISCs also generally receive additional income to compensate them for the work necessary to lead a team of salespeople.

Single-Tier Sales

In single-tier direct sales, each ISC reports directly to the company with which they are associated and works on their own. There are no sales teams to build and lead – you’re an individual entrepreneur making direct contact with your customers and are generally paid a commission based on sales.

Party Plans

Party Plan is the term used to describe one of the most popular forms of direct sales, whether through multi-level marketing or through single-tier sales. An ISC will help their customer plan a home party, where products or services are showcased. Attendees view a demonstration of the goods and have an opportunity to purchase them. The host generally receives bonuses as a reward for her/his efforts in organizing the party.

Pyramid Schemes

Pyramid schemes focus on making most of their money from you and other new recruits. Pyramid schemes are ILLEGAL. If a company claims to be involved in direct selling but has more focus on recruiting people than on selling products, it may be a pyramid scheme.

It’s a red flag if anyone tries to entice you with unlimited wealth simply by recruiting more people into the scheme and/or payment of large, up-front membership or entrance fees. Pyramid schemes will typically charge high fees, often buried in the cost of a starter kit, in startup inventory, or for training or other services. These businesses will concentrate on the importance of recruiting others to achieve high profits. Little or no focus is placed on the product or service they may claim to represent, or on the subsequent sale of these products and services to customers.

If you suspect a company may be operating a pyramid scheme, contact Industry Canada, your local police Commercial Crime Department, the Commercial Crime Branch of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police or the DSA.