What industry (that you're probably not paying attention to) generated $125B in revenue in 2010?

In case you haven't noticed (and I didn't until a few months ago), direct selling (or network marketing) companies are booming!

Recently there was an insert in the Wall St. Journal titled, "The Ultimate Social Business Model".  (Link here)  It was quite eye opening...

Did you realize that from March 2009 to May 2011, the top 7 publicly traded direct selling companies averaged a 268 percent increase in stock price.   In 2010, direct selling companies generated over $125 billion in revenue in 150 countries involving more than 75 million men and women.  OK, go ahead, pick up your jaw!

The products and services sold by these companies range across such diverse categories as cosmetics, financial planning services, home decorating, home improvement and solutions, energy services, personal- care, health and wellness, apparel and accessories, legal services and fine wines. 

As the current economic crisis continues to take a toll on people around the world and unemployment rates steadily rise, direct selling may be the answer to a shrinking job market.   There is little question why financial notables like Cramer, Warren Buffett, Ray Chambers and Suze Orman have touted businesses based on direct selling.

In 2009 there were over 16 million people are involved in direct selling in the US alone.  While a few direct sellers work at their businesses full time, about 90 percent work part time to supplement their income. Some 80 percent of direct sellers are women, and almost all say they appreciate the schedule flexibility and low cost of starting their business.

Top 5 Reasons People Consider a Direct Selling Business

Be Your Own Boss—You are in complete control of how you invest your time and how you go about building your business.

Save Time and Money—As an independent business owner, you purchase the products you love at discounts and you operate all activities from your home.

Expand Your Circle of Friends—Direct selling business opportunities are based on building relationships. When building a direct selling business, customers and other team members appear to quickly become important and rewarding aspects to one’s life.

Be Recognized and Rewarded for Achievement—It’s not every day that an adult receives praise for an effort well done, but direct selling companies recognize and reward their independent business owners through bonuses, trips and prizes. This is an essential component to the business model.

Build Income—The direct selling compensation model offered by most companies allows the building of organizations that have the potential to create incomes beyond those earned from the personal selling/servicing efforts of the direct seller.

Curious which firm I invested in?  Ask me, I'll tell you.

tom at tomcuthbert dot com