Side Hustle: Malcom Baker can make over £500
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Taking on a side hustle can generate vital spending money as inflation rages. Some can even change lives.
Karen Golder, a trained teacher, was forced to reduce her hours to look after daughter Imogen, 18, who has rare seizure-causing disorder Rasmussen’s Encephalitis.
The 49-year-old mum-of-two worked two days a week as a special educational needs coordinator in a primary school, while husband Murray is a painter and decorator. Son Jed, 20, is at university.
As living costs rocket, finding an extra source of family income became essential, and Karen turned to direct selling.
Now she tops up her salary by earning £500 to £600 a month with The Body Shop At Home. It sells ethically produced “skincare, haircare, bath & body and self-love” products, either online or in store, by independent consultants such as Karen.
Seven out of 10 consultants have another full-time or part-time job and Karen said: “It is so much more than a side hustle, it’s been lifesaving for me.”
She admits that sounds dramatic but adds: “It means I’m finally doing something for me.”
After spending so much time focused on her daughter’s medical rehabilitation, this has given her something else to focus on.
“It has given me my confidence back and I can honestly say it has saved my mental health. Plus of course, I earn useful additional income. This is one of the best decisions I’ve made.”
Karen loves working for The Body Shop. “It’s a social selling company with a mission and I am really attracted to that. The brand fights for social and environmental justice.”
She bought her starter kit for just £30, which included many of The Body Shop’s best-selling products to demonstrate and give away as samples, and was worth more than £220 in total.
“I hosted my first event in September last year with two friends in my home and others on Zoom. We played games, tried products and generally had fun.”
She held more events both online and in person and made £4,000 worth of sales by November. “It was really helpful for Christmas.”
The job fits handily around her family’s needs. “I can make a sale while stacking the dishwasher or waiting in the hospital car park for one of Imogen’s appointments.”
Karen also spends time mentoring and training others in her team of 16 online. “I spend about 12 hours a week on my business but that is split into small bite-sized periods that fit around my life.”
As a reward for her hard work, she was taken on an all-expenses paid trip to a retreat in Tenerife. “Consultants were treated to a catamaran experience, fun on jet skis and dinner at a Michelin star restaurant, concluding with a gala dinner.
“This has all happened in less than a year. The potential is huge if you put the work in.”
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As with any direct selling job, do not be misled by claims that high earnings are quick and easily achieved.
How much consultants earn depends on their skills, personal ambition and the time and effort they put in.
Karen says it has been “refreshing” to get her teeth into something, and the work seamlessly fits around her life. She has Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIN and TikTok accounts. “I do my make-up in the morning everyday so I just make that into a live show on social media. I’m showcasing the products while doing what I would anyway.”
Money will remain a concern as food and fuel bills continue to rise, while the Energy Price Guarantee will be less generous from April.
“Our household bills will increase and I may need to try and earn a bit more through my direct selling work,” Karen says.
She hopes to grow her business when she has more time. “The flexibility and potential is really exciting. This is just the beginning.”
To get started with a career in direct selling, Susannah Schofield shares her top tips:
Choose the right products to sell. Avon, Herbalife, The Body Shop, Usborne Books and Neal’s Yard Remedies Organics all sell direct to the consumer.
Set realistic expectations. Money comes from commission on product sales which requires time and effort.
Know your rights (and those of your customers). Learn about upholding good practice as a direct seller.
Beware rogue traders. Avoid individuals making unrealistic claims about direct selling. Anything that looks or sounds too good to be true probably is.
Look for the Direct Selling Association logo. The DSA is the recognised trade body in the UK for direct selling and its members must adhere to strict Codes of Conduct. A full list of DSA member companies can be found online at www.dsa.org.uk.
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