We all know that, on average, the more someone works, the more money they will have in their bank account. Many people try to pick up a second job or additional hours at work to be able to accomplish this. Some turn to joining a direct sales company. That’s what I did when I became a consultant for Thirty-One Gifts. Thirty-One Gifts is a company that empowers and encourages women to own and run their own businesses. They sell products such as thermals, purses, bags, backpacks, jewelry, organization, etc. Their home office is right here in Ohio, too. Although the extra paycheck is nice, there are numerous amounts of other benefits to owning your own side business, especially as a young professional.
#1: The extra paycheck
I know I said there is more to owning a side business than an extra paycheck, but it is an important benefit to talk about. I believe the saying “money can’t buy happiness” to be true, but I wholeheartedly acknowledge that having some extra cash can make things easier.
At Thirty-One Gifts I earn 25% of the sales, less tax and shipping. Depending on what business you go into, your commission percent may vary. On average, a party will generate $600 in sales, meaning I get paid $150 for one party. Personally, because I’m a college student, work an internship, and have a part-time job, I try to have one or two parties a month. This means I pocket about an extra $300 a month. Currently, I am saving for a wedding, so part of that money goes into a savings account and part of it goes towards bills. For you, that may be groceries for the month, a chance to pay down some student loans, the new battery for your car since your’s randomly gave out, a ticket to that business conference you really want to attend, or a nice weekend getaway to relax and recharge. I began my journey with Thirty-One Gifts in the middle of May this year. It is now September and I have earned $1,291 thus far. What would you do with an extra $1,000 in your pocket?
Needless to say, the extra money is put to good use. It is important to note that you will have to pay taxes on this income though. I set aside a little bit of money from each paycheck to cover this cost when tax season rolls around.
One thing Thirty-One prides themselves on is the sisterhood you join when you become a consultant. When you join, you sign up under a sponsor in your area. For me, I hosted a party with a consultant named Molly and joined her team. I was immediately added to Facebook groups, email lists, and other things that introduced me to many new people. The Facebook groups also helped me learn how to work my business and gather new ideas to try with my customers. This is an invaluable opportunity because I am able to build my network of connections with people before I enter the real business world, and learn what works and what may not work from people firsthand . I will have a few foundation pieces to hold firm while I add building blocks of other contacts to my network.
Whether you join a direct sales company or go out and start a completely different business on your own, there will be people you meet along the way. It may be support groups or new member groups for existing businesses. If you start a photography business, you may start connecting with people through online groups or websites. Maybe a friend of a friend introduces you to someone with knowledge they can share with you. The bottom line is, whatever you may do, you WILL meet people that you will be able to add to your network.
At Thirty-One Gifts, there is a special program for new consultants called StartSwell. During my StartSwell period, I earned four free kits of products and $300 in business credits. These rewards allowed me to expand my business and show supplies, making me a better consultant overall.
These incentives allowed me to earn quality products that I can use in my daily life, that show that I am professional, on trend, and organized. Some examples would be my backpack for school supplies, my large bag to hold all of my items for my internship, my thermals and totes for the grocery store, and my storage bins in my home. Carrying my various bags, purses, thermals, etc. also gives me the confidence to take on the world. Not only am I getting great stuff for free, which also allows me to save money as a millennial, but the products also enhance my overall appearance towards others and myself.
The kind of rewards differ from company to company. For example, Pampered Chef might give you free kitchen supplies and Avon may award your hard work with allowing you to be the first to try new makeup. If you develop your own business, you get to reap all of the rewards! You may not get free products or business credits as an incentive to keep up the great work, but you do keep your entire profit. You also get the amazing feeling of accomplishing something on your own and succeeding.
#4: Enhancing your skills
Despite the fact that I am a communications major, standing up in front of people and talking is not one of my strong suits, which contradicts the whole throwing a party thing. Most of my first parties were with close friends or other people I knew already, which allowed a more relaxed training field for me to practice my presentation skills.
Being in front of people not only enhanced my presentation skills, but my communication skills with others as a whole. It’s one thing to sit in a classroom and take notes while a professor lectures about different communication techniques, but it’s another to be out in the real world and use and adapt those techniques to your situations. I have been able to meet a wider variety of people and learn more communication skills from interacting with these diverse individuals.
Having a business is pointless if people don’t know about it. I had to develop an online presence and a customer base if I was going to continue. Different types of posts work (or don’t work) with different types of people. I have been able to expand my social media skills and learn what catches people’s attention or peaks someone’s interest.
Your strengths and weaknesses surely differ than mine, but every new experience you try comes with learning new skills or perfecting the skills you already have. Millennials are expected to have a wide variety of skills in their tool belts. The more you can develop and learn on your own, the more marketable you become in the business world. One skillset might be the difference between getting a call back from that dream job or not.
#5: Being your own boss
I know sometimes millennials get this bad reputation of being self-centered, anti-social, media driven people who have no manners or respect for other people. As untrue as that may be, it is extremely beneficial to be your own boss. If you have an idea you want to try and implement, you don’t have to talk to a superior for approval. If you want to take the day off on a random Tuesday, you can walk out of your office and do so. Being able to take the wheel for yourself allows you to gain some leadership experience, make mistakes and learn. These sort of experiences can help you as you start out in the world being a young professional.
One of the best aspects of being my own boss is that I get to decide how and when I want to run my business. Of course there are some basic rules, regulations, and guidelines you have to follow when you join a business though. For example, it is highly unlikely that if you become a consultant, the company will let you slander their name online or steal from the company, but the specifics of conducting your business are really up to you. Some consultants will only have in-home parties. Others work full time jobs and are a consultant on the side so they can only strictly do online parties. I, personally, choose to do both because they offer me different experiences.
Some direct sales businesses may require more time and effort to be successful than others. It is important to do some research before joining to make sure the business is a good fit for what your expectations are. If you run your own business, then you can make up all the rules how you see fit. Trial and error is a good way to learn and fine tune your decision making process and critical thinking, both of which are important skills in the work force.
Being a consultant has pushed me out of my comfort zone and allowed me to grow as an individual. I have learned many new skills and enhanced some older skills. The experience makes me more marketable and experienced for when I enter the professional business world, and with competition for jobs being so tough these days, having something that makes me stand out from others is a major plus.
Whatever specifics you may choose, my main point is that you should start your own kind of side hustle, whatever that may be. You will learn and grow. You will be rewarded in material and nonmaterial ways. You will learn more about yourself and develop your brand and identity. Having a side job brings showers of benefits that impact your whole being.