The 10 Best Direct-Sales Company Jobs for Stay-at-Home Moms

Updated on May 23, 2020
Kierstin Gunsberg profile image

Kierstin studied business communications at Northwestern Michigan College and is a stay-at-home mom to her two daughters.


Before our second daughter was born, our family was feeling a financial crunch, so I started exploring direct-sales companies in an effort to maximize my earning potential while still staying home with my girls.

Well, after a whole lot of research, I decided that joining a multi-level-marketing company wasn't a great fit for me and went back to school for business and marketing instead. Exploring the ins and outs of business led me to think even more about these direct-sales endeavors, and while there are people who absolutely hate them and others who vouch for it like it's their gospel, one thing is certain to me—no one invests in a direct-sales company hoping to fail. That's why I think it's important to research, research, research, and analyze what would be the best fit for your own life if you decide this is the route for you.

Keep in mind, I don't sell, I never have, and chances are I never will, but I know a lot of busy moms who really enjoy selling for MLM companies and who make decent money doing it.

With that in mind, here's my totally honest, possibly offensive opinion on ten direct-sales companies that could be a great fit for a busy stay-at-home mom who wants to supplement her family's income.

10 Direct-Sales Companies That Are Great for Stay-at-Home Moms

  1. Thrive Life
  2. Usborne Books and More
  3. SeneGence
  4. Pink Zebra
  5. Norwex
  6. Jordan Essentials
  7. LimeLife by Alcone
  8. The Watkins Company
  9. Mary Kay
  10. Team Beachbody

1. Thrive Life

With so many companies incorporating the word “thrive” into their name, it might be a little confusing to put your finger on this one—these are freeze-dried pantry staples and snacks delivered to your door. Thrive offers everything from Bechamel sauce mixes to diaper bag perfect snacks like yogurt bites. They even offer grilled chicken, shredded beef, and pulled pork. Just add water!

Startup Costs and Quotas

$135 for the basic kit, $50 monthly sales quota.

Why It’s Great for SAHMs

The product itself caters to a busy lifestyle, and whoever says SAHMs aren’t busy can babysit my kids tonight. You can use your own insight to market the products as a simple, healthy meal solution.

Potential Pitfalls

You have to convince people to eat freeze-dried food.

2. Usborne Books and More

Books! I’m swooning! Usborne publishes and distributes fun, educational, and interactive books for kids with titles like “Lift-the-Flap Adding and Subtracting,” “100 Paper Spaceships to Fold,” and “That’s Not My Hamster” (a favorite in our home). They also offer reading programs and seasonal titles.

Startup Costs and Quotas

$75 to start, $8 monthly fee (after 6 months), and no quotas.

Why It’s Great for SAHMs

These books have somewhat of a cult following, especially in homeschool and educator circles. They’re actually sought-after, which means that there’s a good chance you already know a few people who want to buy these. You can throw parties through social media, sell on your blog, etc. You can basically just integrate it into your own routine, “Hey FB friends, I’m putting in an Usborne order—who needs a new book?”

Potential Pitfalls

With a low investment and a small monthly fee, the worst pitfall you could really encounter is deciding you don’t want to pay the monthly fee anymore. I don’t think anyone would make a full-time living with this company, but there isn’t a huge investment to lose either way.

3. SeneGence

SeneGence is the company that creates those highly pigmented, mixable liquid lipsticks with the royal blue and gold packaging that you’ve probably seen all over Facebook. They also sell skincare solutions (like under eye treatment) and cream to powder eyeshadow wands.

Startup Costs and Quotas

The most basic package starts at $55. As for quota, I have no idea because I can’t find reputable information regarding this.

Why It’s Great for SAHMs

You can host parties online and use your own stock, swatches, and company photos to market the product.

Potential Pitfalls

I think you’ll have to really show consumers why your $25 lipstick is superior to the beauty counter equivalent, but this can be done through photos, video tutorials, and going live.

4. Pink Zebra

This company’s signature product is their “Sprinkles” jar—3.75 ounces of highly scented pebbles of wax that you can simmer in a wax burner to make your house smell like a dream come true. With scents like Raisin Nut Bread, Mango Guava, Oak and Bourbon, True Lavender, their Sprinkles can be enjoyed on their own or mixed according to Pink Zebra’s recipes to create unique home fragrances that don’t require a flame.

Startup Costs and Quotas

$59 to start, though you can spend up to $199 on a larger kit. To stay active as a consultant, you’ll need to make $150 in sales every six months. Their site states that you can earn up to a 35% commission—read between the lines, and that probably means you won’t be earning a very high percentage to start.

Why It’s Great for SAHMs

It's a consumable product. I mean no, you can’t actually eat it (although this Fresh Juicy Pineapple one seems a little tempting), but it’s something that gets used up and repurchased and, unlike most wax tarts, you can control how much of each scent you’re actually using. For these reasons, it seems like a product you could sell even when you’re elbow-deep in last week’s clean laundry, without having to convince people they want it, you know? It’s not hard to convince most of us that we want to make our house smell better and what mom doesn’t appreciate a flame-free home fragrance at a fair price?

Plus, customers can shop directly through the Pink Zebra website, and the site itself is attractive and easy to navigate, which I think really helps gain customer trust. This also means you don’t have to carry inventory in your home!

Potential Pitfalls

Considering the price of the product itself isn’t very high, you’re probably not going to be earning big bucks with this business. If you sell $50 worth of product (roughly 5 or 6 Sprinkles jars) at the highest commission percentage, you’re still only making $17.50.

5. Norwex

Everyone’s trying to get a little greener, and Norwex products appeal to this. According to their website, their top sellers include a cleaning paste with recyclable packaging, wool dryer balls that eliminate the need for dryer sheets, and just over two pounds of phosphate-free laundry detergent.

Startup Costs and Quotas

$200. Consultants will tell you that the cost is only $9.99, but this is only true if you sell two grand ($2,000!) worth of product in the first three months of signing up. If this doesn’t happen, you’ll be billed for $200 (of course, you’re also receiving product with that initial startup kit). To stay current as a consultant, you’ll need to sell $250 in products every six months.

Why It’s Great for SAHMs

While green cleaning was once a fringe movement, it’s now the norm, and us SAHMs are all over that shizz. You’ll be selling products you probably already use.

Potential Pitfalls

The products are crazy expensive, especially considering that a lot of this stuff can be found on Amazon for half the price. Those dryer balls? About $30 for three of them through Norwex—I grabbed these for ten bucks off Amazon with free shipping.

The companies on this list make it easy to market through social media while your kids are napping.
The companies on this list make it easy to market through social media while your kids are napping. | Source

6. Jordan Essentials

Aluminum-free deodorant, alcohol-free hand sanitizer, and essential-oil-based bug sprays—Jordan Essentials’ home, body, and baby products are a crunchy mama’s dream.

Startup Costs and Quotas

It’s $99 for the starter kit, plus $10 a month to maintain your website. You only need to place one order per year to stay active as a consultant.

Why It’s Great for SAHMs

This company seems really transparent, which means that you probably won’t have to go deep diving for info when you’re already struggling to catch your breath.

Potential Pitfalls

Jordan Essentials touts itself as a “Christian” company. Take from it what you want, knowing that some people are put off by businesses that put themselves in a religious category. Also, these products seem great, but, of course, you can find cheaper variations of these all-natural products in retail stores.

7. LimeLife by Alcone

This one’s a baby, with just a few years under its skinny belt, it was founded in 2015 and offers skincare, professional-grade makeup, and brushes. Where companies like Younique focus on big, bold contoured looks, LimeLife goes for subtle and natural-but-better with shadows in shades like “Gilded Lily,” “Coral of the Story,” and “Pineapple of My Eye.”

Startup Costs and Quotas

$169 for your startup kit plus $10 per month to maintain your website, plus an annual “renewal” fee of $75. It looks like you’ll need to maintain $300 per month in sales to stay active. Phew! Am I wrong? I’m sure someone will let me know!

Why It’s Great for SAHMs

The sleek packaging is fresh and understated and in itself is a selling point for those of us who are more “It's 5 PM, where's my jammies?” and less “I’ll need this for the club tonight.”

Potential Pitfalls

The prices are high—you’re looking at dropping $22 on a single tube of lipstick. You’ll need to find customers who value ease of shopping (the site is one of the simplest and most attractive on this list), a simple line of everyday wearable essentials (you won’t get lost trying to figure out what each product does—these are your makeup basics) and who desire to create fresh, natural looks as opposed to Kardashian-esque contours.

8. The Watkins Company

Since 1868, the Watkins Company has been creating premium food seasonings, organic extracts, and home and body products in classic fragrances like lemon, lavender, and grapefruit.

By the way, are you wondering if J.R. Watkins and the Watkins Company are indeed the same entity? Yup, they are! You might have seen their lip balms in Bath and Body Works and their cleaning products at Walmart.

Startup Costs and Quotas

Startup costs start at $29.95, with up to 35% commission. I can’t find anything on quotas.

Why It’s Great for SAHMs

These are products SAHMs use every day—room fresheners, cleaning sprays, and hand soap—at prices that are barely more expensive than store brands. You’ll receive your own consultant website where you can direct customers to make a purchase, so you don’t necessarily have to carry product.

Potential Pitfalls

I pick some of these products up at Target nowadays! Right now, I’ve already got a handful of their hand creams and air fresheners either in my house or in my digital cart. And while I would love to purchase from an independent consultant, there’s just so much convenience in picking up a bottle of lemon dish soap on my way home from the park. To be successful with this company, you’ll want to make sure that those you know know that you’re a consultant. I know that if I knew anyone personally who sold these products, I’d be all up in their stuff (for the sake of transparency, this is truly my favorite company/product on this list).

Also, and someone correct me if I’m mistaken, but if I’m purchasing from an independent consultant, I need to spend ONE HUNDRED dollars to qualify for free shipping.

9. Mary Kay

You know Mary Kay! Silky hand moisturizers, pink lipstick, and nostalgia. At the moment, Mary Kay's most popular product is its TimeWise line—a bathroom counter's worth of anti-aging serums and creams.

Startup Costs and Quotas

Once again we have a company that isn't exactly transparent about startup costs or quotas, but as of Spring 2019, the startup cost looks to be about $120 (excluding any limited time offers), and according to this Indeed Q&A, you'll need to make $225 in sales every three months (so once each quarter) to remain an active consultant.

Why It's Great for SAHMs

Mary Kay does a lot of the marketing for you so you can focus on personal networking. I made a purchase (that I was very happy with!) from a friend who's an independent consultant like, four years ago, and I'm still getting emails and mailed catalogs all of these years later.

These products are tried and true, and if something doesn't work, the company is quick to nix it, so you never have to worry about being the peddler of outdated goods. Plus, you can come at the sale from the angle of a busy mom—"Here are the products I use every day, and it only takes me ten minutes to put a look together!"

Potential Pitfalls

It's an oversaturated market—both companywide and niche-wide. It seems like every other direct-sales company is offering makeup and skincare. Still, Mary Kay is one of the originals.

10. Team Beachbody

Like It Works! You’ve seen Beachbody on Instagram and Facebook, and even if you’ve unfollowed all of the fitspo feeds, you’ve almost for sure heard of Beachbody’s signature Shakeology.

Independent Team Beachbody “coaches” sell a healthier lifestyle with their branded fitness apparel, protein bars, nutritional supplements, and workout gear.

Startup Costs and Quotas

It’s about $40 to start and an additional $16 per month after that to join Team Beachbody as an independent coach.

Why It’s Great for SAHMs

When my youngest turned three, I was ready to reel it in and ease back into a healthier lifestyle. This company gives you a way to not only do that for yourself but the potential to also earn some extra money helping other moms do the same thing.

Potential Pitfalls

Big red flag—I can’t find a hard and fast percentage for Team Beachbody coach commissions. Does that mean it’s not worth joining? Well, if you already use the products and want a discount and you’re big into fitness and have a solid social media following to sell to, chances are you could still earn a supplemental income. I still don’t love it when a company isn’t forthright with earning potential, though.

Getting in shape after a very long season of diaper-duty? Companies like Team Beachbody give you the chance to get fit while potentially earning money in the process.
Getting in shape after a very long season of diaper-duty? Companies like Team Beachbody give you the chance to get fit while potentially earning money in the process. | Source

Why I Didn’t Include Your Company on This List

There are a ton of direct-sales companies out there—some that are timeless, some that pop in and out so quickly that it’s like they never existed, and others that just get buried under the better-known names.

When I created this list for stay-at-home moms, I tried to keep in mind a SAHM's main goals (like earning extra income for her family without spending too much time on the details, schedule flexibility, and products that appeal to this phase of life). For the sake of readability, and based on this criteria, I picked my top ten.

Three Things to Keep in Mind Before Joining a Direct-Sales Company

  1. Consultants are the first customer. When you sign up to become a consultant through a direct-sales company, you’re paying a startup fee to the company. Yes, you would spend money to start your own business, that’s true. But you’re not starting your own business from the ground up here. You’re clamoring for a slice of the pie, along with thousands of other consultants all selling the same products at the same price.
  2. Almost no one makes a full-time living selling through a direct-sales company. Yes, you can hustle, and yes, you get to pick your own hours, but the tradeoff of setting your own schedule and working from home is that most of what you make will go directly to your upline and those above them.
  3. You will need to pay for your own health insurance and taxes. If you’re not receiving health insurance through another means (your partner’s employee health program, etc.), you’ll need to save out earnings to pay for your own health insurance. Likewise, you’re probably going to be paying your own taxes. Make sure you properly track and report your income when it comes time to file your taxes—and be prepared to pay your taxes out of pocket (this sounds like a bigger deal than it is—I do this too).

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Questions & Answers

  • What do you think of Clever Container's direct sales jobs?

    I just checked it out and I'm loving the idea of a company that focuses on home organization which I think is a very lucrative niche right now.

    I also think that the low startup costs of between $45-$99 is a great price.

    From a marketing perspective, I'm concerned about the price point of the products. I know that with most direct sales products you're going to see a slightly higher price point, but usually there's an incentive to the buyer there, like an all-natural product that's harder to find in stores.

    With the Clever Containers I see a lot of stuff that can be purchased at a value price at retailers like Hollar, Ikea or even Target. To compete, I think Clever Container needs to style their products with more of an eye towards their market (I would consider myself one of their markets). What I look for in home organization products is first, functionality, which is present here, but second a product that blends well or accents my home, vehicle or office space. Their bathroom products are a great example of functionality and attractiveness! I'd like to see the laundry bags, travel sets and shopping bags come in more neutral patterns - they would be more marketable that way.

  • Is there a direct sales company called New Day for home parties?

    No, there is not. But there is a direct sales company called Noonday Collection that features products (especially home décor and seasonal décor) made by and supporting artisans around the globe. Ambassadors can have "trunk shows" in the homes of their hosts.

  • Is Artistic Impressions still in business?

    It doesn't appear that Artistic Impressions, Inc. is still an active business. I looked up the company and can't really find anything new or relevant about them from the past decade.

    I also notice that on Bart Breigner's LinkedIn profile, he's listed as the "former" founder and CEO of Artistic Impressions - another clue that this business is no longer in operation.

© 2015 Kierstin Gunsberg

Did I miss a company I need to know about? Leave a nice comment, and let me know what you love about your company.

Submit a Comment
  • profile image


    3 years ago

    This was a GREAT article!! I have been interested in at home sales and your article easily broke down some details that I was interested in!!! Thank You!

  • profile image


    3 years ago

    Thanks for the great, unbiased article. Even more telling than your findings, are the comments. They really give the outsider a clear picture of the kind of people who associate with some these DS/MLM companies. Looking forward to the next installment!

  • frugalblogger profile image

    Fashionably Frugal 

    3 years ago

    Hi Kierstin, this is a great list of DS companies. I researched a lot of these before signing up with Lilla Rose, whom I have been with for 18 months now. I just couldn't make myself pay a company for a website or have to sell a minimum quota each month regardless of my real job. I am a single mom with a full time job and two little ones (really little) so I wanted something that I would actually use and could sell to people with the purpose of sharing something that I genuinely think is awesome. Some months, I didn't have time to promote my product so I wanted a company where I didn't have to sell a minimum amount or have to maintain a website

    I am over a year in and I am making almost half my income with this little hair jewelry company. A word of warning to others though, DS is not a get rich quick scheme. I put in about 15-20 hours a week after my kids go to sleep promoting this product. It is a job. A job that has made it possible for me to pay the bills and spoil my kids a bit, but yes, a job.

    My advice to someone looking into DS is to find something that you actually love and know that you could share with other people, not sell it to them, but share with them why you love it. I do fairs and events and I share with people how amazing these little hair clips are. I get excited about them and it shows. 90% of the women who try them on, end up buying them because they love them. So find something you LOVE and not something just to sell.

  • profile image


    4 years ago

    I never really wanted to get involved with MLM companies. I use essential oils too but stay away from the MLM essential oil companies and their shady business practices (although I do have a few blends from Doterra that I love).

    And then I found Usborne and it rocked my world! I am a homeschool mom and children's literacy has always been my passion. Their books are so educational and fun, it has really sparked the love for reading in my son.

    I signed up as a consultant mainly for the discount and the books. Realy there is nothing to lose.

    They never promised I was going to get rich (although some people do really well) and they really are a stand up company. The books sell themselves

  • TiannasCafe profile image


    5 years ago

    This is a nice list of companies to choose from. I would add that anyone interested in joining a DS company make sure to know all about the fees and requirements in advance. I was with Purium, which has very nice products, but they have an autoship requirement. Like a lot of companies they say this is to make sure their reps are using the products, but personally I don't trust any company that forces you to purchase their products. Especially if they are on the expensive side. Now I'm with Jewelry In Candles, Linen World, and Gemnora and love them! They are all low cost or free to join, with very low if any quotas. I'm also a part of Diplicious which is a new company getting ready to launch too soon. I can't wait!

  • Kierstin Gunsberg profile imageAUTHOR

    Kierstin Gunsberg 

    5 years ago from Traverse City, Michigan

    BraveWarrior, thanks so much for the recommendation to check out CopyPress!

    I did look into direct-sales (which inspired me to write this) but ultimately decided that for right now it's just not for me. I'm a writer and I'm inherently shy and enjoy my alone time. So using my spare time to pursue sales would exhaust me! However, I have several friends who have found success with direct sales (especially Rodan + Fields!) so I thought I'd make a list of the companies that seemed the most lucrative/stable at the moment.

    I was just talking to my husband about it and the only company I would feel really passionate about selling for is Usborne. I AM actually considering joining Usborne in the next couple of years as we begin homeschooling because their products rock, but I'd probably just be in it for access to the catalog, ha!

  • bravewarrior profile image

    Shauna L Bowling 

    5 years ago from Central Florida

    Kierstin, once upon a time ago I tried the direct sales route. When Amway developed their online store, Quixtar, I went to a promotional party put on by a friend of mine. I thought it sounded promising. However, in order to gain points, I found most of the purchases were made by me and they were quite cost prohibitive to say the least. I dumped the project after a year and had the products for much longer. At least I saved some pennies there!

    I looked into J.R. Watkins. I used to get their catalogs in the mail. I don't remember what the costs and provisions were to sell their products, but I decided it wasn't cost-worthy. Anyway, you can find the information on becoming an associate thru their catalogs.

    Most of these at-home businesses require a lot of your time in addition to start-up costs. Young moms don't have that time, nor the funds. Not to mention the fact that many of the products are not environmentally safe or use oils from animals that are captured for science and retail markets. (Have you ever researched what goes into creating makeup? You'd be shocked!)

    I would suggest you look into writing sites that pay and divulge the clients for whom you are writing. You can choose the days you're willing to work, earn a set rate per word, and in some cases gain a byline to boot. If you love writing, try that. You make your own schedule. The site I recommend is CopyPress. It's not a pay per click site and they pay twice a month.


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