6 Direct Selling Companies with Humble Beginnings

Rich DeVos and Jay Van Andel mixed their first product, LOC Cleanser, in their bathtubs when they began their business.Aerodynamically, the bumble bee shouldn’t

be able to fly, but the bumble bee doesn’t

know it so it goes on flying anyway.

Mary Kay Ash

Humble Beginnings

Can you become the “million-dollar earner?” Don’t sell yourself short just because you’re starting fresh in the multilevel marketing business. History tells us that, in America, many billion-dollar businesses – including MLM – have been started on a shoestring budget in garages and basements. Cases in point: Bill Gates of Microsoft, Phil Knight of Nike shoes, and Steve Jobs of Apple Computer. There are countless inspiring network marketing success stories about individuals whose companies or distributorships had very humble beginnings, such as:

1) The Bathtub?

The co‑founders of Amway, also known as Quixtar, network marketing’s largest multi-billion-dollar company. Rich DeVos and Jay Van Andel mixed their first product, LOC Cleanser, in their bathtubs when they began their business. Starting out as distributors for a vitamin company, Nutrilite, their Amway Corporation later bought Nutrilite, which today is their division for nutritional supplements. Amway has gone on to become the largest seller of dietary supplements in the world with consistent sales in the billions.

2) Door Knocking?

The founder of Avon (a cosmetic conglomerate), David McConnell, wasn’t even in the cosmetics business in 1886. He was selling Bibles door-to-door, and giving away free perfume samples as a way to get into the homes of prospective customers. As it turned out, his customers showed much more interest in the perfume samples than in the bibles. So, he began the California Perfume Company, later renamed Avon.

Today, Avon, trades on the New York Stock Exchange, operates in more than 140 countries with sales in excess of $7 billion, and is one of the largest sellers of cosmetics in the world.

3) Nothing, really?

After a successful career as a top distributor for the direct selling company, Stanley Home Products, Mary Kay Ash started her own small business in 1963, named Mary Kay. She created products with ingredients like hide tanner (used to cure animal hides) and became the most famous face of direct selling and network marketing. Mark Kay lecturing around the world and was even included in a case study at Harvard Business School.

Mary Kay Ash was one of three alumni distributors of Stanley Home Products that established multi-billion dollar companies. Her colleague, Brownie Wise, went on to help establish Tupperware, and Mary Crowley founded Home Interiors.

Clearly, their MLM distributor experiences allowed them to accept and succeed in new challenges that would likewise impact millions of lives and inspire other entrepreneurs to develop successful distributorships and found their own companies today.

4) Liniment?

Consider the origins of Watkins Products back in 1868. Today, Watkins sells a full line of products, from spices to cosmetics, to health care items. In 1868, however, the founder of the company, Joseph R. Watkins, was selling only one product: liniment. From that single product was built, perhaps, the longest-running direct selling success story of the industry.

5) Football?

How improbable! Art Williams was a high school football coach making little more than $10,000 per year when he applied principles of multilevel marketing to the sale of term insurance.

A. L. Williams went on to become the largest seller of term insurance in the U.S., eventually evolving into today’s Primerica, a division of one of America’s largest financial institutions, Citibank. Sales of financial products by Primerica run into the billions of dollars every year. And, all from a football field!

6) Big Dreams!

Modern-day network marketing successes – whether they are companies or individual distributors – all have their own startup story, starting on a shoestring budget. This business was meant to grow from the humble beginnings of one person’s dream. Hand-to-hand marketing is the nature of the direct selling business

And the successes of those that have started billion-dollar companies are paralleled over and over among the millions of network marketing distributors. Look around at the top distributors for major companies today and you will find individuals, who in their prior lives, were teachers, plumbers, lighting salesmen — all with modest employment incomes and equally-modest prospects in life.

What it Takes: A Positive Mindset

This is a mindset business. Your attitude is often a self-fulfilling prophecy. There is some real truth to the veterans’ advice which notes, “If you think you can, you’re right; If you think you can’t, you’re right!”

So, the next time you think you can’t do it, think again! Make sure, however, that you have access to one of the following tools:  a bathtub, a garage, a bible, or a dream.

Do you want more inspiration? Watch these video titles from the 30+ year direct selling industry veteran, Jeff Babener:

Are There MLM Companies That Have Achieved Success on a Low Budget?

How Much Does It Cost to Start a MLM Company?

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