Direct Selling Entrepreneurship Goes to Community College

Donna Duffey

Donna Duffey is Professor and Department Chair of the Entrepreneurship Associate of Applied Science degree program and its related certificate programs at Johnson County Community College, Kansas City, Kansas. She was the winner of the 2009 National Association of Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE) Faculty of the Year Award.

An Academic’s Journey Into The Direct Selling Industry

Student entrepreneurs at the community college level come with a variety of pathways in mind to reach their entrepreneurial dreams. Some are focused on innovation and plan to create a new product or service. Some plan to purchase an existing business and apply their entrepreneurial skills to make that business grow. Some are members of an existing family business and want that business to continue to be sustainable across generations. Others are planning to reach their entrepreneurial dream by owning and operating a franchise. Some choose to be intrapreneurs in existing businesses. We believe a missing link has been a curriculum for students seeking their niche as independent contractors in the direct selling industry.

As the academic chair for Johnson County Community College’s (JCCC) Entrepreneurship program, this realization—or the discovery of a “gap” in our program offerings—led me to start a conversation with the National Association of Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE) and the Direct Selling Education Foundation (DSEF) during the summer of 2011 in Washington, D.C. The brainstorming session brought together both community college leaders of entrepreneurship initiatives and direct selling company executives from across the country.

The “working” objective of this brainstorming meeting between these two previously disconnected groups was to determine if educational material addressing this dynamic industry sector could be developed and delivered effectively through America’s community colleges. Our collective answer after two days of discussion yielded a unanimous “Yes, we can!”

So why should these two seemingly unconnected groups both care about the gap in entrepreneurship education in community colleges? Click here to read the full story.

The Secret To Long Term Success In Direct Sales

The Secret To Long Term Success In Direct Sales Ongoing Professional Development:  A Key to Long-Term Success in Direct Sales

Continuing your education is a critical ingredient to the long-term success of your direct selling business. Make sure to take advantage of your company’s training and educational offerings such as webinars, monthly conference calls and, of course, your company’s annual convention. You’ll also want to participate in training offered by your upline and regional leaders. And, if you are in the Salt Lake City or Ann Arbor areas, you can soon take a direct selling entrepreneurship course at your local community college!

The Direct Selling Entrepreneur Program (DSEP) is a thirty-hour, non-credit course designed to help independent representatives—and those interested in exploring a career in direct selling—operate stronger, more profitable businesses. Through this personalized approach to entrepreneurship, any small business owner or independent contractor can learn real-world skills to start or grow a successful business. If you’re a direct seller, or considering a career as a direct selling business owner, this course is a great way to gain small business management skills such as:

  • Business Operations
  • Using Technology
  • Goal Setting & Future Strategy
  • Marketing & Selling
  • Communication
  • Financial Management
  • Leadership & Ethics

This fall, DSEP is coming to Salt Lake Community College in Sandy, UT; and to Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor, MI. Details are below:

Direct Selling Entrepreneur Program at Salt Lake Community College

Where: Larry H. Miller Campus

MCPC 115, 9750 S 300 W

Sandy, UT

When:  Thursdays 5:30 PM – 8:30 PM from September 18, 2014 – November 20, 2014

Cost: $99 tuition + $20 manual

Register: To register, call (801) 957-5200

For more information, contact Kay Carter at kay.carter@slcc.edu or visit www.slcccontinuinged.com/DSEP. DSEF thanks 4Life, Nu Skin and USANA for their support in bringing DSEP to Salt Lake City.

Tuition Assistance Opportunity: Tuition assistance is available to cover up to 50% of the cost. To see if you qualify, contact Kay Carter, Encore Institute Manager at (801) 957-5373 or kay.carter@slcc.edu

 

Direct Selling Entrepreneur Program at Washtenaw Community College

Where: 4800 E. Huron River Drive

Ann Arbor, MI  48105

Morris Lawrence Building

When: Tuesdays, Thursdays 6:00 p.m. – 8:55 p.m. Oct. 7, 2014 – Nov. 6, 2014

Cost: Register by Sept. 30, 2014, for a reduced tuition rate of $125. After Sept. 30, tuition is $325.

Register: Click here.
For more information, call (734) 677-5060 or email ecdevelopment@wccnet.edu. DSEF thanks Amway for its support in bringing DSEP to the Ann Arbor area.

Taking a course like this is a great way to learn how to bring your business to the next level. Remember that you should always aim to move your business forward, and that requires commitment to ongoing learning. Seek out opportunities to learn more about the direct sales industry, keep up with current industry trends, improve your salesmanship and learn ways to efficiently run your business more efficiently.  DSEF will announce more courses soon, and you can check for the updated schedule here.

What are some ways that you have continued your education? Would you consider taking a course like this? Please share your comments below!

A New Champion in Direct Selling Education

by Lauren Lawley Head

Click here to order the July 2014 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

Gary Huggins

Education: Texas Christian University, bachelor of arts in political science and communication

Personal: A Dallas, Texas, native, Huggins now resides in Laurel, Maryland, with his wife and four children, ages 15, 13, 10 and 7

Point of interest: served on George H. W. Bush’s 1988 presidential campaign and Inaugural Committee


After an extensive search, the Direct Selling Education Foundation has chosen its next Executive Director, Gary Huggins.

Huggins comes to the Foundation with deep experience in education reform, innovation, policy and advocacy. He most recently served as CEO of the National Summer Learning Association, an organization that serves as a network hub for thousands of summer learning program providers and stakeholders.

Huggins also served as Director of the Aspen Institute’s Commission on No Child Left Behind, a bipartisan, independent effort dedicated to improving the No Child Left Behind Act, as well as Executive Director of the Education Leaders Council, Education Leaders Action Council, and CSCV, a coalition of corporations, small businesses, and consumer and environmental groups that promoted market-based environmental solutions.

“I am so pleased we were able to introduce Gary Huggins as DSEF’s Executive Director at DSA’s Annual Meeting,” said Amway Chief Sales Officer and DSEF Board Chairman John Parker. “Gary brings a wealth of knowledge and experience that will equip him well in leading DSEF.  If you did not have a chance to meet Gary in person in Orlando, I hope you do soon.”

Though he officially begins the role July 7, Huggins attended the Direct Selling Association’s Annual Meeting in Orlando in June and spent some time talking with Direct Selling News.

Industry voices

On June 5, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals issued its long-awaited opinion in the case of the Federal Trade Commission vs. the multi-level music marketing company BurnLounge. The Direct Selling Association had filed an amicus brief in the case, asserting that internal consumption qualifies as a legitimate sale. The 9th Circuit affirmed the U.S. District Court’s decision that BurnLounge was an illegal pyramid scheme, but it also affirmed the principle that compensation to direct sellers based on their consumption is legitimate—excellent news for the direct selling community.

The opinion was issued while the DSA Annual Meeting was in progress, so it naturally got some attention. Here are some snapshots of what was said:

“The preliminary reading is actually quite good,” DSA President Joe Mariano told meeting attendees that afternoon. “…I think we can be positive and say that some of the work that we have been doing over the last year, two years and indeed for generations, has had an impact and effect on at least partially educating the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.”

“I don’t think BurnLounge today is going to be the catalyst to change the short position on Herbalife,” Canaccord Genuity Managing Director Scott Van Winkle said during the question-and-answer portion of a workshop entitled The Wall Street View.  “I think it helps. I think it is one more building block.”

“I’m excited to be here and excited about this industry,” he said.

Huggins says he will be identifying and developing his priorities in the coming months but knows supporting the Foundation’s academic initiatives will be key. Having university professors and others understand the direct selling business model is important, he says, so that they include discussion of the channel when they teach students about entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial opportunities.

“My work in education has always been very supportive of entrepreneurship in education,” he said. “We (direct selling) ought to be part of Main Street conversations about entrepreneurship.”


It might be the middle of summer, but in many ways it feels like the start of a new year. The Direct Selling News Global 100 celebration and the Direct Selling Association’s 2014 Annual Meeting are behind us, and it’s now time to dig into the work ahead. These are critical times for the direct selling community. Let’s approach the opportunities—and tackle the challenges—head on.

Lauren Lawley Head

Lauren Lawley Head
General Manager
lawleyhead@directsellingnews.com

 

Direct Selling Association’s 2014 Annual Meeting Welcomes over 1,000 Attendees

Photo Above: CEO Panel discusses unity within DSA.

Click here to order the July 2014 issue in which this article appeared or click here to download it to your mobile device.

Exclusive Coverage | Shaklee’s Marjorie Fine Inducted into DSA Hall of Fame | DSEF Circle of Honor Welcomes Elizabeth Owen | 2014 Direct Selling Association ETHOS Award Winners | Roundtable with Direct Selling’s Female CEOs


The Direct Selling Association held its 2014 Annual Meeting this past June 1–3. More than 1,000 executives from direct selling and vendor partner companies gathered in Orlando to celebrate achievements and to discuss the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for the industry.

Underscoring the meeting’s theme of ONE, the first two general sessions on Monday delivered a clear message about the importance of the industry presenting a united front and sharing the same message for those outside the industry: that direct selling offers a better life for 16 million Americans in addition to providing economic independence, a sense of fulfillment and a quality of life others cannot achieve through traditional workplace environments.

In the morning session, keynote speaker and acclaimed author of Good to Great and Great by Choice, Jim Collins, shared his extensive research on what produces great, enduring companies. “Whether we fail or thrive depends more on what we do to ourselves than what the world ‘out there’ does to us,” he told the crowd.

That sentiment was echoed in the afternoon session by the seven direct selling CEOs who took the stage to discuss unity across the entire industry. The panel, led by Nu Skin President and CEO Truman Hunt, included Natura CEO Alessandro Carlucci, Herbalife Chairman and CEO Michael O. Johnson, The Pampered Chef Founder, Interim CEO and Chairman Doris Christopher, Amway President Doug DeVos and Thirty-One Gifts Founder and CEO Cindy Monroe.

The group encouraged industry action to ensure companies can continue to thrive despite outside forces, such as the calculated attacks by short sellers and the regulatory challenges around the world, and affirmed the need to unite in securing vital political influence.

“This is a moment we should be thinking about unification more than ever before,” said Johnson, whose company has spent the past 18 months weathering attacks by Herbalife short seller Bill Ackman—a campaign Johnson described as “selfish, self-righteous and egregious in ways you don’t even know.”

New Officers, Directors for DSA Board

During the DSA’s 2014 Annual Meeting, the DSA Board of Directors nominated and approved Truman Hunt, CEO of Nu Skin Enterprises, as Chairman. In addition, the following executives will also serve for the 2015 term:

  • Vice Chairman: David Holl (Mary Kay)
  • Vice Chairman: Lori Bush (Rodan + Fields)
  • Treasurer: Matt Blok (Amway)
  • Immediate Past Chairman: Orville Thompson (Scentsy)
  • Past Chairman: Brett Chapman (Herbalife)

 

Eight new Directors will help form the class of 2017. They will serve three-year terms:

  • Doris Christopher (The Pampered Chef)
  • Jonathan Gelfand (Team Beachbody)
  • Erik Johnson (Hy Cite)
  • Allison Levy (AdvoCare)
  • Raymond Mily Jr. (The Kirby Company)
  • Doug Robinson (LifeVantage)
  • Frank VanderSloot (Melaleuca)
  • John Wyckoff (Dove Chocolate Discoveries)

The attacks aimed at Herbalife affect the entire industry, said Monroe. Party-plan companies like Thirty-One Gifts have a mutual interest in protecting the independent status of their salespeople, which is why the company has worked to ensure their earnings opportunity extends to all levels of the organization.

“With everything we do at Thirty-One, we try to make sure we’re helping the salesperson make as much money as possible,” she said. “As an industry, we have to show the statistics that our sales reps are making income, and they are making it regardless of whether they have to invest in tools.”

DeVos encouraged executives to actively support initiatives that give direct selling a greater voice in Washington. “We have to have a purpose, a plan and the financial and human resources necessary to stand up and be counted,” he said.

Christopher emphasized participation in the DSA and its initiatives as a key to furthering the conversation in Washington. “As a part of it, we all share reputation, responsibility and a love of the opportunity we offer to our independent contractors,” she said. “The most effective way to fight challenges is to do it together.”

During the three-day event DSA’s Board of Directors held its quarterly meeting. Among a number of items of business for the session, the group elected new executives and directors to the Board and unanimously approved a number of changes to the Code of Ethics.

“The most significant changes are to the explanatory provisions,” DSA President Joe Mariano noted. “The changes relate to how the Code defines a pyramid scheme, the buyback policy and inventory loading, and are the result of some self-examination of the industry due to the attacks we’ve been facing.”

The Code of Ethics is regularly evaluated to ensure it meets the demands of the current marketplace environment. Changes are considered continuously as challenges arise, and as the Code of Ethics Administrator indicates, they are necessary to continue the sales channel’s exemplary history of self-regulation.

The Board Directors were also introduced to the new executive director of the Direct Selling Education Foundation, Gary Huggins.

“I’m thrilled to welcome Gary to the Foundation,” said Amway Chief Sales Officer and DSEF Chairman John Parker. “Gary comes to us with a great deal of experience in advocacy roles for nonprofits in the education arena in particular. He’s here with us throughout the meeting, and I’d love for him to have the opportunity to talk to and learn from all the great leaders in this room about the industry.”

The Board was also briefed about ongoing and upcoming government relations activities in response to current marketplace challenges. Incoming Government Relations Committee Chairman Michael Lunceford of Mary Kay briefed the body about his expectation of industry activity at the federal level to respond to current events, either involving passing legislation friendly to direct selling or killing legislation that is harmful to it.

DSA Immediate Past Chairman Orville Thompson passes the gavel to incoming Chairman Truman Hunt.DSA Immediate Past Chairman Orville Thompson passes the gavel to incoming Chairman Truman Hunt.


“There are steps that need to be taken right now,” Lunceford advised the Board. “Get to know your Member of Congress—DSA can help you with this… and survey your field and ask them who they know. You’ll be surprised at the contacts they have…. Introducing a piece of legislation and passing it is arduous. It is far harder than trying to kill one. Do these small things to help yourselves.”

“To move the things we’re talking about takes a lot of time, money and effort,” noted DSA Executive Vice President Adolfo Franco. “It takes years… we need the commitment now for the long haul.”

Since 1910, DSA has worked to promote the impact of direct sellers and ensure a fair and open marketplace. The Annual Meeting provides an opportunity for industry executives to unite in the interest of their shared vision, message and future.

This year’s event featured an adjusted schedule from the previous years, including enhanced time in the exhibit hall for learning opportunities on Sunday afternoon, before the Grand Opening Reception. Express Learning Sessions featured more than 30 mini-workshops by vendor partners and a 90-minute interactive Perfecting Partnerships Roundtable helped executives and vendor partners forge deeper, strategic working relationships.

From innovative uses of technology to marketing tactics to international expansion fundamentals, the more than 40 speakers at this year’s DSA Annual Meeting offered a closer look at today’s crucial business-building topics.

The 2015 Annual Meeting will be held in San Antonio, Texas, from Sunday, May 31 through Tuesday, June 2.


Exclusive Coverage | Shaklee’s Marjorie Fine Inducted into DSA Hall of Fame | DSEF Circle of Honor Welcomes Elizabeth Owen |2014 Direct Selling Association ETHOS Award Winners | Roundtable with Direct Selling’s Female CEOs

We Can Make a Better World

Corporate Social Responsibility is a key component of running an ethical business. Watch this video to learn how the direct selling industry makes the world a better place through its CSR efforts.

Direct Selling Education Foundation