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 or visit 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


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 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


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