If you're anything like me, your first experience with the direct sales industry is probably with Avon or Tupperware (both of which are still going strong today).
Our Avon Lady would make the rounds once a month, going door-to-door, saying, “Avon calling.” My mom would let her in, and she'd show us all of her new products and goodies. As a kid, I loved looking at all of the makeup, lotions, and perfumes.
Today the direct sales industry has exploded; there are hundreds of companies with thousands of products. And women everywhere are cashing in by selling products through in-home parties and digital sales.
While some direct sales companies have significant startup fees, there are many that you can start for as little as $100 or less — some business opportunities are even FREE!
So if money is tight, here are some home businesses with low startup fees (companies are listed from lowest to highest startup cost).
Teespring – $0
Teespring is a free platform where you can create apparel, coffee mugs, bags, home decor, phone cases, and more! To get started, create a free account and then design your products. Once you hit the publish button, your creations will be featured on their site for sale. There are many factors to figure in when calculating your earnings, from the type and quality of products used to how many sales you generate. Play around with the platform to get an idea of how much you can earn.
Avon – $0
Did you know that Avon is rated the number one direct sales company in the world, with net sales reaching over 11 billion in 2011 alone?! Avon sells old-time beauty favorites like Skin So Soft and new and exciting skincare products like the ANEW product line. Avon is currently running a special where you can get started for free; usually, it's $25 to get started.
Magnabilities – $1
Magnabilities sells customized magnetic jewelry. With this business opportunity, you can join the virtual opportunity for just $1, which includes your website for one month. After that, it's $12.95 a month. They also have a $50 startup kit that contains $300 in products and business supplies. Consultants earn 30 percent commission on sales and additional commission for building a team.
pawTREE – $1
pawTREE sells seasonings, food, treats, supplements, toys, and accessories for cats and dogs. Pet Pros can earn up to 35 percent commission on sales and additional commission for team building activities. For your $1 starter fee, you'll get access to all their training and your website free for six months!
Jafra – $19
Jafra sells skincare products that contain Royal Jelly, along with fragrance, makeup, and bath and body products. Their business opportunity starts at just $19. Consultants earn up to 50 percent commission on sales. The Jafra business opportunity is available in the US, Mexico, Germany, Austria, Netherlands, Switzerland, and Indonesia.
Java Momma – $20
Java Momma sells organic fairtrade coffee, flavored coffee, loose leaf tea, cocoa, and accessories in a variety of flavors like Sea Salt Caramel Mocha and Pumpkin Muffin. Baristas earn 20 percent commission on sales and additional commissions on team sales. Java Momma offers three starter kits ranging in price from $20 – $60. With this opportunity, you're only required to make one sale every three months, and your replicated website is free.
JewelScent – $20
JewelScent sells candles that contain jewelry, as well as bath bombs, bath and body products, melts, jewelry, and more. With this opportunity, you can earn up to 30 percent commission, and you can purchase a virtual business kit for just $20! If you decide to build a team, you can make even more money.
Labella Baskets – $24.95 a month
Labella Baskets sells gift baskets, personalized gifts, plantable greeting cards, candles, charm bracelets, cookies, and more. You can join this direct sales opportunity for just $24.95 a month. This fee includes your website, training, back-office, and more. Consultants earn 30-40 percent commission on personal sales, and even more if you build a team.
JR Watkins – $29.95
JR Watkins sells natural home care cleaning supplies, extracts, spices, seasoning mixes, baking decorations, and cooking spray. The startup cost is only $29.95, and independent consultants receive 35 percent savings off of products.
Perfectly Posh – $30
Perfectly Posh sells a wide range of pampering bath and body products, as well as supplements. Consultants earn 15 – 40 percent commission on sales (based on personal volume) and additional commission for building a team. Their starter kit is just $30 and contains business supplies and samples.
doTERRA – $35
doTERRA sells essential oils, skincare products, diffusers, and other wellness products. You can get started for as little as $35 for the Product Guide Enrollment Fee, and your website is free (products costs extra). Consultants earn 25 percent commission on all retail sales, and you can earn more for building a team.
Aloette – $39
Aloette sells skincare products infused with organic aloe, along with makeup and bath and body products. All products are cruelty-free, farm to jar ingredients, and free of harsh chemicals. With this opportunity, you can get started for as little as $39, and your website if free for the first 60-days. For commission rates and additional information, you'll need to contact them via email.
Chalky & Company – $39
Chalky & Company sells painter's powder and home decor products. Consultants earn money by hosting painting workshops and selling products. With this business opportunity, you can get started for as little as. $39, which includes supplies, catalogs, order forms, and your website for three months (after that, it's $10 per month). You'll need to email them for information on the compensation plan.
Team Beachbody – $39.95
Team Beachbody sells the grueling P90X workout system as well as workout programs, shakes, supplements, nutritional bars, and fitness gear. With a low startup cost of $39.95 and a monthly recurring fee of $15.95 – this could be a great home-based business opportunity for the fitness enthusiast.
Wine Shop at Home – $39.95
WineShop at Home sells wine, stemware, gift baskets, and more. With this business opportunity, you can get started for $39.95, which includes order forms, a few wine tools, and your website for one month. After that, it's $19.95 a month. While you can choose the $39.95 startup package, to host an in-home tasting party, you'll need wine, so I'd recommend the $59.95 starter kit, which also comes with a couple of bottles of wine. I wasn't able to find commission rates, so you'll need to request additional information if you're interested.
Unicity – $40
Unicity sells nutritional, personal care, and wellness products globally. With this business opportunity, you can purchase just the Digital Getting Started Guide without products for $40. They also offer a risk-free trial where they will refund the cost of the starter kit within 30-days if you decide it's not for you. If you choose to purchase products, they'll refund 90 percent of unopened products.
Crowned Free – $49
Crowned Free sells women's clothing, t-shirts for kids, jewelry, home decor, accessories, and more. For only $49, you'll receive $400 worth of products, postcards, order forms, flyers, and business opportunity packets. Consultants earn 25 – 30 percent commission, and they get paid every two weeks. Crowned Free has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
L'BRI – $49
L'BRI sells skincare products that are infused with aloe, as well as makeup. For $49, you'll receive a starter kit that contains $165 worth of products, up to 30 percent commission on sales, up to 45 percent off of personal orders and a personalized website.
Origami Owl – $49
Origami Owl sells personalized charm lockets, watches, and other pieces of jewelry. With this opportunity, you can get started for just $49, which includes $50 jewelry credit, free shipping on your first order, personalized website, training, and more. Designers can earn up to 50 percent commission, plus additional perks.
PartyLite – $49
PartyLite sells candles, home décor, and gifts. With their $49 Sign Me Up Kit, you'll get a small sampling of products. I wasn't able to locate information on commission rates, so you'll need to contact them for additional info.
Tula Xii – $49
Tula Xii sells customizable lifestyle organizers. For just $49, you'll get one planner, inserts, supplies, and your replicated website for one month. After that, your website is $8.95 a month. Brand Ambassadors earn 25 percent commission on sales and 10 percent in sales bonuses. You can make even more for building a team.
Willing Beauty – $49
Willing Beauty is part of the Origami Owl family, and they sell skincare products for teens and women, as well as makeup. Their products are free of parabens, sulfates, DEA, phthalates, mineral oils, chemical sunscreens, and synthetic fragrances. And for only $49, you can start your business with Willing Beauty. With this fee, you'll get a $49 product credit, wholesale discounts on products, and a three-month subscription to their Maven App so you can sell products.
Neora – $49.95
Neora sells a line of skincare and antiaging products. For $49.95, you can join this opportunity, which includes marketing and training materials only. Neora is available worldwide and is a member of the Direct Selling Association.
Scent-Sations, Inc. – $49.95
Scent-Sations, Inc. sells gourmet candles, melts, soaps, as well as a skincare line. Startup costs are $49.95 per month and are open to both US and Canadian residents. As a member, you'll be filed under an auto-ship program, which includes your website and products; monthly fees range from $39.95 – $100.00 per month. Scent-Sations, Inc. has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
Juice Plus – $52
Juice Plus sells juice powder concentrates from 25 different fruits, vegetables, and grains. To get started, you should first be a consumer of their products. Next, submit an application through your Juice Plus Consultant (application fee is $52) Consultants can earn 6-22 percent commission on sales. Juice Plus is affiliated with the DSA and the Better Business Bureau.
So there you have it, a bunch of home businesses with low startup fees! While these are good budget-friendly options, if you don't have a passion for the products that you're selling, you're going to have a difficult time convincing others to purchase them from you. And honestly, why would you want to sell something that you yourself don't love?!
On another note, if there's a direct sales company that you do love, keep tabs on their join now page. Often companies run specials where you can sign-up for a discounted rate, or you can earn your kit by hosting a qualified party. I've also seen a couple of direct selling companies that offer payment plans too; so keep your eyes open there are lots of ways to sign-up with a company that you're passionate about.
Do you know of another direct sales company that offers low startup fees? We would love to know about it — drop us a note below, and we'll consider it for our list
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Originally published January 10, 2014. Content updated February 26, 2020.
Holly Reisem Hanna is the publisher and founder of The Work at Home Woman, which has been helping individuals find remote careers and businesses that feed their souls since 2009. Through her unconventional career path of holding over 30 jobs and obtaining two college degrees, she's been able to figure out how to find a career path that you're truly passionate about. Holly's had the pleasure of sharing her expertise on sites like CNN, MSN Money, Huffington Post, Woman's Day Magazine, as well as being recognized by Forbes as one of the “Top 100 Websites for Your Career.” Holly resides in Austin, Texas, with her husband and daughter and enjoys reading, traveling, and yoga.
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