This week’s guest author Michel Bayan says he has always been focused on one thing as an entrepreneur: Making a real difference in people’s lives. As EVP of Fragmob, Michel and the team are pushing the envelope and disrupting the direct selling industry with bleeding edge mobile technology proven to significantly increase the effectiveness of the industry’s millions of independent sellers. As a noted writer and speaker in direct selling, Michel has advised numerous companies in the industry on their digital strategies.
Guest Post by Michel Bayan
Driving a Pink Cadillac… or Driving for Uber?
Sure, Uber is disrupting the taxi business, but there’s another $176-Billion industry feeling its Collaboration Economy pinch.
People looking to turn spare time into extra money, to be their own boss on their own schedule, traditionally turned to direct selling – an estimated 16.8 million in the US and 96 million globally right now – joining companies like Avon, Tupperware, Omnilife, ItWorks!, or Mary Kay – where the ultimate sales bonus is getting a free pink Cadillac.
Now many of those same people are turning to Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, and other companies that turbocharge their networks with digital technology. So direct selling is playing catch-up, scrambling to go digital and equip its on-the-go workforce with the power of mobile apps.
Too little too late? Or the right tool and the right time to propel direct selling into a golden age where sellers can make more money in today’s mobile world?
The clock is ticking…
When you learn that in San Francisco taxi rides are down 60 percent because of Lyft and Uber, it really drives home the impact of the Collaborative Economy.
Or take Airbnb which is filling more rooms than Hilton hotels!
These and other digitally enhanced start-ups such as Relay Rides, Task Rabbit, Dog Vacay are offering people new opportunities to make additional income with no boss, freedom to work when they want to and a vibrant social community…and they are recruiting people by the thousands world-wide.
If you’re a direct seller, they are competing with you for recruits.
By leveraging technology these new companies are enabling everyday people to make significant extra income. No complicated comp plans. Nobody to recruit. And these companies are raising a ton of capital and growing at a record pace. Earlier this year Uber raised a billion dollars (yes with a B) in capital at a $17B valuation!
They are aggressively recruiting. I’ve personally met Uber drivers that were paid $500 just to start driving. Uber is also known to give financial assistance to drivers who want to buy a new car.
I joined Airbnb and RelayRides as a test to see how easy it could really be to make money with these opportunities. I also interviewed a former member of my team when I was in the field. He’s no longer a direct seller after trying to do it with two different companies. Now he works for two new Collaboration Economy companies, driving for Uber and Lyft now. He summed it up saying, “I open the app, I do what it tells me to do and I make $20-60 per hour.”
Our industry needs people talking about direct selling the same way. There is nothing stopping the industry from being every bit as user friendly, every bit as digital, and even more mobile—if and when direct selling gets serious about confronting the competition from the collaborative economy!