Direct Sales

of one

Direct Sales

Key Takeaways

  • Some trends for women looking to supplement their main income stream with a side hustle include; type of side hustle, changes in drivers and the need to supplement, increased dependence, and time spent on side hustles.
  • The Direct Marketing Association (DSA) suggests that the MLM industry is slowly going off despite a temporary increase in popularity during the epidemic.
  • Blogging/Vlogging, seasonal consulting, starting an online store, mentoring/coaching are popular ways women supplement their income with side hustles.


The research brief provides an overview of the state of the multilevel marketing industry in the US, trends for women looking to supplement their main income, and popular ways that women are supplementing their income with a side hustle.


1) Increased Dependence and Time Spent on Side Hustles

  • Side hustling for women has evolved into more than just a pastime used to supplement their primary income.
  • A corresponding increase in commitment accompanies the rising reliance on side hustles.
  • According to recent findings, women's average time on side hustles rose in 2021.
  • In 2021, the number of persons spending more than 15 hours per week on their side-hustles more than doubled, from 12% to 27%.
  • Earnings have increased considerably as well, with approximately 14% of side hustlers making more than $1,500 per month.


  • Last year, slightly over a quarter of side hustlers (27 percent) used their earnings to pay their monthly bills and costs.
  • That percentage rose to 41% in 2021 because people relied more on/upon side hustles to supplement their income.

2) Changes in Drivers and the Need to Supplement

  • Even though more people are utilizing side hustles to supplement their income, fun and flexibility remain the most crucial factors to consider when selecting a side hustle.
  • Indeed, the highest-earning side hustlers in 2021 are those who have attempted five or more different types of hustles due to changes in drivers, demonstrating that it pays to experiment to see what is best suited.


  • Factors and drivers that necessitate a need to supplement primary income with a side hustle include; how much enjoyment hustlers derive from the job, flexibility over schedule, compensation, and other factors.
  • From this survey, these drivers amounted to 42%, 34%, 20%, and 4%, respectively.
  • Another survey discovered that other reasons driving this trend include; more personal freedom (38.7%), debt repayment (6.2%), calling (4.6%), extra money to make ends meet (11.7%), a creative outlet (5.6%), and additional income to save, invest, or spend (27.4%).

3) Types of Side Hustle

  • According to a study, 57 percent of respondents have a side hustle, with 65 percent who responded being between 18 and 34.
  • Women are more likely than men to hold a side job, and this is because a growing number of stay-at-home women are supplementing their family's income with side hustles.
  • Selling service has proven to be the most common side hustle, especially for women, with 32 percent of respondents participating.

  • Selling services allows one to specialize in a field in which they are already an expert or one in which there's strong interest.
  • For instance, what Melanie Oates has done. By day, Oates works as a business intelligence analyst and does hair on the side.


  • The survey carried out on side hustlers, most of whom are women, describes how side hustles are chosen based on type.
  • A service such as photography, house cleaning, or fitness instruction is sold by 32% of respondents.
  • 30% of the time, side hustlers choose to sell new and handmade products or flip and resell used items.
  • 15% participate in internet surveys, mystery shopping, and other odd jobs.
  • 13% choose to hustle with Uber, Lyft, InstaCart, Postmates, and other gig economy services.
  • Ten percent of people operate multi-level marketing firms such as Avon, Scentsy, and Rodan + Fields.



  • Approximately one in every thirteen adults in the United States has participated in multilevel marketing (MLM).
  • Although about 6.3 million sellers in the United States are currently promoting the MLM business idea, the proportion of MLM sales has steadily decreased.
  • That's less than 2% of the American population, implying that involvement rates will decrease as younger generations enter the workforce.
  • And based on the most recent data, William Keep determined that MLM retail sales account for just .84 percent of all retail sales in the US, putting the business at its lowest point since 1992.
  • Multilevel marketing retail sales accounted for nearly one-third less of national retail sales in 2019 than in 2002, accounting for 1.24 percent of U.S. retail sales.
  • The MLM sector is still compelling, despite diminishing involvement. The business is still valued at more than $35 billion, according to the DSA, up from $28 billion in 2009.
  • According to the AARP, more than half of participants leave the business within one year, and more than 90% drop out before ten years.
  • In contrast, over 20% of small enterprises fail within the first year, while about one-third survive for more than ten years.


  • While the Federal Trade Commission claims that 99 percent of MLM participants lose money, a more recent AARP study reveals that the numbers aren't nearly so dire.
  • According to the AARP, 25% of those questioned made a profit, while 27% broke even.
  • The most popular direct selling product categories are; wellness, which accounted for 33.2 percent of sales in 2019, with cosmetics and personal care accounting for 31.2 percent. At 12.8 percent of sales, household goods and durables came in third.


  • The Direct Marketing Association (DSA) suggests that the MLM industry is slowly going off despite a temporary increase in popularity during the epidemic.
  • This decline is due to cynical and aggressive recruiting by corporations and reps.
  • For nearly two decades, the industry has failed to keep up with national growth in retail sales, which is consistent with the lagging increase in participants relative to GDP growth.
  • In addition, MLM members losing money and vendors leaving the business has hurt its reputation and led to its decline.
  • Looking at the reported growth of direct sellers in the United States from 2010 to 2017 alludes to the fact that there is trouble. The increases are only "about 2% per year on average, falling short of the 2.8 percent annual increase in the U.S. gross domestic product (GDP)."


1) Blogging/Vlogging


  • Many women have started blogging and vlogging as a great way to generate passive income.
  • The best part of having this as a side hustle is that they can create a blog or vlog about anything they want.
  • Female bloggers and vloggers who enjoy cooking regularly and constantly share recipes and have food talks on their blogs and vlogs.
  • Furthermore, blog and vlog posts cover various topics, including documentation of daily life events, makeup tutorials, video game reviews and tutorials, and product reviews. As a result, viewers and blog visitors frequently form a personal connection with the vlogger.
  • Many successful female bloggers/vloggers turned their hobbies and interests into lucrative business ventures.

Companies/Platforms Supporting These Efforts

  • Platforms that support vlogs include YouTube, Viddler, Vimeo, DailyMotion, and Facebook. On the other hand, platforms that feature blogs include Wix, WordPress, Tumblr, Medium, Blogger, LinkedIn, and Squarespace.

Metrics of Success

  • Blogs now rank as the fifth most reliable source of online information.
  • Adding a blog to an existing website results in a 43.4 percent boost in visitors, as 77% of internet users read blog posts, and are primarily interested in seven-minute reads.
  • Every day, around 7.5 million blog articles are published, with most of them being published by women, and the average length of a successful blog post is 2,520 words.
  • 65% of the online audience are visual learners, making vlogs a perfect way to communicate with the audience.

2) Buying & Selling Domains


  • Nowadays, purchasing domain names on the internet has proven to be a very lucrative side hustle pursued by women.
  • These ladies have taken this hustle a step further by buying domain names when and where they're very cheap, fixing and tweaking them up a bit, and selling them for a profit to anyone looking to buy.

Companies/Platforms Supporting These Efforts

  • NameCheap, Flippa, Exchange, FE International, GoDaddy, Latona, Afternic, Empire Flippers, and so on are some platforms and sites that support women in buying and selling domains.

Metrics of Success

  • There are reports of many success stories from those who buy and sell domains, with a glaring story of someone that made $58,000 in earnings after flipping eight domains in two months.

3) Starting an Online Store


  • Starting an online store has shown to be one of the best ways for women to earn extra money.
  • Some of the most successful women made extra money through excellent online opportunities, but they also started socially responsible online stores that benefit their communities.
  • Women-run businesses, for example, such as Anaona, help other women by designing bras for breast cancer survivors, particularly those under the age of 40.
  • Given that women account for 72 percent of online shoppers in the United State, many women now sell things like skincare products, kitchenware, home decor, and apparel and accessories.

Companies/Platforms Supporting These Efforts

  • Some sites that support women to open online stores are Etsy, Shopify, Amazon, Bonanza, eBay, Craigslist, Chairish, etc.

Metrics of Success

  • The United States' e-commerce sector is growing exponentially every quarter.
  • Researchers expect that e-commerce and revenue generated from online stores in the United States will reach $740 billion by 2023.
  • With a revenue increase of more than 70% from the previous year, this number indicates that more consumers are eager to make more purchases online.

4) Seasonal Consulting


  • Working as a seasonal consultant is now an in-demand side hustle for women in the USA.
  • Women now offer consulting services for what they are good at, be they tax, an expert at finding homes for sale, or an expert at party planning.
  • Another plus to being a seasonal consultant is that they don't have to work all year, only when the season comes around.

Companies/Platforms Supporting These Efforts

  • Some platforms for these female seasonal consultants to showcase their prowess and earn extra income include; Wall Street Oasis and Glassdoor.
  • Companies that are always on the lookout for female seasonal consultants/advisors include; Macy's, Intuit, Target, Sephora, etc.

Metrics of Success

  • In 2018 alone, the US government awarded 27,813 consulting contracts to over 5,609 businesses, amounting to $4.5 million.

5) Mentoring & Coaching


Companies/Platforms Supporting These Efforts

  • Some platforms that support female coaches and mentors include; CareerCruise, Career Karma, Adplist, The Muse, MicroMentor, GrowthMentor, Clarity.FM, Score, etc.

Metrics of Success

  • Mentoring connections have empowered 87% of mentors and mentees, who have gained more confidence.
  • Mentored mentees are promoted five times more frequently than those who do not have a mentor. Mentors are also six times more likely to advance in their careers.

Research Strategy

The research team was required to provide an overview of the state of the multilevel marketing industry in the US, trends for women looking to supplement their main income, and popular ways that women are supplementing their income with a side hustle.
In tackling this request, the team reviewed various statistical reports, industrial blogs, market reports, and company websites, including Statista, BigCommerce, Fundera, TalentedLadiesClub, DollarSprout, and more.
In searching for trends and popular ways for women looking to supplement their main income stream with a side hustle, data and statistics specific to women appear to be somewhat limited in the public domain, so the research team included more general data in the response and highlighted specific data to women.

Did this report spark your curiosity?