How direct selling helps women self-start on their entrepreneurial journey

Women have now become one of the most crucial driving forces in the growth of the direct selling industry in India, which is also helping them balance their professional and personal lives.
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India’s Rs 17,000 crore worth direct selling industry is paving the way for an inclusive sector that sees high participation of women.

As per a report by the World Federation of Direct Selling Associations (WFDSA), India’s direct selling industry growth is being driven by women with an estimated 53 percent of female entrepreneurs being a part of the sector. They are driving this growth as they actively engage in the $1.5 billion (Rs 98.5 billion) industry in the country selling a wide range of products.

Women have now become one of the most crucial driving forces in the growth of the direct selling industry in India. The industry has been witnessing an increase of Womenpreneurs across Tier I, II, and III cities for quite some time now and industry leaders give due credit to the developments to the increasing women-base in the segment. Women are increasingly exploring the sector as it provides guided entrepreneurship to launch themselves through extensive skilling and training.

The direct selling industry is also providing women the invaluable opportunity to balance their professional and personal lives on their own terms. This enables them to contribute to the household and the economy. It also acts as a great platform for upskilling and reskilling that eventually leads to the ultimate goal of women’s empowerment.

Here’s a look at how the direct selling industry supports women on their entrepreneurial journey.

Flexible hours

The direct selling industry grants women the freedom to choose where they work and when they work. Working hour flexibility in the sector, unlike a 9-5 corporate job, has bestowed women participating in the direct selling industry to work as they please. The industry lets women walk the fine balance between work and personal life.

Financial autonomy 

Financial autonomy for women in India has been missing for a long time. However, with greater participation of women in the workforce, they are now financially independent.

Direct selling has been encouraging the financial autonomy of women by either being part of the industry full-time or using it as an alternate source of income that enables and empowers them.

The power of womenpreneurship in the sector is also indicative of the high-income generation among women who were previously limited or restricted from participating in the workforce.

Networking opportunities

A woman’s greater social and emotional awareness allows her to have a superior understanding of the demands of the target segment better and meet it effectively. Social networking is a key driver of the direct selling industry, and it relies on the power of human interaction to drive its growth.

Upskilling and reskilling

As a dynamic business model, the constantly focuses on skilling through diverse training, direct selling helps women to improve their skills and build new skills if required. It turns them into strong entrepreneurs capable of making the right decisions at the right time.

This opportunity sharpens a woman’s leadership skills, interpersonal communication skills, helping her to work in a team and deliver desired results in a time-efficient manner.

Fair treatment

The direct selling sector does not differentiate between men and women. It is an equal-opportunity sector that does not discriminate based on experience, caste, colour, or creed. Be it a college-going student, a single mother, a salaried employee, or a woman in her 60s, women can horizontally enter the industry and make their mark.

Summing up

According to FICCI-KPMG, with adequate regulatory support, retail sales in direct selling in India could reach Rs 645 billion by 2025 and provide self-employment opportunities to over 18 million Indians by 2025. It also predicts that women could form over 60 percent of this network’s strength. Globally, in 2020, women formed 74 percent of the strength as per WFDSA.

This points at the direct selling sector being a shining opportunity for women that is emblematic of self-reliance and entrepreneurship at the grassroots level.

Women participating in the sector can self-learn to give wings to their hopes as they actively participate in the economy and become an inspiration to others. India is well on its way to catch up with the growth of developed countries by tapping into its latent female talent pool.

Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)