MISSION, KS--(Marketwire - November 29, 2010) - (Family Features) The holiday season is filled with family, friends and celebration, but it can also overwhelm with financial stress. According to a SleepBetter.org survey, 44 percent of parents expressed worry about being able to afford the holidays last year. A natural solution for combating this stress is tackling it head on. Use the holiday break to reflect, set goals and develop a new routine that works better for you and your bank account.

One option to consider: Direct sales presents an opportunity that's easy to start, and those who are dedicated will be financially rewarded. Using this season to start up a business and promote it at holiday gatherings is a great way to cushion your budget, adding peace of mind for the year ahead.

It's easy to get started. Many direct sales companies ease the experience of starting your business. Costs should be modest, under $50, for example, for the purchase of a sales kit.

Be your own boss. With a flexible work schedule, you set your own hours and might even squeeze in appointments with clients at holiday gatherings. "Because I choose when and where to spend time on my business, I'm able to attend more holiday events," said Janelle Crane, a distributor for XanGo, LLC, (www.xango.com), a health and wellness leader in direct sales. "Better yet, these occasions allow me to leverage my social networks to help grow my business."

It's a growing industry. Direct sellers in the U.S. grew from 15.1 million in 2008 to 16.1 million in 2009, and experts predict this trend will continue. With over 200 companies listed with the Direct Selling Association, you're bound to find one that has products and a business model that fits you.

How do I choose a direct sales company?

  • Pick a company with a proven track record. Research and verify each company's credentials, including membership in the Direct Selling Association and having good standing with other industry groups.
  • Consider products you use in your personal life. Represent products with which you feel familiarity and enjoyment, and your natural enthusiasm will shine through.
  • Look for products with proven science. Word of mouth is a powerful tool, and direct sales provide time for distributors to talk about product benefits in detail. For example, distributors selling XanGo Juice -- a premium mangosteen beverage -- point to research validating health benefits experienced by consumers around the world. According to a study published in Nutrition Journal, XanGo Juice lowered levels of C-reactive protein (a key marker of inflammation), which may indicate a corresponding benefit to heart health.
  • Pay attention to the compensation model. Compensation should be based on the sale of products, not recruiting new members. Dr. Lawrence Chonko, a University of Texas at Arlington professor of business ethics, advises that, "Direct sales can be financially rewarding, but it requires hard work. A legitimate direct sales company will offer a fair compensation plan that rewards distributors at all levels." 

Learn more about getting started in direct sales at www.directselling411.com.