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Direct Selling offers self employment options for millennials

Direct Selling offers self employment options for millennials

Tanzania has been recognised as one of the countries with the quickest uptake of digital transformation in East Africa.

According to recent data, internet penetration in Tanzania is increasing at a tremendous rate and between 2013 and 2020, internet use has more than doubled reaching 49 percent in 2020.

During that same year, 89 percent of the Tanzanian population also adopted use of cell phones and the related internet services.

“This great uptake of the global digital transformation places Tanzanian youth at an advantage of self employment,” commented Biram Fall, Regional General Manager of QNET in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Speaking in a press release issued at the start of the week, the director said Tanzanian youth, and especially millennials can now self employ through digital platforms.

“Born between 1981 and 1996, most millennials cannot remember a time before the internet, smartphones, and social media,” he said.

This group are the first digital natives, growing up fluent in technology, constantly connected to an ever-shrinking world, and with instant access to more information than any previous generation, he went on to say.

Citing the self employment potential of digital transformation, Fall said; “Today, millennials and their younger counterparts, Gen Z, live lifestyles that revolve around their affinity for connectivity, cross-border social circles, and technological skills that have revolutionised how we act, communicate, and work.”

With direct selling, millennials can leverage their technological prowess, strong connection to the community, and powerful sense of social responsibility to generate a sustainable source of income outside of less flexible, traditional career paths.

According to recent studies, the way millenials interact and perceive the world is vastly different compared to previous generations. When it comes to the perception of the workplace, millennials do not see their jobs as something they do for a paycheck.

Compared to previous generations, millennials do not expect to hold a stable job over their lifetime, instead, they look for what feels worthwhile and can complement their values and lifestyle choices.

“This diminishing interest in career stability in favour of personal development and work flexibility has led to the boom of many independent start-ups within the gig economy,” he detailed.

The direct selling industry, which is perhaps the oldest type of gig business that relies on a distributed workforce has reinvented itself for the modern world with rapid digitalisation, social media marketing, and interesting products that appeal to the conscious consumer.

Giving Tanzanian youth as an example, Fall said, “…it is not surprising that the direct selling industry
has seen a major influx of millennials over the last few years who look to this business as the perfect
side hustle that complements their lifestyle.”

Direct selling can act as a supplementary source of income for those who are pursuing their passion, or even a full-time career for the entrepreneurial-minded, depending on what the person is looking for, he said.

Direct selling representatives, or distributors, sell goods directly to consumers outside traditional stores, as opposed to retailers purchasing products from manufacturers to mark up and sell on to end consumers.
Also, direct selling leverages millennials' social media and technological prowess.

The social networks of previous generations were limited by geography, typically the people they could meet in
person, such as family, friends, neighbours, and workplace colleagues.

The first generation of digital natives have built vast online networks that transcend geographic boundaries. According to Goldman Sachs' research, millennials top the chart of highest social media, text messaging, and instant messaging use.

Speaking on the same agenda, QNET CEO Malou Caluza, referenced research conducted by QNET in collaboration with Marmara University in Turkey to explain significance of the direct selling business model.

"Many millennials find this business model appealing because there is no start-up cost, they do not have to be tied to a location, they have control over how they want to market the products, especially through social media, and they can work flexible hours," she said.

Companies like QNET have tapped into this trend by offering a 100% digital user experience through its e-commerce portal and mobile app.

QNET also offers a wide range of health, wellness and lifestyle products and services.

Through direct selling, millennial entrepreneurs can leverage their natural ability to build andconnect with online communities to develop a successful business and earn an income. Studies show that 62% of millennials are more likely to become loyal customers if a business engages them on social media.

While millennials grew up in a technological golden age, they have faced more significant financial challenges than previous generations. Stagnant wages, increased debt, higher living expenses, and multiple global financial crises have conspired to cause many millennials to fall short of the economic achievements attained by their parents' generation.

Today's job market is also vastly different, intense competition caused by rapid globalisation and the
rise of remote work opportunities has led to millennials seeking non-traditional careers to earn a living wage.

Though many millennials aspire to become entrepreneurs, the investments and risks associated with starting a business can be daunting for a generation that has struggled financially.

However, according to the Direct Selling Association, start-up costs are a few hundred dollars or less for most
direct selling companies making it a plausible option for millenials.

“It involves little or no overhead expenses such as retail space, warehousing, or shipping. This provides millennial entrepreneurs with an easy, low-cost way to launch their own businesses,” the CEO summed up.

In line with the Tanzanian government urge for youth to self employ, surveys show that millennials view entrepreneurship as a job and a lifestyle that enables them to turn a passion such as art, personal health, or fashion into an income-generating business.

They also value a healthy work-life balance and seek flexible schedules that allow time to explore various interests such as travel or volunteering making direct selling a viable option for self employment.

Distributors for direct selling companies set their own schedules. They are free to devote as much or as little time to their direct selling business as they want or need.

It can be a full-time job or a "side hustle" that provides supplemental income. Still, the inherent flexibility of direct selling allows the entrepreneur to develop the work-life balance they desire.

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Author: DAILY NEWS Reporter

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