The direct selling industry has seen impressive growth worldwide in the last few years. The global recession has affected most of us, and people are increasingly looking for ways to make money from home, or to find opportunities to supplement their income.

Direct sales, network marketing and multi-level marketing opportunities are one way to achieve that most elusive of dreams: financial freedom.

Viewed by many as pyramid schemes (mainly due to unscrupulous companies that were illegal pyramid schemes, posing as MLM companies), the unarguable success of hundreds of legitimate direct selling and MLM companies across the world have restored faith in these dynamic business opportunities.

Many South Africans who have invested their time and energy in one of these companies have been enjoying the fruits of their labours for years. It’s true that direct selling companies come and go, so do your research before you sign up. Investigate various options before deciding which company you would like to join.

Ask yourself a couple of questions:

Do you like the products you’ll be selling?

  • Do you agree with the company’s ethos?
  • Have you been offered comprehensive training?
  • Do you have the time and energy to build the foundation of your business?
  • Are there any hidden costs involved?
  • Do you get a good feeling about the company representatives you’ve met so far?

Fortunately, South Africans have access to many solid direct sales opportunities. Here’s a selection of 7 direct selling companies to consider joining:

1. Amway

Amway boasts a large product line: everything from home and personal care products to cosmetics, jewellery, nutritional supplements, clothing and electronics. This MLM heavyweight also partners with various companies all over the world, across a multitude of industries. In instances, IBOs (independent business owners) can earn passive income from their phone and insurance bills, and those of their downlines.


With a smaller product range than Amway, GNLD has been around for ages and is still going strong. Amongst their products are nutritional and brain-boosting supplements, alternative herbal products, weight-loss supplements, skincare, personal care products and detergents for domestic use. GNLD also utilises the multi-level compensation system.


Developed by Veronica Devine and Paul Symes specifically to protect skin from the South African climate, Justine was founded in 1973. Proudly South African, Justine is a trusted name across the country, well-known for its quality cosmetics and, in particular, the iconic and top-selling Justine Tissue Oil. The company offers customers the opportunity to become consultants and, later, team leaders.

4. Herbalife Ltd.

Devoted to the promotion of better health, Herbalife International is a leading manufacturer and distributor of nutritional and sports supplements and personal care products that have been incredibly well-researched and developed by leading physicians and experts in nutrition. Herbalife is a very popular MLM business opportunity, with thousands of representatives identifiable by their car banners, emblazoned with the slogan “Lose weight now. Ask me How”.

5. AMC

AMC Cookware is a traditional direct selling company offering potential distributors a business opportunity that is affordable to join and simple to implement. AMC products carry a lifetime guarantee on all cookware units, which are made from surgical stainless steel. They are relatively expensive, and are marketed as an investment rather than just a run-of-the-mill set of cooking pots. Distributors are compensated mainly via a single-level marketing basis.

6. Honey

Boasting a range of affordable yet classy jewellery and fashion accessories, Honey is a young, dynamic and innovative direct selling company. The company offers consultants and team leaders a fun, supportive working environment and a solid product line. Potential distributors are offered three different opportunities, and can choose to either focus on pure sales or on building tiers, but not to the extent of MLM giants such as Amway.

7. Sportron

As with most direct selling companies marketing nutritional supplements and homecare products, Sportron invests a lot of time and money into research and development of their products. Sportron products can be bought via their website, through a consultant, or directly from a Sportron depot. The company employs the network marketing system.