Direct Selling is a marketing method exhibiting substantial growth is sales revenues, and is particularly noteworthy because it involves so many salesperson participants. Defined as “face-to-face selling away from a fixed retail location” (Peterson and Wotruba 1996, p. 2), direct selling organizations in the U.S. grew in sales volume from $16.5 billion in 1994 to $25.6 billion in 2000 according to the trade association representing U.S. direct selling organizations (Direct Selling Association US 2001). That same source reported that the number of salespeople participating in this activity in the U.S. grew from 6.3 million in 1994 to 11.0 million in 2000. Worldwide sales by direct selling organizations reached nearly $84 billion from the efforts of over 40 million salespeople in 49 countries (World Federation of Direct Selling Associations 2001). Direct salespeople are usually independent contractors, not company employees, and opportunities with direct selling companies are open to persons from all backgrounds, experience levels, and personal characteristics. Clearly, direct selling is a business activity of significant importance both in financial and human terms.

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