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'Mompreneurs' using social commerce to sell products

Natalie Heinrich is a mom and has a virtual franchise with Rodan and Fields Skincare. (KOKH)

More and more companies are ditching brick and mortar stores, opting instead to use YOU to sell their products.

Meet the new "mompreneurs", women who are starting their own businesses right from their kitchen tables. You've probably seen your friends posts on social media saying that they can work from anywhere, make their own hours and urging you to join their new business venture. Most of them are probably trying to get you to buy their products. Gone are the days of the door-to-door Avon ladies.

Natalie Heinrich is a mompreneur with Rodan and Fields Skincare. She says "it's a social commerce business. I own a virtual franchise with the Proactiv doctors and their new company." Rodan and Fields raked in $1 billion in 2016, all through more than 200,000 independent consultants, like Natalie.

"I said here's what I'm doing. I have great skin care products that will change your face and a business that will change your life and here's how it works and I moved on," Heinrich said.

After an initial buy-in of less than a thousand dollars, the mom of 3 year old twin boys now has a team of 2,500 consultants. And in just three years since signing on, Natalie says she and her husband have both retired from their traditional nine to five, making seven-times her old six figure salary.

Here's how it works. You make money off both your direct sales-and the sales of your team. Natalie, for example, gets 10 percent of the sales of her direct team members. Then, as they create their own teams, she gets five percent of those sales up to six generations.

Shannon Medley is one of Natalie's team members who discovered Rodan and Fields through a post on Facebook. She uses her Rodan and Fields income to supplement her income as a Physician's Assistant.

"I love both jobs that i do. I am so glad that I get to go to work as a PA because I love it, not because I have this pressure on me," Medley said.

But Travis Roach, an economics professor at the University of Central Oklahoma says this type of business is not for everyone.

"Maybe use these success stories as motivation, but understand that you're running your own business. You're the HR Department, you're the CEO," Roach said.

Roach says you get out what you put in. For example, In 2015 the average Rodan and Fields consultant made $790. But the highest ranking consultants, like Natalie Heinrich, made an average of $661,000.

But for successes like Shannon, she says it's easy for her to find the time, even with her other job, two boys, and a husband.

"When I’m sitting in the carpool line and have 10 minutes that I’m just sitting there, instead of scrolling through Facebook, I'm messaging on Facebook and getting paid for it" Heinrich sai.

So is it worth the risk for you? Experts say here are some things to consider:

  1. How much is the initial investment?
  2. Keep your expectations realistic. Not everyone is going to become an overnight millionaire
  3. Do you research on the payment structure? How much are people above you making off of you?
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