By Karen Wetzel
WSET L3, NVWE, AWE, Career Coach
Is home-based wine sales right for you? As I hunt for jobs to help you enter the wine industry, this concept keeps popping up on my radar. It sounds like a great opportunity but is it the real deal? So, I decided to find out for myself.
Opportunities in home-based wine sales are plentiful and the job descriptions are tempting:
- Work from home with flexible hours!
- Earn money selling something you love!
What could be better? But I wanted to know more, so I interviewed a consultant with first-hand experience to find out if it’s too good to be true. This is what I learned:
It’s easy to get started:
- Wine credentials/knowledge not required and most companies provide some wine and sales training.
- No contracts or alcohol beverage license required.
- No inventory to carry—just collect orders, the company collects the money and does the shipping.
But there is more to it than that:
- Most have a unique point of difference (charities, wine styles, employee support, etc.)
- The cost of admission is a startup kit, which includes wine. Kits vary in size and price.
- You’ll get a personal webpage for a small fee so clients can order online. Cost varies by company.
- Sample allowances vary and you may be able to earn samples based on sales.
- Marketing materials are provided but sent electronically for you to print.
- No sales requirements or goals to keep your account active.
So, how exactly do you generate income? That depends on how hard and how smart you work the program. As you might imagine, the low-hanging fruit comes from friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers. Traditionally sales consultants rely on in-home wine tastings and parties similar to other products like Pampered Chef or Epicure. And, most companies offer a “wine club” to generate regular shipments to your customers—the gift of income that keeps on giving. Here are a few of the top home-based wine sales companies:
You can also cash in on virtual sales. Social media has made it easy to find new customers—for free! All you need is some creativity and a few tools and skills.
- Zoom makes it easy to run virtual wine tastings, birthday parties, corporate events, and other celebrations that can bring people (and clients) together from around the country.
- Next Door is a great app to help generate interest right in your own neighborhood.
- Howfinity is a good free social media learning tool.
And, I wasn’t surprised to find that you can also make money by recruiting others to become consultants. But what did surprise me, is that, in most cases, you don’t make money from a recruit unless you are generating your own sales too. In other words, you can’t, and won’t, survive on recruiting alone. This put my concern about a “pyramid scheme” to rest.
So, let’s hear directly from our consultant, Mel Eitel.
Mel has been with Traveling Vineyard for 4+ years. For her, it’s a profitable side-hustle on top of her full-time job in the medical field. She loves connecting with people through wine and is passionate about her products.
She engages with her clients through Instagram @ibringthewine and was twice named one of Traveling Vineyards Social Media Ambassadors!
When asked what she likes most about working for them, she cited the appreciation she’s shown, the sense of fulfillment she gets, and the quality of the wines. Sourced from some of the best wine regions in the world, she’s proud to represent these wines, and she says her clients feel they are superior to the mass-marketed wine they find on store shelves.
According to Mel, the company’s mission is to teach everyday wine drinkers how to enjoy wine and to help budding Wine Guides change their worlds with wine. Since Wine Guides set their own schedule, incomes vary but it’s quite possible to make real money, enough to impact your family’s budget. And, for full-timers, it’s not unusual to earn a comfortable living wage.
Mel also enjoys connecting with wine enthusiasts and loves the support and education she gets from the company, along with the potential for growth as her needs change.
In the end, I found being a home-based wine consultant is worth consideration for the right person, especially those who need flexibility. Just be sure you are self-motivated and driven to connect with wine enthusiasts wherever they live, even if where they live is online.
Stay tuned for the next issue in our Wine Industry Career Series where we will help you find the wine job you want.
For personal, one-on-one career coaching visit us at https://napavalleywineacademy.com/expert-coaching/ to schedule a session with one of our experienced mentors. To book a session with Karen Wetzel directly click here.
Karen Wetzel is an employee of the Napa Valley Wine Academy. The views expressed in this article are hers alone and may not reflect the views of the Napa Valley Wine Academy.