While health-conscious people want to maintain vigor and vitality, more than half of all Americans are overweight, according to recent government statistics. "Nearly every person who crosses your path is a potential customer for nutritional or weight-loss supplements," says Thomas Carvell, a Louisville, Tennessee, marketing executive with FreeLife. Companies like FreeLife, Shaklee, Melaleuca and BodyWise offer network marketing opportunities, some with start-up costs as low as $70. Products vary from vitamin supplements to children's vitamins. Commissions on sales vary from 30 to 70 percent.
Customers and new distributors are recruited through ads in newspapers and free shopper publications, home-party plans, and personal referrals. Network marketing companies also pay distributors commissions on sales made by the new distributors they recruit. A distributor receives training about products and sales strategies through print materials, videos and local meetings. Typically, a distributor takes orders, collects payment, and receives the products for personal delivery to the customer. Established distributors usually carry an inventory of the most popular products for immediate delivery.