The Direct Selling Entrepreneur Program—an entrepreneurial-focused curriculum developed jointly by NACCE and DSEF—enables community colleges to reach the untapped opportunity of 16 million-plus direct selling professionals.

Learn how this 30-hour, 10-module, direct selling curriculum will help attract an entirely new type of student to your institutions. Add the power of direct selling to your college’s offerings!

IntroductionThe ProgramParticipantsInstructors
The more than 12 million jobs eliminated from the U.S. economy since December 2007 have changed the mindset of American workers forever.

Any resemblance to our parents’ work life—one marked with promises of long-term security in exchange for employee loyalty—is gone. A recent study by the Brookings Institute estimates that recreating what has been lost could require as many as 12 years. People need to get back to work, and they are exploring new options like never before.

Successful direct sellers have always known they are in charge of their own professional destiny. For decades, direct sellers have embraced a career path that can lead to a professional life marked by success and independence. At nearly 16 million strong, today’s ranks of direct selling professionals continue to grow as increasing numbers of individuals pursue entrepreneurialism.

The Direct Selling Entrepreneur Program breaks the world of direct selling wide open to participants. Through this program, individuals learn the skills required for success in direct selling. It gives them the confidence to believe in their ability to succeed as direct selling professionals, as well as the ability to put what they learned into action every day of their professional lives.

No matter one’s level of experience in direct selling, the Direct Selling Entrepreneur Program provides a new path forward for people seeking success as independent entrepreneurs selling the world’s most recognizable brands.

The Direct Selling Entrepreneur Program is a thirty-hour, non-credit course designed to provide direct sellers with the small business management and entrepreneurial skills that will allow them to build more successful direct selling businesses.

The objective of this program is to improve the business skills of direct sellers: while course participants enter thinking of themselves as direct sellers, they complete the course understanding that they are small business owners capable of incorporating solid entrepreneurial skills to maximize the full range of business opportunities offered by the world of direct selling.

Divided into 10 modules, the Direct Selling Entrepreneur Program introduces the fundamental components of small business management, including marketing, finance, legal issues, planning, and skills important to the success of a direct selling small business. In addition, course participants gain deep understanding of the wide variety of direct selling business strategies, including individual sales efforts, party plan and network marketing scenarios, online sales, and salesforce recruitment and training.

The course was developed through a partnership between the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE) and the Direct Selling Education Foundation (DSEF).

Program Format

The Direct Selling Entrepreneur Program is divided in to 10 modules that are content-specific. Because some concepts introduced in earlier modules are revisited, each module is sequential and not meant to be delivered independently.

In order to meet the learning styles of all participants, each module includes facilitated group discussions, individual and group activities, readings, and a networking break. Small group activities are completed during the session, and assignments are intended to prepare students for the next session’s Something to Share discussion activity, which serves as an ice-breaker at the beginning of each session.

Weekly classroom modules require three hours. The advantage of a single class per week is that participants have ample time between sessions to complete assignments and prepare for the upcoming Something to Share discussions.

Modified delivery options include a five-week timeframe during which two three-hour classes are held every week, as well as a one-day boot camp format.

Facilitation Tools

Supplemental tools for facilitators include discussion starters, handy hints, and resource spotlights. PowerPoint slides, as well as additional activities and resources, can be downloaded from the program’s website at

The Availability of the Course Curriculum

The curriculum will be available for classes beginning Fall 2012.

The Costs

NACCE and DSEF are offering the Direct Selling Entrepreneur Program to NACCE members at a special introductory price of $500 for commitments made in 2013. The program includes:

  • 1 Instructor Manual
  • 20 Participant Activity Books
  • Online Resources and Support Materials
  • Instructor Training Webinar

DSEF and the direct selling industry are committed to minimizing the barriers to entry for bringing this program to community colleges. To learn more, email

Participants in the Direct Selling Entrepreneur Program include a broad range of direct sellers, from those who are new to direct selling to those with years of direct sales experience.

What all participants have in common is a current affiliation with a direct selling company and an interest in learning the business best practices that will allow them to run a more profitable small business.


The Participant Activity Book is designed as a workbook, not a textbook. All activity worksheets, select text, and supplemental resources are included. In addition to the readings and activities included in the Instructor Manual described below, the Participant Activity Book includes the following elements:

  • Did You Know? Facts and supplemental information designed to enrich each module’s content.
  • Have You Read? An informal bibliography and suggested reading list.
  • Handy Hints Real-world tips provided by direct selling practitioners designed to offer helpful hints and industry best practices.
  • Inspiration Quotations from the famous and not-so-famous that reinforce learning.
  • Resource Spotlight Websites and other sources of beneficial materials are provided as additional information for the participant to research and review.
  • Notes A place for participants to capture notes, tips, and best practices during each session.
Instructors are chosen through the college’s regular selection process used to identify faculty. Instructors may be full-time faculty, adjuncts, or educators contracted to deliver this program. Many instructors have knowledge of the direct selling industry, and some have their own direct selling businesses.


The Instructor Manual includes a session-by-session guide for instructors organized by module, topic, and subtopic. The manual outlines the purpose of each module, and outlines the purpose and suggested discussion starters and time allotments. Tips and tools are also included to encourage an interactive, adult-learning environment.

Each module in the Instructor Manual includes the following elements and sections:

  • Learning Objectives
  • Topics Outline
  • Materials Needed
  • Session Outline
  • Opening/Something to Share
  • Facilitated Group Discussions
  • Individual and Group Activities
  • Real-Life Entrepreneur Examples
  • Directed Reading
  • This Is MY Business! Activity
  • Recap and Assignment