ONE in four Gen Yers expect to be self-employed at some time in their working life, according to independent research which has found an increasing number of under-25s are selling door-to-door style products such as Avon, Amway and Tupperware.   A social researcher, Mark McCrindle of McCrindle Research, which studied Australian entrepreneurial activities with 1000 Gen Yers aged between 18 and 25, found a quarter of them wanted to run their own business, which is much higher than the national rate across all age groups, which is not even one in 20. ”The whole future of online social media goes arm in arm with direct selling which is why it is popular with a younger tech-savvy sales force,” he said. Direct selling companies report an increasingly younger sales force and are changing their product range accordingly: Avon has introduced a skincare range for the under 20s to target university and high school student sellers and Amway has introduced protein shakes and vitamin supplements to attract a younger clientele. Scoring the job at the big Fortune 500 company is not the status symbol of success like it was in their parents’ day.”

John Holloway, the executive director of the Direct Sellers Association of Australia, whose members sell $1.6 billion worth of products annually in Australia, says a 12.5 per cent sales rise in the past three years has been driven largely by online sales in the under 25 age group. ”The heroes in the Gen Y world are the guys who start a small business in the garage or the friends who start an eBay-like business online. Tracy Pratt, of Tupperware Australia & New Zealand, says recent research found the bulk of its sales force (49 per cent) were under 34, making Australian Tupperware sellers the youngest in the 100 countries in which its products are sold. Gen Yers use their online social networks to sell Amway products and organise Tupperware parties. ”It’s not the old Amway of door-to-door sales – that’s not the model I am using,” she said. ”It’s not daggy like it was in the past to sell products such as Amway and Avon,” Mr McCrindle said. ”Our brand seems to be speaking to a younger age group again who are using the internet as a gathering tool,” she said. But instead of leaving the catalogue in the letterbox, it’s more likely to be in your email inbox. Mylie Dantier, 25, a former IT account manager living in Balmain, gave up her office job and now sells about $35,000 to $40,000 a month of Amway products to her online network of between 500 and 600 people, who come to her for recurring sales of toothpaste, protein shakes, vitamins and dishwashing liquid – products they would go to the supermarket to buy. The generational group portrait which paints Gen Y as having an increased sense of entitlement has a flip side that seems to be leading to increased entrepreneurial activity in this age bracket.