Frequently Answered Questions
Southwestern Company has a program designed specifically for college students to run their own business gaining entrepreneurial experiences that will directly apply to the “real world” and any future career path.
In brief: Students are independent contractors operating under the direct selling business model of purchasing products at wholesale and selling them at retail.
For over 140 years, thousands of students have participated, many of which have gone onto successful careers in politics, law, sales, medicine, education, business and entrepreneurialism just to name a few.
The amount of money you make over the summer depends directly on your results and how well you apply the training. The money does not come easy – the most successful Southwestern Company students work more than 12 hours a day, six days a week. Does it work? In 2008, the average North American first year student dealer working all summer made over $8,000.
The average profit for second year North American students for 2008 was over $14,500.
The average profit for third year North American students for 2008 was over $19,700.
The average profit for fourth year and beyond North American students was over $26,700.
There is no real catch, but The Southwestern Company Summer Internship Program is not for everyone. It is designed for students who desire growth and challenge. As with other forms of entrepreneurship, there is no shortage of hours required to be successful and no guaranteed set income. It’s not exactly glamorous, either, but prestige comes in the form of experience, personal growth and unparalleled financial opportunities.
Success is directly attributable to several things. How well you prepare during training, how hard you work independently during the day and by listening to others who have been successful.
Sales is a numbers game. One measure of success is how many families you demonstrate to each day. The most successful students make 30 or more presentations per day. As with anything in life, what you gain in this program is directly proportional to your efforts.
You do not have to have prior sales experience or be exceptionally outgoing. Those are skills and personality traits that can be developed. You just may be surprised what you can do when you put your mind to it.
If selected, you are an independent contractor, meaning you will be running your own business. You will be purchasing the Southwestern Company educational system at a wholesale price and selling it at retail. The difference between wholesale and retail minus business-related expenses is the net profit you make.
To make it even simpler, you do not have to purchase the products up-front, therefore there is no inventory to store. An account is opened with The Southwestern Company that allows you to sell to your customers using samples (free sample kit and supplies) and order the products you need to deliver at the end of the summer.
There is no charge for any of the training (over 80 hours) you would receive or any part of the sample kit (includes book samples, CD-ROM slicks, order book, other supplies and sample bag). You are advised to bring the necessary expenses for the trip to The Southwestern Company Sales School in Nashville, TN and your expenses for the week (food, gas, lodging).
This amount will vary from person to person depending on variable factors such as distance of travel, etc. The lodging is subsidized, where you only pay up to $100 and Southwestern Company covers the rest.
Generally, you would be working with a group of students from your university. Part of The Southwestern Company experience is creating new friendships with highly motivated people like you!
You don't have to. The summer begins with a five-day training seminar called "Sales School". This training is designed to instruct you on how to sell as well as how to run your own business. You are taught a standardized approach as well as organized sales presentations. The training is divided between a morning of classroom instruction and an afternoon of self practice with one-on-one coaching by students who have participated in The Southwestern Company Summer Internship Program in previous summers.
Although encouraged, you do not have to have a car to be successful in the Southwestern Company summer program. If your access to an automobile is limited, you will be working in an area where it may not be required - such as a more populated suburb where the homes are closer together.
As an independent contractor, you are responsible for setting up your business, which also includes your headquarters, or housing. However, The Southwestern Company does have host family coordinators and a database of previous Southwestern Company alumni and host families in which we work year-round to help locate suitable housing prior to the summer.
Students often live in private housing with several other students participating in the program – and often times from the same school. Over time, The Southwestern Company has found living in a private house to be more economical and very safe. In the event housing arrangements are not finalized or fall through before you would leave after training, The Southwestern Company will pay for the first week’s lodging at an extended stay hotel which should be enough time to locate a suitable place to stay.
The most successful students in The Southwestern Company Summer Internship Program start their day at 9:00 am and continue until 8:30 or 9:00 at night. This schedule continues Monday through Saturday. On Sundays, you would meet with other students selling in surrounding areas to exchange ideas and receive additional training. Most organizations take advantage of Sunday afternoons by having some fun in the new part of the country they are calling home for the summer.
While that is up to you, Southwestern Company student dealers typically do not work in inner cities, apartment complexes, military bases or any high-crime areas. You must be aware of your surroundings at all times and be sure to make wise decisions about what areas you venture into during the summer.
Typically, you would be working in a different area of the country from where you reside. Over the years, The Southwestern Company has found that students working away from home face fewer distractions and take their work more seriously. Additionally, future employers like the fact you relocated to run your own business, as it shows flexibility and versatility.