When you first start out in sales, commission is great. In fact, the idea of generating your own commission is what draws many people to the field in the first place.
While the rest of these sad sacks toil away for eight hours every day at the exact same rate, you are in control of your own destiny. If you really are better than everyone else — as you’ve always suspected — you can make double, or maybe even triple, what these managers in marketing or accounting bring in. And they’re 10 years older than you!
But, in time, after the spell wears off and you hit a steady take-home pay, the luster wanes. You realize that you’re still working for the man and hardly in control of even your free time — let alone your financial destiny.
If you’re in this boat, it may be time to hop out. You do know how to swim after all, right? Instead of continuing to work for a company, why not strike out on your own and take your sales career solo? You have the skill set, the experience, and maybe even a great contact list of potential leads. And if you follow these steps, you may be able to blaze a whole new path and start living the life you’ve always wanted.
1. Timing the Jump
While going solo may restore the passion you’ve been missing for years, it isn’t something to jump into lightly. You need to cross a few T’s and dot some I’s before you simply run into your boss’s office and yell, “I QUIT!”
There will never be a perfect time, so don’t look for that. But if money is especially tight this month or you have a wedding next week, now is not the time. That doesn’t mean you give up though. It just means you start planning now so that you are truly ready to make it happen in six months.
2. Picking a Path
Some people immediately know what direction to take. If you’ve been selling software with years of expertise, it makes complete sense to stick to this. You probably have a great network in the area. Then again, sales are sales. Don’t stick with something you hate just because you know it. Being a solopreneur is tough. You will need passion.
Some dreams are unrealistic at the moment, however. Maybe your dream is to sell Ferraris. Well, starting a self-owned dealership isn’t exactly something most people can do overnight by themselves without millions of dollars in capital. So you need to find the right balance between dream career and practicality.
3. Starting Out
Going solo can mean doing it all alone in a literal sense. Some people find success by simply buying something for a nickel, selling it for a dime. It can work. But key partners can be incredibly helpful. In the software sales example, maybe you know a small startup that needs to kickstart their sales. You can partner with them to start moving product — without becoming an employee — and get going in your own career. Perhaps this is just one of various opportunities you start pursuing for yourself in the tech world.
There are also fantastic networks like Amway that make going it on your own even easier. No, direct sales companies are not a scam. A quick search of “Amway pyramid scheme facts” will show you that all those myths have long been debunked. And by starting out with their already-established and easy-to-sell lines of products, you can get out of your dead-end job immediately knowing you have some security ahead. The best part is that this could become your full-time job for years to come or serve as just a stepping stone.
4. Grinding Every Day
You didn’t think this would be easy, right? Yes, you are pursuing your dream job. No, it shouldn’t ever feel like a nightmare. But it’s a ton of work. The key is understanding that all the hard work will pay off. You’re building something from scratch and you will eventually reap massive rewards, both financially and in the deep sense of fulfillment you will have.
But there’s a long road ahead to get there. The first year, and maybe the first several years, will be constant grinding. Make sure you are prepared for that from the start and see this as motivation — not a negative.
Living the Dream
Going solo is scary. This is true in any field and even more so in sales. There will be a part of your brain that feels like you’re staring over a cliff and screaming that you’re crazy for planning to jump. But if you are committed, dedicated, and have the perseverance and talent it takes, this really can change your life.
Just make sure to look before you leap. Remember to get the timing right, figure out what type of sales path makes the most sense for you, consider the benefits of key partnerships, and grind, grind, grind once you do set out on this next phase of your career.
The best things in life are never easy. But testing your limits and having a little bit of faith — in yourself — can turn this decision into the most rewarding choice you’ve ever made.
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