Is Taking a Commission-Only Job Right for Me?

Is Taking a Commission-Only Job Right for Me?

By: Daniel Steingold | September 01, 2016

Most jobs pay employees through either a base salary or hourly wage, with the potential for extra income based on superior firm, team, or individual performance.

Another option that many take is working a commission-only job. Commission-only jobs offer the allure of being able to make as much as you want, but also carry the risk of you not making any money.

In other words, just because commission-only jobs exist doesn’t mean they’re necessarily right for you.

This post will discuss the pros and cons of commission-only jobs, while also highlighting how to determine whether they personally fit you.

Pros of a Commission-Only Job

  • You have the potential to make a nearly limitless income, depending upon your skill, market, and motivation.
  • Your schedule is generally flexible, which allows you to work the hours and days that you want.

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  • You are largely independent, and can often try your own techniques and tactics on the job.
  • If you perform decently to well, you can make well more than you would at another job that you’d be qualified for based on education and experience.
  • As long as you perform, you are unlikely to be questioned by your boss.

Cons of a Commission-Only Job

  • If you don’t produce, you won’t make any money. This is what differentiates pure commission jobs from jobs that pay part commission or bonuses.
  • Commission-only jobs can be particularly tough for those who aren’t go-getters or don’t have passion for selling. Some have described it as being “soul sucking” or “soul destroying.”
  • Commission-only jobs don’t always provide benefits. Also, you are likely to be hired as an independent contractor, as opposed to being an actual employee.
  • You can’t coast on a commission-only job. You need to constantly be producing.
  • Your performance is often subject to outside factors, such as market conditions. Some times of the year will also be slower than others.
  • Your ability to take out loans might be hampered during the initial period of starting a commission-only job, as your employment status is seen to be a risk.

How to Tell if a Commission-Only Job is Right for You

Some basically cited skills that you will need to succeed in sales include above average networking and interpersonal skills, a strong desire to win at everything, a passion for helping others, and the ability to work without substantial supervision.

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Becoming successful in sales, however, goes beyond having these skills and qualities. Many career experts would advise that you look at your motivations for entering a sales job in the first place.

Art Sobczak, a coach in cold calling and telemarketing, explains “If someone were to ask me, ‘Is a commission-based job right for me?’ I would first ask them if they’re hungry for knowledge, if they want to control their own salary, and if they have an insatiable desire to succeed.”

In order to succeed in sales, you need to be constantly seeking to push your boundaries. You should never be satisfied with your performance. As Sobczak explains, “The best salespeople say ‘I can do more. I can do better,’ and they make that extra call, they ask that extra question, and they reach for the stars.”

Self-discipline is essential for a salesperson, particularly for those who are completely dependent upon commission. Self-improvement is also a huge priority for those on commission, as knowing all that you can about your clients, product, and yourself can help you immensely with making the sale.

Although you will usually have to reach out to clients, being able to listen to your clients is one of the biggest requirements for being a successful salesman. When meeting with a client, you should only speak 20 percent of the time, leaving the other 80 percent to hear their concerns.

This dispels one of the biggest misconceptions about sales: that being very talkative and gregarious is a prerequisite. In fact, being overly outspoken can play against you in a commission-only sales job.

Lastly, you need to be passionate about the product or service you are selling, or you will be unlikely to make many sales. If you try to sell something that you don’t believe in, it’ll show. In fact, you may even look desperate to some clients, which is never a formula for success.

It’s also important to note that starting a job in sales necessitates having a buffer of money in the bank, particularly because you may have a rocky start or a slow month.

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As with many professions, timing is of the essence when trying to start a job in sales.

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