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Should I work on commission only basis?

Mandar should I work on commission only basis work arrangement? This is a question quite a few keen job searching candidates and new migrants struggling to get a foot hold in the job market have asked me.

Most commission only roles involve some sort of selling or marketing. It normally depends on your own individual situation. It also depends on the role and on your overall attitude. Depending on your circumstance, it can be useful or really frustrating. Lets consider some points:

There are both, pros and cons for commission only roles. Firstly, people who have been struggling or finding it tough to get full time jobs, for whatever reason, tend to consider commission only roles. So then they tend to be like a secondary or interim option without real commitment. However, everything has a cost!. When you are working on a commission only basis what do you get in return? Return? Yes, you are spending your time, money, energy things like maybe your, computer, car and petrol etc. These resources all have a value. It’s an opportunity cost. Are you learning a new trade or skill? Improving your English? Getting new social skills? If yes, then that's good otherwise, you are spending time which you could use to find a full time job.

It depends on the role itself and your own profile. Have you ever worked in a direct sales role before? Do you know what is involved? How much rejection can you handle? If you have previously been in banking role, working either here or overseas and have been out of the industry, but want an entry back in it, then yes, its something you can probably do. If you have worked as a high level specialist engineer before and now are trying to sell timeshare tourism packages, then chances are, you may struggle.

If you are not going to do sales, can you convince the people to contribute to a very noble charitable cause? Or charm them to taste the new chocolate bars? It can be a good short term solution. Little initial investment and training can give good returns for those with aptitude for sales job. One needs to have a liking and an aptitude for the sales field - some might have liking but no aptitude or have aptitude but no liking!

Yes the numbers sounds promising and you are also given an example of someone within the team who is already probably earning big bucks, especially in sales based roles. Don’t get me wrong, some people do commission only work for a living quite successfully, but they know their stuff. Those people who succeed in sales based, commission only roles, are people who have knowledge about the industry, its intrinsic working environment, the business secrets, product knowledge, hours involved and the gestation period really required to make a few sales.

Secondly, sometimes these commission only roles involve concept selling which depending on the concept is going to be tricky for you, as you need to understand, feel and explain the concept to your own client. If it sounds too good to be true, then normally it is. Sometimes there is also a minimum sales threshold you need to cross before making any commission. Check all such fine print clauses before investing into such a role.

Thirdly, for most job seekers doing commission only roles, it is normally going to be the common strategy for the short term or a temporary option in between jobs. It also works at times when you are awaiting that final visa stamping. But most of time, by nature of the role, its normally a stepping stone. One good suggestion I heard from a seasoned employer offering such roles to an interested candidate itself was why don’t you try it for a day or two and then decide?

However there is fourth point and a positive note to it and chances are you can also get into something that can offer you a daily fixed rate which is going to be slightly better. At times, these jobs are like gold, they simply help you survive to your next back-packing destination or pay the rent. But if you are a new migrant career person with a tertiary qualification you are not going to enjoy it.

If you are selling a product or service which is commonly required by most people such as electricity or mobile phone, then you have a wide market. But if you selling something which is a special one off use, once in a lifetime opportunity, of new kind of magnetic treatment therapy massage platform treatment costing large amounts of money, then I am not so sure. Multi level marketing schemes work only if each and every level, within such schemes performs with the same energy as you. Considering all the pros and cons – it really comes down to - is it going to be short term or long term prospect? Is this something you see yourself doing 3 to 5 years down the line? What about your long term financial goals? 

If you are really cut out go for it. But if you feel its not for you then try approaching a career coach and considering professional coaching to get a proper role or making a proper career change. You can get coaching to learn how to get job in your preferred field after migrating or opt for career change after training. As we are facing a global economic downturn, during the last few years with increased competition and slowing business, getting professional coaching help has become a necessity in order to develop your career, to get to the next level in your organization, or even just get ahead in life. Think about it.


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