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Work From Home? Yes, You Can! Sales Job Options

By Nancy Collamer

This article's focus in our continuing series about work-from-home career options is on sales jobs.

5 Benefits of Sales Jobs

I like discussing sales as an alternative to conventional 9-5 jobs for several reasons:

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1.  Sales Skills are Recession Resistant:

Regardless of the economic climate, people who can generate sales are "in-demand" employees. During tough times, strong salespeople keep companies alive, and during prosperous cycles, they help companies tap into new markets, expand their offerings and increase profit margins.

2.  Success is Quantifiable:

When it comes to evaluating the performance of salespeople, what you see is what you get; results matter far more than how, when or where you spend your time. If you meet or exceed your goals, you'll be appreciated, even if your "face time" quotient is not as high as your full-time counterparts.

3.  Strong Earning Potential:

Compensation for sales jobs is directly linked to performance. As a result, top salespeople with strong incentive plans can earn impressive income, irrespective of the number of hours they work. This is in sharp contrast to many other lifestyle-friendly career choices, when flexible scheduling (sadly) translates into lower earnings.

4.  Flexible Work Hours:

Salespeople often work independently, and thanks to technology, are generally able to conduct much of their work from a home office. That said, it is important to remember that not all sales activities can be completed from home and you'll need to factor in "on-the-road" time for face-to-face networking activities and client sales calls.

5.  Sales Skills Transfer Easily Between Industries:

While there are certain industries, such as pharmaceuticals or high-tech equipment sales, that require a strong industry background, most sales people are able to successfully transition between different industry sectors with little or no re-training required.

3 Types of Lifestyle Friendly Sales "Jobs" to Consider:

The opportunities to work in sales range from full-time corporate positions - to part-time local jobs - to 100 percent commission-only home-based telephone sales.

Insurance and financial service firms hire people to work as independent sales contractors, but those positions can require close to a full-time commitment. To learn more about this option, go to the US Department of Labor's 2014-15 Occupational Outlook Handbook for insurance sales jobs.

Compensation plans, benefits and access to training vary widely, so be sure to research your options carefully before starting work.

If you are determined to work from home in sales, here are three possibilities you might want to research further:

  • Sell for an Entrepreneur:

    It's common for entrepreneurs who excel at their core business, to get cold feet when it comes to selling their services. As a result, there is a growing world of opportunity for people who want to help entrepreneurs sell and market their services, either through cold calling or freelance/part-time sales assistance.

    To learn more: Go to Craigslist.com to view job listings for sales positions or network with local entrepreneurs at meetings hosted by your local Chamber of Commerce or other small business association.
  • Direct Sales Companies:

    Direct Sales companies (also commonly referred to as multi-level marketing or home party sales) generate billions of dollars in revenues from their home-based teams of sales consultants. For a modest investment of a few hundred dollars (or less) you can go into business as an independent rep selling products ranging from children's toys to cosmetics to cookware to jewelry. The company will provide you with the infrastructure you need to get started and be successful, but it will be up to you to build your own clientele and sales.

    To learn more about direct sales, check out the Direct Selling Association.
  • Telephone Sales:

    Companies hire people to prospect new customers through telephone sales. The best assignments are typically ones you source on your own, but there are some firms that hire people to do this through the Internet.

    To learn more: RatRaceRebellion.com

Bottom Line

Sales is not easy for everyone, but if you are interested and motivated, it can be a great way to make a living.


About the author...

Nancy Collamer, M.S.,is a career coach, speaker, and author of the new book Second-Act Careers: 50+ Ways to Profit from Your Passions During Semi-Retirement (Random House, 2013). In private practice since 1996, Nancy gained national prominence in her tenure as the Career Transitions columnist for Oxygen Media. She has spoken at venues ranging from Harvard Business School to the California Governors Conference on Women. Please connect with Nancy on Twitter @NancyCollamer and on her website at MyLifestyleCareer.com.


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Guide to Lifestyle-Friendly Careers:

Changing to a Lifestyle-Friendly Career

Home-Based Businesses:

Home-Based Jobs:


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Career Change Options:

Turning a Hobby into Income:

More Information:

Lifestyle-Friendly Careers Expert:


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