This article's focus in our continuing series about work-from-home career options is on sales jobs.
I like discussing sales as an alternative to conventional 9-5 jobs for several reasons:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Sales is not easy for everyone, but if you are interested and motivated, it can be a great way to make a living.
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.