Are commission-based jobs dwindling?

This week on The Pete the Planner Radio Show on 93 WIBC I spoke with Tom Searcy of Hunt Big Sales about the state of commission based incomes. Is there a trend toward a steadier income? If so, why? Listen to the clip below courtesy of 93 WIBC for Tom’s insight.

Corporations are taking note that so many employees living on commission-based income are struggling to make ends meet. A recent NY Times article suggests that companies are switching over to a variable income, which is a base salary with bonuses. But before we get into solutions for this problem, why are we getting into this situation in the first place?

Commission based income has been around for decades, maybe even all of time, and it’s never been an issue until now. Tom’s theory is that the smaller, easier deals which are made often and quickly by salesmen, their bread and butter deals, are now being automated. Salesmen still have the opportunity to close the large deals which have a large payout but those can sometimes be years in the making. This leaves salesman stranded in the months in between big deals. Formerly, salesmen would rely on the smaller deals to keep food on the table, but with those gone salesmen are at an impasse. This also prevents newer salesmen from entering the field when there are only large deals to be made. There is no ‘getting your feet wet’; it’s just sink or swim. But despite those that do struggle there is a small percentage of salespeople that are thriving. They are closing big deals all the time and they have no issue living off of a commission, it is just hard to break into that percentage of success.

I understand what Tom is saying. The sales industry is changing and there is a problem with generating enough leads to keep a salesman busy, but I have another thought. What if instead of changing the way we pay people, we just help them manage their commission better? I have a plan to help those living off of a commission-based, variable, or fluctuating income, and it will all be laid out in my new book The Commissioner®.

The Commissioner® is based on an idea I had after the 167th person told me of their struggles to live a financially sound life on a commission-based income. It’s also based off of my idea that your income amount should not dictate your happiness level. You should be able to live the life you want and be financially well regardless of the actual amount you take home. There is this common misconception that if you get paid enough and are taken care of at work, then you will be happy at home because your finances are in order. That’s ass-backwards. That statement is shifting all the responsibility to the employer. Financial happiness comes with personal responsibility. So here is my twist on that sentiment: If you take care of your finances at home by budgeting, getting out of debt, and living off of a base salary then you will be financially well and a better employee.

Does this sound like you? Then you are The Commissioner®. You are in charge of everything in your financial life. You make the final decisions. When you accepted your commission-based or variable compensation plan, you took the first step in taking control of your financial life.

Sign up here to get more information on my new book The Commissioner®:


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