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Why is Quitting Your W2 Sales Job so Hard?

Many of you reading this post today currently have a W2 sales job and are just dabbling in the merchant services business.

Many of you reading this post today currently have a W2 sales job and are just dabbling in the merchant services business.  First of all, let me say that you are not alone.  There are literally hundreds of sales professionals reading this email who fit this description.  Today I want to share some of the concerns I have found to be similar in many sales professionals who have a W2 position but are thinking about selling merchant services full time.


Yesterday I had the opportunity to have lunch with a sales professional in the Pittsburgh area who has been thinking about jumping into this business full time for six months.  He has watched the videos; he understands the compensation; and he is confident that he can make this business work.  After talking with him for a couple hours, we set a launch date of October 5, 2015.  I am going to spend the first day out in the field with him.  We are both excited to see him get his business off the ground!  What held him back for six months?  Here are a few things holding him back which I believe are common among the sales people with whom I talk.


Qualifying Statement:  In this blog article today I am going to share some really good income numbers and specifics concerning your expectations of pay in this business.  I usually write articles that are broadly applicable to any sales person who wants to join our team.  Today’s post is specifically targeting sales professionals who are currently in W2 sales / management roles making $50,000+ per year.  In other words, I’m specifically writing for those who are proven sales professionals to whom companies are willing to pay $50,000 or more for your sales skills.  If this describes you, here are some reasons you probably haven’t jumped in yet.  And here are my thoughts on making a plan to move forward.


#1 – Big Salaries!  This one is so obvious that I hardly need to point it out.  Obviously, getting a consistent salary is important, especially when you have a family to support.  However, one thing I find interesting is the lack of security most of these sales jobs actually bring to the table.  Consider these thoughts:


  • Is there even a small chance that your company might restructure and cut costs by letting you go?  Most W2 sales people move around a lot!  So why are you nervous about trying a 1099 opportunity?  If you can sell as well for yourself as you do for someone else, you would almost always make more money as a 1099 contractor.  Many of you have a salary right now. But let me ask you something: how sure are you that this salary will be there for you in 24 to 36 months?


  • Is your industry dying?  The rep with whom I went out to lunch is a very successful sales person with a family to support.  He has a good paying sales job, but the industry he sells in has come under a lot of competition from online companies, many based in China.  He sees the writing on the wall. Even though his company is providing nicely for him now, the competition is getting a lot tougher.  Although the payment processing industry does have online competitors, they are all U.S. based and don’t have any big advantage over the independent rep in terms of cost structure.  Every processor has to pay the same interchange costs, so the difference just comes down to marketing.  Most small business owners prefer to deal with a vendor face-to-face unless there is a big savings or other benefit by going online.


  • Will the marketing department eliminate the sales department?  Many companies are looking to grow their marketing departments, especially online marketing, in an effort to eliminate the expense of paying top sales people in the field.  Ask yourself this question:  is my company including me and benefiting me from their marketing efforts or using their marketing to cut me out of the process?


#2 – Benefits.  This is another big issue and one that I certainly understand.  Many sales professionals have never had to provide their own benefits such as health insurance to their family.  Let me assure you that like most other things in life, providing benefits for your family isn’t especially complicated; you just have to pay for it.  I encourage you to do a few things to better understand this issue:


  • Visit https://www.highmarkbcbs.com/home/ and click on “shop” to find out how much your health insurance would cost.  When you have a job change, you can apply for insurance even if it isn’t the right time of year.


  • I believe most states start open enrollment for the state pool on November 1st.  One common misconception is that this is “Obamacare.” Therefore, some people with whom I’ve spoken don’t want to check out the state pool for political reasons.  “Obamacare” simply regulated all health insurance, regardless of whether you are in the private or state pool.  Your goal is simply to find the best price.


Also, many people don’t realize that there are no longer any such things as “pre-existing conditions” (as of 2015.)  Your insurance rate is based on your age and whether or not you smoke – that is all.  Therefore, if you feel you couldn’t afford coverage because of a medical issue of a family member, this no longer has any impact on your insurance rates.  Do a little digging and understand how much your insurance will be if you decide to jump out on your own.


  • You will have to do a little homework on other benefits that are important to you such as 401k, retirement programs, life insurance, etc. But again, these things are readily available to the 1099 contractor.  As you establish your business, get the help of your CPA to structure these as expenses to your business and find legitimate tax savings opportunities.  Then odds are that your costs of acquiring such services may even go down.


#3 – Complicated Legal / Business Structure.  If you are thinking of going on your own, my advice is to simply start out as a sole proprietor.  (Please keep in mind I am not a legal expert or a CPA.  You should seek the relevant professional advice in addition to what you read here.)  You may be thinking, “How do I become a sole proprietor?”  It is easy – you already are one!  When you fill out paperwork for a new processing relationship, just use the title “Sole Proprietor.”  And when asked for your tax ID number or EIN number, just use your social.  That is all you have to do!  At the end of the year, your tax preparer now will simply take the 1099 you get from the processor, and you will pay self-employment tax (roughly 15% of your income) plus income tax.  This means you will need to put aside a percentage of your income in a savings account and eventually set up quarterly tax payments.  But sole proprietorship is honestly very, very simple to set up.


Once your residuals reach $1,000 to $2,000 per month, I recommend that you spend the necessary $600 to $1,000 in legal fees to have a local attorney set up your entity.  I personally like using a Limited Liability Company taxed as a sub chapter S corporation. You would want to talk with your attorney about all that.


My purpose in this section is to point out, yet again, this one simple fact:  if you want to go on your own, you don’t need to understand all kinds of complicated business and legal terminology.  All you need to do is sell and make money; the rest can be taken care of for a reasonable price.  Rather than spending a week trying to file your own LLC, make four or five sales and use a portion of the commission to pay an attorney and CPA to set it up for you!


#4 – Lack of Communication with Family and Friends.  I could re-word this one as “Pride and Fear” or “Personal Identity Crisis.”  But it really just comes down to better communication.  You need to talk through exactly what this change would mean for your family, and you need to explain the opportunity to your friends.  To have everyone on board and encouraging you as you move forward helps, especially at the beginning.  Here are some conversations you need to have.


  • First, how much money do you need to make the first six months?  After six months, your residuals will be growing nicely. You will have a much easier time of making good money.  However, in the meantime, how much do you need to make?  Include the costs of benefits as discussed above and make sure to account for “net pay” after you deduct roughly 20% of your earnings for tax payments.  Once you have this monthly income number for months one through six, schedule a call with me and tell me what those numbers are.  I would be glad to do a conference call with you and your spouse to talk about how realistic your plans are and what you will have to do in order to achieve your earnings target.  Ask anyone who knows me; they will tell you I am a straight shooter.  If your target earnings are not realistic, I will tell you.  I never sugar coat when it comes to providing for your family.


  • From where will your accountability and structure now come? Who is going to keep the books?  This is a simple but necessary task.  Who will be doing your schedule every day?  If you are doing your own schedule, who is going to know if you decide to take a day off?  Think about the type of structure, technology, and accountability your current company provides which benefits you.  Figure out how to duplicate that in your new independent sales career.


  • What does failure mean for you and your family; is there any way to preemptively create a softer landing for yourself?  If you have good sales numbers and a great relationship with your current company, would they agree to give you a 90 day, unpaid leave of absence?  Be honest with them. Explain that this is something you always wanted to do but, of course, you don’t know for sure you will be successful and would like to try it out for 90 days.  You would be surprised to find that most company execs and managers have thought about going out on their own.  They might be the first to encourage you to take the leap and offer you a spot back if things don’t work out.  If you have a strong sales background, what is the job market like in your area?  How likely are you to be able to get another job if things don’t work out?


These are real issues, and they need to be discussed before you take the leap.  If you talk about them ahead of time, it will provide you with a much better support mechanism and a clear path forward.  You will be much less stressed if you know exactly what you need to do before you get started in order to provide for your family.


#5 – Not having an experienced coach / mentor who will work with you and show you the “tricks of the trade.”  I think fear of the unknown is a big issue with W2 reps who are thinking about joining our team.  In closing, let me explain two more things that I believe will reduce this fear.  I want to talk about how much money you can make, realistically.  Again, these numbers assume you are an experienced sales professional with existing business contacts and that you are being paid $50,000+ per year in total compensation already at your W2 job.  Secondly, I want to talk about the role I am willing to play in helping you get started.


  • How much can you make?  If you are willing to spend six hours per day in the field prospecting, five days per week, here are the number of sales I estimate you will make.  If you are in a hyper-competitive market like New York City or the surrounding areas or LA, etc., you should talk with me to get more precise numbers.


Month 1 = 6 sales

Month 2 = 10 sales

Month 3 = 15 sales

Month 4 = 20 sales

Month 5 = 20 sales

Month 6 = 15 sales

Month 7 = 12 sales

Month 8 through 12 = 12 sales


Let me summarize these numbers for you.  If you are an experienced sales professional working a W2 sales job making over $50,000 per year who is willing to put the same amount of hours into selling merchant services in your local market by walking into businesses cold turkey, you will build up to twenty sales per month or one sale for each full time day you spend working.  Once you get to about seventy accounts, you will probably start to slide back down towards twelve sales per month.  This is because of the time and energy you will spend following up with existing accounts.  Then you should be able to hold at twelve sales per month from your existing pipeline, new referrals, and maybe two hours of prospecting per day.


If you joined our team, we pay an average of $325 per sale in up-front compensation and about $40 per month in residuals per account.  This means your total income after calculating cancelations and growing residuals would look something like this:


Month 1 = $1,950

Month 2 = $3,250

Month 3 = $5,115

Month 4 = $7,135

Month 5 = $7,725

Month 6 = $6,884

Month 7 = $6,686

Month 8 = $7,259

Month 9 = $7,709

Month 10 = $8,154

Month 11 = $8,596

Month 12 = $9,035

Total First Year Income = $79,498


Click Here to download the spreadsheet I used to calculate these numbers.


  • I am personally here to help you.  At the time of this blog post, for the rest of 2015 and for all of 2016, I will make some commitments to you in order to help you complete your transition if you choose to make one.


Qualifications:  If you are currently selling W2, making over $50,000 per year and are interested in selling merchant services full time for Integrity Payment Systems (our processing partners) – meaning you will place 80% of your deals with IPS – I will do the following:


First, I would gladly jump on a 30 minute call with you and your spouse, partner, friend, family member, or anyone else who needs to better understand the program and what it would take for you to succeed.  Often there are key stake holders in the decision who you need to be on board, but you just don’t know enough about the business to answer their questions.  Let’s all jump on the phone together.  Or write down their questions, and I will give you the answers you need to better explain this business to them.


Second, after you sign up with IPS, I will have another call with you.  Then I can answer any questions you have and help you figure out what I call your “launch date” (the date when you are going to start walking into businesses full time.)


Third, if you are within a three hour drive of zip code 16601 (Altoona, PA) I will personally come out in the field with you for three or four hours on your launch date to help you get those first few prospects and show you the ropes.


If you are not within that geographic area, let me know your launch date.  I will block out three or four hours to simply be available on my personal cell.  You can call me after each stop with any questions or objections you ran into.  I usually block out this amount of time each day to go through my email inbox anyway, so I just keep my phone on and only accept calls from you (and, of course, my wife! LOL)


I will repeat this process with you multiple times if necessary.  Basically I’ll be as involved or “un-involved” as you like.  I will come out in the field with you once.  Then you can schedule as many calls with me as you like on my public calendar while you are getting started.   And/or you may block out some time when you will be prospecting so that the two of us can call or text back and forth as you get more comfortable with the pitch.


I want to start spending at least 50% of my personal time either on the phone with or out in the field with sales professionals like you!  I believe this is a great opportunity.  I don’t want you to miss out because you don’t feel like you have the right coach to get moving forward!


I hope this article has encouraged you to take a realistic look at taking the leap from your W2 sales job.  If you feel it is the right decision for you, schedule a call with me at http://www.ccsalespro.com/schedule.  Let’s talk about your options to move forward.


Have a great day!  I look forward to walking into some businesses with you soon!

James Shepherd

Read previous post:  Let Your Kids Hold You Accountable

Let Your Kids Hold You Accountable

Read next post:  Part 1:  How to Save Your Merchants Money

Part 1: How to Save Your Merchants Money

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