Lately, I've received quite a few emails and phone calls from people asking me if I can help them find a phone sales job they can work anywhere in the world. I spoke with a woman last week who, apparently, has a lot of experience in inside sales, is used to working on a short-term contract basis, and wanted to know if I had any contacts with companies who could use her services. She wants to work from Paris.
Just today, my assistant forwarded me an email from a guy who asked this same question: did I know of any companies who were looking for remote inside sales reps. More and more people are wanting the flexibility to work from wherever, and, presumably, whenever they want, and why not? A couple of years ago, my wife and I took a condo on Waikiki Beach, HI, for two months. I worked in the mornings and by noon I was at the beach. It was pretty sweet.
So, is it possible to earn a living selling over the phone while enjoying the flexibility of working from where ever you want to? And, perhaps as importantly, is it possible to work less than 40 hours a week (or on a schedule that works for you) and still make enough money to enjoy the lifestyle you want?
I'd say, yes … but.
In order to pull this off the way you might want it, you have to get really, really good at selling over the phone first. And you need to have the self-discipline to maintain an independent, structured work day. Let's break this down quickly:
First, there are only a few really good, top producers in any company. These reps can literally write their own ticket because their employers value what they produce so much. If they want to do what they do from home or from Paris, with today's technology, most of them can. Moreover, they usually don't have to look for an industry or company to work for, because they are already successful doing what they do.
Unfortunately, not all sales reps are that good (or haven't put in the time to get that good yet). For the majority of sales reps like these, they could still conceivably work remotely, but it will be closely controlled, and they will make just an hourly wage (if they can find it). Not quite the freedom to explore Paris that we'd all imagine …
The solution is to first dedicate yourself to becoming the one of the best producers in your company or industry. If you can't do that, then your options will be limited. But once you've attained that level, then you'll have your pick of industries to work in.
Here's a big suggestion for you: Pick an industry that has recurring income. Three industries I can think of are debt collection, credit card processing, and financial services. In these (and other) industries, once you develop a book of business, you spend a lot of your time maintaining that book (and enjoying the flow of consistent income) and working referrals.
Next, you need to be self-motivated and very disciplined. Only you can determine if you can do that. I've found that very few people can (mostly the 80% of sales reps who are selling to pay their bills), but that the top 20% producers can.
Again, this is something you'll need to answer for yourself. If you can develop the structure and maintain the discipline it takes to work from a home office, then go for it-after you've become a top producer.
So, can you work remotely? Absolutely! You'll just have to pay your dues first by following the advice above. After that, well, enjoy Paris (or surfing Waikiki)!