by Ken Benjamin

Let me state here and now that if you are not a disciplined person — and by that I mean in both your work and financial habits — you should stop now and consider some other career direction. If you have financial discipline — I’m not talking about resources, I’m talking about discipline — then the written analysis you are about to make will be another of the more important and necessary basic business decisions as a potential new selfemployed business person.

This is the stage on your informal check list where if you’re married, you must make sure there is complete harmony between you and your family, because I’m talking about a potentially tough 36-month period of time. It is going to result in monetary stress, emotional stress and sometimes time sacrifices you perhaps have not contemplated. You may or may not be willing to accept the sacrifices or, if you will, your partner may not — test this now and not later.

It is hard for me not to dwell on the money discipline aspect, but the whole question of denial or not understanding this start-up time period is a dangerous mine field in your path. Once you’re in the middle of it, if you are not completely clear on the path to take financially, it will end up defeating you.

Let’s now consider the monetary requirements for becoming a successful manufacturers’ representative. First, are you in the 25, 35, or 50+ age bracket? It should become very obvious that each of these age groups will require a different approach and a different financial check list.

My advice to the young man or woman recently out of school would be to join an established manufacturers’ representative sales agency as an associate and gain some experience in this type of sales profession. This same advice would be true if you are currently a buyer, senior buyer or a purchasing agent or in any other business capacity and are considering this type of sales.

Let’s assume for the moment you are in your 30s with some sales experience or perhaps in your 50s with a great deal of sales experience as a direct salesperson. This may be the time to strike out on your own, but remember there will be no one setting your daily agenda except yourself. There will be no one to pull you out of bed in the morning, and there will be no one setting your work pace except you and the internal discipline you possess.

This is the beginning of that quality of life change you are seeking!

Next month, read about analyzing your financial strength.

This article is excerpted from Make Your Future Happen, Ken Benjamin’s definitive guide to starting an agency.

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