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The following article was taken from my upcoming book, titled What They Won’t Teach You. It has been repurposed for this article on Thrive Global. Enjoy!
Sales. Many would not consider this a side hustle, but why the hell not? Let me make my case here. In all honesty, I think this side hustle, sales, is the most important one to have under your belt. Why? Because I believe when starting out, or doing something on the side, you should work to learn, not to earn. I learned this from Robert Kiyosaki in his book, Rich Dad Poor Dad, and it has changed my life ever since. This is the mindset that you need to shift to when job hunting or looking for a side gig. Evaluate your options based on what you will learn rather than earn.
So, how exactly has this helped me personally? I have had many part time jobs and side gigs, I have a lot of work experience for a 19-year-old. When I first started working, it was at my family company, Save Around, which is a local business that serves the entire country with their coupon books. Great company, great people, and so on, but my role was something that anyone could do. I wasn’t learning what I wanted to about the business or about the everyday operations of those who were running it, I was simply a cog in the machine. That is totally fine, but I personally was not benefiting from it and after some time, I left. I took a break from working a real job as I tried a few ventures of my own.
I still needed more experience, and to develop new skill sets, the ones that I was lacking. I wasn’t generating any income, and things with my own ventures got tougher and tougher. I wasn’t being proactive in my search for the next opportunity, and I missed out on a key sign. Luckily for me, this sign presented itself to me another time, and this time, I took action.
Here is a little background to that story. So, the company I work at now is called Bandalier. I have never heard of it and neither had anyone I talked to about it. At a local business summit event, I was pitching one of my companies at the pitch competition in front of investors. As I was preparing, the local businesses were all in the building, making connections with the locals interested in business like myself. Someone named Matt gave me this random business card, telling me that he was hiring new talent. I didn’t think much of it, because I was mainly focused on preparing for my big pitch that day.
Then, a few weeks later, I was at another local business event for high school students, pitching the same business plan as I was from a few weeks prior. Ironically, one of the judges for the event was Matt from Bandalier. I briefly remember who he was, still not too sure of what exactly his company did. The pitch event went great, and I was voted as the winner for my section. After the awards, there was a speaker to tell us about himself and his entrepreneurial journey. His name was Jeremy, and I related heavily to the things he covered in his speech. Funny enough, he was the CEO of Bandalier, and he was there with Matt who was the manager of the company.
After the speech, I was approached by him and Matt, asking if I was interested in a job in the sales field. Now I knew what Bandalier was after Jeremey’s presentation, and I was intrigued. This was the opportunity that I needed. I knew that I needed a gig where I could learn a new skill set and challenge myself to get uncomfortable and so on. I did some more research and sent in my application a day later. After some interviews, I was notified that they’d like to hire me to be a part time Associate Sales Rep. I knew that I had to take the job, even though I didn’t fully want to. So I took the job.
This was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Prior to working there, I had zero experience with sales. That is not acceptable for someone who was launching their own companies and products. I was always shy speaking on the phone, and hated talking to strangers. This job forced me to be uncomfortable, which is exactly what you should be searching for. The environment is also great because it is a startup. When I joined the company, they were just celebrating their one-year anniversary. This is where I needed to be, in a real startup scene. The pay was great too, it was minimum wage with commissions, even for part time reps! But again, that didn’t matter, because I was there to grow and to learn, not to earn. After close to a year working with the team at Bandalier, I have experienced a complete change in my own identity. It has been revealed to me that sales is everything. You will always be selling, whether it be a product, a your time, or even yourself. Everything is your life is a sale, or a transaction, and before working at Bandelier, I never realized this.
If you want to be successful, then you will need to be sharp with your sales skill set. It is the most important skill you can have. Sales is everything. Not just simply getting on the phone and making calls, but in every way and every part of the process. There is so much to learn! My best advice to you is to learn through experience. Sales is tough, and you will struggle when you first start out. Even Grant Cardone, my biggest sales mentor, hated and sucked at sales when he first started and now he is the best in the world. Just go out there and put yourself in those uncomfortable situations, as this is the key to building the foundation for your future goals that are much much bigger.
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