How to Survive a Commission-Based Job: Expert Insights


Career Consultant & Blog Writer

Published: October 11, 2023

Surviving in a commission-based job requires adaptability, resilience, and effective strategies. Embrace change as an opportunity for growth and adapt your sales strategies to meet new demands. Financial planning is essential to cope with unpredictable income fluctuations. Building strong customer relationships, becoming a product expert, and setting realistic, SMART goals are key components of success

In the world of employment, commission-based jobs stand out as both enticing and challenging. The prospect of earning limitless income can be alluring, but it often comes with a rollercoaster of uncertainty. In this article, we’ll explain the art of “how to survive a commission-based job” and equip you with invaluable insights and strategies to make your career in this field not just survivable but thriving.

Understanding Commission-Based Jobs

Commission-based jobs reward employees based on their performance. Your income is directly tied to the results you achieve, making it a high-risk, high-reward career choice.

Pros and Cons


  • Earning potential is unlimited.
  • You can be your boss, to some extent.
  • The thrill of meeting and exceeding targets.


  • Inconsistent income.
  • High-pressure environment.
  • No fixed working hours.

17 Best Tips To Survive A Commission-Based Job

How to Survive a Commission-Based Job

Surviving and thriving in a commission-based job can be challenging, as your income often depends on your ability to generate sales or revenue. Here are some tips to help you succeed in such a role:

Tips 1. Understand the Compensation Structure

Make sure you fully grasp how your commission structure works. Know the percentage you’ll earn for each sale or deal, as well as any bonuses or incentives offered by your company.

Tips 2. Set Realistic Financial Goals

Create a budget and set financial goals. Understanding your expenses and income needs will help you determine how much you need to earn to sustain your lifestyle.

Tips 3. Building a Strong Network

Networking is invaluable in commission-based jobs. Establishing connections within your industry can lead to referrals and potential clients.

Tips 4. Continuous Learning

Staying updated with industry trends and improving your skills is crucial for maintaining a competitive edge.

Tips 5. Time Management

How to Survive a Commission-Based Job

Importance of Time Management

In commission-based roles, time is money. Efficiently managing your time can significantly impact your earnings.

Tips for Effective Time Management

  • Prioritize tasks.
  • Set deadlines for yourself.
  • Minimize distractions.

Tips 6. Product Knowledge

Master the products or services you’re selling. The more you know about what you’re offering, the better you can address customer questions and concerns, ultimately increasing your sales.

Tips 7. Prospecting

Continually seek out new leads and potential clients. This includes cold calling, emailing, attending trade shows, and using online lead-generation techniques.

Tips 8. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

Use a CRM system to keep track of customer interactions, sales opportunities, and follow-ups. This will help you manage your pipeline effectively.

Tips 9. Hone Your Sales Skills

Invest in improving your sales skills. This could involve reading books, attending sales training, or seeking a mentor in your industry.

Tips 10. Stay Motivated

Commission-based jobs can be emotionally taxing when you face rejection. Keep a positive attitude and stay motivated. Visualize your goals and remind yourself of your successes.

Tips 11. Financial Discipline

Save a portion of your earnings for lean periods. Creating an emergency fund can help you weather income fluctuations.

Tips 12. Diversify Your Income Streams

If possible, explore ways to diversify your income. This might involve cross-selling related products or services or exploring other side gigs.

Tips 13. Track Your Performance

Monitor your sales and commissions regularly. Identify what’s working and what’s not, and adjust your strategies accordingly.

Tips 14. Negotiate Your Commission Structure

If you find that your current commission structure is not fair or competitive, consider negotiating with your employer for a better arrangement.

Tips 15. Continuous Learning

Stay up-to-date with industry trends and developments. Being well-informed will make you more valuable to clients and improve your sales acumen.

Tips 16. Seek Support from Peers

Connect with colleagues in similar roles. They can provide emotional support and share strategies that have worked for them.

Ensure that you follow all ethical and legal guidelines in your industry. Unethical or illegal practices can damage your reputation and career.

Remember, success in a commission-based job often takes time to build. It’s a performance-based field, and your efforts may not yield immediate results. Stay persistent, adapt to changing circumstances, and be patient with yourself as you work toward achieving your financial goals.

The Bottom Line Of How to Survive a Commission-Based Job

Surviving a commission-based job is no small feat, but with the right strategies, mindset, and perseverance, you can turn it into a thriving career. Keep these insights in mind as you navigate the ups and downs of this challenging but rewarding path. Remember, success often lies on the other side of your comfort zone.