People who work on commission only truly earn their money. They are paid based on what they sell, and the proof is always in the pudding. Of course, even for the best salespeople, commissions can be wildly unpredictable, even despite your best efforts. The way to stay one step ahead of the commission game is to plan your financial priorities.

Here are a few tips to do just that:

Get real
Figure out how many commissions you will need to earn in order to cover your expenses (all of your fixed expenses, like mortgage, utilities, car payments and credit card bills). Always try to over-estimate, just to be sure you’re covered. For instance, your electricity bill may be slightly higher in the summer time. Figure for emergencies too. Cars break down, kids and pets get sick. If the commissions you’re earning are not covering enough of your basic expenses, you may need to reconsider or renegotiate your commission plan.

Cover all your bases
During the periods when you’re really rocking the commissions, think of the times when they may not be rolling in as strongly, and stash a percentage of your commissions accordingly. An emergency savings account should cover at least a few months of bills and other obligations, while you continue to work your clients and prospects for the next winning cycle.

Evaluate your performance
You may have to figure out why your commissions are not rolling in the way they should. Perhaps you’ll need some more sales training or evaluation. You may even simply need to tap some new source for more leads. You may have to reevaluate how you sell and how you interact with customers. Usually, if a company is not paying you a regular salary, they may not be as invested in improving your sales performance. If so, you will have to get proactive about improvement. This is not necessarily a bad thing. An honest, clear-eyed evaluation of your skills may make way for a more effective and rewarding sales career for you.

Consider part-time work/additional income
The best-case scenario is to focus 100 percent on your commission-based job, but if a need for income is reaching emergency status, you may need to consider a part-time job or a side business until your commission-based career begins to build momentum.

Check your desperation
No matter how badly you want to meet your monthly sales quota or household budget, don’t let desperation turn you into a pushy, aggressive salesperson. A hard sell, for most people, is a deal breaker, and you may find yourself back to start. Show your customers that you genuinely care about them and their best interests.

Bridge the gap
Your commissions may be sporadic, but bills are due every 30 days. Consider an advance on your commission before closing and eliminate the wait. Real estate factoring companies like eCommission let you sell a portion of a pending commission for a fee. Funds are then advanced to you before closing with repayment occurring automatically at the closing. Note that this is not a loan. It’s endorsed by top real estate brokerages nationwide, and has funded nearly $1 billion in commissions so far. Click here to find out more about how it works.


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