The deposit(s) hit your bank account and a feeling of surreal reality hits you. You stare at the number and think to yourself, “holy shit.. I did it.” And for that brief moment, you’ve reached a level of success you knew was possible. You feel on top of the world.
And then.. it’s gone.
$10,000 in cold hard commissions.
Well, more like $11,156.50 to be specific.
Full disclosure: please understand that I’m not writing this to boast my chest about the amount of money I’ve made these past 30-days knocking on strangers doors. I’m sharing my experience and results to give you an insight as to what it feels like to hit the “mythical” $10,000/mo mark that most entrepreneurs and sales reps initially aspire to.
You will see no flashy cars, flashy jewelry, or exotic vacations (yet, I love to travel and have experiences.. I’ll touch on this later) here. Instead, what you will get I hope, is what it feels like to earn $10,000 in 30-days. And trust me when I say that the feeling is not what you think.
But before I get into the feels of it all, here’s how this entire door-to-door sales journey came to be..
Happy Valley, Oregon
I’d been living in a suburb of Portland, Oregon for 8 months called Happy Valley. Although with all of the overcast and rainy days I couldn’t see how the place got it’s name “Happy” Valley. My friend who I had met there let me know that some mutual friends of ours down in San Jose, California were making moves in the solar industry. Apparently they had been getting some phenomenal financial results.
He told me he was going to make a trip to California and visit our friends to see what all the hype was about. Upon his return, he told stories of tens of thousands of dollars being made. One in which case was an 18-year old kid who made $17,000 in one month. They were all living in the nicest penthouses in the downtown area. One of them was paying upwards of $6,000/mo for rent and the other around $9,000/mo.
I know.. ridiculous…
Now the money sounds great but I’m not necessarily attracted to just money. If I’m going to be working with a group of people, then I want to make sure that the culture I’m surrounding myself with is A1. So I asked him about the culture and he said the people were great. That everyone was balling out and that he was going to make the move out to California by the end of the month.
Now normally I’d question every move I made but at the time I hadn’t been getting along with one of my roommates. And since this was my only viable option and opportunity at the time, I did what any smart entrepreneur would do..
I went to Las Vegas and partied for 3-days straight to think about it.
A FaceTime chat later with our mutual friend and manager of the San Jose office, I committed and decided that I was moving back to California as soon as I was done being hungover in Vegas. (I’m originally from Fresno. Google it).
If It Makes You Nervous, Do It
Do you know how long it takes to drive from Happy Valley, Oregon to San Jose, California non-stop? 11 hours. If you stop to use the restroom, eat, and get gas like a normal human being, then it’s around 12-13 hours.
As the hours passed and the landscapes changed, I can remember my palms getting clammy as I got closer and closer to the Bay Area.
Self-doubt kicked in..
“Am I really going to go knock on strangers doors?”
“What the fuck are you doing? You’re better than this.”
“How embarrassing, you’re going to be a door-to-door salesman.”
You really begin to doubt yourself when you’re doing something new. Especially when it’s knocking on doors for a living. It makes sense now why adults label kids as naive and risky. Must be a projection of their own fears, limitations, and self-doubt. If anything being naive in a lot of new situations can actually be a great thing. For me, it was a mixture of risk and naivety.
What’s funny is that I’d always considered myself to be a great salesman. I’d say things like, “I could sell holy water to Jesus” or “I could sell ice to an Eskimo” anytime I was around my peers. Yet here I was scared to go knock on strangers doors and put my skills where my mouth was.
It was in that moment fear that I felt compelled to move forward into the unknown. Fuck it. What did I have to loser? I had always told myself I wanted to gain new skills, so what better way than to jump in head first and go all in? And that’s how I developed my new personal rule: if it makes you nervous, do it. The person you want to become is on the other side of fear. It was go time.
Rough Starts and Rhino Skin
After getting on-boarded and shadowing my managers on the doors, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. The two rules we had and still have today are simple:
- Work the hours
- Have a positive attitude
That’s literally all it took. At first you suck but with anything you get better with practice, adjustment, repetition and time. My first month and a half I signed 17 deals. I may have had the top signed deals in the office at one point. For a rookie in the office that was HUGE. On paper I should have made $22,000 that month but all 17 deals canceled.
Total commissions: $0.
That was by far the worst feeling ever. There you are on the brink of earning $22,000 and all of your deals cancel. You want to maintain a positive attitude but how can you? 17 customers that said yes have now changed their mind and said phrases you never want to hear:
“We need to think about it.”
“I think I made my decision to fast.”
“I want to do more research.”
“My spouse thinks it’s a bad idea.”
You learn to develop rhino skin fairly quickly when facing adversity on the daily. I became resilient and heard no’s as not right now’s and to not take things personal on the doors. I’ve had people yell at me, cuss at me, threatened to shoot me, and in one case actually had a gun almost pulled on me. Thankfully he never pulled it from his waist band.
Once you realize that everyone has their own shit going on, you begin to empathize with people and genuinely care about how they’re doing. Most people just want to be understood and heard. It’s almost as if I’m a door-to-door therapist. Hearing how people’s days have been going, understanding, asking questions, listening, and then seeing if what we have to offer makes sense for them.
So all of the yelling and swearing that’s been projected on me is just that: a projection of how the other person is feeling inside about something going on in their life. It isn’t even me. Once I learned to disassociate from other people’s negative energy and emotions, the daily task became a lot easier.
The $10,000 Feeling (It’s Not What You Think)
I’m a firm believer that we buy things for the feeling it gives us and not for the actual object itself. For example: we’ve all had that “damn I look good” moment while trying on clothes. You know, where you absolutely KNOW that you look good in an outfit and for that reason you’re buying it, right?
Well the reason you buy the clothes isn’t because you want to look good, you want other people to know how good you look. We all subconsciously want others to look at us in admiration while also feeling comfortable in the clothing that we’re in. But what happens when the clothes get old and you’ve worn them countless times?
You grow less interested in them and want to go buy new clothes. Not because the clothing no longer meets your needs but because everyone has seen them and you no longer get the looks you once got. Therefor the feeling you got from the clothing has passed.
I assume the same is true of buying a $20 shirt or a $2,000,000 Ferrari. Eventually the possession is old and you want what’s new. But before you acquire what you feel is out of reach, you sit and imagine what it’s going to feel like. You know, law of attraction stuff. Imagine what $10,000 in your bank account feels like after earning it within 30-days working part-time hours. You’ve never felt it before so how could you possibly know what it feels like? I didn’t.
So what does your first $10,000 month in door-to-door sales feel like?
It feels fantastic at first but it’s extremely temporary. The money doesn’t last as long or provide much of an experience or feeling as you think it would. For me personally it’s been very short lived. I just bought a brand new MacBook Pro ($3,000), have rent to pay back in the Bay Area ($1,780), putting down a deposit and rent on a new place here in Fresno, California ($1,500), had to fix some car issues ($200), etc. The money has pretty much been spent before I really even got a chance to enjoy it.
Yes, it’s been nice going into the Apple store and dropping $3,000 like it was nothing. It felt great being able to buy lunch for me and my friend. It also feels great knowing I can pay my rent here for the next 3-6 months in advance. But for me, it’s about experiences.
The next $10,000 (hopefully more, just got a 200% raise) in 30-Days is going towards traveling. For me the experiences and feelings I get from making memories is worth way more than the $10,000 itself.
So what does it feel like?
How I feel about it may not be how you feel about it.
All I can say is this: one size in this case does not fit all.