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Want To Become An Entrepreneur? Here’s How To Tell If You’ll Be Successful

Carolyn Betts is a successful entrepreneur and the founder of Betts Recruiting, a nationwide recruiting agency that connects extraordinary go-to-market talent with the world’s most innovative companies.

There are a number of things she credits for her success, but one of the biggest ones is the fact that she worked on commission for many years in the beginning of her career before ultimately going out on her own as an entrepreneur. Betts, who has always had a knack for sales and actually grew up with both sides of her family running their own companies, said that working a job with a heavy commission aspect is in fact quite similar to being an entrepreneur in many ways.

Here’s what she learned from her past commission-based jobs that has translated into her current role as a founder and entrepreneur.

Hustle, hustle, hustle.

Hustle culture gets quite a bit of criticism these days—and with good reason. But when you’re working on commission, you’re only getting out of it as much as you put into it. “Nobody’s going to hold your hand and make things happen for you,” said Betts. “And when you’re on commission, you don’t get paid—or you’re not going to have a great lifestyle—if you don’t really hustle.” 

Have thick skin.

A big part of that hustle? Having thick skin, which Betts learned the hard way back in the early 2000s while she was selling ads in the Yellow Pages. “How many times do you think I got said no to, or a door slammed in my face? Calls hung up on, or sold deals to people who then realized they owed money to the company and cancelled the deal.” For every sale that gets made, there are dozens that don’t—but if every successful entrepreneur let those failures stop them from trying, society would be quite different. “There’s going to be haters out there, and don’t over-index on the haters, but understand the doubts and what you might be up against as you’re starting out.”

Be patient.

So much of being an entrepreneur is about patience, as well as becoming used to delayed gratification as opposed to immediate wins. “There are a lot of times where deals fall through, things don’t work out, or people don’t pay,” said Betts. “It’s a really great introduction to business, because it shows you the process that you need to go through in order to be successful—which is very much like any type of sales funnel. A lot of getting out there and knocking on doors, and a lot of conversations before things necessarily pan out.”

For any aspiring entrepreneurs who want to gauge whether or not they can truly handle running a business, it would be helpful to start with a commission-based role. “The ups and downs of being commission-only can be really challenging,” said Betts, “but it’s very much like running your own company. When you’re on commission, you’re basically running your own business within somebody else’s company.” Happy hustling!

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