By John Tucker
1st Capital Loans LLC
Continuing with the one man (or woman) show series, this piece will focus on aspects of your personal life that should be managed properly while you simultaneously focus on building your portfolio of merchants. For this article, I will focus on four personal aspects: managing stress and depression, completing college, building credit and managing family relations.
As merchant level salespeople (MLSs), our compensation is based on performance, performance that's directly tied to the number of new merchant identification numbers (MIDs) we open as well as the number of merchants who actively process through said MIDs.
You might be efficient at producing new leads, but that doesn't mean your sales performance will be efficient. If your new leads don't convert to applicants, the applicants don't convert to new MIDs, and the merchants don't process through the new MIDs, then your sales numbers won't look promising at the end of the month or quarter.
This can cause high levels of stress that lead to mild bouts of depression, and that depression can lead to overeating, not eating, not sleeping, emotional instability and other mental health issues.
So how do you handle the stress? Take action. One way is to diversify. Have multiple relationships with multiple processors that can board merchants of varying levels of risk. Also, sell more than just merchant processing. Selling multiple products helps sustain you if you are having a bad quarter for merchant processing, as the other products might be selling well enough to keep you afloat during slow periods.
Completing college is an important addition to your resume. After a couple years' experience as an MLS, you may want to seek other positions with higher barriers to entry, better territories, specialized products and greater compensation. Organizations offering such positions will require sales experience and higher education, among other things including professional references and a professional brag book.
Make sure to squeeze into your schedule the completion of a bachelor's degree at a regionally accredited institution that is affordable, and can be flexible with your work schedule. Accounting, computer information systems, information technology and finance are good areas to major in.
As an MLS, you are just as much of an entrepreneur as the merchants you are calling on. Strive to build a positive personal credit profile by having as few negative items listed as possible, while taking out a balanced combination of revolving and installment credit.
Pay all creditors on time, and you will build a positive personal credit profile over time. Do this with your business credit profile as well, but take additional steps such as registering with Dun & Bradstreet directly to obtain a D-U-N-S number, as well as making sure that your business creditors report to the business credit bureaus on time.
Once you have a positive credit profile, you should qualify for a number of credit cards that offer 0 percent interest for 12 to 18 months, with a 1 to 3 percent upfront fee. This means you can receive an up to 18-month loan for only 1 to 3 percent in borrowing costs, allowing you to finance marketing for your office, with a focus on recouping the investment within the 12 to 18 months with profit.
If you are just starting your career as an MLS, you might be starting from scratch without an established network, stored equity or savings. As a result, consider putting off starting a family until you have established yourself within the industry.
Having children before you can properly provide for them might force you to leave the industry too early without going through the industry's requisite steep learning curve, because you have children to feed and your $800 a month residual isn't cutting it.
John Tucker is Managing Member of 1st Capita Loans LLC, as well as an M.B.A. graduate and holder of three bachelor's degrees in Accounting, Business Management and Journalism. Tucker has over 8 years of professional experience in Commercial Finance and Business Development. You can contact John Tucker by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 586-480-2140.
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