What to Do After Getting Shafted on Commissions

Peter : On Rad's Radar?
| Peter Radizeski of RAD-INFO, Inc. talking telecom, Cloud, VoIP, CLEC, and The Channel.

What to Do After Getting Shafted on Commissions

As many of you know, being a telecom agent means that at some point in your business, a carrier will stop the commission check. It could be the carrier files bankruptcy or gets acquired or just changes the plan on you. What do you do next?

The normal response is to yell at the carrier; vent at friends; talk to lawyers. These are all healthy responses to an event that adversely affects your bank account. But what then?

Most legal recourse is ridiculous. Are you going to pony up a ten grand retainer to hire an attorney to fight the carrier in their state? It will take your time, energy, effort, and money. You can win, but it will take years - on average about seven years from the cases I know about. A long time, huh?

What next? Build your business up. Replace the lost revenue. Seems like a given, but so many agents (including me for a year) are focused on the lost revenue that all of their energy and effort is wasted.

Barring a non-compete clause or a non-solicitation clause, contact your customer base to offer them another service. Something that you didn't sell them via the carrier who is not paying you. At least 10% will take it.

Diversify. Learn that not all of your income can come from one source. I know Master Agents have a mantra about this but no one is immune to the will of the carriers. Multiple streams of income will allow you to sleep at night. I didn't even learn that lesson at first. After the Big Screw Job, most of my revenue went to one carrier. That carrier had a miserable couple of years. I fixed that ratio.

In the past, I had non-telecom income. Those investments were divested before the bubble burst in 2008. I think having non-telecom income is smart as well.

Another piece of advice: load up your retirement plan - SEP, SIRA, IRA, whatever - put a lot of money into that account when you can. Pay yourself first! You can borrow against it later if you need to, but it can grow for you.

Just some tips from my experience. Time is more valuable than money. No waste it (if you can help it). Jim Rohn once said that after he became a millionaire at 31 and lost it all, it was okay. Why? Because he had learned how to become a millionaire. You can make more money.


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