Many professionals working in the B2B sales industry dream about starting a business as an independent sales rep gaining the perks of being self-employed, including larger profit margins and flexible work hours. However, there are also some downsides and some complexities to consider. Therefore, we’ll guide you through the intricacies of getting started as an Independent sales rep in this guide. 

Why Do People Become Independent Sales Reps?

Any sales professional in the B2B space is a candidate to become an independent sales rep. While you’ll be completing similar work, independence means more control and flexibility over your pay, hours, and clientele. But, of course, it also means sacrificing your salary and benefits.

So, if you’re thinking about going independent, you probably want to achieve higher earnings, a better work/life balance, or both. The thing is, going out on your own isn’t all that easy. 

Choosing How to Work as a Sales Rep

If you’re thinking about becoming an independent sales rep, it’s worth noting that there’s more than one way to go about it. This guide for independent sales reps walks you through the two most popular approaches.

Taking The Solo Approach

The solo approach offers the most power for sales reps who want total control of their work opportunities and negotiating with clients. However, it also takes extra legwork on your part. If you’re accustomed to an employer putting work on your desk, you may be surprised at how many hours you have to spend looking for clients and securing work opportunities. Regardless, many independent sales reps thrive with the solo approach. Plus, it means you can nurture direct relationships with your clients, helping you to get referrals and positive reviews. With no employer or intermediary standing in the way, your business and earnings are 100% yours. 

Joining a Sales Rep Agency

If you think joining a sales rep agency is similar to getting another 9-to-5 job, think again. Unlike an employer, an agency can connect you with opportunities, and you can decide whether or not you want to take them. You can also set your rate. But, because the agency finds opportunities on your behalf, they expect you to pay a small fee. Depending on your marketing and networking skills, you may or may not benefit from an agency. With that said, it’s sometimes an excellent transitional option if you’re looking to dip your toes in the water of becoming an independent sales rep. So, you can join an agency as a side-hustle while staying at your current 9-to-5 or work with an agency as you build your solo following. 

Step-by-Step Guide for Independent Sales Reps

Learning about how you can approach work is essential, but what about a step-by-step guide for independent sales reps who are just getting started? Here’s what you need to do if you’re serious about taking the next steps.

1. Plan Around Your Clientele 

It’s tough to become an independent sales rep if you don’t have a network you can leverage to get your clients. Many sales reps start doing solo work on the side and choose to work with an agency. Evaluating your workload and finances requires understanding your clients, products, and service offerings. In addition, as a B2B sales professional, you know that sales cycles can vary. Without understanding the sales cycle(s) you’ll be working with, it’s hard to know when you’ll see your commissions roll in. Likewise, poor planning could lead to gaps in pay. You’ll need to plan around irregular earnings and try to find balance through good money management and staggering clients in your workload. 

2. Learn How to Protect Yourself

One of the most substantial complications as an independent sales rep is learning how to file your taxes as a self-employed individual, keeping up on your bookkeeping, using the proper payments software, and drafting contractual agreements that protect you. You shouldn’t underestimate any of these aspects when working on starting your business as an independent sales rep. You should consider consulting with a financial and legal professional to help you get these things in order. 

3. Adopt a Long-Term Focus 

As an independent sales rep, you’re likely to take a pay cut from your typical salary when you’re starting. So it’s essential that you have savings set aside to help you through this time, and it’s equally vital that you have a long-term mindset. Prioritize your clients that offer recurring commissions, which can help your income. Clients who pay out fast or have a shorter sales cycle should be at the top of your list. Building a foundation for clients like this will provide stability sooner. In addition, you can expand your sales portfolio to include a diverse set of non-competing, quality products, and services. From there, it’s about nurturing relationships with your partners so that they keep wanting to work with you. If you’re not making money, the business isn’t making money, so keep metrics on your deals and see where your money-makers are because you should be focusing your time and energy. 

If you’re ready to step out on your own and maximize your potential, apply to become a National Merchants Association’s ProAgent Partner. NMA’s ProAgent Partner Program provides comprehensive revenue-generating initiatives uniquely designed to help our agents maximize their earning potential and successfully build a profitable merchant portfolio. So get started today at

About NMA

NMA is a merchant advocacy group dedicated to reducing or eliminating the unnecessary fees associated with accepting credit card payments. Since 2004, NMA’s payment processing solutions have delivered tailored solutions, best-in-class customer service, and high-quality service offerings for businesses. Whether it’s high-risk or low-risk, brick-and-mortar or e-commerce, NMA will create the best processing experience for your company. For more information, visit us online at or call (866) 509-7201.