Business Profile: Ad Sales Rep

Start-Up Cost: $1,000–$3,000

Potential Earnings: $60,000–$250,000

Typical Fees: Commission-only is standard and ranges from 5 to 25 percent

Advertising: Email, phone calls, search engine advertising, referrals

Qualifications: Experience with an advertising agency or as an advertising media sales representative

Equipment Needed: Basic office equipment, business cards, letterhead

Potential Home Business: Yes

Staff Required: No

Disabled Opportunity: Yes

Hidden Costs: Expect high phone bills and mileage costs

Lowdown: With more specialized Internet cropping up, there are new client opportunities opening up every day. This business must be built on experience in the field, but if you are clever, almost any kind of direct sales experience could be enough to get you going. Your expertise lies in matching the need to the availability. If you know how, you can sell media space in any kind of media from magazines to the Internet.

Your job is to find a buyer at a good price that might never have discovered this advertising venue unaided. You’ll need contacts and experience to make a success of this enterprise, but room exists for the independent representative and many earn $200,000 or more. Much depends on the media you’re selling ad space for. For instance, if you’re selling ads in a trade journal or well-known national publication or website, your income will be quite high. However, if you’re selling ads for a community newspaper or website, your income may reach its peak at $60,000.

Start-Up: Email and the phone are your primary tools. You may need to buy access to some business directories and periodical advertising directories. Expect a $1,000 to $3,000 initial start-up cost for this business.

Bottom Line: If you love selling, this is selling in its purest form and it could turn out to be a great business to start. No limitations bind you to one focus, one time, or one perspective. Businesses need to advertise, and finding space for their commercial messages can be a real challenge. Your services are the perfect answer to their needs. The same old way of doing things will be your biggest hindrance. Established agencies are your competitors, and you will need to market your services vigorously.

To See More Business Ideas

Check out BusinessTown’s most popular article, The 300 Best Small Business Ideas. This comprehensive multi-page article offers expert advice on every single business idea. Includes home based, online, steady income, low cost, product and service ideas.  

Start Streaming the Courses on BusinessTown

Learn how to start and run your business by watching the many courses on BusinessTown including Start-a-Business 101, How to Create a Business Plan and How to Find a Business Idea. You can try BusinessTown for free.

About Bob Adams

Bob Adams is a Harvard MBA serial entrepreneur. He has started over a dozen businesses including one that he launched with $1500 and sold for $40 million. He has written 17 books and created 52 online courses for entrepreneurs. Bob also founded BusinessTown, the go-to learning platform for starting and running a business.