How to Balance Sales and Being a Single Parent

Being a single parent means facing one challenge after another, balancing your child’s developmental needs with work, responsibilities, and your own personal life. This balancing act becomes particularly tenuous for single parents who work as salespeople, a job notorious for its cutthroat environment and tenuous tenures. Though the job may be hard, quitting isn’t an option when you have mouths to feed. 

So how do you balance two seemingly-insurmountable challenges that pull you in two different directions? You may feel like you have to choose one or another. But by following these four tips and doing some strategic planning, you can strike a healthy balance between sales and single parenthood. 

1. Look for a Salary-Based Compensation Structures

Our first two tips start with the job itself, the foundation upon which your work-life balance stands. After all, a notorious challenge of being a single parent is financial struggles as a single-income household.

A sales career might sound incongruous with the idea of financial stability. Most salespeople make money on a commission basis, meaning that they only earn money when they make a sale. This is to encourage salespeople to make as many sales as possible. 

While compensation based solely on commissions may encourage risk-taking salespeople with a “sink or swim” mindset, a single parent can’t afford to sink without taking their child with them.

Luckily, some companies also offer compensation packages with a salary component, such as base-salary plus commission or base-salary plus bonus structure. While the variable commission or bonus pay works to incentivize workers, the guaranteed salary portion ensures that you’ll have some stable income with which to support your family. As such, it’s much better for single parents looking to minimize financial risks.

Approximately half of all sales organizations use base-salary plus commission structures. If you’re only beginning your career as a salesperson or are thinking of switching positions, don’t feel pressured to settle for less with a commission-only structure – there will always be a better salary-based position available somewhere.

2. Look for Companies That Provide Dependent Care Assistance

Some more support your employer could provide are childcare or Dependent Care Flexible Spending Accounts (DCFSAs), which are fringe benefits in that could be offered in compensation packages. Some examples of these benefits could be on-site childcare, reimbursements for childcare expenses, or direct payment to daycares.

Especially if your child is on the younger side when they can’t be left alone, daycare services or reimbursement would be an invaluable benefit. And as they grow older, the money can be used to pay for other programs that would supervise them during working hours, such as summer camps or afterschool programs.

As a bonus, these fringe benefits are usually pre-tax deductions, meaning that you won’t have to pay income tax on them come April. That’s more money saved for the college fund!

3. Brush Up On Your Closing Techniques

Now that you’ve landed a sales position at a company with supportive programs and pay structures, all that’s left is to make the sales themselves. 

A common mistake we see is amateur salespeople skillfully making their value proposition, overcoming objections, and handling negotiations, all to hesitate too long during the decisive closing moment. Not only does this run the risk deterring the customer out of a sale, even if you do manage to get a deal, you’ll have wasted valuable time on a customer who’s already ready to say “yes.”

That’s why single parents should focus heavily on their closing techniques, so they can close a sale, meet their quota, and get home quicker. A good closing technique should be fast and brook no room for argument or compromise.

A good closing technique to use is the assumptive close technique, which quickly and neatly sidesteps the decisive moment by continuing the conversation as if the customer had already agreed to purchase. For example, rather than asking if they’d like to purchase, an assumptive close would instead move straight to a question such as “Would you like to pay by cash or card?”

If you’re new to complex closing techniques such as these, it would be wise to brush up on more information on the art of making sales to boost your chances at sales success, bring home more money, and leave more time for your child. 

4. Bond With Your Child Over Your Job

For parents of older children, our final tip is to use your job as a conversation starter with your child. Though we often hear that parents should “leave their work at the door,” a sales job with all of its unique characters and situations can actually be a great way to start unique conversations with your child at home.

For example, you could share fun stories and conversations you had with your customers or coworkers. Or, if you go door-to-door, you could keep an eye out for fun details about houses your child may wish to hear, such as by:

  • Taking pictures of nice flowers you see in leads’ gardens
  • Writing down the rarest car models you saw in each neighborhood
  • Making a guessing game out of how many pets you saw

Rather than placing the stress on the child to bring back interesting stories about their school day, single parents can initiate conversations and bond with their child over their job instead. This also sets an example to your child that growing up and working isn’t always stressful and boring!

While your child understands that you have responsibilities and life outside the home, with this, they’ll know that you’re still thinking of them when you’re away.


Whether you’re struggling with being a single parent, being a salesperson, or both, we hope you’ve found some useful advice on how to make the best of both worlds. On top of improving your own personal sales acumen, be sure to find a company that supports your and your child’s livelihood with a salary-based commission plan and childcare support. Then, at home, leaving the serious work and only sharing the fun of the job can help you bond with your child. 

Balancing single parenthood and sales might sound difficult at first, but with some critical forward thinking and careful work, you can enjoy success on both the sales floor and at home.


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