Amanda is a comedy writer. The articles she writes here are meant to be fun, only somewhat information and completely funny. As with anything in life, don't take them too seriously.

Talent and Charm

Child actors are loved and cherished at an early age. Their talent, charm and good looks help them win roles and fans. But if they try to ride out their adolescent years without improving, they can easily become "has beens." Similarly, as sales professionals, it can be all too easy after a good month to sit back and feel like 1994 Macaulay Culkin. Your boss loves you, your coworkers want to be you, and you can "eat junk and watch garbage" because you've hit your quota. But if you don't continue to work hard, every month, you will quickly find yourself as 2004 Macaulay Culkin: barely recognizable, a shell of who you once were and considering getting a barista job at the local Starbucks because you need the money.

Or, perhaps worse, you could be like that kid from Home Improvement...what's his name? Jonathan Taylor Thomas, that's right. Your sales career might be great for a while. You may have a solid streak of success for years, even have a nickname that everyone likes to call you. But then something happens and you slowly lose momentum until you fizzle and burn out. The next thing you know, prospect are coming in the office and asking for someone else; the other guy who has less experience but a better attitude.

Boy #2, Classmate #7

We recently caught up with a former child star, Benjamin L. Smith who is best known for his role as Boy #2 in Mrs. Doubtfire. He went on to star in other films and played parts such as Boy #4, Classmate #7, and Cookie Eater. After several years commuting from Las Vegas to Hollywood for his various roles, he decided to call it quits, headed to college and is now a successful software salesman. He contributes a lot of his sales success to what he learned from his time on the big screen. "Acting, like sales is unpredictable. One day you're getting offers for Kool-Aid commercials and the next day you're sitting at home playing Super Mario Brothers waiting for the phone to ring," Mr. Smith said in between bites of his tuna sandwich. He then added, “It’s all about pacing yourself, working hard but taking time off, and getting lots of referrals. Word of mouth is why people go see movies and it’s why they will come to you instead of another salesperson.”

"Acting, like sales is unpredictable. One day you're getting offers for Kool-Aid commercials and the next day you're sitting at home playing Super Mario Brothers waiting for the phone to ring"

Unfortunately, the list of child stars who burn out early and don’t make it long enough to have careers into their adult years is long. But, like Mr. Smith explained, there are a lot of lessons that we can learn from their experiences that translate into the world of sales. Along with being nice to everyone, knowing who your friends are, and showing up with a good attitude every day, Mr. Smith shared another important piece of advice he learned from his days as a child actor. “Make sure you don’t eat at your desk,” he said. “It gets all over your stuff and no one likes it when the office smells like ravioli or tuna or whatever you brought for leftovers. I learned that from sharing a trailer with other actors. It also helps if your mom knows how to make Rice Krispie Treats, it’s a great way to meet new friends.”

Any current or former child star will tell you that the busy days are great, and the slow days are torture. Life in Hollywood, like sales, is an emotional roller coaster. Because of those mixed emotions, Mr. Smith’s final piece of advice perhaps sums it all perfectly, “Get comfortable with not getting too comfortable.”

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