Are You Ready to Sell Your Soul?

Posted June 19, 2013 by Katherine Toll in On the Ladder

Marie Forleo, of B-School and Marie TV asks this simple question of wannabe entrepreneurs, Are you ready to sell your soul? Typically, this phrase conjures up sleazy business deals that call on an individual to compromise her integrity just to close a business deal.

However, Forleo positions it in a new and thought-provoking way, by asking if you’re passionate enough about your endeavor to expose yourself to criticism, set backs, and potential failure.

In a recent Forbes article, Kathy Caprino quotes Forleo as saying,

Whether you are an entrepreneur or someone wanting to do meaningful work in the world, now more than ever you have to sell your soul — to pour what you truly believe in into your life’s work.  Everyone thinks that selling your soul is the worst thing in the world you could do, but I think the exact opposite. Why would you want to sell anything else?

I’ve spent a good portion of my career in sales, sales management, and business development roles and I’ve always believed in this notion, however I never saw it articulated so clearly.

Here’s three things I love about this thought process:

  1. We are all salespeople: Whether it’s in our title, every single one of us sells stuff. It might be an idea, or a new policy, or a lipstick. Daniel Pink, author of To Sell is Human points this out early in his book,

    According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, one in nine Americans works in sales. Every day more than fifteen million people earn their keep by persuading someone else to make a purchase. But dig deeper and a startling truth emerges: Yes, one in nine Americans works in sales. But so do the other eight.

  2. A sale, if approached in a traditional manner, is a tedious, repetitive endeavor: People become ‘prospects’ and conversations turn into pitches. The number of sales calls made, the number of deals closed, or the value of your sales pipeline becomes the measure of your worth.
  3. There is a difference between ‘a job’ and ‘your work’: A job feels like a chore. It’s something we do to pay the mortgage, often times going through the mind-numbing motions to get things ‘off your plate.’ Our work typically means something entirely different. It is an extension of who we are – we are invested in it, eager to talk about it, and willing to ride the waves of disappointment when things blow up.

Entrepreneurship is messy, hard, and tedious work most of the time. You better feel ready to sell your soul because it’s a noisy, disconnected world that demands authenticity. Keep it real!


About the Author

Katherine Toll

Katherine (Kathi) Toll possesses more than 20 years of management and consulting experience within the retail and beauty industry. Her industry experience combined with her special brand of irreverence fuels her mission to find the ‘must-have’ beauty products for Career Girls of all ages. She aspires to remind women the airbrushed perfection of the beauty industry must be tempered with a healthy dose of humor. Kathi holds a general management certification from Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management, along with an undergraduate degree from Northwestern’s School of Communications.