You know what question I hate?

“Where do you want to be in five years?”

My honest answer?

“I don’t know… but I’ll figure it out.”

This answer isn’t usually acceptable because society makes us believe we need some grand plan for our future.

Most people don’t.

Most successful adults didn’t know what they wanted to do when they were young. So they followed their instincts and curiosities and trusted in the process.

Do Things. Try Things.

Oprah is a prime example.

The interviewer asks Oprah: “When you were in college, did you know you wanted to get into television and media specifically?”

Nope. She wanted to be a teacher.

Oprah had been working in radio since 16, and by freshman year, she had a local CBS station calling her to work for them as a television reporter.

She didn’t think much of it because she was in college—how would she manage it all?

It wasn’t until she told her professor that he knocked some sense into her. “That’s why you go to school, fool, so CBS calls you.”

So she decided, with no tv experience, to go work at the local station as a reporter for $10,000 per year.

Not long after, she was offered a $40,000 job in Baltimore, but turned it down to keep her current reporting job.

She knew she had to develop her writing skills or her career path would hit a wall. So she stuck with the lower-paying job to do just that.

The ironic thing is: she knew reporting wasn’t for her. She kept doing it because it was great experience, and she was making good money for a college student at the time.

It wasn’t until she was “demoted” to a talk show host that she realized “talk” was her thing.

The takeaway? You have to *do* and *try* things before you know why you were put on this earth.

Identity Capital

While reporting is far different than what would make her a billionaire, the skills Oprah picked up as a reporter were transferrable to her job as a talk show host.

What Oprah was doing as a reporter was gaining “identity capital.”

Identity capital is our collection of personal assets we assemble over time. Identity capital is what we bring to the adult marketplace. It is the currency we use to metaphorically purchase jobs and relationships and other things we want.”

Some identity capital goes on a résumé, such as degrees, jobs, test scores, and clubs. Other identity capital is more personal, such as how we speak, where we are from, how we solve problems, and how we look.

To gain identity capital when you’re inexperienced, you need someone to take a chance on you. This is why Vector Marketing exists.

Two Paths

Put yourself in a position of choice.

Translation: “Work hard enough at Vector to create advancement opportunities far beyond anything available to the majority of young professionals.”

If you’re succeeding as a sales rep, you love CUTCO, and you love doing presentations with customers, there’s an advancement path for you.

This post, however, is about building identity capital (and launching your professional career) as a Vector manager:

  • Assistant Manager (AM)
  • Branch Manager (BM)
  • District Manager (DM)

Let’s talk about all three. But first…

Why become a manager?

Income opportunity.

This is usually the one people care about the most, AT FIRST, until they realize all the experience and valuable skills to be gained.

Income is a measurement of added value. As a sales rep, you add value one CUTCO customer at a time. As a manager, however, you add value to dozens of CUTCO customers by impacting teams of sales reps.

Regardless of product, industry, or job title? Leading people often pays more. Unfortunately you can’t lead others until you can lead yourself. Vector managers learn to do both (and are paid accordingly).

Gain invaluable skills.

1. Time Management

As a young professional, my rudest awakening in the real world was nobody cares how many hours you work. They care more about the results you deliver.

Receiving 90,283 emails in a day isn’t what made me valuable. And dropping everything so I could respond only created more. As my former boss would growl, “Lauren… guard your time fiercely.”

time management

Your career (relationships, health, and overall happiness) comes down to how you spend your time.

As professionals, we either learn self-discipline and prioritization from those who possess such skills, or we create habits by default, which often become obstacles to the goals we say we have (but never accomplish).

Vector managers get mentored on all of the above. The entrepreneurial nature of the role requires them to hone these skills far beyond their peers.

One former branch manager put it this way: “I get more done in a day than my roommates do in a week. It’s just not fair… for them.”

2. Personal Finance

Most Americans have one stream of income (a job) and less than $1,000 in savings, yet only 32 percent of households are sticking to a monthly budget.

Yikes.

Even worse? Experts recommend that you have six months of expenses saved up, in case of an emergency, like a medical expense, car repair bill, a layoff, or all of the above simultaneously.

Budgeting is yet another vital life skill they didn’t teach us in school (maybe I was absent that month).

With the income you earn as a Vector manager (either weekly profit or one of the many lump sum bonuses managers receive), you can begin your savings journey. And with the mentorship of a senior manager, you won’t be part of the 45 percent of college graduates who are underemployed or unemployed.

Still aren’t worried about saving? Check out this article about how much money you’re throwing away each additional day you put off saving. It isn’t pretty.

3. Leadership

At most companies, the likelihood of seeing a young manager is the equivalent of seeing an old intern (that only happens in the movies, kids).

Promotion to management at an early age is not common. In fact, the average age of most sales managers is between 42 and 45 years old.

At Vector? Twenty-something managers are the norm. And the compensation model for both men and women is equal.

Opportunity at a young age is one of the biggest perks of the management path. Gaining hands-on leadership experience in your twenties is a multi-decade head start on your peers.

In the business world, that’s known as a competitive advantage.

4. Confidence

More than 60 percent of employers list confidence as a top trait they look for in new hires. And they’re willing to pay for it. Studies found a direct link between high levels of confidence and wages.

Confidence is knowing what you’re good at, the value you provide, and behaving in a way that conveys that to others. Very few—if any—professionals succeed without some level of self-confidence.

“Confidence equals security equals positive emotion equals better performance.” —Tony Schwartz

Of course, there’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance (when someone overestimates their own skills and displays more confidence than they deserve).

One way to know where you stand is by working closely with someone you trust, like a mentor or an honest, deeply-concerned friend.

Your division manager can be all this and more.

5. Public Speaking

It’s true. Most people fear public speaking more than they fear death, yet 70 percent of employed Americans agree that presentation skills are critical to their success at work.

Take Matt, for instance. He didn’t even like speaking in small groups before he began at Vector. Now, he speaks publicly, sharing his faith with others.

6. Likability

As Tim Sanders puts it, “Decades of research prove that people choose who they like. They vote for them, buy from them, marry them, and spend precious time with them.”

Like it or not, likability matters.

“Likable people are more apt to be hired, get help at work, get useful information from others and have mistakes forgiven.” (The Wall Street Journal)

As a Vector manager, your number one job will be to relate, connect, and serve people. “Learning to be likable is literally in the position description,” says the company’s leadership development manager, Trent Booth.

Some of us may not be as likable as our moms would have us believe. Receiving honest (gentle) feedback from higher-ups can—over time—transform awkwardness into authenticity.

7. Creativity, Innovation, and Evolution

It’s not uncommon to hear veteran district managers say their positions are barely recognizable (and far superior) to what they were doing five years ago.

This is due to Vector’s ravenous culture of entrepreneurship and innovation.

In the last five years, Vector has launched everything from social media training to highly produced video trainings and improved team building initiatives. Better programs means greater profitability for the average twenty-something manager.

In fact, over the last five years, BMs and DMs have seen their average profitability increase by more than 33 percent. And there are no plans to stop.

“Field leaders at every level own the improvement of our company,” says Mike Monroe, Vector’s Digital Strategy Manager. “Some of our best innovations have been the brainchildren of passionate college students.”

Bottom line: if you want your voice heard in a large, nine-figure company? Vector management may be for you. How far will you go?

The 3 Management Opportunities at Vector Marketing

Assistant Manager

What is an Assistant Manager (AM)?

An assistant manager is somebody who, on top of their personal sales, assists the branch or district manager in the day-to-day operations of a Vector office.

Assistant managers are most commonly chosen from the pool of sales leaders in an office. The position can be part-time or full-time, depending upon the individual’s interests, experience, and skills.

What does an AM do?

While the majority of an AM’s income is generated from selling CUTCO, they do have an additional income stream.

Depending on the volume of their responsibilities (i.e. amount of time spent in the office, scope of work, etc) AMs receive .5 to three percent of a local office’s weekly sales.

AMs are typically in the office at least two full days per week. The work involves:

  • Building a team of sales reps
  • Screening potential applicants
  • Conducting interviews with applicants
  • Training and guiding sales reps
  • Field training new reps and 1-on-1 mentoring
  • Reviewing individual sales reps’ performances
  • Assisting the district or branch manager with meetings and workshops
  • Participating in social media outreach to build local reputation

Going back to personal sales: AMs are expected to build credibility and influence by consistently showing up on the office sales report, setting an example for everyone else.

High personal sales also opens up new doors in the future. As we love to say at Vector, “The road to management is paved with order forms.”

How do I become an AM?

I’m so glad you asked.

The first step is to get noticed by the local branch, district, or division manager, which starts with your very first interview. Most applicants don’t realize that immediate AM positions may be available.

Assistant managers have been promoted in some newer offices as quickly as 7 to 10 days.

Attire, attitude, punctuality, attentiveness, eagerness to learn—everything counts.

Another way to stick out is by going above and beyond in training. Are you the type of person that shows up early, leaves late, takes extra notes, and asks intelligent questions? Because leaders notice other leaders. Exceeding standards is a surefire way to make a statement.

Vector managers don’t play favorites. But they do work hard for people that work the hardest.

Of course somebody’s sales, both in their Fast Start and beyond, is going to make someone a serious candidate. But another way to put yourself on the map?

“Just ask,” Division Manager Wes Frank says with a smile. “In most companies, it’s taboo to ask, ‘Hey… what do I need to do to get a promotion around here??’ But at Vector, asking that question out loud shows that this person is serious.”

And leadership loves people who are serious.

I’ve crushed it as an AM. What’s next?

Experienced AMs should constantly be looking to (1) level up their career sales, (2) increase their savings, and (3) take on more and more responsibilities in the office.

Some of the world’s greatest business leaders started in an entry-level position with their company, worked in every single department, and—over the course of decades—gradually worked their way to CEO.

(Proof: Vector’s two Presidents both started as sales representatives. And both worked in the management track.)

Fortunately, at Vector, the process won’t take decades. In fact, the process may take less than a year.

New branch and district manager opportunities traditionally come available every May.

Branch Manager

Testimonial
“When I started with Vector I was only looking for a summer job. After my first summer, I was the top new representative in my office and I was amazed by the personal growth I had developed at “that knife job.” Now I’m running my own office in Concord, NH, as a Branch Manager, and I’m able to give others the opportunity that was given to me. Vector is a vehicle for personal and professional growth that turns average students into leaders.”
—Brad Couture, Bridgewater State University
Testimonial

What is a Branch Manager (BM)?

A BM is the most unique opportunity at Vector.

BMs (many of whom are college students), open their very own Vector office from May through August.

They get assigned a territory. Search for (and negotiate) an office lease. Build a team. Compete against other branches in office competitions. And then—in the final part of summer—sell CUTCO at the highest commission level, while continuing to coach and mentor their sales team.

And yes… if they’re really exceptional, they’re invited to the company trip in March (more on that later).

If somebody is attracted to management because they want a world-class experience that only a fraction of a fraction of their peers will have on their resume?

Becoming a branch manager (or 2-time, or 3-time senior branch manager) is the answer.

How does one become a BM?

While every bit of experience counts toward somebody’s candidacy, it’s not actually required to be an AM before becoming a BM. Every year there’s a handful of sales representatives that “start one summer, teach the next.”

For example, I begin selling CUTCO in June. The following May, I’m promoted to Branch Manager and open my office once my finals are over. Vector’s even had some exceptional individuals that started as late as August or September and still received their promotion.

Such rapid turnaround is only possible because of Vector’s leadership training program. These can occur virtually, in a local office (led by the district manager), or one Saturday per month (led by the division or region manager.)

Clearly management training isn’t just about the knives.

It’s no wonder many former Vector managers have gone on to open massive doors (like Hollywood heartthrob, David Walton), excel in high level leadership positions (like Mary Beck at MLB/NHL Networks), start non-profits (like Jon Vroman at Front Row Foundation), or become entrepreneursauthors, and influencers.

Forbes talks about Vector Marketing as a stepping-stone opportunity. And being a BM is exactly that.

If an individual is selected to run a branch office, Vector gives every BM thousands of dollars in startup to get their business going. Yes, GIVES. This is not a loan, and BMs don’t have to pay it back.

This budget is for things like:

  • Finding a space
  • Negotiating rent
  • Office supplies
  • Support staff
  • Marketing expenses
  • And decorating the office (which most BMs do only modestly)

Vector’s branch class doesn’t work alone. “The opportunity to sit at the management table with my DM and other BMs was the best part of my summer,” stated one former branch manager. “My division manager literally guided me through the entire summer and helped me be successful.”

What are the expectations of a BM?

The first eight weeks are the most intense.

BMs are running their offices: interviewing, training, building, coaching, and motivating their teams.

The remaining six to eight weeks, BMs become sales reps (something they’re already experienced at) and sell at the maximum commission rate.

Selling for the second half of summer after teaching the first half of the summer often brings their skill sets to an entirely new level. It’s not uncommon to see a branch manager’s average order size double (or even triple) their historic averages.

Of course, if a BM is going to be entrusted with:

  • The company’s reputation
  • Thousands and thousands of dollars
  • An entire sales territory (of 30,000 to 300,000 people)

then a BM candidate needs to show a similar type of commitment. Not just in their personal sales and their training, but in their own savings as well. BM and DM candidates contribute personal income to their startup accounts. The money is theirs and is accessible to them at any time. But it shows that they’re taking the responsibility of management training seriously.

Which leads to the pinnacle opportunity of Vector’s management ranks…

District Manager

District manager is the ultimate year-round opportunity. For college grads, for those taking a break from school to pursue something entrepreneurial, and for those that have excelled in their Vector office… they can be invited to open a year-round Vector office in one of North America’s largest 500 territories.Being a district manager is like being a college football or basketball coach. Your time is spent seeking out, developing, and mentoring the most talented students in your territory.

Where can a District Manager open their office?

“The territory doesn’t make the manager. The manager makes the territory.”

A DM can work or open an office almost anywhere.

They can open a new office close to home or somewhere they’ve never lived before. And of course, they can work in any existing office where there’s an opening for a DM.

Of course, the top candidates get first pick of territory. Want to put yourself in a position of choice?

“The higher the sales, the higher the savings, the higher the skills, the more attractive you are to your division manager, the more opportunities you’re going to give yourself.”

Are there additional benefits to being a DM?

Let’s see here.

I’m assuming you’re talking about something other than building wealth, being a community leader, or driving around in a BMW.

Ever wanted to travel the world? Well, now is your chance.

Vector managers enjoy the luxury of regular, world-class, world-travel vacations once they achieve a reasonable sales level.

Imagine taking over some historic city, a cruise ship, or an entire beach resort with other successful young professionals (some of whom may become close friends).

(And yes. As our young professionals become fiancees, wives, husbands, moms, and dads? They bring their families too.)

(Want more pics? Hop on Instagram and check out #VectorTravel)

Your Future. Your Move.

If there’s one thing you take away from this post, I hope it’s this…Regardless of where you want to be in five years, now is the time to experiment and gain as much identity capital as possible.If you’re serious about broadening your skills, experiences, and savings, then the management path at Vector might very well be for you.

What do people say about the opportunity?

“If you would’ve told me when I started at Vector two years ago that I would be a district manager for a multi-billion dollar company, I would’ve thought you were crazy. Today I’m not that shy little girl that hides in the back of the classroom anymore. I’ve grown professionally and personally. Vector taught me to step out of my comfort zone and become a better version of myself.” — Cora Halliday, West Virginia University

Interested?

Click the button below, and complete the form. Don’t forget to ask your manager about your next opportunity. She will be happy to help you design a path that will put you in a position of choice.

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