When aspirations of playing professional baseball didn’t pan out, Josh Brown took a hard look at another career, one that hit close to home with him — sales.

“I always had dreams of playing pro baseball but when it didn’t pay off, I thought ‘what can I do, that I can enjoy and make a nice earnest living,’” says Brown, a sales rep with Northern Colorado Paper in Greeley, Colo. “With my father being in the jan/san industry it did open my eyes that you can make a very good living, it’s steady consistent work, and it’s not an industry that’s going to come and go.”

His father, Mike Brown, was a sales rep and regional manager for several distributors in the jan/san industry while Josh was growing up. Even though Josh saw his dad enjoy his job, he didn’t think the jan/san industry was a fit for him. For a 21-year-old fresh out of college, there were other industries that were a bit more tempting than selling cleaning supplies, says Josh.

But his views on the industry changed when Mike won a trip from his company and invited Josh. What was supposed to be a few days of father/son bonding in San Juan, Puerto Rico, ended up turning into an impromptu job interview for Josh. While on the trip Mike’s bosses were so impressed with Josh that when they returned to Ohio, they offered him a sales position.

Josh accepted and worked under his father, who was his sales manager, and was also given his father’s 
former territory.

So just like how Mike taught Josh the basics of how to play baseball at an early age, this time at the age of 21, Josh was learning the basics from Mike on how to sell to customers in the jan/san industry.

Josh went on to work under his dad for a total of five years for two different suppliers in the Midwest. Josh credits those years as the ultimate learning experience that helped mold him into the budding sales rep that he is today. Josh says his dad helped him quickly learn the basics of what it takes to be a top salesman by making correlations between the two worlds of athletics and sales.

“Dad always instilled a hard work ethic in me back when I played baseball,” says Brown. “He said ‘You have to work hard on the field and off the field, if you really want to improve.’ So that was an easy correlation for me going from college and athletics into the work world and especially sales; the harder you work, the more opportunities you can get and in turn the more money you can take home. It’s not a guarantee that if you work harder, you’ll make more money, but it does enhance your chances for sure.”

After working eight years in the Ohio market, Josh ventured off on his own path and moved to Colorado with his wife Liz. That’s where Josh was hired by Tim Ward, Northern Colorado Paper’s regional sales manager.

Ward says from the moment he met Josh, he could see the passion he has as a sales rep.

“His passion was a huge selling point,” says Ward. “When he did his interview, he had his W4 that showed his prior income, so by seeing his income, it told you that the guy was a go-getter, was aggressive and wanted to succeed. He has more passion than your average person you see out there selling. That passion doesn’t leave.”

But, wanting to be the best and giving the customers the best deal for their money comes with a hectic work schedule. In fact, Josh’s schedule includes a minimum of 60-hours a week. He says when him and his wife moved to Colorado, they adopted a motto for the next chapter of their lives to “work hard and play harder” — his success in sales allows them to take advantage of their love of the outdoors, especially skiing.

The new schedule has paid off for Josh. In just five years, he has grown an entirely new territory in a completely different locale to $5.5 million in sales, an increase of $2 million in 2011 alone.

Although Brown continues to improve on his successes each year, Ward says he has yet to hit his stride.

“He’s just getting started,” says Ward. “I think the sky is the limit for the kid. If he continues to have that passion he’ll get better and better.”