Excellent short article from The Wall Street Journal on the next best thing to get experience as an entrepreneur.

Some people may want to test the waters of entrepreneurship before jumping in. Here’s one way: Being an independent-sales rep, even selling door-to-door, for companies that sell textbooks or Tupperware. Or cutlery.

The Journal’s Sarah Needleman recently wrote about how young adults are gaining valuable skills and experience by working for companies that employ an independent salesforce like Cutco Cutlery that sells knives or other consumer products. These companies often encourage their independent sellers to aggressively sell the product and use creative tactics, such as hosting demonstration parties.

They often pay on commission based on how much product is sold, such as 10% for the first $10,000 and 20% for the next $20,000. Sales reps may have to buy their own demonstration equipment.

The experience can be especially useful for would-be entrepreneurs, as it requires skills such as networking, door-knocking, persuasion and product demonstrations.

It can also teach someone how much perseverance they have.

“You see how much rejection you can take and how you handle it with this type of job,” says Derek Kernus, a soon-to-be college junior who has sold more than $32,000 worth of knives for Cutco this summer. “It’s a skill for life because people aren’t going to say yes all the time. You need to try and come back with something different to try and get a yes.”

Read the comments here.