People who work at home or alone in a branch office often find it hard to maintain discipline during the day. Brian Rice of Marblehead, Mass., keeps the pressure on himself by teaming up with another sales rep to meet collaborative quotas.

Rice and his partner in Sun Dog Sales, which represents five sportswear and sunglasses manufacturers nationwide, work in separate offices, each selling to 200 outlets throughout New England. To push and pace themselves, they split the work and pool their earnings. Every month, they e-mail the previous month's numbers to each other. Rice, for example, tries to write $3,000 in sales contracts each day. If the afternoon is waning and he's falling short, he'll keep working.

The daily pressure the partners put on themselves, and the monthly pressure they put on each other, has helped Sun Dog grow to $3 million in sales in eight years. The duo also increases its quotas annually. "We have two different personalities and two different ways of selling," says Rice. "The quotas are the best way for us to reach mutual goals."