Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Happy Holidays

Well, it is about that time when we reflect about all the fun we had these year and realize we're not getting any younger. I actually caught myself saying "When I was your age....." the other day and I had to stop. Anyways, enough of my rantings about going shopping on a Saturday like an idiot.......

I've spent the last month doing everything I can to get ready for the holiday season and things have been going well. As I approach the 1 year mark and the anniversary of my agency draws near in a few weeks I find myself contemplating the direction I'm going. Recently I've talked with a few new agents and each of them has said to me that I should offer my services on a grander scale. Although my goals haven't changed, I have decided to pursue an endeavor that will probably cause some of my old high school teachers to wonder if all that time I spent sleeping in class was just my effort to conserve energy for what's in store in the near future. I don't want to spoil the surprise, but I think it is now time to help bring in other people to the wonderful world of insurance and say Good-Bye to being an underwear agent and focus on what's important to me.

Updating my business and marketing plan is currently my priority before the years closes out, as well as my second project, which will be implemented in January 2009 after I take care of a few things first. I've got a great feeling about 2008 and think that the upcoming year will be the benchmark of my career. Having spent the 1st year experiencing a myriad of ups and down I'm comfortable enough to say what areas need improvement and what areas are solid.

There's about a 1000 things I need to get done and although the increased workload will prove to be challenging, I'm experiencing a feeling of revitalization combined with excitement and trepidation about what lies ahead. Stepping out of your comfort zone is something I highly recommend to anybody who wants to push themselves and truly see their potential. I'll keep you posted as thing progress.

Have a safe and happy holiday season. Here's to the new year.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Things That Make You Go HMMMM

Life is good! In the last few weeks I have received some interesting questions about blog readers regarding my approach to selling insurance, as well as some disparaging comments about my work ethics.

For those of you who are professional and amicable please feel free to continue to contact me in the future and I'll be more than happy to help in any way I can. I'm happy to know that I can be of service. For those of you who are upset at my success.....change your diapers and talk to your doctor about your anxiety issues, just keep in mind it might not be covered!

I've talked about my perspectives about how to sell insurance successfully by illuminating the smart and stupid things I've done. I've also had the pleasure of reading some wonderful comments (listed below) about the proper way to sell insurance.

"Just another stupid fucking John P kiss-Ass. Your such a joke, if you really cared about your clients you would quit selling Assurant. You go on and on about how you take care of your customers, What a Joke, First Assurant isnt even close in being the best product for the cost and coverage. So keep believing your own bullshit and keep selling your Assurant in MD cause its a joke, your a joke for an Agent, Look at your stupid picture, you look like a surfer from california, Navy Boy FAG" Written by Anonymous."

Once I removed my lips from John's ass I got back on the phone and continued my telemarketing efforts although I will admit that it was tough considering how numb my lips felt. For all of you new agents out there who feel like their head is going to explode with all of the information you're trying to digest about health insurance remember these words. "Positive energy!"

Each state's health insurance market operates differently and although I can sell in 6 states, it is impossible to say that one company is better than another without knowing ALL OF THE FACTS about the market, and more importantly, what the clients wants to accomplish. Some of you may know that I'm not a fan of riders, but if a client is aware of a potential rider and wants a plan from Carrier A at a modest rate, while Carrier B rates up the condition and it's a bit more expensive, then Carrier A it will be.

Unfortunately, one of the downsides to this business is dealing with people who think they know everything, but are really insecure in general and feel the need to propagate their lack of wisdom by not knowing when to shut up and listen. This comes from not only agents pertaining to sell the best insurance plan, but also clients who believe in a plan that I have never heard of or don't have access to sell because it requires a GS 28 TS Clearance. If you're laughing you know what I'm talking about. If any you want those leads feel free to contact me and I'll forward you the information.

In a sense, the ups and downs of this career field rival my military experiences. Oh yeah, and for the record. I'm all AIR FORCE and was born and raised in Jersey, but I thank you for complimenting me on my looks. The hair is 100% all natural and so is the tan.

As the year comes to an end I'm thinking about my business goals for 2008. I'm coming to the conclusion that the agent support in health insurance is fair superior to life insurance in terms of underwriting issues, customer service and product knowledge. Is it is me or does it seem that sometimes it appears the agents are training the BGA''s, IMO's, etc. on a particular product? I take my hat off to the agents out there who are strictly Life guys and gals.

Ramping up life production is one aspect of my business I anticipate increasing, as well as disability and critical illness insurance. I contemplated getting my P & C License so I can focus on commercial properties and other areas that pertain to my real estate investing endeavors and marketing campaigns, but have decided to hold off on that until next summer once I move. I'll be working in small group here shortly and will let all of you know how that goes in the next couple of weeks. There are about 3 weeks of work left in the year so I'll catch you once the rush is over.

I'm off to read the latest Agents Sales Journal. Have a Happy Thanksgiving and remember to buckle up and not drink too much Egg Nog.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Great Month

It has been a few weeks since my last post, so I thought I'd let all of you know how things are going. As you can see from the picture on the left business is going great. All in all I've been netting $2000ish a week for few weeks with health and life insurance sales. My new regimen has definitely illuminated the potential once I have my system fully up and running.

This brings up a good point that I have thought about in-depth these last 10 months as I have struggled to get my business up and running, as well as numerous discussions I have had with friends and fellow agency owners. I have experienced some major issues and have almost gone out of business 3 times this past year from a lack of cash flow. It has only been recently that I have seen the fruits of my labor. So......What does it take to be successful in my eyes? Some people believe that genetics are the key, while others believe that it is environmental (education, social system, etc.). Discipline, flexibility, honesty, passion, perseverance, introspection and kindness are the keys I believe.

In essence, the morals you have comprise the roots for your success. Mostly anyone can learn the difference between an HMO vs. PPO or Universal Life vs. Term Life insurance. You can fix stupid if somebody is open and flexible, but you cannot teach somebody to be passionate. You either have it or you don't. People have to like you, trust you, confide in you, and have an unflinching believe that you're acting in their best interests. This is where ethics also comes into play.

I have the pleasure of having some great friends who have experienced the same feelings and thoughts that I do from time to time. Specifically, what are you currently doing to get those numbers? The answer is simple, I force myself every day to get off my ass and get on the phone. Actors in showbiz experience stage fright, while insurance agents experience phone fright..... It really boils down to being having some discipline, designing a plan and then IMPLEMENTING that plan without experiencing paralysis analysis. Will this marketing medium last forever? No!!!!!!! I am the type of person who thinks, plans and then act. I'm devising 3 or 4 other marketing campaigns right now and will implement those once I have everything in order.

As of right now I'm doing my own telemarketing to generate leads, while I visit clients and continue to sell online. I call for 5 hours a day EVERY DAY without missing a beat because I don't like going B2B, and I abhor those "networking functions" where members expect me to solicit my clients for pre paid legal services and everything under the sun.

I'm able to consistently generate 2 leads and hour, which means I'm working about 60 leads a week and get 2 or 3 deals. Most of the agents I know work around 20-30 leads and wonder why it is so hard to get 1-2 deal a week. I consider myself to give good phone.....meaning that I'm very comfortable talking on the phone with people and I use my knowledge of psychology and communication to ensure that I hit upon "marks" that I hit every call to generate rapport, trust and honesty. I'm not the pushy, used-car salesman you might expect although I am quite blunt with people as I like to rattle the cage and help people to think outside the box.

I work a standard 40 hour week and consider myself lazy at times, as it is to easy to take a longer lunch when you made a very nice sale in the morning. You need the discipline to sit down and take a hard look at what you're doing right, and more importantly, what you're doing wrong. Continue with what works and modify what doesn't work and then try again.

Between now and the end of the year I'm going to revise my business plan, complete a marketing plan and then implement one thing at a time once I have the cash flow is more stable.

On a side note, I recently found out about a telemarketing system that I believe has potential, Rather than go into all of the specifics, feel free to visit my friend, John at his website to learn more of the details.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

New State Addition

I learned a very valuable lesson today. I need to ensure that I prep potential clients about what is going to happen when I schedule a first-in appointment and we both determine that it is best to look at all the options. My biggest pet peeve is when people don't return my phone calls or e-mails. I'm the type of guy that prefers closure one way or another. I rather somebody tell me to hit the road so I don't have to analyze things as much. I haven't done a face to face appointment in a while and my lack of preparedness showed. I won't make that mistake again.

I was able to salvage the appointment I missed yesterday due to helping a client fill out an application. Unfortunately, or should I say, fortunately for me the prospect told me that she applied for state assistance today. HaHa, that's not a good sign. She thought it would be a good idea to wait a few weeks until she gets a response and I couldn't have agreed more with her. I had a feeling she wasn't a strong prospect from the get go, but I like to "know for sure" so I don't experience the.........I should have done this or that that crop up into my mind.

On a positive note I have made plans to add a new state to my territory, as well as a few contract changes. After talking back in forth with a Regional Director at BlueCross BlueShield down in South Carolina and her superiors I have been given the green light to get a non-resident appointment with the company. In order to keep the contract I need to submit 40 deals by May 2008, which is 1.5 deals a week if I start next week. I talked to a good friend about this opportunity and he conveyed that might be difficult considering my current production or 2-3 deals a week. All I could say is that I will find a way to make it work. BCBS in my humble opinion is one of the easier insurance carriers to sell due to their name brand recognition. I look at it like this. I consider BCBS to be the honda civic of insurance. Quality product that is affordable and well known to the public. My primary carrier is in the Ferrari class due to being the most expensive, not having the name brand recognition, but they have GREAT VALUE and I'm not the "I can beat that rate type of guy." I don't like price shoppers because they are the first to complain about something.......

The importance of becoming appointed with BCBS in SC is that I OWN THE BUSINESS, they pay great commissions, the plans are good overall and they have strong name brand recognition. I would have had to go through a brokerage had it non been to working out this deal and I was not willing to do that since I'm a control freak and I don't trust working with brokerages because my experience is that they are a pain in the ass, but more importantly, they own the business should I decide to leave. "Ok, so let me get this right.....I work my ass off, move down to SC and get my contact, but the brokerage keeps my renewals and have the opportunity to switch my clients over to another carrier." No dice!

So, that brings the tally up to 4 states that I sell in (MD, VA, PA and SC). I was told the top rep last year sold 500 applications, which is very impressive. 500 X $3000 AV (My average AV level) yields $1,500,000 AV per year. At 20% annualized I'd net $300,000.
I know that I can successfully obtain 10-20 applications a week myself and I look forward to sharing my success with all of you throughout the next year!

I have also decided that I'm going to get all my own contracts now with the top three carriers (Golden Rule, Assurant and BCBS, followed by Aetna and Unicare when applicable) and I'm in the process of putting together a training manual that I should have had when I started, to help me focus my efforts and prepare things accordingly when I decide to take on agents. I'm still going to be doing business as usual up here in good ole MD, but I need something to motivate me outside of my normal channels and I LOVE training.

I'm off to get some reading done. Have a good night folks and thanks for reading my blog...........Livin La Vida Loca!!!!!!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Good Times

UPDATE: I'm kicking ass and taking names. It's amazing how a diet change, some discipline, techno music and good old fashioned hard work can pay off. I have completely changed my diet recently and have been eating healthier. I'm almost done to the weight I was at when I joined the military 8 years ago. I have also cut off coffee and substituted it with Jack and Coke. Makes telemarketing a lot more pleasant :)

This week has been the best week I have experienced to date and there are still a few days left. I changed my telemarketing script this week and it is working wonderfully. My goal is to usually call 45 numbers in an hour without getting too bored off my ass and obtain 2 leads to work. I'm now average 1 appointment an hour vs. 2 leads and THIS HAS MADE A HUGE difference in my confidence level, as well as my ability to get the job done NOW!!!!

My goals haven't changed much, I just no longer count leads in the manner as before and have devised a system that makes it easier for me to track where each client is in the sales cycle. I have also set up the system that even if I do not meet one goal, I can hit the 2nd highest goal with helps to sustain my energy and enthusiasm. I only talked with one rude guy this week out of hundreds and I think part of that has to do with my change of attitude on the phone. Just today I had 4 appointments scheduled and sold one of them. The first and 2nd appointments were both no-shows, while the 3rd one netted a client a wonderful HSA plan. Unfortunately I missed the 4th appointment because the application took A LOT longer than expected, so I'm going to try and salvage that one tomorrow.

I have yet to hit my target goal of $20,000 AV per week, but I have a strong feeling that I'm getting closer. After I got done working tonight at 8:30 p.m. (evening appointments are strong if they show up) I started thinking about my potential once I can start to dump some serious money into advertising on a weekly basis and outsource my telemarketing efforts.

On a side note, I experienced my first claims issue with a client this week and was able to resolve the issue with the support of a good friend and quite a few calls to the insurance company. My client had visited a doctor who worked for a practice that was part of the network, yet the doctor did not accept the network (largest in the mid-atlantic area) so the charges were considered out of network. This just goes to show how important it is to verify that your doctor accepts the insurance network with a particular carrier. She will not be making the mistake again and we talked about how to ensure this does not happen again. She thanked me for kindly reminding her about the importance of verifying everything. When in doubt, call me because that is what I get paid to do.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Licensed To Insure

I'm happy to say that I'm back and better than ever. August was a major PITA, but September is rocking. I have been focusing 100% of my efforts lately on finding cheap ways to market, as well as the usual telemarketing. Once the temperature raises slightly above HELL I will incorporate some B2B. Ahhh, I LOVE Fall.

After listening to a good friend of mine have success with local marketing, I finally cracked myself and said "Screw It." Even if I'm only in MD for another year or two, it would be stupid to not get back into networking and building up the agency. I now have a new routine that I recently implemented that incorporates daily exercise, reading, relaxation and business. I have been sleeping a lot better lately, which tells me I'm on the right track. I have gotten rid of every negative thing I can think of except taxes and things are going smoothly. I have a 80% chance of making 2 deals tomorrow, so that should net me about $4200 AV for the week. 16,000 more to go....

I also took the liberty of picking out the color, features, etc. of my Mercedes and have the pleasure of looking at the car every day on my desktop (see above picture) to keep me motivated and focused. I think there are essentially 3 keys to success not including educational resources. These attributes have helped me in the past.

1) Unwavering determination..... If somebody says you can't, you tell them to get lost and watch!

2) Strong social support - Jargon back from my psychology days that essentially means that the people you associate with provide encouragement and support without being negative. Conversing with other successful people also helps a lot.

3) Strong visual, behavioral and/or physical cues- Pictures, scents, breathing, stretching, exercise, day dreaming, all provide methods to keep you going in times of adversity.

I'm also happy to report that I am learning towards moving down to the Columbia, SC area. I plan to visit the area next spring to determine if the feel is right. You can analyze data until your blue in the face, but I'm a strong advocate that something needs to feel "right" and the only way to to do that is to experience it.

I'm particularly interested in the Lake Murray area, as my 5 year goal is to purchase a house on a lake. A sample of the type of house I like can be found here . It has mostly everything I wanted, with the exception of a pool and an immigrant earning $12 p/h filling my pool with those small Evian bottles you find in the grocery store. For all my liberal friends, you know I'm just joking........I'd never pay $12 an hour......

Believe me, nothing would be more satisfying to me then sitting outside having a kick-ass barbecue, combined with some beverages and a bit of water sports. Figure out a way to build a slide from the second story to the lake or pool and I'm golden. Every time I feel like sitting in my butt and not doing anything productive, I dive head first into the water and get back to work.

Until next time........

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

My Favorite Season

It's been a few weeks since I last posted so allow me the chance to share with you what has been going on my world. The last few weeks I have been in a sales slump and haven't made much progress towards my weekly goal of $20,000 AV. I would say that not only did the shit hit the fan, but it hit the fan and then went after me and I could barely muster enough strength to come up for air. The good thing about my approach to life is that I usually bounce back twice as determined. I'm a Scorpio so it is easy for me to get emotional about things. The perils of being passionate I suppose. Each of us has our ups and downs and I'll be the first to say that selling is an awful like a drug addiction. You have the greatest feeling in the world when you make a sale and then flies won't even land on you when you're down because they have better things to do. I went out and bought a can of Raid and motivated myself the usual way..........Jack Daniels baby!!! Just kidding......

Recap, August was my worst month to date! But now it's September and fall is my favorite season. Time to put away the Tommy Bahama and break out the sweaters and khaki's.. Throw some eggnog in starting mid October and then bam....... turkey, Christmas lights, snow, the holidays and New Years Eve.

I have some great news to share with all of you though. I just saved a ton of money on my car insurance....What do you say...Exactly, who cares!!!!!!! I just spoke with a rep from the American College up in PA and she told me that they now have a 3 year program that allows people to complete the courses at their leisure and make monthly payments instead of paying $4000+ up front. Works for me where do I sign? I'll be receiving the information shortly and plan to I start the program in October. I have found that I stay the happiest when I keep the momentum going and continue to stay busy. The happiest I have been was when I was pulling in 60-80 hour weeks and managed to unwind on the weekends. I had never even been to a happy hour until I was 26 or so. I rather make money then drink and wonder how I am going to make money.

So, starting shortly I will be conducting business as usual, but 9-11 will be spent on earning the ChFC designation. I need to complete 8 courses and expect that to take me 8-16 months depending upon how fast I can learn the material. I have 5 months to complete each course, but I highly doubt it will take that much time. We shall see if that changes once I get my first course in the mail. I generally like to have a clear picture of my goal before venturing down a path, which leads to my final thoughts.....

I have also been thinking about the direction I want to take my agency and have decided upon a path, although I'm still pondering moving or now. Right now I'm in MD for at least the next year, but I feel very strongly that I will move somewhere within the next few years....As for my agency, the focus of the agency will be financial planning that specializes in retirement planning and estate planning for small business owners. I'm getting together with a friend of mine in a few weeks who has been kind enough to take me under his wing and mentor me in the life/disability insurance areas of insurance as he presently is doing things I respect and admire. It is going to be a blast!

I'll keep you up to date as things progress.......

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Hard Lesson Learned

This week I lost $1700 worth of sales I made last week. Long story short, both clients have pending applications and have not returned my phone calls in over a week. That is never a good sign. BOTH of them were internet leads from VA. I don't like to assume anything without getting the facts, but here is what I think happened.

Mr. Slick Agent came in and found out what plans I put them in and used whatever methods he or she utilized to sell them a plan with a lower premium. I ONLY sell the best of the best plans based on some specific criteria. I will only sell the bottom of the barrel plans when all options have been exhausted. It is a shame that people sign up for plans simply because the premium is 10%-25% lower. Most of the plans these people sign up for that are cheaper have more holes in them then swiss cheese. The savvy person would ask themselves, "why is this plan so much cheaper and what am I giving up?" The less than savvy client will say, "WOW, I get the same benefits but the premium is that much lower, sign me up..." Yep, a smooth talking agent triumphs. You cannot fix stupid!!!

I was only able to put together one deal this week so that put my AV in right at $2000. I had a few appts. lined up for this week that would have netted me about $15,000 AV, but they both did not show up for the appt., nor did they return my message or e-mails. One of those clients would have been able to save about $10,000+ per year based on some of my ideas. Do you think if I was able to save YOU $10,000 you might take 10 minutes to hear what I have to say????????? 99% of intelligent people I think would be glad to give me 10 minutes. The other 10% are the X factor.....These normally include engineers and accountants. Here is something to think about. Imagine somebody came up to me or you and asked what I do for a living. Which response below to do you think is the best, worst, etc.????????

1) I'm an insurance agent.
2) I own a life and health insurance agency.
3) I specialize in helping small business owners increase their bottom line by paying for their medical expenses with pre-tax dollars, while increasing their net worth in a tax-free account.
4) I will sell you the largest commisioned plan available because I want to purchase an Austin Martin DB9 and I need the money....
5) I sell value and can lease anything you want. Would you like to lease an insurance plan? You can trade it in when you're ready to get a different one!

The upcoming week is going to be awesome....Until next time.........

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Turn Back the Clock

Last week produced some GREAT results but alas, it is Monday. Unfortunately, I did not hit my mark of $20,000 AV, but if it was easy that wouldn't be as fun. After some tricky underwriting issues with one of my clients and an insurance carrier I ended the week with $8500 AV, so I should be seeing $1700 for my work that week once everything is approved. If I kept that pace going every week I would gross $88,400 for the year. Not a bad income by normal standards.

This week I really have to ramp up production if I'm going to hit my goals in the next year. As I stated in an earlier post I am no longer buying internet leads. My short term goal is to commit to telemarketing at least 5 hours a day generating 8-10 leads. That will yield me approximately 48-60 leads. Using conservative numbers I expect 3-4 deals a week at an average $3000 AV that should gross me $15000 AV or $3000 a week in gross income. Now we're talking. Just $5000 short of my weekly goal. Hmmmm, can I work on Sunday as well :).

I have designed a new script and will be implementing that just as soon as I get up tomorrow morning. I am now officially back in Maryland so I look forward to competing with a few friends. Usually it takes about 20 or so hours to ascertain if a script is working so I should know enough by weeks end to find out what needs to be tweaked. The script will strictly be used by me until it no longer viable.

This past weekend I contemplated the direction of the agency within the next year and 5 years down the road. I thought about hiring agents, fine-tuning the focus of the agency to include other avenues besides health insurance (estate planning, retirement planning, etc.), try to figure out what the hell happened to Alf and MacGyver, how far away is universal health care and how will that impact me.....yadda, yadda, yadda, have a another drink!

Then I had an epiphany. "STOP worrying about the what-if's and focus on personal production for the time being. Who really gives a shit about Alf except people like me who are obesessed with the 80's." If I can reach me goal of $20,000 AV a week and gross $4000-$5000 per week, why the hell should I teach somebody to do the same but only net about 1/4 of the money and have 3 times as many headaches? I did the standard Ben Franklin Close on myself and put all the pros and cons together on one sheet of paper. The results..........I'm simply not prepared right now to take on agents without sacrificing my personal production and other goals. I will hire agents down the road, but it will not be until I get some things done first.

Here's to a good week.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Achieving Success

Thus far this week has been going very well for me. I have put in $9500 AV this week and it is only Wednesday! $500 AV more and I reach my minimum production goal, another $10,500 and I will reach my top goal for the week.

Right now I am in the process of developing my website. I thought about hiring somebody to design my website for me until I came to the conclusion that I like to be in control, and it is also a nice break from the insurance business. I am currently using Blue Voda and expect the site to be completed within 2-3 weeks.

The last few days have been spent revamping my marketing campaigns and deciding which avenues I will pursue. Thus far I have been working internet leads for the past 3 months and that has stopped recently due to a variety of reasons. In case you don't know, internet leads are primarily comprised of people who either went online searching for quotes for health insurance, or they were solicited via a banner or e-mail and they they filled out a form to receive more information. Here is what I have learned thus far from that working with those types of leads. Internet leads are profitable, but they are a pain in the ass for the following reasons.

1) Approximately 70% of the leads I received failed to produce any form of verbal communication. In other words, out of 100 people I was only able to talk to 30 people.

2) Of those 30 people, 28 were either broke or uninsurable due to health conditions.

3) On every call that I was successful in talking with a prospective client I was competing against 3-6 other agents from various parts of the country. Normally I could care less about the competition because I know how to put the ball in my court. However, when you dealing with agents who will lie and cheat people to get a deal because their car payment is due, it kinda puts a damper on your approach to business if you are ethical.

4) It could take weeks to get in contact with somebody and that does sap your energy as the weeks continue.

This is not to say that internet leads are bad because they do produce a profit. It is just the mental energy you have to continually produce to put up with it is quite taxing. For the time being, I will not work any more internet leads and have decided to get back to the basics of producing my own leads via cold calling. I aim start to hire a few girls to increase my telemarketing efforts in September. Here are my conservative numbers based on my production alone.

I WILL get a minimum of 10 leads a day cold calling in a few areas I have targeted on the east coast.

I WILL work my way up to getting 3 appointments a day.

I WILL get work my way up to getting one sale a day for 6 days a week (Monday-Saturday).

I estimate that it will take 20 leads to get one deal. At an average $3500 AV that will yield me $10,500 AV for the week netting me between $2100 - $2625. At a standard 40 hour work I will gross $52.50 - $65.62 p/hour.

If I can produce 10 leads a day for 6 days a week I should produce approximately 60 leads getting me halfway to my goal. Taking that number and multiplying by 2.5 (built in BS factor) tells me that I need to find a way to get 150 leads a week. I have a few ideas how to get there but it's going to take some time.

I'm off........

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Can You Hear Me Now?

Before I explain where I'm at now I think it is important for all of you to know where I came from.

I lived in Frederick, MD from 1990-1999 and enjoyed a great upbringing. Although you might say I was a late bloomer, when the bloom did occur it surprised me, as well as most of people who knew me back then. If there was something stupid to be done, I was there with an eager face. During my junior-senior year in high school I made a myriad of bad decisions and I did not have many short and long term goals. Many of my friends at the time were going down a road that I did not want to continue on. After much debate I decided that it would be best for me to get off my ass and do something with my life, so I stunned everybody who knew me when I decided to enlist in the USAF. My grandfather was in the Army, my close uncle is an Army Lt. Col (retired) and my father served in the USAF back during Vietnam. I figured if the service helped to mold their character to become strong, dependable guys, perhaps it would so the same for me. Learn a new career field, do some traveling, protect the country…….the fun stuff!

I joined the USAF and shipped out for basic training on September 1, 1999. To truly understand the environment I was entering and how it might impact me, I’d like you consider the following. Prior to joining the service, I was a punk-rocker, complete with multiple Mohawk haircuts and then I let the hair grow out and I transitioned into the Techno sub-culture. I have always had an issue with authority, although I view it now as being strong-willed and independent. Being quiet was never one of my strong points.

Needless to say, I quickly learned to shut the hell up and do what was necessary to make it in the military. I served on active duty from 1999-2003 as a videographer. I had the pleasure of working with the USAF, NASA, as well as a host of other organizations in which I performed a variety of duties that resulted in numerous national and international awards given to me for my role in the instructional and educational videos I help produce. I started to pursue my AA in Liberal Arts in the fall of 2000 and my goal at the time was to either go to film school after my enlistment ended or continue in the field working on video productions as a civilian.

With only two years left in the military 9/11 occurred and that changed my life forever. I felt scared, angry, but most of all, I was very concerned for my friends and family members back in Maryland since the Pentagon was attacked and nobody knew what the hell was going on. I volunteered to do my part and expressed a high level of interest to go overseas and take care of business Jersey style. My wish finally came true in the fall of 2002 when I received orders to complete a short 3-6 month tour in Bosnia working with the Royal Air Force, USAF, USARMY and Special Forces. I was psyched out and couldn’t wait to leave. After completing training and waiting about 5 months I received some bad news. A day before I left for Bosnia I was told that my orders had been cancelled. I never did get an answer as to the specific reason, but suffice it to say I was told by a close friend; who happened to be one of the best mentors I have had the pleasure of knowing, that some ASSHOLE got my orders cancelled because he was more concerned about kissing a General’s ass and making rank and wanted to take all the glory. Apparently, having me over there competing against him for the attention of the brass was not an option. In all honesty, although I received many awards for my accomplishments and still keep them to this day, I couldn’t give two shits about winning awards at the time. I merely wanted to do my part and I had yet to go overseas. I guess that’s what happens when an E-7 competes against an E-4. I liked the guy up until that point. That is the unofficial story. Shortly after I decided to get out of the military in August of 2003. I started to pursue my B.S. in Psychology and work towards obtaining my doctorate in psychology and become a therapist.

From 2003-2005, I busted ass yet again, except this time I was a civilian. I became a 3.2+ student and succeeded in becoming the Psychology Board President, as well as serving on the Student Psychology Advisory Board. All my military training had finally paid off J Long story short, I made it all the way to being interviewed by the graduate school I applied to and it did not work out at the way I had intended. The college I really want to attend did not fit my personal style mainly because the Dean of Psychology and I did not see eye to eye and I found out that I wasn’t ready to pursue that route after all. Better late than never you know. I was rejected from grad school, and yet again, wondered what the hell I was going to do.

I decided at the time that I would only pursue my goal of becoming a therapist when I had the ability to pay cash for my degree and do a bit more research when selecting a college. I still love psychology, but now I read articles pertaining to the science for fun instead of grades. I completed a full 180 and decided to get into a field I had always wanted to try, but never attempted. I became part of the sales force. Yep, the love for sales professionals goes hand in hand with IRS Agents and people who talk on their cell phone during movies.

In the past 2 years I have sold mattresses, gutter/windows and overpriced basement systems. Although I came from a blue collar town, home improvement is not my forte. If it is broken, my motto is to call somebody. Quite interesting considering my father and grandfather were quite the handy men. After talking with a good friend of mine from high school who started his own business in the publishing world he recommended that I pursue something I could sell to people with similar goals/views as my own. That meant I needed a base of clients who exuded confidence, ambition, energy, and a unflinching desire to succeed. So, either my clientele would be exotic dancers or small business owners. My mother probably wouldn’t have been too happy with the former, so I chose the latter. That left my choices to become a financial planner, investment advisor or an insurance agent. When I started off with my first sales job as a mattress sales guy I was offered a position as a manager with my own store after a month of working. I probably would have made around $60,000 per year if I stayed. At the time, a friend of mine was making a killing selling gutters/windows so that is avenue I took until I realized that I;m not the handy man type. Needless to say, I pondered the next action. I received a few offers to become a financial planner, but decided to become an insurance agent because the company I signed up with made it seem like I could easily make $100,000+ a year. If making that amount of money was easy more people would be at that level. I was nowhere close to that level, but that job did help get me into the field and I haven't looked back since. If any of you have an idea what it takes to make 6 figures, allow me the chance to share some facts with you.

According to the Dept. of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) found here, the median income of a general family physician is approximately $137,000. If you take into account the amount of education needed to obtain a doctorate and the price of that education needed to attain such an income level, it paints a clear picture. A highly sought occupation, combined with extensive achievement in the academic world leads to a higher than normal income. Lawyers are in a similar bracket, although the prestige isn’t quite there yet. But here’s the kicker, take a wild guess about the number of doctors who graduate each year and have 6 figure tuition bills due??????????? Feel free to use a search engine at this point.

Now for the good news! The average insurance agent makes $41,000 a year according to the OOH ( The average 2 person family in MD earns approximately $74,000 per year ( There is an estimated 90% failure rate in the health/life insurance industry w/in the 1st year. Of the 10% who are left, 5% enjoy a nice modest income of around $41,000, while the remaining 5% earn in excess of $100,000+. The top 2% earn more than $250,000+ a year. I only know of a few friends in the insurance field who are at that level or higher. Your ability to boast about your success in the insurance field is largely determined by the car you drive. The majority of agents drive a leased BMW or Mercedes that they cannot afford. I drive a Lincoln Towncar, but then again I am originally from New Jersey. In agent terms your Annualized Volume (AV) is the gauge of how successful you are at 1st glance. Roughly speaking, the agent who turns in $200,000 - $250,000 AV in a given year averages $48,000 per year, so suffice it to say that agents who earn in excess of $250,000 pull in $1,000,000 - $1,250,000 AV per year.

My short term goal is to produce $500,000 in sales+ level w/in 2 years and $1,000,000 within 5 years. I LOVE insurance and truly believe that I am providing a valuable service to my clients. The ability to make very good money, while protecting the financial and health interests of small business owners is an appealing occupation to me and IT IS THE direction I want to go in my life. I currently only sell health insurance, although I’m licensed to sell life insurance but do not focus much on that side of things yet. I operate in MD, DC, VA, WV and PA right now. I started my agency January 1, 2007 and have experienced the ups and down of being a small business owner. Suffice it to say, I’m now starting to see the fruits of my labor. It takes me about a month to ascertain the availability of health insurance plans of a new state, so you can count on seeing a longer list by this time next year.

This blog has been created to share my experiences with all of you as I grow the agency. Here is the general outline for the next year entailing the goals I aim to accomplish by December 2008.

1) Become the agency for small business owners to turn to for their life, health and disability insurance needs in the Mid-Atlantic area initially; and nationally down the road.

2) Design a new website and start to brand the name of that site here in the Mid-Atlantic area, as well as the name of my agency (Due to confidentiality, the name of the agency will be omitted from any posts due to business and personal reasons).

3) Focus on personal production and become a million dollar producer by writing quality business and maintaining the highest ethical standards.

4) Start towards earning the coveted CLU and ChFC designations (for more information on these designations follow this link to increase my areas of expertise and credibility.

5) Obtain a physical office location by December 2008.

6) Hire new insurance agents and teach them to be health insurance experts in their geographical location (All agents will operate under the agency name until I see fit to change that approach).

7) Team up with other financial professionals and offer at least 4 seminars within the next year geared towards small business owners and the general population.

8) Buy an investment property.

9) Purchase an S Class Mercedes by August 2008.

10) Determine the next state I would like to move to within the next 1-2 years.

I appreciate the time you have taken to read this blog and look forward to hearing all of your thoughts and suggestions in the future. I assure you that this will be longest post I write. Throughout the next year I will keep track of every facet of my business and keep all of you abreast about my progress.

The easiest way to keep track of this blog and any other blogs is to set up a account. It’s FREE and I highly recommend it.

I aim to provide an insight into my world and share the good, as well as the bad, while trying to keep everything light. I already know that most people would rather get audited by an IRS agent, while having a doctor perform a colonoscopy, then talk to an insurance agent, so in the immortal words of one of my former military mentors, “JR, GET OFF YOUR ASS AND SET THE STANDARD”

Operation HAS commenced!!!!!!!!!!!!!