My journey to creating Medicare Millionaire has been a somewhat long and somewhat eventful. In order to find some sort of direction and following the trend of military service in my family, I joined the US Navy at age 18 (almost every male in my family; my brother, father, uncles, grandfather and two of my children have served in the military). Upon leaving the Navy I begrudgingly worked a union job for a few years. I simply had no desire to be part of the traditional workplace. Although, it’s easy to see how people fall into the routine of a paycheck, and virtually guaranteed employment.
I was first licensed as a life and health insurance agent in 1989. This overlapped my union job for about one year, then it was off to the races as a full-time insurance agent. I worked extremely hard and was moderately successful. The primary problem was in the early years of my sales career I had not one person that really told me what I needed to do. There were many suggestions and much training, but little in the way of “strong” guidance or mentoring. I’ve learned in hindsight; a good leader isn’t afraid to knock somebody down a peg or two in order to ultimately help them.
What I really needed was someone to tell me to shut up and listen. It’s ironic, but in hindsight, I think I was so full myself that I wasn’t capable of wholly listening and taking instruction from others. So, this was the source of the less than stellar performance as an agent. I was able to carve out a living and experience some big wins. A good analogy is that of a golfer who plays 18 holes of mediocre golf but has one or two drives where the ball just whistles off the tee and travels 300 yards. It makes it all worthwhile.
I worked hard and established a decent business working out of my home office. One of my clients, a mortgage company, offered to set me up as a partner in an insurance agency to complement their mortgage business. This was a good opportunity and it was successful. However, the mortgage side of the business was a much more lucrative opportunity and I found myself quickly managing a top performing mortgage origination branch for that company.
In the years following I found that I was able to quickly open an office, take on the overhead liability, recruit, train, personally produce, and be very successful. I had found my niche. It’s often said, you learn what you teach, this turned out to be very true for me. I believe that most people will rise to the occasion when given the opportunity to do so. Unfortunately, many never really go after that opportunity.
This was all well and good until the end of 2006. This was the real beginning of the real estate crash. Buyers for mortgage backed obligations starting disappearing. The company I worked for and had built the highest producing origination team in my region, was the first to suffer the consequences of the pending crash. Over the next three years I worked for five mortgage companies and they all disappeared. It was a bloodbath! These weren’t no-name companies either, instead a who’s who of the industry three in the top ten, and one; the biggest (these being WAMU, Countrywide, American Home Mortgage).
After experiencing financial chaos, I finally realized I could go back to what I knew so well. Selling insurance; it was like riding a bicycle. I got my license, after feeling things out I ended up in one of America’s largest senior insurance and financial planning companies. I was more than ready and within 9 months, I think faster than any new agent in that company, I was an equity partner in a new sub-corporation of the company.
This all happened very, very fast. After a year plus of running that new business, I realized working in a captive agency was a dead end. There was more than just a feeling of not being in control, I was reminded of it constantly and I was well aware that I did not own my business. The carrot and the stick! That was sort of a corporate mantra. So, I left! The agency I left was well positioned to go forward and be successful and so was I.
I immediately started building a great agency. After some time, the company I previously worked for came knocking at the door with the Non-Compete I signed. After a costly challenge, I found a Non-Compete is very enforceable if a company chooses to spend the money to enforce it. This was my fault, I signed the document and was bound by the agreement contained within. This leads to the dissolution of my agency and put me in a position where I had to recreate a new business model to survive two years of this enforcement. I did, it was not easy and it pretty much wore me down. This combined with several other unexpected events (including an injury that left me paralyzed for a short period of time; thank God that passed) lead me to the point that I was tired of the business and just sort of coasted.
Amazingly, as a result of my ability to very effectively sell senior insurance products, my renewals had pretty much put me in a position that I was able to go through these difficult times. When I was recovering from my injury, which put me out for several months, I didn’t have to worry about income. This would not have been possible if I had been selling traditional life or other insurance products. The senior insurance market has been a lifesaver for me several times. It’s the greatest business I know of and it has led me to this point in time.
There is a formula to building a successful senior insurance business. This includes everything from product mix to sales techniques to systems and structure. When it all comes together, it becomes not only a cash-cow but also, a very stable, easily managed, recession proof business. Most importantly, the renewals are absolutely outstanding.
Through much introspective thought, I realize that my motivation has changed over time. As a younger man, I was out to prove I could be a great salesperson. Now, I no longer feel the need to prove anything to anybody. I think as we grow older we care a little less about what others think, thankfully. I realize that I’m more motivated by helping others achieve success and in doing so finding inspiration to push forward and reach my own personal goals.
This is a very exciting time for me. It’s a time where I’m highly motivated as I haven’t been in years to both rebuild my agency as well as help others build their own successful business. These are my goals and every day I methodically move forward and realize the fulfillment of these goals.