I know what you’re thinking.
“This is going to be another one of those female- we’ve got the power articles” on how to blast through the barriers in which being a business owner and being a mother of has created for us.
Let me stop you right there, this is going to be the complete opposite of that.
Its the look behind the curtain at what it looks like for the female “mommytrepeneur” who just so happens to be using her entrepreneur mini van to sell and grow her insurance agency.
This might get ugly folks.
It’s hard enough being what we so lovingly call “millennials” in the insurance world.
What is even harder is being a female millennial in the insurance world. See, this business as I have referenced before was built on a firm handshake and a stiff drink. Business was done in swanky offices, bars, and dare I say it… on the golf course.
Now now before I lose every single male reader, I need to preface this with one thing. I thank you gentlemen for laying the foundation of this business for me to not only build my company on, but also allow me to teach my children what it looks like to hustle.
Ok did I make you feel warm and fuzzy enough for you to hang with us? Great.
Being a millennial mom comes with its share of challenges. Prime example, Pinterest. Who in God’s name invented an app where you can go and look at all of the crafts you will never have time to do? Sure sure… that handmade wreathe with glitter and appliques looks easy to do, but you know what’s easier? Buying the damn thing on Etsy.
Who has time for that?
So when you are a millennial mom imagine what it looks like to line up your daily expectations of being “MOM” alongside expectations set on us as “BUSINESS OWNERS”. It is quite frankly unfair. So what I have done here is give you a look into my world and the world of other insurance mom multi-taskers. Believe or not there are others out there besides me who “own their crazy” and who are looking just simply to be left alone in it instead of getting your opinion on how they lack balance.
So let’s dig in to some truths about being an Insurance Mommyprenuer and see if we can’t help each other through the struggle and maybe let you in to a little bit of our world? So pick up your glass of wine… I mean coffee… and put your helmet on.
Stop thinking you are going to magically find “Balance”
If I had a margarita for every time someone told me that I need to find balance in my life I would be nothing short of a New Orleans Mardi Gras parade.
I don’t think people realize what it takes to run a household, 4 kids, an insurance agency, a niche market brand, extracurricular activities, homework, dinner (or whatever I make that I like to call dinner), baths, bed, etc… you get the point.
Oh and yes… I will back up. Yes, I am a mother of 4. No I don’t know what I was thinking, yes they are adorable, and yes I like wine.
What I mean is balance is a difficult word with so many definitions.
In talking to a fellow insurance agent last week about her newborn baby and her new struggle to work from home on her agency in between nursing (oh yeah and doing this all with a baby attached to your chest is just for kicks), we discussed how unbelievably discouraging it is when someone simply tells you to find some balance. What I am finding is for a time in your agency life there just simply isn’t a thing.
I am what most call a career agent I am going on my 12th year as an agent and in my 3rd as an independent insurance agency owner. Finding anything remotely close to balance is something that is just not in the cards for me right now.
I am simply waking up every day and heading forward in every aspect of my life. It’s not going to be balanced and different things will be important at different times, but what I am realizing is that people, or even other insurance agents who say that to us “new guys”, have forgotten what it was like to be the Rise and Grind Model. We don’t blame you we just ask that you quit flipping telling us to find balance.
The only balance I find is the Balance Protein Bar that I eat somewhere between 10-3 depending on when I get to warm up my coffee for the 4th time.
Care about the Stuff and not about the Fluff
How many insurance conferences do we as agents go to on an annual basis? How much money do we spend on hotels, airfare, expensive dinners with our mentors (margaritas even), and the general expense to simply be out of town?
So you can imagine how difficult it is for a mom of 4 to get up and go out of town for a few days on business (not saying I don’t bolt out the door and scream hallelujah when it finally happens). Or even let’s say it’s not out of town and it’s a training call, whatever the case may be you are investing your time and money to be in attendance.
I want to give you permission to not read into the hype. I want to give you permission to say “hey I know I am new as an owner but..”, and most importantly I want to tell you how great it is for you to be picky with who you listen to. Take it from the expert in learning crap the hard way.
I encourage you to go after the STUFF and let the hype fade. When you are in those conferences or on those training calls pick up the juice and let go of the motivational mantra’s. Yes, motivation is important. However the processes in place and the tools that the inspiring speaker has used to get where they are is more important. If they can’t show you their success then you shouldn’t be listening to them.
And as a great friend once told me “a person who hustles should only be taking advice from a person that hustles”. It’s simple right? I fall victim to this often. Don’t be dazzled with a name. Throw to the wind the hypothetical and go after hard numbers from people who live it daily. Be dazzled with the content in which they are providing you. Take away the meat and leave the cotton candy.
A wise woman once said,
“Ain’t nobody got time for that.”
Be aware of the different level of burnout
If you haven’t bartered with a 1 1/2 year old in front of the pantry over fruit snacks while trying to collect auto insurance information for a new business client at 7 pm at night… then you might not be able to relate to this next segment.
Mom’s stress on a different level.
As a millennial insurance agent getting motivated is very rarely my issue. It’s the burn out that we face most. I can speak from my own experience but also for several others that I have had many a phone call with. The burnout is real.
I am a recovering burnout mommypreneur.
It has been 11 days since my last burnout and I am pleased to say I am hear with you today on the steps to recovery. What I am learning is there is a difference between the hustle and the straight up crazy.
The good part of the hustle is that when you are running on all cylinders taking care of kids, businesses, and making sure your pantry is fully stocked with Beauty and the Beast fruit snacks you are on point.
No one gets it done like you.
The downfall to it and the downward spiral to the “straight up crazy” is that you sometimes can completely lose yourself in worrying about meeting everyone elses’s expectations. You find yourself hearing from a good friend “you need to find some balance” (reference above for how I feel about that) and then a breathe later that friend is asking you to go out to drinks. This is not balance folks. Getting drinks with your friend when you have 118 emails in your inbox, kids at home that need dinner, and voicemails to return is not balance. It is damn near NEGLECT.
Neglect? Yes, that’s right… NEGLECT
As you are sitting there with your friend mulling over your day through the glass of a dirty martini knowing you have so much to do, you are internally stressing yourself out.
Tell me it isn’t real. Tell me I am not the only one who has done it and then kicked her own butt when she got home that night and wished she didn’t spend 2 hours with her friend, picked up both tabs (you know because we rollin’), and then pulled an all nighter because you have policies to bind.
Tell me I’m making this up.
So stop doing it. This one took me a while to get. In fact I am still a work in progress (oh snap I’m not perfect). However, I promise you this, I am done stressing myself out at the expense of others.
So say no a little more often and try to stay afloat and glide through the burnout. Every agency owner has at least one, let’s just see if we can help each other understand it a little bit more and quit cramming that Balance word down each others throats shall we?
Mrs. Jones ain’t that Fancy
I might lose some friends here.
As a new gal in the independent insurance agency owner world I find that I tend to get shiny object syndrome more than others. The custom created liquor branded bottles, logoed i phone cases, and the… dare I say it… BRANDED CHIP CLIPS!!!
The Mr & Mrs. Jones of the IA circuit are ever changing and so are the colors of their Rolex’s.
It’s like the mom’s at the gym. We all know they go there to escape their kids for just an hour. Don’t even lie Mom’s out there, you know you haven’t spend an hour on that rowing machine ripping through fake current. You have been there perusing facebook and catching up on your newest Pinterest Board.
Same thing in the IA game. Stop worrying about what everyone else is doing. You have no idea the struggle that they aren’t sharing. Just like that mom on the rowing machine that you are judging for being on her phone the whole time. She probably has triplets and 9 loads of laundry at home. Let the woman Pin.
I can’t tell you how many times I have looked at a veteran agent and thought “if I only had that” or “OOOOOO I need to implement that”. The reality of it is folks, it isn’t real. You have no idea what it took for those agents to get there. There might be some severely in debt because the idea of growing their “brand” with their agency was out of the question. Or they are in debt because they had to have the fancy new office space? Or excessive staff? Why would you want to follow that model?
Grow with your agency, and put those shiny object blinders up. It is the only way you will succeed and find your own style.
“Wrap it Up Erin”
The insurance world is ever growing and constantly adapting and I will be bold in saying that if you are not adapting with it then there will be a new millenial IA who will. We are hungrier, more motivated, and have the adaptation skills that it takes to live in this business.
On top of being a millennial, being a Mom business owner breeds a level of multi-tasking in which most don’t know exist. We don’t have time to waste on things like fluff as mentioned about.
We need to cut straight to the chase and we need to pay attention to our own lives. Part of the reason we as millenial mom’s actually struggle is because we are trying to live up to the expectations of “non millennial moms”. So stop listening.
Do the crazy every day. Lovingly scoot your kids out of your car as you drive away with a venti Starbucks white mocha, and most importantly do you with a crown on your head every day.
The burn out is real and if I have learned anything from it I have learned that it is more important to be honest and open about it then to pretend its not happening. So whether you are that millennial mommypreneur or you are someone on the outside trying to just simply understand what it’s like for the new breed of insurance agents coming up… I challenge you with this.
Be Raw, be real, and most importantly never ever run out of fruit snacks.
READ PART II
The story continues. Read it here below…