Scratch It…Submitting to the Process
Let me start with a little background on my career to this point. I was an agent for a captive commercial company right out of college and worked there for almost 10 years. Through a series of circumstances, I left the insurance industry altogether. I tried my sales and marketing hand in a lot of different industries and after running into dead end after dead end, I decided to resurrect my insurance career and open an agency from scratch. I had been out of the game for over eight years, and I don’t think I need to tell you that a lot has changed in that time. (Can we say InsurTech?)
As I pondered on my commitment to this publication for weeks now, I decided the best value I can share with you is the journey of starting a scratch agency. The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.
So, what does that even mean? SCRATCH…AGENCY.
When I think of the word scratch, the first thing that comes to mind for me is cooking. It means taking basic raw ingredients, blending them together to make something spectacular. My grandmother never followed a recipe, and I was always amazed at how everything she cooked for us turned out so amazing (or maybe that’s just how I remembered it). She made everything from scratch. But what we never saw were all the times that it didn’t turn out so great. All the times that the dogs wouldn’t even eat it. She had learned through series of successes and failures, trials and errors, luck and art, basic knowledge blended with experience, on how to make amazing food from scratch. I don’t know that the insurance business is any different.
What is an “expert” anyways? Well, according to the internet (it has to be true): “An expert is somebody who has a broad and deep competence in terms of knowledge, skill and experience through practice and education in a particular field.”
I may not be an expert in the intricacies of our industry yet, but I have started an agency from scratch. I have made mistakes. I have learned a ton. And we are having some level of success. So I guess that makes me qualified to some degree to share with you my experience, does it not?
Here is what I can tell you that I am an expert in. Submitting to the process. Anyone who has ever done anything great has had to go through a process. Why should a scratch agency be any different? Just know there are some things you can only learn from experience. When you submit to the process, you don’t beat yourself up for making a mistake, you cherish it. Do I want to make mistakes as a business owner? No. They can be and usually are expensive. But I’m so glad when I do. Because now, I have an opportunity to learn something. You win or you learn. That’s how anyone has become great at anything — by learning from their mistakes.
That is how you submit yourself to a process. You willingly submit to knowing it’s going to take time, you know it’s going to be challenging, understanding there will be some painful (and often expensive) lessons, and you know that everyone you look up to in this industry has gone through the same process.
Willingly submit to that process, because you will me be a much better agent and agency owner because of it.
J.C. Wogomon is the founder and president of Catalyst Insurance Group, located in Greenwood, IN. He is an 11-year veteran of the insurance industry and has a deep passion for using the powerful financial vehicle of insurance to make a positive impact in his community. Catalyst Insurance Group partners with organizations in the community who either help elevate the human condition or support our military veterans and first responders. They use their platforms to promote these organizations and then they donate a portion of every dollar in revenue to help support them.
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