Entering the family insurance agency as a full-time employee can have a bit of an eerie feeling.
Many of us grew up helping around the agency maybe with filing or cleaning. But once you set foot in the agency knowing this isn’t just a summer job anymore, it’s your career. Things change.
You have probably heard the comments like: “you’ve gotta cut your teeth before you work on that” or maybe you overhear a conversation where someone is bragging the agency has some “young blood.”
Maybe that was just the talk in my crazy agency?
Despite the eeriness, deciding to join your family agency can and should be one of the greatest moves of your life. I know it was for me.
Joining the agency did come with its share of struggles. The biggest was being treated as “the kid.”
To me, it felt a bit like sitting at the kid’s table at the big family reunion.
I wanted to move up to the adult table, where the decisions are made, strategies planned and ultimately how the business is run and grown.
Hopefully, you can shorten your time at the kid’s table.
My path took longer than I wanted as I’m sure yours will.
For me, it all started with making small bets on things I saw potential in.
Something to keep in mind, these small bets happened outside of “normal business hours.” I was too busy cutting my teeth to try anything new or exciting during the 9 to 5.
Making Your First “Small” Bet
For me it was seven years ago back in 2011.
I decided to create a website for the agency. Using a very inexpensive hosting plan and a template WordPress theme I got started. (I tried to retrieve a picture of the site but no luck.) It looked pretty similar to the template shown here.
Creating a website was more of a time suck than an actual benefit to GRBM. Mainly because no one knew about our website and we had no visitors except me.
Even though that’s how I got started, I would not recommend taking on a website project right out of the gate.
Regardless of what you decide, starting a project and seeing it through to completion is a big step towards earning the respect of the adult table.
In my opinion, the first step in moving up in your family agency is: You outwork everyone.
This could be done in any number of ways, but the bottom line is no one should doubt your work ethic.
Be the first one into the office and last to leave.
LISTEN NEXT: Don’t Waste Your First Two Years
In all of the extra time, you put in you can start to own your small bets.
You know, those things that might not be called “work.” Things like creating content, marketing training, client communication plan, or any number of things that you believe will pay off.
Don’t worry, all the extra work you put in will pay off.
Not week one, or maybe not even by week ten. But stick with it, and the rewards will follow.
For me, it took nearly four years to see the results I wanted.
What is the first thing you should do to support your rogue after-hours project?
It could be a simple notebook, but I would recommend a google sheet.
A google sheet is what I still use to track many of my projects. It’s accessible on any device and synced across as people as necessary.
Documenting and tracking is nearly as critical as actually doing the work.
The reason for tracking is two-fold, but the main reason is without it you will get discouraged and want to give up on all the extra effort.
The second reason for tracking everything leads us to our next step:
Share and Explain Your Results to Leadership
Your leadership (aka family), might not understand why or even what you are doing but if you have results they’ll listen.
But probably only for a few minutes, so the more accessible you can communicate the results the better.
A twenty-page slide presentation is going to go over about as well as this guy.
Bottom line, having the proof that your work paid off allows you to inch closer to the adult table.
Now that you’ve gotten some positive results, and shared them with leadership, You should have earned enough respect to start making those small bets bigger.
Don’t get carried away with yourself. But maybe one hour a week for marketing during the 9 to 5.
Or $100 a month for a tool or training class.
Getting that buy-in even on something small is a building block to not only sitting at the adult table but one day claiming the seat at the head of the table. #Goals
Maybe everything is smooth sailing at your second, third or fourth generation agency.
Perhaps you are content with the status quo. But more likely if you took the time to read this article you are looking to advance your career and your agency.
I was fortunate to have an agency principal (aka my father) that let me crash and burn and learn lessons that hard way without being sent packing.
Sorry Pops for the month I burned big $$$ on Google Ads by not having the settings correct.
The Bottom Line
The insurance business is tough, combined with the family dynamic it can be nearly impossible.
However the insurance business is also incredibly rewarding, exciting and frankly the best career I could have found.
Accountability partners, Events like Elevate, or an occasional call to another agent can help talk you off the ledge and keep you on track to THRIVE in your family business.