“The only thing in life I set the bar low for is limbo.” —Michael Scott

Let me set the stage…

You’re at an interview for a new job. Sitting across from you is the boss. They’re successful, put together, dressed to the nines—basically they’re in the position want to be in someday. You’re excited, eager and pumped to get started, change the world and kick some ass.

And then, the boss looks you straight in the eye and says, “You’re probably going to hate the first year of this job.”

Talk about being deflated. 

This is where your next move will make or break you. How will you let that statement affect you?

Know that it isn’t always going to be easy

The best thing my bosses ever did for me was to sit me down and honestly tell me that I probably wasn’t going to enjoy my first year working in insurance.

There are many things about my first year that I would struggle with—learning about an industry I knew nothing about; earning the trust and respect of clients and other agents; gaining the confidence needed to handle irate customers.

My supervisors didn’t give me false expectations of insurance being easy. They didn’t lead me to believe that I’d be able to kick back and watch the policies roll in. They were real with me.

Embrace the challenge

For those of you that don’t know me—I say this all the time—there is nothing I love more than a challenge (which I’m sure my bosses knew… well played on their part).

So, I took that honesty and used it as motivation to propel me forward in the insurance industry. I wanted to learn as much as I could and connect with clients as much as I could that first year.

Was it hard? Absolutely. There were people that would get upset when I didn’t know the answer right away. There were people that would say things like, “what do you know?” But in reality, no matter how much you know, no matter how nice you are, there will always be those people.

It’s the agents that are able to brush it off and move forward that make it.

A bit of advice

I reached out to some friends to ask them what advice or knowledge bombs they would give to a new agent entering the wonderful insurance industry – here’s what they had to say:

“This was from an early boss/mentor of mine, Brandon: ‘Find an underserved vertical, build a specialty program, be an expert and take great care of your customers.’” –Brett Fulmer, Insurance Broker, Roger Stone Insurance

“You are the product – NOT the insurance policy. Don’t be afraid to tell YOUR story. That’s what will separate you from the crowd.” –Woody Brown, Partner at The Rhoads Group

“Candidly, my father told me a policy sold is not a policy sold until the check is in your hand. What he really meant by that was the connection to your client is critical. Never take anything for granted. From the minute you get the lead and as long as they are your client, it is your job to provide the upmost of service to your client. By doing this, you set yourself apart from other agents and ensure a client always remains your client. That is my mantra. We want our clients to become a part of our family. I strive every day to achieve that.” —Meg Ashmead Pacella, Producer at Ashmead Insurance Associates

The challenge: I want to hear from you. Over the next few weeks, I will be featuring quotes from agents on my Instagram account. If you’re an experienced professional in the industry, share some advice. If you’re brand new to insurance, you might just find some advice that is truly inspiring.

As insurance agents, we help clients—but it’s just as important to help each other!

Author Ashley Fitzsimmons

Ashley Fitzsimmons is a millennial. An insurance nerd. And a self-proclaimed expert on dirty martinis. Living in Forest City, PA and having been in the insurance industry since graduating college in 2010, she's excited to have an outlet to express her enthusiasm about the insurance world!

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