Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Reality of Owning a Business

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to go to a seminar entitled, "Monetize Your Message" that Fabienne Fredrickson of Client Attraction.Com put on.     I've been following her for about a year and a half and love all the nuggets she gives about running a business.     What I love about her is that she is real, honest, humble, and full of integrity.     

Fabienne put on a great seminar and it has been a dream of mine to not only meet her, but take advantage of one of her programs.   The dream of meeting her in person came true this week, however, taking advantage of one of her programs is still in the horizon.    The reason and the reality is that it costs money and it's not yet in my budget.   

One of the things that she spoke about is her struggles in business and because of her honesty, it truly gave me hope.      Contrary to what some may believe that just because you are in business, it doesn't mean that it comes easy, without work, or without struggles.     As much as I love what I do, there have been several things that have happened that hurt.    I'm not one to share these things often, but after listening to Fabienne, I feel that by sharing them, there will be someone that will benefit.    At least, that is my hope.     She shared her heart and it was not only a benefit, but a blessing to me.    Thank you, Fabienne.  

One of the hardest things for me to hear is that "You do insurance - wow, you must be loaded".     This comment or anything like this really takes me off guard.      First of all, my husband and I aren't loaded and even if we were, it isn't something that should even be brought up.     For me personally, I work to put some of the money that is made back into the business every month.    Many months, this isn't possible and I can look at my account seeing less than $10.00 there and wonder how I will get through until the next week.   Does this affect me? Yes it does.  Do I sometimes feel sorry for myself?   You bet.    Can I do something about it?    Yes, and I do every single day.     I get up, brush myself off, and find a way to provide peace of mind to another client.     Is it hard?   It can be if I let myself think about it too long.    That's the reality.    

About a year ago, I received a referral for a business with seven employees.     They had reached out to me to find out if I could come with options for their employees for health, dental, and supplemental insurance plans.     I collected all their information, put together a wide range of options, set up an appointment, and met with the owners of the business to go through everything.     The meeting lasted for two and half hours.     At the end of the appointment when they had made their decision, one of the owners told me how much he appreciated the work and knowledge I brought to the table.  He went on to tell me that he had never seen any agent be so well prepared.    They currently had a plan in place that was due to expire in six weeks from the time of the appointment.     We set up another appointment to close on everything in two weeks.      Three days later at almost 9:00 at night, my cell phone rang.      I heard the phone ring, however, unless I know it is family calling at that time of night, I don't answer the phone because this is my family time.    Yes, business owners do need family time.    After listening to the message the next morning which by the way was from the business owner that complimented my presentation, I was floored.    In the message, he thanked me for giving his business plenty of information to know where to get their benefits, but they already had an agent and wouldn't need my services.    My heart sank as I thought about how this business had used my services to get what they wanted all while knowing that they never intended to move forward.     Did this bother me?     I can honestly say that this was probably one of the hardest things I had to overcome.    Did I learn from it?    You bet in more ways than one.     Did I brush myself off and move forward to help others?   I had to because I couldn't let one bad apple get in the way of helping others that wanted and needed the help.    The reality is that there are far more people that are honest and would never even dream of using someone.     The reality is focusing on the people that are honest far outweighs this one company that felt it necessary to use my services.    

With any profession, there are people that do a great job and there are some that don't have a good reputation.     One of the things that I work each day to provide is trust.     There have been people that have said, "Oh, you sell insurance.  I don't trust anyone that sells insurance - how can you be trusted?"    This can come from people that don't even know me.      This is where it has helped me to read over testimonials, read past e-mails from clients that thank me, and put my focus on all the good that comes from helping others secure adequate insurance coverage.     The reality is that there are bad salespeople.     The reality is that I feel for people that have been hurt by anyone in sales.     The reality is that I am human and sensitive.     For some reason, people believe that just because you own a business means that you can take anything including verbal bashing.    The reality is that I do sell insurance, however, I do so in a way that provides as much education and consultating as possible so that people can make informed decisions that are best for their companies and families.   

Even with all of this, I love what I do.    I have learned that I must keep going.   I have learned that without my help and guidance, many people would suffer.     I have learned that owning a business and being my own boss has it's rewards.   I have learned that I have many hats and know my strengths.   I have learned that there are many types of businesses out there and all of them have struggles.    I have learned that business owners have fears, but do it anyways.   I have learned that other business owners want to help you because they know what you go through each day and have come to be some of my best friends.      I have learned that it pays to be honest and trustworthy and I wouldn't run my business any other way.     That's the reality.        

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

It's The Little Things That Matter

Very often, when tragedy hits anyone and especially if several things happen within a short time frame, we as humans can't wait to get through it and see a light at the end of the tunnel.   At the end of 2012, I wish I could tell you how many times people would say to me, "I bet you can't wait for 2012 to be over".     Truth be told, I wanted to see a light at the end of the tunnel and I wanted all the pain of losing both my Mother and Father-in-law to not hurt anymore, however, I really didn't want the year to end.     The reason was because I was getting further away from losing them and afraid of not feeling pain.    As strange as that sounds, I was truly afraid that I would forget them, forget what they looked like, and forget the love that filled my heart from knowing them.    With this said, I wasn't looking forward to the end of the year as so many thought I might; I was actually dreading it.       Questions filled my mind such as, "Do I have to stop talking about them or  "Do I have to stop loving them?    I don't know if we ever get questions like these answered here on earth, but I can tell you that the fact that it was painful to me meant that I didn't want to be without their love.     The fact that it was painful meant I cherished every moment that I had with them and always will.     Both of them are deeply missed and it's all-right to miss them and still feel their love.     And I do.     

Cherishing moments now has become even more special now.    As hard as 2012 was, we also had incredibly beautiful moments.     I continue to remember all the little things about them and continue to create lots more little things today.     

Andrew and Christina were married in June of last year.      It was such a happy day and hearing them pour their hearts out to one another as they read their vows brought tears to my eyes and warmth to my heart.      Watching them smile and laugh all day long was a great example of how it's the little things that matter the most.     Their wedding was simple and elegant, yet one of the most beautiful ceremonies I have witnessed.

As my husband and I watched Andrew and Christina get married and now watch them as they have started their lives, it's exciting to hear the plans they have together.     It's the little things like seeing them discuss and share some of their goals, watching them cook together in their home, and hearing them on the other end of the phone call just to say, "I love you."  

Michael has had many changes this past year and we couldn't be happier for him.     He has met a very special young woman, Courtney.     He also has shared the love he has in his heart with her daughter, Rosslyn.     Both Courtney and Rosslyn hold a special place in our hearts and have brought even more joy to our family.     Last week-end, Rosslyn celebrated her 1st birthday.     They had a party for her at a local place called, "Twice The Fun".     John and I went a little late so she could enjoy her little friends and play for awhile.     When we arrived, the door was shut for the room all the guests were in.     Rosslyn was sitting in her new chair with Mama helping her open gifts.     When John and I walked in, she saw us and immediately reacted.      She smiled and held up her arms as she wanted us to come to her.    I will forever remember that moment for the rest of my life.     My husband was truly glowing from ear to ear.   It was just a little thing and it meant the world to both of us.    

Each day as I awake and am blessed to spend another day with my husband, I continue to thank God.    We don't have a large home, a lot of money in the bank, or big cars, but we have more love in our hearts for one another every day.     I still get excited to hear his voice on the other end of the phone letting me know he's on his way home.     I still get excited to hear him say, "Hi baby".     I still greet him at the door when he gets home with a kiss and a long hug.      It's always going to be the little things we remember the most.    

Monday, February 4, 2013

February is National Heart Disease Awareness Month

When you think of February, one of the first things that normally comes up is Valentine's Day and love.      As much as I am a hopeless romantic and love Valentine's Day, it's also National Heart Disease Awareness Month.    There is nothing romantic about heart disease and I hope that if I can share just a little information and provide some extra protection for you, a goal will be reached.  

Heart Disease is one of the leading causes of death among men and women.    In fact, it will take the lives of more women this year than breast cancer.     It's also important to share with you that symptoms are different in men and women.     Men will normally have chest pain, left arm pain radiating down the arm, indigestion, and even jaw pain.     For women, symptoms can include unusual fatigue, sleep disturbance, a feeling of severe indigestion or reflux that can actually make you short of breath, cold sweats and nausea with or without feeling dizzy.   

There are ways you can protect yourself against this disease.    The American Heart Association calls these Life's Simple Seven.   Here they are:

1.   Get active and stay active. 

2.   Control your cholesterol.     Keep your cholesterol in normal levels, most importantly, keep LDL (or bad cholesterol levels) at 100mg/dl or less.   

3.   Eat better.    

4.   Manage blood pressure.    120/80 and below for healthy individuals is what is recommended by 
      The American Heart Association.   

5.   Reduce blood sugar levels.    If you are a diabetic, keep your blood sugar levels within normal
      limits, generally 70-100 mg/dl.

6.   Stop smoking.  

7.    Lose weight.    Maintain a BMI within a  normal weight, 18.5 - 24.9.    

Balanced Care also wants you to realize that these are all things that your physician can help you to control.     By having your yearly physical exams (if you have health insurance, health care reform has included a yearly exam for prevention of disease and does so without any additional cost), you are taking the necessary steps to make sure that you are protecting your heart and your health.     

So many people rely on you each day - Your children, your spouse, your parents, your employer, your co-workers, and even your closest friends.     And while you are busy focusing on them, Balanced Care is focusing on you.