By Courtney Jacobs
Being an entrepreneur offers freedom, flexibility, and a feeling of achievement — all great things, right? No one is ever prepared for the failures, stresses and total accountability of owning your own business.
I opened my insurance agency, IDR, in October of 2018. I did not always see myself in the insurance field. I was introduced to a career in the industry in 2012. I had several close family members and friends in the business, and their love for their customers and daily passion to take care of their customers’ needs drew me closer and closer to exploring insurance and all that it offers as a career. All I ever wanted was to open a business and help people; I just had to determine the best way to do that and also enjoy what I am doing.
Before opening my agency, I did years of research while working in the industry and learning the ins and outs of insurance. To give your customer the best service and most accurate information, you must be an expert at your craft. I advise anyone thinking about entrepreneurship to research everything associated with your new venture — including the cost of goods, material suppliers, the cost of utilities at a commercial location, customer traffic in a commercial area and everything else that will affect your business’s growth and impact in the community. Too many people open businesses without proper research, encounter obstacles they are unable to overcome and end up closing.
To give yourself the best chance of success, research, research, research! Your new business is your baby. Make sure you know as much as possible in advance to prepare and focus on building and growing. I wouldn’t trade entrepreneurship. Due to substantial research beforehand, the bumps along the road have not hurt as badly, and my business has stayed on track.
My biggest challenge since opening has been maintaining balance. I am first and foremost a devoted wife and mother who is very active in many organizations while constantly growing my business and expanding in neighboring states. Plus, I’m still serving my country via the Air National Guard. Talk about a woman who wears many hats! I have overcome this challenge by finally learning how to say “no” and committing to time with my family. Having an amazing and supportive spouse also has helped alleviate the guilt of trying to balance business and home life.
My advice would be to understand the grind is necessary, but as you become stable in your business, remember the “why” behind it. Your family needs you just as much as your company.