Insurance Agent

Insurance Agent

Insurance Agent

Start-up cost: $10,000–$15,000 (more if you buy into a franchise)
Potential earnings: $45,000–$60,000
Typical fees: Commissions range from 20 to 35 percent
Advertising: Cold-calling, membership in community groups, radio,
newspapers, community publications, billboards, your
outdoor sign (of course), Website with some free tips
Qualifications: License, experience, outstanding selling ability, affiliation
with a particular company
Equipment needed: Office furniture, computer, cell phone, suite software,
printer, business card, letterhead, envelopes
Staff required: No
Hidden costs: Membership dues, errors and omissions insurance

What You Do

As an independent Insurance Agent, you will need to develop a focus or specialty to set
yourself apart in the crowded field of insurance sales. One possibility is business
insurance, with a special focus on ensuring home-based businesses. Dedicated
service to your customers is essential in distinguishing your business from the
competition. You will be working closely with individuals and small organizations,
and you will depend on your financial expertise and your ability to listen to the
wants and needs of the buyer. If you can find a way to help people and companies
manage their risk appropriately without making them feel pushed or confused,
you will be performing a useful service. You will be earning your agent’s commis-
sion many times over.

What You Need

Knowledge and experience are far more important than equipment, although you
will need a computer system that can be networked to your corporate headquar-
ters if you’re affiliated with or own a franchise. In that case, your start-up costs
will be considerably higher (potentially $50,000–$75,000 for training, licensing
the company name, and heavy advertising), but you’ll get the support you need
instead of having to go it alone. However, should you decide to go it alone, you
can expect to spend between $10,000 and $15,000 for your basic office setup,
some advertising, and the fees you’ll use to take your exam. Either way, your com-
missions should net between 20 to 35 percent and ultimately lead to an income
potential of between $45,000 and $60,000 or more.

Keys to Success

Once you become established, you will have an excellent business that can support
your family and possibly make you rich. Being successful in this type of enterprise
requires excellent selling skills, up-to-date information on financial issues, and long
hours of hard work. You’re using people skills and numerical facility intensively.
Most of all, you’re unwilling to be discouraged if the first 100 sales calls are “no’s.”

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