Jeremy Stroud started off as a client to Beyond Marketing when his business, Independent Insurance Associates, needed a refresh in their current website and help with their social media. Since then, our relationship has grown more. He is no longer just a client that we work with. Which is why we feel the importance of highlighting him in our People of Fort Mill series. Here’s Jeremy’s story:
I grew up in Lancaster, SC. I was an only child. My mom worked at a garden center and my dad was a manager at a grocery store until I was about 10, then he went to work at Bowater. As far as dynamics, they were at everything with me; all the basketball games, baseball games, and did everything for me. I had a good childhood growing up.
I was working for another agent, and while I enjoyed working for him, I realized that there were opportunities I was missing out on. I started when I was 24. I had zero money; I barely had enough money to pay my own rent. We rented out the old Carolina Crown building on Main Street Fort Mill and my rent was $800 a month. It took everything I had to pay the first initial rent and lived off of credit for the first couple of years.
I knew when I was in college studying retail management, that I did not want to go into retail after school. It took some time to figure out what I enjoyed. One day in school, we had someone who sold life insurance come and speak. He asked us, “who wants to come out of college making $100,000 a year and not have a set schedule?” and I knew that was what I wanted. But once I got into it, I realized that selling life insurance was not for me. It was a lot of cold calling and that was not for me. After seeking advice from others, I found that selling home, auto, and business insurance was the better route to take. So, I started and continued to grow and now I am here.
I knew that being a business owner would be my new normal when I joined a referral club in Columbia. I was a young kid, dealing with the big dogs. I was working with the top realtors, mortgage brokers, CPAs and attorneys, and they were looking at me for advice. At that point in my life, I knew I was onto something because the business started flowing in. When I joined the referral club, I understood that I had done the right thing and that it would kick off, but I did not know exactly how or when. But when I was forced into making a decision about if I would take this venture, my previous experience taught me a lot about what to and not to do as a business owner.
Retaining business can be challenging. Once you get to a certain level, 10% of your business is going to leave and if you can retain 90% of your business, you’re doing good. People are going to move or shop around for other policies and that is the biggest challenge. When I first started out, my main concern was growing the business to be successful, but now it’s learning how to retain and also grow.
One of the best rewards I have experienced is knowing that I can leave the office and it never slows down. The people I have hired have the front desk down to a science. I do not have to be here every day behind my computer. I can be out seeing clients or being with my children and know that while I am gone my business is still running smoothly.