Back in the days when men wore tie clips, my father had one with the letters, YCDBSOYA imprinted on it. My father worked almost all of his adult life in the insurance business. Shortly after his marriage to my mother, he left working in his father’s jewelry store and became an insurance salesman. In the early years, he would leave my mother in Toronto and spend the week driving through small towns in the Ottawa Valley selling policies. Eventually he was able to open his own brokerage. I remember many nights when he would go down into the basement’s multi-purpose room to call clients. Often he would have evening appointments.
My father was an amiable no-nonsense man. Before there was LinkedIn, Twitter or any social media, he knew instinctively how to network and most importantly, how to work hard. My inbox is filled with promotions on ways to get clients, how to network, how to use LinkedIn to generate hundreds of prospects and how to uncover my emotional relationship with money.
I am not denigrating any of these ideas, but sometimes growing a business just comes down to hard work. There is no magic formula. In sales, you need to genuinely like people and want to help them. You need to go out and find those people, you need to commit to doing whatever is needed to grow your business. You need to sometimes take risks and you need to sacrifice.
My father grew his insurance practice into a successful business, allowing for a comfortable, although not wealthy, life for his family. Despite his hard work, my father led a balanced life. He volunteered in his community, took fishing trips with his buddies, and vacations with his family. He was there for me with good advice when I asked for it, and sometimes when I didn’t. I am delighted that I inherited his strong work ethic, his sense of humour and his easy going nature.
Oh, and YCDBSOYA? It stands for you can’t do business sitting on your ass!