If you're suffering from the Red, White and BLUES this 4th of July, we get it. With all that's going on, it’s ironic that we're about to celebrate our country's freedom while many of us will likely be quarantined alone or with our families. Sure, it won’t be the grand ol’ patriotic party you’re used to, but don’t let quarantine completely kill your vibe. We assure you that there are still ways to make this 4th feel a little less funky.
YOU CAN STILL BLOW YOUR ARM OFF WITH FIREWORKS - Ahh yes. Everyone’s favorite part of the holiday. Memories of sitting in your parent’s backyard in the dark, waiting to see which of your drunk uncles would lose a finger because he couldn’t get away from a roman candle fast enough. If your state allows fireworks or if you went rogue and crossed state lines to procure some of your own on the down-low, you can still put on a good old-fashioned, appendage-threatening fireworks show like the good old days.
HOT DOGS AND NOODLE SALADS - Rub a dub dub, thank goodness we’ll still have the grub this weekend. Whether you’re celebrating solo-style on Saturday or if you’re going to a socially-distant soiree, the grill can still bring the thunder. Plan a menu around old school family favorites in order to make this 4th feel like a blast from the past. You loved your Aunt Margaret’s ambrosia salad when you were 9. Why not give her a call for the recipe and thank her for the $4 she sent you for your birthday last month while you’re at it? Make new memories with old favorites and at least the food will make you feel close to home.
LET YOUR PATRIOTIC FREAK FLAG FLY - Listen, we’re not suggesting you have to go full Will Ferrell at the water cooler on SNL, but if that’s how you roll, hey, more power to you! Whether your style is the annual Old Navy time-stamped t-shirt or if you rock a star-spangled bikini, throwing on our country’s colors is sure to get you into the mood to celebrate America.
COLORFUL COCKTAILS FOR THE WIN - From mixed drinks to frozen cocktails to a good old American brew, choose a homeland-hued spirit to lift yours (responsibly). Pinterest is ripe with red, white and blue drink recipes that will wow your guests, even if your guest is just you in the same t-shirt you’ve had on since March. If you’re a less motivated mixologist, maybe just grab yourself some blue Gatorade and some maraschino cherries and, VOILA!, you’re all set.
MAKE-YOUR-OWN PARADE - I used to love getting pelted in the head with Tootsie Rolls and lollipops from passing floats and fire engines during our town’s 4th of July parade, but all that is likely shut down in your town for now. If you’re feeling like your 4th won’t be complete without some type of star-spangled spectacle, try a small-scale float design competition with your friends and family. Put on a funny hat and march up and down your street banging a laundry basket filled with all your dirty red, white and blue laundry. Dress up your kids and your parents and your pets and go LIVE on Facebook. Live out your American-themed dreams. Anyone who farts on your festive heart is a party pooper and you don’t need them in your life.
Hopefully your weekend has some sort of celebration scheduled, regardless of face masks, travel bans and - who knows by Saturday - probably radioactive worms falling from the sky. Our days - and our one-man beer pong tables - are what we make them and there is still plenty of fun to be had that would make our forefathers proud.
We’re fans of the podcast here at Insurance Soup. Part of our company is located on Long Island and if you haven’t heard about Long Island, there are A LOT of people here. A LOT. Traffic is a thing. A very real thing. Luckily, when we find ourselves stuck in traffic and we need a break from hard rocking to Guns & Roses or crying softly to Barry Manilow in our minivans, we have podcasts to turn to and free time to zone out to them.
Podcasts have become wildly popular in the last decade and regardless of what genre you favor, there’s a ton of great options. From something like The Moth, where a wide range of people tell true stories about themselves to a true crime podcast like Serial, there’s something for everyone, even the savvy business owner.
Now, we can all agree that maybe insurance is the sexiest. You don’t find a lot of people foaming at the mouth to hear your exciting insurance stories, but as agents, we all know they’re out there. If you find yourself with the down time to soak up some new industry knowledge or if you’re looking for some business inspo, these podcasts are our favorites.
Hosts Scott Howell and Bradley Flowers are The Insurance Guys. They talk to agents, as agents. In their weekly episodes they discuss real life issues affecting agents in their daily lives, especially those running their own agencies.
Matt Deitz’s SEI podcast is dedicated to all things Insurance. If you don’t have a ton of time to spare, his short 5-8 minute episodes are great for getting quick answers on what both clients and agents should know about all sides of the industry. He simplifies from top to bottom on policies across the board from home to commercial to specialty policies. Definitely worth a listen!
The Insurance Pro Blog podcast is an excellent, quick, bi-weekly listen if you’re looking for guidance on how to help your clients use life insurance as a risk-free, big win way to get tax-free income. Brandon Roberts and Brantley Whitley, founder and co-founder of The Insurance Pro blog, bring a wealth of knowledge to the life insurance game and are extremely well-versed in helping clients leveraging cash as a low-risk asset.
You may already know Tim Ferriss as the author of “The 4-Hour Workweek”. In his successful pod with over 500 million downloads, he’s a master of self-experimentation in order to find ways for listeners to build their businesses, insurance marketing being one of the many areas of his expertise. He hosts people at the top of their games, from celebrities to the least likely success stories, to find out who propelled them to success.
Agency Intelligence is where you’ll find a lot of bang for your buck in terms of pod content. It includes three different series for both owners and influencers in the industry. Two of the three series, Agency Intelligence and Agent’s Influence are hosted by Jason Cass. Agency Intelligence covers “real data from real agents in real agencies” while Agent’s Influence is a weekly pod dedicated to showcasing important leaders in the industry. Lastly, they bring you the Insurance in your Words series by Joey Giangola brings you in touch with agents just like you who are in the game every day.
Definitely take some time to catch up with Becky Schroeder & Laird Rixford for this weekly podcast. It’s a great one-stop shop for all things current in the insurance industry. As CEO and CMO of ITC - Insurance Technologies Corporation - Rixford and Schroeder are a dynamic duo sharing their strategies for building valuable and strategic relationships with your clients.
This is a great podcast for the creative thinker looking for inspiration to turn an idea into reality. Host Srinivas Rao, author of the NYT best-selling The Art of Being Unmistakable, has a drive to help listeners develop the mindset needed to light the fire under their creative desires. Rao says he wants to help his community members “make their childhood dreams come true in adulthood”.
Hosts Chris Stemp and Jon Rojas, who have been friends for over 20 years, are experts in the art of conversation and their mission is to find ways to drive conversations with thought leaders that their audience will be inspired by. They pride themselves on using their curiosity and charm to bring listeners episodes covering a wide range of topics from relationships to technology and more.
How To Fail With Elizabeth Day is a podcast that celebrates the things that haven’t gone right, something every entrepreneur can relate to. The author based her podcast on the belief that we can learn powerful lessons and gain valuable insight on how to succeed better through our failures. Every week, guests share their failure stories and tell us how they believe they ultimately helped them succeed.
Those podcasts are a few of our favorites but know that the interweb is an infinite space for exploration, and there are likely many other excellent listening options for those of you looking to strengthen your focus on business while whiling away the hours stuck behind the wheel. Enjoy!
One thing any entrepreneur knows is that stepping out on your own in the business world isn’t for the faint of heart. If you have plans of starting your own anything - blog, small business, Fortune 500 company - you have to go in like Chumba Wumba, expecting to be knocked down but fully intending to get up again.
You’re going to have banner days and bedpan days. That’s just the way it goes for the man in the arena. To help you get out of the occasional entrepreneurial slump, here are a few of Insurance Soup’s go-to inspirational quotes for those of us struggling with the go-getter lives we’re creating for ourselves:
1. "The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus."
- Bruce Lee
We all know Bruce Lee to be one of the most influential and badass martial artists of all time. Lee was a man of action, many believe his success can be partly attributed to the ancient philosophies he lived by, but the idea above is universal. It doesn’t matter who you are. As long as you stay focused on your goal you will succeed.
2."The road to success and the road to failure are almost exactly the same."
- Colin R. Davis
Most success stories aren’t without their hiccups. Sir Colin Davis is a 20th century British composer and orchestral conductor with practically unmatched success. His illustrious career and enormous contributions to the musical world came with expected struggle at times. In this quote he tells us to remember that success is a journey with ups and down, the difference is how you choose to proceed.
3. "Don't be afraid to give up the good to go for the great."
- John D. Rockefeller
By now we all know that the name Rockefeller is synonymous with success. John D. Rockefeller was one of the richest men of all time, possibly richer than some of today’s richest people combined. His unprecedented career as an oil tycoon came after more humble beginnings. Starting out as bookkeeper, Rockefeller knew he was meant for more. We learn from him to never back down from our big dreams because of comfort.
4. "In order to succeed, we must first believe that we can."
- Niko Kazantzakis
Greek writer Nikos Kazantzakis was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature nine times. NINE TIMES. His novels Zorba the Greek and The Last Temptation of Christ, among many other works, are considered masterpieces. In order to attain that level of success, there is more than skill and ambition at play. Mindset is a powerful propellant to action and managing yours can be the difference between failure and success.
5. “Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere.”
- Albert Einstein
When we think of Albert Einstein, we think about science, math and crazy hair. The German-born physicist is considered the most to be the influential scientists of the 20th century. He wrote that he was intrigued at age 5 by a toy compass, wondering what unseen forces were about to make it move. His other love came at age 12 in the form of a geometry book. We can’t think of a better marriage between logic and imagination.
We hope these quotes and some background into the people who said them serve to give you a little nudge on days of doubt and exhaustion. Knowing that many of the wildest success stories who went before you struggled in the same way at different times should make you feel like the member of an elite class of individuals who strive for more.
Owning a business comes with a host of challenges that would be made much less challenging by simply not having any type of personal life-prolonging needs like eating, sleeping, exercising and maintaining valuable social relationships. Unfortunately, until we find a way to work around those needs by existing as magicians who make it all so easy with the wave of a wand, we’re forced to do as Tim Gunn famously suggests and “MAKE IT WORK”.
Here are a few brilliant time-saving hacks to help you get the maximum ROI for the time you spend focusing on your business without having to continually cast a spell on the audience.
• SCHEDULING IS HARD. GET AN APP
The “owner” in your title of business owner means you’re constantly wearing more than one hat because EVERYTHING, especially starting out, falls under your job description. Our suggestion - cut down on the chaos and take the time to find a scheduling app that works for you. Google Calendar, as part of the popular Google Suite, is great for managing multiple events, appointments and reminders across more than one calendar. It’s easily shareable which is a great bonus for confirming with clients. Another great option which takes things to the next level is Timely. On top of being a scheduling app, Timely adds billing and budgeting features to the mix, freeing up time, and even possible overhead for your business. Do yourself a favor and take the time to find the right scheduling app for you. It can be an excellent productivity booster.
• HEAD DOWN, BLINDERS ON
Ok, we know this is a no-brainer, but these days distractions come in many forms, lots of which you may not even be aware of. For business owners starting out, your workspace may be in your home or in a public place. If you’re working from home, and we mean this is the nicest way possible, best of luck. If you’re a parent working from home AND your kids are home with you, you’re in our thoughts. While working from home is a great time and money saver, things like pets, laundry, the television and the temptation to hop out and run a quick errand are distraction behemoths. If you find that you can’t avoid at-home urges, our best bet is to go find a cozy Starbucks and get to work while keeping your head down. If you do break out and head to the local coffee shop to work, it’s best to go to the same one consistently and limit your people-watching and social media-perusing to strictly scheduled breaks.
• UP AND AT’EM!
We know the early bird gets the worm, but when it comes to maximizing productivity, there’s another very important part of his strategy. Brian Tracy, author of Eat That Frog - 21 GREAT WAYS TO STOP PROCRASTINATING AND GET MORE DONE IN LESS TIME, says it’s imperative to focus on and tackle your most important tasks of the day before anything else. While the visual of eating a frog might make you want to stay in bed, it’s a pretty universal concept, and one that couldn’t make more sense when applied to managing your work day. Get over your biggest hurdle early right out of the gate and it should be smooth sailing for the rest of the race.
• JUST FACE IT, YOU SUCK AT PASSWORDS
Just like the time your parents had to take away your great-grandmother’s keys to her 1981 Plymouth Reliant, there will come a time for you to accept the fact that you can’t remember every single username and password you have out in the world. And ain’t nobody got time for the round robin that comes after FINALLY giving up and clicking on that smug little Forgot Your Password? link. Take 2 seconds and keep a running list of the username and password combos you use most frequently. You might not like it now, but one day you’ll thank us for it.
• TELL YOURSELF SWEET LITTLE LIES
If you’re like a lot of people (and by a lot of people we mean US), having an EOD deadline on something probably means you’re going to start it closer to the EOD. By giving yourself fake deadlines, you add pressure to work consistently on tasks that you might have saved for later in the day, or for another day altogether.
We know that every day as a business owner is an exercise in magic. It’s a juggling act and as soon as you pull one rabbit out of a hat, Tim Gunn comes in with a scantily-clad assistant for you to saw in half. There are lots of great hacks to help you “MAKE IT WORK” and once you discover what tricks work best for you and your business, the magic really starts to happen.