Every American. Scratch that, every one of god’s children has been inundated by media revolving around the much-dreaded Coronavirus and how it stormed the beach on us as a population like Normandy. Many are out of work, to the extent that the United States Congress just passed a stimulus bill of 2 trillion dollars. The proper forethought one must take into consideration is evaluating and differentiating moving forward the difference between a career vs job. As a Great World Nation, it is imperative to plan properly for unforeseen events so another tragedy in the future won’t impact us when we jump from an economic shortage to a surplus overnight due to the individuals going out and purchasing to prepare for the possibility of a doomsday event by buying 300 rolls of toilet paper. In all seriousness, I had to have my Chief Operating Officer overnight 12 rolls of toilet paper in which the cost of delivery was if not greater, equal to the cost of the toilet paper by itself. An Introduction to Economics 101 Academia, this shortage of toilet paper has created an eBay black market. I found 24 rolls of Angel Soft for $95, and that did not include the $91.20 for shipping costs.
As the saying goes, the icing on the cake is despite our burst over the past week in our financial markets, the DOW Jones is still down considerably. Without work for the patrons of this Great Nation, individuals are forced into a situation in which they have to figure out the tax implications later and pull funds out of their qualified retirement accounts to withstand the trials and tribulations that have been bestowed unto us due to this Coronavirus epidemic. The world is rattled. If there was a fear index, it would be at an all-time high. Does it make sense for the average individual at age 55 and above with an account balance of less than $500,000 to pull their funds out the U.S. Financial Markets despite the 26.78% downfall of the Dow Jones? Did it make sense for that same individual to hedge their bets on March 23, 2020 when the Dow Jones plummeted to 18,591? The answer lies in the optimism of a successful financial future, and potentially lowering that beta dream chasers like to “Gone in 60 Seconds” race on to rebound responsibly following the token blue-chip bandwagon for a realistic retirement outcome. The answer lies with utilizing old principles that will hedge those accounts, while still being able to generate an income stream for the future. I always say that an option is not an option, unless if you have an option; and I don’t mean derivative options.
What is a job?
In all honesty, I don’t know how the tax codes in a lot of foreign countries outside of the United States work, but I must assume they are somewhat in balance to that of the United States. In the United States of America, a job means that you receive a W-2 for some if not all of the ordinary income that you claim during tax season. The benefits of having a job is the security of a paycheck that is scheduled on a modal factor of weekly or bi-weekly. The downside for the averages is the ceiling that exists. I hear often from friends and acquaintances that a hypothetical advance in their corporate structure will yield them a $1.40 raise next year. I don’t in any way shape or form down that, nor do I think that is something to not be proud of. I just have noticed in my industry, as well as many other industries where the high-profit margins are yielded are from those individuals who are good with people.
A job is a great position for someone to be in who likes the ability to have normality through a schedule in their day to day life. These individuals prefer to have a percent that is matched in a deferred retirement plan, a deduction out of their payroll that will give them and their families the benefits of having health insurance through the company insurance sponsor, and to be able to plan for a much-needed family vacation in which they will still be compensated for.
I think I have the voice of an angel, but many tell me to not quit my day job. Jobs usually have hours that the employee is designated to be at that job functioning the roles and responsibilities that their title requires. Be that as it may, a lot of upper-level jobs have incentives for the individual to obtain if they hit certain requirements that are above and beyond the targeted expectation of individuals above them who set the bonus structure up in the first place.
What is a shell game?
My industry of Insurance Sales for Senior America, and the planning and implementation of various retirement strategies for people getting ready for retirement, has educated me through the positions I have had in upper-level management to understand the key importance of how a business entity pays people for their value, dependent on gross income that is generated. What I am referring to as a shell game is moving sectors of profitable gains to hedge sectors that are or have the potential of having a loss. At the end of the day, a business by the books can and will only function if it has a positive net present value. Not to bore the average reader, but you can have an inflated gross income of mass proportions, a ridiculous margin with earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) that is out of this world. What about the expenses? The key to success in any business industry is the net present value and having positive cash flows for growth, stability, and innovation.
The shell game comes into play when creativity is utilized to be able to find key employees, and figure out a way to bring them to the table without having to give away the farm. In our industry, we can provide key employees with a percentage margin of profits from the many that sell our goods sold. People hear me rant and rave to obnoxious levels that the power of the group will always outweigh the power of the individual.
In an industry that is naturally behind the times in technology and innovation, I state time and again that we will see many of the Agencies that were on the top of the hill being conquered and pushed back down the hill due to their refusal to participate in technological innovation which I find mostly based on fear of the unknown. This will play out in which the time will come, and they will realize that they have no choice but to try to adopt the technology due to their one-dimensional strategy which is a stand-alone, hard work mentality of pounding the pavement and knocking on as many doors possible in a day. That model works because it gets salespeople in front of prospective buyers. However, with the introduction of geofencing, email marketing, and even text message marketing (SMS), the world is changing and the Millennial and Generation Z cohorts will want to find a home at companies that inspire and motivate through the use of technological expertise.
Who is Ian Ferguson?
Before I took on the feat of being Chief Executive Officer to a National Insurance Agency that is structured as a C-Corp, as well as Chief Executive Officer of a 501(C)3 Non-Profit Organization that helps rehabilitate battered and abused Elephants around the world, I was Vice President of Career Agents for another Insurance Agency. The harsh realization I came to was that I did not plan on being in this field when I was growing up, Academia, as well as the first 1 to 2 years after my schooling. I am the definition of a loveable loser. I finished school, took a year off finding myself, got cut off twice by mom and dad, then cut a deal to get parental funding while I attempted to become an amateur golfer in Charleston South Carolina. Referencing my prior statement post loveable loser comment, I didn’t apply to any schools. The second time I got cut off, I found myself under duress and looking for a job, and this is the industry where I found myself.
I grew up in a small town in Maine that had a population of 11,000 people. That 11,000 population also included the main campus of the University. I am fully aware that I was born in the wrong era. I grew up in the era of jocks. Don’t get me wrong, I considered myself a pretty good hockey player. To the point I was able to play Division 1 Prep School hockey. However, I was a closet nerd. I would spend a lot of my time in my dad’s office at the university on a top-of-the-line Silicon Graphics computer (DOS) that I was able to enter the world of mIRC. To the non-computer/non-tech-savvy individual, for a 13-year-old in 1996, I might as well have had a free subscription to the dark web. I must admit, I did grow up at great learning the foundation era of technology. This is the era of COBOL, Fortran, PHP, and the start of the World Wide Web.
Despite being quite rusty from what people tell me… I am proficient in many computer languages. For my company Hombolt Inc. I have developed and built an advanced PHP ERP database that is specific for the Insurance Industry. Our Independent Insurance Agents can choose their leads out of our database for both prospect clients, as well as prospect agents to build their own potential Agency. The difference in our model is that we do the marketing for them. I have multiple servers and multiple IP Addresses in which I have created our company email marketing Simple Mail Transferring Protocol (SMTP) server. As a company through a proper IP Warmup, and perfected DNS records, we can deliver over 5 million emails a month to opt-in prospect clients and agents. With the help from a good friend we have built our websites, we have just opened up our robots.txt file, and are now at the point of development of our own company Social Media Platform for Independent Insurance Agents and business-minded individuals.
I know some members of the company and board do not like it when on the blog I “Geek Out”, however, sometimes I cannot help myself. The awesome Social Media Platform Hombolt Inc. is designing is not just a bunch of PHP. We are coding using advanced language technologies of node.js, and nuxt.js socket for example. If you as a reader are not jumping out of your seat with enthusiasm from that bomb I just dropped, you really should…
The social media platform we are designing is going to have the ability for the user to use various application programming interfaces (API) that will allow the user to be able to connect to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Not only will they be able to connect, they will be able to with unbelievable user-friendliness be able to create a post, and with ease be able to post it, and share it on all social media platforms with the click of a button. On the Social Media Platform, the user will also be able to create a business conference in which they can have up to a certain amount of users in the conference call, and the host of the conference will be able to have a live video feed, as well as a mic to talk to the rest of the group. The host will also be able to turn off his or her live video feed and mic and turn on other users so they can have the floor.
One thing that I do promise as the Chief Executive Officer of Hombolt Inc. is that we will never be behind in technological innovation and progression. It is one thing to have a social media platform, it is another thing to understand the search engine optimization (SEO) to get the platform out there for users to join. That includes the on-page SEO, competitor SEO, as well as the backlinks and traffic. I am so excited to release and open very shortly, Hombolt World.
What is a career?
I view a career as a path someone takes because they see potential to fill a void in a profitable industry sector that they specialize in, feel they have the potential to be an expert in, or have a connection into. These individuals are taxed as self-employed 1099’s usually. Don’t get me wrong, or take offense. I am not saying that all jobs are W-2 and that all careers are 1099. A lot of jobs have a 1099 component and vice versa. I am using the 1099 and W-2 tax code to differentiate between as well as show the opportunity for a career in a recession-proof industry, the Insurance industry.
I’ve read many articles that try to explain the differences between a job vs career. A lot of them relate the job as not serious and the career as serious. There are many jobs that people take seriously. A prime example is freelancers who do a “job”, and then they are done and move on towards the next. I’ve seen the other side where retired experts work in their field as a “contractor” to advise to make certain operations more efficient and effective, and/or more profitable. Both are taken seriously, and both are important to keep the World turning.
The Harsh Truth…
Not everybody can win. As the World turns it is important to realize that despite the moments of grandeur, we need to remember that in any competitive environment, there are winners, and there are losers. A prime analogy is that I absolutely would love to have in a perfect world the availability for everybody to receive a college education. The harsh truth/ fact of the matter is that if everybody had a college education, we would see at an extreme, the possibility of a college graduated salutatorian pumping gas. It would create a demand, in which a lot of the skills that are required in the business world that are completed with an undergraduate degree or trade school degree, would now require an upper-level degree to be considered. This is not me telling individuals to give up on their dreams. I would never do that. I am a strong believer that no matter what, the true stars will always shine.
One of the great things we as a company do is something on the recruiting side of our model that has led to our significant growth. Our industry is habitual offenders of management or people in the hierarchy not promoting subordinates to higher levels due to our industry having a one-dimensional pay structure in which the manager only profits the margin between him and that agent in the field. It would either take a lot of business, or that agent would have to create for that manager a “downline” of other agents. We have created a model and structure in which the stars are never held back, and everybody has the opportunity to build and grow at any level they want to, and management encourages because of this model for subordinates to rise above to even be equal, if not greater and surpass them.
Hombolt Inc. is the future of the Insurance Industry.
Not just stating, but building the physical proof through technology that our backbone as a company is to continuously evolve through innovation and progression to address the 3 main issues that our industry faces; recruiting, training, and leads.
I don’t want anybody to misinterpret the point I am trying to make. I fully am aware that going gangbuster on technology will have some downfalls. I fully understand that this industry is built on the foundation that insurance is sold, it is not bought, and that sales are made in a manner that is face-to-face with the independent insurance agent and the prospective client. Technology advancement is the cornerstone to make the implementation process more efficient and effective.
I believe in the perfect environment for a good size agency that everything matters. It is having the ability as someone who is in charge of the big picture to foresee into the future and make decisions that will give the organization a significant competitive advantage while keeping costs as minimal as possible.
The training platform that we provide to our agents is centered around videos under 10 minutes in length that help guide the agent from the fact-finding phase to the presentation, and gracefully into the close. They are not so much about how to sell. They are about how to transition to the next sale. The videos are designed to help that one-dimension agent, and assisting in their growth and development into becoming a multifaceted agent. That is done through the sale of health insurance coverages, and then transitioning into the more advanced sales of long-term care insurance, life insurance, and specialty retirement planning using advanced strategies in annuity services to plan into the unforeseen future for our clients by meeting all of their retirement goals and objectives to not outlive their retirement income, and to pass that income by preparing properly for a possible loss of income to a loved one like a spouse, and then to leave a legacy to the people and other entities that they care about the most.
Our vision is forward progression finally solving the 3 main issues that our industry faces. Our mission is to make this world a better place. That is done through our non-profit division. Our corporate bylaws state that 10% of our profits are donated to the non-profit, and with that donation, we aim to cover all operating expenses so that all donations, including an excess donation from us as a company, get to help towards the cause of rehabilitation of beaten and battered Elephants around the world.