This week’s guest on Share Your Umbrella, the First Financial Security® podcast that features entrepreneurs and their stories of helping communities with financial solutions, is Senior Marketing Director Bee Lee. Bee studied hard to get her insurance license while working as a housekeeper and learning English at the same time. She gave us her advice on how to keep a positive attitude and told us the importance of events like Leaders Convention on the growth of her business. For this blog post, we have highlighted some excerpts of her interview for all to read.
See below for an excerpt of our conversation — you can listen to the full episode here.
Bee, what were you doing before you joined FFS?
Housekeeping was my first job. At that time, I didn’t know English, and my friend helped me get into it. I was a 24-year-old single mom with six children, doing housekeeping for a couple of years before my other friend helped me get a caregiving job instead.
Personally, I thought, “I don't have an education. Maybe this caregiving job is all I need.” But most of the patients I took care of were some kind of business owner, and when I saw their lifestyles, I thought, “Wow. I want to retire as a business owner, not as an employee.” I also wanted to help families — I love helping people, especially older people — but no matter how much I enjoyed it, at the end of the day, I wanted to find something that was not nine-to-five.
It was hard for me. I grew up in a small village with no school, all the way up in the mountains. I came to this country from Laos. I couldn’t even think about my future there. I would only think about doing what my parents said: get married, have children. That’s why I married so young. That made it hard to find a better job and a better opportunity here.
What are some of the challenges that you faced early on in your business? What advice would you give to people who are looking to overcome their own challenges?
To get my license, I had to translate from English to my language, but I got through it. I studied so hard. I studied very hard and I look at that license as something that’s very important to me.
The mindset, too — you’re training to be an employee your whole life, and now you have to discipline yourself as a business owner, training yourself little by little because you’re not used to being a business owner instead of an employee. It’s very hard. You have to think positively — if you keep moving every day, you will reach your goal. Just don’t give up, don’t fall back, and keep moving every day.
I never miss Leaders Convention and JumpStart because that’s where you learn to grow your business. Every time I go to Leaders Convention, I learn more about the carriers and more about the products. I bring it home and use it to grow the business.
When I went to my first Leaders Convention, the first thing that came to my mind was hearing someone speak and thinking, “Her English is just like mine! If she can do it, I can do it too.” Since then, I’ve never missed. You always learn from other leaders, from the carriers, and from the Home Office.
2020 changed everything for the industry — what did you do to keep your business running last year?
In 2020, I had to change to move us in a different direction. You cannot do the same thing when everything else changes. We learned how to Zoom and how to use social media.
When the quarantine came, we were so scared. We stopped the business for two weeks as we figured it out. We asked ourselves, “What are we going to do with our business?” We had to change just a little bit. It’s just like when you’re cooking and it doesn’t taste good — you have to add new ingredients, a little bit of spice.
Did you see a change in client attitude as well as a result of the pandemic?
Our old clients kept referring people to us, and I told myself, “Wow, people are taking insurance more seriously now.” The excellent customer service we provide for the client — anything they need, we help them and serve them — keeps them happy. So many people need policies. This is the right time.
Do you have any stories of sharing your umbrella — either the FFS opportunity or the protection of these financial solutions?
In my business, we want to help the younger generation prepare for their retirement. When the time comes, these young people will need protection. So many people reach out to me a month before their retirement, and I think “This is not the right time.” It’s hard to say that it’s too late at that point. There are other things we can do, but starting early is so impactful. That’s why I go to young people and tell them straight: “These products can protect you.” Especially the ones with living benefits.
Listen to our full conversation with Bee Lee for more valuable insight into running your own