Building Homes and Protecting Communities Series

Tips & Tricks 09/26/2017

5 lessons I learned from building my own house-Lesson # 1

This August marks the 5 year anniversary in our home.  We joined a community home building program with seven other families to build our eight houses together. We had one licensed general contractor supervising the effort, while the eight families swung the hammers.  When we decided to build, we had three very young children, were recovering from the recession’s financial beat-down and had very limited building skills.    So Yeah, it was scary!!!!

It was quite possibly the hardest year of my life.

A lot has changed in that 5 years, We added another rambunctious boy to the family, my business has grown to be stronger then ever, our kids are thriving and running us wild from dance to baseball games to plays to student government events.  There  is no way I could go back and sacrifice another year to build a home like that again.  But it got me thinking about the blessings that came from that experience.  We have six figures of equity in our home and strong trusting relationships with our neighbors because we’ve been through something difficult together.  But I think the greatest blessing this experience gave us were the valuable lessons we learned.

This article is the first of a series of five posts that detail the lessons I learned from that year of building and how they drastically changed my insurance practice.

Lesson #1
You must first dig down before building up-

I live in the desert of Southern Utah where most homes are built on sand.  We couldn’t start building until after our excavator completed an arduous process.  He dug huge holes, then slowly poured sand back in,
watered it,
rolled it,
sanded it,
watered it,
rolled it,
over and over until the dirt was solid enough to support a foundation.


This tedious and expensive dirt work prevented the rain and wind from eroding the sand from under the foundation.  5 years down the road we would have been struggling to keep our foundation from crumbling without this important process.  I wish I would have learned this lesson when I first started my career.


Build a strong Foundation early

The best foundation for a book of business is a direction, focus or specialty. A Superpower, if you will. We help you find your Superpower.

What's my Superpower?

My first five years of insurance are now a blur.  I remember a lot of cold calling, price quoting and fighting with insurance companies to give me all the discounts and credits I could find to keep my clients on renewal.  My book of business was being built on the foundation of price.

If I was the cheapest, I won.

If I wasn’t, I lost.

My foundation was weak because I didn’t dig down first.  I didn’t find out what made me better, what clients I resonated with and how I could help solve real concerns.  This took a lot of digging into myself, finding my true passions and knowing the people I resonated with.  This process was hard but crucial to my success.

Now, I don’t fight the price battle.  More of my clients are willing to see past some of my struggles and fight to stay with me because they believe in the problems I help them solve.  My practice now has a foundation built on relationships, loyalty and problem solving.  My first book of business crumbled when the harsh storm of the great recession came because it was not built on a solid foundation.

I won’t make that mistake twice.

This simple yet valuable lesson is one of many that helped change my career for the better. A solid foundation is critical to success building anything, weather a home or a book of business.  We have built a program to help agents build a foundation by finding their specialty.  Click here to learn more about it.

My next post will discuss Lesson # 2 – You don’t know what you don’t know….You know?

Until then,

Take ACTION & Become ELITE

Brett Thompson, CIC, CRM
Founder and Chief Superhero Officer
Agents of TrACTION

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