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Meet Ryan Edwards

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ryan Edwards.

Ryan, before we jump into specific questions about your work, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I went to college with a passion for health and education. I received my Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology in 2007 from San Diego State University with the intention of becoming a high school physical education and dance teacher. Around the time I graduated, there were funding and budget cuts in physical education and the arts which led to a lack of job availability. To make ends meet, I took a position as a security guard, which landed me a position at a State Farm Operations Center.

Over the next several years, I learned about State Farm, the insurance and financial services company with the best commercials. I came to love the State Farm family, which has a strong sense of community and pride. I discovered I wanted to be a part of this amazing organization that educates people about the importance of insurance and financial services, promotes financial & physical health and wellness among their employees, agents, and communities. I transitioned into a position with a State Farm agent in West LA and learned a great deal about the responsibility we have to be leaders and educate others about financial health and protecting their income, lives, property, futures, and legacies.

Finally, after several years of professional development, I was able to apply for the opportunity to become a State Farm Agent. I opened my doors on January 1, 2019, and haven’t looked back. I’m having the same obstacles and challenges as any first-year business such as finding great employees and marketing your name to the surrounding community.

We have great people working here, and we’re still building our team of professionals. We’ve been very active in the community working with the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce & University High School. Our office has also been lucky enough to team up with several non-profit organizations with a marketing strategy designed to raise money for great causes. As this year draws to an end, I’m more excited than ever to spend the rest of my career as a State Farm Agent in West Los Angeles.

I rely on my family for moral support and hope they benefit from my experience and everything we’re learning together. My mom, husband, and sister work with me, and every other employee we have is a part of our family as well. It often takes the support of a family to run a successful small business. Frequent meetings and team-building exercises help strengthen our relationships with each other. I encourage the whole team to set their sights on an entrepreneurial venture as a State Farm Agent, or any other calling they prefer. I support small business, and I do my best to help anyone who works with me to achieve their professional goals.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Startup capital was probably the first hurdle I faced. I had quite a bit saved up when I started, and it’s hard to spend that hard saved money on things that don’t give you an immediate return. People may not realize all of the money that goes into simple things like Google placement and internet marketing, sending mailers to your local community, etc.

Then you have much bigger expenses like payroll and the time you have to spend networking in the community and time developing your employees to be amazing. No matter how well I think I know what I’m doing, my office is only as strong as our newest team member. I’ve spent countless hours this year in training meetings provided by State Farm, training meetings with my employees, and study groups.

It’s important to make sure your employees know your vision and are disciplined enough to take care of your business and customers the way you want them to. Despite a grueling ten step interview process, sometimes people make it through who just aren’t the right fit. It takes a special kind of person with patience, capacity, sense of urgency, and confidence to do this job.

It feels great when you can see the development process in an employee that’s brand new to the industry. Helping your employees become entrepreneurs is one of the reasons I wanted to be a State Farm Agent, and I see possibilities and potential in all of my employees.

We’d love to hear more about your work.
Most people think of insurance, and they either think of their bill or a claim they’ve had. When you add State Farm to that, people think of the commercials and the sponsorships. To the average person, an insurance agent sells insurance, and there’s not much more to it.

State Farm is approaching their 100 year anniversary as an insurance company, and in my opinion is the best company to represent. As an agent representing the #1 insurance company in the United States, I have a reputation to protect and live up to, even if a lot of people don’t know what we really do. It’s easy to sell auto and home insurance because someone, usually a bank, is requiring people to carry insurance. Because of that, most people think insurance is something they’re simply required to have.

My job is to protect people from the unexpected by helping them understand why they need to have, not only auto and home insurance, but life, health, and disability insurance as well. The most effective way for me to do my job is when my customers and community members give me the opportunity to sit down with them and build a relationship. By getting to know each person, I can find out what’s important to them and find out how they want to protect it.

For some people the most important thing is their families, for others, it’s their possessions, and for many of us, it’s both. What some people forget to consider is that if you’re not here, none of the rest happens. One of the difficulties with my job is helping people realize how important they are to themselves. The first thing I want to protect is you, so you can continue to provide for yourself and your family no matter what life throws at you.

We tailor each individual or family’s insurance to their personal situation. Of course, there are cookie-cutter coverage options for those that want ‘what they’ve always had’. With everyone we talk to, we always explain how their coverage will protect them and identify any gaps in coverage, which we’re very direct about. We’re the friend that’s going to tell you that your hospital gown is open in the back. Then we’ll walk you through the steps to make sure that you find a way to close that gap and cover yourself the right way.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
If I had to start over, I would’ve started sooner. I have great job satisfaction from this career path and wish I would have been introduced to State Farm earlier in life. The education and professional development that I’ve received from working in this industry, and for State Farm, has been amazing in its own right. To be able to share that with others, work in my community helping organizations I care about, and make an honest living doing it is a privilege.

The longer you’ve been in business making positive connections, the more you can get the word out about who you are, what’s important to you, and how you can help others. The more you do that, the faster your business can grow, and the more people you can help. It’s a cyclical effect that’s win-win for everybody.

Pricing:

  • Each month, I team up with a different non-profit organization. Every quote (not sale) my office gives, we make a $10 donation on your behalf. Call me with your favorite local organization, and we’ll look into teaming up with them for a fundraiser!

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