The more you listen, the easier it comes. Just within the past 18–24 months I’ve learned to start listening vs. always talking. This is true with my team, being at a convention, talking to clients or anything having to do with making myself or the company more successful. Just by listening I have learned so much more these past 18–24 months then I ever did before. You’ll be surprised what you hear if you actually pay attention and listen.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Jagger Esch, who is a young entrepreneur and seasoned insurance expert in Clearwater, FL. Jagger started his first insurance agency and was able to sell it for profit in under two years. Immediately after he formed his current company, Elite Insurance Partners.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us about your journey to becoming CEO?
Shortly after high school, I was sitting at my 9–5 job watching the clock, waiting for the hours to tick away. I knew I wanted more but was still unsure how exactly to achieve the greatness I desired. One day the light bulb turned on and I thought to myself “I can do this on my own and be better at it.” I had interest in the insurance industry and a great passion for helping others.
All that coupled with my knowledge and skill with technology, I knew I was a force to be reckoned with. I now know to never ignore those “ah-ha” moments in life and business. In only 4 years, I am proud to say my company, Elite Insurance Partners, is of the top ten Medicare insurance brokerages nationwide and we ranked #112 on the INC 500 for the fastest growing companies in America.
What is your definition of success?
Success to me is getting to the point in your business where you are no longer intimidated by your competitors, but rather inspired by them. Willing to learn from and befriend them instead of working against one another. Some of my most treasured companions today are my competitors whom of which I have the pleasure of traveling the world with.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
I think back to when I as a young 14-year-old teenage boy. Just starting high school, arguing with my best friend over our rival college football teams. We were the best of friends all throughout high school, but lost that close contact when he went off to college… the same college he argued “who’s football team was going to win” during each rival game. As much as I don’t like to admit it, they ended up winning a national championship while he was there (thanks to Tim Tebow & Urban Myer).
While he was away, we never lost that brotherly connection. Who else would I want to join in this business adventure with me? My childhood friend, the rival, David Haass is now my business partner and biggest asset to my company. We always knew we would end up working together, we never imagined that 4 years ago when we started that it would turn out the way it has today.
What failures have you had along the way? How have they led you to success?
Every journey has failures along the way. My greatest downfall was bringing the wrong team members into my business family. Some, no matter how they appear on paper, will never be a good fit.
It took me a while to be able to acknowledge this before investing too much and dealing with an undesirable departure. It’s a great skill finding exceptional people, treating them like family and giving them an environment, they enjoy coming to daily. The right people will always thrive in the right environment.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Elite Insurance Partners stands out because not only do we have the best leads in the industry, which are all produced in-house, but also our phones are ringing nonstop with referrals from other satisfied customers.
The best compliment to your business is always a referral. After I analyze my reports each month and only see those referrals grow, I know we are doing great things and touching many lives in a positive manner.
Are you working on any new or exciting projects now?
We are getting ready to move to an office that is 4 times the size of our current office. I have complete confidence that I can take the same team members that fill my current space, use the same techniques I have learned and implemented in this journey and quickly double/triple in size within my organization.
We have 10–15 projects going on each and every day, whether its coaching, technology, or vetting better products for our clients. We’re always thinking outside of the box to try and help our team become more productive throughout their days.
Is your company working to be more sustainable? If so, how?
Being sustainable is one of the biggest things that any CEO or business owner should always keep 4 eyes on. You never want to grow too fast and not be able to keep up, nor implement something that isn’t in your long-term plans. Having a growth plan that allows steady growth helps a tremendous amount with financials.
What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?
When I started my first company, many people in my life gave me unsolicited advice and objections. Telling me I had far too much on my plate, I’m doing too much, what if you don’t succeed. My advice I give to anyone in that position is… why not? Why not do too much? Why not be scared of failures?
Failure is only one step closer to success. Find something you have passion in, implement what you know and each and every day keep an open mind with learning new things and don’t be scared to fail. Failure is apart of business, be the one that gets back up and keep trying until you find or create a solution.
Become obsessed with your goals, and never stop trying no matter what obstacles you may face. The most valuable way you can run any business is to truly care about people. Care about your team and your customers. If not for them, you have nothing!
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
When I was younger I was jumping from job to job. I didn’t have a specific niche in the workforce that had me excited to wake up every morning. At the age of 19, my older brother reached out to me for a position with a large marketing firm in the insurance industry that he worked with for over 5 years at the time.
He enjoyed what he did and made great money doing it. I figured I would give it a shot as it was more of career in comparison to my previous jobs. I fell in love with the insurance industry very quickly. Helping others became a true passion, and I was finally waking up every morning excited to jump out of bed and get to the office.
Just like that, a job turned into a career and that career turned into a very successful entrepreneurship. I would not be where I am today if I did not absolutely love what I do. If there’s one piece of advice that I can give to that young 20-year-old trying to find their way in this world… keep searching for something that you enjoy, something that makes you truly fulfilled.
A happy boss employs happy employees, happy employees provide excellent customer service, and happy customers will always stay loyal to you for the simple fact of the way you make them feel.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
My company offers products that I truly believe in. Products I would pitch to my own parents and loved ones. My company’s business model is, truly have the client’s best interest first and foremost and everything else follows.
We educate each client on all options available to them. If a product or carrier we don’t offer is in their best interest, we will inform them of this and even provide the contact information for the other company or carrier.
Do what you would for your family, friends and loved ones. I’ve stayed true to this since I started my first company 6 years ago and now we have happy clients and team members. I get to go home each night and never question if what I am doing is right. I see my team following this model daily and you can truly see the happiness on their eyes.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became CEO” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)
- Don’t let work interfere with your personal time. As a CEO, there any many nights and weekends that go into building a successful business. You have to know when enough is enough and make time for yourself, family and friends. You have to make yourself do it, there isn’t anyone pushing you out the door. In the beginning, and still at times today, I find myself not having enough hours in the day. Before I know it, I’ve been at the office for 12–14 hours. I’ve come to realize that there is always tomorrow, and it will be where I left it when I get back in. In the beginning you’re expected to work more hours, but you always have to find that happy medium starting off. Its been hard not to work 80+ hours a week when there’s so much growing that I still want to accomplish. I’ve learned to delegate some things that I may not have wanted to in the past to team members that I can trust and rely on. This is true to any CEO and to any team member, try to leave work at work. Enjoy your free time with who you love and what you love to do.
- Work with the right people. Since the first day of opening the doors to EIP, I’ve always found it hard to find the right team members that work hard and love what we do daily. In the beginning I struggled letting some people go. I kept telling myself that I could inspire and coach everyone to work as hard as I do and love what they do each and every day. Unfortunately, after a couple of years I realized this wasn’t the case. To this day I will try and inspire and coach our team members that I’m noticing certain traits on, but I don’t let it drag out as long as I have before. As a team, we now surround ourselves with happy, self-motivated, go getters that love what they do and can translate that to new team members and clients.
- The more you listen, the easier it comes. Just within the past 18–24 months I’ve learned to start listening vs. always talking. This is true with my team, being at a convention, talking to clients or anything having to do with making myself or the company more successful. Just by listening I have learned so much more these past 18–24 months then I ever did before. You’ll be surprised what you hear if you actually pay attention and listen.
- Listen to your team. I always thought as a CEO that you’re supposed to come up with everything. I realized shortly after starting the company that I couldn’t do and think of everything. The more eyes and ears you have the better. It’s sometimes hard to say but… my way isn’t always right or the best way. I work with a great team and before we implement something large, I make sure to get feedback from those that it may impact or will be working with it. You may not always agree with what everyone says, but you’ll be surprised of the feedback you receive and how much you’ll have implemented from listening.
- Don’t be afraid to let others take some things off of your plate. If you want to grow without having to work 80+ hours a week, you have to learn to let some things go. If you work with the right team members and delegate work duties to the right people, the company runs smoother and you can focus of things to help grow the company. In the beginning it was hard for me to let some of the things that I did on a day to day basis go. But now that I have, I can now focus on hiring other team members that can help grow and expand our footprint in the US.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
As CEO of Elite Insurance Partners, I do not wish to sit behind a desk and just get wealthy off of others. I have equal desire for all of those within my company to achieve success and wealth. I employ a group of individuals that are providing a great lifestyle for their families.
I’m big on goal setting and working with each individual to figure out how we can, together, achieve those goals. My personal goal as CEO is to get as many of my team members in the top ten nationwide that makes over 6 figures a year. Not only does this help my business and my employees, but also my community as a whole.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
My favorite life lesson quote is “short cuts make long delays”. I learned early on not to reinvent the wheel. I always researched others success in my industry and sought out all avenues possible to take those great ideas that were proven a success and make them better. I owe a great deal of my success to this mentality.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this 🙂
Since my early to mid-20’s, Mark Cuban has been a great inspiration to me and I have followed him closely. Just like myself, he grew up in a middle-class family and was never handed anything in life. He has always had to work hard to get it.
At a young age, we both have always had to work hard for the smaller things in life that some of our friends were so fortunate to have. Throughout childhood, college and all of his business ventures, he’s always thinking of the next “big thing” as any great entrepreneur should, which I really respect.
Since I personally don’t know him, I can only assume he has been able to accomplish a lot of this by surrounding himself by a great team to help grow his companies as they have today. Watching and listening to TV shows, interviews and podcasts, he sounds to be an all-around great guy, puts people first and money later.
A couple things that I admire the most and I personally want to keep working towards is what he stands for and what he does for the community. To some, money is everything… with Mark it doesn’t seem like it is. I am determined to keep heading in the right direction and I can only hope to accomplish what he has in life. The only thing I would do differently would be to buy a football team vs. a basketball team. 😊
Originally published at medium.com