Matt Sapaula also known as @MoneySmartGuy is a veteran entrepreneur which means that he transitioned from the United States Military Marine Corp into entrepreneurship after his time in the service. He is a co-owner of PHP Agency which is a national financial organisation in the United States that coaches entrepreneurs in the field of insurance and retirement service. Through his works, Matt is creating awareness and educating military veterans that there is live after the military in the business world. Often veterans think that the only job available to them after the service is being a police officer, firefighter, construction workers, etc. Which Matt believes are all important occupations. But he also wants to let them know that the business world is wide open for them to be entrepreneurs. His life is a testimony of this.
1. Humble Beginnings
Q: How did you get started and what or who inspired and empowered you to?
I got introduced to PHP Agency by a common friend Pastor Dudley Rutherford who is a pastor of the top 50th largest churches in America. My sister was working for Pastor Dudley Rutherford and he told me ‘you need to meet the Iranian version of you Matthew. He is tall, he is in finance, military background, an entrepreneur, you guys need to connect.’ He told Patrick Bet-David the same thing, that he needs to meet the Philipino version of himself. He connected us and I have been working with Patrick since January 2015. My role in PHP Agency is Marketing, Agency Recruitment and being a brand out there that is communicating entrepreneurship and that the insurance industry is an industry you should go into because not only is it a wealthy industry, but it is severely on demand in the United States. There is not enough insurance agents or enough insurance agency builders in our industry and usually, most people in American get financial help through life insurance agents. Now a days there is very little in America.
Q: What unique and creative strategies if any did you use when you were first getting started?
Because of social media and text messages and emails, a strategy that is being long lost is having human conversations. Our unique strategy was people’s hands. It was going to networking events, going to chambers of commerce and spreading the word out. The thing is, everybody currently thinks that success will come by sitting behind a screen with a nice profile or they think they are going to create the next best app and everyone will just want to buy it from them. No, that’s not how it works. We did not build an online following to develop a business because that’s what most people are doing nowadays. We developed a business and used the online aspect for our people to just do it. And it works Duku. You know why? Because everybody especially with the internet and social media, are looking for an easier way to do it and there isn’t one. In the insurance industry, when I am recruiting people to consider this field, it’s gotta be face to face. It must be with a handshake. We do eventually send them a video to watch but there also must be a human dialogue. Our use of technology cannot eliminate the human element.
Q: What mindset distinguished you from others who were doing the same thing? How did you develop it?
- I think the mindset that distinguished us from other financial insurance companies is that we think like entrepreneurs. We don’t think like sales people. When we are recruiting people to work with us, we don’t have that saying that they must be professionals. We teach them. Like myself, I came with no college degree but I was taught. The people we teach will not only increase their financial literacy or their financial skills but they will also learn how to develop their business like an entrepreneur vs a producer who is out to get sales. How we know that is because every time we talk to an agent in our field, they are always talking about who has the best product. We are lacking agents in our industry and we are talking about scaling our business instead of talking about how many clients did you get this week. Now that is important, but we want to scale that up and always find out how do we corner a market or how do we corner a city? That’s why we have grown from 60 agents in 2009 to over 5,500 agents today.
Q: How do you determine who to hire?
We give everyone a shot. You know why? Because everyone lies in their resume. Therefore, in addition to their resume, we say let’s see how good you will do. Let’s see if you are who you said you are. Afterwards, two things happen. 1) we see if people really need help or 2) we offer to teach them and then their ego kicks in and that’s how we process people out.
Q: What do you think is the main reason why some people face failure when going after their vision?
They are not taught that failure is good. In school because they are taught academic education, they are taught that failure is bad. For entrepreneurs and business people, we are taught financial education. John Maxwell would say ‘Fail early, fail often and fail forward. That there is goodness in failure.’ It took Thomas Edison a thousand try before he discovered the light bulb. I think that today, if you put Thomas Edison to light up a room, I think that the light bulb would have never been discovered because so many people fear failure. I think that’s why we need to get back to an entrepreneurial mentality so that people can learn to fail early, fail often and fail forward.
5. What is the best piece of advice you have received or came across and would like to share with everyone and what books would you recommend?
For those who are going through tough times, I want to let you know that you learn a lot about yourself through those tough times. You learn your natural instincts through tough times. Sometimes it’s a bad mirror. Tough times are great indicators of your character, how do you react? Are you a fight guy or a flight guy. Because tough times don’t last, tough people do. When tough people last, they create principled, foundation types companies and it improves tough principled people. When things are tough, I find people bounce from one thing into another. That leads me to number two.
Find one thing, put a lot of money into it and master it for 10 years. For me, I have mastered what I am doing for nearly 20 years. I tried to dabble into a lot of things and I lost a lot of money. You know why? Because I lost focus. Making money isn’t always about being creative. It’s about finding a system that you can process and scale your business with and do it over and over and over again. You may think it may be boring, but it is part of the process. In regards books, I would recommend anything from Robert Kiyosaki. I currently had a read of his last book “Why the rich keeps getting richer.’ It’s an amazing book. I will also recommend Patrick Bet-David’s book the 11 Laws of doing the impossible. You know why Duku? Because I keep finding myself doing the impossible.
If you want to view more of my work visit www.dukuinspires.com or reach out on Instagram at @dukuinspires