In this week’s episode, we are joined by Stephani Beninati, a former stand up comedian. Now she is a broker and the owner of strategic insurance services; she has been assisting the construction real estate industry for over 20 years; she also sat on many boards such as the home builders association or Metro Denver, home builder foundation and The construction resource group.
Stephani talks about her struggles and how she was when she was growing up. She also talks about how she was able to use her experience to get into the insurance industry. How she realized that once we control our fate, we all improve on a personal and professional level. She also talks about how she started her sales career, starting on various jobs before moving to Colorado and starting an insurance agency for real estate.
Stephanie’s website: https://www.strategicinsservices.com/
Katie Brinkley 0:02
Hey there. This is Katie Brinkley and you’re listening to Rocky Mountain marketing. This podcast is all about helping Colorado based small business owners, entrepreneurs and professionals discover the strategies and systems that take their marketing to all new heights. Let’s dive into today’s episode.
Welcome back to the podcast. My guest today is Stephanie Benenati. Stephanie is the broker and owner of strategic Insurance Services. Stephanie is in the top 1% of women who are 100%, owner of an independent commercial insurance agency specializing in construction and hard to place risk. Stephanie has been assisting the construction and real estate community with their insurance and warranty needs. for over 20 years. Stephanie has also sat on many boards, including the Home Builders Association of Metro Denver, home builder Foundation, and the construction resource group where in 2008, she was a founding member. She is also a founding member of the professional women in building where they won national recognition at the International builder show two years in a row. Stephanie is also engaged in on many seminars to help educate the industry as well as great networking opportunities for builders and subcontractors to spend quality time with one another. She also participates in speaking engagements to help young entrepreneurs tackle the challenges of business ownership. She also used to be a former stand up comedian Stephanie, thank you so much for coming on the show today. Thank you for having me. So Stephanie, let’s start at the beginning. Tell us a little bit about you where you grew up and what life was like growing up. I grew up in Los Angeles with a single mother. It was really just the two of us we really never have had a lot of family around we were really just sort of kind of doing our thing. She worked a lot and I was very independent. The rest of my family on my mother’s side It feels like we’re all women like I always said we never had men either scared them or buried them you know like this was never met in our family. I just a bunch of like my I have two great aunts that just never married old spinsters and a great Lebanese family. So we would you know, everybody would cook on Sundays and stuff like that, and we would get together. But most time it was just my mom and I and then my dad’s side of the family when I saw him occasionally, they were completely opposite big Mexican family. Loud fun. And so the two together Lebanese and Mexican quite a combination. But and so we just sort of went to a public school, nothing really stood out. It’s pretty middle class. Well, tell us a little bit about your upbringing that impacted your eventual career and professional journey. Well, this is gonna sound really weird. And I’m this is why everybody, there’s hope for everybody. I was a lost soul. I didn’t know what I wanted. I was in LA. So I wanted to be an actress. Of course, I was a thespian, I did theater plays, I had no interest in school, I barely graduated high school. I’m not gonna sugarcoat it, I really just didn’t have a lot of direction. And the person I am today is completely different than the person that I was then I was always a hard worker, though. That’s one thing. I had good work ethic. I worked ever since like 12 years old, I was babysitting. And then I would I could get a permit at 15 I would was taking the bus to Gemco. And that’s a long time ago, Becca ages me, which is now a target, but worked at the mall did everything I could. And then at 16 and 17, I started working in the restaurant business and I got caught up in that lifestyle. And that was did that for a really long time. And then at got into sales, and at probably late 20s, I finally got into the sales outside sales industry, which my personality with restaurant, the restaurant business and being in sales was really just perfect. And I started selling products to real estate agents. And that’s where I was like, I really liked the sales thing. I could be good at this. That sort of all kind of led me here to move to Colorado about 15 years ago, I continued my career in the sales selling products to real estate agents. And I met a gentleman who said, you know, you should come over to the builder side. And so this was a warranty product sells warranty product to builders got into that that led to insurance. And at some point I wanted to go further with that. And my company that I was with didn’t, I just decided I didn’t know any better. I was ignorant. So I was like, I’m gonna start my own business that can be very hard. I’ve never worked for an insurance agency before. I’ve never studied insurance before. I’ve barely been in the business for a year. That sounds like a good idea. Let’s just go start a business by myself. So I did I started a business and you know, I’ll get into what that journeys been like. But so nothing remarkable really, I just sort of like kind of at some point grew up and realized that you know, I could actually control my fate and when I realized I could control my fate, I started looking at things differently and started educating myself because like I said, I barely graduated high school. So I really started to self educate and read and watch a lot of YouTube videos and how tos and now all these years later, 20 years later, so I can’t believe all the things I know how to do. It just is amazing.
Stephanie Beninati 5:00
I can do so many things that I never thought I could do before. I think it’s incredible that you said one year at that company like, well, I’ll just start my own company. What about that first year and just trying to navigate your path and find new clients? You know, how do you make sure that you are set up correctly and doing the books and talk to us a little bit about that first year of being an entrepreneur? Well, so the company I was with before, who actually I’m a partner with now is called structure home warranty. And they sell a 10 year structural warranty. And they were an amazing company, I loved working with them. And really, what I’m doing now is sort of what I had hoped kind of maybe not what I’m doing now. But what I had done, maybe in the first or second year of when I started my business was what I wanted to do for them, I had been selling the warranty, we got I got licensed, I wanted to sell the insurance through with them, they really wanted to focus more on the warranty. So yes, I went out and I went to what’s called a cluster or an aggregator, which is a larger, larger Insurance Agency. And you can kind of like, you can sort of tap into their markets, their insurance markets, the hardest thing for a small agency is to get insurance markets to actually be able to sell a product. So I was able to tap into them for two years learn, sort of learn the business. And then I bought myself out of that, and I became completely independent. So I started out in my basement, I had some clientele from my structure days, so that was good, a little bit of business coming in to feed me, I had about $60,000 in my account. That’s what I started with. And I’ve never taken a loan or anything all these years, which I might be changing that here, I might be in a position to have the opportunity to change that to take a loan because I want to grow not because I had to survive. So I was working out of my my office, my home office for two years. But two years later, my husband and I were in Mexico and drinking my ties, he looks at me. He’s a realtor, by the way. And he says I think we should sell our house because it’s good time to sell. When he says sell we saw when he says buy we buy, I trust him on that he was right, we made a good, a nice little six figures. And that was what I was able to take and put into my business to grow some of it some of the winter some other things, but most of it came to a little 400 square foot office here. And I 25 and Colorado my first little office $600 I paid for rent, I was so excited hired my first employee, less exciting, was hiring employ. But then about a year later year and a half later, we went to a bigger office. So now we’re in a we’re in a 1300 square foot office. And then like I was telling you earlier this year, we pushed out the wall. And now we’re in a 2000 square foot office, kitchen, conference rooms, everything like that. So that’s that part’s kind of fun to see it grow salutely. And that’s I think that small business owners, that’s always kind of the dream to be like, oh, you know, it’s just me, but and Sunday when I get that first employee, and then someday when I’m able to get out of my home office. Yeah, we talked a little bit before I started recording the podcast here about employees and bringing on employees and how it seems like it’s always such a milestone and so exciting, but then it’s hard to find good help, how have you been able to try and find good help for your business? You know, what, I don’t know, I have not been able to answer that question. But I do think it’s a problem that needs to be solved. And that’s what interests me is solving problems. So one of the things that I think I don’t know if every entrepreneur feels this way when they start out, but I feel like they do feel this way, because people I’ve talked to is that you get so excited about being a business owner, because you’re you think about how you’re going to create job opportunities for people and how you’re going to bring them into your company. And I mean, I used to think about daycare, free daycare, and 401 ks and all these things. The beginning was, hey, can you just come work with me. And these are going to be all these great things if we can do this together. But at the end of the day, you know, everybody has their own life. And not everybody sees things the way that you do. So the employee situation is just really, really challenging. And even for people who have a lot of money to pay employees, I talked to insurance agencies that are millions and millions and millions of dollars in revenue, and they struggle with the same thing is hiring, training. And then that those trade people go to another job higher salary, and it just keeps in one door out the other. So it’s a challenging thing, because every single time you do it when you’re a small business owner and you train lose all that time, and so then you have to start over. And so we have to be self sufficient, more than anything else. And that’s one of the things I realized in the beginning that a lot of business owners. I know I felt this way no my husband felt this way is that when you become a business owner, you think I am not going to I’m going to give all that crap work to somebody else that I hate to do billing, right how to answering the phone, whatever it is, I’m going to give that to somebody else. And that’s where we make a mistake. You can’t give it to somebody else. You have to do it yourself. You have to create a process around it.
You have to figure out how it works. And if you don’t, then somebody will always hold you hostage in your business. And that’s a scary place to be when you’re afraid to let somebody go because they know the passwords to your, your banking account that you don’t even know the passwords do, because they write all the checks, but they’re horrible at their job, and they’re not helping you grow. That’s a bad place to be in. And my husband’s been in that position. I’ve been in that position. Luckily, I’ve got four years on him and as a business, so sometimes I tell him what I’ve learned, sometimes I just let him figure it out for himself, because you have to just figure it out for yourself. Absolutely. Nobody could tell you anything, right? You’d have to like kind of go through, you have to walk through it to learn it, you know,
Katie Brinkley 10:40
actly? Well, and it’s hard to trying to figure out what tasks to delegate because like you said, you know, what do you want to give someone all the passwords, your bank accounts and everything. I think that having someone on staff that does your job better than you do is always a great position to be in because then it’s like, okay, they have the hard stuff down, I can take over this, the stuff I don’t really want to do and get that under control, and then hire someone else to take over that part of the business once I have that all under control.
Stephanie Beninati 11:10
Absolutely. That’s exactly it. Figure out what you can what piece of the business, you want to give away and learn it, create the system around it, have it written down. The biggest thing is you want to make sure that you can plug somebody in if somebody isn’t me leaves where there’s no, there’s no hiccup, because the delay of hiring somebody when somebody leaves is gonna, it’s really puts people behind. And that’s where you have, especially for me, for small businesses, that’s where you have customer, you have hiccups in customer breakdown and customer relations and customer communication, which I struggle with constantly. So I’ve had people leave, who are my clients really liked, and then they were gone. And, you know, there were things that were being handled. Luckily, I had put those processes in so I was able to jump in quickly. And and figure that out. But that’s after years of you know, figuring out where it went wrong. What went wrong first, middle on mistakes person, I figured it out kind of tried to correct those mistakes as I go along.
Katie Brinkley 12:08
If someone is listening right now, who is an aspiring or new business owner? What is the single biggest piece of advice that you’d want to give him or her as their journey starts?
Stephanie Beninati 12:17
Well, I think the biggest the best advice is that this is not for the faint of heart. I mean, you have got to have a willingness to Can I curse on this show. You have got to be willing, able, and you have to actually like to do the shit work. Like you cannot go into a ownership position and expect all the glory that first of all, will probably never happen because somebody else will always get the glory above you, most likely your salespeople, your CEO, your president, when you have, you know when you hire them at some point, but if you don’t have the strength, or the ability to work, 14 hour days, seven days a week for no money and give up your health and your sleep and everything else. It is the most grueling five to 10 years is really the span I’m at year seven. And I’m actually you know, I feel like I’m starting to turn if you’re not willing to give everything to it. If you want to have balance in your life, then that’s this is not the job to get into. And people might not believe me, but that’s why so many businesses fail. I mean, I think the statistic is that something like 84 businesses out of 1000 will make it in your 10 is crazy. So yeah, it’s if you do the math, we just did it the other day. And it’s like 80 fears of being in your 1084 out of 1000 businesses will still be around. So
Katie Brinkley 13:38
as you say now, what do you think? Why do you think that is? What do you think that some of the biggest mistakes that business owners are making in those 10 years that make it so difficult for them to grow and sustain a successful business?
Stephanie Beninati 13:51
Well, there’s so many things. One of it is the and I did this too, so I did it I saw my husband do it. I seen so many people do it. I think I was lucky I was able to maneuver quickly and but people like spent a lot time getting ready and a lot of money getting ready for business websites, logos, this that all this money getting an office space. I’ve seen people go out and spend 1000s of dollars in office space when they’re just starting out on swanky office space. Really I worked in my basement for two years like that. So there’s a lot of money that gets spent with this excitement and then the excitement like anything else dwindles you know after hours and hours and hours of days and days and days, months, months, months, years years years of work. And you can’t pay yourself I mean shouldn’t be paying yourself people say pay yourself first. No you pay your employees first you pay your lease first you pay whatever you have your accountants your whoever first before you pay yourself and so paying yourself first is not true in a maybe in some scenarios when they say that they mean investing wise or something but when it comes to running a business, you have to pay other people First and you get paid lapsed
Katie Brinkley 15:01
now what is your model look like for finding an engaging and selling to ideal clients or customers these days.
Stephanie Beninati 15:07
So my, my model has been to engage in the community. So in 2008, when we hit that recession, a friend of mine, Brian workman healed blind corners and curves, we started this group and actually been Bill Armstrong with pro home, we started this group called the construction resource group. And it was a little bit of an idea of all of ours, we all kind of brought a piece to it. And all these years later, it has really surpassed our what we had imagined it to be. But it really brought the community together in the construction industry, and primarily residential home builders. And I found a niche. And that’s where I really feel like you know, whatever it is that you do find a niche that not everybody else is doing, don’t chase everything that everybody else is, is chasing. So in my industry and insurance, primarily, people go into personalized farmer state farms, they buy a franchise, or they get into an independent agency, they’re just kind of a jack of all trades, they’ll write anything, any type of insurance, what I do is more specialized, and probably it’s a little bit harder to grow my business because it is so specialized, it’s very client service intensive, but the premium is very high. So the money the reward is very lucrative. So if you’re a specialist, then it’s like you get really, really good at what you do, and you understand what you do, and you can start speaking on it, you can start teaching it, you can start doing videos like you know, I podcasts like you are you become an expert, and then you don’t have to search so hard for business because it finds you. So I will say that most of my business is referral I very rarely market to the masses. And because we’re not even looking for that if we bring on five of the right clients every year and retain 96% of the clients we have, we’re going to build a very lucrative business. And we’re going to be able to service our clients in a way that’s just unimaginable in our industry, like, really, really service them.
Katie Brinkley 17:01
I want to interject here and say that it was that was very well put, a lot of small business owners will not find clients that are right for them, they’ll just try and find clients. And as you said, you’re like, Oh, we can find five, that’s great. But we really want to keep the ones we have five that are good. And it’s so hot, you have to find that that mix where the you’re right for the client, but the client is right for you, right? Because the last thing you want to have is a client that and you end up putting in 10 times the amount of work in for because it’s there just needs so much more than what you can give or vice versa, they not the right fit for you in the fact that you’re only giving them 1% of your time, but they’re not asking for more. So how do you find the ideal clients then that match your criteria? Do you have a setlist of okay, they must make this X amount of money and they must live in this geographic area? Or is it more of you talking with them and making sure that you guys have a good rapport on a personal level,
Stephanie Beninati 18:02
I think it’s really about talking with them and understanding what they want to do with their business. We do a lot of networking. So the opportunities that we have for our clients, like most agents, or clients see their agents once a year at renewal, my clients see me if they want to eight to 10 times a year because we do pre COVID We did for networking face to face networking events we did for face to face lunch and learns. Now we’re doing everything virtual, and I’m talking ski buses, because that was the creative piece of it. I cannot afford as a small business or to buy all my clients to receive us. But with the construction resource group, right, aligning yourself with other small business owners and pulling your resources and we’re also targeting the same clients, right? So one of the things that you don’t want to do when you’re in a networking group is like, Hey, can I fit your insurance? Or can I, you don’t want to do that. So it’s a very non selling safe environment. And you build a relationship with them? Well, what then what we do is we are able to with in the group is if one of my friends like Brian Workman, if he says, You know, I really want to meet your clients, would you mind introducing me at the next event that my client will bring them over? Have you worked with Brian blank cars or curves? They do a fantastic so I’m selling him right. And now my clients, oh my gosh, I need to get your phone number. And that’s how it always works. So you’re building an alliance with people that you like. And so first of all, what the construction resource group, those are people that have to be sort of like minded. It’s all about giving, giving back, right? It’s about treating people with respect, it’s about putting in 80% when you don’t most people don’t put 20 in. So that’s it starts there. Then it starts with for them bringing their clients in and then us sort of like introducing each other. And then it comes with putting on great valuable events. So that was something that we started in 2008 that has been instrumental to my success, and I think the success for many other people in that group. So what I would tell a small business owner is don’t go it alone. Find somebody if you are, give me a business, I don’t know. hear you. Okay, so you have a doggy daycare, get together with other people that sells these companies that sell like these hemp dog treats, right. So get together with somebody that does something unique that’s out of the ordinary. Get together with maybe a company or a veterinarian, right. So create a an alliance, and then do an event for people who own animals, dogs, preferably, your veterinarian might do, you know, have cats and reptiles and whatever. But maybe you’re just focused on dogs when you guys are working together, right? That’s what your focus is on. So you do an event, you pull your your resources, and you have a barbecue for all your clients. Well, now my clients are coming, the veterinarians clients coming to me doggie tree, guys, and we are introducing each other. So now we’re exchanging clients, and it’s fun, you’re having fun doing it. And then as it grows, get sponsors to help you, you know, to pay for it. I’m sorry to interrupt you. To get sponsors.
Katie Brinkley 21:04
Yeah. And I think that a lot of small businesses might not even ever even think of that, creating these type of networking groups. And a lot of times, people I know, when I was in the corporate world, I heard the term networking and I was like, Good Lord, why would you want to go and hang out with after work with people you don’t know and talk about work. As a business owner, it is so important to make those connections because that is a great way of finding new clients. And I think that this group that you created in 2008 is a perfect way for people in each of these industries, to pool their clientele, and just give out referrals because referral is the biggest form of flattery out there. Oh, 100%.
Stephanie Beninati 21:48
Yes, of course. Now, I will tell you, if you were to ask me where to not just myself, but small business owners struggle we’re great at putting on these events are great at networking. Now, what do you do? Right? I mean, now that you’re finished, and you have a beautiful list with all the attendees, how do you then work that list? I know how to work it, thank you cards, right? Yeah, you send them a little gift or something. But we get back into our day to day lives. And I’m just as guilty as everybody else. Because you walk in the office, the next day, you get hit with a million different things, and then all that goodwill and work building up to it. And then throughout the event, sometimes it gets you know, just doesn’t go anywhere. So that’s where we have to as entrepreneurs, you have to be thinking about every single thing. There’s not one thing everybody wants to do what they love to do, right. But you have to be thinking about you have to do everything you have to do the marketing, you have to do the until you can afford somebody like you right to come to the market
Katie Brinkley 22:48
gives you the marketing, the bookkeeping, the sales, you know, and the actual work.
Stephanie Beninati 22:52
So this year, I have to tell you, I hired a third party company, which I’m big on third party companies hire people to we’re experts at what they do. So I hired a third party company, Kim Cox to do my accounts receivable accounts payable. So they partner with us, they go out and they collect all of our premiums, they get the invoice they do this and they do that they chase money down. And I don’t have to be the bad person anymore to my clients who I like. And this has been a huge thing has taken off my plate and I have been able to afford to finally do that this year. That is like when you get to a point in your business when you can afford to take something that huge off of your plate, which is invoicing and following up. And the other thing we found is this thing called E pay, which I guess this thing’s been around for years, I had no idea. You click on it, you can put your credit card in there. And it only cost us $20 a month. So I’ve been really finding all these little things that have freed up my time because collecting money and getting checks in and processing checks and all that stuff was a colossal waste of time acuity scheduling, which I know you use Yep. Oh my gosh, the back and forth with people when you want to meet you want to meet this this day, that day that, you know, click on here are scheduled to be real tools. It’s a godsend. It really isn’t just if people use them consistently, it can really free you up to do other things. And I think that
Katie Brinkley 24:10
you brought up a really good point of saying you hired a third party company. So many people think oh, I’ve had to hire an accountant Oh, I have to hire an outsourcing it to, like you said experts in that specific field is so beneficial. Let’s say you are going to hire you need to have some design work done. So you hire a designer, but then you also need to have a copywriter. So you hire a copywriter, then you need to have a social media expert come on to do the social media. Those are three people that you just talked about hiring so that’s going to be let’s just say at least $110,000 a year. Yeah, you could hire one person and pay them the flat feet or outsource it and it’s gonna cost you a third or less Yeah, of that. Yeah. And
Stephanie Beninati 24:54
sometimes it’s a barter situation. You know, I mean, I’ve partnered with people before to I’ll do your you know, pay for your insurance policy. You are whatever. But it’s important to that I see a lot with entrepreneurs is they they’re afraid to ask, they just thinks things are a certain way. And what I’ve learned is that things are never a certain way they can be whatever you want them to be. And you would be surprised at if you ask the question, and you already have an idea of how it’s going to work. So you’re not asking somebody else to come up with how it should work, you can pretty much you know, navigate, almost negotiate and navigate almost any kind of situation or scenario. And going back to my third party accountant, so my current account, it doesn’t just as an accountant, that’s it this guy, he got into my system and learned it my actual like insurance system, and you can’t even imagine how many people told me no, I mean, they’re like, that’s not their products, not their process. They’re an accountant. They have their systems, they’re not going to get into my insurance program and invoice they’re going to use QuickBooks. So he went in there, and he’s been just right along. He’s integrated, like, into my company like you if he was an employee, because his mindset is different than other people’s mindset. He wants to be really a partner with people. So it’s been really interesting. I found this person now, this gentleman has got three other clients because I referred him just because he was didn’t he always came to the party saying yes, instead of saying no. So yes, it’s a big deal.
Katie Brinkley 26:18
Yeah. And I think that that’s a great thing to propose to other small business owners, because they might be Yeah, sure. I’ll give it a shot.
Stephanie Beninati 26:25
Yes. Yeah. Don’t always I mean, if somebody, there’s so many times that, you know, maybe people have said, for example, I don’t write personal lines, and instead of saying no to people, because I like to keep that option one day, if my husband is a real estate agent, I’m actually owns, he owns a Windermere franchise. So it really is kind of silly that I don’t write personal lines, but I’m not interested in I’m not very good at it. So if I do it, it’ll be you know, hire somebody who’s really good at it. But I never say no to people, when they asked me about it, I say, I would absolutely love to refer you to one of my partners. And then we keep them in the fold. And I keep them in the family. And so I want them to come to me. The other thing is that just because I write construction, doesn’t mean I can’t be a resource to people for other things. Accountants, framers, roofers, social media, people, like, keep your network open. So you’re always available to help people and they look at you as a resource and a guide, not just for what they need, but what they may not even know that they need. Yeah, I have that.
Katie Brinkley 27:23
And I think that it’s so beneficial for you, as a business owner, to just be that person. That’s, oh, yeah, well, I don’t need insurance right now. But she always knows of another person, but they always will think of you first. So it’s a great way to keep that personal relationship with potential clients, and one just be a good human being and help other people out. Well, really,
Stephanie Beninati 27:44
that’s, I mean, I think that that is what it comes down to it’s, you know, what type of person do you want to be? And then what type of business owner Do you want to be in? It should always be, in my opinion, it should always end with giving back. Right? It should always and that should always be the ultimate goal is that how do I give back either to my community, to my staff, to my spouse, to my family, that is everything. And that’s why I go back to the seven to 10 years of just grinding it out, just pulling up rolling up your sleeves, and you give up a chunk of your time. And if you’re willing to do that, to give up a small portion of your life, to build a business to build a career to build something that will will then ultimately feed you feed your family feed the people you employ feature community, if you’re willing to do that, then you should be an entrepreneur, if you’re not willing to do that, then you should get a job with a company and have balance because that’s how it is, you know, but if you can make it work, the rest of your life and your family’s life and your children’s life could be beautiful, really amazing that and that is one thing that’s
Katie Brinkley 28:47
so many entrepreneurs have and small business owners have is that they try to build a life around their being away from the office and around their lifestyle and not the other way around. How has that played into your story and approach with your business? Well, I
Stephanie Beninati 29:02
think I’m different because I don’t have children. And my husband’s an entrepreneur, so he understands that. So it’s very challenging if you have a spouse who doesn’t understand that I don’t know how to get around because I’m not in that situation. But I think the one thing is I’m a very good communicator, I’m always communicating what I’m thinking and feeling I don’t let resentment or frustrations fester. I don’t like that feeling inside my stomach. So I just get it out of the way. And it doesn’t mean that you’re not there for sporting events for your kids. Right. I’m not saying that. What I’m saying is that you go to a sporting event, and you spend you have dinner with your children, which you should and you put them down you better go back to that office and work another five hours. Right I get up at two o’clock in the morning sometimes and work I mean, if you can’t get up at two o’clock in the morning to work from two to seven before your kids get up or even three or four if you just can’t even get up at those times to work those other hours and then that’s what I’m talking about. I’m not talking about missing important, valuable Like moments with your family, that’s not what I’m saying is that you have to be able to look, be there be present, but also be sleeping with your eyes open.
Katie Brinkley 30:08
I mean, there’s been plenty of times where I’ve been up working till midnight. And then there’s other times where I’ll wake up at three in the morning and be like, Well, I’ve been awake now for two hours thinking about the project that I need to do tomorrow. If I would have just gotten up and done, it would be done.
Stephanie Beninati 30:25
Just get That’s it, just get up and do it. That’s what what I do. And then also, you know, don’t beat yourself up, if you need to go down for a day go down for it. I mean, we as entrepreneurs, we go, go go. And sometimes we crash, I used to beat myself up, like I had to be 100%. But I’m getting older, I’m getting slower. So if I have to go down for a day or two, even, but I you know, I’ve worked 28 days, like just killing it, crushing it, I’m going to be a I’m a little bit of a different position, I could give myself a little bit of a breathing room, because I’ve been doing it for seven years, and I’ve been a little bit of things built up behind me. But in the beginning, it’s really, really, really challenging. But just fun. I mean, you got to have fun doing it. I swear to God, like I wouldn’t do it. If it wasn’t like the most fun I’ve ever done. Like, I eat sleep. I dream about it. Like I know, it’s weird. It’s not insurance that like is so fascinating. It’s the building the business and those relationships. Yeah, it’s, you know, but a lot of people are really, they’re really good like widget maker, they’re like the best widget maker in the whole entire world, like, I can do this so much better. You know, I could build a business and so much better than the person I’m working for making widgets. But they love the widgets, they don’t like the business. The business part is hard. I like the business. I love the insurance. But I like to building it. I like putting the pieces together the processes, I like seeing it all come together. So that’s part is fun to me.
Katie Brinkley 31:43
Now, before we finish up, is there anything I didn’t ask you about during today’s discussion that you think is important to share?
Stephanie Beninati 31:49
Well, I actually I one last thing, if I have if I had time, I have this thought the other day, like a few months ago about what a business is like a child, a small business and this person doesn’t have children. So take it with a grain of salt, but this How It Should I think it should be when you think of owning a business, when you have a baby, it takes all your time, right, your mom so takes all your time and it cannot survive without you, you cannot be away from it for very long, if at all and it is day and day that you don’t get any sleep right, then at some point, you know, about five years old four, they start walking and they become a little bit more independent, you’re able to maybe leave them with somebody that would be leaving them with an employee, right? Not the baby, but the business right is making a comparison. So you’re able to like leave it for like a short amount of time where you felt you can get a break, right, but you still got to watch, you’re still training. So learning by 10, right, they’re pretty much out doing their own thing. And you can pretty, you know, you got to feed them you got to check in, you got to make sure they’re doing their homework, but for the most part, it should be out, you know, your baby should be your child should be out there like living their life. And by 18, they’re off to college, or wherever army services, whatever they decide to do. That’s kind of how the cycle of a business should be, then your child gets married, has children gives you grandchildren, that’s residual income that you build, right? That’s if people look at a business like that is your trajectory, that those are your goals, it’s gonna take you all your time, then you can start walking away a little bit, then you can start you know, it still needs you now you’re still you know, their butt goes off to college gets married. And then for you know, after 20 years, you should be getting a paycheck, you should be able to walk away, or hopefully sooner, yeah, away from it, let somebody else either run it, or you sell it or something like that, and enjoy it. You know, enjoy the money that’s coming to you and not be in it every day. If you’re still in it every day. If I’m in this business every single day in 10 years, I shoot me sweat. Because I did something wrong, I went the wrong way. That’s sort of that’s a
Katie Brinkley 33:46
great, great way of putting it. I think it’s very accurate of trying to plant the seeds. And hopefully by the time that 1820 year mark comes around, you’re able to just watch it grow. Yeah, and enjoy it. Definitely. This has been such a great conversation. Where can we find out more about you and your business online?
Stephanie Beninati 34:04
You can go to strategic i n s services.com
Katie Brinkley 34:09
Awesome. Well, thank you again, so much for coming on the show today.
Stephanie Beninati 34:13
Thank you for having me. This was fun.
Katie Brinkley 34:16
And if you’re ready to take your social media to the next level for your small business, head over to my website and check out my free video training the three biggest mistakes small businesses make with social media and how to avoid them. Discover how to make your social media marketing stand out from the crowd online. Thanks so much for listening to this episode of Rocky Mountain marketing. As always, I’d love to hear from you. You can visit my website at www.nextstepsocialcommunications.com or connect with me on LinkedIn. Just look for Katie Brinkley. Let’s keep taking your marketing to new heights.