There are a lot of business opportunities out there that promote work from home, set your own hours, easy to get started, and the potential to earn a lot of money. The problem with a lot of them is you are selling things people do not need to earn a small percentage of the sales. I wanted to know I was helping people, not really “selling.” Then a friend introduced me to the financial services arena and World Financial Group (WFG), and I got started building a business and clientele.
Like a multi-level marketing company, you get involved with WFG through someone else who is, but unlike an MLM your success determines where you wind up on a hierarchy. You are building your own business, whether a small personal agency or growing a network of representatives across the country.
The opportunity is to help people establish a financial map of where they currently are and where they need to be. You are “selling” life insurance, college savings accounts, retirement accounts and annuities to help people make their money last or protecting their family assets. The people we help do not pay us directly. We earn commission from whichever financial institution with which we set up an account or insurance company involved.
Getting started with WFG involves a $100 “administration fee.” It seems like a rip-off, but they set you up in their system. It does give you access to training and, once you start selling, a whole payroll system.
No financial services experience beforehand is necessary. In many ways, you are better off without it. People like to relate to people from similar experiences and backgrounds. Our clientele are middle America, not the top 5 percent like other financial firms. The people who really do well are nurses and others who talk to a lot of people, are used to empathizing and have no pretenses of grandeur like many stockbrokers do.
You have to get licensed. In California, that involves taking a 52-hour online life/health agent course, then the state test, a background check then some other smaller courses (annuities, money-laundering, etc.). The federal securities licenses are a good idea long term, but not needed at first.
It’s a good idea to have some initial training appointments with people you know before you even get licensed. That way you can determine if the field is right for you before you pay for tests, licenses, etc. that you might not use.
We generally don’t do cold calling. But, the telephone is still the lifeline to success. Building your business requires a lot of time networking and contacting people you know and referrals from them. One plus is that establishing yourself in a new field gives you an excuse to get back in contact with acquaintances from old jobs or school days. You also have to do a lot of networking to meet new people.
Most agents start part-time to decide if WFG is right for them and how much effort they want to put into it. I originally planned to make it my primary job and writing my secondary. I keep both options very open since writing is pretty solitary and networking is not a natural skill for me.
One thing I liked about WFG is, even though it is part of Transamerica Corporation, the agents are not “captive.” That means they do not have to sell Transamerica products. We are encouraged to find the best option for the client’s needs, especially since we largely service people who do not have the assets that a Dean Witter is looking for in its clientele. I’m not sure it’s something to brag about, but I have yet to sell a Transamerica policy. Nationwide has been better for the specific people I’ve priced and looked at long-term projections on. Jackson National was great for some other clients.
The Reality of Being in Business
Financial services pays really well. The commissions are competitive and there are a lot of reward trips, incentive programs and such, which is typical of the entire insurance and financial services arena.
I’ve only been at it about a year. It’s a numbers game that can be grueling and depressing knowing that you have to endure a lot of “No’s” to get one “Yes.” I know that building a new business takes time and that my income will grow with more sales on top of residual income from the initial ones.
There is a shortage of people in the financial services area, particularly catering to middle income people trying to figure out how to fund their golden years. It’s a great way to work part-time and make money.