Simon Huften is one of the owners of Life Insurance Canada.com Inc. He has been self-employed in the life insurance and financial services industry for over 12 years. The industry has changed dramatically since with technology and, most recently, COVID. When he first started in the business, most of his dealings with clients were done in person and by phone/email. Approximately five years ago, he pursued an additional source of income by looking into selling life insurance online. He started his website, learned how to run Google Adwords, and when he made the first sale, he knew it was possible. About a year or two later, he connected with the owner (at the time) of Life Insurance Canada.com Inc. He was selling life insurance leads online – which he started to purchase from him. They developed a very strong relationship, and the owner at the time approached Simon when he was ready to exit the business and sell his company. They purchased Life Insurance Canada.com Inc. a couple of years ago now and have been working on growing it ever since (while making many mistakes along the way!).
StarCentral Magazine recently caught up with Simon to discuss his journey as an entrepreneur and here’s what went down:
When did your entrepreneurial flair first reveal itself?
As a child, I delivered newspapers in the small town that I grew up in to make additional income for spending money. The responsibility of completing a job daily and being rewarded for a job well done with tips from customers showed me that I could be paid for what I was worth. Since then, I have always had little businesses and then eventually entered the financial services industry at the age of 19.
How did your life look like before being an entrepreneur?
I have been self-employed my entire life, so it was a bit blurry for me before then!
As an entrepreneur, what is it that motivates and drives you?
Selling a product that you genuinely believe in, growing the company by hiring employees, and watching them and the company grow.
In one word, describe your life as an entrepreneur and explain why.
Grind. Being an entrepreneur has its ups and downs, but when you grind away at it every day, these hurdles get easier to handle.
What were your top three motivations for starting your business?
My top three motivations for starting my business are the freedom that comes with it, being rewarded for the work you put into the company, and the ability to set high goals to work towards to accomplish.
What would you say are the key elements for starting and running a successful business?
You definitely need to believe in the product or service you are selling and genuinely enjoy working with your clients. This will help make your business enjoyable and not seem like you will “work” every day.
What are the three biggest challenges you have faced growing the business and how did you overcome them?
1. Finding the right employees. We have built an impressive team at Life Insurance Canada.com, and it was not easy to find them. We had to interview a lot of potential employees to build the team that we currently have.
2. Marketing to the right target market online. It took us multiple marketing companies to find the existing company that we are working with. We hired a third-party agency to present us with some of the top marketing companies in North America to accomplish this.
3. Rebuilding our website. Since purchasing the company, we have made many changes to the website to enhance the customer experience online. However, we ended up doing the same thing as we did with our marketing team and hired a third-party agency to introduce us to some of the best web development companies in the world.
What form of marketing has worked well for your business throughout the years?
Life Insurance Canada.com Inc. is solely an online company, so we are heavily invested in marketing on Google, Instagram, and Facebook. These three avenues generate the majority of our leads and customers.
As you grew the business, what have been some of the most important leadership lessons you have learned?
Working alongside our employees to help them feel comfortable with the products we are selling and helping them communicate with our customers. Working together as a team and building camaraderie between us has been very important.
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
Repetition. When you can continue to get up every day and put time and effort into your business, you will be rewarded over time.
12) What advice would you give to a newbie Entrepreneur setting up their first business?
Research the product and/or service you want to sell and make sure that there will always be customers who want to buy your product. You do not want to start a business with a short-term mind-frame if your product or service is not needed in the short term. I would also tell them to ensure that their business will be sellable in the future to have an exit.