Some entrepreneurs are born with a business ready and waiting for them. They learn the ins and outs of business as they grow older. A family business is one of the best lessons an entrepreneur can end up getting. While not everyone is lucky enough to be born with a business wrapped and waiting, being born with parents or family members in a specific industry can have its perks. You learn about the industry, if it’s something you’re interested in, and it can eventually lead you down the path to learning what you truly want to do – whether it’s building a business or going into a similar field.
Andrew Koepke, president of the CLRA Group, got an inside look. “I grew up with a hard science family. My father is a physics professor. There is entrepreneurship in my family on my mother’s side. My grandfather ran his own business. I went to school at West Virginia University and had three majors: physics, math, and statistics. I wanted to work on Wall Street. The market crashed and I had applied to 300 jobs – nothing worked. My friend’s dad owned an insurance company in Fairfax, Virginia and he hired me when no one ever gave me a chance. It’s been amazing. I had aspirations that the owner of the old company didn’t have. I started my own company and it’s been absolutely phenomenal.”
Putting in the effort to drive a business can make or break an entrepreneur. Many have tried sticking with it, many have failed. Finding your groove is what can be your saving grace. Koepke has continued to run his business with the goal of helping people in mind and unscrambling the complicated code of insurance. “CLRA stands for Client Loyalty Risk Architects. Everyone has a financial blueprint to their lives. What we do is take that blueprint and really adapt it to make your financial house come true. We do that through insurance products. We like to call ourselves an architect because everyone’s dream house or financial house is different. We’ve been blessed that with Obamacare we’re the fastest growing insurance group in the country. We try to take something that’s really complex and make it simple. One of our taglines is Simple, Modern, and Personal. Another is Making Health Insurance Easy Again. It really is something that, if we can make it sexy and fun, then people will be looking forward to insurance.”
Entrepreneurs have long been known to break the mold. In a long-established industry, being a disruptor takes a lot of drive and a lot of guts. Koepke gives praise to having the right mentors along the way. “I’ve had a lot of good mentors. I love asking questions. One thing with our company is that we’re very good at asking questions. That’s really unlike salespeople. Most of the time salespeople are pushing a product on you. How are you supposed to push a product on someone when you don’t really know their needs? I want to sell stuff that people need. There are a lot of times when we sit down with folks and there’s nothing we can do to help them – so we tell them that they’re in a good place.”
Turning your business from a job into a passion is a path every entrepreneur should find. Being involved in a community which celebrates entrepreneurism can greatly improves your chances of finding that right path. “There’s nowhere in the country where you have access to more resources, colleges and universities. The people that grow up in the DMV area are exposed to a lot more stuff at an early age which requires people to mature quicker. You meet so many amazing people from everywhere. The good thing about this area is everyone wants to help. It really is the business center of the country. I think in the next 5-10 years this area will be bigger than Silicon Valley.”
CEO Chat Podcast