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IAM292- Founding Partner Helps Baby Boomers Navigate Medicare and Supplemental Coverage

Podcast interview with Danielle Roberts

Danielle Kunkle is a founding partner at Boomer Benefits, a national top producing agency that specializes in Medicare-related insurance products across 47 states. Her team helps baby boomers navigate Medicare and choose suitable supplemental coverage. She is a member of the Forbes Finance Council where she writes about Medicare, retirement and personal finance and is also a past president of the Fort Worth chapter of the National Association of Health Underwriters. Her agency was recently named the 2019 Health Insurance Advisory firm of the year by Finance Monthly.

  • CEO Hack: Listening to podcasts
  • CEO Nugget: Find an area that stands out for you and don't be afraid to start
  • CEO Defined: Be an example to others of what is possible

Website: https://boomerbenefits.com/

Personal Site: https://daniellekroberts.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BoomerBenefits
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BoomerBenefits
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/daniellekunkle/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/BoomerBenefits
Instagram: @BoomerBenefits


Full Interview

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Transcription:

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Intro 0:02

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of. This is the I AM CEO Podcast.

Gresham Harkless 0:30

Hello, hello, hello. This is Gresham from the I AM CEO Podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Danielle Roberts of Boomer Benefits, Danielle, it's awesome to have you on the show.

Danielle Roberts 0:39

I'm so excited to be here. My pleasure. Thank you.

Gresham Harkless 0:41

No problem. Super excited to have you on and what I want to do is just read a little bit more about Danielle so you can hear about all the awesome things that she's doing. And Danielle is a founding partner at Boomer Benefits, a national top-producing agency that specializes in Medicare-related insurance products across 47 states. Her team helps baby boomers navigate Medicare and choose suitable supplemental coverage.

She is a member of the Forbes Finance Council where she writes about Medicare, retirement, and personal finance, and is also a past president of the Fort Worth chapter of the National Association of Health Underwriters. Her agency was recently named the 2019 Health Insurance Advisory Firm of the Year by Finance Monthly, congratulations! And are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO community?

[restrict paid=”true”]

Danielle Roberts 1:26

I am let's do it.

Gresham Harkless 1:28

Let's do it. So the first question I had was to hear a little bit more about what I call your CEO story and what led you to start your business.

Danielle Roberts 1:34

Yeah. So I worked in staffing right after I graduated from college, I had a journalism and English degree and quickly found out that you can definitely not live on that and also pay it back student loans. So journalism is a lofty ideal career and a lovely thing, but you can't make a lot of money on it. And so I went into business, I got a job with a staffing firm, and I worked for a really amazing entrepreneur.

His name is Steve Smith, he runs Cornerstone Staffing here in the Dallas Fort Worth area. They started with his company when he had five employees, and now they have like 100 employees, and there are offices all over the Metroplex and really just learned so much while working in that industry. But after about 10 years or so, I had some burnout, working as a district Operations Manager and staffing, something you may know is that people are very unreliable products.

So you might put them on a job and they don't show up and then the client is mad. And you can do that for so long. So I knew that I had always wanted to run a business, I enjoy sales and was sort of an entrepreneurial kid. Along with my brother, we used to knock on doors and wash cars. And we sold earthworms to fishermen alike. I mean, if there was a way to make a buck, we did it when we were kids. So a friend of mine had an interview a group interview with an insurance firm.

And she asked me if I wanted to go along because I had mentioned to her that I was interested in owning a business and I thought insurance, you know, it's pretty nonglamorous. But sure, I'll go and just see what it's all about. And then I went to the presentation and totally fell in love with the idea. I thought it sounded like a great business where you can honestly provide help to people who truly need it.

And at the same time, you can earn a good living, and you don't have to worry about your product sitting on the shelves or spoiling it's a, you know, a great business in terms of being able to start it on the side and not have to worry about some of the investment things. There are not a lot of startup costs. So I got my license, which isn't that hard to do in any state, you can go and get an insurance license, you can usually take a three-day course and then take an exam afterward.

And the course is quite good to prepare you. I started my insurance agency by bootstrapping it, I literally drove out to business parks and knocked on their front door and asked them if I could quote their group health insurance and life my business card. I targeted small businesses. So that, you know, they would be hopefully willing to give me a chance.

And sure enough, they did. They would call me back and when their group health came around, I started writing that type of business. And that eventually evolved into selling individual health policies because sometimes the business owners would decide they couldn't afford to offer group health insurance, but they needed to set it up for their own family. And then what happened from there as people were asking all the time after I would set them up, hey, do you know anything about Medicare because my dad was turning 65 or my mom is turning 65?

And that stuff is ridiculous. You know, it's so hard to figure out. So we went and learned how to do that. We found quickly that Medicare is a terribly big beast with four parts and 10 supplement products and way too many choices. One of those things that you learned about as an entrepreneur is giving someone too many choices is not always a good thing.

And definitely, Medicare does that to the American public. So we learned how to educate people on Medicare and slowly over time, we phased out the whole group side of our business and now we just work with individuals who are turning 65 and need help with their Medicare. We do education and we teach them all the things about what the government provides. And that's how we make our living to sell the supplemental products to them on the back end.

Gresham Harkless 5:08

Nice. I absolutely love that I am an English major as well and I choose the journalism industry and where that's going to, you know, do digital marketing websites. So go figure. But the good thing is, you need communication everywhere. And as you've definitely shown that being able to grow your insurance practice through communication is something that you can use in every single industry. And it kind of sounds like

Danielle Roberts 5:31

Absolutely, yeah, you can apply it to pretty much any career. So if you go to college kids, and you're not sure what to do, and you can't really find a major that excites you good old liberal art, a communications degree is definitely something you can apply anywhere.

Gresham Harkless 5:46

Yeah, absolutely. And I love the fact too, because I think sometimes I always say the, the truce measure of a genius is being able to take something that's complex and be able to kind of communicate it well to people that may not understand or maybe have so many other things going on. And kind of sounds like you're doing that for, you know, Medicare and those type of industries as well.

Danielle Roberts 6:06

Yeah, you break it down into words that they can understand, right? So you know, insurance is full of languages like deductibles and co-pays and coinsurance. And a lot of people don't know what those things mean. So if you want to sell something, that it's really just an educational sale where people need it anyway, but you're explaining the product to them so that they can, you know, just not feel so overwhelmed.

Lots of great businesses. That's what their business is about explaining something that people don't understand and solving that problem for them. And so that's worked out very well for us.

Gresham Harkless 6:36

Nice. That's great to hear. And I know, you touched on, you know, some of the products and services that you guys have, do you have anything more to add about that, or what you feel kind of sets you apart and makes you unique, or what I call your secret sauce?

Danielle Roberts 6:48

Sure. So in this industry, if you're working with the Medicare products, there's your traditional Medicare Supplement, which is just a policy that pays after Medicare to take care of some of the things that you would normally have to pay like deductibles and coinsurance and co-pays. And then there are Medicare Advantage products, which are private insurance. So people can opt not to get their benefits from the federal government and didn't say to get those Medicare benefits from a private insurance company with a network.

And that sort of rolls the whole product into one thing where you can get your drugs using the same ID card as you can go to the doctor. And that's very familiar to people. And then, of course, there are drug plans, which are super confusing in Medicare, and we can sell those as well.

And then we sell a little bit of related products like dental insurance, because Medicare doesn't cover dental vision and hearing I don't know why they figured that when they created a health care system that people 65 And older suddenly wouldn't need dental vision or hearing products. They need it more than anyone else. But we sell some of those products and occasionally a little bit of life insurance to the big thing that's been the secret sauce for us.

And of course, everyone who is a really successful entrepreneur, I think knows that the secret sauce isn't really the secret sauce. And a lot of businesses, it's the same thing, you might be putting forth a hard effort or keep going or persistence. But for us, it's been amazing client service. So anybody who enrolls with a Medicare insurance policy, that is not the end of it, they will have claims get denied because the doctor codes miscoded the bill, and they will enroll in a plan without checking to see that it covers one of their medications.

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And then they're calling you to see your you are an agent that can help them switch to another product but does cover that. Sometimes they're standing at the pharmacy at four o'clock on a Friday. And they really desperately need their medication over the weekend and the Part D company that refuses to fill it. And these are all things that will literally make your hair fall out. It's so difficult to deal with.

Gresham Harkless 8:46

Yeah, that makes perfect sense. And it's funny you hear across different industries, like how people don't value customer service, or they take it for granted. But to do and it sounds so small, but it makes such a big impact to be able to get back to the person when they call or pick up the phone when they call and be able to get them the right you know information or to the right people. Because a lot of times people just are looking for peace of mind and being able to pick up the phone and know a number and a person that they can talk to helps out tremendously.

So I love that secret sauce. Wanted to switch gears a little bit and I want to ask you for what I call a CEO hack. And this might be an app or book or a habit that you have, but it's something that makes you more effective and efficient.

Danielle Roberts 9:24

Okay, so I am a complete podcast junkie. And it has revolutionized revolutionize everything I've ever done in my business in 2016. I was watching a training video on LeadPages, which is a software that you can use to create landing pages for your website. And they had an interview with a lady named Amy Porterfield. You may know of her she runs a podcast called Online Marketing Made Easy.

And in that podcast, she talked about Facebook ads and a little bit of marketing and I was just too was so helpful with the information that I immediately went. And it was the first podcast I'd ever had, I had to actually get on my phone and figure out how to download this app called pod cruncher.

And the very first month, I ran up this huge data bill on my phone, because I didn't know that you could just download the podcasts and said, I was streaming them why was very much upset my brother when the bill came in. And so and then, of course, I learned how to work with all these, but I have followed her podcast. And that has led me to so many other amazing podcasts.

And so one of my daily habits is when I get up in the morning, and I'm doing my hair and I'm putting my makeup on, I'm listening to a podcast, usually can knock one out right doing that. And then I get in my car, I've got about almost a 30-minute commute. And I can listen to another one.

Gresham Harkless 10:46

Absolutely. And thank you, Amy, for doing that. One No, that makes perfect sense. And like, yeah, definitely, because a lot of times people listen to podcasts, they're on the go, they're doing something anyway. So you can just pop on headphones and listen to whatever your guilty pleasure might be, or any kind of business insight might be. So now I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO nugget. And this is a word of wisdom or piece of advice. Or if you can happen to be a time machine, what would you tell your younger business self?

Danielle Roberts 11:13

I first thing that I would tell my younger business self is to feel more confident and not rush out and partner with people that I don't know, and their work ethic, which is the mistake that I made early on. I think a lot of new business people, it feels so much better if you had another new business person and you've got two brains. But unless you know that person very well, that can really backfire on you because I have a work ethic that was completely different than the people that I originally partner with.

And also, they were of the mindset that we take home, everything we bring in. And you can never grow your business if you're not willing to invest in your marketing. And my second piece of advice is to run your own race. Don't get into that comparison mindset. And I have new agents in the business that find me on LinkedIn and on LinkedIn and send me messages all the time.

And sometimes they'll say like, Could I pick your brain for a minute? Ask a question. But a lot of times what I hear them say is, how can I ever succeed when there are people out there like your business and a couple of other call centers that are friends of mine, actually in the same industry, but also my competitors?

And they're so overwhelmed at the fact that we write 1000 applications a month, that they think that they could never get a piece of this pie. And you really can't go into it with that, because you're comparing yourself at this moment, to a moment, 15 years down the road with that business.

And you absolutely can carve out a piece of that niche for yourself, you can find an area where you can stand out or a way that you can stand out. Or you can just put good old elbow grease into it like we did. When I built that business. There were tons of people way ahead of me there were agents that had been in business for 20 years that I knew through the association and I remember thinking the same thing as I'll never get there. And of course, we did. And we've been very successful at it. But we just started where we were.

Gresham Harkless 13:09

Absolutely no, I definitely would echo that a lot of times when you are, you know, staying true to yourself, no one can beat you at your own race. Because if you are staying true and being authentic to yourself, then it doesn't matter what anybody else is doing. Because they can't do what you do as you do. So

Danielle Roberts 13:22

That's right. Nobody else can be you. So you got to remember that.

Gresham Harkless 13:26

Absolutely. So now I wanted to ask you my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. And we're hoping to have different, quote-unquote, CEOs on the show. So Danielle, what does being a CEO mean to you?

Danielle Roberts 13:36

I think for me, it has really in the end, it's resulted in being an example to others of what is possible. So I've noticed that as I we've worked to grow this business, and then put in the time and money to build the service team and see the client's reaction to that. We've taken that same approach and then addressed it with our employees.

And we want them to come to work every day and love their job. We want them to have adequate time off to spend with their families, we just increased their time off to three weeks of standard vacation. Here we are at the end of every year, we look at our profits and we invest back into our employees, we often do pay raises or increase the benefits.

And a lot of that is because I want to be an example to them. In the same way that Steve was an example to me and my former career, I want them to see what is possible and what you could do if you started with nothing and then went and applied that and I've told them all the story about sitting in my car in 2005.

And getting ready to go into the office and dreading the phones and having to pound the streets that day. And I remember thinking I just can't wait until I have $500 a month coming in and this business and then I'm going to be like the real deal. Right like then I will be legitimate.

Gresham Harkless 14:53

Absolutely. And I think that's a great reminder and right in alignment with what you said with your CEO nugget about making sure to run your own race. Remind yourself Have you know where you are and who you are, and just own that day and own that moment. So I truly appreciate your time, Danielle, what I want to do is pass you the mic so to speak, and just see if there's anything additional, you want to let our readers and our listeners know and then how best they can get ahold of you.

Danielle Roberts 15:14

Okay, awesome. I also read a book recently called atomic habits. It was really a good book, I think that I forget James something or other, but you could find it online. And that was really good at analyzing your day and putting in building habits out of repetition.

It was a really interesting book, and I've been able to apply some things there that I think have made me more productive. So highly recommend that book if you have a chance to give it and then we're super easy to find anywhere you go. It's Boomer Benefits. So boomerbenefits.com is our website. I also have a personal brand website, which is daniellekroberts.com.

So if you want to read more about the entrepreneurial journey, you can check that out and on any social media, you can find Boomer Benefits. And on LinkedIn. You can find me at @daniellekunkel, which is my maiden name. So feel free to connect. I'm always happy to answer questions for other up-and-coming entrepreneurs.

Gresham Harkless 16:06

Awesome, awesome, awesome. We'll make sure to have those links in the show notes as well so that anybody can follow up with you but truly appreciate you, Danielle. You're rocking and rolling. And I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

Danielle Roberts 16:14

Thank you. You too.

Outro 16:16

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO Podcast powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes Google Play and everywhere you listen to podcasts, SUBSCRIBE, and leave us a five-star rating grab CEO gear at www.ceogear.co. This has been the I AM CEO Podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.

Intro 0:02

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Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of. This is the I AM CEO Podcast.

Gresham Harkless 0:30

Hello, hello, hello. This is Gresham from the I AM CEO Podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Danielle Roberts of Boomer Benefits, Danielle, it's awesome to have you on the show.

Danielle Roberts 0:39

I'm so excited to be here. My pleasure. Thank you.

Gresham Harkless 0:41

No problem. Super excited to have you on and what I want to do is just read a little bit more about Danielle so you can hear about all the awesome things that she's doing. And Danielle is a founding partner at Boomer Benefits, a national top producing agency that specializes in Medicare-related insurance products across 47 states. Her team helps baby boomers navigate Medicare and choose suitable supplemental coverage. She is a member of the Forbes Finance Council where she writes about Medicare, retirement and personal finance and is also a past president of the Fort Worth chapter of the National Association of Health Underwriters. Her agency was recently named the 2019 Health Insurance Advisory firm of the year by Finance Monthly, congratulations! And are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO community?

Danielle Roberts 1:26

I am let's do it.

Gresham Harkless 1:28

Let's do it. So the first question I had was to hear a little bit more about what I call your CEO story and what led you to start your business?

Danielle Roberts 1:34

Yeah. So I worked in staffing right after I graduated from college, I had a journalism and English degree and quickly found out that you can definitely not live on that and also pay it back student loans. So journalism is a lofty ideal career and a lovely thing, but you can't make a lot of money on it. And so I went into business, I got a job with a staffing firm, and I worked for a really amazing entrepreneur. His name is Steve Smith, he runs Cornerstone staffing here in the Dallas Fort Worth area. They started with his company when he had five employees, and now they have like 100 employees, and there's offices all over the Metroplex and really just learned so much while working in that industry. But after about 10 years or so, I had some burnout, working as a district Operations Manager and staffing, something you may know is that people are very unreliable product. So you might put them on a job and they don't show up and then the client is mad. And you can do that for so long. So I knew that I had always wanted to run a business, I enjoy sales, and was sort of an entrepreneurial kid. Along with my brother, we used to knock on doors and wash cars. And we sold earthworms to fishermen alike. I mean, if there was a way to make a buck, we did it when we were kids. So a friend of mine had an interview a group interview with an insurance firm. And she asked me if I wanted to go along because I had mentioned to her that I was interested in owning a business and I thought insurance, you know, it's pretty non glamorous. But sure, I'll go and just see what it's all about. And then I went to the presentation and totally fell in love with the idea. I thought it sounded like a great business where you can honestly provide help to people who truly need it. And at the same time, you can earn a good living, and you don't have to worry about your product sitting on the shelves or spoiling it's a, you know, a great business in terms of being able to start it on the side and not have to worry about some of the investment things. There's not a lot of startup costs. So I got my license, which isn't that hard to do in any state, you can go and get an insurance license, you can usually take a three day course and then take an exam afterward. And the course is quite good to prepare you. I started my insurance agency by bootstrapping it, I literally drove out to business parks and knocked on their front door and asked them if I could quote their group health insurance and life my business card. I targeted small businesses. So that, you know, they would be hopefully willing to give me a chance. And sure enough, they did. They would call me back and when their group health came around, and I started writing that type of business. And that eventually evolved into selling individual health policies because sometimes the business owners would decide they couldn't afford to offer group health insurance, but they needed to set it up for their own family. And then what happened from there as people were asking all the time after I would set them up, hey, do you know anything about Medicare because my dad was turning 65 or my mom is turning 65. And that stuff is ridiculous. You know, it's so hard to figure out. So we went and learned how to do that. We found quickly that Medicare is a terribly big beast with four parts and 10 supplement products and way too many choices. One of those things that you learned about as an entrepreneur is giving someone too many choices is not always a good thing. And definitely Medicare does that to the American public. So we learned how to educate people on Medicare and slowly over time, we phased out the whole group side of our business and now we just work with individuals who are turning 65 and need help with their Medicare. We do education and we teach them all the things about what the government provides. And that's how we make our living is to sell the supplemental products to them on the back end.

Gresham Harkless 5:08

Nice. I absolutely love that I am to an English major as well and I choose the journalism industry and where that's going to, you know, do digital marketing websites. So go figure. But the good thing is, you need communication everywhere. And as you've definitely shown that been able to grow your insurance practice, like communication is something that you can use in every single industry. And it kind of sounds like

Danielle Roberts 5:31

Absolutely, yeah, you can apply it to pretty much any career. So if you go to college kids, and you're not sure what to do, and you're can't really find a major that excites you a good old liberal arts, communications degree is definitely something you can apply anywhere.

Gresham Harkless 5:46

Yeah, absolutely. And I love the fact too, because I think sometimes I always say the, the truce measure of a genius is being able to take something that's complex, and be able to kind of communicate it well to people that may not understand or maybe have so many other things going on. And kind of sounds like you're doing that for, you know, Medicare and those type of industries as well.

Danielle Roberts 6:06

Yeah, you break it down into words that they can understand, right? So you know, insurance is full of language like deductibles and co pays and coinsurance. And a lot of people don't know what those things mean. So if you want to sell something, that it's really just an educational sale where people need it anyway, but you're explaining the product to them so that they can, you know, just not feel so overwhelmed. Lots of great businesses. That's what their business is about is explaining something that people don't understand and and solving that problem for them. And so that's worked out very well for us.

Gresham Harkless 6:36

Nice. That's great to hear. And I know, you touched on, you know, some of the products and services that you guys have, do you have anything more to add about that, or what you feel kind of sets you apart and makes you unique, or what I call your secret sauce?

Danielle Roberts 6:48

Sure. So in this industry, if you're working with the Medicare products, there's your traditional Medicare Supplement, which is just a policy that pays after Medicare to take care of some of the things that you would normally have to pay like deductibles and coinsurance and co pays. And then there are Medicare Advantage products, which are private insurance. So people can opt not to get their benefits for the federal government and didn't said to get those Medicare benefits from a private insurance company with a network. And that sort of rolls the whole product into one thing where you can get your drugs using the same ID card as you can go to the doctor. And that's very familiar to people. And then of course, there's drug plans, which are super confusing in Medicare, and we can sell those as well. And then we sell a little bit of related products like dental insurance, because Medicare doesn't cover dental vision and hearing I don't know why they figured that when they created a health care system that people 65 And older suddenly wouldn't need dental vision or hearing products. They need it more than anyone else. But we sell some of those products and occasionally a little bit of life insurance to the big thing that's been the secret sauce for us. And and of course, everyone who is a really successful entrepreneur, I think you know that the secret sauce isn't really the secret sauce. And a lot of businesses, it's the same thing, you might be putting forth a hard effort or keep going or persistence. But for us, it's been amazing client service. So anybody who enrolls with a Medicare insurance policy, that is not the end of it, they will have claims get denied because the doctor code miscoded the bill, they will enroll in a plan without checking to see that it covers one of their medications. And then they're calling you to see your you an agent that can help them switch to another product, but does cover that. Sometimes they're standing at the pharmacy at four o'clock on a Friday. And they really desperately need their medication over the weekend and the Part D company that refuses to fill it. And these are all things that will literally make your hair fall out. It's so difficult to deal with.

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Gresham Harkless 8:46

Yeah, that makes perfect sense. And it's funny you hear across different industries, like how people don't value customer service, or they take it for granted. But to do and it sounds so small, but it makes such a big impact to be able to get back to the person when they call or pick up the phone when they call and be able to get them the right you know information or to the right people. Because a lot of times people just are looking for peace of mind and being able to pick up the phone and know a number and a person that they can talk to helps out tremendous. So I love that secret sauce. Wanted to switch gears a little bit and I want to ask you for what I call a CEO hack. And this might be an app or book or a habit that you have, but it's something that makes you more effective and efficient.

Danielle Roberts 9:24

Okay, so I am a complete podcast junkie. And it has revolutionized revolutionize everything I've ever done in my business in 2016. I was watching training video on LeadPages, which is a software that you can use to create landing pages for your website. And they had an interview with a lady named Amy Porterfield. You may know of her she's runs a podcast called Online Marketing Made Easy. And in that podcast, she talked about Facebook ads and a little bit of marketing and I was just too was so helpful with the information that I immediately went. And it was the first podcast I'd ever had, I had to actually get on my phone and figure out how to download this app called pod cruncher. And the very first month, I ran up this huge data bill on my phone, because I didn't know that you could just download the podcasts and said, I was streaming them why was very much upset my brother when the bill came in. And so and then, of course, I learned how to work with all these, but I have followed her podcast. And that has led me to so many other amazing podcasts. And so one of my daily habits is when I get up in the morning, and I'm doing my hair and I'm putting my makeup on, I'm listening to a podcast, usually can knock one out right doing that. And then I get in my car, I've got about almost a 30 minute commute. And I can listen to another one.

Gresham Harkless 10:46

Absolutely. And thank you, Amy for doing that. One No, that makes perfect sense. And like, yeah, definitely, because a lot of times people listen to podcasts, they're on the go, they're doing something anyway. So you can just pop on headphones and listen to whatever your guilty pleasure might be, or any kind of business insight might be. So now I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO nugget. And this is a word of wisdom or piece of advice. Or if you can happen to a time machine, what would you tell your younger business self?

Danielle Roberts 11:13

I first thing that I would tell my younger business self is to feel more confident and not rush out and partner with people that you don't know, their work ethic, which is the mistake that I made early on. I think a lot of new business people, it feels so much better if you had another new business person and you've got two brains. But unless you know that person very well, that can really backfire on you because I have a work ethic that was completely different than the people that I originally partner with. And also, they were of the mindset that we take home, everything we bring in. And you can never grow your business if you're not willing to invest in your marketing. And my second piece of advice is run your own race. Don't get into that comparison mindset. And I have new agents in the business that find me on LinkedIn and on LinkedIn and send me messages all the time. And sometimes they'll say like, Could I pick your brain for a minute? Ask a question. But a lot of times what I hear them say is, how can I ever succeed when there's people out there like your business and a couple of other call centers that are friends of mine, actually in the same industry, but also my competitors. And they're so overwhelmed at the fact that we write 1000 applications a month, that they think that they could never get a piece of this pie. And you really can't go into it with that, because you're comparing yourself in this moment, to a moment, 15 years down the road with that business. And you absolutely can carve out a piece of that niche for yourself, you can find an area where you can stand out or a way that you can stand out. Or you can just put good old elbow grease into it like we did. When I built that business. There were tons of people way ahead of me there were agents that had been in business for 20 years that I knew through the association and and I remember thinking the same thing like I'll never get there. And of course we did. And we've been very successful at it. But we just started where we were.

Gresham Harkless 13:09

Absolutely no, I definitely would echo that a lot of times when you are, you know, staying true to yourself, no one can beat you at your own race. Because if you are staying true and being authentic to yourself, then it doesn't matter what anybody else is doing. Because they can't do what you do like you do. So

Danielle Roberts 13:22

That's right. Nobody else can be you. So you got to remember that.

Gresham Harkless 13:26

Absolutely. So now I wanted to ask you my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. And we're hoping to have different, quote unquote, CEOs on the show. So Danielle, what does being a CEO mean to you?

Danielle Roberts 13:36

I think for me, it has really in the end, it's resulted in being an example to others of what is possible. So I've noticed that as I we've worked to grow this business, and then put in the time and money to build the service team and seeing the client's reaction to that. We've taken that same approach and then addressed it with our employees. And we want for them to come to work every day and love their job. We want them to have adequate time off to spend with their families, we just increased their time off to three weeks of standard vacation. Here we are at the end of every year, we look at our profits and we invest back into our employees, we often do pay raises or increase the benefits. And a lot of that is I want to be an example to them. The same way that Steve was an example to me and my former career, I want them to see what is possible and what you could do if you started with nothing and then went and applied that and I've told them all the story about sitting in my car in 2005. And getting ready to go into the office and being dreading the phones and having to pound the streets that day. And I remember thinking I just I can't wait until I have $500 a month coming in and this business and then I'm going to be like the real deal. Right like then I will be legitimate.

Gresham Harkless 14:53

Absolutely. And I think that's a great reminder and right in alignment with what you said with your CEO nugget about making sure to run your own race. Remind yourself Have you know where you are and who you are, and just own that day and own that moment. So I truly appreciate your time, Danielle, what I want to do is pass you the mic so to speak, and just see if there's anything additional, you want to let our readers and our listeners know and then how best they can get ahold of you.

Danielle Roberts 15:14

Okay, awesome. I also read a book recently called atomic habits. It was really a good book, I think that I forget James something or other, but you could find it online. And that was really good at analyzing your day and putting in building habits out of repetition. It was a really interesting book, and I've been able to apply some things there that I think have made me more productive. So highly recommend that book if you have a chance to give it and then we're super easy to find anywhere you go. It's Boomer Benefits. So boomerbenefits.com is our website. I also have a personal brand website, which is daniellekroberts.com. So if you want to read more about the entrepreneurial journey, you can check that out and on any social media, you can find Boomer Benefits. And on LinkedIn. You can find me @daniellekunkel, which is my maiden name. So feel free to connect. I'm always happy to answer questions for other up and coming entrepreneurs.

Gresham Harkless 16:06

Awesome, awesome, awesome. We'll make sure to have those links in the show notes as well so that anybody can follow up with you but truly appreciate you Danielle. You're rocking and rolling. And I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

Danielle Roberts 16:14

Thank you. You too.

Outro 16:16

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO Podcast powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes Google Play and everywhere you listen to podcasts, SUBSCRIBE, and leave us a five-star rating grab CEO gear at www.ceogear.co. This has been the I AM CEO Podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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Mercy - CBNation Team

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(CEOBlogNation.com), podcasts, (CEOPodcasts.com) and videos (CBNation.tv). CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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