If you or your mom ever made a cake from scratch, you know just how much more difficult it is to do, rather than opening a box of Pillsbury cake mix, adding a few ingredients, mixing and then baking in a pan. The boxed cake tastes good, but nowhere near the taste of a cake made from scratch. You have a deeper appreciation of a scratch cake because not only does it taste better, IT IS better. You made it yourself, one ingredient at a time, by hand, with tender loving care. There’s no comparison between the two.

What’s my point? That’s how I started my first insurance agency—from scratch, by hand. I started with a partner and a dream, in a one-room attic office, where we shared used furniture—two used tables for desks, two used wooden chairs, a small table to hold the only phone between us, one used file cabinet and only one company that would license us because we were so small. Total cost: $55.00. I quit a good job at Prudential Insurance, and started out making nothing but a promise to myself to make it work. I made prospecting calls every day, calling friends, relatives and everyone I came in contact with, offering them a good insurance package with a very ambitious agent wanting to do a good job for them so they would tell their friends and relatives about me, too.

Those were definitely the hardest times of my career, having a mortgage to pay, three mouths to feed and not having a guaranteed paycheck at any given time. That was in 1973 and, by the way, a time of double-digit inflation to make economics worse. Things were difficult to say the least. But somehow we got by. We celebrated with a dinner out when we filled our first file cabinet—that was HUGE for us!

A few years and many more file cabinets later, we bought our first small agency. Then another. Then another. Nothing big, but big for us! Now, 41 years later, with seven employees, 26 companies and a state of the art computer system and agency management program, we morphed into a respectable insurance agency, capable of writing any large account that comes our way, but not overlooking the small ones either. Because that’s how our humble beginning was formed.

So what’s my point—am I bragging? No, not at all–I have nothing to brag about. I just want anyone reading this to know our history. We started out small and were never given anything and we never took anything for granted. At all times our agency has lived by the golden rule: taking care of our customers the way we ourselves would like to be treated. It’s that way today, just as much as it was 41 years ago. I’d like to hear your story, too. I really LOVE success stories!

I also love working with start-up businesses, offering not only good insurance advice, but any other help or resources that I can offer from my 40+ years of experience. I’m always willing to assist a young entrepreneur whose ambition is to make their own cake from scratch. It’s a lot more work, but worth it…because they taste sooo good!

-Joey Terranova

Terranova Insurance Agency

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