Are We Wired for Entrepreneurship?
In today’s business podcast, we hear from Duncan Boyle as he shares his journey as an entrepreneur from Africa to America, from retail to running a business.
Here are some things we cover in today’s Podcast:
What is servant leadership and how does it help you in business?
Are people wired for entrepreneurship or is that a skill they develop?
What do you do when an employee is not a good fit?
How do you balance sales and service?
How do you adjust to an online strategy during shutdown?
How can you leverage social media for more contacts?
Why don’t a lot of insurance companies like working with real estate investors?
Thanks for listening to the OP Podcast.
Make sure you check out Duncan’s contact information.
Duncan Boyle – Insurance and Financial Services
Bonus Business Training Videos
Check out the bonus videos and training from this episode.
Bonus #1: Infinite Banking for Real Estate Investors
The first bonus Lyle Leads and Duncan Boyle discuss how infinity banking works specifically for real estate investors.
Bonus #2: One Page SUPER SIMPLE Business Plan
The second bonus you’ll get insights from Lyle Leads and Duncan Boyle as they discuss how to quickly create a one page business plan that focuses on your goals.
Read This Podcast Episode’s Transcript Below
Optimize Profitability Podcast Transcript: Episode 1
Are we wired for business or is it part of our environment?
Lyle: Hello, this is Lyle Leads with Optimize Profitability Podcast. Today we’re talking with Duncan Boyle. He’s with Texas Independent Insurance and he is an insurance agent, specifically for real estate investors. So, it’s a little bit different there. We’re going to kick off his story first. He’s a typical entrepreneur. He’s married. He’s got four kids, two dogs. But he’s going to tell all of his story of how he came out of Africa and how that brought him into entrepreneurship.
Duncan: Well, thank you, Lyle. So, my story began when I was a missionary kid. My parents worked with the church overseas in Tanzania, Africa. We went when I was five. And so I always like to say how that impacted me, from two things which really came out of me at a very young age. My dad had me working with him in mobile clinics, building churches and things of that nature. And so it started to incorporate some leadership attributes.
Whenever I’ve done anything, usually I’ve somehow been put in some type of leadership. So, that was one. But secondly, being in Africa and especially where we were, when we’d have to go out in the villages and things of that nature, you know, things are not set in stone. Things are always going to happen, you have to pivot with life, flat tires getting stuck, whatever it may be, we just always had to overcome it.
I think it started to instill in me at a very early age, just the entrepreneurial spirit, because it’s not, for the most part a one size fits all, or you do this, you just constantly have to rethink life or just pivot your direction or what you are doing and constantly having to learn. And so I think that’s what really started me or creating the mindset of an entrepreneur early on.
Lyle: That’s great. And what did it take for you to get from that to entrepreneurship? Somebody telling you to be in leadership and you deciding to be in leadership? What did that look like to you?
Duncan: You know, one, I took a test early on and how you can sometimes take your strength tests and leadership was always one of them. And my dad just kind of always had the mentality of a servant. And so that was just instilled into me first and foremost and then opportunity. So I don’t know if it was so much I decided to choose to go after that. I just always pursued it from an education perspective. I pursued business management with a focus on economics as well.
And educationally, when it came to being involved in a church, I was usually asked to be a leader with my company. I rose up pretty quickly in my retail career, kind of prior to being an entrepreneur. I grew pretty rapidly in area management, so it was usually just something that kind of came. I don’t know if it was something that I pursued, but I do enjoy it. So I don’t, again, I don’t know if it was so much that I made that choice.
It was kind of both. I think sometimes you’re wired for it and sometimes you’re not. And I think that was my worry. I really enjoy working with people, but my dad gave me a carving when I was working or when I went off to college. And he’s like, Duncan, you’ve always been a leader. And he gave me this carving and it was Christ kneeling down and washing the feet of his disciples. And it was a reminder to me.
He’s like, hey, if you want to be an effective leader, servant leadership is the way to go. I don’t always lead that way, but it’s my reminder of how to lead.
Lyle: Well, you’ve got to serve well. And faith is a big portion of yours. And a lot of people, they hear that word servant leadership, which is an oxymoron in effect, because they go different ways. So explain what that means to you and your world as well.
Duncan: You know, I think one of my core values, as an entrepreneur and even when I was just in retail, I set up some core values for me and one of them was always service. And what that means to me is if you’re going to lead well or if you’re going to serve people well, you’ve really got to start at that level and say, “hey, what can I do to help you succeed?” When I had employees, well, before we had somebody who was really struggling, I would always ask myself, “have I given them every tool to succeed?”
If I hadn’t, then termination was not on the table until I had given them everything they needed to succeed. Then when they proved that they weren’t a fit, at that point we may make that decision. So that’s just always been a mentality. Whatever it takes for me to help you be successful. And then I just took that and everything I did, just how can we best serve you? Because if we do that correctly, we serve you correctly, we make you successful.
And that will reciprocate back to me, hopefully. And so that’s just always been a mentality that I strive for. I think it’s constantly a battle and one that I think everybody has that mentality or has that in mind to truly execute. That is a constant, constant battle and continuing to get better and better. So absolutely.
Lyle: And so you transition from retail into entrepreneurship and leadership. As part of that, did you have any mindset shifting you did there?
Duncan: Well, you know, I was in a retail, corporate America kind of environment and was given an opportunity to start a whole new franchise in the e-commerce world. And my introduction into entrepreneurship was one of the long stories short here. One of the leaders of the company came in and I remember very vividly it was the day before Memorial Weekend and they said, hey, we’re shutting down the venture capital people and all the money we’re shutting down, we’re laying everybody off today.
They said, “Duncan, do you want to take over the business or one particular store? You have twenty four hours to let us know.” I was thrust into it. So I went home and talked to my wife. I was like, this is a hard decision, but I had twenty four hours, and one I wasn’t expecting. It was completely unexpected and I didn’t have something lined up.
I was like, I know I can make it for six months. There were six months left on the lease of that location and it was like, “I can make it six months, let’s give it a go.” And she’s like, “All right, I’m with you. Let’s do it.” And so, yes, I was kind of thrown into it, that said, even in the retail, and when I went to that company, it was a new start.
I love the new start or challenges, anything where there’s a struggling region. I love going after that and helping them fix it. Or if it was a new business concept, I love starting out. So again, that entrepreneurial spirit had already been there, but I was thrust into it. And then that business transitioned. That industry, the eBay, eBay drop off store, online consignment model really changed when the camera in the phones got significantly better.
The camera quality. And so I was looking at expanding possibly. And when I was talking to a potential investor, we were just discussing, we’re like, what is the outlook of the industry? Not me, but the industry looks like? And we started to think through that. What is it going to look like in five to 10 years? And we really just came to the determination. There was just a lot of risk involved based on the phone and people were going away from utilizing other people to do their work for them, to doing it themselves.
Because, I mean, the eBay app is so easy to use. You’ve got the Facebook groups, all that. So anyway, I decided to shut that down, and when I was analyzing I asked myself, “hey, what do I want to do?” One that was really important to me was the idea of residual income, that was huge. Secondly, the idea of serving small businesses or serving people in some capacity. And so it led me to insurance.
And one of the reasons I love insurance, and insurance, let’s be real. It’s kind of boring. And it’s one of those necessary evils, I guess. But what I love about it is the aspect of being able to talk with people and really understand what their needs are and then hopefully create a plan. It’s probably one of the reasons why I really enjoy the life insurance side of the business as well as, because it’s a little more, you have to dive deep into if to dive into what their needs are.
Lyle: And so insurance itself is a highly sales focused organization, is that correct? Would you say that?
Duncan: Yeah, I would say so. I mean you kind of eat what you kill, right. it has that mentality and you’ve got to go out there and get your business.
Lyle: How do you balance sales and service?
Duncan: That’s a good point, and I think, and again, I’m constantly kind of learning that from a service perspective, a lot of it. I’m in an organization and so we have a support team. So trying to have that team help support my clientele in my book of business, I guess you would say, is one from a commercial side. I’ve continued to refine my process, but especially small businesses who are growing.
I’ve now started in my calendar, I reach out to them on a quarterly basis just to make sure. And that’s something I’ve done recently. I used to touch base with them. I would call them if I had a need or if they had any, they would contact me. But now I’m being a little more proactive. I used to do six months maybe, then a year. Now I’m getting down to quarterly because their needs may change, their sales may change.
And so I want to make sure that they’re properly covered. So that’s one of the aspects of it too. It’s all relational. I mean, there are a million insurance guys out there. You have a lot of choices. So what makes me make people want to utilize me? And what I have found is it’s all relational based and my business is largely seeing some growth recently just due to a referral based business. I love that aspect of it.
But covid hit and that makes for some interesting transition since we are so real estate investor focused. I mean, that’s a large part of where we get our leads and who we serve. And when they shut down and we’ve been shut down and you’re not able to have the social events or the educational seminars, it was like, oh, you know, now what am I going to do? So that was an interesting transition for sure.
Lyle: What are you doing to nurture the referrals? Like if someone’s never created a referral system in their business, what would you suggest for them?
Duncan: Well, one identifying who are the people who can help give you the most leads. And so for me, lenders are a big part of it because lenders are out there, they require insurance. And so that’s my referral partners when it comes to lenders is huge. Also just getting a good relationship with other investors because investor people hang out with like minded people. And so that’s been a big part I know.
As entrepreneurs, we really have to transition. I remember when covid first hit, I was like, OK, what am I going to do now? And it was probably a week of a little bit of woe is me mentality. And then I was like, you know what? This is not going to help things. So I was like what can I do now? And I really drove into social media and Facebook.
There are a ton of them by the way, there are a ton of real estate investor Facebook groups. So I just got on there and then I had some investor friends and some other people that serve real estate investors. We got on these groups and we just help. We help one another. And because, again, we know how each other serves our clients. And so any time somebody is like, hey, I need a lender or hey, there hard money lenders that you trust or hey, do you have a painter?
I will tag those people that I know and trust. And that is really how it’s been built lately, because Like I was telling you before, I probably had some of my best and most consistent months during covid, and it all had to do with that. I think everything had to do with referral business and then being really involved in social media and then tagging other people and helping other people, and that gets reciprocated. So that’s what I would encourage people to do.
Lyle: Right. So in essence, you are using Facebook groups, and using that to build relationships and leveraging the network of people you surround yourself with. That’s kind of a short version. A really cool strategy for what you’re doing, you know, if you think of it this way.
Duncan: Right. We all have about two hundred contacts in our phone. So if I have a network of two hundred contacts, will they each have two hundred contacts? I mean, pretty soon you’re at forty thousand people that you have available if you have a really good referral partner or just someone who does business with you and who will refer you. So that’s kind of the mentality. I’m also a part of a networking group and we went virtual.
And so having that network, like you said, having that network now I’ve got forty eight people who all have people they know and are willing to refer to each other’s business, and we truly build the model.
Our model of referrals is based on, it’s the law of reciprocity. And so if you give, eventually you’re going to get. So having that mentality again, kind of that certain mentality, let me give first. Usually that pays it forward later. And you go forward not later. Pay it forward.
Lyle: And you’re an insurance person, so there’s millions of people that do insurance and that’s their job. And some of them are entrepreneurs, some of them are not yet entrepreneurs, which I love. That’s a different concept. But what do you do? How do you differentiate yourself in the insurance world when you’re talking with a real estate investor? Why don’t all insurance people kind of start here like most people when they start in real estate investing?
Duncan: A lot of times they’re starting with the fix and flip. And so from an insurance perspective, not all insurance people do builders risk policies. I’m just going to draw one specific product. And one of the reasons they don’t do it is it can be a little bit labor-intensive. One, the payout on it is pretty limited. So from just a kind of a selfish perspective, not a lot of people do that because it doesn’t pay very well.
When we do that, and there are a lot of agents that do do it, but ultimately our philosophy is if you serve in there, hopefully you can continue to do all of their business. Secondly, what makes us unique as an agency is we do have a great shop guarantee. So for our standard home and auto clients, or even our real estate investors with their rental properties, we have a shop guarantee.
And what that means is when any of our clients have kind of an extraordinary increase, we will automatically shop that for them. We kind of get proactive. So that’s one thing that we do. But secondly, we’re really for the people who are in the finance world and do some sub-to reps, we’re very familiar with that. And so our knowledge in that is we understand it. Well, one of our agents is a real estate investor himself. And so we have a network of people who are extremely knowledgeable with real estate investors.
You and I, we talked a long time ago before all this craziness, about your concept of infinity banking. And we’re not going to get to this one.
Lyle: You and I are going to have a whole other conversation. For all whose listening, you’ll go to our page. There’ll be a link below this. It’ll be at the top. Or you can go to OptimizeProfitability.com. I’ll take you directly to our blog post. We’ll talk a little bit more about infinity banking. But I think one of the things that stood out to me on you and why I chose you is like an entrepreneur type person is because it’s not just about here.
Let me say an insurance policy. It’s like, let’s look at your whole financial finances and how we can line that up to work best with your life. That’s for that service aspect coming into play and everything. So what’s something you’ve done to increase your profitability this year? What’s one of the things that just stood out to you and said, oh, this was so easy, I should’ve done it years ago?
Duncan: Well, you know, so you’re talking about the infinite banking, and I’m glad you brought that up. So that is one thing that I in particular am a little bit unique in, even in our office, is I love the life insurance space. And one of the reasons I like it, if it’s properly structured, it can be a significant tool to use when it comes to planning for your retirement. Again, it can help supplement it from a real estate investor perspective.
Why I love it and why I think life has really started to be a significant part of my business is one, the way we help educate real estate investors of a better way of creating passive income later on in life. And so we teach people how to optimize that. And like you said, we’ll get into that and kind of dive into the nitty gritty of it. But that’s one thing that I’ve done, is just continue to educate myself on how to properly or how to utilize life insurance as a tool versus simply just having it as a death benefit, which is significant.
It is about leaving a legacy, but there are so many other areas. So that’s been one thing. Again, I think something that’s been good for me this year has really been calming. It’s been good for me in that it made me rethink how I do business. I was gaining leads, that was primarily coming from real estate investor events. They’re not happening now. So what do you do? I had to really dive into Facebook.
So that just became another avenue. So when we hopefully get back to our new normal of being able to meet in person and having those things right, hopefully it’s back to normal. Normal, not that exactly. But now I have another avenue, and another avenue of being able to serve clients and especially the real estate investor. But that’s been significant for me. And then just the educational piece, I think any time you educate yourself, it just opens up.
It’s kind of another aha moment. Oh, I hadn’t thought about offering that or looking at the value of this product and what it can provide the client. And so, yeah, I think that’s the best possible question for you.
Lyle: And a lot of people, they always ask these kinds of questions. That’s why I’m going to ask you, why did you choose to go to Facebook instead of doing something like LinkedIn where there’s a lot more professional real estate investors there?
Duncan: Good point or good question, I’m not 100 percent sure why I chose it, probably comfort. And then secondly, one of my close real estate investor friends, I mean, they’re a friend. They’re more of a friend now than just a real estate investor, clients, but they are real estate investors.
They added me to a few groups. And so that’s kind of where it launched. And then I just chose to optimize that space because I think people spend more time on Facebook. A lot of people are there. And so that’s one reason why I chose that, because the activity, all the questions people like I’m looking for this. So there’s a lot of people on Facebook asking for help. And so, you know, I think LinkedIn is another opportunity that I need to explore.
I’m, just from a time management perspective, I’m choosing to go to Facebook. You got to choose one and stick with it. And so I think eventually I am going to dive into LinkedIn as I continue to expand my commercial side of insurance, because that’s where you’re getting more of the business owner of larger corporations, things of that nature. So a lot of your real estate investors are a lot of them. They work, right. And then they’re doing REIT or real estate investing passively to eventually get to where they’re doing it full time. And so, yeah, I think that’s why we go to the Facebook group already and so on Facebook is a good deal.
Lyle: If you had one tip to leave an entrepreneur today, when they listen to the broadcast and listen to 20 minutes worth of talking, what’s one thing you want them to walk away with?
Duncan: I would say relationship is where it’s just building those relationships. And then secondly, know you’re going to struggle. I mean, it is a grind and sometimes you just want to give up. I mean, we all had those moments where you’re like, what am I doing.
Wouldn’t it be easier just to go get a paycheck? And, you know, in those struggles, earnings are going to end for me. And I know they’re not going to end for you, but just stick with it. And then having those relationships will help. Also, if you have the right ones, they’re going to spur you on during those hard times. So I think it starts with the relationships because when you have a network at that point to get people to support you.
Lyle: And again, if you’re listening to our podcast, I want to make sure to point you to our OptimizeProfitability.com. Go there and you can hear a little bit more about what we’re talking about, this infinity banking. So if you are a real estate investor, you definitely want to check out the second part of this, go to that page. If you’re just a normal person and you got enough out of this, I hope you take this information, build relationships, build your network and find those places you’re comfortable with.
Get out there, enjoy it, have a great time and help other people. I love your service attitude. Thank you, Duncan, for being with us. And I look forward to talking to you more as we get off the stuff.