Motivational Episodes

One-Bedroom Apartment to FMO: Part 1

Episode Summary

The Brokerage has grown into one of the leading insurance marketing organizations in the country. But its origin story is one of humble beginnings, hustle, and perseverance.

In a recent interview, Cheryl Hopkin, now CEO of The Brokerage, gave an inside look at the company's powerful rags-to-riches story. It all began in 1975 shortly after Cheryl and Ross Hopkin were married. One day, Ross came home and told Cheryl he wanted to start his own business.

They had no money at the time, so Cheryl had to quit her job to financially support them while Ross worked to get the business off the ground. He hit the road meeting potential partners and building an agent base. At night, Cheryl and Ross would work late into the night from their tiny one-bedroom apartment, typing paperwork and putting in sweat equity.

In 1976, their hustle started paying off as The Brokerage began taking shape. It was just the two of them sacrificing and grinding day and night to make their entrepreneurial dream a reality.

Key partnerships were critical in the early days. Early employee Sue came on board, bringing vital consistency to complement Ross' visionary leadership. In the late 1980s, a contract with Washington National helped drive major growth. Forming the Broker’s Health Insurance Network with other agencies they met through industry trips also brought more leverage and resources.

There were major highs and lows financially in the early years. During the valleys, Ross and Cheryl often had to forego paychecks to keep the business going. But they persevered through the ups and downs, driven by their vision.

Over time, Ross strategically added new business lines like life insurance as he saw shifts in the industry landscape. He brought Cheryl into the business in the 1990s, having her learn every role to prepare for leadership.

Ross was truly a visionary entrepreneur. His partnership with the consistent Sue and Cheryl's eventual involvement in bringing key volunteer work formed the foundation of The Brokerage.

For over 10 years, Cheryl and Ross also struggled to have children due to the immense stress and grind of the business. But in the mid-1980s they were finally able to start a family.

The Brokerage overcame major challenges in those early days - little money, inconsistent income, and the difficulties of starting a business from scratch. But through hustle, sacrifice, vision, and strong partnerships, the company grew from humble beginnings to the industry leader it is today.

It's an inspiring rags-to-riches story of overcoming humble beginnings through hard work, persistence, and an entrepreneurial spirit. The Brokerage stands today as a testament to what can be achieved when you start small but dream big.


(0:00:05) - Welcome to the broker link, where we empower insurance agents to sell more
(0:02:22) - Ross came home one day saying he wanted to start his own insurance company
(0:09:20) - The first office was in Richardson, 75 Campbell. I was down off of Central Expressway
(0:13:17) - Ross founded the broker's health insurance network in the late 80s
(0:17:26) - Ross had a vision, and that was his strength

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