Motivational Episodes

One-Bedroom Apartment to FMO: Part 3

Episode Summary

The origin story of The Brokerage Insurance Agency is a truly inspiring tale of entrepreneurial success. Cheryl and Ross Hopkins started the company back in the 1970s with nothing more than a typewriter in their one-bedroom apartment. Through decades of vision, passion, and playing their cards right, they grew The Brokerage from those humble beginnings into a national insurance agency with over 50 employees.

Cheryl recalls how it all began when she and Ross slowly built up their business in their free time. Ross worked a 9 to 5 while Cheryl typed paperwork at night to get things off the ground. Recruiting insurance agents to sell products like life insurance was key to their initial growth.

A major turning point came in 2006 when Medicare Part D was launched. The Brokerage strategically pivoted to sell Medicare plans, which fueled rapid expansion. They began recruiting agents across state lines and realized the potential to go national.

The company weathered the 2008 recession and continued growing despite economic turmoil. Ross brought his kids into the business, passing on his entrepreneurial vision. Against the odds, The Brokerage stayed a family company, defying the statistics that say most second-generation businesses fail.

In the 2010s, The Brokerage capitalized on the Affordable Care Act to sell health insurance plans. This built on the lessons they learned from Medicare. Recent milestones demonstrate how far they've come - 50 employees, acquiring another company and winning industry awards.

But Cheryl emphasizes that as they expand, they can never lose sight of their service-focused roots. It was agents and customers that enabled their rise from that one-bedroom apartment. She remains committed to providing the best service even as they scale.

For any entrepreneur feeling intimidated by huge growth goals, The Brokerage's journey proves it's possible. With determination, adaptability, and playing your cards right, you can build an empire from scratch. Even in recessions, staying resilient and recruiting talent fueled their expansion.

Ross's vision to bring his kids into the business allowed it to stay a family company and continue his legacy. Cheryl is so proud to see their success after starting with just a typewriter decades ago. It's a testament to the power of passion and calculated risks.

The Brokerage overcame every obstacle and leveraged every opportunity. Their story gives hope that other businesses can follow a similar trajectory. With relentless drive like Ross and Ross, the sky's the limit, even from the humblest beginnings. It just takes commitment and playing your cards right at every turn.


(0:00:00) - Part three of our series looks at the journey from apartment to insurance agency
(0:00:53) - Broker link helps insurance agents sell more, earn more, and stay independent
(0:03:52) - How did that make you feel? Well, I don't know. I stayed nervous throughout the whole process
(0:05:56) - John Ross and Kristen came to work for the brokerage in 2007
(0:09:12) - A lot of family businesses have this idea of passing it on to the next generation
(0:14:56) - United Health Group is about to cross over the employee mark number 50
(0:20:54) - Ross: I don't believe you'll retire at 75
(0:22:09) - You just far exceeded anything we ever thought about. You just picked up an award
(0:23:35) - We hope this discussion has helped motivate you to be successful in 2021

Related Episodes: