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NAIFA Members Provide Financial Independence

44 min read

There’s No Finish Line in Success

By NAIFA on 6/14/24 8:55 AM

Topics: Podcast
Carson Porter

Carson Porter is an experienced financial advisor providing specialized life insurance, annuities, and financial services across the United States. His journey from owning auto repair shops to excelling in the financial industry is marked by a passion for education, innovation, and business development. Carson founded a mastermind group dedicated to empowering insurance agents and advisors through unbiased education, collaboration, and accountability. With a decade of industry experience, he has built and sold multiple brokerage businesses and shares his insights at live events, including NAIFA's APEX conference.


Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn: 

  • [3:29] Carson Porter shares his entrepreneurial journey in the financial services industry 
  • [5:53] The impact of NAIFA's network on Carson's early career challenges and growth
  • [8:28] How Carson's business model adaptation during the pandemic resulted in unexpected growth
  • [13:44] What was the impetus for Carson’s transition from auto repair to the financial industry?
  • [19:57] How masterminds help you navigate the diversity of revenue opportunities in the financial industry
  • [28:22] The vision behind Carson’s mastermind group and its commitment to unbiased industry education
  • [31:01] Carson talks about entrepreneurship and career paths in the financial services industry
  • [36:46] Challenges in identifying proper roles for advisors and the concept of intrapreneurship
  • [43:29] The important role NAIFA plays in the industry and the call for increased membership
  • [47:58] Why Carson joined the financial services industry

In this episode…

As an advisor, do you feel like you're working tirelessly without seeing the growth you desire? While success is a continuous endeavor, you can elevate your business and personal satisfaction. How can embracing openness and learning from diverse thought leaders catalyze transformation?

Experienced financial services professional Carson Porter pivoted from the automotive industry to financial services, creating multiple income streams and a mastermind group to boost his and other agents’ success. He emphasizes the power of mastermind groups and other organizations to offer education and accountability. These valuable associations foster professional development and expand your network, allowing you to build trust with clients, cultivate industry relationships, and build a sustainable business and career path. 

In this episode of Advisor Today, Chris Gandy and Suzanne Carawan chat with Carson Porter, an experienced financial advisor, about mastering the craft of financial advising. Carson dispels common industry myths, encourages joining supportive organizations like NAIFA, and proposes innovative perspectives on building sustainable business models in the financial services industry.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Quotable Moments:

  • "Give value without expectations; just give value and the money will come." 
  • "If you really care about NAIFA, go find three agents today that aren't members of NAIFA and get them to join."
  • "It's not lonely at the top; go find some folks and bring them here."
  • "The only real million-dollar ideas are the ones you're making a million dollars on."
  • "My first job was to be an expert marketer."

Action Steps:

  1. Embrace continuous education: Engage in self-study and professional courses to deepen industry expertise. Carson Porter's educational journey underlines how continuous learning can redefine your career path.
  2. Leverage technology: Integrate technology for better client management and compliance. Carson's experience shows that a tech-forward approach can enhance service quality and operational efficiency.
  3. Build systems and processes: Systemize your advisory practice for sustainable growth. Carson's transition from auto repair to financial services teaches us the importance of creating value through systems.
  4. Join supportive organizations: Carson's story emphasizes the importance of joining organizations like NAIFA for networking and education.
  5. Examine your role: Assess whether entrepreneurship or intrapreneurship suits you best. Understanding your natural inclination can lead to a more fulfilling and successful career in financial services.

Sponsor for this episode...

This episode is brought to you by the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, or NAIFA, the #1 association for producers in financial services.

At NAIFA, we enhance professional skills, promote ethical conduct, and advocate for legislative and regulatory environments.

By joining NAIFA, you gain access to a partnership that elevates your performance while providing greater purpose to your professional work. NAIFA members are happier, make more money, and stay in the business longer.

Get in touch with NAIFA and learn more about how to join NAIFA by visiting NAIFA.org.

Episode Transcript

Intro 0:02 

Welcome to NAIFA's Advisor Today podcast series, where we focus on how financial advisors work, live and give to their local communities and our greater financial services industry. Now, let's get started with the show.

Chris Gandy 0:20

Hello, NAIFA nation. This is your cohost Chris Gandy for the Advisor Today podcast, and I'm here with my other better half on the podcast, Suzanne Carawan. Hi, Suzanne.

Suzanne Carawan 0:33 

Hey, Chris.

Chris Gandy 0:34 

How are you doing?

Suzanne Carawan 0:36 

Doing great.

Chris Gandy 0:39 

We're on the cusp of summer, and fresh off a congressional conference. So, it's great to see you back, we were able to do a live. So we're super excited. So if you missed that, it should be out shortly. Go check out the live that we did on congressional conference where we got a chance to hear the voice of the people, people that attended congressional conference and what it meant to them and their experience. So that was one of a kind experience. So with that being said, we're going to speed off to today's podcast. So Suzanne, if you wouldn't mind telling us who our sponsor is for today's program.

Suzanne Carawan 1:15 

Yeah so today, our sponsor is really NAIFA ourselves, because we're announcing, finally our APEX 2024 event that is coupling in the National Leadership Conference. That's going to happen September 19th, through 21st at the Arizona Biltmore and registration is now open. So you can see all about that. You can see who our keynotes are, we're gonna have Morris Morrison there. We're gonna have Marcus Ogden there, it's going to be great. Nathan Gonzalez is coming back to join us to talk about pre-election kind of predictions. And all that registration is open at apex.naifa.org. And so we're excited to get going and get the family back together this year.

Chris Gandy 1:54 

Awesome. Awesome. So Suzanne, with no further ado, why don't you go ahead and welcome our guests for today's party.

Suzanne Carawan 2:01 

All right, I'd be delighted to so today we're joined with Carson Porter, a loyal NAIFA member himself, and he and I got connected and we ended up we're supposed to have like a 15 minute call. And I think it was like 90 minutes at least, he talked about everything under the sun. And with that Carson is actually going to be one of our breakout speakers at APEX so you can hear him live and in person come September and so we wanted to have him on the podcast. So I have a little bit about that. Get to know his practice, get to know what he's doing in NAIFA. And all the good work that he's doing. So welcome, Carson.

Carson Porter 2:34 

Thank you for having me. I really appreciate the opportunity.

Chris Gandy 2:38 

Carson, looks like you got a super set up there. I mean, we were not that advanced here at Advisor Today. Suzanne's sitting in her office, I'm sitting in a big office here mock screen and you got this nice setup with a buoy stand and everything there.

Carson Porter 2:55 

It's amazing what like 120 bucks at Lowe's will do you know.

Chris Gandy 3:01 

So, Carson, welcome to the podcast. I don't know if he had a chance to see any of the other podcasts yet or not. But our goal is to get to know you get to know a little bit about the personality behind the business, how you got into the business and your unique story. So let's start off with a little bit about share with us, your company, your firm, and what you guys specialize in and what you what you specifically do.

Carson Porter 3:29 

Yeah, so I have a few different companies. My main company that I produced through is High Point Insurance and Advisors, were actually based out of Utah where I originally opened the company. And then we've got offices in Las Vegas, Idaho, and we serve pretty much the entire United States as well as several other foreign jurisdictions, which has been an incredible journey in that regard. What we primarily focus on is life insurance, annuities, and related financial services. We work a lot with private placement brokers do a lot with private placement brokers, we don't do any AUM or assets under management ourselves, we refer millions in AUM out typically to people in our network, every single year, just not the party that I want to be involved in at this point in my career.

So that's been incredible to have really great partners on that side of things. And that's what we do. We focus a lot on advanced planning, life insurance, and advanced planning annuities. We do a lot with, for example, premium finance, non-qualified deferred compensation, split dollar planning. But we also have a whole division where we work with a lot of money on pause right now with the last few months we've been going really hard at cross selling Medicare books for Medicare agents and then revenue sharing back to them as long as they're appropriately licensed and that's been an incredible journey. We've been able to put millions in investable assets into a better position through annuities, just in the last few months through that alone, so that's been a great time. On top of that we run a mastermind it's not affiliated with us as an agency or as an IMO. I like to call it nondenominational.

We serve agents from nearly every major IMO, most of your major captive carriers, life only multi line, just kind of the across the gambit, all really driven and focused on providing education, collaboration, and accountability where an organization may lack that. So that's what we do.

Chris Gandy 5:44 

Yeah. And Carson, so you're on NAIFA Advisor Today podcast. How did you find NAIFA? Or NAIFA found you?

Carson Porter 5:53 

When I first came into the business, that was one of the things that I was told I should do, I was told I should do it for CE credits, right? I think at the time, it was like $40 a month. And hey, for 40 bucks a month, you're going to get a chucker ramaa or Golden Corral dinner or lunch once a month, and show up and all your CE credits are done. And so it was something I did by default, because I did have good leadership that told me I should do that. In that regard. I also really, really sucked as an insurance agent, and somebody in the financial services sector, frankly, in the beginning, and to the tune of almost going bankrupt early in my career. And I needed more help and more mentorship than my organization was able to give me and NAIFA was one of those things, one of those places.

I came out of Automotive Repair. I didn't know where to go or who to talk to, or where do I find the help? I didn't even know what questions to ask. But I knew I'd been to a few of those NAIFA meetings, and seen strong leaders there who are very knowledgeable, willing to share. And that's really what I started doing was diving into the NAIFA website, finding local people in my area that also belonged, meeting with them and just asking to pick their brain 15 minute 30 minute coffee session. And that really helped among other things, but that really helped kick start a process of getting educated that ultimately led to me pulling my head out of my rear end, so to speak, and really starting to provide very well for my family and my community, which has been a huge blessing.

Chris Gandy 7:35 

So, Carson how long ago was that?

Carson Porter 7:40 

10 years now, that's been 10 years. Yeah.

Chris Gandy 7:44 

So you came out, let's say we're in 2015 started to build your practice, kind of as you've mentioned, you were amazing at it. You currently be we're challenged, right and one great at it. So you are a COVID driver. So you went through COVID about four or five years in? Right. 2020. Right. So you went through Ovid. And so how did you make it through that time? Because if you start to build a business a certain way, and then all of a sudden COVID hits, and you're not seeing anybody. Like how did that change your business?

Carson Porter 8:28 

So before COVID, I got really invested. I started as a captive multi line agent, and with a great company, but most captive multi line models, and most agents in those models will agree. They are very, very antiquated in their systems. And that was a bottleneck in my business early on that I found going back clear back to 2016 2017 when things were really starting to click for me I was I was making a lot of money and didn't know where to spend it and didn't want to give it to the Internal Revenue Service. So I decided to spend it back into my business and work with some partners, a partner firm, and we actually developed a program to help us run our brokerage business and track profitability, do revenue forecasting, things like that, well that kind of kick started and launched me down this route of a really integrating and leaning into technology and resources.

So in 2018 2019 as our services started to expand outside of the southwest region there we really leaned very heavily into that technology, doing a lot of as we were doing millions per year at the time in annuities over zoom calls. And like I say 2018 and 2019 I got to participate to this day biggest case of my entire life, had to fly out several times into Newport Beach and out to Nashville but it was a large premium finance case that I brought in another firm to help me on. And they took most of the comp, but I got a small split. But that small split, it's still one of the biggest checks I've ever gotten huge advocate of joint work, by the way, anybody who doesn't believe in it should second think about that twice. But 80% of that casework we did on that premium finance case was virtual zoom calls. So when COVID hit, it really didn't slow us down much. I did have a local presence, I had a local team. And so we had to pivot, how we ran their day and what they were doing to earn their paycheck.

But by and large, the majority of our money going back into 2019, was coming in, through virtual means. And so it actually became a profitable thing for us. I feel bad saying we profited off of COVID. But we did. And the reason why is because prior to that, we had to work a lot harder to get people to accept a virtual model. And when COVID hit, they didn't have a choice. And I think even to this day, we continue to find that even though they have the choice now, what COVID taught them was you really can get the same, or sometimes even frankly, better service, you get access to more competition more professionals. By leaning into the resources, technology can drive through a firm, then by being stuck on this concept of brick and mortar agency, which can limit your options as a consumer. And so it's actually been a good thing for us. And we've watched with all the agents, we coach and mentor and train, that's something we do a lot of policy talk and a lot of this and a lot of that.

But we also focus on integrating more relevant systems and processes into their firms. And it's amazing, the ones that lean into that add lots of revenue very, very quickly, and even add greater levels of compliance. I spoke at the NAIFA Utah symposium last year. And we showed how better utilizing things like an AMS and a CRM and agency management system in a client relation management system, or whatever you want to call a CRM. By just using those two things, you can increase your compliance, and the rate at which you can comply. If you have a complaint or the state needs something from you, or maybe it's FINRA, it's all right there, you've data cached it very well, and you can send it right over when your responsiveness is that quick, it really helps in those investigations to prove that you did a good job. Plus, you can systematize doing a good job, you forget less things.

Oh, I forgot that disclosure. No, we just automate that disclosure, because I know I'm gonna forget it. Let me make sure we don't let me make sure the client gets everything they need every single time. And it's been huge.

Chris Gandy 13:00 

So the idea of it's a process or a problem, right, and you continue to create processes that make sense. So share with us a little bit about your journey, though. You mentioned you came from the automotive business, you landed in financial services. So one, let me ask you this, what are some of the similarities? I'm just curious. So I'm not going to ask how did you get I'm more interested in what are the similarities in that business that's in our business that allows for you to use skills that you learned, doing something completely different in our business and thriving? So that's kind of a two part question.

Carson Porter 13:44 

Yeah, I think there's a few things, one of them more unfortunate than others that I always do like to bring up. But the others are all very positive. So let me start with the not so positive, and it's the back talk and frankly, crap talk. When I was in automotive, that was one of the things that, I owned shops, I was born and raised in the business, my father own shops, ended up buying his shop from him and own multiple shops. And it always amazed me it was crazy because you have the corporate dealerships out there. And all the private auto shops are always saying themselves, ah, there needs to be more we're going round.

Why is everybody going to the dealership because frankly, much of the time, you get much better quality outside of the dealerships. The dealerships are more like an assembly line. In fact, a lot of dealerships outsource a good portion of for example, their high level diagnostics, we did a lot of high level diagnostics for dealerships back then. So kind of interesting, but at the end of the day, all the people were going to the dealerships because consumer confidence wasn't where it needed to be in private shops. Why? Because everybody at private shop A was talking crap or smack about everybody at private shot B. And then six months later, the technicians that worked here now working there, and it's coming back the other direction. And I found that in this business, I noticed that very early on, it was kind of disheartening.

And the reason I like to bring it up isn't to just say, hey, there's a problem is to really urge and implore agents and advisors to get behind each other. And when you see a problem, rather than being negative about it, do something about it to help elevate the culture of the business, bring that consumer confidence back. And what that ends up doing is it ends up driving a lot of business, back to the practices and firms and agencies who appreciate it, as opposed to folks getting all their financial services done at the big banks. So, that is one thing that's similar. Other similarities I've found is work ethic. I have one of my early mentors told me that this business will either be the best part time gig you've ever had, or the most amazing full time opportunity you've ever created.

You get to choose, in auto repair, you ate by the sweat of your brow in a lot of time, that was one of the things that drove me to this business is that I would work most days 14 to 16 hour days, six to seven days a week, to afford the kind of lifestyle I wanted to provide for my family. I brought that same work ethic and I didn't my first few years, my first five years really, I didn't back off at that I didn't come in and say okay, I'm doing this. And this only should require me to work four to six hours a week now, no, I kept putting in the hours. A lot of those hours, they weren't spent making phone calls and poring over illustrations, they were spent educating, four to six hours a day of education early on, because again, I didn't know where to go.

So I spent four to six hours a day, most of the time, my mornings and evenings doing self-study and courses and YouTube and Google and reading illustrations and policies. And that's what it took for me to become proficient. But I really do believe that that work ethic helped drive me and I've seen with the hundreds and 1000s of agents that we've worked with, on our mastermind side of things, the same thing, those that come into this business and act entitled or get entitled to quickly end up finding another line of business, frankly, those that treat it like it's the best full time opportunity they've ever had. And they don't have this expectation of a finish line, they just say I'm showing up to work today. And I'm gonna do all that I can do today to be excellent. And go home with a clear conscience that I've fulfilled my moral obligation to my community to provide for my family, etc.

And they're not worried about well, in one year, I should be at this point. If it takes me 2, 3, 4 years, it's okay, I just stick with it. Those are the folks that I found do really, really well. And go very, very far. The final similarity I found is that in automotive, it behooves you to do it right the first time, sometimes that cost you a little bit more money, right? A good case in point would be there's what's called a timing belt. And when you do a timing belt, oftentimes, there's things like the pulleys and the water pump, and all these different things under there. And it's a lot of work to change that timing belt. But it's an extra $300 to change those extra parts while you're already there. Well, if that tiny belts wore out, those extra parts are probably wore out too. And if you don't do them, now, you're probably going to do them and have to pay for all that labor again.

And I've found that in the insurance and financial services space as well, you either do it right the first time, or it ends up costing you later. And that's a, again, a moral obligation that agents and advisors have to take note of more often. But also that agents and advisors need to be willing to have hard conversations with their clients about and hold their clients feet to the fire because there is consumer responsibility in the decisions that are being made. But most people as good of decisions as they try and make they can only make decisions that are as quality as the information they were provided.

Chris Gandy 19:22 

No, I live by about the words. There are two types of people. And there's two types of people in this world, the informed and the uninformed. So many times we ask people don't make informed decisions on information they don't have becomes our job to educate people in a way in which they can understand and comprehend. So with that being said, you mentioned coaching agents, advisors, I mean, a mastermind share with us where that came from because that's not a traditional model. Right. And it's different. So she'll share with us where that comes from and tell us a little bit about it.

Carson Porter 19:57 

Yeah, so, like I said, I really, really wasn't very good early on in my career. But really by the end of my first year, I was starting to figure it out very well to the tune of being able to lead the captive insurer that I was with, we were a top one or two life insurance firm nationally for five consecutive years before I left them. Top annuity firm for five consecutive years, even a top 20, property casualty firm, at any time, any top producer in any organization can tell you, when you start producing well, your phone starts ringing. And it's other agents and advisors. And maybe it's a soft heart, or I don't know, I just I really enjoy spending that time with them and helping them overcome the problems they're having. I remember how hard it was, for me, coming home to foreclosure notice taped to my door, I remember how hard it was for me in all those times, and I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy.

And so I've always tried to be very willing to share. But eventually that got in the way. It got in the way of number one, me being able to provide for my team and my family, my community because I was spending too much time helping agents and advisors, and having nothing to show for it. And then secondly, it wasn't working out because you give all this time, give, give, give, give, give. But then the people you're giving to do nothing with it 999 times out of 1000. So what I started doing was charging for one on one coaching, give me 1000 bucks, and we'll spend an hour on Zoom every week. 1000 bucks a month. And we'll go from there. Well, that got to where I was spending 10, 15 plus hours a week on Zoom calls additional zoom calls, talking about everyone else's problems for a fraction of my income, fraction my revenue. Again, it wasn't worth it.

So we went back to the drawing board and said how can we build or really create an organization, a movement that shifts elevates the culture in the industry in the way that we can do it, I'm obviously not everybody's cup of tea, but do it in the way that we can do it and do it at scale at another level. And that's where the idea for running this as a mastermind with coaching and collaboration and accountability and live events, and all this stuff kind of came in together. And doing so in a way that wasn't tied to any carrier or IMO, because one of the things I hated early on was the suppression of information because of company carrier contract. Again, going back to that thing that's similar with the automotive industry, when agents say, well, what's the best policy?

There's just not really such a thing, what kind of tool do you need? What kind of job are we trying to accomplish? Because there's a lot of really, really good tools out there, we've got to talk about the specifics of the job we're trying to accomplish here to find the best tool for the job, right. And that conversation only happens without bias outside of IMOs and carrier conversations. And it's nothing against them, they provide a very necessary role. And a lot of really quality training through those channels as well. The BGAs provide a lot of very quality training. But it's still missing that unbiased, entirely unbiased component where there is no bonus attached to it, there is no preferred carrier, because maybe they underwrite a little bit quicker, or whatever the case may be. It's just flat out what's right is right and what's wrong is wrong.

And so we wanted to do that. And again, the mastermind fit that model very well. So we built this mastermind, we launched almost three years ago now been a learning experience. We've kept it all organic. We don't do any paid ads or anything like that, because we don't want to bring folks in who aren't exposed to us in the first place. We want to filter them for core values before they even come in is how it works. So we have an incredible persistency north of 95% 12 month persistency is a masterminding coaching program. But our growth is a little slower than some others out there. But it's been like I say just an incredible journey. We've got agents from nearly every carrier major IMO brokering general agency, every major platform out there and it's just the level of collaboration and pure accountability, education, the ability to pull resources together to bring in other experts. I don't know everything. So it behooves me to work with individuals.

We've worked. Van Miller, one of my earliest coaches and mentors for my career and he's become a very dear friend. We'd love to be Bring in Van, we brought in David McKnight multiple times. Lots of other individuals. And we'd like to bring in opposing positions as well. Individuals who may not share the same opinion that I have about the utility of maybe cash value life insurance and a portfolio. And they want to provide some alternative perspective, as long as they're willing to have the conversation cordially from an unbiased place, we want to, again, provide that education in that perspective for those that can take it and go do good things with it.

Suzanne Carawan 25:35 

So are you driving those topics? Or is this kind of coming organically from the group as well?

Carson Porter 25:40 

Both, it originally started with all I had was my journey, I could look back at and say, Well, what do I wish I would have had sooner? How could I have compressed my timeline, that's really the core of the whole conversation because at the end of the day, the information is out there, everybody can go access it for free. Google and YouTube are probably the greatest universities that ever existed. Sure. But if we want to compress timeline, which, especially when we start calculating for opportunity cost, it takes me 10 years. I remember, again, another early mentor, when I wasn't making any money was like, man, he was 18 years in the business at the time, and he just hit a million per year in revenue for the first time ever, and very ethically phenomenal agent, advisor.

And he was kind of fill in a little big head and braggadocious about that. And the very next year, this is my third year in the business, I hit a million in revenue that year. And we got talking, we were down in Coronado, California at the Brigantine having dinner and we got talking a little bit. And his question to me was, how did you do it? And I told him well, number one, I lead with life insurance and annuities. Instead of home and auto insurance, I get paid a lot more for that, frankly. But the biggest thing is, I invested so much time and money in those first few years into paying everyone else to show me what I didn't know instead of standing on my pedestal saying look at what I know. And it just collapsed my timeframe immensely. So again, we when we put this together, we said what do I wish I would have known earlier and over the last three years, we've taken pieces out that weren't quite as necessary, as we've seen other people interact with that and put more pieces in.

And then yes, we are very in tune literally daily with our entire community. What are you struggling with what's working, what's not working, that way we can stay relevant. Conversations, for example, that converted even three years ago, two years ago, in a post-COVID environment aren't converting now, because the economic climate has changed, the political climates changed. And so we have to find a way to speak to our consumers meet them where they're at, speak to them in a language they understand and that that evolves over time. So we really do have to work hard to stay relevant and all that feedback again, we're able to pull that through the community.

Chris Gandy 28:19 

Share with us, what's the name of the mastermind?

Carson Porter 28:22 

Rev Agency Syndicate. We could have gone for a shorter domain name, but you know, Oh, well.

Chris Gandy 28:33 

And so what does that stand for something I'm assuming that stands for of either revenue or revving up as in cars, because you were in a car industry? I don't know. I mean, tell me where does that come from?

Carson Porter 28:44 

It dates back in the day. Yeah. It doesn't matter at this point. Since about six months in the business, we kind of just dropped the acronym behind it and said it didn't really matter. But where it came from was providing a relevant, elevated vantage point for agents and advisors to attack the way they go about their business.

Chris Gandy 29:07 

Interesting, interesting, interesting name. Share with us a little bit about kind of your journey now. So you've been in the business now 10 years, right, what you're saying. So 10 years in the business, you created a couple businesses? No, I just want to say that I joke all the time. And I said to one of my mentors a long time ago, he started he started a business and I was watching what he was doing. And I was like, there's more than one way to make money in this business. Right? How do you create multiple revenue streams in this business? Where and the one that everybody gravitates to is the selling part. But then there is development of other advisors like you said, regardless of the of the affiliation, right and the ability to work with them.

The ability to own an agency the ability to be a resource in the industry, right? So there's multiple ways and now influencer opportunities, right? So there's sort of so many things now. So then when people come into the business, you know, the ability to create multiple revenue streams from the business. I joke with some of my surgeons all the time, I say, do you realize that the field of medicine is a multibillion-dollar industry, but you doing surgery and cutting on someone, which is the largest risk is only a couple of 100,000? And that's it. I say, so how do you get into the business of medicine? And I think what you're talking about is the business of financial services.

Okay, and the business of Financial Services is a billion dollar business. Right, and your ability to be able to capture some of that. So where does that mindset come from? And how can others learn that mindset?

Carson Porter 31:01 

Yeah, I think having had prior business ownership experience, definitely helped with that. And even being raised in a household, my family struggled with money, my dad owned his auto shop, but we weren't, you know, the Ritz by any means we were kind of the back alley shop growing up. But there was still a lot of entrepreneurial concepts there that I think I was just kind of raised with, and not entrepreneurial, in the sense of, at that time, in the sense of, go shake your booty on TikTok and make money or, or like you say that that influencer model more like, if I don't show up today, nobody gets to eat, when there's not enough money for everyone to eat, I'm the last one to eat, I got to put in something extra. And then I have to go about creating value where it didn't previously exist.

Owning my business license does not make does not inherently give me the ability to create value that didn't previously exist. So I took that experience growing up, and I took that into my auto repair shops, how do I create value that didn't previously exist, value that exists is broken car's value that exists, people need insurance, people need financial services. value that doesn't exist, is the machine that puts your business in front of those people in an attractive way that makes them want to work with you, and provides for them over and over and over again, by stacking win after win after win in whatever regard, whether that's on the investment side, or the risk mitigation side or whatever, but that's an entire machine that has to be created.

One of the things we'd like to teach your agents is that their policy is not their product. That's the first thing an insurance agent needs to realize, is it not a travesty in our business that the average book of business is sold somewhere between one and a half and 3x on revenue. Most businesses in our business don't even become profitable enough to be sold on like an EBITA platform or calculation, which is insane. And what it really tells you is that folks in our business aren't selling businesses, they're not exiting businesses, they're exiting books of business. And a book of business is one part of the calculation. Well, one of the things we found because I built multiple books, sold multiple books, launched a couple IMO. In fact, we launched an IMO early last year, and I'm on my way of, I help them, get them off the ground, just kind of the back end stuff. And now I'm filtering my way back out of that again.

And what's incredible is that one and a half to 3x valuation on revenue goes to seven to 10x, when there's a business behind it, systems, processes and people. And again, I think that was just something that I had seen worked very well for me in automotive. And once I got through the scared, because there's that time when you first get in this business, and it's sell or don't eat, in essence. But once you realize, hey, I know where my next paycheck is coming from. I'm good enough at finding people and selling people that's done and done. I can handle that. And 30, 40 hours a week, well, can I spend an extra 10, 15 hours a week on that other part? Now. And again, what's crazy is the number of advisors that get really, really good at like you say making a couple 100,000 a year.

And after 20 years in the business of making good money, they still decide to leave the business, sell their book and go work at their brother's construction company or something like that. Why? Because they burn out. They burn out because they never systematized and built this machine. Well that systemization that machine. That is the business that's what people don't realize the business is all this stuff that isn't very sexy. But it's what adds the most value, both on paper and intrinsically to your own life to where you don't burn out and want to go work for your brother's construction company.

Suzanne Carawan 35:09 

Well, I'll tell you so two other things that you without a shadow of a doubt learned, growing up in your household is that you're already talking, the big crossover that happens between being independently employed between, it's saying, it's my money and then saying, it's the business's money, right, that's just you're separating yourself from the entity, that is the business and understanding you have to feed the business. And a lot of people just don't get to that until almost too late. And that's a big separation that I can see you've already had.

And then look to your point, when you own your own business where you grew up in a household where the parent owns the business, you understand already that you're taking care of those employees, right? Like you're saying that that accountability and the care and feeding of them. That's something you just learned by osmosis, probably at the dinner table of hearing about that. The last thing I wanted to comment on is that we have in something called the industry leadership board, where we bring in executives throughout the industry to kind of give feedback to NAIFA. And one of the key things that they said when we started this two years ago, I want to say it was Tammy from Cambridge, she said, so many of the issues we see is that the agents and advisors become accidental CEOs.

And they didn't actually understand how to build a business. And now they're in the situation. And they need that extra support. Because being an accidental CEO can go sideways real quick, right? And you've seen like, already you've kind of tackled that one from the get go of understanding that how to be the CEO and build the entity that is separate from Carson Porter, et cetera.

Carson Porter 36:46 

I think something else, it's really important to touch on those, not everybody should build an entity. So we actually did a training on this last week. So like y'all were talking about a moment ago, there's a lot of ways to make money in this industry, there's a million, million dollar ideas, but the only real million dollar ideas, the one you're making a million dollars on. One of the cool things about our businesses, you don't have to be the CEO to make that million dollars. And maybe you don't want a million, maybe you just want a solid six figure income or whatever, you don't have to be the CEO.

And statistically speaking, our business, any other business out there, there's only 10% of folks that are just born to be entrepreneurs. 90% of most people are born to be intrapreneurs, it is a more profitable path. For them. An entrepreneur is somebody who creates a vision, right and begins implementing a vision creating value where it did not previously exist. An entrepreneur is somebody who takes that vision takes that plan takes the start and sees it through. And that is a more profitable path forward for most people. For most people, most people should not be direct to carrier direct to platform independent brokers, they would go further, maybe even with a little less commission, or a little less this or a little less than that. But more provided systems, processes, vision, etc. And they can still get maybe they don't have book ownership, but they have a vested interest in what they're doing.

Suzanne Carawan 38:20 

So you're actually working with them help to discern kind of who you are in that kind of piece of that. That's interesting.

Carson Porter 38:26 

Yeah, I think it's imperative. It's a really unprofitable thing for somebody who could be a quality lifetime producer to do to go about beating their head against the brick wall that is business ownership. Frankly, it's a really unprofitable thing for somebody who is born to hold that business owner or leader role to get to inundated with the day to day of production or customer service. Right? It's really unprofitable for somebody who frankly sucks at marketing and selling and customer service, but is phenomenally analytical. It's so unprofitable for them to try and work in an agency or firm. Where should they be? They should be working with a company that provides resources like you're talking annuity genius Wayne Corp or annuity rate watch.

I mean, there's so many platforms out there that provide value and provide really solid career opportunities and even business ownership opportunities that aren't just selling insurance and financial services. So I think it's important for somebody to understand what their core values are first. And then secondly, what is their core focus? What are they actually trying to achieve in life because if what they're trying to achieve in life is I just want to make sure every agent and advisor has the best access to what annuities are the best right now today for every single solution. You should probably not be in a production side of things. It doesn't pay you to provide that, right? There are other things that will pay you to provide that. So finding fulfillment in that, and I found that, that fulfillment and profitability for anyone in this business tend to go hand in hand.

Chris Gandy 40:14 

So Carson, I'm gonna give you kudos for that. So in my previous life, I played sports, right? And the idea I know I've stressed to the 40 or 50 people on our team is that everybody can't take the last shot. Right, everybody wasn't built for that. But that's okay, you can still get a championship, right? Okay. And so people have to get comfortable see, and I think Carson, one of the things our industry did what I think was a mistake years and years and years and years and years and years ago, is they told everybody who started, hey, you could be the number one person. But some people need to be at number two or number three. And they're going to do very well, because they're with number one. And number two, if they align themselves with like-minded thinking people who can help them become the best version of themselves.

As simplistic as it is, that is where our industry is, we have a lot of people that have bought full-time jobs. It's a very expensive job, that they're actually managing at this point, walking away with 100 grand a year. And like, why are you doing that? And the answer is because they don't know any different answers, because they don't know any different.

So you said a couple things there that's pretty unique. It's a unique perspective, I think new advisors coming into our industry have to think like that. Because if we were to poll the average NAIFA member who is 68 years old and been in the industry, 23 years, 25 years, 30 years, we'd find that one their systems are antiquated, right, the reluctance to change is like, pulling a donkey over the fence like, no, there's that, we've got that, but then being open to, you've been in a role for a period of time, I'd love to do that, I'd love to take someone who's kind of been paying for a full time job for a long period of time, maybe one assistant or something like that, to then bring them in our umbrella, and then all of a sudden, triple their income in a year.

And they go wait a minute, I've been doing the wrong tasks to help generate money in this industry. Because I believe that there are a lot, the industry is littered with people like that. I see them all the time, like the one person shop, making the I have an assistant they were making gross revenue is somewhere between 100 and 200,000 bucks and quality of life is decent, right? They got a couple of plaques on the wall and their cookies on Friday, and they've got more coffee, and they have a place to lay their head but maybe they own a building. And that was the model. I don't think that's the model for the future. I think the model for the future has to be dynamic in nature.

Carson Porter 43:29 

Yeah, I think maybe I'm biased. I think every agent and advisor I don't care if you're doing just final expense or if you're doing just high-level investor management or whatever you are doing. I think everybody in the industry should be required to belong to number one, I think they should be required to belong to NAIFA belong to some kind of organization that provides ongoing education, collaboration, and accountability. All three of those outside of any carrier or IMO are brokering general agency influence. And the big reason why is because all that narrow-mindedness the blinders that it's because it's what they were taught, they were told, like this is the proper way forward. And when you were broke, it was the profitable way forward.

But now you're here it's time to elevate but that conversation never elevates at that level. Because those organizations, they're living the American dream, by the way, being as profitable as they can be doing the thing that's profitable for them. But there does come a time where you have to start thinking about okay, what's my next step, and that doesn't necessarily mean you have to leave the organization, you just change the way you interact with it, and the way you interact with your own business. So it doesn't have to be our mastermind by any means. It doesn't even have to be paid for. I think everyone needs to belong because the only way you get that mindset, unless it was you know you're raised in a household with some those things, the only way you're gonna get it is through outside perspective, that's not at the table, you've been sitting out for 20 years, Pat in your back for, like you say they're making 100 200, maybe even $300,000. I've known some of them making half a million.

And they're just comfortable enough to not make changes, but they're still on, they're uncomfortable enough that they still lay in bed awake at night. But they're too comfortable to make changes, and they're comfortable because of the conversations, they're still having. Agents and advisors need to have more conversations with more individuals that have more perspective. It's amazing where we get value from, even from individuals that may not be as far along in business than us. They just came in under a different model knows like, crap, why didn't I think about doing that inside of my firm, five years ago, we could have easily stacked on a whole lot of money.

Chris Gandy 45:56 

Carson, it's funny, you say that, I remember the first time I hit MDRT. And then I went to MDRT. And I was talking to a guy and he goes, well, you have 20 years top of the table, and I looked at him, I'm like, what, look at this guy. I think I'm more talented to him or educated, I'm younger than him, I could go do that. First time I hit top of the table. And I was in a forum 400 Study Group. Suzanne, did I tell you the story. I'm sitting there and the guy goes, we're just going around talking about revenue for the year or whatever. And that the quietest guy at the end of the table, looks over and goes, well, last year, we did 43 million. Right. And all of a sudden, you start thinking to yourself, what is he doing that I'm not doing? And how can we do at least 10% of what he's doing so that I am able to benefit from some of those things. So things like that, but you have to be willing to humble yourself, Carson in our space, we have to be willing to humble ourselves.

And understand we're not the smartest person in the room. Right. And that's hard to do when we're raised as A personalities and drivers. You know, we look at, you know, the Myers Briggs and we look at the personality profiles, like the strong deep profiles that basically know everything about everything, and nobody can tell us what we have to do, we have to be willing to understand that we can become so much better versions of ourselves through like you say, collaboration. Quick question before we jump into this lightning round. Were you a client at first? Is that how you ended up in the industry? Like how did you end up in financial services? Because, again, like were you a someone's client, they said, hey, let's come check out some drink some of this Kool-Aid. It's good. That's a tremendous leap.

Carson Porter 47:58 

Yeah, so we were just getting ready to start a family. My wife was pregnant with our first and I was working a lot 80, a 100 hours a week. And I'd been doing that for years. And I wanted to be you know, my father is an amazing father, no shade against him. He did what he had to do and my siblings and I do like, are all very good people. In the end, he had a huge hand in that, but he wasn't around so much. He wasn't there at the baseball games. He wasn't there at this and I don't hold that against him. I want to be there for my kids baseball games. I'm helping coach one of my son's baseball teams right now and it's been so fun. And there was no way I was going to do that running auto shops the way that I was. I didn't know how to make that leap at that time.

But in preparing for a family we were also doing what we could to mitigate some of our expenses and so yeah, we shopped our insurance got a referral from a friend and their agent when they went in and quoted us and it just so happened that his agent was also, what would you call it, area recruiter for the company for American national. And they saved us some money and then they tried to sell us life insurance and pulled the whole Mrs. Porter, don't you feel like he doesn't love you? If he's not willing to do this? I was like, listen, listen, you dirty old sandbagger. I use different words but I did use words. And I just told him to this day, we still joke about it because he's still a good friend of mine. We joke about the first time he tried to sell me life insurance. I just don't look at my wife. The best thing that could happen to her is, I get hit by a truck. She's going to find a doctor or an attorney or that was my mindset at the time. And then just a few months later, I was selling insurance but no, he had asked us as we wrapped up there. Have you ever considered a career? I hadn't told them I was looking for something else. So call it you know, divine intervention or providence or whatever.

You brought it up, and I told them hell no. No, I have not, I was thinking something construction trades because there was so much money going through that at the time. but it just kind of sat with me. And a couple months later, I called him back and said, Robert, are you serious about it? Or were you just throwing it out there to raise me up and get a client? And he's like, no, I'm serious. So he met me down in his office on a Saturday, I ran him through four or five pages of questions that I had. And by the time I got done with that, I felt pretty decent about it decided to grab my licenses and start jumping in. And that's how I got into it.

Chris Gandy 50:38 

Suzanne look at that. See, I always say that people that, that end up in this business and end up doing very well. This wasn't the path. This wasn't the chosen path. That was one of those things that when opportunity knocked, you open the door, you just opened the door, he ticked it down and said, hey, listen, I'm here. So I'm gonna make it I'm gonna grab, it's gonna make or break with what I'm doing. I'm gonna make this bed. I'm a living and I'm gonna be one of the best setups. So, Carson, thanks for your perspective. And thank you for giving back to the industry.

Thanks for being a NAIFA member. Next year, I want to see you at congressional conference Carsons, I was told I checked a roster I didn't see you this year, we got send the NAIFA bus out to come get you, we want you and some of your masterminds there would love Suzanne, to do at some level, a little mini mastermind, right, not probably the whole thing, but maybe one segment with a thought leadership a group of NAIFA producers that would enjoy that. And that would probably open and expand one it would benefit you guys because it allows for them to connect with you guys through a mutual channel that has nothing to do with the corporation, and to allows for them to have something, they're exposed to something new that they have not been exposed to that.

So would be awesome and amazing. And kind of my role in the future is to find opportunities for unique education. So Carson, I am the sitting Secretary. So I do have a little pool little influence in where we're going and what NAIFA looks like in the future. So we're super excited about having young talented men like yourself, be a part of our bench and our resources. So with that being said, I don't have any fancy things here. I wish I had a lightning rod or whatever it may be. But Carson, we're gonna roll to the lightning round, if that's okay. Lightning round people get to know you. When they see you. They're like, hey, that's Carson, and they'll see it, APEX and look forward to your message there. So with that being said, Carson, you mentioned that you are in automotive business. I have a question. What's the fastest car you've ever driven?

Carson Porter 53:18 

Fastest car I've ever driven. Not my Camaro. I had up until a couple months ago. Pretty nice, pretty fast Camaro. But I had a friend who had a Camaro Z71 that he'd done a lot of work to was probably 2019 2020. And that car was very fast.

Chris Gandy 53:43 

Got it. Proudest moment in a financial service business so far.

Carson Porter 53:49 

Proudest moment in the financial services so far, probably this year actually, I tend to have a lot of people in our mastermind from the company I spent time at early on five years with American national, and they just did their big company trip in Scotland. I don't have any official numbers on it. But I would bet 50% of all attending members were part of our mastermind. And we had a whole lot of first time MDRT quarter table and even some top of table qualifiers for the first time in their entire life and just seeing what they're doing and the way they're interacting with their family. It's pretty stinking cool.

Chris Gandy 54:27 

That's pretty powerful. If you could teach one thing to a new advisor, what would you teach them?

Carson Porter 54:38 

Give value without expectations. The money comes just give value, give value, give value and the money will come.

Chris Gandy 54:45 

If you were to go back and teach yourself, what advice would you give yourself your first year in the business?

Carson Porter 54:55 

For the route that I was taking agency ownership and scratch starting, it's that my first job was to be an expert marketer.

Chris Gandy 55:05 

Good. Last question. You could go back in history and have dinner with anyone in history and that are living today where they passed away. Anyone, could be Michael Jackson, it could be Elvis, anybody, it can be DLR. You go back and look in history and you can have dinner with one person, who would it be and why? That's a tough one. That's a really tough, there's so many right to choose from your like, and it can be alive today actually.

Carson Porter 55:46 

That is a really tough one. I honestly. So I've been on this kick this last year of I was born and raised in a very religious household and I fell away from religion altogether for a long time. And this last few years, I've been refining a spiritual side of me, not a religious side, but a spiritual side that's connected to God. And I've been reading a lot of religious texts, everything from the Torah to the to NA, the Apocrypha, King James Version of the Bible, new version of the Bible Book of Mormon, several others, Koran if I didn't already mention that, I think it would be really cool to just sit at a table with all of those spiritual thought leaders and prophets and just individuals that were that dialed in and talk about the similarities they had, and what they wish they would see out of the world today from how they felt at the time, because that's the one thing that's been impressed upon me the most is how similar most of it is. And yet we still find ways to squabble over a one or 2% difference. And I think that would be a cool dinner.

Chris Gandy 56:55 

Nice. All right, Carson, we will see you at APEX, do you have anything else? NAIFA Nation's listening to you, and after that Suzanne's gonna close this with any comments, and then I'll go ahead and close it up.

Carson Porter 57:08 

If you really care about NAIFA, go find three agents today that aren't a member of NAIFA and get him to join, you got to pay their first month do it. It behooves you behooves the business, it behooves them. We're all better for it.

Chris Gandy 57:20 

Carson is 10 bucks. When we started the business, it was the full boat. It was like, Hey, you pay $80 or $70, or 60, or whatever it is. Now it's $10. Your first time?

Carson Porter 57:30 

Yeah, that's right. You have the progressive scale, progressive scale. Yeah. If you can't be bothered to join NAIFA, don't mind me about the fact that your career isn't what you want it to be. And if you can't be bothered to help others find their way to NAIFA. Don't tell me that sometimes you feel alone in the business and it's so lonely at the top. It's not lonely at the top, you're a loner at the top, go find some folks and bring them here.

Suzanne Carawan 57:53 

Love that. And that is why Carson is going to be at APEX, September 19 21st. Arizona, Philo, again, can't wait to see you everybody register apex.naifa.org. And we will be really counting down the days until then.

Chris Gandy 58:10 

Wonderful. I'll close this up. Thanks, Carson for being here. Thank you, Suzanne, for your wonderful comments. And thank you both for serving in our industry. So NAIFA Nation, thank you for tuning into Advisor Today's podcast where we uplift and promote the ideas and the thoughts of all of you and raise the voice of all of you collectively together because together we can become a stronger force. And look forward to seeing you at APEX and we'll see you next week here on Advisor Today's podcast. Good luck. Have a great day. See you guys

Outro 58:44 

Thanks for joining us for NAIFA's Advisor Today podcast series. Make sure to subscribe to get future episodes and if you're interested in coming on the show, let us know.



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