“Find a way to fuel human beings, because people are our greatest asset, maybe more than anything else in this world. When you are running a business, people are the glue to everything. I’m here to inspire them to be the greatest versions of themselves, that’s my greatest accomplishment.” – Art Hitchens
Your business and your life are like a tapestry. As you the entrepreneur weave the threads of success, failure, joy, and hardship through the daily practice of living and of serving others, your own life expands in kind. Art Hitchens says he’s been through much of it, “to hell and back” as he describes it, and the other side has brought him enlightenment in every area of life.
“I was working in corporate America and living the American dream,” says Art. “I had the house, the white picket fence, my son, my wife, the dogs, and when it all unraveled it felt like it was the worst thing ever, but I wouldn’t trade any of it, because it led me to where I am today.”
Where Art is now, is serving as a Field Training Agent for USHEALTH Advisors, a subsidiary of USHEALTH Group, offering affordable health coverage and supplements to the American marketplace – individuals, families and the self-employed. Art says he’s gone from hell to heaven, and part of heaven is because of his association with USHA.
“The success is unbelievable,” says Art. “I was working the safe job, the mediocre existence of having that guaranteed paycheck, instead of the thrill of the 1099, of the 100% commission career, breaking through the fear of what societal norms are – safe life, safe job – the greatest thing I did was take that jump, that leap of faith. My work ethic has always been incredible, so I knew if the opportunity was there it would happen for me and it has.”
Art is nearing his one year anniversary with USHEALTH Advisors, but after a few years of tremendous change and upheaval in his personal life, the thrill ride of being self-employed is actually a welcome addition and fits well with his focus on self-improvement and personal growth. Then again, Art says he’s always been a thrill seeker and has been since the time he hit the slopes and started, “chasing gates”, at the tender age of six.
“I skied from the time I was four, until age 18,” says Art. “I was born in Billings, Montana, but my family ended up moving to Denver during the petroleum boom in the late ’70s, early ’80s. I started racing when I was six. I chased gates, the Super G Slalom. I skied just about everything in the continental US, doing 300-plus days on the slopes.
“I ended up living with another family in high school who developed a winter park ski resort, they had ski teams coming through there from all over the world, Swedes, French, German and more. I got worldly experiences at a very young age. But as high school ended I couldn’t go much further in the sport, because of money.” Art says he picked a sport where money is not in abundance. “Talent only takes you so far in certain sports in America,” says Art, “if you don’t have the bucks to back your career you can’t continue.”
Art says he pursued his dream, then after graduating high school, he decided he’d better go to college. “I’d been chasing gates for most of my life, but then I enrolled in the University of Utah. I thought I might be a dentist at first, but then I started studying pre-law as well as Philosophy and English. The English course helped me develop my skill of writing, which is truly a passion of mine. I like to take the constant inner view of my life, define it and write about it.”
Now when he’s not selling health coverage or helping his agents do the same, Art is creating art.
“When I’m not working, I spend a lot of time writing,” he says. “I’m writing and telling my story of adversity.” Art says his greatest adversity has been the divorce process he went through from March of 2016 until early last year. “It’s not an easy subject to talk about,” says Art. “I take responsibility for my side of the street, but what started out as amicable, became exactly the opposite. I went from having everything to losing everything. There was a point I was essentially homeless. I walked out of court one day and all I had was my dress shirt, dress pants and the boots I was wearing, nothing else.”
After leaving his corporate job during that time period, Art had worked in construction job for about a year, but once his divorce case cleared the courts, he says he was ready to change everything.
“I had the opportunity to take the leap of faith to do something else, but nothing felt right,” he says. “But then I interviewed with Ron and Sherene Smith at USHEALTH Advisors. I was very transparent, I laid it all on the table for them, which I thought might not be the politically correct thing to do. But it clicked, it resonated with them, they saw the unrefined mineral that I was and they offered me the opportunity.”
Starting in March of 2018, Art submitted nearly 600,000 in annual volume for health and supplemental policies during the remaining 30 weeks of 2018 and never looked back, recently being promoted to the Field Training Agent role. Art says the greatest secret to his success is easy, it’s the training and mentorship from his leaders, like Ron and Sherene.
“They are just incredible people,” says Art. “They are absolutely a great compliment to me. It’s fun to go out there and inspire people just being you. They simply want to mentor you and teach you how to make a great living, even become a millionaire. I didn’t believe there was anyone out there who would do that for me. They said, ‘stick close, paddle the boat and you can do it.’ “The income opportunity is unbelievable and having Mike Laughlin as my Regional Manager, is great, it’s really cool when birds of feather flock together. When it happens it is truly intriguing and to be part of it and when you see you are part of this greater, bigger picture it’s amazing. The best part is realizing you always had it in you.”
Although his business is virtual, meaning offering and selling policies to clients on the computer and utilizing the online application process, Art has also used some unique face-to-face marketing techniques to attract business. “I have a lot of executive workouts,” laughs Art. “When I’m not pumping the iron with them, I’ll sweat it out in the steam room, hot tub or sauna. It’s a great way to meet these people and strike up a conversation. You end up talking about what is going on in their lives, including things like health insurance.”
Art continues, “What I like about this company and this business, is working with the people we are working with. It’s not the easiest thing to do, health insurance is not the greatest topic to discuss with anyone. It can be a sour conversation and it has created a huge ripple in our society today. But for me to be able to reach out and help families is life-changing. I’ve got some great stories and testimonials from my clients. For example, the story of the family for whom I was able to lower their deductible and cut their premium in half, which allowed one family member to retire, stay home and take care of the kids. It’s the kind of thing we do all day, every day. The other agents we are working with, we’re all in the same boat and it takes a lot of faith, integrity, honesty, and willingness to work hard and do what we do on a day-to-day basis.”
Art says his work at USHA directly relates to what happened in his personal life. “As things were being stripped out of my life, it taught me to be humble, kind and grateful. People say it’s God showing you the way, or the universe working on your behalf, but whatever you call it, it taught me to be me. I don’t thump the Bible or go to church every Sunday, but I got my hands on a couple of great books, I read, still do, and I write down my thoughts about this process and how this is all unfolding. I have kept it close to my heart and dear to my heart and it absolutely defines who and what I am now. I have no other way to explain it.”
“The future is bright, beautiful, successful. If I’m focusing on being a better version of myself today than I was yesterday, it’s invigorating. It’s like an electric shock to see what I’m going to be tomorrow. The sun goes up and the sun goes down and I’m going to leave everything on the battlefield. People who say your kindness is your weakness, but they are wrong. My weaknesses are my strengths and my strengths are my inspirations. I want to inspire to empower and empower to inspire. Success is about attraction, pull people along, don’t push people. It’s all about the gravitational pull. It’s about attraction, not promotion. It’s about inspiration. I’m just being myself. This is who and what I am from the heart. People should be able to remember me for my name and that name is Art Hitchens.”
Until next time, thanks for taking the time.