One Wheel Up – Susan Hamilton

Let’s face it everything that matters in life, work, love, even contribution, involves some type of risk, or you’re really not living.

No risk, no reward.

Susan Hamilton knows this concept and embraces it, much of her life has been about taking risks and crushing it.

Susan grew up on a large farm in Ohio, taking care of the animals and helping her family tend to what needed to be done. She’s traveled a long road from farming, to eventually marketing and selling data, but Susan could have never known that the black-and-white world of number crunching could lead to the colorful world of helping other people every day find the right health insurance with USHEALTH Advisors.

“I first met Jason Greif’s wife Kelly, (Jason is a Regional Leader for USHA), when she was working for American Marketing and Mailing Services, and they were a vendor of mine,” says Susan. “I was meeting with Chuck, the owner of the company and when the receptionist walked me back to his office he was just finishing up a conversation with Kelley and she and I kind of made eye contact. Chuck said, “Hey, I think you two girls should meet. He said, “Susan, Kelly’s husband works for a health insurance company that is interested in data. So Kelly and I circled back around, and then that’s eventually when I ended up at Jason’s office.”

“But when I got there, it was just wow, there were probably 40 agents all over the place and they were super busy. They all seemed to be very happy. Nobody looked unhappy. They were busy moving around a lot and very enthusiastic. And then I walked into Jason’s office I asked him, what do you guys do here again? And he says, “We sell insurance.” And I was like, what kind of insurance? And he said, “Health insurance.” “I laughed, are you sure you don’t sell drugs or something here, everyone looks so happy. And he says , “No, it’s private health insurance. It’s different.” “I’m like, okay, I’ve been in other health insurance offices and they don’t look like they’re having a good time. You guys are having a good time. So he said, “Well, why don’t you come and check it out?” “That’s when I went to the group interview and the whole concept was inspiring to me. Jason told everyone, “Listen, this isn’t just a job. JOB means Just Over Broke. This is a career that you’ll have to put your own time and money into,” he said. “It was so very inspiring. He said, “this is a career. And this should be your last career.”

“I didn’t know a whole lot about insurance, but with the training that was provided with USHA and in my Tampa division, it all made sense, it was excellent. I mean, we did two extensive weeks of training to really learn who our competitors are, what we would be selling and then pass our certifications.”

As Ralph Waldo Emerson states, do the thing and you’ll have the power. Susan, who was living with the challenge of being a single mom, but wanting to build a better life for her children, didn’t overthink things, she got to work. In a little more than four years, Susan has produced more than $5 .5 million in individual insurance sales and now serves as a Field Training Agent with USHEALTH Advisors, teaching others to do as she has done, work hard, accept and overcome the challenges, and move forward every day. No risk, no reward.

And Susan knows plenty about hard work, risk-taking, responsibility and discipline.

“I grew up in the country in Ohio pretty much far away from any kind of life,” says Susan.  “Three-hundred acres of land and cows and barns and a very small school. I think every student that I went to school with was a cousin, or some type of relation,” she laughs. “It is a very, very small town.”

“I was a little sister, so I had two older brothers and my dad was very old-school. He always believed you treat the women of the house like they’re queens. But when I got a little bit older, I was more of a tomboy. I wanted to be outside with my dad wrenching on something or playing with the cows. I would feed the baby calves, so I’d have to mix up their feed and be out there early in the morning before school and make sure that the calves are getting their food, and clean up after them. We had pigs to help with too, and then it was off to school.”

“It was a lot of responsibility. I mean, if I wasn’t doing it, it wasn’t getting done. If I didn’t finish what I had started by the time I got home from school, even before homework, my dad would say, “Get out there and do your job. You didn’t finish your job today.” “And so it taught me, okay, let me finish my job when I’m supposed to finish it so I’m not punished. And like I said, if I wasn’t doing it, then nobody’s doing it.”

“We all had pretty serious jobs around the farm and my mom, she was the lady of the house. She didn’t go outside and do those things. So even if my dad wasn’t there when I would get home from school, she would tell me, “Hey, you didn’t finish the barn. You need to go out there and clean it now.” I’d say, “I’m tired. My mom didn’t care. “Well, you should have been up earlier and gotten it done,” she said. “So I feel like a lot of responsibility was learned very early on in life, which then helped me become a good parent. I feel like that’s why I am so successful in this career as well, because of the discipline.”

While disciplined with her chores around the farm, it was also on the farm that Susan learned she had a wilder side and it turned out it was one she wanted to explore.

“One thing about our farm, the barn was pretty far from the house, and when the feed truck would come to deliver the big feed bags, my dad would tell me to jump on the four wheeler and go have the guys unload them.”

“Well, with the weight on the back, I learned how to do wheelies on the four wheeler. And believe it or not, from that, I became a professional motorcycle stunt rider. So right around high school, I bought a motorcycle with my own savings I earned from working three jobs, but I hid the motorcycle from my parents, kept it parked at a friend’s house. I was so good that my brother’s buddies would come over to the farmhouse and be like, “Watch my sister, she’s crazy!”

“I ended up becoming this crazy motorcycle stunt rider. My dad finally found out about it though. One of his buddies was on the internet one day and saw a picture of me. I also had the bike painted pink. I wanted to make sure the guys knew that this little five-foot-four-inch girl was on a motorcycle riding wheelies on the streets. Amazingly enough, my dad embraced my motorcycle riding and he actually became a sponsor.”

But Susan didn’t just ride motorcycles for fun, she decided to go all out and go big time!

“I became the number one female stunt rider in the world for a pretty long while,” says Susan. “I was a stunt double for a few music videos like Cat Woman and Judgement Day and was also on set at Disney for The Extreme Stunt Show – Lights, Motors, Action!”

If taking big risks on two wheels, or one, wasn’t enough, Susan was also out front, promoting the motorcycle tour as a spokesperson.

“While I was also performing I became a spokesmodel for two big performance companies. And that kept me traveling all over the world. My dad was very proud of that. It’s funny, because earlier in my life my mom and dad sent me to John Casablanca School of Etiquette, so I could learn how to not be a tomboy. I probably chewed with my mouth open and I never wore makeup, didn’t care about how my hair looked. My mom would be like, are you going to comb your hair before you go outside today? And then that’s another thing that I realized in high school is I wanted to look the best. I knew that if I dressed up every single day, people treated me differently. So that’s what I started doing, and still do, dress to impress.”

“I used to fly all over the place as a spokesmodel. I traveled the International Motorcycle Show in the fall and winter and then spring and summer I would do the Stunt Riding Tours, all while going to college.”

“I retired as a motorcycle stunt rider in 2010, and did pursue a law career but only for about eight months because it was miserable. It was accident, injury, bankruptcy and divorce… and trying to do it all in a small town. I didn’t want to know my aunt and uncle were getting divorced. I didn’t want to know my best friend’s dad filed bankruptcy. So that’s when I had to suck it up and go to my dad and say, I know we paid a lot of money to go through college and I worked really hard, but I don’t want to do that. And he’s like, well, then what do you want to do? He’s like, you better get yourself into sales or marketing because you need to make money the way your lifestyle is!”

“And that’s what I did. I started working for the Auto Mart Magazine doing advertising and marketing and then owning my own data company, and that’s how I met Jason. And it was perfect timing again because the automotive industry was taking a very big turn in the digital world and I knew I had to jump ship before this thing crashes. So all that led me to USHA.”

It’s a 180 in a life and a career that once had Susan popping wheelies, (and even trying out as a junior olympian speed skater!), to now helping families navigate the road of sometimes confusing and overwhelming health insurance options. But what Susan says she learned through all of her life’s adventures is that she’s a people person and not only loves helping others, but also taking care of them after the sale as well. She believes what most successful people do – when you put others first, help them feel seen, heard and understood – that’s a great way to win in life.

“The big thing is paying attention to your clients and touching them. I send out an e-mail campaign at least once a month, and in the subject line I put important information from your insurance agent. It’s always some type of educational piece that helps my customer service a lot. I think when my clients get my emails, they know it’s going to be something educational. At the end of that message, it’s always asking for a referral. Let’s HOPE together, helping other people every day. And I make sure that they understand that is the mission.”

When HOPE is the heart of the matter, what matters then is everyone taking care of everyone else. It’s Susan caring for her clients and her clients caring right back with introductions to others who need her high level of hands-on customer service.

“Every single client that I sign up gets a personalized thank you card from me. Inside of that thank you card are two business cards, and then a little sticky note. And on the side it says, who do you know? It says, please send me three referrals this week, your neighbor, your brother or sister, your lawn maintenance person, or your plumber or realtor. And it kind of speaks that into existence. So then they’re like, “Oh yeah, I know somebody.”

“I’m just constantly in front of my clients with something that’s educational, and then every single dependent’s birthday, they get a personal birthday card from me with a little $5 donut card and it says, let me buy you a donut on the way to school tomorrow. Make sure you or your parent sends me a picture of you enjoying your donut. I get so many pictures of kids eating their donut and saying, thank you, Susie. Parents love their kids, so if you can send them a thank you note with a donut gift card in there, the parents are going to think, “Oh, I love my insurance agent.” “So just make sure you stay in front of your client and they work for you, but you have to ask them to work for you. You really have to ask. If you don’t say something, then you’re never asking for a referral and they just think, “okay, I got it. No problem.” “No, make them realize, this person, this agent, did something good for me. And they obviously thought you were very professional, so let’s share that together.”

Sharing is caring and now as a Field Training Agent, it’s Susan’s gift to share the USHA opportunity with other people and help them become as successful as she has been. She says she still learns from the best on her team and shares her knowledge with those trying to make their way here as well.

“I would say for the young entrepreneurs, just getting into this field, I wish I was 21 when I found this, the earlier you start, the better. And then for the mommies out there, it is discipline, extreme discipline. If you’ve been touched with this opportunity, you really need to embrace it and figure out the obstacles and get past those obstacles because then it just becomes an easy race.”

“The big thing is don’t get overwhelmed with the amount of time. If you can think of a track race, then the first half of the race has to be your sprint, then sprint, learn everything and make the first year, the hardest year of your life, get uncomfortable, work your butt off because you’re building a foundation and that foundation has to be super strong. I had an agent, Tom Johnson, he has seven kids and he became a top producer in his first year. So he had no excuses. Now granted, he has a very, very supportive wife, and the wife had to believe in it. So involve your spouses. Make them aware of what’s going on and communicate with them, bring them in, introduce them to your hierarchy so that they see they don’t have anything to worry about, and they might even join the career with you.”

Susan says her new life partner is in her corner as well, her fiancé, James “Andy” Cox. Susan says Andy has seen the value of the USHA opportunity as well and opened his own call center and is working to help support Susan and her insurance business.

But Susan says it’s her Regional Leader Jason Grief who has been supportive from day one and really taught her what discipline was really all about – making sure she understood early on that she had to put in the extra hours – and even as a mom, delegate some responsibilities to other people so she could spend more time working, helping more families get health insurance and build her career.

Speaking of family, Susan is a single mom to two children, 9-year-old Brennan and 16-year-old Kaylee. Susan she knows her kids understand the work she has to put in to create the success she wants to have and to share with them – and Susan says her kids say they are ready to follow in her footsteps, eventually becoming insurance agents as well, truly expanding her USHA family!

“When I first started four years ago, my son was about four-years-old, my daughter was a teen. And that’s when I decided that if I’m really going to go into this full force, I have to have my family support me. And so my mom would actually come down from Ohio to Florida every open enrollment season and take care of my kids. She spent a couple of months here. She was in the house making dinner, making breakfast, being there for them, taking them to school, picking them up from school, baseball practice you name it. It was a really big challenge at first. But now, it’s like being in a plane, once you finally take off you can put yourself on stealth mode and fly.”

As one of the top producers at USHEALTH Advisors, Susan is flying high now. She went from the farm to the big city, with many stops and plenty of stunts in between, taking risks, taking chances and showing what she’s tougher than any obstacle. To be one of the best, you’ve got to stand out from the crowd.

As Susan has shown everyone, why ride on two wheels in life when you can take a chance, make a big impression and live life on the edge, going one wheel up!

Until next time, thanks for taking the time.

Your Storyteller,
Mark Brodinsky

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