Alexander Strate: Entrepreneur, Insurance Expert & Founder, Family First Life: Fire: “You Can’t Cheat the Grind”
Alexander Strate is a serial entrepreneur, a habit that started back when he was 17. After dipping his toe into various business ventures, including digital marketing, he now runs his own insurance agency, which has grown to include over 50 agents across the country, exceeding $3.5 million in sales in 2020.
Alexander’s Original Story: “You Can’t Cheat the Grind”
I’ve been working at different entrepreneurial ventures since I was 17 years old. Most recently, I was a digital marketing agency owner, managing 7-10 clients per month and earning over $15,000 per month, but I felt burnt out and was lacking purpose. I left all that behind to interact with more people and get away from the computer screen. I started in the insurance industry over two years ago after trying every business under the sun. My agency now has over 50 agents across the country, and we’re exceeding $3,500,000 in sales in 2020.
I grew up in a household with parents who were small business owners running a commercial cleaning franchise. My “normal” was watching them hustle and work late to make sure the business could put food on the table. Needless to say, I learned the value of hard work. Learning about sacrifice at such a young age was crucial to my entrepreneurial journey, too. My parents would shop at Goodwill so myself and my siblings could do sports, go to private school, and grow as individuals as much as we could. If my dad got a call at 9:30 p.m. about a business emergency, he would drop everything because that business was how he provided for us. When making decisions, my parents always taught me to consider, “Will this choice benefit me now, or in the future?” More often than not, if there isn’t a benefit down the road, we are seeking instant gratification – nothing else.
Early on in my entrepreneurial journey, I knew I didn’t like the “traditional” path of having a job, but I struggled to find a business model that not only earned me a significant income, but also fulfilled a sense of purpose in me and was scalable.
Everyone is always looking for the “one thing” that clicks for them, but you can’t cheat the grind. If the first entrepreneurial venture you tried worked out and was a tremendous success, you wouldn’t have an appreciation for all the days you felt like quitting, lost money, or had less than $100 in your checking account and had to find a way to make it work. Having a “never give up” attitude and growing your skillset over the years allows you to find ways to serve people and earn money. My income streams may have changed about 100 different times over the last decade, but everything built on top of itself.
o My first job as a teen taught me how to discipline myself.
o My second job taught me time management and dealing with managing people.
o My first 5-10 entrepreneurial ventures taught me how to be resourceful and find out the information I needed to know.
Quote: “You can’t cheat the grind. If the first entrepreneurial venture you tried worked out and was a tremendous success, you wouldn’t have an appreciation for all the days you felt like quitting, lost money, or had less than $100 in your checking account and had to find a way to make it work.” – Alexander Strate
Those skillsets I learned leveraged me into conversations and meetings that I never would’ve had if I didn’t just throw myself into learning and not worry about whether it would work out. The tiny disciplines and wins add up over time, and they will only continue to do so if you stay hungry for information and eager to network and be resourceful.
I obtained my Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Entrepreneurship from UNLV in 2017. That’s a really fancy degree title that just means I was going to business school and had no idea what I wanted to do, so they threw me into Entrepreneurship. Being an entrepreneur, you would think majoring in Entrepreneurship taught me everything I needed to know to succeed, right? Wrong! The only thing it taught me was time management. I was so focused on my businesses outside of school that I did the bare minimum just to get by and graduate. (Seriously, a minimum 2.5 GPA was required to graduate, and I got a 2.6!)
The antiquated schooling model did nothing for my businesses and I haven’t applied anything from university to my agency today. If anything, it taught me that, whatever I don’t know, I can outsource from people who are a lot smarter than me to keep me on track. I’m not scared to invest in a good bookkeeper, CPA, marketing director, etc., but did I really need a four-year degree to learn how to outsource? Probably not. I learned 100x more actually working in my businesses, investing my dollars in staff and back into systems, and learning how to best manage my time.
Today, working hands-on with my insurance agents and staff to train, build systems, and invest back into my business’s growth so more of our agents can protect families around the country checks all the boxes for me. When you love what you do, the results will fall into place no matter what the world throws at you. During a year where many people have suffered financially due to Covid-19, we’ve grown from four agents in early 2020 to over 50 agents less than a year later, and that is a direct reflection of the lives we’ve been able to impact and help serve across the country.
Lastly, I want to address some common challenges all entrepreneurs face. I feel like I could write a book on this subject alone!
- Being “okay” with not going the traditional route, even when the world around you belittles you for it. Doing personal development to strengthen your mindset is crucial in your journey, because people WILL mock you and tempt you to go back to a “normal” life all the time. That’s all right – let them! “Normal” people don’t have residual income, can’t travel anywhere around the world and write it off on their taxes, and create a life around THEIR needs, not their bills. You don’t want normal!
- Time management. Ever heard the saying “If you want something done correctly, do it yourself”? Well, that’s true… to a degree. When you start to burn yourself out because you can’t give up control, your business will suffer. Focus on what you’re best at and makes you the most money, and outsource the rest. Having a clear mind and less stress will pay way more than whatever you’re forking out to your staff/contractors.
- Learning when to ask for help. As entrepreneurs, we fall into this “me versus the world” mentality, and it’s great for motivation… but not so great for the ego. Learning to swallow your pride and seek mentorship will allow you to keep the ship afloat before it’s too late and you’re bailing water out with a bucket.
In this book, there are tons of entrepreneurs you can turn to for inspiration and guidance, but not a single person mentioned in this book got here alone. Everyone has mentors along the way, and there is no better feeling than helping someone “get it” and change their legacy forever. Don’t be scared to reach out to myself, someone else in this book, or someone you admire. Seek mentorship, guidance, and coaching. We entrepreneurs have to stick together, and you CAN do this!
Find more from Alexander Strate on Instagram: @coachstrate