“Think it, Say it, Do it.”
Barbara-Lee started her journey into self-employment 10 years ago and today has her own company, The Insurance Ladies, where she is an Authorised Financial Adviser, Insurance Specialist. She loves helping families and people, giving them financial security if something unexpected happens around an illness or an injury. She is also the founder of the Financial Wellness Seminar Series. These were designed to support and empower women to dream bigger. She also has another brand called Rural Risk which provides risk advice to the farming community.
Her journey began back in 2002 when she decided to leave her marriage of 23 years. This was big moment in her life as she had two children aged 12 and 10 at the time and had never wanted them to be bought up in this way. However, not being able to stand it any longer she took the plunge. At the time her financial situation was pretty grim but she managed to scrape up enough of a deposit to buy a semidetached in Avonhead and this was a big comfort to her knowing she had her own place to live. Something that was hers and hers alone. She can still remember the joy she felt as she opened her panty doors and thinking that this is all mine and I don’t have to share it! Silly the things that made you feel happy. The peacefulness was also something she remembers as being so blissful.
However to her horror she discovered she had to share custody of her two children, and this is something that she had never imagined she would have to do. So the arrangement was two weeks with the father and two weeks with her. But still seeing the children mid-week for a meal and often in the weekends as well. However, this left a huge gap in her life, as you can imagine. At that time Barbara-Lee was working for the University of Canterbury so she decided to go and study part time in the MBA Programme. This was a life changing moment for her as she suddenly discovered who she was and what she could potentially be! The result being that she discovered that ideally, to be really happy, she would be suited to self-employment. Something that was around helping people. Other than that, the scope was wide open!!
As often happens she met someone who was in the financial services industry who encouraged her to work in the evenings seeing people about KiwiSaver. This led to her working for a couple of local insurance companies which gave her a desire to set up her own company in the future. However, she had a lot to learn and lots of examinations to take to become competent so more study was required! She had however set her path and was determined to succeed so she gave herself a year to get stuck in, and if after that time she had not been successful she would simply return to being an employee.
A pivotal moment for her at this time was when she attended an insurance conference in Auckland and she met so many wonderful, inspiring people in her new industry and as a result of that conference this gave her the courage to start up her own company called Real Insurance Solutions on her own. So back in 2010 she was underway, working from home to keep the overheads down and networking like crazy to meet people. She then joined in with a group of advisers and was working in an office in Riccarton.
Then the earthquakes struck which had a devastating effect on everybody’s business at that time. As you can imagine no one wanted to sit down and talk about their life insurance – they were all in survival mode themselves. This was another moment where she just about had to go back to being employed, had it not been for the Government Grant that was available at this time for business owners. On top of that they were offering some mentoring and she took advantage of this to help get her back on track and focused. She met with a local business mentor called Dave Sewell who was like a breath of fresh air. He simplified the terminology of what she did and enabled her to declutter her thoughts and processes around her work. This gave her back her energy and determination to succeed again and get back on the horse as it were.
Then in 2016 another change came along where she decided to leave her workplace and group that she was associated with to go out on her very own. This meant she would have total control of her own business and lifestyle as her group was becoming controlling and it felt like she was employed again. So The Insurance Ladies were developed but this meant she had to start from scratch again with her client base so it was back to square one in that regard. At that time she met someone on local television who encouraged her to go into a local farming programme to talk about risk for farmers. While she had worked with farmers before she felt it wise to team up with a local broker and together they formed the Rural Risk brand and were on TV once a month promoting farmers risk.
Since this time she has been busy building her client base through both brands and helping as many kiwi families and business owners as she possibly can. She has also continued to develop her Financial Wellness Brand where she teams up with a group of likeminded professional woman and holds Seminars which are based around supporting and empowering women, encouraging them to dream bigger.
Two years since developing her new brands Barbara-Lee now has her sights set on the future. Her dream is to have a team of insurance ladies operating nationwide. She wants a jingle on the radio so everyone knows the Insurance Ladies through a catchy jungle and informative adverts. She wants to share her knowledge and experience with some likeminded ladies and help them too achieve success through working for themselves, in a supported and measured way, ensuring their success. She knows the secret to success in her industry and is willing to share this with anyone wanting to join her in her business. She would tell you that she works in a very exciting and very rewarding industry and if you are a self-starter, positive, and resilient person , who wants to take control of their life and their future, one who fundamentally cares about people, then she would encourage you to contact her to talk about how you too can create a future that is fun, exciting, and rewarding, while helping people achieve financial freedom, when they need it most!
Barbara Lee’s Social Links