Growing up in Cordova, Alaska, there wasn’t a whole lot of opportunity to succeed past making ends meet, as Mark Neilson experienced at a young age. Son to a commercial fisherman father and mother who would work multiple jobs at a time, Mark learned firsthand that if there was something he wanted, he was going to have to work hard for it and do so with honesty and integrity; so, that’s just what he did.
While still in Alaska, Mark decided to begin his entrepreneurial journey, where he would manage and operate his very own fireworks shop to make extra cash. Then, when Mark was nine years old, he and his family moved to Cedar City, Utah, where he continued to pursue money-making activities, such as selling Christmas trees in the Wintertime and iced-cold lemonade in the Summer months.
Mark used his teenage years to assist in his family’s business and perfect his skills and characteristics it would take to continue his ultimate success. It wasn’t until after he served a mission with his church at nineteen to twenty-one years old in Denmark that it dawned on him just what his life’s mission was going to be: to be a helping hand in the success of others!
When Mark returned from his mission trip, he moved around a bit, in hopes to land somewhere he felt would be home. His travels took him to California, then to Washington, and back to the San Jose region of California, which is where he dove headfirst into the insurance industry. Mark has been thriving for more than ten years now in the industry! He has since accomplished some incredible feats, including the following:
- 2x Monthly Producer Record Holder
- 3x Founders Club Member
- 4x Presidents Club Member
- 7x Gold Club Member
- Only Diamond Club Member
- Million Dollar Club Member
- 3x Top 10 Agent in American Income
- 2013 Producer of the Year
- 2017 Number Four Manager
- 2017 AO Leader of the Year
- 2018 AO Leader of the Year
- 2018 Number One MGA
- 2018 Number One Regional Manager
- 2019 (July) First in AO to gross $1,000,000 in one month
- Top Five Weekly Record Holder as a Producer
- First in AO Regional to break $7,000,000 in one year
- First in AO to net $100,000 in one month as a Producer
- First in AO Regional Manager to net $400,000 in a week
- Named AO Squire
- Named AO Knight
- AO Rolex Recipient
As you can see by Mark’s accolades, he is willing to put in the work whenever, wherever and for whomever, which is what he credits his success to. “Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lot of work, but it’s extremely rewarding. It’s so much fun when the whole team is winning”, says Mark.
Entrepreneurship may look glamorous, especially when you see it on paper, but it isn’t for everybody. It takes a special kind of person to actually succeed in the space. Luckily for those who are willing to take the leap, Mark has shared his five best practice tips that have guided him to get where he is at now:
1. Understand that it takes everyone time to figure it out.
2. Stick around and stay driven. Remember why you started because that will need to be your focus on days you feel like giving up.
3. Don’t expect it to happen overnight. You will have to commit to learning, commit to getting better day in and day out.
4. Listen to your mentors. They were where you are at one time; they KNOW what they are talking about.
5. Love your people and love your clients. Do what is best for them AT ALL COSTS. You need to put yourself last.
When deciding on what business venture to pursue, it’s important that you do your due diligence before jumping in. Mark mentioned to us that it took him some serious studying and soul searching before choosing insurance, and he is incredibly glad he took the extra time to think it through. Questions he asked himself that prompted him to move forward in this particular industry included questions like:
“Am I willing to put in the time and effort it takes to ensure that my business will thrive?”
“Do I even believe in this business? If yes, do I believe in it so much so that when people around me start doubting it, I’m still working just as hard as I was in the beginning?”
“Do I know someone I could shadow to see what my reality will be when I start my business?”
If you answer these questions honestly about the business idea you are considering, you will be able to truly comprehend if this is a temporary desire or a long-term career plan! Driven people can do whatever business they want, as long as they work hard, stay consistent, and believe in what they are doing with all their heart, as Mark has in his very own venture.