Teacher Entrepreneur Profile: John Zurcher of New York Life
Today’s Teacher Entrepreneur profile is John Zurcher of New York Life. I met John a few months ago at Biggby Coffee at Georgetown. I was there interviewing Yul Martin for a Teacher Entrepreneur profile. John and Yul and I all started talking as Yul prepared the coffee. It turned out that John was also a Teacher Entrepreneur that had worked in Ft. Wayne Community Schools. I had the pleasure of sitting down with John recently to hear more about his journey as a Teacher Entrepreneur.
CS: What is the name of your business and where is it located?
JZ: I am an independent agent for New York Life. My office is located at 9921 Dupont Circle Dr. West Suite 210, Ft. Wayne 46825
CS: How long have you been an educator, and what positions have you held?
JZ: I was a teacher for 15 years. All of them were with Ft. Wayne Community Schools at Lakeside Middle School. I taught 6th grade Language and Reading, Science and Social studies, and 8th grade Science and Social studies.
CS: Why did you want to become an entrepreneur?
JZ: I needed a change. My dad sold insurance for 30 plus years. He knew the business, so it seemed like a good fit. The first plan was to work with him. Unfortunately, the timing wasn’t going to work well to work with my dad. He was retiring as I was just getting into the business. I began researching companies. I soon found out that New York Life is a great company; they have so many solutions and options for people. I am happy to be with them.
CS: Why did you choose your particular industry?
JZ: As I mentioned, my dad had been in the business. I knew the business a little and I saw it as an opportunity to work with people and still educate people. I could still use my teaching skills. I like the flexibility of the schedule. It allows me to see my family more than when I was teaching.
CS: Tell me a little bit about your business?
JZ: I am my own entity. My main focus is to reach out to teachers, the military and young families. I educate them on their options and provide specific solutions, family protections, college funding and retirement planning.
CS: What is the best business advice you have ever been given?
JZ: You have to find work that you can enjoy that allows you to spend time with your family. If you don’t enjoy it and don’t have time for your family, you shouldn’t be doing it. That is one of the things that moved me away from education. I wasn’t enjoying it and I wasn’t seeing my family.
CS: What is the greatest challenge of being a Teacher Entrepreneur?
JZ: Having a background in education and going into a position selling insurance and securities. I had to obtain my securities license in order to do what I do.
CS: What advice would you give to other Teacher Entrepreneurs?
JZ: The big thing is to follow your passion. If you find something you enjoy and want to do, put forth the effort. I think Teacher’s underestimate themselves and don’t realize all of the things they can do. Once they get out there a little bit and get some experience they start to see all of the other options they have.
CS: What books or resources would you recommend to other Teacher Entrepreneurs?
JZ: The last couple books I read were by Tony Dungy. They talked about how his faith transferred into his life. Living out your faith helps no matter if you stay in teaching or leave. If that is what you are supposed to do, it will work out.
CS: What is your vision for your business?
JZ: It is to reach a point where I don’t have to make as many phone calls to new people because I am getting referrals from my clients. I want my clients to find my services so beneficial that they are spreading the word and I am benefitting from referrals and word of mouth.
CS: How will you know when you have achieved your vision?
JZ: When I have people coming to me for services without me having to go out and pursue business as often.
CS: What would you do differently if you were to start another business?
JZ: Not hesitate. I would start sooner. Once I know it is right, I would go after it, instead of waiting for other things to happen.
CS: Is there anything else you would like our readers to know about you or your business?
JZ: Last year I was named rookie of the year for Indiana within the New York Life system. I was able to out-perform other agents with backgrounds in finance and insurance. I became a leader in our class of agents. I was able to do this because I applied my Teacher’s work ethic to my business. Teachers work hard. If they take that work ethic and apply it to business, they will be successful.
I want to thank John for taking the time to sit down with me. While I didn’t know John that well before our meeting it didn’t take long to realize that John is a great guy with a heart for service. I would encourage anyone who is seeking advice on insurance, investments or retirement to contact John. He can be reached by phone at (260) 416-2623 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org