The first time Chris Paradiso really understood the impact he could have as an insurance agent happened when he helped a client deal with his house fire. He spent two days rummaging through the house remains with his client looking for family heirlooms and removing his deceased dogs.
'It was a sad story, but it made what we are doing here in the insurance space very real to me. It's important that we can be there for our clients when we are needed the most.'
In his first year, Chris was told he wouldn't make it in the insurance industry. But, he didn't let that stop him. Now almost 20 years later, he is an agency owner and well-known speaker on digital marketing in the insurance industry. This is the way Chris Paradiso works.
Stafford Springs, Connecticut
We just published our first magazine for the insurance marketing space. All profits went to the charity Journey Found Organization, and insurance agencies across the globe have reached out to us to thank us for our insight.
One word that describes how you like to work:
Intensity. I like to work under pressure because it pushes us to be better.
Current mobile device:
Apple iPhone 6+
Mac Desktop running OS X Yosemite
Project(s) you're currently working on:
We are currently working on releasing an insurance marketing workbook that will be focusing on helping agencies grow. We are also doing quite a bit of traveling and speaking this year at seminars focused on insurance agency fundamentals.
Accomplishments you're proud of:
Our agency received the Rough Notes 12th annual community service award. We love that we've had a positive impact on our local community.
What are your goals for the next 12 months?
Personally, I would like to complete my eighth triathlon this summer. Business wise, the end goal, while looking at the numbers, would be to grow my business by 30% this year. We're hopefully going to take our next steps by data mining, along with pushing the use of artificial intelligence within our agency's operations.
Aside from your phone and computer, what gadget can't you live without and why?
I'm a watch junky, I like, actually I love, high end watches.
What are the top three apps you use on your phone?
Twitter is by far the most used app on my phone. I would put Facebook as my second most used, and then Chrono24, which is an app for watches.
Describe your workspace.
I like to keep things fairly open and transparent. My workspace says who I am, so when you look around it's branded to what I love. You can see the different community projects we've been involved in, my sports collectibles and more. My workspace defines me.
How do you manage your to-do list?
Easy, you take what is most important and put it to the top of your list, and then work your way down. When you have to move in fifteen thousand directions in a day, you simply have to prioritize.
How do you celebrate finishing a big project?
Personally, it's usually celebrating with some down time, usually with my kids. Business wise, we like to get the whole company involved, and we've done things like taking work trips or having company dinners.
What's your best time-saving tip or hack?
Start three hours before everyone else.
What is your best everyday habit?
Working out and reading. Every day I make sure I do at least 25 minutes of reading, and every day I work out for about an hour and 45 minutes on average.
What do you listen to while working?
What are you currently reading?
I'm currently reading 'What Successful People Know about Leadership' by John Maxwell.
How do you decompress?
I'm part of a cigar club, and having a nice cigar here and there is the only way to 'turn my volume down.'
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
My kids are my motivation, and my motivation to work hard and provide a better life for them gets me up early every day. I want my kids to have more, but to teach them to appreciate more at the same time. I want them to have a better life than I did, not that mine was bad, but I want the best for them. I get out of bed every day for them.
What's the first thing you do when you get in the office?
I listen to a Ted Talk online every day before getting into the morning swing.
Coffee or tea?
Who are your business idols and why?
I would say my father and my good friend Allen Bachiochi. These are two people who started their own businesses, but came from drastic ends of the spectrum. One never graduated ninth grade, and the other graduated law school. They were both extremely successful and went about business very similar in the sense that each handshake mattered. But, they worked in drastically different industries, and both inspired me on an individual basis.
What is your motto or personal mantra?
Do unto others as you want done onto you. You always have to treat others the way you want to be treated.
What's the best advice you've ever received?
There's a few, but one is 'garbage in, garbage remains in.' When you pollute your mind with garbage and nonsense, it's not a garbage out type of thing; it remains in, and there's something to be said about that. You have to respect your brain and look for healthy ways to inspire yourself.
Who would you like to see in a future This is the Way post?
I would love to see any one of my good friends in the insurance space, being Donna Yother, Mike Stromsoe, or Mark Walton. These are other agency owners I'm very close with who regularly give back to the industry and are leaders within our space.
The This is the Way blog series asks ITC employees, agents, carriers and other people in the industry how they work and to share their tips. Is there someone you want to see featured or questions we should ask? Tweet us or leave it in the comments below.
About the Author
As vice president of marketing, Becky Schroeder oversees ITC’s growth through marketing and drives the overall marketing strategy for the company and its products. Her specialties include advertising, social media, email marketing, content marketing and public relations. Becky has a master’s degree in integrated marketing communication from Emerson College in Boston and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Texas A&M University. Becky is a big Texas A&M football fan and enjoys cooking, reading and spending time with her husband and their two daughters.Follow on Twitter More Content by Becky Schroeder