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by Valerie Solorzano on Oct 11, 2018 1:28:39 PM

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The Struggle Is REAL- From Peas to Financial Freedom

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Jeffery Hill became a NAIFA member after just six months in the business in 2009.  He read that NAIFA agents make 59% more premiums than agent who do not belong to NAIFA.  He liked these odds and he realized early on in his career that he did not need to be smarter than the system, he just needed to challenge it.  The words of Rapper Mike Jones inspired him daily to struggle his way to the top, “If you don’t work, you don’t eat, you don’t grind, you don’t shine”.

“Surround yourself with the thinking that out-thinks you, this is how my circle thinks; this is how I live my life”- Jeffery Hill

 

A rare form of lung cancer took her life and stole her from him.  At the age of 20, he vividly remembers watching his mother make phone calls requesting any amount of loans or donations so they could bury Tamonica Johnson, his sister and his best friend. 

Jeffery Hill grew up in a small country area of Arkansas.  He was one in a high school graduating class of forty-nine, and heavily involved in extracurricular activities where he served as president in many organizations.  In high school he was voted the class clown, biggest flirt and most likely to succeed.  Growing up in the country he learned to hunt, he picked peas on his uncle’s farm as well as bailed hay to earn extra money because there was not much else to do in the town of Harmony Grove.  His five siblings and his parents shared a three-bedroom, 1200 square feet house.  His sister, Tamonica taught him valuable lessons in life’s reality, the importance of faith and family, and the economic and financial divide that existed in the real world.  But little did Jeffery know her death would fuel his calling.

 

Jeff_HillA born entrepreneur, Jeffery started his own lawn service business while still in High School. He also was in several sales competitions in school where he was either the number one or two person consistently.  College was never a thought early in life. His ambitions were to become an astronaut or an actor, something to get him upward bound.  It was until his mom posed the question, “Jeff, are you going to college when you graduate?”  Well, not only did this become reality, but Jeffery also graduated with a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Art degrees from the University of Central Arkansas in Conway and was recognized as Who’s Who Among American College Students along with various accolades. 

 

Jeffery was certain that entering the world with his degrees in Mass Communication, in addition to minors in Theater and Management Information Systems companies would ensure multiple opportunities and an annual salary of fifty thousand dollars or more.  But reality soon hit and no such grand offers came. It was a major setback while during an internship in his senior year he realized you didn’t need a degree to work in his field.

Over the ensuing five years Jeffery shifted from cars, to vacuums and eventually uniform sales, while gaining valuable insight.  He struggled with advancement although he was always on the leadership board; a top producer. As an African American, even though his tenacity and work ethic warranted raises and promotions, he experienced inequality and unfairness in the workplace.  Nonetheless, he battled the Southern heat pounding the pavement, knocking on doors, and in a delivery van.   He worked hard for the few dollars he earned, but he never gave in to despair.  This period only increased his determination to find something better.  His philosophy, “Think bigger than your current situation”. 

He decided at this point to obtain life and health insurance licenses, and finally with his licenses in hand, his education and background, opportunities started flooding in.  His phone started ringing off the hook and the interview requests were overwhelming.  At one point he even rescheduled his interview five times on a fortune 100 Mutual Life Insurance Company where eventually, he accepted an offer.

He was the first and only African American agent for this company for a year and a half and being the only African American agent in the state can be a bit of a struggle when no one looks like you nor truly understands the mindset in that particular market.  He was told he'd have to work twice as hard if not more just to look equal!  

Despite being off to a fast start, in the beginning of this career in insurance he struggled financially and cashed out his 401K from his previous job to survive. This is where he learned one of the most valuable lessons from one of his several mentors; “Write enough business to learn the business to stay in the business.”  Over the six-and-a-half-year career with this Fortune 100 Company he learned to get creative and survive in the business.  He learned that the insurance and financial services industry, although extremely challenging, was also extremely rewarding.  I also want to share that during this period he earned his MBA, his Series 6 and 63 all within his first two years.

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In August of 2013, Jeffery Hill decided to go independent and founded Hill FInancial Group, Inc-  A Wealth Accumulation Firm. He believes that this business allows you to forge your own path whatever that may be.  He gave up a cushy residual income he built during his first six years to pursue his own dreams instead of the agenda of his former company.  He gave up comfort knowing that his heart and calling was with the African American community and not with the hottest product that needed to be pushed out to meet numbers.  He is a financial professional for his people.  And ladies, I will share, he is single and looking! 

 I would love to hear from you too and showcase your rise to the top.  Please contact me.

 

Valerie Frank-Solorzano is NAIFA's Membership Advisor

 

 

Topics: Financial Planning/ Life Insurance/ Young Advisors Team (YAT)/ Legacy/ Member/ #NAIFAProud/ Sales/ Diverse Markets/ Running Your Practice/ Getting Started/ Retirement Planning