Subscribe to Mitchell Sharp My Midwestern Days
I was born in a small farming community in the far southeast corner of Missouri. The day I was born there was a bomb threat at Missouri Delta Medical Center, the hospital where I was born. I guess you can say I came in to this world with a bang. I spent a few years … Continue reading "My Midwestern...
I was born in a small farming community in the far southeast corner of Missouri. The day I was born there was a bomb threat at Missouri Delta Medical Center, the hospital where I was born. I guess you can say I came in to this world with a bang. I spent a few years of my childhood on a side trip to two different towns in Arkansas. The area of Northern Arkansas and Southern Missouri is definitely my home. It is where I spent my formative years. This part of my life established a foundation that I am fond of and I will always be grateful for my Midwestern Roots.
Now back in late July of 1979 there was a bomb threat at Missouri Delta Medical Center. This so happens to be the same day my mother spent the majority of in labor, just to bring me in to this world. My father spent a good portion of this day helping the police and firefighters search the premises for anything suspicious. Needless to say, we didn’t worry about something like a bomb threat quite as much back in the 70’s.
I spent the first two and a half years of my life living in a house on Allen Boulevard. We were neighbors of my first cousin Phillip Tidwell on one side and two of my parents best friends, Janet and Mike Moll, on the other side. My grandmother on my mothers side lived about a mile one direction and my grandfather on my fathers side lived about a mile away in the other direction. On my mothers side, there were seven girls and two boys. Four of those siblings lived in the town of Sikeston, two lived 30 miles away in another Mississippi River Town called Cape Girardeau.
Now the state of Missouri is shaped, for the most part, like a crooked square. Except for one tiny portion down in the Southeast part of the state. This portion of the state is referred to as the Bootheel. It borders Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee and Arkansas.
When looking at a map of the state, one might wonder why this portion wound up being included in Missouri and not one of the other states. Well an inside joke, among many of the natives, is that Missouri did not really want us; but we sure did not want to be a part of Arkansas.
Now if you are from The Natural State, relax. I can call the hogs with the best of them and I actually spent several years of my childhood living in both Clarksville and Hazen, Arkansas.
My family first moved to the metropolis of Clarksville, Arkansas in 1982 when my father was offered a better job in a better bank down in God’s Country as the natives refer to it. Now I was too young to remember a whole lot about Clarksville. I remember driving up to Fayetteville a couple of times to call the hogs in either Barnhill Arena or Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. I also remember the roads twisting so much either my sister or I threw up every time we made this drive. Now those roads have been replaced by four lane highways paid for by the business expansion of this one family the Waltons’. They own a few nickle and dime grocery stores in a few small towns across the country.
When I was 7 years old, in between my second and third grade years at school, my father got yet another job at an even better bank. So we picked up and moved again. This time to another thriving metropolis called Hazen, Arkansas. Only this time we had a small hiccup during the process of moving. Over the Independence Day Weekend we went to the local lake (Piney Bay) to celebrate with a large group of friends. On the way home, my mother, sister, our two best friends and I were involved in a two car accident. It was quite horrific. Initially my sister was unconscious and my mother was in very critical condition. I broke most of the bones on the left side of my face. Miraculously, my sister got better over the next few days, but my mother slipped into a comma which she stayed in for around seven weeks. My mother has been in a wheelchair ever since. Now this is not an event in my life that I look back on with sadness or anger. It is simply a part of my life. I actually look at it as my mother being given a second chance on life. At the same time I cannot deny it has had an enormous impact on who I am and how I think about the world.
Now because my father had already quit his job and was in the process of selling our house, we kind of had to continue through with our move to Hazen, Arkansas. The community of Hazen opened their hearts to us and could not have been a better community for our family at a time when we were most fragile. My mother spent the better part of a year and a half rehabilitating from her car accident. Finally in the fall of 1987 she was able to come home to live with the rest of our family. Around the same time my mother came home from a rehabilitation center, my grandfather back in Sikeston, MO turned 75 years old. Gramps (as we called him) was not in the best health himself and my father decided it would be best for us to move back to our home; Sikeston, Missouri. Go Bulldogs!!!!!
Now before I move back on to tell you about Sikeston, MO; I still have a few memories to share about the state of Arkansas. While living in the state of Arkansas, I was able to eat catfish on a regular basis with the best duck-callers in the world. I met those duck callers when I moved to my second stop in the Natural State; Hazen, Arkansas. You see Hazen is located among very rich and fertile farm land. This area is where an enormous amount of cotton and rice are grown. The rice fields make this area excellent places for duck hunting in the fall. Stuttgart, Arkansas is located just down the road a few miles and is the unofficial duck-calling capital of the world. Seriously that is a thing. Stuttgart gets this title from hosting a yearly competition to determine who is the best duck-caller in the world.
While living in The Natural State, I was able to spend a few nights camped out in a canoe along the Buffalo River and learning to water ski on Lake Catherine. My entire family absolutely loved the time we spent in the great state of Arkansas; but my first home, where I tell people I am from, will always be the Bootheel of Missouri. Sikeston, Mo to be exact.
Now I could not have been more thrilled to move back to Sikeston. This excitement came from all the friends I had made over the years travelling back for holidays my entire life. A majority of my family still lived in Sikeston or the surrounding area. Especially on my mothers side of the family. My mother has six sisters and two brothers. At the time, four of them lived within about 30 miles of Sikeston, MO. This, I am sure, was a large reason for why my parents decided to move back to Sikeston. Quickly after moving back to Missouri I got involved in my first true love, Athletics. I played football, baseball and basketball my entire life. During my childhood, I was rarely not a part of some type of athletics team.
Sikeston, Missouri is known for a few things: Farming, I-55, The Bootheel, Used Tractor Parts, Lamberts Cafe and the Sikeston Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo. Those last two are most special to Sikestonians. Lambert’s Cafe was started in 1942. The place was a traditional greasy spoon restaurant like so many others throughout the country. The one thing that set this one apart was the personality of the Lambert Family and the throwed rolls with sorghum molasses. Because the original restaurant was so small and they were a very popular restaurant in the area, the waiters would have a hard time walking through the restaurant. The main thing the restaurant was known for was throwing rolls around the restaurant to customers as an appetizer. This added to the fun atmosphere of the place and it is still a hallmark of the restaurant to this day.
The second claim to fame that Sikeston, MO had was the Sikeston Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo. This rodeo happens every year for four nights in August. It has been going on every August since the 1960’s. I sold programs for this event every Summer for my church youth group, at Saint Francis Xavier Catholic Church. Selling the programs was to raise money to go to a college football game to see the Mizzou Tigers at Faurot Field. This was one thing that made my allegiance change from the Razorbacks of Arkansas to the Tigers of good ‘ol Mizzou.
4 Reasons why Insurance is a great industry for Millennials.
Here is an article I wrote in 2016 for the career Center at The University of Connecticut. I hope you like it. July 29, 2016 Having trouble picking an industry to start your career? Don’t forget Insurance. Insurance? That is right, I said insurance is a great industry for millennials to look at starting … Continue reading "4 Reasons why Insurance is a great industry...
Here is an article I wrote in 2016 for the career Center at The University of Connecticut. I hope you like it.
5 Mistakes Many First-Time Business Owners Frequently Make
Having trouble picking an industry to start your career? Don’t forget Insurance.
Insurance? That is right, I said insurance is a great industry for millennials to look at starting their career. Just like death and taxes everyone has to buy insurance. For that reason, the industry is not going anywhere and it will be relatively stable. If a recent graduate wants to stay in one industry for 10 or 20 years, insurance is the industry to look to. If developing skills that can transfer to several different industries is a priority, then insurance can provide that too. Insurance has a reputation as a boring dying industry, but technological advances are moving it in to the twenty first century at a dramatic pace. Here are four reasons why insurance is a great industry for a recent graduate to look to start their career.
The workforce in the insurance industry is aging.
According to the Insurance Journal, “The average age of an insurance industry professional is 54, and 60 percent of insurance industry professionals are older than 45.” That is a lot of people who will need to be replaced in the next 5-15 years. This makes insurance an industry where millennials can really find their place in an industry that needs them desperately. The industry is changing with many customers wanting online and mobile options and successful insurance companies need help accommodating their customers in these new ways. There are lots of opportunities for recent graduates to find a good mentor. If they find the right mentor, that relationship can position millennials for a highly lucrative job in the not so distant future.
People will always have to purchase insurance in some form or fashion.
As stated previously, insurance is kind of like death and taxes. Everyone has to purchase insurance in some form or fashion. On the personal side of the industry, people are required to carry car insurance if they want to legally drive a car. Health insurance is now a requirement as well and the market for this coverage should only grow over time. On the business side of the industry, Workers’ Compensation is required by law in 48 out of 50 states. General liability insurance is also a requirement in most states and for most industries. Because of the requirement to purchase coverage, this industry provides recent graduates with an industry that will stay relatively stable for the foreseeable future.
Millennials are becoming a target market.
Millennials are now old enough where they have to purchase their own insurance and some are even beginning to start their own businesses. Soon they will be a larger demographic than baby boomers. Millennials want to shop for insurance in a much different way than baby boomers. Millennials are very comfortable researching and purchasing insurance all over their mobile device. A baby boomer probably wants to purchase insurance in person or over the phone.
Because millennials are becoming a target market, companies need employees who can relate to this growing customer base. The way a customer purchases insurance has changed dramatically over the past decade. The industry has not exactly kept up with technology. Insurance companies need employees to help them communicate with these new potential customers. They need to be able to reach these customers where those customers are. More and more often that place is online and through a mobile device. The older generation, who is now in control of the insurance industry, is not exactly technologically advanced.
This opens up opportunities for graduates of all majors. You do not have to have a business degree to be in demand in the insurance industry. The industry will need employees with an IT background to design their website and they will need Marketing Professionals to promote the website. Companies in the insurance industry are going to need people who can write, in order to craft the perfect message to reach these new customers. They will also need Human Resource Professionals to hire all of these people. If you have these skills; you may be able to help insurance companies tap in to these new customers. This makes many different majors the opportunity to find their place within the industry.
The ability to develop transferrable skills
Communication, risk management and critical thinking are three skills that are essential for success in the insurance industry. These are also skills that can be easily transferred to many different industries. No matter what job a recent grad gets out of college, these three skills are crucial to their future success.
Communicating with a 30-year-old business man today is much different than how they were approached 20 years ago. In the past, cold-calling and phone negotiating skills were a must to succeed in the insurance industry. Now those messages are frequently done via email. Some business is even conducted via social media. If you have a knack for these platforms than you can position yourself as an asset within the industry. Because of the age of so many within the industry these new skills will only become more valuable as technology advances.
Assessing risk is the backbone of the insurance industry. Working in this industry will give millennials the opportunity to analyze the risk of an enormous different types of people and businesses. Those types of risk assessment skills are something you could take in to the finance or management industry very easily. Any industry you find yourself going in to will have a need for strong risk assessment skills.
Critical thinking is a part of the two previous skills. In insurance, like many things in life, no two situations are the same. Every policy you are associated with will have external factors that make the risk unique. The differences could be whether a landscaping business just mows a lawn, does the business install shrubs and plant trees or does the business climb up in to trees. Depending upon what the business does the business may need different coverages and you will need to think quickly in order to make sure the business owner is fully covered. If they are not fully covered it could result in a claim not being covered in the middle of their term. The better you are at thinking quickly and critically the better you will be at helping your customer properly cover their business.
Here is a blog post I wrote in March of 2016 for the publication Business 2 Community. Business 2 Community is an online publication whose mission is to create an open community where business professionals can establish their thought leadership, increase exposure for their business/organization, and network with others. My author profile for this community … Continue reading "5 Mistakes Many First-Time Business Owners...
Here is a blog post I wrote in March of 2016 for the publication Business 2 Community. Business 2 Community is an online publication whose mission is to create an open community where business professionals can establish their thought leadership, increase exposure for their business/organization, and network with others. My author profile for this community is here: Mitchell Sharp, Business 2 Community Profile. I hope you like it because I plan to share several articles I have written on various publications.
5 Mistakes Many First-Time Business Owners Frequently Make
Starting a business is a dream for many ambitious individuals. Going out on your own can be an exciting endeavor, but it comes with the inevitable surprise. Surprises come in the form of unexpected costs, changes in the economy or even a partner getting pregnant. Having a plan for these unexpected hiccups is what determines success or failure for most businesses. Here are 5 things mistakes many first time business owners make that can help you when starting your business.
Working with friends.
Working with friends can be a slippery slope. making this decision should be done with caution. It has been said by many successful business men that business and friendship should never be mixed. It could damage your personal relationship and it can damage the business if feelings get in the way of business. A business owner should always be able to voice concerns respectively with anyone they are working with. That goes for partners and clients alike. If there is a long term friendship mixed in to a business relationship the owner will at some point be forced to decide between business or friendship. Do not put yourself in that situation.
Making sure to properly classify your business.
No one classification is right for every business. Two entrepreneurs running very similar businesses might classify differently for a number of different reasons. Those classifications might suit the needs of both business owners, but thinking long and hard about how you would like to set up your business can prevent larger headaches from arising down the road. Anticipating where your business might be down the road is crucial. How many employees you plan to hire, how ownership is going to be set up, will the owners all be active in day to day operations are all things that need to be considered before incorporating. Here are the 6 main classifications business owners choose:
- Sole Proprietorship
- Limited Liability Corporation (LLC)
- S Corporation
This is important because you pick the wrong type of classification and then change how you do business it can add filing fees, attorney fees and accounting fees to your bottom line. For example, if you start a business as a sole proprietor, then you add employees to your payroll there might be a need to reclassify. Another thing to keep in mind is, are you the only owner or are their other partners. Another factor might be if all partners are going to be involved in the day to day operations of the company? These are just of a few of the many things you should consider before classifying your business.
Putting business expenses on personal credit cards.
Business owners should never use their personal credit card for business purposes. Aside from accounting purposes, the main reason for this is because building a credit history for your business can come in handy as your business grows. As your business grows there may be a need to take on a loan. If you are not establishing a credit history for your business as you grow it will be more difficult to get the necessary loan needed when the time does arise.
Making sure your business is classified properly when purchasing Commercial Insurance.
Workers’ Compensation and General Liability are required by law in nearly every state in the country. It is almost impossible to operate a business without one or both of these coverages. The type of business you are in can dramatically change the price you pay for premium. From an insurance companies’ perspective, it is less risky to insure an accounting firm than it is to ensure a construction business. For that reason, they charge different amounts of premium based on the dangers your industry faces. Even within industries there are different classification codes. Landscaping is a pretty simple example that has two separate class codes that are different in risk and in price paid for commercial insurance. If you do not clarify this with your insurance agent, you may pay for more in premium than is necessary.
Business owners sometimes let perfection get in the way of progress.
Many entrepreneurs branch out on their own because they have confidence in themselves. They believe they can do it better than someone else. Sometimes this breeds success, but other times it causes entrepreneurs to focus solely on perfection. In some industries perfection is rarely attainable. In those industries, even if you do obtain perfection, it is frequently too late. You have waited so long to make something perfect that you are behind the times and your business is missing out on valuable revenue. Don’t miss out on business because you are searching for perfection. This can be a slippery slope for many business owners and it is a good conversation to have with yourself and your partners before you start a business.
Mitchell Sharp is a Marketing Associate for Workers Compensation Shop.com. Mitchell is a Missouri Boy and a Carolina Man. He has a deep passion for social media and content marketing. Mitchell would like to use his knowledge of these subjects to benefit small business owners.
Mitchell Sharp: The Missouri Boy who became a Carolina Man.
Hola, My name is Mitchell Sharp and I am a Missouri Boy who has become a Carolina Man. I do not really care if people call me Mitch or Mitchell. For some reason, people really want to know what I prefer when they first meet me. I am not quite sure just yet what direction … Continue reading "Mitchell Sharp: The Missouri Boy who became a...
My name is Mitchell Sharp and I am a Missouri Boy who has become a Carolina Man. I do not really care if people call me Mitch or Mitchell. For some reason, people really want to know what I prefer when they first meet me.
I am not quite sure just yet what direction this blog is going to take. It may end up being a place for me to document who I am and how I got here. It may end up being a place where I can talk about the different issues I am experiencing at work. Fortunately, my jobs have a tendency to require me to interact with many different people from many different backgrounds and industries. This is what really keeps me passionate about my work and hopefully I can share those experiences with someone else in a meaningful positive way.
Now about my jobs: my most important job is that of a father to Zoe, the most energetic two year old this side of the Mississippi. Zoe came in to our life a little over two years ago and she has changed everything about the world for the better ever since. My next most important job is that of being a good husband to a wonderful Ecuadorian Artist named Jessica. Jessica came to the states in 2005 shortly after finishing college. She was hoping to finally practice speaking English with native speakers since she had studied the language since she was seven years old. Jessica never imagined what type of changes this trip would bring to her life when this young midwestern whipper-snapper came walking in to her dorm room at Blue Ridge Assembly in Black Mountain, NC. Hopefully it has been as wonderful for her as it has been for me.
Now my job that pays the bills is that of a Marketing Associate for the Insurance Shop LLC. The Insurance Shop LLC is a commercial insurance company that services small businesses in all 50 states. The most simple explanation of what we do as a business is, “We shop insurance so you don’t have to.” In this role, as a Marketing Associate, I wear many hats. The most compelling part of my job is that I am a writer. In my role as a Marketing Associate, I am essentially a journalist representing the insurance agency on as many different digital formats as possible. First and foremost, I contribute to and manage two blogs:
MyInsuranceQuestion.com & WorkersCompensationClassCodes.com.
These two blogs require me to write about current events the business is facing in the insurance industry and the industries we serve. The second part is what I really love about the insurance industry. Every business needs some form of insurance coverage and because of this we get to interact with business of all types and sizes. In the morning we may work with a California Restaurateur who needs liability coverage to cover the business if a customer slips and falls on their way to the bathroom and in the afternoon we may have an interaction with a farmer in Iowa who needs to protect a beautiful new combine he just purchased for his farm. Before the end of the day we may have another interaction with a general contractor in Manhattan who is working on a remodeling job at Yankee Stadium.
Now in my role, I do not necessarily sale and service the insurance policies. I create compelling content that business owners might benefit from. We share that compelling content on other website and via our many social media platforms in an attempt to get those business owners to come to our website. I do not do this by interacting directly with our customers, but I represent our business all over the web in as many places as possible.
Now sitting behind a desk is not very natural for my personality. For that reason, I have a second job that gets me out of the office and interacting with people in a face to face setting. That job is as a sales associate for the nations’ largest consumer cooperative, Recreational Equipment Incorporated (REI). Being able to get out of the office and having the ability to interact with people face to face is good for my psyche and the employee discount is not half bad as well. This job also gives me the opportunity to talk with customers about my first love, The Great Outdoors.
REI is an excellent company that represents the best of American Capitalism. It has been a part of the Forbes 100 best companies to work for every year since the list has been made. In 2016 the COOP came in at number 3 behind Costco and Google. I am honored to be a part of this organization. I hope to help the COOP grow and continue to be a shining example of what a company can be when it values their employees, vendors, customers and communities they operate in with the utmost respect (1938).
Now when not working, I try to spend as much time as possible with my two girls eating at all the restaurants around our adopted city Charlotte, NC and exploring every playground the city has to offer.
Sorry to be ‘that guy’, but when you have a wife and daughter as cute as these two you can’t help but sneak in a few extra photos of your favorite girls.
I hope you have enjoyed what I have to share and you check back in the future to learn more about who I am, how I became this person and what I can do to benefit you, your family and your business.
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