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When I started in the Structured Settlements business almost twenty years ago we donated a “BBQ / day at our farm” as an auction item for the Michigan Trial Lawyers Association  (MTLA), now known as the Michigan Association for Justice (MAJ), auction. An attorney who was working at a very big name firm at the time purchased our “BBQ/Day at Our Farm”, I still don't know how much she paid for it.  Her and her entire family came over on a Saturday for the barbecue. She has three daughters right around the same ages as ours. It just so happened that they had closed down some of the bridges over I 94 to work on them during this time.  It was a very hot and dry summer and our dirt road was very dusty. Right when our guests arrived at the farm huge semi-trucks and tons of traffic started flying down our street kicking up all kinds of dust.  I was mortified! I thought the party was going to be an absolute disaster and that our guests would hate us because of all the dust and traffic!  Dust was flying everywhere and getting on everything but it didn't even phase our guests because they were from the city and they thought this was all normal! I didn’t talk any business at the barbecue.  When they were leaving the attorney said she would try to use us for our Structured Settlement and Financial Advisory services if she had a chance. A lot of her cases, especially the bigger ones, were controlled by her big-name partner so most of the time they had to use who he wanted to as their Structured Settlement vendors. I learned that she liked dark chocolate and would send her some on a regular basis and I would always ask how her girls are doing.

One day I stopped by her office out of the blue just to say hi and let her know that we still love to work with her. It took a very very long time to get a case from her, but she did finally call us in on one. It was school bus accident case where I had to meet with multiple families and multiple claimants to solidify their settlements.  There were also multiple attorneys involved and it was a very complex and difficult case. I had to go to the hearing where they were putting the case on the record at a down river courthouse to finalize all of the settlements for all the claimants.  This was also the day that I was supposed to leave on a fishing trip and I was almost late for the flight because it took so long to get all the claimants to decide on what they wanted, but we got it done. Over the years the attorney would call me on various cases and we did a good amount of business with her. She then moved to another firm and I thought we would get a lot more business from her due to this, however, she never called us in on a case in several years!  I continue to keep in touch with her by phone calls, hand written notes and through Facebook keeping track of what her girls were up to and seeing her at the various MAJ seminars over the years but still no business! 

When I sold my financial planning practice and started our fitness business we were on the cusp of settling the largest case I ever worked on for another client.  I had worked on this one case for over two years and I developed a really close relationship with the claimant. We were undergoing significant financial challenges due to the start of our new business and we needed this case to settle to solve many of our financial challenges all in one swoop. The claimant on this case was also into fitness and was a former triathlete like me so we had a lot in common. He even came to our gym one night for a work out. To top it off there wasn't even another defense Structured Settlements broker on this case so we would have received 100% of the commission! Unfortunately, for reasons I will not go into we were not able to get compensated on this case and it absolutely crushed me. For some reason I knew the entire time that this was going to happen because it would have just been too good to be true!   Anytime I get that close to a claimant and have that much in common with them bad things happen. I definitely manifested it. Luckily right at the same time the attorney who came to our farm party called us in on two very large cases. On one of the cases there was an uncle who is an insurance vendor who was trying to steal the case and I thought for sure it would happen but it didn’t and I barely had to do any work on these cases and they paid us right around the same time that I would've been paid on the other case and I didn't have to split it with anyone! It was absolutely truly amazing and saved our ass. 

So once again this just goes to show that you just never know how something is going to pan out and what your little tiny efforts that seem so inconsequential and fruitless at the moment will lead to overtime and save your ass when you need it. Business, like life is a marathon not a sprint and the reason so many people don't make it in business is that they want instant results and gratification. This shit takes a long time and you need to pay attention to the small details and be consistent to WIN!


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