Getting Started in Business

Breaking Barriers & Blazing a New Trail in the Life Insurance Industry

by Leilah Perchaluk Founder, Well Life Insurance

Summary: Breaking Barriers

Starting your own business is hard work, but being able to build something for yourself makes it worth it.

Entering into the life insurance industry as a young, female business owner hasn’t come without its challenges, but nonetheless it is very fulfilling. It’s easy to think being young, and being a woman is looked at as being a disadvantage, but contrary to popular belief, it’s being ‘niche’ that can make you successful.

In this article, I discuss the non-traditional path of embarking on your career, your identity in business, imposter syndrome and overcoming it, and being comfortable in your business because of who you are and the value you bring.

The Drive

I’ve always known I was going to be an entrepreneur – this was engrained in me from a very young age. My parents didn’t have traditional jobs, they owned a business. Because this was all I had ever seen, it felt like the only way to achieve true freedom in my life.

The concept of freedom drove me to starting my own business. I grew up having both my parents around for all holidays, never worrying about the amount of vacation days being taken, etc. I saw the good things, never actually seeing the stress, or the amount of perseverance that goes into owning your own business. Perhaps if I knew this, I would have never started something of my own.

Not the Traditional Path

I have created a few businesses over the years; a swimming lesson company that I still operate every summer, a dating service that never came to life the way I imagined, and finally I created Well Life Insurance.

I went through university receiving my degree in Anthropology. I took Introduction to Business as an elective and finished with a humbling C-. But I held true knowing that business school didn’t always make for a successful businessperson.

After university, my only job was to find a job. A career in Anthropology seemed out of reach for what I wanted to accomplish, so I took a job at the first company that would hire me. I worked as an event planner for an insurance company and became enthralled with the world of life insurance. I always knew that protecting your family was important, but now I knew a solid strategy of doing so. I left this company after obtaining my licensing and started Well Life.

I didn’t begin this career in the traditional sense. Most young advisors are business school graduates and begin working with a reputable firm and work their way up until they decide to either start their own practice or stay where they are. Many choose to work with other advisors or under an umbrella of a company to streamline the process of licensing, branding, contracting, etc. I decided it would be better to build something for myself right from the start.

This may or may not have been the best choice at the time, but looking back on it, I can’t imagine it any other way. I was able to make decisions that led me to meeting amazing people, I was able to make mistakes and fix them in my own time, and most importantly, do things the way I wanted to do them.

Well Life isn’t your traditional life insurance brokerage; I don’t have a large mahogany desk, we do most of our business virtually, and we utilize social media to interact with our clients. We also genuinely care about education, for us and for our clients. I would have never known the value of life insurance if it wasn’t for my event planning job. I wouldn’t have understood it, therefore risking the financial health of myself and my future family. My passion is educating young families about the importance of protection, so that when something happens, because it will, they can face it knowing they are financially taken care of.

Not the Norm – Breaking Barriers

I am young, and I am also female. A great combination, but also not the norm in this industry. This shouldn’t matter, or even be a talking point in this day and age, but it has to be. Would a man ever make a big deal about being a young “man” in business? Probably not. But there are a few perspectives to this. I once met a woman who told me to never associate myself with women in business groups or use the word woman when describing myself. I don’t agree with this. I am a female, who happens to work in a male-dominated industry.

For a long time, I looked at this as a disadvantage, but in fact it has only helped me. The way I see it, women carry a different perspective when it comes to family. Perhaps because they are more empathetic, having hard conversations about death, illness, and disability, is more comfortable with a fellow woman. I have also come to realize that although life insurance is a complex process, as it should be, you have to learn to uncomplicate things for people in order to make sure everyone understands the value. A fresh look on the industry has helped me do this.

Being a female in the financial industry comes with some challenges, but luckily, many women before me have paved the way. It’s no longer the old boys club, it’s just the club, and I enjoy being a member.

For a long time, I faced something called ‘imposter syndrome’. This is a feeling of doubt in your qualifications, skills, accomplishments, and an overwhelming sense of being an “imposter” in your field. I came to realize that a lot of women deal with this in their occupations, regardless of their positions or successes. It took a lot to overcome this, but it is possible by making sure you are qualified, being proud of your accomplishments, and taking the time to really know your stuff and maybe most importantly, not comparing yourself to anyone else. 

I encourage all women who face imposter syndrome or are scared to enter into a field because they may not be the “typical” demographic, to dive in headfirst. As long as you are confident and know what you want, you will do great things!

cropped Leilah Headshot .jpg
About Leilah Perchaluk

Leilah Perchaluk is the Founder & Lead Advisor of Well Life Insurance. She is one of a very small percentage of young, female insurance specialists in Winnipeg who focuses on protecting young families and young professionals with life insurance, critical illness insurance, and disability insurance.

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