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Key Idea: Find the Right Opportunity

Milton Moses started selling insurance in 1962. He discovered early that he is a natural at finding the right solution for customers looking for insurance.    Homepage... More...

Key Question:


Do the thing that flows for you.  Use your strengths and work on your weaknesses later. When Milt decided to give selling insurance a try, he made a sale on his very first attempt.

Q:   Would Milt be in the insurance business today if the first sales call he made turned into a rejection?

We don't know. What I do know is our goals need to be broken down in tiny steps to insure that we get the feeling of accomplishment. Success gives us the confidence to go forward. Success breeds success. Like attracts like. This is a critical principal to grasp as you are building your business and your life.

Milt has been selling insurance since 1961. Do you think he was an overnight success? Do you think any business owner experiences overnight success?

A:  Dolly Parton started singing professionally at the age of 13. When she was 38 she had songs on the top 40, holdout concerts, television and film appearances and she said, "It only took me 25 years to become an overnight success."

Even though he made a sale on his first attempt, time has taught Milt that he will only sell 5% of the people he gives a quote to. He has conditioned himself to accept a "No" as part of his daily activity.

Some businesses succeed faster than others. Some businesses never make the owner wealthy, but, the work of the business is satisfying, so, I would say that business owner is a success.

Think about it

What do you love to do?  What do you do well?  What kind of business could you buy or start that would use your strengths?

Clip from: Community Insurance

Chicago: In 1962 Milton Moses thought about going into television, but there were few places for African Americans. Instead, he joined Community Insurance Center and was made President in 1968. 

Today his firm is one of the largest African-American owned insurance agencies in the Midwest. Like millions of other small business owners, he has created jobs for decades. He established his company as an institution in a quiet neighborhood and is always looking for ways to empower the next generation.

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Community Insurance

Milton Moses, CEO

526 E. 87th Street
Chicago, IL 60619
773 651 6200

Visit our web site:

Office: 773 651 6200

Business Classification:

Year Founded: 1962

Find the Right Opportunity

HATTIE: Hi. I'm Hattie Bryant. This program is about small business, but more than that, it's about the people of small business. We study the founders of businesses, and from them, you can learn how to start, run and grow your own business.

African-Americans were not welcome in television 30 years ago, so Milton Moses had to give up on his goal to make a living in front of a camera. Instead, he built the largest African-American-owned insurance agency in the Midwest.

We call Milton a new American hero. Like millions of other small-business owners, he has created jobs for decades, established his company as an institution in its neighborhood and looked for ways to make this world a better place.

We take you to Chicago to meet Milton Moses, one of our heroes. (Voiceover) Chatham is a comfortable, residential section of Chicago. It's the neighborhood where Milton Moses has built one of the most successful insurance agencies in the region, Community Insurance.

MILTON MOSES (Community Insurance): Good morning, Shirley.

SHIRLEY: Good morning, Mr. Moses.

MILTON: Good morning, Mike. Good morning, Maryanne. Good morning, Twyla.
Twyla.: Good morning.

MILTON: Good morning, Rochelle.

HATTIE: I don't really understand and I think most people don't understand what goes on inside of an insurance agency. A salesperson will call on us and we buy insurance, and we write the check, but what goes on here? What's going on?

MILTON: Well, there's a lot of things going on. We have customer service reps who have to actually service our clients if they come in, they have a problem, whether it's a claim problem, whether they want to check something on their insurance, if they want to change their automobile. We have people available to assist people at that point in time. We also do something different that you won't find in a lot of other agencies in that we do claims processing, data entry processing for Blue Cross-Blue Shield, which is a major health insurance carrier. We've been doing that since about 1987.

HATTIE: You've been here 37 years.

MILTON: We've been in this location for 21 years.
We've been in business for 37 years.

HATTIE: OK. Why did you get into the insurance business in the first place? You were 23.

MILTON: Yeah. My training was for actually television. And at that time, minorities were -- there were not very many jobs available for minorities in television at that time. And I had needs; I had a family to support, and I wasn't making enough money.

I recall that our insurance man was driving a little Volkswagen, and then he moved into a larger car, and the next thing I knew he was the secretary of the company that he was working for. It happened to be an African-American-owned life insurance company. So I said, `Well, that seems like it's an opportunity that will not interfere or I believe will not create obstacles based on the color of my skin.'

So I applied for a job, and I was going to be a salesman with the Supreme Life Insurance Company of America, and I was hired one day. And on the way home, I was--I lived near where the office was, and on the way home I decided I would knock on a door and talk with the person about insurance. So I knocked on the door, introduced myself, and the woman unfortunately had just had her husband pass, and so she knew the value of life insurance. So I sold her a $10,000 life insurance policy and a $1,000 policy on each of her two children. And the last I heard, for 25 years, that business stayed on the books, and it was there.

So I was really the talk of the sales meeting the next morning because I didn't know how to fill out the application. That was the other part of it. I had to call back to the office. Fortunately, our manager was still there, and he came out and helped me fill out the application, and that was my first sale, and that was my first day in the insurance business.

HATTIE: Your first call...turned into a sale...

MILTON: First call...turned into a sale...

HATTIE: ...that lasted 25 years.

MILTON: ...that lasted 25 years. Right. Maybe I was a little lucky that day.

HATTIE: How important was that? What would have happened if the first 15 people you talked to would have said no?

MILTON: One thing about the insurance business is that you learn how to accept no. You have to condition yourself to accept no because you get a lot of nos in this business. You get more nos than yeses. Maybe 5 percent of the people that we give quotations to do we write the business.

HATTIE: So if I worked as a salesperson for you...

MILTON: You'd have to make probably 100 calls a day or at least talk to 100 people, 50 at least in order to be a success.


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