James Buss, Agent – State Farm Insurance PromoteClay’s Business Person of The Week
This week I sat down with local Fleming Island State Farm Agent – James Buss to learn more about this young man and to find the answers to my questions of Who he is, What he does, and Why.
When James asked: “Where do we start?” I replied: “Let’s start at the beginning.” Born and raised a central Florida boy in the Orlando area known as Champions Gate. James lived his first 10 years here in Florida before moving to the small town of Seminole, Oklahoma. This move would allow James to be closer to his father and father’s family in Oklahoma. Albeit, James would attend middle school, high school, and Seminole State College, there in Oklahoma, he always considered himself to be a Florida Boy all the way.
James’s father, a third-generation carpenter and house framer – worked in his family’s business made up of 5 brothers – all framers. James would work for his dad in the summers between school and eventually full time until he was 21 years old. One day while standing at the back of his truck, he said to his dad: “I love you and I love the work, but I’m done framing houses and I want to do something else.”
Now 21 years old and a graduate of Seminole State College – James decided it was time to return to his roots of Florida and make his home near and around his grandmother in the small town of Lawtey. Back home in Florida, and away from his previous network of support – he had to find a job. It was then when a friend from church was able to get James on an inside track for a landscaping position that would have him working in Clay County and specifically in and around the Lake Asbury area.
Sometime later, that same friend from church knew a fella that had given him heads up on a position available at the Ag Pro John Deere Tractor Dealership in Middleburg. After securing the job, James found success and was able to work his way from an entry level position – to a position that would take him to Tallahassee within the same firm as the Parts Manager. After success in Tallahassee, James would be transferred back to the Middleburg location where his talents of working with team members and customers were recognized and ultimately earning the promotion to General Manager. A total of 4 ½ years all in all.
It was just like any other ordinary day at the tractor store when James encountered one of his loyal – longstanding tractor customers. This customer was waiting as his tractor was being readied for delivery – when he started the conversation with: “how’s your day going?’ To which James quipped: “I heard you were hiring.” Unbeknownst to James, this customer was a well-established State Farm Agent located in Middleburg. It was shortly thereafter; this gentleman took the time to share with James his thoughts on how James handled his account and spoke to James’ high level of empathy when working with him and what he had seen and noticed when working with others. He told James, that James had the skills and the talent to be a very successful agent one day, and he was willing to make James an offer to be an Agent Aspirant with State Farm. (An Agent in training or apprenticeship ranging from 2 -5 years before becoming your own agent with State Farm)
Once again, James is starting a new career path at the bottom of what as James put it… “The challenges of becoming a State Farm Agent,” which included: “(1) You must be hired and complete a 2 – 5 year working relationship with an established agent. (2) You must receive the sign off and approval from your mentoring agent. (3) You must complete a 4 ½ month internship where you are in and out of town every 3rd week away from home learning everything State Farm. And (4) all while completing your internship, you are looking for a storefront / office location, lining up staffing, and completing your build out.”
Doors opened on May 1, 2018 for James and his wife Amanda of soon to be 10 years in September of this year. James and Amanda have 4 beautiful children – 2 boys and 2 girls, and they operate this agency as a family business. On any given day, you may walk in and see Amanda manning the phones and sometimes their children interacting with one another in their office located at: James Buss, Agent – State Farm Insurance, 4465 US Hwy 17, Suite #6, Fleming Island, FL 32003 Phone: 904-375-2025
When I asked James what his Why was for being in business for himself, he shared this story. “At the age of 10 years old, I remember taking a trip with my dad to see my Uncle Mitchell. Uncle Mitchell had his own framing business and on that particular day was overseeing a 30-man crew of framers on a large home, and I remembered thinking to myself – I want to be in business for myself – I want to be a business owner like Uncle Mitchell.”
I asked him to expand on that thought. “I wanted to be the guy who pulled all the levers, the one who made all the decisions.” Dare I say… Intuitive for a 10-year-old.
Why becoming a State Farm Agent? “I feel like I’m called to do it,” replied James. James then shared several personal and passionate stories where his dad and other important people in his life were faced with life changing events, and they had made poor choices that found them with not so great outcomes. James expressed that if he had just been able to educate these individuals early on about what options were available to protect themselves and their loved ones, he might have been able to have made a difference. It is with this personal experience that allows James to be so bold when working with his clients and prospective clients about what their options are.
James then shared his agency’s mission… “To Glorify the Lord by helping families and business owners manage their risk and recover from the unexpected – by providing people the right information so they can make the decisions that suit them best.”
Like a Good Neighbor… James Buss and The Buss Team is there.
David Theus – Story Teller, Business Coach & Mentor
PromoteClay’s – Business Person of the Week
Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org