My Own Boss- Alumni Spotlight on Brent Farley

EC Alumnus, Brent Farley (’07), always wanted to be his own boss.

Growing up in Virginia, Brent was affiliated with the IPHC from a young age and decided early on in high school that he would attend Emmanuel College.

“The best part about Emmanuel College were the people,” Brent said. “From students, to faculty and staff, I made plenty of lifelong friends while there that I still keep in touch with today.”

Although Brent will tell you that he was not a top student, one lesson he learned at Emmanuel was accountability.

“I probably would have struggled at a large college,” Brent said. “At Emmanuel, the professors knew my name and could hold me accountable. I would see professors around campus so there was that personal accountability.”

Today, Brent runs his own Insurance Brokerage outside of Charlotte, N.C.

“We started our company in 2013 after I spent six years in the industry” Brent said. “My wife, Kerah McBath Farley (’06) worked as a teacher until 2013.  We knew she didn’t want to work (outside of the home) when she had children, so we saved money and planned on starting a business. I realized I was pretty good at selling insurance so we decided on starting our own brokerage and it’s worked well for us. Most of our success has been generated from simply answering the phone and doing the right thing for our client.”

What challenges has Brent faced so far in his business?

“Honestly, we’ve had a good run,” Brent said. “Our business has grown a lot. The hardest part however was being patient and knowing when the time was right to start a business and not expecting overnight success. For us, the hardest part was early on in our married life, saving money while we waited on the right opportunity/industry. “

What advice would he have for students hoping to one day start their own business?

“Avoid debt early on,” Brent said. “Don’t buy a new car when you graduate and get your first job. Don’t take your first job for money, take it to learn the trade. In Insurance, you won’t usually make a whole lot of money in the first few years but you’ll learn a lot. For someone considering insurance, take a job where you can learn from someone who knows what they’re doing and put a plan in place.”

“If you graduate and buy a new car, a ring for your girlfriend and pay for a wedding on a loan, you’ll make it harder on yourself to have the flexibility to start a business in the next few years,” Brent continued. “Taking on debt early in your career may not hurt you today, it may even feel good, but it’ll hurt you five years from now.”