Josh Bagby is a broker with Providence Insurance Advisors and owner of The Bagby Agency, Inc. He and his agency provide the ability to offer multiple insurance carriers to serve you and your family.
He is also the creator of Cherokee Connect, a collaborative Facebook Group to connect the residents of Cherokee County to local business and their community.
Connect with Josh on LinkedIn.
This transcript is machine transcribed by Sonix
Intro: Coming to you live from the Business RadioX studio in Woodstock, Georgia. This is fearless formula with Sharon Cline.
Sharon Cline: And welcome to a Fearless Formula Friday. This is Sharon Cline with Fearless Formula on Business RadioX, where we talk about the ups and downs in the business world and offer words of wisdom for business success. Today in the studio is a broker with Providence Insurance Advisors, but he’s also the founder or creator of the very popular Cherokee Connect Facebook group.
Josh Bagby: I don’t know what that is.
Sharon Cline: I know. Are you founder creator inside? This is Josh Bagby. Welcome to the show.
Josh Bagby: Appreciate you having me.
Sharon Cline: Do you call yourself a circus person?
Josh Bagby: Some days that’s what it feels like.
Sharon Cline: I was going to ask you a little bit about that. Like what? First of all, I just looked it up. 60 over 63,000 people are part of this group, Cherokee Connect.
Josh Bagby: In three years.
Sharon Cline: Three years. I was thinking it it started in 2000, 19, right before the pandemic.
Josh Bagby: And a presidential election year. That was that was a good decision on my part. Didn’t know about the pandemic, didn’t know about the election. I did know about the election. But that part was actually pretty smooth. But yeah, it was it was weird how the pandemic kind of brought the community together. I think that really did help the growth of it for sure. You had a lot of people that were at home and freaking out, to be honest, and they didn’t know who to ask or what to do. None of us did. And so it was kind of a I feel like it did kind of bond the group there early on to like we were all in it together and everything else and kind of figuring it out as we went.
Sharon Cline: So your main reason for starting it is because you had a lot of people moving into town and looking for people to help them with various things in this.
Josh Bagby: County, right? With insurance I would do they’d call me for home insurance and they’d be like, Man, hey, you know, I’m buying this house, but I hate the light fixtures. I need them swapped out. Who do you know? And hey, here’s my personal handyman or, Hey, you know, I need new tires.
Sharon Cline: Just randomly, people asking you because you’re you’re the insurance person, right?
Josh Bagby: Gotcha. Random. I grew up here for the most part, And so it was they and I would offer it up like, hey, if you need anything, let me know. Really let me know. I don’t mind giving it to you. And so I was like, okay, let’s just put our whole my whole network in a group. Facebook was kind of pushing groups at the time and I was like, Well, that makes sense. We’ll just ask somebody ask I’ll add them here, and they kind of introduce them to my network instead of copying them on an email to them or something like that. And by the end of that week it was 2500 people. And then by the end of the month it was 5000 and it just took off. So it was it feels fills a need and hopefully it still does. It has grown beyond what I ever thought it would be, but it is. There’s still a lot of people I get even the ball ground parades tonight and there’s people, Hey, I’m new to town. Where do you park? Where do you sit? You know, that kind of stuff. So it’s neat to kind of bring people along and kind of speed up how fast this place can feel like home to them. And it’s a beautiful community. It’s an awesome community, and they are very welcoming. And I mean, I’m not originally from here. I was nine years old when I moved here, so I’m pretty I’m from here now, but it welcomed me in and it’s still welcoming people in. So it’s fun to get to see that happen on a daily basis.
Sharon Cline: Do you feel like you can ever shut shut that down for yourself? Like are you always sort of on because it’s a 24 seven accessible, almost like PR thing?
Josh Bagby: Yes. I try not to look at it like that, but yeah, every morning when I wake up and I open my phone, I wonder what happened. You know, most of the time it’s pretty that we’ve never really had anything crazy happen overnight. But it it is a weird feeling at the, you know, when we get done with however long here, I’m going to look at my phone and see if anything blew up while we were talking.
Sharon Cline: What kind of things are you finding that blow up? Like, what are the main things?
Josh Bagby: Everything gets political. Random things that you would not think would get political, get political, and just trying to kind of not squash it. But, you know, things don’t always have to be political. That’s not the way things are meant. And you’ll get random, very benign posts that go crazy just because somebody decided to take it down a path that it was not intended to go. But that’s it. You can’t put your finger on any one thing because it’s so many random things that pop up.
Sharon Cline: Is anything have you sort of gotten an idea of what it’s what humans are like because of this? Do you know what I mean? Like the themes of people?
Josh Bagby: Yes. I just talk about the theme.
Sharon Cline: Good themes and maybe, you know, themes that are like the happiest.
Josh Bagby: There’s a lot of people that probably shouldn’t have a driver’s license.
Sharon Cline: If I’m seeing those posts, I hope they’re not about me.
Josh Bagby: You wonder. But I mean, they’re your friends and neighbors and they need help too. But it is you get some stuff where you’re like, Man, this is okay, I get it now. And there’s different strokes for different folks. And there’s a lot of that, too. It’s a very diverse group from all walks of life and all different. You got doctors and you got, you know, people that are struggling. And it’s just it’s it’s a great little cross section of and at that size, it’s it’s a very good cross-section of what our community looks like. So, yes, it is kind of fun to to joke about it. But there there is some crazy stuff every day.
Sharon Cline: But everywhere. Yes, I was on Nextdoor recently and was like, oh, my goodness, someone just talked about they talked about their trash cans or like a trash service. And it did become very political very fast. And I was like, I don’t want to see this. But then I did. Like I went back and looked.
Josh Bagby: Right, Yeah, you can’t look away.
Sharon Cline: I was like, How bad did it get? Oh, it got bad. Yeah.
Josh Bagby: Oh, and for every, every one of those posts that we have, like there will be this time of the year with it, I have noticed it’s kind of cyclical. Things get tight with people with money and they’re stressed because they’re having to visit their families and all that kind of thing. You know, it’s just a bunch of different stressors. And so it does get a little testy. And I did like an audit. Every now and then I’ll do an audit like, is this worth doing still? Like, does this make sense to keep doing? Is it more beneficial than it is harmful than anything? And every time I do it, it is like I’ll go through and I’ll look at 2030 posts just to see how it’s going. And there will be one that has has gone off the rails. I’m like that. That far outweighs what it is. And unfortunately the the back and forth and the tension of it is encouraged by the algorithm.
Sharon Cline: So really?
Josh Bagby: Oh, yeah, interesting.
Sharon Cline: I did not know that.
Josh Bagby: It has gotten better recently, but there for a while. Any kind of argument that was going on, it it would feed it and that’s crazy. Yeah, I wish it went true, but it’s it’s for sure.
Sharon Cline: Well, I’m kind of like trying to absorb. Well, you wouldn’t think that the notion of of drama would be something that everyone wants to see and you would want it to be furthered. It’s something like you said you would want to kind of squash, but how fascinating that that’s not even something you control.
Josh Bagby: It keeps you on Facebook looking at ads.
Sharon Cline: Uh, I’m sure I’ve been manipulated many times by that. Don’t even. I don’t even know it. I’m just like, oh, my.
Josh Bagby: Gosh, Like you said, you don’t want to look away. And that’s what it is. It keeps you.
Sharon Cline: There. Interesting. Well, has there been anything that’s just been the most surprising to you about sort of having started this this group?
Josh Bagby: I knew what kind of community we had.
Sharon Cline: I noticed, too, I looked a little bit well, I didn’t cyberstalking you too hard, but a little bit of history on you that you went to Cherokee High School. You’ve been in this county since, what, you were nine? I guess so. So essentially, you’ve been here and know very well this whole city. So you weren’t surprised by kind of what you were potentially getting into, I guess.
Josh Bagby: I’m the ever optimist. So like, I had really high hopes for it. And I still do. Like, it’s and again it again maybe I’m looking at it with rose colored glasses, but the majority of what goes on in there is is really cool. And but yeah, I knew it would do well and I knew what my personal network how they would treat people and how they would take care of people. And then I have been pleasantly surprised with how caring and encouraging the vast majority of the people in their.
Sharon Cline: And kind.
Josh Bagby: And they are. And I mean, some of the stuff in there. I mean, I’ll make you cry. Like there’s people that will screenshot it. One lady in particular, every time she makes sure that I see the good stuff because it’s oftentimes I just get brought in to handle the bad stuff and you don’t and the good stuff just passes and I’ll look and see. It was one a lady she thinks she donated a quilt that her that right that her great aunt it was all Goodwill’s casket. She thought she’d donate it to Goodwill. We got people that work at Goodwill tagged in there. We got people on the lookout like and there’s, you know, 2000 likes on it, you know, and it’s just like that. I didn’t even know it happened until I had 2000 likes and. The those like that. That’s what makes it worth it. And all the crazy lost dog posts, there’s dogs getting found. There was one guy called me one time. He was like, I didn’t even know my dog was out. I didn’t know my dog was missing. And I’m scrolling and I see my dog on Facebook and I go pick it up two miles down the road. I was like, This is crazy.
Sharon Cline: So I saw one about this woman who was walking in a park and she lost her wedding ring. And I swear the community, it came together. There were so many people out there looking for this ring. For her. It was so kind.
Josh Bagby: There was a dog that went missing and they had search parties, people coming from other states that they had put together in there. There’s a you know, there’s always car shows and fundraisers and stuff like that for and that that is what it’s for. You know, we try to let some people get upset when we decline stuff that’s critical of a business or critical of something. And it’s like, well, that’s not like there’s plenty of other avenues. Like you get a lot of negativity all over the place in your life and just let’s try our best to keep this as positive if we can. It’s not perfect, but you know, it’s worth trying.
Sharon Cline: Do you feel like you know so many people now or do you think people know you?
Josh Bagby: That’s a funny it’s a it’s kind of a running joke in my office because it’s it is kind of funny because, like, and before I’ve lived here long enough. Did I go to school with like you said, I went to six elementary, I went to Teasley Middle School and went to Cherokee, went off to college, came back, grew up going to church or playing ball. And so now in my brain’s not as sharp as it once was. And so I’m like, how do I know this person? Are they a client or, you know, like, how do I know them? And the other running joke is I will put my face on anything on a icebox, billboard or whatever I have come. I’ve stopped short of putting it on t shirts or something. But then, you know, who knows? But so like people, they’ll recognize me and they’ll recognize my name and my profile pictures on the Facebook group. It’s in my email signature, so they’ll recognize me before I ever recognize them. So until they tell me their name, I don’t know. Some people just won’t tell you their name. They get kind of shy talking to you. So yeah, there are I got I got paparazzi at a few times. Seriously, Once.
Sharon Cline: Was like at a.
Josh Bagby: Restaurant or last night. Yeah. What happened? This is so funny. Uh, I’ll leave the names and everything out, but there was a teen girl that I’ll show it to you because it cracked me up. And the.
Sharon Cline: Paparazzi.
Josh Bagby: The ladies in my office think it is just absolutely hilarious when this happens. Yeah, there I am In the back corner. Back there.
Sharon Cline: You’re just standing there.
Josh Bagby: Yeah. And so the mom, she texted it and sent it to her mom. And her mom and I have messaged on Facebook, she’s like, You’re going to think this is hilarious. And she sent it to me. So, yeah, I mean, that part is funny, but it you know, I don’t know why. Like, you try to I don’t want anybody to ever think I’m arrogant with it or that I think I am like a big deal because it’s not like it’s it I try to push all that back on the community like, oh, man, this thing is so great or whatever. I’m like, That’s not me. Like, it’s I hit the button to start the group and the community was going to find a way to come together regardless. And you just kind of had to be a little circumspect. You’re the kind of.
Sharon Cline: You’re the catalyst of it or an impetus for.
Josh Bagby: It. Oh, a catalyst. Just I hit the button, you know, like it just started and there it was.
Sharon Cline: So you’ve helped other counties, is that right, to create their own groups? What is that like to encourage or to teach someone or explain it?
Josh Bagby: It makes you thankful for where we’re at because there’s one in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and he’s a great dude, very similar to who I am and everything. A lot of the same. Reasons for starting the group and Hattiesburg is just not the same as and Woodstock. So like the community doesn’t buy in. It’s not as engaged. It’s not as. Is loving for one. And now I’m not in that one a whole lot and it just kind of help him but it just doesn’t doesn’t feel the same. We had one that tried to start in kind of North Fulton and it just didn’t didn’t take off for whatever reason. Same kind of stuff. It just doesn’t I don’t know. That’s why I think Jerky Connect works, because it’s in Cherokee County for for whatever reason.
Sharon Cline: Oh, it makes me feel really proud of us.
Josh Bagby: Yeah. No, I mean, and I say it all the time and it feels. Like, I don’t know. I don’t want anybody to overthink it. I think it can sound fake when I say it, but it’s like it really is a special place. Well, if.
Sharon Cline: You do not compare it to other counties, you don’t know, you don’t.
Josh Bagby: Know you’re normal or if you’ve never lived anywhere else. And you know, I haven’t lived anywhere else very long. And I lived in Statesboro and my freshman year in Athens from there on. And that’s really it. But it’s not the same. And people that move here, like even you’ll see it like, man, I have never been in a community like this. And again, for all the negative and bad rap that we get, there’s so much good about this place.
Sharon Cline: It’s heartwarming.
Josh Bagby: It is.
Sharon Cline: You think about it. Well, actually, I love I love that you talk about kind of how you have this part of your life, Cherokee connect and that you feel like you’re out there a lot, but a lot of it has to do with your work. So they kind of are they’re not exactly married, but they have to do with each other.
Josh Bagby: I do.
Sharon Cline: Yeah. Right. So what’s great is that your work has allowed you to be able to get to know so many people and help so many people. So let’s talk about what you do as a broker at Providence Insurance.
Josh Bagby: So we, uh, I’m in year 13 of being an insurance agent. Had no intentions of being an insurance agent, and nobody ever wants to. I’m a washed up former athlete and that is an insurance is a great fallback career for when you don’t make the NFL and I was nowhere close so that’s I saw.
Sharon Cline: The I heard that you played for the Bulldogs.
Josh Bagby: I did you know it was a little it was.
Sharon Cline: Very you know, you played with Tim Tebow.
Josh Bagby: I played a game.
Sharon Cline: Against Tim Tebow.
Josh Bagby: Sorry, smoked button. But I spoke at a little elementary school one time and that came up. Did you ever play it in the kids wearing like a Gators jersey? I was like, Yeah, I play against Florida Gators. I was like, Yeah. He’s like, Do you shake hands with Tim Tebow? I was like, Yeah, actually I did after the game. And he comes up after he shook his hand, he’s like, I’m never watching this game. And I was like, I’m not that big a deal. He goes, No, but you should games with Tim Tebow. I was like, Cool, man. Go for it. He’s probably fifth grade, but how cute it was. But yeah the yeah. So got into insurance right out of college opened an agency had no business running a business at all.
Sharon Cline: So you know that something we talk about on the show all the time is how people don’t have everything planned out, all of the potential mistakes, anything that they just have a dream and they kind of figure it out almost backwards. Here’s what I want. So let me let me get go backwards to be able to get what I want, if that makes sense.
Josh Bagby: Yes. The I was just looking to make some money and well, and but but the timing of it. So I graduated from Georgia in May of 2009 and I was a finance major.
Sharon Cline: That was when.
Josh Bagby: I was planning on I was planning on getting into banking.
Sharon Cline: So as you say, that’s the time when the housing market was terrible.
Josh Bagby: It was terrible. There was one job per 75 college graduates. So that’s how I got into insurance, because it’s commission. And if you can sell, you can make money, if.
Sharon Cline: Not always need.
Josh Bagby: And oh well that’s well, people and I have realized that now and then kind of with the economy the way it appears to be going right now and people like man, you worried, I’m like, no, not really. Because I mean, you have to have it. And as long as we have a better price or better coverage or whatever, then we’re okay. But yes, I got into it. No business. The one thing that made me halfway decent at anything I’ve ever done in my life is a work ethic and just a just a grinder. I have never not once Little League any anything ever been the best athlete on the field ever. And it’s like, I’m probably not the best agent, but it’s like I’m going to try really hard and I’m going to put the work in. And most of the time, if you do that, you’re going to outlast the competition. And people like in sports, they’re not going to take, you know, they’re not going to cut you as long as you do it right and you take care of what you’re supposed to take care of. No, keep your warm bodies that halfway know.
Sharon Cline: What they do. Show up.
Josh Bagby: That’s it. You show up and you’re consistent and that’s and you can be trusted. And that’s what’s weird was when I did get to play at Georgia, you know, I asked my coach when I was leaving my running backs coach, I was like, why did you give me a chance? And he goes, I just I looked in your eyes. I knew I could trust you. I was like.
Sharon Cline: Well, that’s something you don’t forget.
Josh Bagby: No. The rest of your life. Yeah. I mean, actually, still, it’s been 15 years ago, and it still gives me chills. Um, I don’t know. I’ve never told anybody that, but it. It is. And so that kind of with this career, that’s the biggest thing. Like, if you can trust me with your assets and, and taking care of your family and all that kind of stuff, and then I’m going to work for you. And here we are just kind of marriage perfectly together. So and there’s a little competition aspect of it, even within our own office. So that kind of feeds that part.
Sharon Cline: That’s part of that sports, too, right?
Josh Bagby: Yeah. And it took me a long time for that to kick in. And now that I’m realized that my sports days are long behind me, I’m like, okay, this is the only way I’m ever going to compete going forward.
Sharon Cline: So do you have kids?
Josh Bagby: Yes. Yeah, I’ve got a five and a seven year old.
Sharon Cline: Is there like a boy? Does he want to play or if you have a son?
Josh Bagby: Yep. Seven year old boy. And he. Mhm. He does and he doesn’t and people like, Oh yeah, he’s in football. I’m like no I don’t know.
Sharon Cline: I wonder about that. You know when you have these dreams, like you said, it’s just kind of was on the back burner after a while. But wouldn’t it be reignited so easily, you know, if your child were in it.
Josh Bagby: I try not for I don’t want to be that guy that’s living through my kids like it’s I want him to do his own thing. And football’s great football opened a lot of doors for me. A lot. But his personality is a little bit different than mine. I’m a team sports kind of guy and he’s he seems to be more of like an individual sports kind of guy, which is fine. And maybe I was at six, seven years old. I have no idea. But from the outside looking in, that’s what it is. So like golf and tennis and stuff that he he is very critical of himself and very kind of his own own worst critic. And so that would probably lend better to something like that versus trying to take that out on a team now that my job is to coach him into being a team guy and not being critical of your teammates. So that’s my challenge going forward. But yeah, so he wants to do that. And my daughter is into dance and she’s she’s very laid back and it’s funny how polar opposite they are, but it’s it’s fun to I mean, they’re best friends and that’s why we had them close together. They’re 18 months apart. So it is it’s fun.
Sharon Cline: I appreciate that you kind of look at and you probably do this with every person that you meet with in your business to what what their strengths are, you know, and kind of play up to their strengths.
Josh Bagby: Well, and that I’m one of the people that I don’t think like yeah there’s some stuff that you’re bad at and but there’s a lot of stuff that you’re really good at. So let’s just use what you’re really good at and get better at that because that’s going to be what sets you apart. And then we can supplement what you’re not so good at because if you’re a D sales person or a D server, like you’re never going to be in a you can’t climb that far to take you your whole life and your personality is just not wired for that. So let’s highlight this. A If it’s a minus, let’s get to an A-plus and then let’s get your D to a C and hire somebody to help you or get a technology to help you a software. And so there’s there’s ways that piece together. We’re now the whole organization looks better. The whole team looks better because you’re you’re really good in these certain areas and then we’ll backfill it to to make you good at all the rest of it.
Sharon Cline: I love that because it really doesn’t put unrealistic expectations on anyone.
Josh Bagby: Well, and people enjoy what they’re good at. Like you want them to enjoy where they’re working. You want them to enjoy what they’re doing. So like, why would I make you like for me, when we got into CrossFit for a while, I hate burpees. Burpees to me are the worst thing.
Sharon Cline: You’re anything but. Yeah, no, they’re terrible.
Josh Bagby: Worst thing. And it’s like, yeah, you do some burpees get better. I’m like, You’re not. You know what I hate?
Sharon Cline: For me, I’m.
Josh Bagby: Really good at power cleans. I’m just going to get really good at power cleans and I’m gonna scrap burpees all together and only do them when I absolutely have to. Like, why would I force myself to do something I hate? Why would I force somebody at work to do something that they hate doing? They’re going to be passionate about what they’re good at, and that’s going to show to the client and liking stuff.
Sharon Cline: So interesting. Well, let’s talk a little bit about what you do with Providence Insurance Advisors. So it’s not just homeowner’s insurance and car insurance. It’s lots of other aspects. Correct.
Josh Bagby: So there’s a lot of layers to that. So we again, I’m not great at everything. I’m pretty good at Auto and Home Insurance because that’s what I kind of grew up on. The company I came from that was what our kind of bread and butter was, had some life insurance. So, you know, I know how to do live insurance. I’m good at it. Not great. So I have a higher life insurance specialist, happens to be my father in law. He’s been in insurance for 35 years now and we feed live insurance leads to him. Commercial insurance. It’s great. It’s where I kind of want my career to go.
Sharon Cline: I was going to ask you, like, what are your dreams for the future? So that’s where you would like to build it.
Josh Bagby: That’s where yeah, just like you said, you enjoy talking to business people like that. I enjoy that part of it too. It’s fun. I enjoyed team building and all that and kind of brand building and that you feel like you can kind of help people do that with their insurance. But so I hired a commercial specialist. I know enough about it to do it. Probably not going to be the greatest at it until I learn from somebody that’s been doing it. So she’s been doing it 20, 25 years now. At this point, I can learn from her and then by the time she’s ready to retire or whatever, then I’ll have figured it out by then and do that. Customer service piece of it. Pretty good at that. I enjoy taking care of people, so we’ve got that. But then you have people too. I have two customer service reps that are phenomenal at picking up the phone and loving on you on the phone. And then, you know, I’m like, what? Cherokee Connect, I’m putting out fires. And that’s that’s kind of what I’m doing now with The Office, which is, which is fine. That’s comes with the territory.
Sharon Cline: But yeah, I was thinking about this. So I did a story. I produced a story that involved the Cherokee, the Kent Police Department, and we talked about how what it’s like to to in like sort of interact with people under an extremely stressful situation. So normally they’re not just all calm and happy. It’s a ticket, it’s a it’s a domestic, it’s whatever. So it’s the same for you where you’re finding that you’re interacting with people under extremely stressful situations.
Josh Bagby: I wouldn’t call it extremely stressful most of the time, like even in a claim situation like it now, I have I had people call me right after an accident. Yes. You know, knock on wood, have yet to have a house fire in 13 years. But like that kind of thing, Nothing super major like we’re we’re the last. But you’re going to call 911 those people.
Sharon Cline: Are going to do. Got you. By that time you’re they’re ready to talk to you and kind.
Josh Bagby: Of I guess kind of chilled out a little bit. So now it’s just the just the random. Stuff that doesn’t flow the way that you would want it to. And so you just kind of figured out how to get it back on track and make it flow the way the way that it’s a good experience for everybody.
Sharon Cline: You reframe it for them.
Josh Bagby: You do, yeah. And explain it. And you know, a lot of the communication is key in so many things. And if you can just communicate it and you’re real and you don’t. Bs people and sugarcoat it. And you just kind of tell them like, Hey, look, yeah, no, that’s probably not a good idea. Or Yeah, hey, we screwed up. Like, you know what?
Sharon Cline: You admit those.
Josh Bagby: Things. Absolutely. And we’ll fix it. Like, if we screw up, 100% will admit it, fix it. Going down the road and the people. What’s crazy is that’s so rare, like you said, that, like, you will admit that that’s so rare that people cry if they appreciate you telling them that you screwed up.
Sharon Cline: But I feel like there is a BS meter people have.
Josh Bagby: They do.
Sharon Cline: Yeah. And I feel like if you don’t set that off, like if you are being genuine, I honestly think it comes across. Do you find that to be the case?
Josh Bagby: Oh yeah. People will read it. Yeah. Yeah, they.
Sharon Cline: Especially when you’re talking money and, you know, I don’t know, it’s so stressful. The whole thing of it is stressful, I think.
Josh Bagby: And it’s just do the right thing and it always comes back around. That’s one of the things the agency I was with before we had one carrier, and if it didn’t look right or I didn’t think we were the best fit for you, I send you on down the road, I’d give you a number for somebody else that had like a broker that has more options and then those people end up coming back to you, or they’ll refer you people that and you get more swings at being able to help those people. Like it’s just it always comes back around. And that’s kind of going back to the group. There are a lot of people in there. They’re giving free advice, you know, legal advice, a painting advice like just random stuff. And it always those are the ones that end up getting business out of the group are the ones that are encouraging and helpful and not just, you know, BS and you with sales stuff all the time.
Sharon Cline: So you’ve been in this industry 13 years, you said. So if you could go back to yourself 13 years ago, what would you have wanted to know before you got started?
Josh Bagby: You couldn’t have known it.
Sharon Cline: That’s a terrible answer, but probably the most real answer, actually.
Josh Bagby: I mean, I you know, I came out of school. I had taken in an insurance class. I had you know, you get your licenses, you go to school like the company school and all that. You know, I had a business degree and I was like, man, yeah, I can run a business.
Sharon Cline: You went to school for it.
Josh Bagby: You’re ready, right? Yeah. Like, here we go. And, you know, 22 years old and you have no clue how to run a business like none. And the age that really even matter. Like, if you haven’t ever done that before, there’s no way you know it until you do it. So and even on the insurance side, like, there was a lot of stuff that the company I was with was on Central Time. And so they closed an hour later. So I would stop answering the phone at five and I would blow them up with every question I could possibly do. So like, that’s the only way to learn it. My opinion is you just have to do it. You just have to take your reps and figure it out as you go. But now there’s nothing. I have no regrets on that at all. On how that whole thing went. It was drinking water out of a fire hose for six months and that’s it. I went back to school and got my MBA thinking I just needed it. And looking at that like, Man, you get an MBA in that first year of running a business. Like, that’s not that you have mastered business, but you, you know more than a lot of people that.
Sharon Cline: I think this is just so important, that notion that you do not have to have yourself completely set and ready in order to be able to follow a dream of.
Josh Bagby: Yours, you’re never going to be ready, ever. Like it’s like having kids. People want to wait to have kids until they’re financially stable or they think they have it all down it out. You will never be. It took me a long time to figure that out. I had my little plan in my head, my watching, like, well, you know, like, I think it was just go for it. Okay. Best decision we could ever make so that, yeah, you’re never going to be ready. If you have an idea, do your due diligence. Don’t get me wrong. Don’t just willy nilly go about it. But there’s a time where you will be. And having just launched this business a year and a half ago, the second agency in Providence. Yeah, I wasn’t ready for that. It drug out probably six months longer than it should have for me to launch it. And some of that was not my own doing, but and you just get it as ready as you possibly can and hit the ground and you’ll figure it out.
Sharon Cline: So you have some mentors you had mentioned. You’ve got someone that’s on the commercial side that’s kind of teaching you. So what? Who are some other mentors in your life?
Josh Bagby: My father One was a big one from the insurance standpoint. The you know, I had great parents and, you know, made me who I am and then off to college and come back. And then they moved back to Chattanooga to help my grandparents and everything and kind of on the family farm. And then my father in law was who got me into insurance and really coached me along like I would have left, probably would have gotten out a long time ago had it not been, you know, to kind of quell some frustration with what was going on. Like you think one way and then you would get the corporate side of why things work like that. And I think it’s made me better to do now when I’m talking to other carriers, like I understand what they’re looking for and I understand what we’re looking for in our frustrations. And it helps me convey that to my staff now. So like it’s he’s been huge in that aspect. Again, he was with an injured 34, 35, worked for the same company for 34 years and now he’s with us. So it is he’s he’s probably the biggest one. They lived down the street from us. We’ve got a ton in common and it’s my brother in law in him and my mother in law takes great care of us and everything. So it’s it’s a cool little. I married into a great family.
Sharon Cline: You’re lucky.
Josh Bagby: I am. Absolutely. That’s a blessing. Absolutely. It’s great to have built in babysitters down the street.
Sharon Cline: Yeah, you can go on date night down in some really great Woodstock restaurants.
Josh Bagby: That’s it. We live in downtown ball grounds. Oh, dear. We will do. We’ll walk up there, drop the kids at the in-laws and just keep walking up the main street. And it it’s a cool, cool town background. It’s a great.
Sharon Cline: Spot. It’s growing so.
Josh Bagby: Much. Yes. And I’m hoping it holds on to the small town USA vibe. And it’s done a good job of it so far. And. Yeah, I don’t. I don’t.
Sharon Cline: Know. I know. It’s interesting. It’s like I see so many things that are being graded, you know, for new subdivisions and things. And part of me is a little sad, but part of me knows this is normal and it’s the way it’s supposed to be. But it’s funny, I can’t quite make peace in my heart with growth, even though where I am, you know, needed to be built. So I can’t complain.
Josh Bagby: Right. And that’s another tricky connect things like people move here and they move here. They’re not from here and they’re here for like four or five years and they complain about the growth and it’s like, well, you know, people complained about you and you got here too. Like, it’s kind of it’s kind of cyclical hypocrite. I right it’s, you know, ball ground and even Woodstock Woodstock’s got a personality to it and that’s just what you want. You don’t want it to be a.
Sharon Cline: Big, big, big city.
Josh Bagby: Yeah, just too, too big. And there’s not enough. And I think going back to the business owner aspect, I think the business owners are what create that culture and knowing the people’s name, knowing the regulars names that come in there and you know, the coffee shop and ball me and they walk in and they know you and your chit chat and, and there’s a group of eight guys in the morning that are there every Friday morning, you know, like that. That kind of stuff’s what makes it what makes it tick.
Sharon Cline: So for your business, what do you do for sales and marketing? Like what do you how do you handle that? I’ve seen your face on a billboard. I just recently saw it and was like, Oh, I’m interviewing him.
Josh Bagby: What’s funny is. I don’t know. Something about that one billboard is it works. I’ve had billboards on 575 before, and they don’t do for me what that billboard does. Now, are there a lot of people calling me off that billboard? No, but I think it’s really yeah, I think it’s I’ve gotten some it says call or text Josh Bagby on there and I’ve gotten some funky texts.
Sharon Cline: Really?
Josh Bagby: I’ve got some funny voicemails, too. That’s a whole nother shout out to the Arlene. Oh, dear. Oh, my.
Sharon Cline: I. There’s a whole side of your life that I have not, like, asked you about yet.
Josh Bagby: Good Lord, to send you that one. That one. That was pretty fun. She’s. She’s kind of become a character in Cherokee Connect. She doesn’t even know it. So that’s. That’s pretty cool. But yeah, sales, marketing, part of it just kind of building a brand. I realized that the agency I was in before, nobody cared about that brand of insurance and it had no brand recognition locally for the most part. So what made it different was, was me, and that people knew me from just growing up and going to school and that kind of thing. So that was part of the brand. And then now, you know, kind of trying to brand providence off of that, trying to transfer kind of my personal brand and being able to spread that to my my people, my my staff to be able to use that brand. And then but all the while trying to build Providence a brand and a logo from nothing to to make it mean something and hopefully be something good in the community. You know, I look at Southeast restoration and their, you know, their logo and their brand like that’s recognizable, you know, what they stand for.
Josh Bagby: And so that’s kind of some of our colors are very similar to not like in kind of long shot Looper for the but like it’s a they do a really good job and they’re great people and that’s kind of that’s what we want to be known as. And they’re a you know, a good employer in the community and they they give back. And so that’s kind of piggybacking on what they kind of set the example. Benz You know, a few years older than me, Greg, I kind of took me in and I felt like he respected me even at 22, and he had no business, you know what I mean? Like, it’s just that’s just who he is and he’s a good dude. And so I want to be that guy going forward as kind of he. I don’t know. Not that we’re talking on the phone all the time, but like, he kind of kind of set an example that I could follow. So trying to do that in and be that for whatever the next business is that comes, you know, five, ten years down the road.
Sharon Cline: So we talk about that on the show a lot. People talk about how important it is to have the right people around you and that networking is huge and word of mouth is even more important than than having some billboard or even an ad on on Facebook. One of my friends was saying that there’s no need. Like they just talked to some people and it spreads maybe through Cherokee Connect. I’m not sure. But it’s nice to know that you don’t have to have a ginormous budget in order to get yourself out there.
Josh Bagby: Well, and that was where that was kind of the three. Demographics are the three kind of pillars stool, legs, whatever you want to call of chicken and egg. So it was a solid that the people needed handyman, whatever. So had them. I was like, okay, well we’ve got to get the handyman and all them and the electricians and the plumbers and all that. Got to get them in there and then the charities. Because we’ve got so many charities, we’ve got so many great people that don’t know how to plug in that. And the charities don’t have a sales budget or an advertising budget or whatever. So how can we get them all in one spot to be able to? So everybody benefits from it. And I think it has done a good job doing that so far. And there are like me giving a shout out to a business for that. It just kind of highlights it. But it’s the people that are shouting other businesses out, Hey, I saw there was one family traditions in town, like there’s a hard of hearing class at a preschool or kindergarten or something, and they gave them a taste test of Thanksgiving food the week before so that they could practice signing what they liked and what they didn’t.
Josh Bagby: How sweet. So like that, like that kind of connection is cool to see happening there. The but the word of mouth part of it matters and you don’t like are any businesses in Cherokee County going to be able to outspend Wal Mart or Google or Verizon or anything? Absolutely not. Like for me, can I outspend Geico? No. Like it’s just not even not even ever in my wildest dreams would I spend that kind of money on advertising. But we can hyper localize it if all your clients are here locally. Like this is really this is all you need to advertise to. You don’t need to waste money on people in Tennessee that a TV commercial may do or a radio type thing so we can hyper localize it. Make make what little ad dollars are spent. Go further and let your. Your own brand recognition and your own name. Carry weight to where? Hey, man, this is the best plumber I’ve ever seen in my life. Let’s tell other people about it. And so now that dude’s able to do more locally to support his family. And those people, the ones that do it locally like that, are the ones that are giving back and they’re the ones sponsoring and they’re the ones.
Sharon Cline: Plugged in to the plugged.
Josh Bagby: In. They’re the ones with the banners on the on the football field and in the basketball gym like that, that they’re putting money back in in there and their kids are here. Like, it’s it’s a cool thing to see.
Sharon Cline: You have like a win. It’s a win win for everyone.
Josh Bagby: For everybody.
Sharon Cline: I love that. So if you were to kind of look back at your career, are there things that you were I don’t know if afraid is the right word, but sort of like trepidatious about that. You no longer.
Josh Bagby: Are. No. I still don’t. And that’s not like a it’s a good answer.
Sharon Cline: It’s your truth. And I love it because it’s, you know, everybody has a different one. But I like that you are. You’re being honest like you.
Josh Bagby: But I it’s it’s not like I’m fearless and everything I do, like, it’s not that like, it’s just like a it’s not that I’m any better at it or that I overcame it. It’s like I just don’t focus on it. Like it’s I have found other ways to make up for what you don’t like doing or, you know. So yeah, that’s not that was way too short of an answer.
Sharon Cline: No, that was a good answer because it does vary for lots of people. And one of the themes that I find with business owners is that the notion of not giving up like the fear of I’m not going to do okay, I’m I won’t succeed. I don’t have everything figured out. I’m going to stop even before you get started. Like, that’s my story, you know what I mean? Like, everybody has those moments, so. But I like that you’re kind of you’re not letting that be a defining factor of yourself.
Josh Bagby: Yeah, and I wouldn’t call it a fear. Am I anxious? Yeah. Like, they’re always opening the phone every morning, but, like, that kind of thing. I use it as a motivator, you know? And how do you how do you function under stress? Like, stress just makes me work harder and longer and that kind of thing. So if you can figure out how to use it, if you’re scared of it, figure out how to use it to to motivate you. And I don’t think that happens overnight. I think it does Again, it’s a it’s a reps thing.
Sharon Cline: Practice, practice.
Josh Bagby: I mean, I gave my old agency up and I went from making a good living to zero in a month by choice, which is kind of stupid.
Sharon Cline: Well, not everybody can can do this, of course. Right. But the but you had some really good support.
Josh Bagby: Yeah, absolutely.
Sharon Cline: Which is what people talk about, as well as having the right people around you.
Josh Bagby: And I had to I had to trust that the community would support a new what I was doing. And that was a like they supported Cherokee connect for whatever reason. And I’m like, well I think if they support that, they’ll support this. And, you know, we had done insurance, had a track record of it. So, you know, it wasn’t a blind jump. But, you know, you’re first night, you’re you’re anxious going, man, I don’t have a paycheck coming this month unless I go make it.
Sharon Cline: Did you have to have did you feel like you had to have something to fall back on, like a contingency? Or did you just say, I’m just going to go for this?
Josh Bagby: Yeah. There was no plan B like it was a plan B, it was a burn the ships kind of it was going to work. I was going to make it work. Now, was I going to hit every goal that I set? You know, I had a pretty realistic idea that, yeah, maybe not. And would it be okay if we didn’t? That was going to be something we were going to have to cross when we got there. Yeah, it was.
Sharon Cline: It worked. And I think I think sometimes situations are it’s timing, too. Like, you know, where you had just the right setup for you to be able to have this moment of success. So there’s something you can’t make happen at the wrong time, you know, And that’s meant to.
Josh Bagby: Be that’s a that’s a spiritual thing for me. That’s where the name Providence comes from. It was like it was there is a calm about that. Like when you feel like you’re not doing it on your own and it’s not you doing it, it’s just kind of trust that somebody else has got you and it works out. And it’s amazing how often, like there’s no reason Cherokee Connect should be what it is. That’s there’s no and there’s got to be. And I constantly remind myself like this is not for me to sell insurance this is for those nonprofit for the church is for sponsoring kids at Christmas for like all like that’s what it’s for. And yeah, it helps it helps me sell insurance, but that’s a byproduct of it. But. I’m talking about Tim Tebow. Praying to win football games like, do you care? Do I think God cares who wins or loses a football game? Absolutely not. Tim Tebow used his platform to further. The kingdom and because he won football games. So I think in a roundabout way, yeah. Like, as long as he’s using it the right way, then its success will come with that. I don’t know. Do I think God cares the turkey is successful or Providence is successful? No, but if I use it to continue to be a version of a ministry and yeah, it’s worth doing. And I think we’ll we’ll stay on the right track.
Sharon Cline: You’re kind of you’re kind of mayor of Cherokee Connect. You’re kind of it does feel a little like slightly political, doesn’t it?
Josh Bagby: A little bit. Yeah, the politics thing comes up a lot.
Sharon Cline: But like, do people ever say to you, you should run for mayor of background or mayor? I don’t know, Woodstock or something?
Josh Bagby: Yeah, it comes up. Do they really? Yeah. Running. Yeah, And I don’t know. I’ve looked at it. I think that my kids are at ages. I think that I’m at an age that it probably doesn’t make sense. I think that there’s more. Um. We can move quicker and help fill needs faster with the group right now. Then you can in government with less red tape and with both sides and not it’s red or blue or it’s so it’s you can you can bring people together for that and they’re not going to shut you down because you’ve got a D or that kind of thing.
Sharon Cline: So I love that because it’s it’s, it’s not the notion, it’s using the power that you have, but in a way that includes everyone.
Josh Bagby: It’s inclusive is a weird word. Like, yeah, it’s not.
Sharon Cline: Wait, did I just throw a bad word? I don’t know why I said power. It kind of is. I guess the, the, the, the, the platform has power.
Josh Bagby: The, the platform about that. Yeah.
Sharon Cline: And sorry if I made it seem like.
Josh Bagby: No like it’s, it’s, it’s influence I guess. Or it’s, it’s the ability to bring to shed light on something just kind of bring a need to the forefront that people may not know about like the school lunch debt, stuff like that is huge. It’s crazy.
Sharon Cline: That, that you talk about it and you give people ways to help.
Josh Bagby: That’s right. Yeah. And more than happy to help. But we got to figure out a way to fix it. And so now that like, can we help it a couple of times. Yes. But like, there’s got to be there’s got to be something going on to help fix a greater need that I can’t do. It’ll take I don’t know if it takes a voters or if it does take a politician like I don’t have all those answers. But yeah, I mean yeah, I guess you could be the, the mayor of the group, but it’s not there’s no I don’t have a gavel in there when we’re not taking votes unless we’re polling on who your favorite chicken place is, which people do best Thanksgiving food. Right.
Sharon Cline: Well, Josh, I really appreciate you coming on to the show and kind of giving us a little insight into what it’s like to be you, you know, and your and your every day.
Josh Bagby: It’s fun. Most days.
Sharon Cline: Hopefully today is a fun day being here on Fearless One Minute. Wait. I did want to ask you if people wanted to get in touch with you, how can they do that?
Josh Bagby: You can find me on Facebook and job.
Sharon Cline: Yeah, Really? It’s good to know.
Josh Bagby: Yeah.
Sharon Cline: That’s probably the best. That’s generally speaking, that’s where a lot of people are finding. Even in our all the different interviews that I’ve done, people just say, Find me on Facebook. It’s easy, you know?
Josh Bagby: You know, I mean, if you Google it and you Google my name, Providence Insurance Advisors, it’ll come up. There’s, you know, my email and my phone number and Facebook messaged me, you can Facebook, Instagram message me. There’s like, there’s a lot of ways to get in my phone there.
Sharon Cline: Wow, you’re busy guy.
Josh Bagby: You it’s fun. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Sharon Cline: Well, on that note, thank you all for listening to Fearless Formula on Business RadioX. And again, this is Sharon Cline reminding you with knowledge and understanding, we can all have our own fearless formula.
Josh Bagby: Thanks, Josh. Thanks for having me.
Sharon Cline: Bye bye.