Ann Harris started her professional career as a registered nurse. So it’s no surprise that insurance, another field where she could practice being of service to others, beckoned.
“I started working in the insurance field and found that most people didn’t know exactly how they were covered or how they should be covered. I continued to go to classes and training and found that I like to talk about insurance,” she said.
That natural propensity for talk, for de-mystifying something most people can’t immediately grasp was, Harris discovered, a gift.
She opened her office in Saco in January 2006, and to this day she and her staff rally around one mission statement: They’ll not prosper at the expense of the customer; rather, they’ll prosper because of the value that they bring to the customer.
Q What were your most important needs in getting started?
A Unlimited time. The desire to want to make a difference and help people.
Q What was there about your upbringing that gave you the courage to venture out on your own?
A I have always been an independent type of a person. I was the oldest of five girls in my family so I had to also learn to be a dependable leader and mentor. I’m not really sure how I got the guts to go on my own. Probably it was from listening to so many professional successful people and my friends that gave me the encouragement.
Q What do you think the advantages are of being a female entrepreneur?
A Being a woman entrepreneur] still has its challenges, especially in this market. Studies that I have read say that women do better than men as agents; however, men are still running and owning this type of business. An advantage would be I think, [that] most women actually make money decisions and important family decisions to keep a family together. They seem to think more in the long run and I can understand that. I really enjoy putting a husband and wife or significant others together and watch their facial expressions as I prompt them to talk aloud about what-ifs.
Q What advice would you give an aspiring woman entrepreneur?
A Do it if it makes sense. You do have to have unlimited time to be successful. Be outgoing and let everyone know what you want to do and how other people can help you along the way. Don’t be shy. The more people that know about your business, the more sales. Be different.
Q If you knew then what you do now, would you have done anything differently?
A When I started this agency, I had no idea that the market was going to change so drastically. Even with research, I think the entire U.S. was taken off guard. Yes, I would have still opened, but I wish I had talked with more people who did what I am doing now.
– Lucia Davies
Ann Harris Insurance