• Tuesday, 26 March 2024

Eddie Knight Shares His “Why” As He Celebrates 15 Years in the Industry

If you have been in the financial services industry for a while, you have probably heard someone mention their 'why.' 

● Why are they in the industry?

● Why do they work so hard to build a business?

● Why do they talk to strangers about topics like life insurance?


Many describe your 'why' as the reason you do your work and live your lifestyle. Some may call your 'why' a calling, while others describe it as your conviction.

As a firm, we are extremely clear on our 'why.' At 1847Financial-Nashville, our 'why' is to Make Lives Better Because We Care.  This is our mission statement, and we align everything we do - client-facing or when helping our financial professionals grow their businesses - with this philosophy.

One of our leaders, Eddie Knight, a Firm Director at 1847Financial-Nashville, is celebrating 15 years in the financial services industry and 8 years with the firm. Read Eddie's story as he shares his 'why.' We think it's a good one!


I have been asked a lot about how I got into this business and why I "stuck" with it.

The short answer is that I am blessed, but I also know it's because of my 'why.'

My story started in 2005. I graduated from Freed-Hardeman University in the small West Tennessee town of Henderson, where I spent four years studying Biology and chemistry to get into forensic science. I was accepted to the University of Alabama Birmingham Masters of Forensics program. Unfortunately, the week after graduation, I was informed that the University had 2 or 3 faculty members who had retired unexpectedly and would not be hosting an incoming class for the fall semester.

I was two months away from getting married, and as a planner, I was stunned. My fiancé, Belinda, found a job, so I moved to middle TN.

I found a job with a small chemical manufacturing company as their onsite QA, using the chemistry side of my education. Two days before Thanksgiving in 2008, I was called in and terminated. I was floored. In the middle of the country's financial meltdown of 2008, I found myself unable to provide for my wife. Fast-forward to January of 2009. I attended a career fair at the Maxwell House conference center near Metro Center in Nashville. Many people were waiting to get in. At the 2nd table, I walked past a gentleman who said, "Have you ever thought about a career in financial services?" I turned towards him while laughing and said, "Man, I don't even know how to spell insurance. I don't think you have the right guy." He asked me three questions. Do you like people? Do you mind hard work? And are you trainable? Yes, Yes, and Yes were my answers. I found myself in the office of Dewane Lewis Jr. just a week later, sitting down to see what it was all about.

I told myself I would do this "job" for six months to a year till the economy improved and I could return to the line of work I was in. About six months in, I met a lady in her late 50s. We will call her Virginia. She said she needed life insurance and would like to buy some for her adult children. Her youngest, we will call her Jessica, was just a year older than me, a 26-year-old single mother of a beautiful little seven-year-old. I wrote four policies that day and insured Virginia and all 3 of her children. She was a great client and referred me to several of her friends. I was already really liking the business of helping people.

Fast-forward about 11 or 12 months to the next part of the story. I came home from some late appointments and sat down on the couch. I hadn't been home long when the 9 o'clock news came on, and there was a LIVE on-the-scene report from a DUI fatality. A drunk driver had crossed the line, struck a car head-on, and killed the driver. I watched as they panned the camera across the road and recognized the vanity plate on the front of the demolished car of the now-dead victim. I thought, "No, that couldn't be who I thought." I didn't think about it again and went to bed. As I got up early and rushed to the office the following day, my phone rang as I started my truck. It was Virginia. She proceeded to tell me that Jessica was gone. She was the one from the news report the night before. I was literally in shock. I bumped into them around town several times over the past few months. I sat at that same table where I wrote those policies less than a year before and now filled out a death claim. I went home that day and told my wife, "I will NEVER have another career but this one. I can't help people get what they want without being in this business."

The funeral occurred a few days later, and I went by to pay my respects. The claim paid out, and Virginia thanked me for taking the time to work with them. Fast forward several years to just 2 or 3 years ago. I don't delete numbers from my phone, and Facebook has the marvelous, sometimes annoying habit of suggesting friends based on phone contacts. I see Virginia as a friend's suggestion and click to see if it is her. The profile picture is of a seven-year-old, now a senior headed to her senior prom.

When I started, I was told by a 30+ year veteran agent, Terry Cordell, that if I help enough people get what they want, I will never need anything. It sounds a lot like that Zig Zigler quote, doesn't it? Terry also told me I would never leave the business when the business gets in me. As I approach my 15th anniversary in the financial profession, I look back and can't imagine doing anything else. It has changed a bit. I help recruit, train, and develop new financial professionals. However, the business remains in me, knowing my work helps people.



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