How One Army Veteran Started With Farm Bureau

July 02, 2024

Steve Jansen of Winona, Minnesota, joined the Army in April 1990 and served in Italy during Operation Desert Storm. After that, he served in Virginia, Wisconsin, Texas, Illinois and Minnesota.

He started his career as an electronics support technician and ended up in recruiting command. One of the highlights of his military service was being meritoriously promoted to Sergeant First Class, a rare achievement. After 20 years of service, he retired from the military in September 2010, and he and his family settled in Minnesota around the area where his wife grew up.

At first, he worked as a pharmacy manager for long-term care facilities, but he wanted more control over his schedule.  In June 2022 Steve joined Farm Bureau as an insurance agent. Here’s how he made the shift from protecting his country to protecting his community. 

Why Did You Decide to Become an Insurance Agent?

As a pharmacy manager, I was tired of being at work 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. I wanted to have the autonomy to do my own thing. Here, no one’s telling me I have to be here on a Friday. No one’s telling me I have to be here at 8 a.m. I can be successful on my own terms. 

How Did You Get Started With Farm Bureau?

Scott Evans, a Farm Bureau agent, got me into the business. I met him while I was still in the Army, and we became great friends throughout the years. Whenever an opportunity came along, he would give me a little nudge to start down a new path.

It wasn’t so much a sell; it was a trust. I had to feel it, and it had to be the right time.  So, I trusted in Scott that things I was told about working for the company were accurate and that people weren’t glorifying the agent opportunity to get me in the door.

How Does Your Army Experience Help as An Agent?

Your military background gives you an advantage. A lot of people respect that, and it’s a talking point.

The mentality you learn in the military helps you succeed because you’re dedicated, committed and self-driven. There’s a different mentality with military folks. You’re able to discipline yourself when you have to stay on schedule, be somewhere and do something.

Recruiting for the Army also helped me. In recruiting, you have to follow up. You have to hit those different prospects. You have to hit the phone. You have to dedicate yourself. You have to drive around, talk to people, make those connections, develop those relationships and get that core trust going.

Doing what’s right is a big part of it. If you lie to someone or make some false promises to get that person to join, you’re going to lose people’s trust if they catch you. So why do it? It’s the same thing in the insurance world. Just use your military principles, no matter what branch it was, and you’ll be all right. 

What Do You Like Most About Being an Agent?

I love talking to people. I love feeling like I make a difference. You have a back-and-forth with people, asking, “How can I do this right for you? What can I add in here to make it better?” I absolutely love the fact that you can just tell they trust you. When you break down insurance to people, you can tell if it’s never been explained properly before. This helps solidify that they now have the right protection and a clear understanding of why they need it.

It's very similar to recruiting for the Army. Most people don’t really understand, so you have to be able to simplify it and be honest with the pros and cons. I enjoy building a relationship with my client/members, knowing I am a trusted resource for them. 

What Advice Would You Give to Another Veteran Considering Making the Move to Farm Bureau?

It’s a hard thing to feel that you’re truly going to be able to make ends meet and succeed when you don’t have a quantifiable salary to pay your bills. But as long as you can talk to people, you’re going to get the results. It’s a unique opportunity to make as much money as you want to and to have the flexibility to do your own thing. 

What Do You Like to Do in Your Spare Time?

Our three kids are young adults now. Our oldest daughter just finished her master’s degree in speech pathology and our son is a nurse in Tennessee and also in the National Guard. Our youngest daughter will be graduating early to get started in the Army Reserves and make it back to begin college with her classmates on schedule, pursuing a doctorate degree.

My wife and I are big on traveling, so on the weekends, you will normally find us out on the motorcycle and/or out camping, enjoying life. We are great friends with Scott and his wife, so each year we take a vacation with them and usually escape from the Minnesota winters to somewhere warm. My wife grew up on a farm with 400 acres, so that is where I go tinker, hunt, play in the woods, etc. — anything to not be sitting. 

Take the Next Step

If, like Steve, you’re ready to make a change, consider a future with Farm Bureau. Veterans are eligible for a $12,500 in bonuses during their first year.1  Reach out to learn more today.

1 Paid over 13 months. $2,500 paid out as a signing bonus at initiation of ACE contract, $5,000 upon successful Blue Vase qualification and $5,000 upon successful Heritage qualification.

Eligible branches include Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Guard/Reserve and Space Force. The acceptable discharge service characterization is Honorable. Other service characterizations besides Honorable warrant additional consideration and review. Reason for separation may not include Dishonorable Discharge or Bad Conduct Discharge.

Candidates are only eligible to receive bonus payouts from one recruiting incentive. Agent must be in good standing on ACE contract at time of payment.