Steps to thinking BIG | #REalAdvice 25 with Cody Askins


Do you have what it takes to be successful?

When he first became an insurance agent, Cody Askins was sitting in a room with three other new agents. 

The trainer looked each of them in the eye, and said “In a year, 3 of you will have quit … maybe all 4 of you.”

Instead of discouraging him, those words helped fire Cody Askins up, and he made a big goal: make $100,000 that first year.

I had a similar story: when I first started in real estate, I was told that it was going to be hard. That maybe after a year, I would have my first sale!

The sad reality is that it’s true: the real estate industry has an estimated 87% failure rate within 5 years. Unbelievably, the insurance industry has us beat with a 92% failure rate.

A vast majority of people who join commission sales jobs quit within the first year or so. It’s hard, don’t get me wrong. There are a lot of sleepless nights, and countless tireless hours. But it doesn’t have to be impossible.

That’s how the 8% nation was born. Cody Askins saw high failure rates in the insurance industry, and knew that he wanted to be part of the solution.

He’d made it his personal goal to make $100,000: and he did it in 8 months. Now he helps train others, using the systems he created to achieve success. He wants to help them be part of the successful 8%: those who “make it.”

Now, he’s thinking big: his goal is to be able to touch every insurance agent with his message.

No one starts out wanting to fail. But in an industry with a huge failure rate, we’ve got to step back and find ways to combat these high failure rates. Most importantly, we’ve got to look at what it takes to stop that failure, and pivot it into building a life you love.

In this episode of the #REalAdvice podcast, Cody Askins is here to share what it takes to be part of the 8%. It’s not just about knowing what to do: it’s about thinking big and executing. 

Guest Introduction:

This episode’s guest on the #REalAdvice podcast is Cody Askins, leader of the 8% nation. While in college, Cody set a goal for himself: make $100,000 in his first year. When he accomplished that goal in 8 months, he knew that others needed to learn his system to get more appointments and get the most out of leads. That’s how the Secure Agent Mentor was born, and eventually grew into a larger platform that benefits insurance agents. 

Highlights of this episode: 

  • Jonathan introduces Cody Askins and his business.

  • Cody shares about 8% Nation, and why he started it.

  • Cody had to learn how he could help others, AND make money in the process.

  • Focus on taking action and implementing the things that work.

  • Poor people procrastinate.

  • “The longer I think about something, the less likely I am to do it.”

  • You have to do something within 5 seconds of thinking of it to start driving towards accomplishing anything.

  • When you don’t commit and push towards your dreams and goals, you’re going to have regrets.

  • For the 8% Nation event, the value is in the speakers: Cody is focused on bringing high-value speakers who are focused on helping people.

  • Taking time off work and developing hobbies is important.

  • Cody shares lessons learned during conferences: “When my energy was low, the event sucked. I always thought it was the crowd’s fault. I’ve learned that if my energy is right and I get my energy started, I get my juices flowing …. And I noticed that I have phenomenal days.”

  • Cody shares about his office: he has “Think Big” in huge letters right when you walk in. He does think big: he wants to reach every insurance agent! That keeps him motivated.

  • “When someone doubts me, I will do whatever it takes to prove them wrong. I prove myself wrong all the time.”

  • When you think big, you also have to execute.

  • Cody shares what he learned from his first event.

  • Biggest success: making the $100,000 during his first year in business. That success has led to helping others succeed!

  • If you’re being called crazy, that’s a good thing: it’s because you are willing to do something different in the industry.

  • Stay focused on your mission everyday.

  • If you’re brand new and struggling, here’s some advice: In order to succeed, you’re going to have to stop thinking small. Yes, you will have to do some things you don’t love to do, or enjoy doing. But get out there and execute. Remember that where you are today is not where you will be tomorrow, and keep learning, growing, and doing.

Special shout out to Cody Askins for being this episode’s guest for #REalAdvice! You can connect with him here:

Join the Hashtag Agent Community

Ready to join a FREE supportive Facebook community geared for long term results and longevity? Connect with other real estate agents, ask questions, get answers, and discover the motivation you need to keep growing your business through social media.

Find REal Strategies. REal Advice. REal Results.

Click HERE to learn about The Hashtag Agent Community!

Like what you hear? Don’t miss a simple episode! Follow me on your favorite podcasting platform:

Special thanks to YOU for listening, especially if you made it all the way to the end! It would mean the world to me if you rate, review, and subscribe, and if you find this helpful, please share with your real estate friends. If you have any questions about this episode, send me a DM, or use any of the social media links below to reach me. 

Connect with me here:

Thanks for listening, and remember: #WhoYouHireTrulyMatters

Audio Version Below!

Full Transcript

Cody: 00:00 You know what, and my wife's going to kill me for saying this because as much is, this is the biggest thing I've ever done. You know, this event that we're coming off of right now literally just finished an hour ago. Other than that, um, I would say that the most, one of the most impressive things I've done, cause I feel like I can do better here. One of the most impressive things had done is, you know, 19 years old in college playing basketball, taking 21 credit hours this semester, tournaments, games, practices, every single day. All that. And I set a gold aren't a hundred K it's been eight months freaking grinding it out, learning how to sell, learning how to build relationships and meet people in close and overcome objections in the phone and everything else. And eight months later when I never believed I could actually achieve that goal as a brand new agent or an $117,361 and 13 cents and is small as that seems now. It was such a mental feedback then that I just thought was like freaking impossible.

Jonathan: 00:55 Cody Haskins currently owns and operates five insurance-based companies cruising over 5 million in sales. And he started the 8% nation insurance wolf conference, which has quickly become the number one insurance event in the world.

Cody: 01:10 We are with Cody askings. We're here in Dallas, Texas, and we just wrapped up 8% nation conference. And for those that are listening, Cody, uh, before we talk a little bit about your background, give us a little bit of background on what exactly does 8% mean and why did you start it? Yeah, so a percent nation derives from the fact that 92% of insurance agents fail. It was something that was always, I knew in the back of my mind. I've grew up in the insurance business. I've been the interest, but it's about a decade now. I love it. I'm obsessed with this industry and helping people. Uh, I was on the personal production side for several years, but I knew I really had a passion when I started helping new agents succeed. That's when I really got excited, right? So I thought, you know what? I was at 10 x two first round premiere with Grand Card Ellen at their conference.

Cody: 01:58 And I was sitting there and saying, you know what? Our industry needs something like this. As I'm sitting there, I'm like, okay, I think I can pull play something like this off. And a few months later talking to my dad and, and finally should have pulled the trigger sooner and then finally pulled the trigger and put the first one at Nissan Stadium in Nashville. So where did that stem from? Because for most people they get this grand idea that, you know, I should be doing this. If I did this, this would be so amazing. But those things never come to fruition. Where w w how did that happen? What made that happen? What made this a reality? Yeah, there's a point. I feel like there's a point in everyone's life where you just feel like, Dang Dude, I am just floating through life. I'm not doing anything big. Right? And I've, I believe we're all meant to do some big stuff.

Cody: 02:41 I truly, truly do. And there was a point in my life when I was helping insurance agents make money. I wasn't making any money. I had to get rid of my dodge challenger. We downsized our home, my wife got a job and I thought, you know what, I, I talked to myself a lot. I'm like, dude, you got to wait the freak out man. You were meant to do something better than this. Like you're talented, you know, good looking dude athletic, right? So it was in those moments where we kind of moved backwards in life, that really, that happening had to get my attention and I was, you know, I start to get bored, stagnant, unhappy, uncreative, and I don't know what it is, but I'm striving to do something big. It just makes me the most happy. I mean crazy risk, you know, I don't what I'm going to do next. But like I feel like, I think a lot of people are like that too. But deep down we may not know it.

Jonathan: 03:30 So if somebody were to come up to you, they don't know anything about you, they don't know who you are. They said, Hey, my name's Jonathan. You say, Hey, I'm Cody. And they say, so what is it that you do or who are you, what would you say to them?

Cody: 03:42 I would say that I am a, I'm an insurance agent that now focuses on helping train and coach insurance agents to be part of the 8% instead of part of the 92%

Jonathan: 03:55 sweet. I love it. I think in the real estate industry, there needs to be an event like this because 87% of agents fail within five years. Wow. So maybe there's a 13% nation in the making there. Yeah, it's crazy. But you know, what we were talking about today in, in some of the speakers alluded to it is, you know, there's so many things that you can be doing. However, if you just focus on taking action, implementing the things that work, listening to the other people that say these are the things that work, then all of these shiny pennies that come in front of you, just allow them to keep rolling. Uh, you know, what are some of the things that you had to learn? Because you did take a shiny penny. You did do things the wrong way, that if you were to go back five years, three years, one year from now, you would have done something a little bit differently.

Cody: 04:44 Yeah, I would. I started thinking bigger, much sooner. Right? And there was several things I took action on in my life that I wouldn't have used to have take action on right now. If it impacts my mission, I'll cut a $20,000 check. I don't care. Me 18 months ago even probably wouldn't have. Okay. So, so buying my wife a big house, putting out 70 grand cash, right? Grant's not going to love that, but, right. But she, my wife loves us. That's all that matters. Right? Doing that cutting $15,000 check to go to 10 x to these big throw in a conference. He's big. Pivotal moments. Literally not that long ago, have just totally shifted my mindset to like, I don't think small, I take action. A lot of people are, a lot of people procrastinate. They think, okay, I'm going to think about stuff. Right? And they think that the right decision is to think about something until they know it's the bright move. Okay. I want to be sure. Right? I don't wanna make any stupid moves or bad decisions and I've learned that the longer I think about something, the less likely I am doing it.

Jonathan: 05:45 And, and I think that's true for anybody. I think Michael Ervin said that the stat was you have to do something within five seconds in order to start driving towards doing something and getting something done. If not, it gets, you know, it gets added to your checklist, gets added to your things to do, then your family comes into play. Then the issues come into play. Then the thing that was so great that was going to get you to where you wanted to be was a, well maybe you know the, it's not as good as I thought it was. And you start convincing yourself that you should be doing something else now and doing something else now where it's, it's super cool because this is a, we've had some great podcasts filmed at this hotel with some crazy sets and behind us they are cleaning out the events space. Um, but I'm still caught up in all of the different speakers. I'm so caught up in, in the moment cause we're still here so I'm glad that we're talking now. What would you say would be your biggest takeaway that you got out of this, um, that you're going to implement or you're going to take action on?

Cody: 06:43 Yeah, there's a couple things. I would say the first thing is that most, most people when things are tough or someone puts a negative comment online or you know, someone they know fells or something they can like really get down, let it affect them. And it's been a, it's been nine months removed since last a percent nation and throwing a conference on this scale, you know, 500 people, et Cetera, is it's takes its challenging challenges you mentally because you're like, oh crap, I just spent a half a million bucks. Is anyone going to show up? And so that's something I've learned after spending a couple of days and hearing from all the amazing people that were here on how beneficial this was, how valuable it was, how they actually learned some tangible content and ideas to go back and implement and how they're ready to run through a brick wall. Right? And they're ready to get back to work.

Cody: 07:30 That is going to carry me till next year. Like that's just unbelievable. And so that's, that's that, that is one of the immediate things that I've just loved. But also I'm leaving this, it went by so fast. It's crazy. I feel like I just started marketing it. I was super excited about Michael Irvin speaking that he's the dudes out of the hotel now. He's in his Bentley driving home. Right? He's gone. And so if there's anything I can challenge or or, or learn from and help others listening his stuff, life goes by so fast. And if we don't take time to really commit immediately and do those things that we want to do, we're going to have regrets.

Jonathan: 08:08 So in order to make next year's even bigger, even better, I know you, you and your team are going to debrief and sit down and go over what worked, what didn't work, what can we do better? What, what would you say? Just off the top of your mind is something that you might do a little bit differently next time in order to get better and for maybe anybody hosting an event or thinking about hosting event. Maybe they should do this too.

Cody: 08:27 Yeah, I, I, I'm, I'm going to really focus on, I, I realized the value is in the speakers. It just is. And so I'm going to try every single year to just keep leveling up right? Every single year and next year I can say that in this moment and I'm going to live up to the hype. I'm ready to go big with a six speaker lineup that gets our whole industry a tip all at everyone's attention.

Jonathan: 08:51 And what does, what would the goal be for next year as far as attendees? What's our number? So then that way we can go back on this episode, rewind it and hold you accountable for it. Yeah. We've, we've had four to five,

Cody: 09:01 a hundred in attendance, the last couple, uh, 400, 500. And now, uh, most people don't know this for it. This is probably the first one I'm saying it, you know, on, on a podcast or video or online. I want to move to Vegas 20, 20 k for the conference July of next year. I'm not sure on location or dates, but I know that I want in excess of 1000 people sitting in that room. And I've learned some things along the way that I could've done better to get more here this year. So even though it was amazing event, and we look back and say, okay, this was freaking cool, I'm up here thinking I felt like I could've done more. I just do.

Jonathan: 09:38 And that's how we all think, you know, especially those that are really diving into people, really focused on helping people, really listening to what others are saying and say, okay, that can help me and then I can do this to help somebody else. We always have those things running through our head. Let's flip the script a little bit and because I'm huge on creating a business and life that you love and you know, creating a, an event is great, having a great business is great, but if your life is in shambles, you know, it really doesn't matter. What are, what are, what, what are some hobbies that you'd like to do or what are some personal things that you liked? Yeah, so, so I love to, my wife and I go on

Cody: 10:13 a four or five different, either smaller, big vacations a year. You know, we love spending time together, getting away and when we do get away with, it's like we're going to move your shop shopping. Like we, we don't, you know, we just relax. We just chill. Um, I love playing golf.

Jonathan: 10:25 Oh, we're going to have to play golf then. Yeah, you'll probably be probably yelling at bogey golfers probably won't compete, but I know we're fine. Don't worry. I just, I have to play more in order to get better. So I'm looking for more people that are looking to play.

Cody: 10:39 Man. I also love playing basketball. That's something I did. You just keep learning. Right? So it's something I did Tuesday night before we left on Wednesday. I told my wife, she was already down here, her and a couple others came a day early and I said, I can't sit around and think about this event anymore. So I grabbed Landon, six, nine Guy Marketing Guru and I said, dude, I've got a, let's get some guys together and play some basketball. I can't just sit around anymore. Like I get to get my mind off of this, you know, for, for the evening. So that was, I was a blast. I loved doing that.

Jonathan: 11:07 So what are some other things that you do maybe as a routine or an exercise or something that can help you, you know, not necessarily escape but help you get your mind right or help you, you know, not focus on the negative and get you into a good mental state? What are some of the things that can get you there?

Cody: 11:24 Yeah, so if it's a, if it's just a personal level where I'm just like trying to unwind and not think about work for like an hour, you know, which is difficult for me because my phone's always on me. Like nonstop. I mean, I'm wake up looking at Facebook, you know, even though I probably shouldn't, um, I have this little, you know, man-cave set up 75 inch TV, d d dual leather recliner downstairs and, you know, I'll grab some, I don't know, uh, probably shouldn't be, you know, eating some flower seeds, but I do you know, on occasion, no. I always tell there's a lot of things that you shouldn't be doing. There's cancer and everything. Unfortunately there's bad things and everything, but there's just some things that, yes, there are some addictions that are very bad addictions, but you know, if somebody going to tell me that they don't like me cause I mean sunflower seed, we are not going to, we're not going to mix that well.

Cody: 12:13 No doubt, no doubt. So just really getting downstairs, unwind in, uh, I don't know why I always liked shows like narcos and Narcos, Mexico, some of these other ones, you know, just something to take my mind off of things. But, but then to take it to like a mental, you know, um, preparation state. Like when, when I was prep prepping for this event, I was going outside on the porch. Uh, I was building a PowerPoint walking through it. Um, as far as like personal level, I love getting up and working out. You know, I love taking cold showers. I love eating bulldagger I love taking cold showers or you take cold showers because you love the energy that it gives you. You love the energy vacation. And when I don't do it, I regret it. Yeah. I can't say. I love it. I can't lie on balls, uh, now, but I love the energy gets me, cause I've learned that in sales and business energy's everything.

Cody: 12:58 We just went around and did 15 live trainings in different cities in May and June alone. And what I learned is when my energy was low, the events sacked because I sucked. Right? I always thought, well, it was the crowd's fault. You know, I get energy from the crowd. Well, they get energy when I give them energy, right? And so I've learned that. And so I tried to be better about that. This go around at this event. And so that's one thing I've learned is if my energy's right and I get my energy started, I get my juices flowing like every time. Like before I went on stage, I was in the fitness center right around the corner of biking, you know, here at the Statler. Uh, and so I noticed that I have phenomenal days and I get a lot more productive and a ton done when I get up and get my juices flowing.

Cody: 13:39 As far as your office set up. I've never been there, but it's very intriguing to look at people's offices because it shows, you know, what they like, what they don't like, how they operate, you know, what's important to them, what's not. Is there anything maybe that you have in your office that might be hanging on a wall or maybe you have a, a checklist or a board or some sports stuff. What does your office look like? So every room will have a giant four by six whiteboard if not bigger. Okay. I don't know why I just like, I'm a, I'm a visual guy. I'm, I'm a thinker, so I'm like always taking notes and always writing, you know, that's something Burton does more than anybody. I know. It's crazy. Uh, so there's white words all the time, always thinking about stuff. And I want to be able to put it on something.

Cody: 14:16 Uh, also we have this with these giant letters. I think my wife got them from hobby lobby or something, but they're these big two or three foot letters and they spell think big on the wall. So as soon as you walk in, we've got a 9,000 square foot office. My Dad and I split it. I've got the other half, and as soon as you walk into our front suite on that side of the building right up on the front wall is a huge think big sign. It's great to think big and there's a lot of people that are listening to this podcast that do think big. However they hit a roadblock or they hit a wall or they just, for some reason they just don't what they

Jonathan: 14:52 think. Maybe because it's too big. I don't know. Maybe you've just because they don't have the right people in their life. What are some of the things that allow you to just push through to when you are thinking big, when you're thinking, Hey, we're going from 400 to a thousand to 5,000 to 10,002 we want to touch every insurance agent in the world. Like what allows you to get to that point? Have you broken that down? Is there a process? What is your, what does that look like? Yeah. Coach Berto, he talks about prey drive and

Cody: 15:18 and mine is when someone doubts me, I will do whatever the freak it takes to prove them wrong. And a lot of people I notice in the re and I challenged myself, so that's included, right? I'll prove myself on all the time. Along the last few years there's been some pivotal moments where I really thought big. I've always thought right, and a lot of people are like that. I've always thought big, but I didn't always execute. And now if I make a decision to do something, I am doing my dead level best to execute on that as quickly as humanly possible.

Jonathan: 15:53 What are, you said that you know that you always stay focused on your mission. What? What exactly is your mission?

Cody: 15:59 My mission, I write down every single day. Nice is at some point in the future I want to help every insurance agent in the world. Do we have a timeframe on that?

Jonathan: 16:09 Oh, we might have to create a time. We may have to create time. Some point is never going to happen. I don't write that down. I just write out,

Cody: 16:15 you know, I want to help every insurance agent in the world if that's able to happen. You know what I mean? Before I die. Like that'd be,

Jonathan: 16:23 well, I think the stat says that we're only four people away from every single person in the world. So you know somebody who knows somebody who knows somebody. That's how close we are. So I don't think that it's, especially with, you know, the digital world now, it's, it's definitely something feasible. What I would say to you is, my advice to you is let's break that down. In order to reach 8 billion people, we have to reach x amount of people per year, x amount of people per month, x amount of people per day. Okay. We can get x amount of impressions, we can track that, we can calculate that. So I think we're going to have to hold you accountable to breaking that, breaking that down a little bit more. Because at some point it's never going to happen. And I tell it like it is, whether it's with the guests, whether it's with somebody else, some people like it, some people don't. But guess what I'm going to tell it like it is. If I'm on stage and somebody's bullshitting me, I'm going to call them out in front of everybody. So I'm calling you out right now that we're going to break your goal down to specific numbers, specific time frames. And I really think that it's possible within the next five years, the next 10 years. Why not? Yeah. I actually believe it's impossible. It is possible in the next decade as well. Exactly

Cody: 17:31 how, how much money we're spending, how big we're thinking, you know, this event's gonna grow. There's, there's a lot of agents that know about us that didn't have us before, but we still have so many, like the, I bet the amount of insurance agents, if, if we were able to pull them all, I bet let's still less than 1% has any clue what we're doing and how many insurance

Jonathan: 17:50 agents are there? Do you know? I need to figure top of your head. I know in, I know there's hundreds of thousands and in the u s of a. Got it. Where can people connect with you if they have questions about either what you're doing at your event or just some things that you might be doing on a personal or maybe some of your other businesses? Where can people connect with you? Yeah, it was, I would say that the, the new easiest way now I've started used Instagram a lot more would be Cody. Dot. Asking on Instagram. My favorite place that we put out content is still youtube. Uh, we just, we're about to hit 9,000 insurance agent youtube subscribers of actual people in the insurance business. That will be, that will definitely be at 100,000 agents subscribed to that channel within the next three years for sure.

Jonathan: 18:35 And I'm not sure if Landon is doing some of this stuff, but with the new youtube ad system, you can now put your videos directly on top of other people's videos. You can now put your videos directly on your competitors. You can put it based off of somebody says the word insurance agent in their video. You can put that video over there because now we, the voice transcripts shows us what they're talking about, so it's definitely possible. As far as the next year's conference, if anybody wants information about next years, 8% nation, where should they go to find that information? You know the best place to be 8% the number 8% spelled out suite. Is there any last piece of advice that you'd like to give to an entrepreneur that's listening? They're within one year of any business that they're in. They're going through the struggles. They're questioning whether or not they should be doing what they're doing.

Jonathan: 19:28 They're saying, maybe I should go back to linkedin and find a different job. Maybe you know, let's hit the craigslist boards. Like that person that is struggling. What's your piece of advice to them? A lot of people's advice would be to stop doing stuff you don't like to do. I'm not, I'm not, I'm not that guy. I'm not that dude. You need to, you had to go through this struggle. You got a new, some crap you do not want to do. And I believe everyone was born to do something great. I thought small, I'm still thinking small and I don't want you guys to keep thinking small. Somebody told me the other day that you know, they were selling a product and they said I can do so much more than selling a product. And I go, yeah, but it's you selling that product right now that is actually lighting the fire within you to say I can do something bigger.

Jonathan: 20:08 And if you weren't selling that product you would not be thinking bigger. So don't look at it as, man, this is terrible. I'm in a terrible position right now. I'm doing so you know something that I don't want to do. That's fine. Realize that and then take action and plan out, okay, this is what you know, this is where I want to go. You know, right out of college and you know, being in the military of a society, you know, am I going to say in the military, am I going to do this? I'm going to do that. And then I go, oh, well, I don't know, so let's go figure it out. So internships and then, okay, go work at this company. I'm like, Oh man, these people are unethical. I hate this place. But guess what I learned, okay, if I'm going to start a business, these are the things that I would not do.

Jonathan: 20:44 I would've never known that and I would've had to find those out the hard way against myself. But you know, so if there's anybody listening, you're, you're doing something that you may not love or you think that you have bigger aspirations. And I'm sure you do realize that where you're at right now is not where you have to be tomorrow, the next year, the next decade. Um, but the only way that you're going to get to somewhere that you're not currently is by doing a plan, breaking down the numbers and then executing on that instead of, instead of floating through life, just realize, hey, I, I need to be at, I need to execute. I need to be consistent and deliberate about it because you can do a lot in, in a year, six months that you didn't think you could do if you stay consistent, execute on it every single day. Hey everybody, this is Jonathan Hawkins. Thank you so much for staying until the very end of this podcast. I definitely appreciate it. As always, make sure to reach out to me via social media at Jonathan Hawkins official. Send me a comment, shoot me a DM. If you have any questions, you can also comment below. Thank you so much. Don't forget to subscribe below and remember who you hire truly matters.