Which is more powerful, being a businessman or taking care of business, as a husband and father? Taurus Bennett is the Agency Owner of Family Farmers Insurance, Florence, AL, and he exemplifies how to keep his customers and family as the center of his focus – to serve and love. He has been in the insurance business for 10 years, and has experienced the ups and downs of an agency that puts family (his and his clients’) first. He volunteers with CASA, a children’s advocacy agency,and was readying to go to a meeting when we sat down for this interview.
Garden Spices Magazine: The insurance business can be demanding, not only for your agency, but also for you personally. How do you extend yourself to your customers without burning out?
Taurus Bennett: I really try to keep it simple and approachable. I want my clients informed – know what they have and how it works before they actually need it.
GS: You and your wife co-own the business and work together. What is that like, pros and cons?
Bennett: Like most things… you take the good with the bad. Holding each other to realistic expectations is huge. Many small business owners will tell you that they are often the worse bosses to themselves when it comes down to honoring their time and personal life, but you better figure it out quickly when dealing with your spouse. It’s a tight rope some days trying to keep a professional atmosphere and know you’ll be eating dinner with the kids later that evening. There are a lot of challenges, but in truth the overwhelming positive of having your partner share a vision and do whatever it takes to get it to fruition is a fair trade off.
GS: You have two sons, Christian (13) and Morgan (9). How do you find the time to meet the challenges of fatherhood?
Bennett: Well, that part continues to develop the older they get. At nearly 14 and 10 years old, a lot of parents can relate that between ball fields, school, and their ever growing social obligations it gets harder to find “quality” over quantity. I use long drives to listen to what’s relevant in their world: friends, frenemies, and perceived drama. I’ll come in and have them show me how to play Roblox and Minecraft, or FIFA if they are playing video games. I want to know what their favorite videos are on YouTube (also makes sure parental controls are up to snuff). I’m not trying to be their peer, but to me when you love someone you really should find their lives interesting. I had zero interest in WWE or World Cup… now I’m a fanatic about the “RKO” and German soccer style of play. My perception of time is really the only challenge. The minute my mind strays on how tired I am I try to always remember that these opportunities are just as much for me than them. In a few years they will be young adults and I will never get back this time.
GS: You are raising two African American boys, which bears some significance in our society. What is the most important thing you want your sons to know?
Bennett: We’re living in a time that is very confusing for young African American boys. You have rhetoric that tells them that we are a country that has transcended race and even has a black president. But then they see images of police brutality that seems like a history lesson in Jim Crow.
I think it’s important that they understand timeline in regards to history. Slavery was only abolished 150 years ago. Every year there is someone who is celebrating a 100+ birthday in the news. My sons have met many folks who were active in the civil rights movement. The message from society to our boys is that this was a distant part of history that should be forgotten. But there is power in remembering the movement. Know your history and never feel pressure not to share it. Folks get angry when I say this, but there is the American Dream and also the African American Dream. Different rules apply. Be prepared for that. But others have done it; more are doing it, and you can too.
GS: …and in relation to aspirations?
Bennett: As Russell Simmons says, “Do You”! There is only one you in this entire world. You are unique and that alone means you have something to offer to the world. Find out what your strengths are and what makes you happy. DON’T CHASE MONEY; let money chase you. When you exploit your strengths (and everyone has several), and are doing something you enjoy then you will always have enough. You don’t even have to have the most talent. Passion, discipline, and faith can knock through any label or “ism” you will deal with. Just don’t box yourself in. I majored in English and my wife loves performing and has a business degree. I have been in the financial services industry and sales almost 20 years and Camille is a minister. Look at the whole board. If you want to be an NBA player, why not a coach, a trainer, a GM, or owner. If you want to be a singer, why not a promoter, producer, writer, record label. If you are a carpenter then why not a foreman, contractor, or builder. Don’t limit yourself or your earning potential. I tell my sons there is money in everything if you enjoy it and are trying to be the best at it.
GS: Your wife, Camille, is a minister. Is spirituality important to you?
Bennett: Ha! Some days it’s all I got. Life don’t play no favorites. A favorite saying of our friends is, “It’s always something…” And there always is. Taking time to meditate, staying present is huge. My mind starts feeling like an episode of Hoarders if I don’t find time to intentionally breathe, smile, and give thanks. The fact that my wife is a spiritual leader keeps me on my toes. I will admit my faith is both my biggest gift and my biggest challenge. Giving it over to God with no to-do list, analytics, or due date is sooooo [sic] hard. But for those who have managed to do it in the middle of a personal storm know just how divine it is when we get out of our own way and watch miracles happen.
– Interviewed by Vicki Goldston, aka, Victorine
Founder and Editor-in-Chief
Garden Spices Magazine