A big-hearted boss who shelled out £400k of his own money to reward his hard-working employees says he’d rather splash the cash rewarding hard work than it sit collecting interest in his bank account.
Mark Neilson says that in the long-run, his generosity will pay off because his workers will be more motivated and therefore earn more money for his life insurance agency.
Just this year, Mark shelled out $100,000 (£82,000) sending 50 people to Iceland, treated dozens of people to a five star hotel in Cancun and handed out $75,000 (£61,500) in cash.
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“My favourite thing ever is to take people who have never had a shot or never had an opportunity to make money and show them how to,” Mark says.
“That’s what someone did for me," he explains. "I grew up in a trailer in Alaska and lived with my mum in Utah. I worked so hard and never earned more than $800 a week until someone showed me how to make money.
“That’s what I want to show people. It is really cool to watch people get what they want out of life.
“That’s what keeps me young. You don’t stay young if you hang out with people who have already done it all.
“Seeing someone progress and learn a new skill that enables them to reach their goals is what I get the biggest kick out of.
“You might have someone who has only ever earned $500-a-week cleaning houses. All of a sudden they’ve earned $2,000 in a day and they can get the car they’ve always dreamed of.
“It’s incredibly rewarding and is what keeps me going.”
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Mark grew up in a poor household and lived between Alaska – where his late father Jon, 67, worked as a fisherman and sold fireworks – and Utah – where his mother Sherry, 63, worked odd jobs including as a hospital administrator to support the family.
Neither roles were well-paid and he spent much of his childhood helping his parents make ends meet.
This carried on into his early adult life where he worked “really hard” in an array of jobs including as a waiter and valet attendant.
Aged 19, he went on a two-year Mormon missionary to Denmark in a bid to encourage more people to sign up to the branch of Christianity.
He returned in 2009 aged 21 just as the global recession was in full-swing, prompting him to apply for every single job on Craigslist – including for totally unsuitable roles like nursing.
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Today, Mark has dozens of people – whose previous jobs ranged from doctors to homemakers – working for his agency remotely across the states.
During its first year it made $1.8million in sales, a figure which has grown exponentially to $12million this year, he revealed.
As the agency expanded, so did Mark’s position and he is currently a partner with the company.
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Speaking about what he thinks makes a good salesperson, Mark cited three qualities.
“You've got to be a little driven but I think the biggest qualities are to have a really good attitude, be coachable and work hard,” he said.
“I think those are the three things. If you have a great attitude every single day you show up, you work hard every day, and you're coachable.
“We can help teach you and train you on how insurance works. It's not rocket science, it's nothing crazy.
“We have systems and scripts and processes that are written by the top producers and the top people in the company.
“We have training classes four or five times a week, you can jump on, we have Zooms that you can jump on with top producers or anybody in those markets you want to see.
"So as long as someone brings their A game consistently then anyone can be a success and make a ton of money.”
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