Winter Motorcycle Safety Considerations in Dorchester

Cold weather in Massachusets comes early in the fall, so motorcyclists will be able to enjoy the fall foliage in the chilly air. When it changes to icy and even colder there are some safety considerations for drivers that must be considered. At Vargas & Vargas Insurance we want all drivers to be safe throughout our beautiful state. We deliver quality insurance to clients in Dorchester, MA and the surrounding areas. 

Winter Motorcycle Safety Tips

  • Wear your helmet. Helmets are required under Massachusets law, however, in the winter they offer more than a lifesaving exoskeleton. In the winter helmets protect your face and head from the extreme elements that your face can be exposed to on a normal daily ride. 
  • Layers are a necessity. Many bikers will wear motorcycle gear to protect their skin however in the winter a bit more is needed. Layers to hold your own warmth to your body on the underside in addition to the layers to block the icy wind on the outside can feel like a lifesaver in frigid months.
  • Handguards are needed in the winter months because riding gloves are not enough to block the brunt of the wind and thicker gloves can decrease your hand’s mobility putting yourself at risk while driving. 
  • The roads in winter also present their own hazards due to the ice patches, snow, and the salt used to melt the ice. These things can present safety hazards and affect the workings of your bike so driver beware of the road as well as yourself. 

Call us as Vargas & Vargas Insurance for quality motorcycle insurance, and remember to keep safe on the roads this winter while you travel in and around Dorchester, MA. 

Happy Spring! Do You Keep Waiting For Flowers To Bloom?

I hope that you are as excited as I am about today, today is the first day of Spring!

With all of this winters storms, this day is so much more special.

I know that it is just a date on the calendar, but it gives us reason to hope that the weather will be changing really soon.

I like to start my week with some words of wisdom,

“You’re frustrated because you keep waiting for the blooming of flowers of which you have yet to sow the seeds.” -Steve Maraboli

Do you have a stack of “stuff” that you intend to let go or get to, but never do?
 
I swear that my wife Kathy is the master of getting things done. She hates to see “stuff” stacked up anywhere. It’s a mindset. I have said before, she is super organized, she has a plan and is amazingly detailed on what she wants and does not want. It’s an addiction for her. Our son Matthew is just like Kathy, Jonathan and I are the exact opposites.
 
Stop Letting Things Pile Up
I have a silent little secret. It’s books, specifically the buying of books. I have decided that I am not going to buy any more books until I read (or given away) the ones that I have piled up. I’ve purchased many books thinking that they would be great reads, or that I would get some great ideas from them, but some have not even been looked at.
 
I have started taking notes on all the ideas that I think are useful and want to incorporate into my business and personal life from the books that I am reading. I am using Evernote to keep track of these ideas.  I will work on implementing these new ideas as hard as I work to read the book.
 
I want you to do the same. I bet you’re subscribed to too many newsletters. Unsubscribe from the ones that are not serving you. And I mean MY Monday Morning Message and our connection, too. If you do not find my writing interesting, or useful, click Unsubscribe at the bottom of the email, or unfollow me on Linkedin. It won’t hurt my feelings at all.
 
You see, I am a believer in the philosophy of “out of everyone you meet, 25% will automatically take a liking to you, 25% will automatically hate you and the other 50% is undecided.” I write these messages for the 25% that like me and the 50% that are still undecided.
 
Stop Adding “Stuff” to Your Life
Are you one of those people who has a plan, not really following it, and so you start looking for a new plan? You may be thinking that you’re not the problem in this equation. You are. And I am too, sometimes.
 
Work on ONE plan. Give it all your effort. Execute that plan. THEN, if it’s not working you can abandon it and try another. You are better off having learned from this failure rather than never having tried it.
 
But neither you nor I have permission to think, “Hmm, I’m not actually doing this anyway, so I’ll go find something else to not do.” Give it your 100% or abandon it completely: half-hearted efforts are a total waste of your time. You won’t be helped by doing this… that’s last year’s mentality.
 
One at a Time
Setting habits is like farming – you need to plant the right seed, tend to it, water it, and with the right amount of sun, air, and fertilizer, you will soon be harvesting the benefits of your hard work. You can’t just throw your seeds into the fertile soil of your business and expect them all to sprout. They’ll choke each other out, be encroached on by weeds or be eaten by the birds (your competitors). It’s a waste of time, effort, and treasure!
 
Plant one seed variety at a time. Nurture it. See the results. And then grow.
 
Spring is here
Start cleaning now. Clean out the sources of information you’re no longer using. Clean out the abundance of half-started plans in your world. And work on what resonates with the one goal you need to work on FIRST.
 
It’s time to shut off the spigot of knowledge and ideas and drink what we have poured. Get into a more measured approach. Choose a path and let that guide you forward.
 
If you need some help elevating your business to the next level, I may be able to help. I have worked with some amazing people who needed help, and I have room to coach a couple of local business people. Just reply to this message and we can set up a time to meet so I can learn about you and your business and see if we are a good fit!
 
Have a great week!

Carlos

PS If you or a client, coworker, family member or a friend who would benefit from our high level of attention to service and competitive rates we provided, I would sincerely appreciate your recommendations.Please text our agency at 617-409-0329 or Click here

PPS What I learned today, “What was Leonardo Da Vinci’s real name” Click here to read more.

Frustration sometimes leads to freedom

 

Happy Monday.

I like to start my week with some words of wisdom,

“Deciding what not to do is as important deciding what to do.”
Jessica Jackley

Most of us are in business (mortgage, real estate, insurance, or law business, or are an entrepreneur or solopreneur) are in a unique situation where we can create the exact business model that we want, start the business that makes us a great living, and do what we are really good at and what we love doing.

I’d like to share with you a concept that I have been using in my business: the “Triad of Awesomeness.”

This came about as a result of my “Frustration sometimes leads to freedom.” presentation.

I look at everything that I do in my business, and if it does not fall into these 3 categories, I either eliminate it or find someone else to do it. The categories are:

  • Things that I love to do
  • Things that I do well
  • Things that pay well

Where these 3 overlap – that is where you should focus your efforts on what you should do. If there is only one thing that meets these criteria, that’s even better.

If you working on something that you love and pays well, but you are terrible at it, you will never get the best results.

f you are working on something that pays well, and you are good at it, but you hate doing it, you will burn out.

If you find something that you are good at and love doing but it pays terribly, you will go broke.

So how do you do find something that lies in the middle of the Venn Diagram above? You learn to delegate all of the other things. Think about everything that comes your way and how it will affect your Triad of Awesomeness.

When I am talking to real estate agents and loan partners about low hanging fruit, they all agree that they need to be calling their past clients a few times a year, but some are not doing it because they don’t have the time, and they are not willing to delegate the task. So, I often ask  “Do you think that it’s better to ignore your past customers than to have someone else call on your behalf?”

Think about it: if a task does not fall into that red zone in your Triad of Awesomeness, but your business would suffer without doing it, delegate it – preferably to someone that will do it well, like doing it, and get paid well for it.

(I was recently reached by a VA (virtual assistant) in the Philipines that did customer service work for a travel agency in CA, his position was phased out when the company he was working for, was bought out. If you have ever thought about hiring a VA, reply to this message and I can answer any questions you may have and connect you with him.)

Know that you are LOVED!

Have a great week!

Carlos

Storm Damage Tips From Vargas & Vargas Insurance

This weekend’s Nor’easter, which is not a storm named by the National Weather Service, produced widespread damage including downed trees, sump pump failures, and power outages. The Vargas & Vargas Insurance team handled dozens of calls throughout the entire weekend and remains available at this time to assist you.

We understand there is great difficulty locating tree removal services and roofers to patch or tarp roof openings. We also note that finding generators and or sump pumps to remove water from basements is a challenge at this time.

Below are some tips should you have suffered any damage:

Tree damage: If there is tree damage to a building or home the first order of business is to ensure everyone’s physical safety. Once that has been completed, contact a licensed tree removal company. Currently, tree removal companies are focusing on calls involving severe damage. We suggest a number of companies be contacted to secure competitive quotes and, if necessary, to get on waiting lists for assistance.

Sump pump failure: Be extremely mindful of entering a flooded basement as water that has risen to certain levels may have caused an electrical short creating a dangerous situation. Elevating personal belongings and removing the water as soon as possible is important. Pumps and generators are in high demand currently and most local hardware and big box home improvement stores are out of stock. Contacting stores within a reasonable driving distance may be good option.

Roof damage: Much like tree removal services, licensed roofers are in high demand after a storm of this size. While likely well-meaning, this will cause individuals without the necessary level of expertise to offer assistance. As we have suggested in the past, please do not let anyone on your roof that you did not contact directly, and please be sure those that do provide help are appropriately licensed and insured.While these are the most common types of losses after a storm of this nature, we recognize these are not the only issues currently being experienced. Please contact Vargas & Vargas Insurance with any questions or concerns you may have.

To report a loss, you can contact us by telephone (617-298-0655), email(customerservice@vargasinsurance.com)
or text (617-409-0329).

If you suffer an emergency that cannot wait until we are open for business, please contact our after-hours claim telephone number  617-322-5289. 

Also, you may find our blog titled, “Home insurance, should you file a claim”, interesting to read, can read it by clicking here.

Sincerely,Carlos

We Are All Here For A Reason

I like to start most posts with some positive words:

Having a rough morning? Place your hand over your heart. Feel that? That’s called purpose; you are alive for a reason. Never give up!
-Unknown

If you met me during my school years, you would not recognize me today.

Here’s my story, our family emigrated to the US in 1968, I went to school, watched my siblings while my parents worked (sometimes two jobs each). They put food on the table, purchased a home, and kept us as comfortable as possible in order to live the American dream.

In school, English was my second language. In fact, when we arrived in the US I spoke no English and was placed in a second-grade class, despite being eight years old. As I progressed through public school, I messed up a lot. I was placed in the work-study program in High School for students who were feared that they would not graduate. I did the things that youth do thinking that they would live forever. I started working at 13 years old (I lied about my age) and have been working ever since.  I tried community college at night and failed, but, frankly, school was not for me. I came to find out many years later that I have a nonverbal learning disorder (NVLD); you may remember me sharing that with you earlier this year.

I met #TheMan  (click here to see photo) when I met him I was 20 years old and working two jobs. He recruited me into the world of Prudential Insurance, trained me, and taught me to have empathy and make a difference in the life of every person that I met.  He taught me how to prospect and connect in a deeply meaningful way with everyone that I came across who needed or may one day need my services.  He is my second father, and I am blessed to have him as my mentor to this date!

I met my wife Kathy in 1980. She worked at the same Prudential office that I did in Braintree, MA.  we got married in 1983. We (she) raised two sons, I was rarely home as we had decided that she would be an at home mom and I would hunker down and do what needed to be done to make a good living for our young family. Both of our sons are college graduates and are now married, working, and on their own. (click here to see photo)

“Someone needs to pay the price, whether the family pays the price and has a modest lifestyle or one Parent works the extended hours and pays the price to give the family the best life possible.” – #TheMan (Vasco Rodrigues)

I was the 4th child born to my parents, but the first to survive. I have a sister who owns her own insurance agency and two brothers who are co-owners of our agency.

I have always taken great pride in the Vargas and Faria (my mother’s maiden name) names but they took on a special significance recently.

I stopped by to see my oldest living aunt the other day, Aunt Rosa, (click here to see a photo) and as she always does, she brought out the photo albums and starts explaining to me our family history and where we came from (after all, someone needs to keep the mental records for the family, she does this with everyone who visits) we came from a small village on the island of Faial in the Azores.

Of course, my father never talked about his life in the Azores to me or anyone else. After we emigrated to the US, my father never had any interest in ever going back to visit the country of his birth. My mother, on the other hand, had great memories of her youth with friends and cousins. I was able to meet some of them when we visited Faial together on numerous occasions over the years.

I came to the realization while sitting with my aunt that my father and mother came from the same exact place, experienced the same schools and the same ups and downs, had the same wants, but my father never forgot the bad stuff that he experienced, while my mother tried to only remember the good in her life when living in Faial.

I know I am here for a reason. I know that you are here for a reason. We are not accidents. The fact that you are reading this is not an accident. We have a purpose and there is a plan for our lives.

As the people who came before us made our lives possible, we have the opportunity to make the best possible life for others. Let’s use this gift of life we have been given and make a positive impact on everyone we meet!

My mother always told me I was going to do something special (she told all of her children this) and somehow through all the difficult times in our lives I heard her words and believed them. She gave me the greatest gift an adult can give a child. She believed in me. She called out the best in me and I think of her all the time, and always try to look at the “good side” of things. (click here to see photo)

And in case no one has told you recently, I want you to know that you are special. You are here to do something meaningful, and I believe in you.

You are meant to make a difference. You can start today.

Carlos

The one skill more important to business pros than sales.

I hope that you had a fantastic weekend! As you know, I like to start every week with some words of wisdom:

“The thing that people don’t realize is you want to teach people how to fix things without paying you for it because that builds up leverage, you give up a sale in the beginning, but you get all the sales in the end.”

Gary Vaynerchuk

Over the next five years, there is one skill undeniably more important to the success of all business professionals than sales. Unfortunately, most are not putting in the hard work to improve this skill. That’s where the opportunity lies for us!

What is this important skill, you ask? It’s building relationships. You need to build relationships today to stand out 5, 10, and 20 years from now. Most businesspeople aren’t doing this today, and the writing’s on the wall for them.

We operate in a marketplace where attention rules all, and those who can attract (and keep) the attention win the game. If you are not doing the work today that sets you up to succeed, you will not be able to compete. There will come a day when what you do and offer in the marketplace may be better and cheaper, but it will be as if you don’t exist because you have not built the relationships to get and keep their attention.

If you look at the money being poured into ads everywhere by the big boys – Trulia, Zillow, Rocket Mortgage, and Morgan & Morgan, for example – the money they are spending doesn’t pan out.  They can’t be local like you and me.  It’s not the consumer’s fault that they think that they believe the ‘big boys’ – instead, it’s an opportunity for us to educate them.

I am a believer in content marketing, telling your story, being the local and value provider, and giving without expectation of a return. I truly believe that the organizations that will be in business in the next 5, 10, and 20 years are the ones who are laying the groundwork today.

What does that look like? It means getting your customers’ emails and cell phone numbers. I work with some business people who still do not have their customers’ information! There is no way to compete in a world where your competitors have your customers’ email addresses and cell phone numbers and you don’t.

If you want to stay relevant for the next several years, you had better change your way of doing business. You need to put the content out there in all the ways that your customers are consuming it – video, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

If you don’t like to be in front of the camera, find someone who does. If you don’t like to write, find someone who does (hit reply now and I can connect you with my copy editor, she is amazing and an asset to my business).

“There has never been a time in history to attract attention was so valuable.” –Ryan Hanley

Your story needs to be told whether you are a big huge brand or a mom and pop shop, and no one can tell your story like you can. Your ability to tell your story is as important as your ability to sell your products and service. It’s the only way that you will attract the attention to do business in the new digital marketplace.

In today’s world, ‘losing’ means taking the time to perfect the customer experience. It means thinking about the way people answer your phone. It means making less cold calls and writing blog posts or creating bitesize videos about the questions you hear every day.

The truth is that I don’t know where this is all headed, what I do know is this:

“There is a connected generation and an unconnected generation, every day that goes by the connected generation expands and the unconnected generation shrinks, who are you going to bet your future on?”

Make the conscious decision to tell your story and connect with the expanding consumer group. How will you connect? Podcasts, blogs, video? I don’t know, but taking the time today to start building your brand now is what will help you succeed in the upcoming years and even decades. Attention wins the game, and I want you to come along for this ride. Lose today so we can all win tomorrow.

I will leave you with this final quote:

“If you’re not putting relevant content in relevant places, you don’t exist.” –Gary Vaynerchuk
I implore you to heed this advice. You can thank me five years from now.

Have a question? Need help? Leave a message below and I will work your question into a future message.

Know that you are loved!

C

Keep Your Bathroom Sparkling and New

We all want to keep our homes clean, and this is especially true of one room: the bathroom. It seems to, at times, be a haven for dirt and grime. Do you ever feel like no matter how much you scrub, your bathrooms get dirty again in a day or two? Here are a few cleaning tips that can help you keep your bathroom looking sparkling and new for more than just a few minutes at a time:

  • For hard to reach places, have a spare toothbrush dedicated to cleaning. Then you won’t have to worry about getting into nooks and crannies with the corner of a rag.
  • If you’re someone who would prefer to clean with natural products instead of harsher chemicals, don’t dismiss the power of a baking soda and vinegar paste – it can be used on tubs, showers, toilets, and more!
  • Cleaning is much easier in the bathroom if everything is organized and out of the way. Instead of piling everything on the countertops, hang shelving or a wall cabinet to hold your odds and ends. Keep everything in its place, and you won’t have to reorganize every time you want to wipe down.

Once your home is clean and fresh, make sure that it is fully protected with a home insurance or renters insurance policy from the Massachusetts insurance experts at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency. One quick call to 617-298-0655 can get you the protection and confidence that you deserve. And if you combine your home and auto insurance, you can save money on both insurance policies – just call today for a free quote.

Create a Family Emergency Plan

Hurricane season is in full swing here in New England – are you prepared? One of the best ways to make sure that you and your family are ready in case of an emergency is with a family emergency plan. If you don’t have one, here are some things that you should think about and decide:

  • Designate one out-of-town family member or friend that each person in your family can contact if there is an emergency. This person will be in charge of making sure that everyone is safe and act as a liaison between family members if needed.
  • Every person in the family should know the out-of-town contact’s phone number, as well as one phone number for each member of the family. “It’s in my phone” doesn’t count – these numbers should be memorized so that they can be accessed from anywhere.
  • Designate two meeting places in case of an emergency. One should be local – somewhere within a few miles of your home. The other should be further away in case of a more widespread disaster. Also make sure family members know the location of the closest shelter in the area.
  • All family members should know the locations of family emergency kits – including those in the home and in vehicles. Make sure everyone knows what is in the kits and how each item should be used.

Make sure that you are doubly prepared by keeping the Vargas and Vargas Insurance numbers among your emergency contacts. By having our office number (617-298-0655) and our after-hours line (617-322-5289) with your other numbers, you will be sure that you are able to get a claim going right away on your home, auto, or flood insurance policy if you need to do so.

Massachusetts Traffic Safety Initiatives

 

We are all so lucky to live in the great state of Massachusetts. But I think there’s one other thing we can all agree on – traffic is sometimes (if not often) a mess. If you’ve ever encountered a traffic jam and thought you may never make it to your destination – fear not… you’re not alone. Thankfully, there are many traffic programs here in Massachusetts that are aimed at making the roads better for all drivers. Here are three examples of these traffic safety initiatives:

Click It or Ticket

Did you know that the national average for seatbelt use is 90%? However, Massachusetts has one of the worst seatbelt use cases – 78%. In order to raise the state’s seatbelt use to be closer to the national average, the Highway Safety Division has been using the Click It or Ticket campaign since 2002. It has worked wonders, and has greatly increased seatbelt use and the number of serious injuries and fatalities associated with vehicle accidents.

Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over

In 2014, 40% of Massachusetts traffic deaths were a result of impaired driving. In order to lower the number of intoxicated drivers, Massachusetts began the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” education and enforcement campaign, targeted at men aged 21-34 – the most likely group to drink and drive.

Move Over Law

First responders and police officers are hurt and killed every year while providing aid in emergency situations. In 2009, the state of Massachusetts aimed to keep these people safe by implementing the “Move Over Law,” which requires drivers to move into the next available lane (or, if no other lane exists, to reduce their speed) when emergency vehicles or personnel are present.

For more traffic safety tips, make sure that you follow the Vargas and Vargas Insurance blog. We love to post articles that will help to keep you and your loved ones safe while out on the road. And the next time you’re looking for a fair and honest auto insurance review, call our agency at 617-298-0655. We can help you save money while ensuring that you and your vehicle are protected in case of an accident

How to Make the Most of an Afternoon Nap

It is truly unfortunate that napping is associated with laziness in today’s society. In truth, there are many benefits to polyphasic sleep, including lower stress levels and increased mood. Whether you need an emergency nap on a busy day, or you make it a point to get a snooze in every day, ensure that you get the most out of your afternoon siesta with the following tips:

  • Limit your nap to 20-30 minutes. This length has been proven to increase alertness without inducing grogginess or sleep inertia.
  • Choose your environment wisely – a nap while riding the T will never be as restful as one on a quiet couch or bed.
  • If you have trouble falling asleep for a nap, try using meditation techniques like breathing exercises to calm your mind.
  • Combine the benefits of napping and caffeine by having a coffee right before a short nap. When you wake up, you should be feeling the effects of both for a double boost!
  • Lavender is a scent that naturally lowers heart rate and blood pressure, so it can help you relax before you attempt to drift off.

Once you awaken from your nap, you will be more alert and ready to take on any task. Similarly, here at Vargas and Vargas Insurance Agency we are ready to help you with all of your insurance needs! Call 617-298-0655 to speak to one of our agents about a free and no-obligation review of all of your insurance policies – we can make sure that you are fully covered and that you’re not overpaying for your policies. Sweet dreams!