Meet KJ VanDerwerken, the Owner of VanDerwerken Properties, and an Insurance Agent at Movement Insurance. I’ve produced and am currently servicing a personal lines (insurance) book of business exceeding $2,600,000, made up of 3,100 clients. For real estate investing and my expertise in the insurance industry, I’ve won two 30 Under 30 Business Awards in 2018.
Tell us about yourself?
I grew up in rural upstate NY. After high school, our family decided to move to Charlotte. A combination of better weather, increased career opportunities and overall improved quality of life made me excited to make the move. I attended UNCC, graduating with a degree in Finance (with a concentration in risk management and insurance). I was blessed to land a job with a phenomenal company (Movement Mortgage/Movement Insurance) out of college. I’ve been with the company over seven years now. During that time, I’ve started a real estate holding company, VanDerwerken Properties. Our current focus is building long term wealth through investing in income producing, single-family rental properties. Eventually, I hope to get into multi-family units. I’m a die-hard Carolina Panthers, UNC Tar Heels, and Charlotte Hornets fan. I spent the majority of my time with family, friends, or at sporting events.
What makes your organization different than your competitors?
Movement Insurance is an independent insurance agency. We have the ability to shop multiple carriers who offer multiple products all at different price points. That makes us competitive in the majority of scenarios and able to provide the most comprehensive insurance coverage for the best price for our customers.
What was the best book or series that you’ve ever read?
I’ve always been big on reading. I try to finish at least a book a month. However, if you don’t like reading, between Youtube, and Podcasts, there are so many ways for people to consume great content. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Think and Grow Rich, How to Win Friends and Influence People are some of my favorite books. But I’d recommend diving into whatever field you’re in. For example, when I started VanDerwerken Properties, I read every real estate book I could from The Millionaire Real Estate Investor to Every Landlord’s Legal Guide.
What are the best and worst purchases you’ve ever made?
In terms of best purchase, I would say it’s been my properties. They’ve been producing income, creating equity and appreciating in value. In terms of worst purchases, I haven’t made too many. I’ve never had a car payment. I’ve never purchased anything fancy or unnecessary. I’m a huge sports fan – so most of my guilty pleasure purchases have been sporting events with my Dad.
What takes up too much of your time?
I think from an early age, successful people will learn to prioritize. Spend the majority of your time on the things that will bring value to your business and make money. It’s crucial that you cut out any distractions.
What three pieces of advice would you give to college students/new startup business owners who want to become entrepreneurs?
I’d say first find out whether or not you’re truly an entrepreneur. I think the idea of entrepreneurship has become “cool” for my generation. However, I believe the perception and what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur is misconstrued. Next, find out something you love to do – something that genuinely makes you happy. With social media, you can reach any audience across the globe and monetize. Lastly, go all in. When you’re young, you have all the time in the world on your side. You can fail without major repercussions. Go for it!
Who has impressed you most with what they’ve accomplished?
My parents. I could never thank them enough for the way they’ve sacrificed everything to give our family the best life possible. I’ve been blessed to be so close and spend so much time with them. Happiness is the main goal in life, and having a great family makes me happy.
Tell us about something you are proud of – about your greatest challenge.
I think I’m the proudest of the relationships I’ve made over the course of my young career. We’re all in the human business. I try to bring value and genuinely care about everyone I’ve ever had the chance to meet or do business with. I’m also proud of every opportunity I’ve had to give back. Working directly with the Movement Foundation, I’ve seen how much of an impact giving back can have on people living in your community.
How people should connect with you?