Takyla W. Smith said that being an insurance agent is like being a doctor who needs to have a good attitude at the bedside of patients.

"You know, people do business with people they like," Smith said. "Then they must love and trust you."

Smith, 36, after working for 12 and a half years for MSH Insurance, opened his own business, Key Insurance Solutions, in Rocky Mount's central business district.

Smith said that she wanted to be able to control her schedule and be able to help more people. It opened in early November.

Key Insurance Solutions sells disability insurance, health insurance, life insurance, long-term care insurance and Part D Medicare supplement insurance products. The company also sells dental and vision insurance.

Smith said the name of a company was referring to the key word about what's important.

She said that in the insurance industry, the most important thing for her was to be able to create a relationship of trust with a client and understand her needs.

She described the opening for companies as both exciting and scary.

"It happened fairly quickly, in a short time," she said.

She said that probably the scary part was going from paid work to having to earn an income totally from commissions.

She also emphasized the intricacies inherent in the need to start a business in accordance with laws, procedures, regulations and rules, the tendency being repeatedly: "Before you can do that, it has to be done."

At the same time, she reported attending courses at Nash Community College, N.C. Wesleyan College and the SpringBoard NC Resource Platform.

"And thanks to these organizations, I've been able to get directions to help me progress," she said.

She laughingly said that one of the most difficult tasks was to make Google, a giant search engine on the Internet, point to the location of Key Insurance Solutions on the Google map so Google visitors could easily locate your business.

"I do not know what the problem was, but I think they just do not want stealthy companies or companies that are not really companies to open stores," she said.

She said that it would probably take a month and a half before Google accepts any documentation to put the company on the Google map.

She explained that one of the strengths of Key Insurance Solutions is that customers will no longer need to call a 1-800 number for a remote location and deal with elevator-like music while waiting for a person comes to the end of the line.

She said that to be accessible to people who have to work until 5 pm, Key Insurance Solutions is open until 6 pm. From Monday to Thursday.

"So we are always open and we are still here," she said, noting that appointments could be made.

She added that she worked in twin counties, with the exception of a move to N.C. Farm Bureau Insurance in Raleigh.

She graduated from Northern Nash High School in 2000, but before graduation she had joined a youth apprenticeship program and started working for Rocky Mount-based Boddie-Noell Enterprises, which owns and operates many restaurants.

She eventually ended up applying for a full-time job at an on-site risk management company and began as a claims adjuster.

Her resume also includes an enrollment in the Nash Unc Health Care Emergency Department.

She is currently a real estate agent at Keffer Reams.

Key Insurance Solutions is located at 120 N. Franklin St., Suite G and is open from 9am to 6pm. Monday to Thursday and 9am to 5pm on Fridays.

Key Insurance Solutions can be reached by phone at 210-4539 and Smith indicated that the office phone system is designed to accept text messages.

Smith can also be contacted by email at takyla@keyinsurancesolutions.com. The company also has a page on Facebook.