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If you’re like most financial advisors, you didn’t start your business for the money—you started it to live and work on your own terms.

Although freedom is the most common goal of financial advisors, it’s the least common reality. Many work into the AM, never feel done and don’t even see appropriate results for all their hard work.

If that’s you, today’s episode is for you. Because you’ll find out how you can take time off (without checking your phone every 3.5 minutes) and claim the freedom you started your business for.

That way, you’ll become a successful advisor who gets respect from clients and peers for playing by his own rules.

Show highlights include:

  • The biggest reason financial advisors don’t have freedom (this has almost nothing to do with marketing—and everything to do with priorities). (7:30)
  • How to identify “business” activities robbing you of your time and freedom without making you any richer. (8:40)
  • The free software you can use to evaluate whether you’re spending your time the right way. (11:30)
  • Why “hustling” and “grinding” is useless–and how to do the opposite instead. (14:30)

Go to the TheAdvisorCoach.com/Newsletter and pick up your free 90 minute download called “5 Keys to Success for Financial Advisors” when you join The James Pollard Inner Circle.

Ready to learn even more about becoming the successful financial advisor you know you can be? Check out these resources:





Read Full Transcript

You're listening to Financial Advisor Marketing. The best show on the planet for financial advisors who want to get more clients without all the stress. You're about to get the real scoop on everything from lead generation to closing the deal. James is the founder of TheAdvisorCoach.com where you can find an entire suite of products designed to help financial advisors grow their businesses more rapidly than ever before. Now here is your host, James Pollard.

James: Hello, and welcome everyone. Glad to you have you tune it, whether you love me or whether you hate me. I know the last couple of episodes have started off in a cheesy way, so I'm going to keep it going. Haters are going to hate. Tomato is going to mate. And alligators are going to allogate, Jonathan. That made me sound douchier than normal. People are going to write me, "Oh my God, did you really just say alligators are going to allogate?" Yes. I did. Hater. [0:01:03.6]
Every single week, speaking of these emails, I get people emailing me and they ask to get put on my email list, and I appreciate it. I just get a lot of them, you know. So I want to address it right here in the podcast. I know I've done it in other episodes, but if you want to get on my email list, please go to the TheAdvisorCoach.com/57, it's just the number 57, TheAdvisorCoach.com/57, and enter your email in the opt-in there, or if you go to TheAdvisorCoach.com/blog and you read any of my blog posts, I literally have an opt-in at the bottom of every single blog post. So, the people who email me asking me to put their email on my email list obviously haven’t read any of my blog posts, Jonathan.

Jonathan: But they've listened to the show, obviously.

James: I know. I know, and I appreciate that. So even if you haven't gone to the blog, I'm not throwing shade at you. I'm just saying…

Jonathan: Alligating? Are you alligating? [0:02:00.3]

James: Alligate. I'm alligating right now, but yeah, so, and actually that's a, here you go, this is an encouragement. I mean if you've never been to the blog, go on over there. I mean I've got dozens and dozens of articles and cold calling and content marketing and marketing tips, prospecting tips. I have a few for insurance marketing, simply because people have asked for it, and yeah, just read. I mean if you’ve got a weekend and you want to catch up on your reading, do that. So, opt-in to the email list, TheAdvisorCoach.com/57 and the blog posts. Moving on. A lot of people know me as someone who helps financial advisor become more productive, and I'm very serious. Very serious about this stuff. I mean, we even did an entire episode about sleep, which is one of the most important things you can do to become more productive, and you've seen how I operate, Jonathan. I mean, we'll record some episodes and I'll have some notes for the next episode in like a few days. So…

Jonathan: Yeah.

James: … I've always got some projects cooking up and I never, almost never, miss a deadline. So, I take pride in this stuff. But I want to talk about a time where I wasn’t as productive as I could have been. And if you read between the lines in this episode, this story will reveal a huge mistake financial advisors make on a regular basis. So. Story time. Let me put my readers on and curl up by the fire. [0:03:22.8]

Jonathan: Do harp music.

James: And I'll read the story. Okay, financial advisors… Once upon a time I was moving into a new place, and I ordered bedroom furniture and I actually ordered an entire set. I ordered a big gentleman's chest, which is beautiful, by the way, I loved it; a dresser; two nightstands; a bed - the whole nine yards. And the company, which shall remain unnamed, delivered a broken piece of furniture. And not a huge deal, you know, I mean, if you got a bunch of furniture and they deliver one broken piece, hey, it's not going, you know, rock the boat or anything. [0:04:01.0]

I'm just going to say, "Hey, come out here and fix this piece of furniture." So. This piece of furniture, it was worth about a thousand bucks, a good chunk of change and I wanted to get it replaced. So, I called the company and I asked them to send a replacement. Again, no big deal. And they agreed, with no problem. But here's the thing, the delivery guy who was supposed to send the replacement never showed up. So, I'm a little peeved at this point, you know, I'm, again, we talk about my type A, alpha male personality, so. "Hey, where's my furniture?!" So, I call them up again and they send someone else out, which means I have to sit around again and make sure this guys shows up, for the second time, well actually, the third time. They delivered the first time, the guy didn't show up and I was waiting for that and then now I've got to wait a third time. So, he does show up; that's the good thing. And he doesn’t have any replacement furniture.

Jonathan: What?

James: Yeah. He has a replacement part. [0:05:01.7]
So how they work is that they figure out, or well actually, they didn’t even have a chance to figure it out, and I mean, they must have known that this part was defective. So he brought out a part to fix the part. But here's the thing - the part didn’t even fit on the piece of furniture that was broken. The part he brought out didn't fit. So now, I call back, again, and now, they refuse to replace the furniture. They just straight up said …

Jonathan: What?!

James: … "We're not going to replace it." So they've done a complete 180, which means I have to call customer support, then I have to get a manager, then I have to get that person's manager, and so on and so forth and at this point, I'm getting pissed off. But, eventually, they replaced the furniture. Now here is my point - when everything was said and done, I spent about 15 hours dealing with this nightmare, 15, 15 hours! To get this piece of furniture replaced. So, let's do some math. We're going from story time to math class. If we divide that $1000 by 15 hours, we find that my "hourly rate" is about $67/hour. [0:06:09.8]
Now of course, I had no way of knowing it would take that long, but listen to what I'm saying here - I, me, I foolishly allowed myself to sink more and more of my time into this situation. What I should have done is to, I should have cut them off after a certain amount of time, and I just, I should have viewed it as a sunk cost. So from there I could’ve gotten rid of the piece of furniture. I could have sold it for less than I bought it for. I could’ve just bought a new piece. So I should have cut them off. I should’ve said, "I'm not spending any more time on it. We're done. I'm selling it. Money isn't that important to me; my time, the one thing I can't replace and I can't get back, that's more important to me than any amount of money, well not any amount, but an hour for like 20," hey, I got an hour for you. But, and for a thousand bucks, to spend 15 hours, I was just being a total goofball. [0:07:02.2]

I shouldn’t have done that. And it brings me to today's topic, which is something a lot of financial advisors ask me about, and that's taking more time off. They want to be able to do the things they want to do, whether that's golf, go on vacation, spend time with their family, whatever they want to do, they need time to do it. We all need time to do the stuff that we want to do. And I'm going to help them get more time freedom. The problem is that many financial advisors aren’t willing to take a drop in income in order to enjoy that time freedom, which means that they have to squeeze even more money out of every unit of time. Because if you're currently making $50/hour, and you want to work half as much and still make the same amount of money, that means you have to make $100/hour with your reduced schedule. Now obviously, I can't guarantee any results for people listening to this podcast, because I don’t know their individual circumstance or situation, but here's how I would do it. So, I'm going to walk you through the process. If you want to take more time off and make the same amount of money or more, this is how you do it. [0:08:08.4]

Hey financial advisors, are you ready to take your business to the next level and get more clients with less stress? I invite you to join the James Pollard Inner Circle of Paper and Ink Newsletter that gets delivered directly to your door every month. When you join now you'll also get a 90-minute instant download called, "Five Keys to Success for Financial Advisors", a $97 value for absolutely free. All you have to do is head over to TheAdvisorCoach.com/newsletter and join today.

James: I would start by ruthlessly eliminating everything that doesn’t move the needle, and the ironic thing here is that it may take you a lot of time to figure this out. It may take you quite a bit of time to sit down and go for your task. So what you want to do is you want to write out everything you do on a regular basis and then identify the things that aren’t producing the result you want. [0:09:03.9]

That's the essence of productivity, focusing on the tasks that produce, because productivity is all about production, and a lot of people fail to realize that. They think that productivity is about getting more stuff done in less time, or they think it's just about saving time. And those are both wrong. I mean, they're not totally wrong, but it's still wrong. Now, productivity is about getting more output from the same levels of input. If I get more for my money, that's more output for the same money input. And once you have all your tasks written out, then you're going to have a sense of clarity of what's worthwhile and what isn't. And like I said, this may take some time, and every time you do something new, put it on your list, and then decide if it's worth it for you to keep doing that or not. And for you financial advisors out there who have followed me for some time, and you've listened to me talk about having a daily planner or a journal or a to-do list that stores the task, this is going to be really easy for you. [0:10:05.0]

You have no excuse to not do this because all you have to do is go back through your planner, look at all the stuff you've done and say, "Hey, what is a low value task?" Because you have the list right in front of you. Just take a highlighter, go through and highlight every single low value activity and boom, you're done. You've got no excuse not to do this. So, step 1 for you is done. Step 2 - I would make a plan for how much time you want to take off from your business, and I would start small. A lot of people try to get too aggressive with this. They try to get too aggressive too soon. They want to take off too much time. They think they can go from working 60 hours/week to 40 hours/week in a month and still make their current level of production. No.

Jonathan: Good luck.

James: I mean, I'm not saying that is not possible, Jonathan, but it's certainly difficult for most people. And I don’t want to get off track, but I am very curious. I was listening to Doberman Dan episode, shout out to Doberman Dan, and I heard that you said you work 20 hours/week. Is that still the case? [0:11:08.2]

Jonathan: Ah, yes, it is. Yes, indeed it is. I invest 20 hours/week into my business.

James: Any secrets you want to share with the class?

Jonathan: Businesses. No, I think what you said right there, the activity inventory is what we call it, like doing that for a month. Another thing that I do right now, and I'm getting Cupcake onto, is this thing called Toggl, so I run timers on everything I do all day long. Like you and I have been talking for 52 minutes and 41 seconds right now.

James: Yeah, I'm running a timer right now. I'm at 55 minutes and 24 seconds.

Jonathan: We were getting ready before we got on the call, right. So I think those two things, being aware and also knowing what you want are two really important pieces.

James: Yeah. So you heard it from the man himself. He actually works less than I do, and I…

Jonathan: You work a lot. You're so full of it. So I think this episode is ironic. Like, you're a work horse. [0:12:00.3]

James: Right. Yeah. Well, so actually, let me look at my Toggl because I'm at the computer right now, and we will see, you will… well, because a lot of advisors ask me, they're like what do you actually, how much time are you actually putting in. So I will give you an honest answer right here. So I, from, let me do Monday through Friday because on Saturday, I don’t really track that much. I mean, if I had something… Okay, so for last week, I worked 21 hours and 14 minutes.

Jonathan: Now, really??

James: Well, now, that's …

Jonathan: Damn, you're productive.

James: Right, yeah. So, let's go to the next week before that. So, the week before that is 23 hours and 21 minutes and…

Jonathan: No way! I would’ve never expected that, James, the way you get things done.

James: The week before that is 28 hours and 27 minutes.

Jonathan: Ooh, oh, man.

James: We'll do one more, just to ease the people, appease the people's curiosity, 29:54, so okay. So, I'm actually becoming more productive as time goes on. [0:13:04.3]
So I worked 29 hours and I worked 28 hours and I worked like what was it 23 and then 20. So, but I'm still getting stuff done. So I am practicing what I preach and I'm trying to get it down to 20 hours, but yeah. I mean at one point, I really was working 40, 50, 60, and now keep in mind when Jonathan and I are talking about Toggl, that means that like we hit a clock and that clock is running while we're actually working on our tasks. So if I come into my office and I'm just like browsing the internet or something, that clock is not running.

Jonathan: No Toggl there.

James: The clock is only running when I'm writing the Inner Circle newsletter, when I'm recording a podcast, when I'm, I have a phone call with a financial advisor, when I'm working on new product, when I'm doing an interview. Like the clock's only running when I'm doing something that can move the needle. So, when I gave you those numbers where I work 21 hours or 20 hours or 29 hours, that's not just me sitting in a chair in an office. [0:14:02.7]
That's me actually working, like I am doing stuff. I'm just going through my list. So don’t think that I'm just lounging around for 20 hours/week in an office. Like, I'm still pushing. But it's just that I don’t exist in an office for 60, 70 hours/week like most of these people who probably, they probably say "Hustle and grind." That's not…

Jonathan: Yeah, grind your face off.

James: Yeah. Grind your face off. It's not that, it's not what you want to do. And well, maybe it is. I can't talk for you, but all I know is that my quality of life has improved so much since I started tracking my time and when I get into the office or when I work on something, I hit that clock and I… it's kind of like a mental edge too, because I know like, hey, I gotta keep working because the clock is ticking. I don’t want to shortchange myself. So, that's what we do. And most of my Inner Circle members, back to the productivity thing, they join the Inner Circle because they want to get more clients, they want to make more money, and that's kind of the whole reason they're subscribed because they, I give them tips on how to improve their business and how to make more money. [0:15:05.9]

But there was one Inner Circle member who emailed me and he asked about this concept, and that's kind of why I was so comfortable sharing my own personal stats, because I mean, I've shared it with the Inner Circle. And he was okay making the same amount of money but he did want to work less. I don't know how much he was making, but he just said he was okay staying where he was, but he wanted to work less. So I told him to start slowly but surely cutting his time out of his business. So he set a goal to work 2 hours less every single week. So in his first week, he left the office 2 hours earlier on Friday. Then the next week, he left 4 hours earlier on Friday. Then eventually, I mean, he was taking Fridays off and he was making the …

Jonathan: Nice.

James: … same amount of money because it was slowly but surely just slowing, not slowing down, but he was becoming more productive in the time that he was giving himself. And the reason you want to take it slow when you do this is because you will naturally start to see ways to increase your productivity. [0:16:05.2]
It's kind of like going down the road. You can't see your entire path at once. You travel a little bit, then you see more. You keep traveling, then you see more. And the same idea applies to working less, and that's what I've been doing. And it's, I can't give you like, I can't hold your hand through this process because you, only you know what your day is like, only you know the tasks that you're doing. So, I'm giving you the steps, yeah, but you gotta do the work yourself. So. And finally, the final step is I would have an outline of exactly what you're going to do with your free time because I found that …

Jonathan: Yes.

James: … some people who want time freedom, they think they're just going to sit around and do nothing all day. And then when they actually try it out, especially the high achievers, the people who listen to this podcast, the Inner Circle members, these are like go-getters, the top of their game, they realize that's not what they want to do. So make sure you know, in advance, what you want. [0:17:02.0]

And that Inner Circle member that I just mentioned? He just wanted to go golfing every Friday, and he did. But if he looked at the weather forecast and he saw that it was going to rain on Friday, then he would adjust his schedule to allow him to go golfing another time and he would just work on Friday, because if it's raining, then he's going to be in the office, sure. And this is an amazing way to structure your life because you don’t lose any productive time and you still get to do the things you want to do because you plan it out in advance. Now I'm taking a trip in a couple of days, just say I'm going to block off this day, we're going to do whatever we want to do, and I've allowed for that, and I've scheduled that in advance. And to recap the whole episode, time freedom is true freedom. Because you could always make more money, but you can't get more time. So make sure you use it wisely. You want to eliminate anything that doesn’t produce. You want to take it slow and take it very slowly and be very methodical when you start taking time off. And I want you to have a plan in place for what you want to do, and that's some of the best advice I can possibly give when it comes to taking time off and gaining true freedom as a financial advisor. [0:18:11.0]

Jonathan: Good, good, good, good. Alright. So that is a wrap, but what do you have coming up next time?

James: In the next episode, I'm going to discuss three critical mistakes financial advisors make when setting appointments with prospects. So if you can fix these three mistakes in your appointment setting process, it'll become much easier and you'll set appointments with ease.

Jonathan: Sounds awesome. So, that is another episode in the can. Thank you, financial advisors, for tuning in. We'll be back next week.

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