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Designing A Lifestyle Advisor Practice

You probably didn’t start your business to work late, get up early and chase clients who hate you. Most advisors start their business to work when they want, how they want and with whom they want.

And that can be your reality. Your business doesn’t have to be a low-paying job with a terrible boss. In this episode, you’ll find out how to build an advisor practice that gives you the exact lifestyle you want.

Ready to break free? Listen now!

Show highlights include: 

  • If you want to reduce your work hours, this 8 word sentence will set you free. (5:19)
  • How to screen for clients who’ll boost your business instead of clogging up your schedule. (7:07)
  • Dangerous lies most financial advisors tell themselves about their business. (14:20)
  • Feel stuck in business? Get clarity on these 3 things by picking a niche. (16:22)
  • How many clients do you really need? Here’s the definitive answer.. (18:17)

If you’re looking for a way to set more appointments with qualified prospects, sign up for James’ brand new webinar about how financial advisors can get more clients with email marketing.

Go to https://TheAdvisorCoach.com/webinar to register today.

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 Adviser Marketing, the best show on the planet for financial advisers 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 TheAdviserCoach.com, where you can find an entire suite of products designed to help financial advisers grow their businesses more rapidly than ever before. Now, here is your host, James Pollard. [00:32]

James: Welcome to another episode of Financial Adviser Marketing, the show where I yell at financial advisers, make cheesy jokes and call it content. We've got a problem with that, then you can just, just not listen.

Jonathan: Tiddee taddaa…Padaam Puum….Phhshh.

James: Turn it off. But I mean, you have told me, Jonathan, that the people who hate the show or hate the way I approach business, like they listen the most and I see it. So hi to everyone if you're listening.

Jonathan: And ready to hate some more.

James: Well, so beat man, we've got a lot of like, I don't even know when this episode is going to come out, but right now, I mean, we got a lot of crazy political stuff happening in the, all this. And I've had two people in the past month because I mean, we keep a file of all the questions that were asked. Two people have asked me very political questions and they're like trying to get me to say what I believe or whatever. It's just, like I said, I'm not a Republican. I'm not a Democrat but rest assured I hate everyone equally. You better believe it. So I hate everybody with the same amount of vigor, the same amount of passion. I don't discriminate Jonathan with my hate. [01:43.2]

Jonathan: Good for you

James: I give it out equally. So, otherwise I'm glad to have you here, if you're listening, if you're a new listener or whatever. You're probably like what the heck is going on here. But this week's episode is actually a result of the financial advisers who are on my email list. And over the years, just like with the way they're asking me political questions and trying to get me to say something crazy. It's not that hard to do actually, but I'm the, I'm not going to venture into political stuff. They've asked me for stuff, I'm building a lifestyle practice. And before we get into all this, I must be completely transparent. I hate to burst your bubble producer. Jonathan, I know last week you said it was one of your favorite topics, but my personal business philosophy doesn't necessarily jibe with the whole lifestyle practice.

Jonathan: No kidding. [02:32.0]

James: I'm someone who likes to get into a business and grow it as fast as possible, help as many people as possible and keep that thing going. And I mean, I don't know. I guess I kind of sorta have a lifestyle practice. I mean, I've never really, or a lifestyle business, I should say. I've never really thought about it that way. I definitely don't feel like it's any particular lifestyle, but I mean, at the end of the day I do what I want, do business with who I want work when I want. So I guess kinda sorta is, I don't know. I've never really thought about it. But I don't deliberately; I don't deliberately stifle my business in order to live a certain lifestyle. My business and my lifestyle, they work together and they work in harmony. I think when a lot of financial advisers talk about building a lifestyle practice, what they're really saying is I want to limit the amount of time I spend in my business. I want to limit what I'm doing in my business. [03:31.1]

And the message behind the message there, is typically, I don't like what I'm doing. I don't want to keep doing it, but I guess the difference between me and everyone else that I genuinely enjoy my business. It's not work life balance, it's just it's life. That's it! I don't really separate the two, but if you want to take it slow and you want to build a lifestyle practice, that's totally cool. You can just do the stuff I talk about in all the other podcast episodes and slow it down when you get to where you want to be. But the cool thing is, I guess, you know, lifestyle brat does. I mean, I will give them props. The cool thing is that they can actually be more profitable than what's called the enterprise model. And the enterprise model is like the big business model. [04:12.9]

For example, if you're making $600,000 per year in your business and your costs are $150,000, that means you're left with a pretty decent margin. I mean, it's nothing to sneeze at. And that may not be the case for bigger businesses. I mean, they could make a million dollars per year or $2 million per year and spend most of it just to keep going, because they've got so many people, they've got so many operational expenses, you just have to figure out what works for you and figure out what makes you happy. And that's the goal, right? If you're happy with what you're doing, Hey, more power to you. I don't listen to me. I mean, I'm just a guy on a podcast. They just, that's what matters your happiness. So let's get into the tips I have for financial advisers who want to design a lifestyle practice. So I'm here to serve the people Jonathan. [04:56.8]

Jonathan: Right.

James: Even though I don't necessarily, I don't know. I mean, it's whatever floats your boat. I'm not really going to get into my personal opinion. If you want to build a lifestyle practice.

Jonathan: The first time ever

James: First time ever for what?

Jonathan: You not giving your personal opinion.

James: Oh no. Well, some of it may eat out in these Tufts. I don't know. First tip. If you want to build a lifestyle practice, add to the top, subtract from the bottom. This is perhaps the most important piece of advice I can give for a financial adviser who is trying to attain that elusive balance in his or her life. Maybe you've got kids and you want to spend more time with them while making a decent living. If so this is how to do it. [05:41.4]

One of the dangerous parts of running a lifestyle practice is that it becomes very, very tempting to stop prospecting and stop marketing. Especially if you've got a solid client base already. I mean, if you've got a pretty decent business, you may say, Hey, I'm going to stop. I'm going to slow it down. This is fulfilling my lifestyle, but the truth is if you're not growing, you're dying. However, remember that these advisers, the lifestyle practices advisers, they don't want to grow for the sake of growing. They want to grow while still being able to do the things that they want to do. That's why you want to add to the top and subtract from the bottom. And here's how this looks. I know that's like a vague tip. Here's how it looks in reality. Imagine you work your way up to 100 clients and your calendar is pretty full. You're at the limit of what you're willing to do in your business. You don't want to hire anyone. You don't want to get past 100 clients. You don't want to go to the enterprise model where it's just another can of worms. Here's what you do. [06:39.7]

Get rid of the bottom 10% of your clients. I'm talking about the 10 clients who are either a) the least profitable and or b) the ones who give you the most headache and take up the most time. If you can get rid of those, you will create a vacuum in your business. And remember, nature hates a vacuum. So you will have time to prospect, you will have time to market and fill that vacuum with better profitable clients. And ideally you should only bring on new clients if they're going to be in the top half of your business. There is no point in getting rid of bad clients just to replace them with more bad clients. You want to slowly but surely increase the average lifetime value of each client in your business. This is one of the best ways to maintain a lifestyle practice while increasing your income every single year. And I guess that's, that's where like, I can, I can accept that if you can have a lifestyle practice, but as long as you're growing and you're, you're increasing your income and your helping your kids more and you're helping your community more. I just, Jonathan, I guess the thing is, I just don't like it. When people get to like $500,000 a year and they say, Oh, I'm done. I'm good. I just.

Jonathan: Decent. [07:51.8]

James: I don't like that has never jived with me that has never meshed with me. I've never, it just makes my skin crawl cause like it's wasted potential. They could do so much more. And it's not a money thing. At least it doesn't have to be, it's not chasing money for the sake of money. It's just like your potential in business is measured through dollars. And when you make more dollars is typically a result of you helping more people. So why in the world would you ever get to a point where you just say, I'm good. I don't need to help any more people.

Jonathan: I'm done.

James: Yeah. I mean, even with, even with like “passive income”, like real estate investing, your value is still there. Are you putting a roof over people's heads? You're providing shelter. You don't want to get to a point where you just let's say make a million dollars per year for real estate. And then just, stop. [08:47.8]

Hey, financial advisers, if you're looking for a way to set more appointments with qualified prospects, I invite you to sign up for James' brand new webinar about how financial advisers can get more clients with email marketing. Go to TheAdviserCoach.com/webinar to register today. On this webinar, you'll discover why email marketing is able to generate upwards of 4400% ROI for smart financial advisers, three fatal mistakes nearly all financial advisers make with their emails, and the proven three-step process for converting prospects into booked appointments using email. All you have to do is head on over to TheAdviserCoach.com/webinar and register today. [09:27.5]

James: I mean, I guess you could, if you want to put it into a trust or you want to roll it up and leave it to your kids and just make sure they have a million bucks or whatever. I mean, there's, there's a bunch of different things, neat that you need to consider and I understand that. I understand there's a bunch of variables that may be glossing over. But when it comes to building want to do it because you're helping more people is just, it's just a scorecard. And maybe that's just me. Maybe that's just the way I think and other people don't think that way, but that's really how I view it. He's just a scorecard on how many people I help. And I mean, we talk about lifestyle creep a little bit. I mean, it's not, I mean, I do have some cool stuff, but it's not like I'm going out and buying these expensive cars and crazy things or boats or whatever, the Gucci, Louis, Prada. I just don't do that. You know, I mean, we talked about the charitable donations and stuff in the past. I support donors, choose.org, love first book, loving giving. I love giving books to children. That's like my thing, because knowledge has helped me in so many areas of my life. I want to help the children in the same way. [10:27.5]

That's you know, and what money could do. I don't want to say, Oh, I'm giving enough already. And just stop and stay stack. I don't want to do that. But enough about me and ranting and all this stuff. I typically get a lot of hate talk from financial advisers when I talk about firing your clients, but it's a win, win scenario.

Jonathan: There's a whole book on it. What's his name? The Pumpkin Plan, Mike.

James: Michael can't pronounce his last name.

Jonathan: Ya, that’s the guy, him.

James: Funny, did you know Michael can't pronounce his last name Michalowicz or something?

Jonathan: Yes. That's it.

James: Your boys are boys. Your boy and girl, Brandon and Amanda Neely love that guy.

Jonathan: They do love him. I love him too, dude. I did profit first in my business and it changed my life. [11:11.3]

James: Oh, no, not another one. I don't mind. I don't mind profit first and Oh my God. We're going to go off the rails. But so the, when I explained it to, him, he was talking about profit first. I am just like, I just keep my business as lean as I can. Like, I always have room to spend more. I, I'm not in a position where I need to cut things. I get

Jonathan: You run your business well, though, not everybody has like that, that's a discipline that you, you already have and there's guys like you. And then there's guys like me that just did things and just thought the answer was always making more money and never really looking at my bottom line. Just taught the answer was more money for many years.

James: Yeah. And it just, it creeps up on you.

Jonathan: Yeah. [11:57.3]

James: And it just slowly just I get it. I get it. I understand. But he was talking about profit first like, it's just spend as little as you possibly can run the leanest business that you possibly can. And I talked about this in an inner circle newsletters. I don't want to give too much away, but it's like a cognitive dissonance thing. You have to hold these thoughts separately in your mind at the same time. You have to, at the same time, think I'm going to want to run my business as leanly as possible, spend as little as possible. Be that way, if opportunities arise, I can be great as aggressive as possible while at the same time, constantly identifying opportunities to deploy capital is a little bit different than spending money, but deploy capital because you're going to put it into, for example, marketing that brings you

Jonathan: Growth. [12:47.5]

James: More money. Yeah, right.

Jonathan: Yeah, multiples.

James: Yeah.

Jonathan: Yeah they are two different things, for sure.

James: Totally.

Jonathan: It’s an expense creep like you're saying, or lifestyle creeper. I need this software, that software and this mastermind and that one, you got to get real on that.

James: Yeah. Well the tricky thing is, and I will admit that this is where the adviser coach as a business tends to run into problems is there are certain investments that we make as a business that take a long time to pay off, but we still make them.

Jonathan: Yeah.

James: So for example, let's say that we make an investment of $25,000 and it takes six months, to get the $25,000 back. So let's just imagine that that the 25,000 was the only money we ever had and this is all we could ever spend. Yes. It will provide an ROI, but we've got, we also have to account for the expenses that are going to come up in the next six months.

Jonathan: Yeah.

James: So we kind of have to balance the two, but yeah enough about that. So [13:48.7]

Jonathan: My apologies, I took you off track.

James: The other thing you can do, if you're a financial adviser and you want to build a lifestyle practice is focused on differentiation. And over the years, I've had conversations with thousands of financial advisers, literally thousands. I can't even believe them here. We're like episode 70 something or.

Jonathan: 80.

James: 80! Oh my God! Closing in on a hundred episodes, man. Wow! That's insane. But yeah, I've had a bunch of conversations with financial advisers and a lot of those have been with advisers and one of them have this lifestyle practice. And I would estimate that about half to three quarters of all these “lifestyle practitioners,” they think they're fully differentiated. Meaning you could take someone off the street and show him or her a generalist financial adviser, and you there, whoever it is that think you are differentiated and they will be able to tell the difference. Well, in my experience, that's not true. [14:44.2]

It's very; very rare that a financial adviser is truly differentiated because for the most part, they all say the same things and they all do the same things. It's hard to tell them apart. I'm like, okay, let me guess you provide objective fee only advice designed to help me reach my financial goals. Oh, well, okay! Like everybody says the same stuff. And the cool thing is that a lot of my inner circle members are actually like really differentiated. A lot of them have balanced some way to break through all the noise and appeal to the end user, the consumer. And one of the easiest ways to do this is to have a niche. I know you've heard the whole have a niche thing a million times, but it's, it's amazing how big of a difference.

Jonathan: It’s something new every time.

James: Every show is I have a little check box next to me. It's like every episode, did he say have a niche? Did he say it?

Jonathan: It's a drinking game. [15:39.7]

James: But no, it's crazy. And by the time this episode comes out. So the product that I am going to give away to inner circle members and basically do a separate, what we, what Margaret us marketers call a launch. The product is called ‘A Deep Dive into Niche Marketing.’ And it is a comprehensive recording guide program, whatever it's going to end up being that it walks financial advisers through every step of the niche marketing process. So by the time you listen to this, this should be released. You can go to TheAdviserCoach.com, check it out. And if it's not released, we don't see it on the website. Something happened or send help. So when you have a niche, I mean, you know exactly how to target online ads. You know exactly where to send your direct mail pieces. You know exactly where you should be hanging out. [16:29.6]

Everything becomes clear and even better, it becomes clear to your prospects that they should work with someone like you. And if your goal is designed to let, to design lifestyle practice, you can explain to them that you'll have more time to focus on them because you plan on keeping your business smaller or limited to a certain number of clients. That's a lot more appealing than we'll take anyone who can fog a mirror. Now, the third and final tip I have is this one stay true to your values. At the end of the day, your business is yours. You don't have to listen to me. Like I said, I'm just a guy on a podcast, just a guy screaming at you over a microphone or a email or whatever. You don't have to listen to me like you really don't do what you want. I don't care. You've only got one life to live. So if this helps you outline a set of core values or beliefs, whatever you want, that's cool. You want to set these values up. You want to be true to yourself. You want to know what you stand for and what you won't. [17:29.4]

For example, you may set a goal for yourself to always be done by 5:00 PM every day. You may set a goal to take Fridays off, who knows, figure out what's important to you and build your business around it. This is an opportunity you can't get with other models. If you're franchising a subway and you have to be the manager of that subway, if you're the property manager, you got to check out all these properties or if you're a real estate agent, I don't know. It's just not available with many other professions and many other businesses, but it is available for financial advisers. And it's, it's especially available for those who designed lifestyle practice. If you want to take a month off every single year, you can do that. You just got to let your clients know so they can expect it. But for the most part, you can do what you want. [18:16.9]

Jonathan: Hmm.

James: Also figure out how much money you want to earn from your business. So you at least have a track to run on. What I would personally do, if I wanted to start a lifestyle practice is I would take a look at how much my dream lifestyle would cost. Meaning everything, cars, houses, taxes, vacations, insurance, healthcare, everything. I would lump it all together and I would double that number. And that will become my target. That way I give, I give myself some room if I ever want to ramp up my lifestyle, or if my taste improve, or if I, if anything changes. So I will put everything together, I would double it. And typically I tell financial advisers to keep their expenses low. And generally that's good advice. But if you're making more than enough income to support your business, not that big of a deal. Yes, in my inner circle, newsletters, I talk about lifestyle creep or whatever, but I mean, if your lifestyle creep is spending an extra, I dunno, $15,000 this year, but you also made another million. Hey, dude, you don't have to listen to me more power to you dude! Go do it.

Jonathan: Get it. [19:21.32]

James: Yeah. You've obviously made it and you're having it work for you. But there are some people where I can really help them and there we go. Other than that, I would say just because you want to have a lifestyle practice, just because you want to have the lifestyle business and have it fit lifestyle, essentially, does not mean it's going to be easy to build. It just means you're going to operate within certain boundaries based on your personal situation and goals. I mean, if all you want to do is make a $ 100,000 per year from your business, you could probably get there in a year or two, assuming you have like a solid foundation, then you are building your marketing machine or whatever. But if you want to build and grow something a lot bigger, a lot more worthwhile it will probably take some effort. You're just building it within the confines of what you want. No Fridays, if you want to take them off, no work after five, if that's important to you, spending time with your children every single weekend, if that's important to you, no meetings on the weekend. So that's what it is. [20:19.1]

And to recap, here are the three tips that we went over in this episode. Number one, add to the top, subtract from the bottom. Number two, focus on differentiation. And you probably are out there thinking, Oh, well, I've got that covered. You probably don't. And number three, stay true to your values and I'll catch you next week.

Jonathan: Yeah. I love it. Love it. Love it. All right. That is a wrap fam another financial advisers marketing's into can, we will be back in your ear buds next week. Thank you for tuning in. [20:52.5]

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