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There are only two types of financial advisors: Mentally strong ones, and mentally weak ones.

What’s the difference between the two?

Well, let me share a story about a crack addict named Willie. Every day, Willie woke up broke, and had to hustle his way to making $500 a day to support his expensive drug addiction. Despite his foul stench, yellow teeth, homelessness, and crack addiction, Willie was mentally strong.

Yet, most financial advisors with access to more tools and wealth than Willie ever had don’t even make half of what Willie did hustling on the streets.

Are you really going to let a crack addict out hustle you?

In this episode, I share Willie’s story, and how you can hone one “skill” in particular from Willie to make 2024 your wealthiest year yet.

Listen now.

Show highlights include:

  • Why being brazenly offensive in your email marketing strategy actually works more effectively than “providing value” (1:33)
  • How to get rich doing nothing other than watching a drug addict live their life (5:02)
  • The weird way smelly, homeless crack addicts often bring in more money than doctors and lawyers (and how to apply this “skill” to your financial advising business) (5:21)
  • One “crack addict” question to ask yourself when you’re not motivated to send your motivation levels through the roof (8:52)
  • The “gun to your head” business plan for financial advisors for finally cracking into the top 10% of income earners in the world by this time next year (9:13)
  • How to achieve all your financial goals in 2024 by writing this on top of a notecard you see every day (12:44)

Financial advisors make 3 lethal mistakes when writing emails that sabotage their efforts and results. Want to see if you’re making one of these three mistakes? Then head to https://theadvisorcoach.com/mistakes.

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

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: This episode is set to drop on Christmas Day. How cool is that? Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you. Thank you so much for listening. This is also the very last episode of the year because the next one will come out on January 1. 2023 has been an amazing year for me. It has been the best year of my life so far. I said the same thing about 2022 and 2021 and 2020. That's because every year gets better and better. And why wouldn't it? Because I am the one who is making it better. [01:02.4]

2023 has been a record year for a lot of things. It has been a record year for the podcast, for email subscribers, for website visits, for total cash collected, arguably the most important metric. It has also been a record year for new Inner Circle members, and I'm so thankful for you guys. We have an incredible community and it is awesome to see so many people succeeding.

Now, you're probably wondering about the episode title, which is “The Crack Addict’s Secret to Getting Rich” and I'm going to tell you exactly what it is in a minute, but first, let me tell you in another crack related story. If you know me, you know that I like to push the envelope with my email marketing, and with all of my marketing, really, but especially email marketing.
Back in April, I sent this email with the subject line, “My Wife Thinks These Financial Advisors Are Smoking Crack.” The general premise of that email was basically that any financial advisor who couldn't see the obvious value in the newsletter has to be smoking something. I mean, what other explanation could there possibly be? What I should have done was put up a number to a rehab center and said, “If you have not subscribed to the newsletter, call this number, because you obviously have some sort of problem.” [02:13.2]

Anyway, it was a really ballsy email. I really pushed it, and even I thought it was kind of offensive, which is saying something. But guess what? It got crickets. Nobody said anything. I got no responses. I think it actually got fewer unsubscribes on average. It was pretty much a dud, and I rarely get emails that just flop because I’ve been doing this quite a long time, kind of sort of know what I'm doing.
But then not long after that, I decided to do something special for my email list and I sent them more than eight hours of video and audio content, all chock-full of marketing strategies and insights for free. I basically said, “I want to do something cool for you. Here's the link to all of this amazing stuff. Enjoy,” and people complain their little butts off. Unsubscribes went through the roof. People wrote back nasty emails, like “Stop emailing me” and all of those other things. I mean, typically you get an email or two, if you have a big enough list. People say, “Oh, stop emailing me,” even though you're the one who signed up for the email list. It's just weird. [03:11.2]

I think it's funny that I can write an email about financial advisors smoking crack and get crickets. Yet when I legitimately tried to break my give-value rule and give value, it bites me in the butt. I frequently say that giving value is the absolute dumbest marketing strategy you can use, and I like to test my rules so often and I proved it there when I tried to, quote-unquote, “give value.” People just got their pitchforks in their fire and tried to burn my metaphorical house down.
Alright, I'm not going to keep you waiting any longer. The title of this podcast episode, “The Crack Addict’s Secret to Getting Rich,” is inspired by a man named Doberman Dan Gallapoo. He’s a fellow member of the Podcast Factory and he used to have this show called Off the Chain. It was one of the few podcasts that I listened to back in the day. I don't really listen to that many podcasts at all, but his was a must-listen for me. It's been off the air for more than four years now, which is hard to believe. I can't believe it's been that long. [04:12.3]

But he had that episode titled “The Crack Addict’s Secret to Getting Rich,” and listening to that podcast episode was a pivotal moment in my life. Today, Doberman Dan is a legendary copywriter and someone I deeply admire and respect. I think he's pretty much retired, though. His website isn't really updated. He's not active on social media, not that he ever was, and he's not doing the podcast, obviously.
But before he was a copywriter, he was a police officer in Ohio and he used to tell all sorts of wild stories about his time on the police force. He really is an entertaining guy. Just his way with words and the way he can tell a story is magical. It's really no wonder that he became a copywriter and one of the best to ever pick up a pen, or pick up a keyboard, I should say. [04:56.5]

Since he was a police officer, he frequently encountered people who were on illicit substances, and he explained that if you want to get rich, you should watch a drug addict. Huh? What does that mean? Drug addicts require a good chunk of money just to satisfy their daily fix, sometimes for years at a time, and he didn't mean the swanky Miami party scene with playboys on their yachts with Mommy and Daddy's money with strippers all around. He was talking about the dirty, smelly, haven’t-eaten-for-days homeless people who frequently make more money than most doctors or lawyers.
So, Dan regularly arrested this guy named Willie. That's not his real name, but that's what he called them on the show. Willie is probably dead now, but both Dan and I hope that he got cleaned up and ran a nonprofit or something and helped other people get off drugs. He explained that Willie did not look like your typical six-figure earner. His teeth, the ones he had left, were various shades of yellow and brown. He was always covered in scabs and sores—Producer Jonathan on that episode called him Scabby Willie, and I think that's a good name—and he smelled horrible, too. [06:03.7]

He explained how he arrested Willie in the middle of winter and he smelled so bad that he opened all the windows and put the air conditioning on full blast to try to get rid of that crack addict stench. Willie would regularly get picked up for some sort of theft or public intoxication or something, and they’d throw him in jail for a few days. I guess, according to Dan, he never stayed in jail for more than a few days anyway.
One night, Dan overheard Willie talking to another inmate in the holding cell and Willie said that his drug habit cost him $200 per day, and this was in the mid-80s. Adjusted for inflation, that's more than $500 per day. To put it in perspective, that's $73,000 per year, not adjusted for inflation. That was more than Dan was making as a police officer. It was actually much more. [06:49.8]

If you adjust it for inflation, that's more than $200,000 per year, so that at least puts him in the top 10% of earners, because according to the Economic Policy Institute, the average earnings of those in the top 10% were roughly $173,000 back in 2021. So, this guy is spending all of a top 10% income on crack, all of it, every last penny. It was crazy for Dan to think that he had a respectable job and he was a pillar of the community, and this homeless drug addict was making probably at least triple his annual salary, double or triple.
Think about this in today's terms. Think about being homeless on the street and somehow getting your hands on $500 per day. You have to hustle. I mean, it's not like Willie had a savings account or a brokerage account or anything. He didn't have a financial advisor, and if he did, I'm sure the advisor didn't advise him to blow it all on crack. He also didn't have a job to go to every day. He woke up broke every single morning. He picked himself up off the park bench with no car, no laptop, no cell phone, and he managed to get his hands on the equivalent of $500 per day. Every day, he looked out into the cold hard world and said, “Let's get this bread.” [08:05.5]

Of course, it's not like Willie went door to door offering to change people's oil or clean their windows, or mow their lawns, but maybe he did. Willie hustled and I'm sure he did questionable and illegal acts to earn his crack money, but however he did it, he still did it. He still hustled and he got the money despite not having any of the amazing tools that you and I have at our disposal today.

Hey, financial advisors. If you'd like even more help building your business, I invite you to subscribe to James' monthly paper-and-ink newsletter, “The James Pollard Inner Circle”. When you join today, you'll get more than $1,000 worth of bonuses, including exclusive interviews that aren't available anywhere else. Head on over to TheAdvisorCoach.com/coaching to learn more.

That episode changed my life, because I remember thinking to myself, “Am I going to let a crack addict beat me today?” I would judge myself by that standard, and I laugh a little bit because it sounds absurd, but I would think there is a crack addict out there who is getting to work today. Am I going to sit idly by and not take advantage of the skills, the resources and the talents that I have been blessed with? [09:13.3]

Copywriter Gary Halbert used to talk about “gun to the head” copywriting. He would imagine that someone put a gun to his head and told him he had to write a piece of copy that converted, or else he would die. Let's use that exercise here. Imagine that someone put a gun to your head and told you you had to go out and find $500 per day with no resources, no business, no list, nothing. Could you do it? That's the question Doberman Dan posed to his audience.
That started turning all sorts of gears in my head and I distinctly remember thinking, Wow, I could do that. I could totally make that happen. Yet when I started having this conversation with other people, their answer was no, they couldn't do it. They started making excuses for why it wasn't possible and how they couldn't pick themselves up and generate a few $100 per day. Not everybody has it. Not everybody has the drive to be more, do more and have more. I got that dog in me and I'm not just talking about the one from Costco either. [10:12.8]

I've been working with financial advisors for a long time, since 2015. I have seen the best of the best and the worst of the worst. I realized that some people are simply built differently. I don't have any other way to describe it. They're just built differently. Some people will do whatever it takes to succeed. Other people will be thrown off course by the tiniest little thing.
I did a podcast episode earlier this year about this concept and it was called “My Advice for Weak Financial Advisors,” and I talked about how some people are mentally tough and others are mentally weak. That was a very controversial episode, but it also deepened my relationships with the financial advisors I can help, because I do my best work with mentally-strong financial advisors. Those people are my people, and I am making content for them. The mentally-weak financial advisors do not like me. They cannot handle my style. They cannot live in my world. They cannot thrive in this fast-paced work environment, and that is okay. [11:07.3]

Here's a sentence that mentally-weak people like to say. They like to say this. “I can't do that because—” and then right after the “because,” there's an excuse. My high school history teacher, Mr. Bean, used to say that excuses are like buttholes. Everybody has one and they all stink. Willie, the crack addict, did not make excuses. He got up every single day as a homeless drug addict and he did whatever he did. Regardless of the fact that the stuff he probably did was immoral and illegal, he still had to put in the effort to do it. I'm not telling you to do illegal things. I am telling you, if you had even one-third, one-tenth of the drive that Willie had, you could do great things with your life.
Let me get off on a little bit of a tangent here. Every year in December, I listen to Jim Rohn’s old speeches. If you don't know who Jim Rohn is, he will change your life. Go to YouTube and type in Jim R-O-H-N. He is amazing. Buy everything from Audible. Buy everything that you can get your hands on from Jim Rohn. Give his estate or whoever owns the masters or whatever the money. [12:13.6]

In one of his speeches, he poses this question: “What if you had to be rich?” What if you had to be rich? What if you “had to” be rich? That's what I'm getting at here? What if you had to make it happen? What if, as a financial advisor, you had to reach your income goal? What would you do differently? Would you still scroll social media for three hours every day? Would you continue to make excuses? Or would you begin working on your outbound and inbound marketing? Would you begin building marketing assets?
If you're the type of person who wants an actionable takeaway from a podcast episode, here's one. Grab a piece of paper and write that question at the top. “What if I had to do X?” and X is whatever your goal is. What if I had to make $500,000 next year? What if I had to get a certain number of clients or prospective clients? And make a list of the things you would do and make a list of the things you would stop doing. [13:10.8]

Every single day you are faced with challenges and choices. You can either take the path of least resistance. You can make excuses and you can blame your surroundings. Or you can push through, find solutions and truly make the most of what you have. The successful financial advisors I’ve worked with over the years have that tenacity, the unyielding spirit that pushes them forward. They have that crack addict’s determination, minus the illegal activities and the self-destruction and the yellow teeth, and that just God-awful stench.
Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not glorifying drug addiction. I am not saying that a drug addict’s life or activity is something to aspire to. But the raw, unfiltered drive and determination that scabby crack addict Willie showed, that's the gold I'm pointing to. That's the trait you need to harness and channel your drive into your work and into your life. [14:02.7]

Ask yourself this. If Willie with all of his struggles and challenges could muster up the energy to earn the equivalent of $500 per day, why can't you? With all of the resources, knowledge and opportunities at your disposal, what is stopping you from achieving even more? Perhaps it's fear, complacency, or maybe it's a lack of self-belief. It's easy to get caught up in the daily grind. It's easy to forget the bigger picture. It's so, so easy to let small setbacks or criticisms derail your entire day or even your entire week.

But if a man like Willie, with all of his faults and flaws, and disadvantages and lack of resources, again, no cell phone, no internet, no laptop, no compute, nothing, if he can rise above that every single day and get his hands on some money, you can, too.
Think about the vast potential you have. You are equipped with education, tools, networks and countless opportunities at your fingertips. You have every single reason to succeed and very few valid reasons not to. Yet how many times have you allowed minor setbacks to get the better of you? How often have you let your fear of the unknown prevent you from taking the leap? [15:12.3]

Let's make 2024 even more remarkable. Let's make it the best year ever. Let's channel that unyielding determination to our business, to our relationships and to our lives. I want you to set bigger goals. I want you to break down walls. I want you to get what you want out of life. Remember, you have the power to shape your destiny, but it starts with adopting that relentless drive. Get that dog in you and refuse to let any challenge, no matter how big, stand in your way.
To wrap this up, I want to leave you with the challenge. Next time you face an obstacle or feel like giving up, remember crack addict Willie and ask yourself, what would someone with unstoppable determination do in this situation? And then go out there and do it. You owe it to yourself and you owe it to your clients. You owe it to your family. You owe it to me. If you're listening to the Financial Advisor Marketing podcast, gosh darn it, you owe it to me. So, let's make this coming year the best one ever. Let's get after it and make our dreams a reality. [16:11.4]

Thank you so much for tuning into this episode. I truly hope it's given you something to think about. Maybe it's made you laugh a little bit. Maybe it's made you cringe a little bit. Most importantly, I hope it's given you something to act on. I look forward to serving you in an even better way, a bigger way in the upcoming year. Until next time, keep pushing forward and always strive for excellence. As always, I will catch you next week.

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