How to Thrive in Your First Year as an Independent Financial Advisor

Are you ready for your first year as an independent financial advisor? This can be one of the most challenging times of your life, but with hard work and dedication, you can make it through. We want to help you do more than just survive. Here are some tips to help you thrive during your first year as an advisor.

Create a Business Plan

Have you created a business plan? This is an absolutely essential step to help ensure you are ready and focused during your first year and beyond. At a minimum, your plan should include the following:

  • Your Vision
  • Target Market & Demographics
  • Services & Pricing
  • Budget & Financial Plan
  • Key Differentiators
  • Marketing Plan
  • SWOT Analysis

Creating a business plan forces you to sit down and take the time to plan out your business. Recording your business objectives and identifying your target market will help you to stay focused and hold yourself accountable to your vision.

Read our blog on How to Create a Financial Advisor Business Plan for more in-depth tips.

Set Realistic Goals

Be realistic about the challenges you will face in your first year as a financial advisor, and set actionable goals to overcome those challenges.

  • Finances. A good goal to set for most advisors in the first year is to break even. Plan your pricing carefully, be realistic about your first-year expenses, and identify your ideal revenue per client.
  • Client Acquisition. To hit your financial goals for year one, how many clients do you need to take on? Be realistic, and put a plan of action in place to start sourcing leads as soon as possible.
  • Client Retention. Are you providing top-level service for your clients? Set a goal for how often you will check in with clients, how often you will have formal meetings, and define metrics for when you may consider introducing an upsell.
  • Staffing. What staffing levels do you need to support your business? At what revenue or service levels will it make sense to hire in-house staff for administrative tasks? Make a plan for which tasks you will outsource, which you will manage on your own, and which you will hire in-house staff members to manage.
  • Self-Improvement. What actionable steps can you take to improve your skillset? Put conferences, seminars, and training sessions on your calendar and hold yourself accountable to attend them.

Start Marketing Now

You may have been able to take a previous book of business with you as you transitioned to become an independent financial advisor. But without new clients, your business will not grow. That’s why marketing and lead generation should be among your top priorities in your first year.

  • Define Your Brand. First impressions are everything. Your business name, logo, color schemes and other branding elements should all be optimized for your target demographic. Work with a professional designer for best results.
  • Build an Effective Website. A visually stunning, functional website is absolutely essential. When done well, your website will market your business for you, and it will often be the first point of contact for many prospects.
  • Establish Social Media Presence. Create social media accounts and start building an online presence. Reach out to your target audience with valuable insight and content. You may also consider paid advertisements through your social channels.
  • Content Marketing. Establish yourself as a thought-leader, draw organic traffic to your site, and instill confidence in your clients with high quality blogs, email newsletters, and more.

Develop Your Skills

As a business owner, you are solely responsible for the success of your business. No matter where you are in your career, there is always room for growth. Never stop learning. Attend conferences, learn new software, ask your peers for advice. The more you can develop and expand your skillset, the better you can serve your clients.

Build Relationships

Don’t get so focused on numbers and business goals that you lose sight of the most important thing about this business. This is a service industry. As such, you should always be striving to build close relationships with your clients. Provide personalized and personable service. The more you know about a client, the better you can serve them—and the more likely they will be to continue doing business with you.

Consider Outsourcing

Outsourcing can be a viable solution to support your business as you grow. It may be tempting to try to do everything on your own to save a buck or two, but the more you take on yourself, the less time you have to serve clients. Additionally, working with specialized experts can help to ensure you are getting the most value out of your investment and setting your business up for success. Here are some of the most commonly outsourced areas for financial advisors:

  • Compliance. Advisors need to be mindful of compliance issues. If you are inexperienced yet try to manage this task on your own, you may find yourself facing hefty fees or worse. Compliance is often best left to the experts, so you can enjoy peace of mind knowing you’re compliant while freeing up your time to work with clients. Good Life offers expert Compliance Services, from training to ongoing support.
  • Practice Management. From appointment setting and scheduling to call management, client check-ins, CRM management and more, administrative tasks can quickly add up. Don’t let them take you away from time you could be spending serving more clients. Consider Virtual Practice Management Services from Good Life.
  • Financial Planning. You only have so much time on your hands. If you’d like to take on more business than you can currently manage, you have several options. You can either recruit additional in-house advisors, find ways to cut down administrative tasks to free up more of your time, or outsource financial planning to a third-party. Recruiting in-house advisors means paying a salary, which may be beyond your budget, especially during your first year. Outsourcing financial planning, however, can allow you to take on more business while remaining within your budget. Learn more about Good Life Outsourced Financial Planning services.
  • Marketing. Marketing should be one of your top priorities during your first year. You need to build your online presence, source new leads, and start serving as many clients as possible. Even if you’re experienced with marketing, building and implementing an effective multi-channel campaign can be very time consuming. To free up your time and help ensure you are getting the most out of your marketing budget, outsourcing is often the best route. Learn more about Good Life Marketing Services.

Good Life Can Help Establish & Grow Your Practice

Good Life provides a full range of services to help establish, support, and grow independent financial advisor practices. Get in touch today to learn more.

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