This week I travel to North Carolina to speak at a national conference for Fiduciary 360, a company based in Pittsburgh that is dedicated to serving the fiduciary community. I’ll be speaking during two breakout sessions. The topic of the first session is “Comparing Broker Dealers and RIAs.” The other session is a panel discussing the relationship between the media and the advisor. The trip will also provide a much needed break for me, I admit.

This past week I presented a financial plan to two new clients. It’s a good feeling to see the appreciation on their faces because I’ve allayed some fears or answered their questions. In my first meeting, I tell them that a financial plan will do two things. First, “It will give you a clear picture of where you stand and, second, it will give me a clear understanding of your situation. Then I’ll be in the best position to provide you with advice.” It’s rewarding to see them gain a better understanding of where they are financially.

You win some and you lose some. I had an appointment with a prospective client for this week and it seemed as though she was ready to move forward with me. Then I received an e-mail from her, indicating that she’s decided to go with someone else. Interesting how people select their advisor. They don’t compile a list of everything they are looking for in an advisor and then do a quantitative study to find the exact match. Instead, they rely on intuition, emotion, and, oh yes, most important, a referral from a trusted business associate or friend. That’s the case here. Her partner recommended this guy and sometimes that’s a hard thing to overcome. Oh well, business is still very good.

Looking back, the first year was largely a time of adjustment and getting comfortable with running a business. Now that’s behind me and my focus is more on growing it. And grow it has.