Recently, I was thinking about an Aha! moment I had about 8 years ago. We were at an event in Phoenix, and one of our top producers was sharing the many keys to his success.
This advisor was a huge success, but he didn’t fit the normal description of what you’d think a top producer was like.
Case in point: He was only 26 years old and had less than 5 years of experience.
Oh, and one more important detail: It was 2008. Other advisors just couldn’t believe this guy was doing as well as he was, given the economic conditions and his lack of experience. And so the question we kept getting was:
“How does an advisor go from being a total beginner to one of the best in the business in less than 5 years?”
Well, that’s the million dollar question, isn’t it? Fortunately, the answer to this question, in my opinion, is quite simple.
First, you need to become the CEO of your own business. And second, you need to become what I call a student of the game.
The two business models for financial professionals
When an advisor starts out, he is the “advisor in charge” of his business. He finds a handful of people he can delegate tasks to, but nobody he can delegate responsibilities to. Here’s what that business model looks like:
As you can see, if you’re the “advisor in charge” who always has to delegate tasks, you will quickly become the bottleneck. You will still have to work long hours even though you do have some people to help you.
If you really want to grow your business while working fewer hours, you need to become the CEO. Here’s what that business model looks like:
As the guy in charge (first org chart), you are in total control of your business. You have all the power, which is a feeling that can be very satisfying for some. However, as satisfying as it may be, it comes with a string attached. You have to carry the weight of every problem and responsibility that your business has. The weight can be so heavy that you are destined to not only stunt your growth, but to have a business that’s just one big time-sucking headache.
So the “advisor in charge” model is very limiting because you will simply run out of hours in the day.
To really grow, you have to become the CEO of your business. You need to hire other professionals in an organized way and build a team. By building a team, all the day-to-day burdens, headaches and fires can be handled by other people who have the power and authority to take care of those issues.
Unfortunately, this is not an easy thing to do. It’s really hard to give up control, give up responsibility, and trust your team will complete their tasks with as much care and attention as you would personally. It’s like jumping off a cliff and just hoping it will work. But once you jump, your new mindset can change the course of your business and your life.
Have you created a high-paying job for yourself?
Many advisors build incredible businesses that are dependent on them working 50-60 hours per week. They build businesses that control their lives.
Ironically, people who are barely making ends meet have a similar problem. They have to work two jobs just to get by. They have less freedom and less time with their kids because they have to work so much.
This same thing happens with many of the most successful advisors. But instead of working two different jobs, they build a business that takes 1.5 to 2 times the work of an ordinary job. Because they make good money, they feel like they are successful. However, in reality, they have a business that provides them with less free time to enjoy it.
Rather than designing a high-paying job that requires all your time and energy, why not build a business that gives you money as well as more freedom? A well-built business doesn’t become your life; rather, it blesses your life. But you won’t be able to build that kind of business until you view yourself as the CEO and act accordingly.
Once you begin to transition to a “CEO business,” you will find that you have more time to study best practices and apply them to your business. By changing your business model, you can become a student of the game, try new things, and grow fast. And the best part is you’ll have a team that can support your growth.
Think about your business today. Are you the advisor in charge (like the first org chart) or are you the CEO of your business (like the second org chart)? Answer that question and if you aren’t satisfied with the way your business is structured today, start making changes little by little, so that eventually you will be the CEO and have more time and more money at the same time.
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