At the beginning of my career, a big mistake I made for quite a long time was being just like everybody else. There was nothing unique I did as a broker. Differentiating yourself can be the key to standing out and creating a strong and loyal client base. After some soul searching, I decided to go independent to better distinguish myself from the competition in my area and to better serve my clients’ needs.
While starting my own business allowed me to be more independent in how I serviced my clients, I quickly realized that I needed to change more than that. I also had to change my mindset; I needed to think differently, more independently.
Once I allowed myself to really strategize about what I wanted and to really listen to what clients needed, it all started coming together. Now I have a diverse, established practice — a practice where we now do 2,500 tax returns a year and advise clients on taxes. We also work with two different attorneys who help clients avoid probate court for their estates, and we have someone in-house who works with people on post-retirement health care expenses. We also do significant income planning for people transitioning into retirement.
So, rather than acting as a transactional broker, which felt like the biggest misstep I had in my career, my practice became a holistic practice that can handle different disciplines and serve all the varied needs of my ideal clients.
For me, going out on my own was a great solution to standing apart, but it may not be right for everyone. Sit down and think about where you really want to be in 5 to 10 years, what do you enjoy most and where is there opportunity, and then determine the best way to get there. Making a mistake with the type of services you offer will eventually lead to dissatisfaction, so make sure you are where you want to be.
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