What Yoda Knows That Financial Advisors Need To Learn


You’re an Independent Financial Advisor.

This means something.

What it means is that you aren’t employed by a larger financial institution. Well that, and you’re not a giant man-eating robot advisor.

What it means is that you are your own boss. You create a business model. You decide whether or not to hire an assistant. You pick your tools. You are an Entrepreneur.

You make the rules, at least as far as your business is concerned (leaving aside issues of compliance, that is), and that leads to many questions and many decisions.

Asking Better Questions

Many independent financial advisors like you could use help in marketing. It’s not an area where you feel comfortable and it’s hard to figure out what to do and get comfortable doing it. It’s easy to get stuck searching for a perfect answer.

“Should I be on social media?” is a common question. It is also intrinsically flawed.

Asking for advice this way leaves out the real key to the answer – your marketing goal. The specific thing you are trying to achieve is what allows you to evaluate any tool.

Better questions would be, “Can social media find new prospective clients cost effectively?” or “Can social media help me lower the cost and improve service to my current clients?”  Without the goal in the question, the only answer possible is, “maybe,” or, “I might as well try, right?” But be careful, there is a trap hiding in all this thinking.

Perfect is the Enemy of Done

Yoda says, “Do or do not. There is no try.”

To Yoda, I say, “Respect.”

As a business owner and entrepreneur, there is no perfect answer. There is only action and learning. There is no progress made thinking in your office, at the whiteboard or in the car. Progress comes from action. The right questions my young Padawan are “What can I DO TODAY?” “How can I quickly measure if my effort moves me closer to my goals?”

Being an entrepreneur is about action and learning: do or do not. (then measure and learn)

Inaction is a choice. Make the choice consciously.

My Social Media recommendation is:

Get social.

Here’s why:

1 – Many advisors working for large firms aren’t allowed to use social media. Participating gives you a competitive advantage. You’re fortunate to be independent in this regard, embrace it.

2 – Social Media may require a significant time investment, especially if you’re doing it right, but it can literally cost you NOTHING to implement, operate and measure.

3 – It’s OK if you suck and/or totally fail. Failure is not bad business as long as you create data and learn from it. Half-assing is your real enemy. Partial effort in any entrepreneurial activity including social media just won’t do. And here it comes full-circle:

Do or do not. There is no try.

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DJ is a freelance writer, hopeful photographer, and social media has-been. He writes to financial advisors about lifehacks, science, technology, business and marketing for Blueleaf, a software that helps create dramatically simpler, more scalable financial advisory businesses. You can find DJ across the web (about.me/djswitz) or you can just follow him on Twitter (@djswitz)!
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