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Over the course of my career, I have dealt with ageism, gender discrimination and toxic business environments.
You name it. I’ve seen it.
As a woman, I know that my experience is all too common. In our male-dominated industry, we lack equal pay and treatment from our male superiors and peers, mentorship, and opportunities for growth.
My personal experience led me to launch my own financial planning practice, WealthChoice, in 2016. Running my own firm my own way has been one of the greatest challenges, but also has provided the greatest rewards. Equita's member firms and I are proof that with a little faith and a lot of hard work, running your own wealth management practice as a female solo advisor can be done!
The best way to learn is by doing, but there are some things I wish I had known prior to venturing out on my own.
Here are nine things every female solo advisor should know about launching and growing a wealth management practice:
1. Identify what you want your business to look like and know your "why." Why are you launching your own firm? Just as you would create a clear and detailed financial plan for a client, have a clear and detailed vision of what you want your business to look like. Don't jump blindly into a firm with no direction.
2. Have a plan around the business. Set quarterly and annual goals with clear and actionable steps, and dedicate time each quarter to review and prepare for the next quarter.
3. Delegate. If the goal is to serve clients, then outsource the business. Research your options. Whether you choose to launch your own RIA or attach to a platform, choose a way to offload the business pieces to ensure you have the time and capacity to grow. If you don’t enjoy a certain aspect of the business, like marketing, delegate it. Spend time where you are happiest and best suited.
4. Manage your time. Choose specific days of the week to dedicate to clients, and others to dedicate to the business. Take control of your schedule. Block out time for yourself and your family. Work-life balance is important.
5. Find your people. No resource compares to the pricelessness of a like-minded, supportive and collaborative community. Find others who share your passion and your vision and share best practices and resources with them. This is especially important for solo practitioners.
6. Streamline your processes. Have clear, repeatable processes for every aspect of your firm – from prospect meetings to deliverables, client meetings, and everything in between.
7. Invest in yourself. Get great coaching right off the bat. It will prevent you from making mistakes you’ll need to fix later.
8. Choose your niche and stay true to it. You’ll be thankful as you grow.
9. Think through your fee structure and use it for all clients. Again, you’ll be happy you did down the road as you grow.
And a bonus tip: don't be hard on yourself for not being able to juggle it all on your own. Servicing clients, paying vendor bills, handling compliance and IT, scaling your business, and balancing a personal life? It's out of the question. And that's okay. There are resources for that purpose.
When Katie Burke and I set out to create Equita Financial Network, we knew that the system was broken, and we wanted to do something about it. Unlike most RIA roll-ups, Equita's goal is not to aggregate assets, but rather to help female-led firms achieve sustainable success through collaboration, shared resources, and community. If you're a female solo advisor who is ready to join a network of driven and supportive women, reach out to Equita today.
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