Lifestyle practices are all the buzz right now. Many financial advisors chose to get into the business because they like the freedom associated with running their own business. They like helping people secure a worry-free retirement while still being able to attend their own kid’s soccer game on Thursday evening. They like being able to support their family with ample revenue and time.
There are some advisors who WANT this life but just don’t know how to get it. They’ve lost touch with their internal entrepreneur and have caved into allowing someone else to run their life. When you only get one life to live and you want to live it to the fullest while you’re capable of doing so, two things are for certain … you’ve got to be able to say “no” and you must control your calendar. If you’re looking for that entrepreneurial freedom associated with a lifestyle practice, here are four things we see as necessary to consider.
Allowing someone else to manage your calendar without your guidelines sets you up for a packed calendar with limited time for yourself. If you haven’t heard of the BIG ROCK concept from the late Steven Covey, we suggest you watch this video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZHne8c5qg0g It will quickly put your life and all the things in your life into perspective for you when it comes to calendar management.
Discipline means sticking to it. Making the decision to have a lifestyle practice takes courage to say “no” to things that will take away from your lifestyle. For example, when you make the decision to work until 7pm every evening to accommodate your clients you may also be making the decision to not be enjoying a family dinner together. Every time you say “yes” to something, you’re actually saying “no” to something else too. Discipline yourself to set boundaries and priorities and then stick to them.
Have you ever heard someone say to a dog owner, “Boy, Shadow sure has you trained!” That’s because the dog knows exactly what to do in order to get the attention of his owner. The dog has “trained” the owner to respond instead of the other way around. The same thing happens with clients sometimes. If you’re not careful, your clients will train you to jump when they say jump. A lifestyle practice is possible when you train your clients that you too have a life and family that requires your attention. Perhaps you work late on Tuesday and Thursday to accommodate clients, leaving M-W-F for your family. Or perhaps you stop returning calls and emails at 7pm to give your full attention to your family. Client training happens when it’s supported by your discipline.
It’s more challenging to have a lifestyle business when you’re trying to handle everything alone. Best practices of lifestyle practices include having a team of support and incorporating technology. Take the time to track all the things that only you can do and begin to allocate all the other things to other people. A part time assistant or virtual assistant is better than no assistant. Look for a junior advisor to add another layer of support to your practice. Embrace technology to simplify and increase efficiency wherever possible. Adequate support is not a luxury, it’s a necessity.
As we all know from history … freedom is not cheap and it does not come without sacrifice, discipline, support, and training. Evaluate your actions and decisions to see what changes need to be made to re-engage your internal entrepreneur and gain the lifestyle practice that you’ve always dreamed of from day one.