This blog post is updated from a February 2019 article written by Equita co-founder, Katie Burke.
Let me take you back to a tough day I faced a few months ago. It was one of those days where, by noon, I felt defeated.
There were a few reasons that contributed to this: I started my workday with two sick kids who followed my every move as I tried to navigate a schedule full of conference calls (very thankful for the quick response of the mute button on my headset!) and client deadlines. The stress of trying to juggle work, dealing with constant sickness, and holding everything together at home were finally taking a toll on me.
But then came my last call of the day, which left me with a lasting, positive impression.
The call ended, and suddenly I felt energized and optimistic, instead of feeling stressed, overwhelmed, and exhausted. That call solidified that I am exactly where I am supposed to be — running my own business, and doing what I love, on my own terms.
What made this call so special?
Every other week, our Equita member firms have a call to discuss a wide range of topics. On any given day, our members may share a new tool they discovered that has made their client service process more efficient — or they may swap ideas for marketing to centers of influence (COIs) or strategizing about the fee structure for a prospective client.
In this particular call, we discussed our business goals for the coming year. I started my firm, Method Financial Planning, almost four years ago — and this conversation that I had with our Equita members made me realize that the way I typically think about my annual business plan and goals is different than the way everyone else on the call approached their business plan. Some plans were in a spreadsheet format that outlined expected revenue in careful detail; others were nicely written documents listing out marketing plans and new ways to find prospective clients.
My planning approach is usually more of a mix: I might outline a few details in a spreadsheet or draft some written goals, but most of the time, I put my plan into a list of bullet points on a glass whiteboard in my office. When I complete one of the bulleted items, I physically cross it off the list — and it is the BEST feeling in the world. I look at the list every single day.
So, what is the best approach?
It’s actually not the approach that matters. The conversation was not focused on the best way to write an annual business plan; but rather, it provided our member firms with an opportunity to look at the process from different perspectives. The call gave us a chance to be vulnerable and learn — and not only did it get me excited about where my firm was headed for the year, but it also got me excited about where every woman on the call was headed, too.
Bridget and I have conversations every single day with women who want to take the leap and build the financial planning business of their dreams. Each conversation is unique because each woman faces her own challenges in making it happen — and her own hesitations.
How can you leave behind the security of a steady paycheck, while still supporting your personal and business expenses? Will your clients want to continue working with you once you’ve left your old firm and started your own business? What solutions do you need to run your business? Where do you even start?
It can be extremely overwhelming and leave you feeling paralyzed. Trust me when I say that Bridget and I have been there. But Equita is not just about us; it is about creating a community of women to support one another and build successful businesses.
It’s about creating a community that inspires you to say, ‘This is exactly where I am supposed to be.’
Having a network of women to rely on helped me build my planning firm — it gave me the confidence to clearly outline how I wanted to work, and which clients I wanted to serve. When I collaborate with other women advisors, I am able to offer my clients the planning and service solutions that they would expect from a much larger firm — and I feel happier and more fulfilled, knowing I am supported by a community that has so much to offer.
If you are thinking about the next step in your career, and want to build a thriving financial planning business, we would love to start the conversation.