posted on June 15th 2014 in Austin CFP Team Posts & Your Career with 0 Comments /

Surely you’re familiar with the saying, “the grass is always greener on the other side.” When I started my career as a financial planner at a large firm, I quickly became disenchanted with all the bureaucracy; what seemed “greener” to me was setting up my own shop—so I didn’t have to deal with a boss, quotas or stifling rules.

I still remember my first day as a solo practitioner. I had a computer and a phone—and no clients. I was overjoyed to be my own boss, but as I started building my business, I realized I’d lost more than I realized in choosing to go it alone.

I had no one to talk to—a horrific position for an extrovert, and most financial planners fall into that category. I lacked the camaraderie, input, and support I’d received as a member of a firm, plus I had to do everything myself: answer the phones, make copies, deal with compliance issues, handle the marketing, etc.—on top of servicing my clients. Another thing I didn’t count on was not being able to take a vacation; I found myself chained to my business—and the “grass” was looking a bit brown.

Is this all there was?

I really didn’t want to return to a big firm, so I started thinking about how I could have it all: the great things that went along with flying solo and the benefits of working in an organization. I chose to form my own firm. I realized by hiring people to handle the administrative tasks that ate up so much of my time, and providing a “home” for other like-minded financial planners, I’d be happier and more successful—and I was right.

If you choose to work on your own, one of two things will happen: you’ll do a great job for a small number of clients, or be not nearly as good for a larger client base. That was my dilemma; I felt like I needed to stop getting new clients because I wasn’t certain I could service them. Once I morphed from being a solo practitioner to part of a firm, that was no longer an issue.

Working at a small firm results in plenty of benefits, including relative informality, support from colleagues to deal with challenges like problem clients, and tons of professional resources. You can focus on the things you’re good at and occasionally “disconnect”—knowing your colleagues have your back. One of our financial planners recently enjoyed a vacation to Mexico and another faced recovery from neck surgery; neither had to worry about his clients being taken care of, since other team members covered for them.

I don’t regret my time as a solo practitioner, since it allowed me to learn some lessons I still find invaluable—and discover a way to make sure my grass is always as green as it can be.

about the author: Christopher P. Van Slyke CFP®

Christopher Van Slyke CFPChristopher P. Van Slyke CFP® is a past member of the board of directors of The Financial Planning Association (FPA) of Austin, San Diego and Los Angeles, as well as the western region board of directors for the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors. Christopher, a Certified Financial Planner Professional, has been quoted or published in The Wall Street Journal, San Diego Union Tribune, Financial Planning, Smart Money, Financial Advisor, Boomer Market Advisor, MSN Money. Learn More and Contact Christopher for Speaking / Writing Engagements

Continue Reading

Other articles filed under Austin CFP Team Posts

The Morgan Report 2017 Q2 Review: Passing Inspection

July 17, 2017 - I’m always surprised where my inspiration comes from for my quarterly reviews. This quarter it comes from a photo of my 3-year-old son getting his first official military salute from Vice Admiral Mike Shoemaker, who was the Grand Marshall for...
Continue Reading

WorthPointe Featured on Best Austin Financial Planners List

May 15, 2017 - The Austin Business Journal recently featured WorthPointe on their list of top Financial Planning Firms in the Austin area that they released earlier this month. The 2017 list of financial planning firms was open to comprehensive financial planners with offices...
Continue Reading

Essentials of Selling Your Business (and Designing Your Post-Sale Life)

May 8, 2017 - You never have so much success, money, or experience that you can’t go broke. Develop a plan for post-sale success prior to the sale of your business. WorthPointe Partner Morgan H. Smith, Jr., IMBA, CFP® was invited by the Austin...
Continue Reading

Estate Planning

May 1, 2017 - This is an excerpt from Chapter 7 of Certified Financial Planner™ Scott O’Brien’s brand new e-book Surviving to Thriving: A Financial Resource for Divorcées and Widows. This e-book brings you in depth information from 7 experts across industries to help...
Continue Reading

Insurance for Women in Transition

April 24, 2017 - This is an excerpt from Chapter 6 of Certified Financial Planner™ Scott O’Brien’s brand new e-book Surviving to Thriving: A Financial Resource for Divorcées and Widows. This e-book brings you in depth information from 7 experts across industries to help...
Continue Reading

Return to Blog Home