Issues that effect building a company and it’s executives.

RIAs: Can you help me… please?


I’d really appreciate your help with this…

I’m working on some new and exciting projects… aimed at helping advisors improve and scale their practices. And I want to make sure that I address what’s most important to you and your business.

So would you please do me a big favor by taking a couple of minutes to answer 3 questions?

Just (anonymously) tell me your single biggest challenge that you’re struggling with in your financial business, it would really help me out.

And more importantly, your response will help me focus my upcoming emails, new video series, and a summit I’m hosting to the topics you specifically want to know about, too. CLICK HERE for my super-quick survey

NOTE: there’s absolutely nothing for sale at that link or as part of this survey. I just really want to know what content I should create in 2016 and what speakers should be at the 2016 Count on Success Summit.

I’m very grateful for your help and as a token of my thanks, there a gift for you to immediately download on the Thank You Page that follows the Submission button.  No email or other contact information is asked for – you can just download an audio where I was interviews on “Marketing Smarter: Niching Your Firm”

Upwards and onwards,
Maria Marsala
Financial Advisors’ Operations Marketing Manager

P.S. The survey is really quick… please let me know how I can serve you better financial advisors in 2016. Click here to go take the survey.

P.P.S. Please invite a colleague to complete the survey too, just share the link to this survey with them. It’s

18 Ways RIAs Can Get Unstuck & Grow

18 Ways RIAs Can Get Unstuck

It’s time to sing a better song

ID-100280859 Planning and taking consistent action toward what you’ve planned often makes the difference between success and failure—growth and stagnation. But many people won’t plan, don’t plan, and create dozens of excuses instead. Right?

You see this in your retail or institutional clients.

I see it in in my advisor clients, too!

Clients who get to the point where they’re ready to sit down and plan change the tune they sing. Something happens in their lives or to someone they love and they decide to kick excuses to the curb and develop a no-excuses mentality.

They stop reliving the negative and move forward. They sing a new song of victory!


18 Notes RIA-CEOs Use To Sing a Better Song

In a nutshell: plan, execute, measure, and adjust when necessary. Below are my “notes” for creating a better song.


1.–Speak the truth, especially about your personal and professional visions.

2.–Be ready for a new level of your destiny.

3.–Be open to new ideas as well as executing ideas differently.

4.–Change your mindset from being an advisor with a practice to being a CEO running a business.

5.–Get rid of the excuses that are holding you back by finding and trying on A, B and C solutions.

6.–Give yourself quality time to learn, read and have fun.

7.–Keep an Activity Audit for 3 months (list of each task/projects of where your time is spent).

8.–Assess your firm, target market, and pricing.

9.–Take an inventory of what you own: equipment, software, furniture, supplies, processes, marketing collateral, equipment, software, furniture, etc.

10.–Define values, culture, business model, mission, and visions.

11.–Create short- and long-term quantitative and qualitative goals (with minimum and optimum acceptable results) that are both reasonable and achievable.

12.–Set priorities with deadlines.

13.–Get your team on the “same page” as you are.

14.–Create a budget.

15.–Take action towards your goals including delegating tasks and holding other people accountable.

16.–Monitor your efforts.

17.–Gather your firm’s processes, workflow sheets, systems, and forms in one place online.

18.–Assess what’s working and what’s not working.


When you get stuck, go back to the first note.

Be determined to kick soul-killing excuses to the curb. Get moving and sing a better song.


(c) 2015 Elevating Your Business. Maria Marsala is the founder of Elevating Your Business, an operations and marketing management firm serving fast-growing Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs) building ensembles or enterprises. Let us help you grow your firm more efficiently and effectively. Contact Maria by phone at 360.271.8418 or on the web at



T. Boone Pickens on Success Routines

Usually success and diligence go hand in hand. Undoubtedly is the case with T. Boone Pickens’ strict morning routine.

Produced by Justin Gmoser. Original reporting by Julia La Roche. As seen on

Advisors: Are you doing too much? Is it time to outsource more?

Delegating the first few times is not easy.  It will become easier once you do it a few times.  Delegating is necessary if your goal is to work smarter as you grow your firm.  Million dollar producers delegate!  Here’s why… and what you can do about hiring employees, outsourcing, or adding new technology to your firm.

Ideal Business 6 Parts188x226Did you really go into business to manage the daily nitty-gritty details of your entire practice? Or is your real mission to help your clients create and safeguard their wealth — to assist them in reaching their life goals? In fulfilling your mission, are you creating your dream business — one that makes a big difference in your life and in the lives of those you love? Way too often, the “busy-ness” of business gets in the way of our best intentions. The secret is to catch ourselves when we begin to wear too many hats.

Those who still use the word “practice” to describe their firm have effectively created a paycheck and some extra tax deductions for themselves. Being self-employed often translates into doing all or most of the work. “The Boss” handles the production, administration, marketing, sales, bookkeeping, data entry and everything else!

Most financial advisors are slaves to their practices because they don’t have a comprehensive team working with them. They’ll tell you they have help—they have a team. Sometimes they do, but more often they have one administrative assistant who isn’t busy enough; it’s “easier” for The Boss to handle tasks than to delegate them.

Alternatively, the assistant is too busy learning new skill sets by the seat of his or her pants. You’ll often hear self-employed people say, “I’m overwhelmed, tired, and I have no time for that.” You’ll never hear them say,“I’m taking the day off!” or “I’m going on vacation for two weeks,” because when they take any time off, their firm makes no money. Nada, not a penny. See: Top 10 ways financial advisers can ‘market smarter’ — and enjoy it more

An honest look

If you’ve been in business for a while, you might think that you’re no longer self-employed. Think again. In 12 years, maybe 1% of my clients were business owners when they hired me; the majority were captaining a burning ship — running a business stuck in “practice mode” and frantically putting out fires.

As the owner of a company, your ideal activities should be focused on production and building the company so it can run without you. Take a look at the list below and you will see that it is impossible do every task yourself, even with an assistant.

• President/CEO
• Salesperson
• Purchasing manager
• Office manager
• Event planner
• Technology specialist
• Speaker
• Social networking/Internet guru
• Human services manager
• Marketing director
• Accounting/finance manager
• Compliance/legal manager
• Desktop publisher/designer
• Customer service rep
• Inventory manager
• Quality control manager
• Consultant
• Coach/mentor
• Organizer
• Trainer
• Writer
• Janitor
• Assistant to you
• And at a minimum, assistants to all the managers/specialists above

Did you notice? With that big list, last but most important… Financial Advisor, Planner or Wealth Manager! Can you see why you don’t enough time to attract prospect or work with clients?

Make the shift in more ways than one

Hand reaches out from big heap of crumpled papersTransitioning from merely self-employed to business owner requires two shifts: the first is in mindset and the second is in business structure. In order to shift your mindset, you must begin to see your business as an investment, as a way to build a nest egg for retirement, a valuable asset to sell later or a legacy to leave behind. Changing your perspective in this way forces you to ask yourself the same questions you ask your clients. Keeping the end goal in mind makes it easier to determine the best use of your time. It’s also helpful if you give up being the Lone Ranger and find a mastermind group or hire an advisor. Either method provides a confidential sounding board for airing and solving your business challenges. See: 10 reasons for advisors to just say no to less-than-ideal clients.

From this change in mindset, you begin to see that hiring employees who share in your vision creates a team of producers who can run your office without you. Business owners give themselves the gift of time and others the gift of a paycheck (and the pleasant experience of working with a well-rested boss). Business owners know the importance of planning, especially breaking down all the activities of a business and gradually hiring a team to take care of them. General categories to plan for include:

• Business Development
• Relationship Building
• Client Service
• Operations
• Administration
• Marketing
• Human Resources
• IT
• Office Manager
• Purchasing
• Account Manager
• Financial Planner
• Portfolio Manager


Once all busy-ness activities are reassigned, the business operates like a well-oiled machine—even when “The Boss” takes time off.

Take steps today

Today, take steps to shift into the full-fledged owner of a business investment. Get rid of the many hats you’re wearing and create a business model based on living your ideal life and running your ideal business.

If you aren’t yet able to hire additional employees or other outsourcers to help build your business, create a plan to do so. All of our clients create a One Page Business Plan for Financial Services® online, because it creates super-focus and accountability, and the enterprise system makes achieving results easier to monitor. Plus your support team can easily gain access to it for updating and execution.  One of your plans goals would be “Hire (number of new members of your support team) by (a date between now and 12 months from now)”.

Growing a firm’s base starts with you creating your activity list to note where you spend your time, because business will work much better for you when you stop giving away your time to initiatives someone else could and should be handling. Transform your business model into one that serves your life and allows you to help as many people as possible, fulfilling many dreams in the process—which is the real reason you started your business to begin with.

Action step

Create an activity list with columns labeled Name of Task, Team Member, Length of Time, How Often and Equipment Needed. Record all business activities you perform that take place in a three-month time span, including quarterly tasks. Don’t duplicate tasks as this is not a daily task list but instead is a list of accumulated tasks. You’ll use this to delegate fairly across your support team, determine more accurate job descriptions, cross-train team members and plan for future hires.

Or don’t create a form.  Delegate this task.  Ask us for the template our clients use with further instruction for $19.99 (Sales to WA residents, please add tax) Just ask us for it
(a version of this article has appeared in RIA Biz)

Maria Marsala founded Elevating Your Business in 1998 as an international coaching and speaking company offering innovative solutions, practical tools and ongoing support to business owners who choose to create their ideal lives and businesses. Marsala brings more than 35 years’ business experience to the independent financial advisor, agent and accounting sectors using a mixture of coaching, advising and training that she calls EduCoachingTM. Often quoted in the media, Marsala has written a number of workbooks and hundreds of articles. She speaks at conferences and company events. To book her as a speaker your attendees will thank you contact us Better yet, have your assistant schedule an appointment with us!



Let Freedom Ring!


For me it looks like being able to travel across the country and taking off on Fridays when I want to.

For my sister Martie, it’s living in NY and CA.

For YOU…?

Freedom is the #1 reason most advisor-owners go independent.

LibertyBellSmCIMG0212Having the freedom to work with clients “the right way” is so important. If you’re about treating clients right, but YOU’RE not able to go where you want, and do what you want when you want, chances are that your business isn’t supporting you.

You can change that.

If you don’t have the freedom you crave to do what you want–when you want–it’s because you don’t have a team, don’t have a big enough team, or your team isn’t working cohesively.

The best way to ensure you don’t achieve freedom is to NOT have structures in place that help your firm to grow almost “without you”. That’s the big paradox of your freedom.  We think that freedom means NO discipline and NO structure. But without the FOCUS that structure, discipline, and organization bring, freedom simply cannot grow.

And in business, it’s the best practices that bring you a strong foundation of structure, discipline and organization.

If you’ve spoken to me via phone or Skype, you know how important I feel about rebuilding your firm from the ground floor up.

That’s why today, on this special day of FREEDOM in the USA I’m going to give you a very special document…just hit reply and ask for it.

About This Time-Saving Document

freedomtowerTo tell you the truth, I was seriously thinking of giving my bookkeeper 30 days’ notice right after she visited this week. I had started to update my Bookkeeper Job Description Form. But she didn’t show up and when I called her out on it, she quit without giving notice. I know how much time I save when I don’t have to start a project with a blank page.

So if you’d like my example of a Bookkeeper Job Description, hit reply and ask for it in the body of the email. Feel free to make it your own. Remove what you don’t like, add what you need to add, change what doesn’t work for you. But know that no business owner should be doing their own bookkeeping – not even an Accountant or a CPA!

We’ll send you a copy of the Bookkeeper Job Description within 7 days.

P.S. Now is the time to get your business giving you the freedom you desire. Click here to learn how to get started

P.S.S. If you live along I-90 or I-70 and would like to meet for coffee at an exit off the highway, let me know. I’ll be driving across the country this summer.


Photos by Maria Marsala