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 http://www.businessinsider.com

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





RIAs: What’s Your Business Model Look Like?

orghartAdvisors are often running a practice that is quite different from the type of practice they went independent to run.  Their business model is often one reasons they end up frustrated and feeling overwhelmed.

Working on (or towards) the “right” business model is extremely important — and something to decide upon before improving a firm’s operations and marketing.

Since I work with clients on developing their ideal practices, the subject of business models comes up very early as we work together.

In September I’ll complete a report that includes samples of the various types of advisory business models along with organizations charges.   Below I’ve listed a few types of models I’ll include.

I can use your help.

You Game?

2 QUESTIONS for RIAs & Advisors to Answer

1.  Is the way you operate your firm noted below?  If not, can you let me know more about your business model?

2.  If you changed your business model, what model did you previous have.  Why did you change models?   Which model do you have now?


If you’d prefer to tell me privately, email me at linkedin @ ElevatingYourBusiness . com  — just remove all the spaces.  Otherwise you can tell me in the comment area.  Feel free to also leave the name of your firm and your website URL too.   This way if I have any questions I can easily contact you.

I am looking forward to your expertise in this area!

Solo Business With Office
Owner-Advisor.  May have a very small team, hired on a low budget, often first hires are family members.   First 3-5 years usually involves an excessive amount of training and turnover.  Owner is involved in both production and management of staff.  At exit time, the only book of business to sell is that of the owner.  Some advisors would like to purchase a turn-key solo practice while others want to have their own hires.

Solo Business With Virtual Office
Same as above, but with a fully virtual office.

Solo PLUS Business
Owner-Advisor plus multiple other independent-advisors who retain existing clients and share in the overhead expenses of the office, technology, support staff, operations costs, etc.  Owner advisor is involved in production, bringing in new advisors and the management of staff. When everyone has their own book, the only book the owner has to sell at exit time, is that of the owner-advisor.  There  an office (or offices).  Can also be virtual offices.  New owner-advisor may want a ready made office with independent advisors, other buyers may not.

Ensemble Business
Owner-advisor plus associates and junior team members who share clients that belong to the firm.  As time goes on, a Sales Manger is brought in.  An Office Manager is hired who also has excellent people skills and who over time will also manages staff.  Clients get accustomed from the get-go of working with the team, not just one Advisor. For sale at exit is the firms’ book of business, office space and team — a turn key company.

Thank you in advance for your insights.

Business Quote for June 29, 2015

I’m Excited to be Featured in Today’s Woman’s Advantage Calendar!

My advice was selected from over 5,000 quotes submitted, for today’s page of the calendar. This is the fifth year in a row that one of my quotes has been published! Enjoy the calendar page with the quote….

Womens Advantage Calendar 2015 June 29

For additional information about The 2015 Woman’s Advantage Calendar visit www.WomansAdvantage.com/calendar