Can you have it all? A successful financial planning practice and balance in your work and home life? How good are you at balancing the demands of your business? Are you running from meeting to meeting, lacking time to pick up your kids from school or ferry them off to soccer or theatre? Are your personal relationships falling behind? Are you really “present” during family or social events?
It’s not just financial advisors who are challenged with managing their lives, most successful professionals are juggling the same demands. A jam-packed email inbox. A voicemail pileup. More meetings than time in a day.
When I work with financial advisors on their business development, I like to tell them that all coaching contains an element of life coaching. Meaning, if you’re not setting up your investment management business to be your ideal work environment, then you are missing some of the key benefits of being your own boss.
So when I coach clients, I don’t only focus on their profession, I also encourage and guide clients towards having an ideal life, whatever that means to them.
What is work-life balance?
In the simplest form, it is the ability to have a successful profession or financial planning practice as well as plenty of time to do the things that make you happy (it does NOT mean having equal parts of work and life).
The definition will change from advisor to advisor. What it means for you will not be the same as your counterpart in another business model or even another advisor who has less or more experience in the profession.
Given that men tend to place more importance on work priorities and women tend to focus on home and family, there is generally more of a struggle with female advisors to get everything under control.
Using the Life Balance Wheel as a Tool
Have you ever seen this life balance wheel? A good exercise to see whether your life may be out of balance is to use this wheel to calculate your life as it is now. Score yourself in each area from 1-10 and you will see visually how your life stacks up now.
Are you growing as a person? What are you learning about life? What books are you reading? What classes are you taking to become a better person, and more learned than yesterday. Advisors who do work on themselves, become better at helping clients. What topics are you interested in learning more about? Is it self-care? Is it meditation?
Do you have a good relationship with your spouse? Is there love and passion in your life? Do you express your feelings in a healthy way? When we have grown personally, we are more comfortable with expressing how important loved ones are to us.
Do you spend enough quality time with your family? Parties, gatherings, outings, vacations and trips. Spending time with your spouse, children, parents, and relatives. Your family may be the reason you are so driven to be the best in your profession, however if you’re not giving your loved ones the time and attention they deserve, your life could be out of whack.
Do you have a good network of friends? Advisors with a healthy work-life balance have a deep network of friends and couples that they spend time with traveling, having dinner parties, going out to dinner, and generally having a good time.
Fun and Recreation
What are you doing in your life to have fun? What puts a smile on your face? Is it taking your dog for a walk and sitting in a park? Is it going for short weekend trips with friends and family? Is it gardening and growing things in your back yard? Is it making special meals and fun desserts? Whatever makes your heart sing, do more of it.
Are you earning enough in your financial planning or investment management firm? While money is NOT the biggest determining factor in happiness, having money helps us enjoy a lifestyle that includes self-care activities such as going to spas, eating at fine dining establishments, traveling internationally, saving for our own retirement, saving for emergencies, etc.
Are you taking good care of your body? Do you make it a priority to go to the gym first thing in the morning? Are you the picture of health and a role model for your clients? By taking one look at you, would clients feel secure in trusting you with their money?
Are you happy with the quality of clients and the work you are doing in your practice? Is your career fulfilling your deepest desire to achieve your goals? Is your business model working for you? What would you change about your business if you knew you could not fail?
After looking at the results of the life balance wheel, where are you most obviously out of balance? What can you do about it?
Start saying “No”
I know you! You’re caught up in a trap of being the “go-to” person for new projects, client work you don’t get paid for, child care carpooling, neighborhood block duties, church activities, non-profit duties, etc. It’s time to start putting yourself first. If you find it difficult to say “no” then start saying “I can’t make a commitment at this time. Can I get back to you?” Give yourself some breathing room to determine if you really want additional responsibilities when what you really want is work-life balance.
Start charging more
Are you charging enough for all the work you’re doing? Do you need to increase your fee for creating a Financial Plan? Are you setting boundaries for what is included in your fee and what is not? Do you have too many low balance clients? It could be that by charging more, you could attract better clients who appreciate what you do. I always say, people don’t value what they don’t pay for!
Develop your brand so that you CAN charge more
One of the benefits of working with me is that I help you stand out from the competition by fully developing your brand into a practice that clients seek. Every decision made in this day and age is based on subconscious branding. If your message is not clear, if you can’t demonstrate a compelling reason to do business with you over another advisor, then your brand is not complete. If your target market is anyone and everyone, you are marketing to no one!!!
One of the major reasons advisors seek work-life balance is because they are working too much or have too many responsibilities. When clients work with me they create a custom model work week so that they always know what they should be doing, when they should do it, how to handle distractions, how to be more assertive without being aggressive.
How much time should you spend prospecting?
Having income from charging more is just one way to achieve work-life balance. Figuring out how to create a consistent stream of qualified clients through effective prospecting will give you additional income to follow your dreams. Even if you have been in business 6+ years, you should still devote 25% of your time to prospecting.
Delegate to your staff
Even if you don’t have staff, you can still utilize the services of a fee-per-project professional like a para planner or marketing assistant. This in combination with charging more and getting more prospective clients will help you leverage your time. Remember, you can’t SAVE time, you can only use it wisely.
Is work-life balance even possible?
I have been working with financial advisors since 2004, and I can tell you with confidence that achieving balance is possible! It takes work, and a plan, and determination to get there, but it IS POSSIBLE. It is NOT POSSIBLE if you try to do everything yourself and are stuck in a rut.
Can financial advisors find work-life balance?
Yes! They can. The first step is recognizing that you need change. If you’re spending too many hours at the office, or you allow clients to call your cell phone at any time of the day or night, you may never achieve balance. If you work on becoming self aware and looking at your life through a life balance wheel, it should become plain as day the areas that are not aligning with your vision.
What I want for you is to start finding your work life balance today!