Lifestyle Practice for Financial Advisors: 5 Essential Ingredients

Is a Lifestyle Practice for you as a financial advisor?

Lifestyle Practice for Financial Advisors: 5 Essential Ingredients. Financial advisors in many business models are often motivated by maximizing investment returns as much as possible. It can be a fascinating process to find those unique financial vehicles that benefit clients most. The process can include many hours of research and sometimes resemble a treasure hunt!

Countless hours can be spent going down rabbit holes and finding the right fit for clients. An advisory firm in growth mode can be a work-life balance challenge when comparing time in growth mode versus living a good life.

Clients often hire me to help them get their firms in shape for a transition to a lifestyle practice, for growth, or for sale. Areas where they like to focus include Business Development CoachingFinancial Industry Career Coaching, and Executive Coaching to sculpt a career that aligns with life goals.

Building a lifestyle practice as a financial advisor offers many benefits that quickly get overlooked. This business model empowers financial advisors to thrive inside a well-operating practice while also balancing out the enjoyment of a personal life.

Establishing your career doesn’t have to mean sacrificing the desires of your dreams, the depth of your relationships, or the simple ability to enjoy a little free time now and then. Let’s explore how this concept of a lifestyle practice can help you find the right balance and what ingredients are required for sustainability and success.

In Case you didn’t know, this is a Lifestyle Practice:

The idea of a lifestyle practice is simple but requires a bit of work to pull off effectively. Instead of focusing on exponential growth, you are cultivating a business where the environment is directly tied to your preferences. You are minimizing overhead while maximizing profits and integrating your personal needs.

Put another way, we can look at two financial advisors – Steve and Alice. Steve works a 9–10-hour day for his firm, growing a book of practically unending clients. However, he has no time to catch up with friends, build a family, or go on those fishing trips he’s dreamed about since he was a kid.

Alice chooses a different track. She focuses on clients with at least a million in assets and decides to meet 2-4 times a year during designated months. This allows her to manage the accounts more reasonably, growing holdings with the same fervor as Steve but on a timetable that suits her personal goals, relationships and desires.

The result is a far more agile financial advising practice. Alice can better implement new, exciting, or innovative processes because her client base is smaller yet incredibly potent. There are fewer complexities to work through because the infrastructure is easier to manage.

The Goal of a Lifestyle Practice: Work-Life Balance.

Achieving a work-life balance is the goal of most lifestyle practices. Don’t get me wrong, you are not sacrificing profits for time. Instead, you are balancing your goals so you have a more fulfilling life. This is crucial to financial advisors as many of us show signs of burnout early in a growth-centric career.

If you’re interested in whether a 4 day work week is possible, see this article.

Is it wrong to want a lifestyle practice? NO! If you are approaching burnout and have your client base already established, this type of practice can be ideal. I’ve said for years: YOU get to decide what you want your practice to look like. There’s no unwritten rule that you must be in growth mode.

That said, if you don’t currently have the client base to create a lifestyle practice, then you do have quite a bit of work to do.

So, when you balance your financial advising practice with your life goals, you start to redefine the “how” and “why” of your business. This leads to changes like the following.

Defined Work Hours: 

Having a set schedule when you can and cannot be reached so you can balance your free time and cultivate the lifestyle you’ve always wanted.

Unplug from Work:

Financial advisors live and breathe from their marketability. Even when not working with clients, you are probably thinking of starting a podcast, PPC ads on Facebook or Google, or finally getting that appointment at the local golf club to find new clients.

Setting Boundaries: 

A healthy work-life balance begins and ends with boundaries. For example, if you are attending your niece’s annual school play, you shouldn’t have to send emails to needy clients on your iPhone.

Prioritize What is Important: 

With more balance, you begin to see what matters most to you. That allows you to prioritize tasks in both your professional and personal life.

Create Your Busy Season:

Instead of focusing all your efforts every day, 100% of the time, you designate structured periods where you handle business. That helps outline client expectations and gives you “wiggle room” to test new theories, implement new technologies, and maximize profits as appropriate.

Of course, experiencing these benefits to a work-life balance is easier said than done. That is why you need some crucial ingredients to help you get started.

5 Essential Ingredients to a Lifestyle Practice.

Building a lifestyle practice requires more than the intent you feel after answering your hundredth client call for the day. You must undertake some strategic planning and follow through with quality execution. Here are five essential ingredients to help you get started.

Step 1 – The Right Team Members in the Right Seats.

The right team members performing the best-fit roles in your financial advising practice are crucial to your success. This is more than matching up some LinkedIn resumes with the job guidelines. It is all about uncovering those high-value individuals who share your vision, passion, and desire for a balanced professional setting.

These team members must have the foundational skills necessary to complete their roles but also embody the culture you hope to cultivate. As long as you can align the overall goals of your team, you can maximize strengths that lead to higher client satisfaction rates, vibrant team morale, and a balance of profits and personal goals. When I work with clients on selecting the correct team members, I use the VIA Strength Assessment. Over the decades of working with financial advisors, I have honed the results of this assessment to uncover strengths needed and those that don’t work at all.

If you’re curious about how to better assess what team members you would like in specific roles, schedule time with me here. As an experienced Business Coach and financial services professional, I can help you discover the proper assessment points to know you have a viable team to help you grow a lifestyle practice.

Step 2 – The Right Marketing Plan.

A lifestyle practice has much more to do with quality than quantity. Instead of focusing on more heads in your office, you want clients best designed for your needs and strategies. That means your marketing will best function with organic referrals.

However, before you can capitalize on word of mouth, you must first obtain recognition in something in your Personal Brand that sets you apart. That begins with a quality marketing plan. You need to develop a way to reach the most significant number of potential clients (in your target audience) by speaking to their needs. That can be achieved through email campaigns, website SEO, blog articles, podcasts, or good old-fashioned handshakes at local events.

The point is to develop a marketing plan that directly addresses the unique needs of your most valued clients. As that snowball rolls downhill, you’ll quickly experience more interest in the unique culture you have created through a lifestyle practice.

Step 3 – The Right Model Work Week.

This is a crucial “must-have” for your lifestyle practice. The right work week is more than a 9-5 where clients have unfiltered access to your attention. You want to create a structure with boundaries that ensures you balance your professional life’s goals with the hopes of your personal endeavors.

I have a great article on the best financial advisor weekly schedule, but in simple terms, you want:

Priority days focused on achieving goals where interruptions are minimized.
Go days where you get out and market your business to grow leads or cultivate relationships.
Easy days where you can catch up on the other essentials of operating your financial advisory practice.

This model allows you to balance the stressors and goals of your career. Even from this whittled-down explanation, you can see room for having a meal with a friend, catching a movie with your kids, or enjoying a round of golf to unwind.

Step 4 – The Right Ideal Clients.

The right client for your lifestyle practice as a financial advisor is not necessarily the wealthiest. You want to align your goals with the goals of your client. They should see you as an invaluable resource for their accounts as well as a shared visionary for the culture you cultivate.

You should be passionate about solving their challenges and pain points. You do this by understanding their behaviors and then customizing your practice and marketing to attract them to your business.

There are many qualities and demographic understanding behind this philosophy of the “ideal” client, but it all comes down to deciding which people you want to work with so you can achieve that highly coveted work-life balance. I have a great article on uncovering the right ideal clients to help you with this ingredient.

Step 5 – The Right Culture.

The last ingredient is the hardest to reach. There is an environment you need to cultivate that is challenging to start but begins to run on autopilot once everyone is onboard. You want your entire team to feel valued and supported while allowing them professional development.

You also want a culture that places a premium on boundaries, personal growth, and time with family and friends. The goal is to build a community with your practice that thrives on shared values and then demonstrate the importance of this culture to your clients. Pretty soon, you’ll start attracting more clients who also value this balance and appreciate the methods you use to manage and grow their accounts.

Final Thoughts.

Incorporating the essential ingredients into a lifestyle practice allows you to grow as a financial advisor as well as cultivate an environment where your personal goals can thrive. This balances your dreams, relationships, professional aspirations, and more.

Take your time to outline the “why” behind seeking a lifestyle practice, and you will be amazed at how quickly your goals begin to fall into place. If you feel a little lost, reach out for some advice.

I have built the lifestyle practice that works best for me and can help you focus on your career, personal development, and business goals. Let’s discuss how my coaching programs can help you succeed with a new lifestyle practice.

About Suzanne Muusers