The Most Important Aspect of Starting an RIA

04.18.19 | Patrick Brewer, CFA, CPA | 0 Launch post img

Under $300K in revenue? Here’s what you need to know

What do you get when you run a Google search for “starting an RIA”?

You get over 3 million search results. That’s a ton of articles from industry news sites, consultants, and vendors that want to sell you the one perfect solution that you couldn’t possibly succeed without. 

Now, I have nothing against consultants or vendors. Heck, I used them myself when I launched SurePath Wealth. 

Setting up the RIA…

Paying for compliance…

Spending money on a professionally designed website…

Choosing the tech…

Creating a logo…

Yes, all of those things must be done. But looking back at my launch journey, I can report that most of those articles miss the most important aspect of starting an RIA. 

Two words: housewarming party.

Imagine that you’ve just bought a house. You picked out the furniture, put some pictures up on the walls, unpacked some dishes — and now it’s time to throw a housewarming party … 

Except the house you bought is in Austin, TX — and everyone you know lives in Alaska. 

You might want a housewarming party. You might NEED a housewarming party. But you must face the fact that nobody is coming. It’s just going to be you, paying the bills to keep the lights on, eating Ramen noodles, and trying to convince your future guests to move from Alaska to Austin. 

Except in the case of this imaginary move, you’d at least have “better weather” as a solid argument. When you are launching an advisory firm, many of your former clients will be wary about moving to a practice that may or may not survive its first year. 

So, where should you focus if you want to survive?

It’s not the tech. 

It’s not systems or workflows. 

It’s not your fee schedule or the color of your logo. 

The only thing that matters under $300K in revenue is your ability to maintain a positive outlook, remember why you have chosen to launch an RIA — and remain obsessed with helping people reach their financial goals. 

That’s it. 

See also: Building a Financial Advisor Marketing Plan That Works

Does it sound simple? 

Sure it does. Simple — but not easy. You must continue to reinforce that mindset every single day. Without it, you will get pulled into periods of imposter syndrome, depression, and doubt. 

The only way to make it past the awful dip is to keep a laser focus on your vision. Why are you doing this? What are you building? Who are you building it for? 

When a prospect says no…

When you host a workshop and nobody shows up…

When you are 5 meetings deep with a $2M prospect who would be perfect for your practice — and then they ghost you and won’t return your calls…

Here are two practical exercises that will get you through starting an RIA. 

One, a daily gratitude practice. 

Every single day, make a list of 10 things that you are grateful for. They could be small things, big things, silly things, important things — doesn’t matter. Make a list, then say them out loud. You will discover that you move into the day with a positive mindset. 

Don’t believe me? Try it for yourself — and know that science is on my side. Here’s an excerpt from a study titled “Research Project on Gratitude and Thanksgiving”.

“The results of the study indicated that daily gratitude exercises resulted in higher reported levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, optimism and energy. Additionally, the gratitude group experienced less depression and stress, was more likely to help others, exercised more regularly and made more progress toward personal goals. According to the findings, people who feel grateful are also more likely to feel loved.”

Hey, it worked for me!

Two, 10 minutes of visualization.

Did I just lose 80% of my readers?

I know. “Visualization” sounds like I’m about to tell you to hold your crystals together, drop some unicorn tears on them, and watch your wildest dreams will come true.

And yet, visualization has been successfully employed by high-performing athletes for years. It engages your brain to solve the puzzle in front of you. It builds a framework from which you can make effective long-term decisions. 

So, get specific. What does your success look like? What does it smell like, sound like, taste like? What specifically is different about your life in success from your life right now? Answering those questions — and seeing the answers clearly — will condition your brain to a possibility of a successful outcome. 

From that place of possibility, you can begin to answer some of the more pressing questions. Which technology platform should you choose? What type of clients should you bring in? Should you say “yes” to this new hire? Your answers will be driven by your strategic vision — not fear of failure. And that will make all the difference.

See also: Under $300K in Revenue? Here’s Your Sales and Marketing Strategy.

Now, your turn. 

What reminders and tricks have you deployed to keep yourself motivated, focused, and positive during the tough ramp-up phase of starting an RIA? What routines have helped you? 

Sound off in the comments. We have lots of advisors here who are just getting started on their path to independence. Your idea might just be what they need to get through a rough day. 

Patrick Brewer, CFA, CPA

Patrick Brewer is the Founder of SurePath Wealth, a NextGen ensemble practice with offices across the country. Patrick is also co-founder of Brewer Consulting, a marketing agency for financial advisors, and host of “The Model FA” podcast. Together, the three companies empower advisors to remove financial anxiety from the world by combining human-first investment advice with cutting-edge marketing and practice management strategies. Patrick is a CFA charterholder and a CPA. You can connect with Patrick on Facebook or LinkedIn!