Most of us got into the advisory sector for a couple of reasons: First, we enjoyed helping people make better financial decisions, and, second, we liked investing.
But what I've noticed is that experienced advisers are not spending enough time doing what initially inspired them because they get bogged down running their business or practice. Instead of spending five or six hours a day engaging with clients (or prospective clients), their time is spent managing people, interacting with vendors, dealing with technology and paying the bills.
You may think that's all just part of doing business, but if that sounds like you, my advice is to get back to doing what you love.
I began advising almost 30 years ago and what I've learned is that when I focus on doing the things that I enjoy, and that I'm good at, and delegating those tasks that I'm not passionate about, not only does my quality of life improve, but my business grows, as well.
Like many advisers, I started out as a financial salesperson for a national company. I quickly realized that the organization I was with was not a good fit, and so, along with a colleague, I left, and we launched our own advisory firm, Hanson McClain.
Our business was profitable, but before long, much of my time was being consumed with non-client-facing issues. After only a year, the joy of running my own firm was already on the wane.
That's when I was introduced to something that helped me grow the business and shed those tasks that weren't my strengths: the future org chart.
My partner and I developed an organizational chart for what we wanted our business to look like in three years. (There were four of us in the firm at the time: the two of us plus two assistants.)
We created four departments and identified 16 different jobs. (Granted, with just two employees, it meant, at that moment, our names were associated with 14 of the 16 different job functions.)
But the development of that future org chart was a seminal moment in my professional life.
When I reviewed it, I realized that I loved doing a few of the functions. The remainder, while essential, took more out of me (energy, time, enthusiasm) than completing them returned to the bottom line of our company.
Within a handful of years, we grew into that org chart. And, every two years since, we update it. (In fact, just three weeks ago, we went through this exercise again.)
My experience has been that the more I focus on doing that which motivates, inspires and challenges me, the better our clients are served and the more our firm has grown.
I understand that for small business owners, it's difficult to delegate. But being forward-thinking, knowing your strengths and focusing on doing what you love will hasten your growth and serve you better down the road.
Scott Hanson is the co-founder and a senior partner at Hanson McClain Advisors.