Going Virtual – The Value Of Being A Location Independent Financial Advisor

Helping clients with their financial planning from a sandy beach in South Africa may sound too good to be true, but it’s not, and I’ve done it. The anywhere advisor concept was almost unfathomable a decade ago, but with the rapid adoption of technology in a Covid-accelerated digital wilderness, it’s now the most practical solution.      

Financial advisors traditionally had to sit down with their clients, face-to-face, and walk them through solutions to their financial planning challenges with paper presentations. How to get clients as a financial advisor was about cold calling, door knocking, seminar selling, and so on to drive more in-person meetings. However, times have changed, and virtual advisors are on the rise. Let’s analyze some of the benefits of practicing as a location independent financial advisor.  

Leverage Technology 

Videoconferencing helped me improve my life-work balance by reducing the need for business travel. It also allowed me to take on ideal clients who weren’t initially in my geographic scope, essentially without limit. It’s certainly the most effective way of delivering personalized advice in the digital age and having more time for your social life and family is one heck of an incentive, all while making more money and drastically reducing your overhead in the process.

Technology systems and web-based tools are virtually everywhere, which is a double-edge sword for advisors since so many solutions exist yet we don’t know how to put them all together to get the most out of them.  This is one of the reasons I created Conneqtor, to give advisors the master blueprint they need to help serve clients regardless of where you or your client happens to be

The anywhere advisor can serve different types of clientele, thanks to the cost savings and efficiency of using technology as opposed to a traditional office. Location independence presents the potential to craft an especially focused business serving niche clients that becomes feasible in the world of content and inbound marketing.

Freedom And Well-Being

Imagine never having to delay your life plans, while you wait for the ‘right moment’? Break free from the shackles of a physical location occupation. Stop being bound when you were made to explore. As a virtual financial advisor, you have the opportunity not only to create a life around the business of financial advice but to create an advisory business around living your life to the fullest.  

The ability to balance work and life has become the key to feeling happier and being more productive within your work. Saving time that would otherwise be spent on a long commute allows for better work-life balance and adds hours back into your days. Working remotely can improve your health and wellness by reducing stress.

What about financial freedom? The benefit of operating virtually and having a robust digital presence is that it’s possible to launch a new advisory firm at a fraction of the cost. A brick & mortar location is a massive expense, and with that eliminated, you can focus on building a fierce virtual practice and target your ideal clients. This newly found freedom also makes it more feasible to serve clients with different business models.

How you choose to spend your time saved as a virtual advisor are entirely up to you. Make sure to get that father of the year mug in 2021, go on that trip you’ve always dreamt of, or put the extra hours into other projects or passions. Either way, ka-ching! It all holds value. 

Replace Prospecting With Marketing 

Cold calling now seems like something from a prehistoric nightmare, but it was once a cornerstone of our profession. The world has since gone digital with everyone now online. This is where you must exist to stay relevant. 

Digital marketing is the most powerful asset at the disposal of a virtual financial advisor. Tech platforms offer many new opportunities to improve your overall marketing strategy, such as the ability to reach new audiences, generate leads, and close sales. Digital marketing is no overnight phenomena and can take months to start bearing the fruits of your efforts, but once you have an engaged audience, the value add is quickly evident. 

Connect through content – start focusing on creating content rather than AUM. Assets under management have almost zero value to a potential client. It’s an ego stroke that in a service-based business like ours should be left at the door. Clients are searching for how you can help them, and with 3.5 billion Google searches made every day, you need to be featured among them! 

Embrace technology, grow your digital presence, tap into new markets and become a specialist advisor who operates from anywhere. Write your own story – set your own hours – choose your own destiny. Become the anywhere advisor to acquire more clients, reduce your expenses, and have an amazing life-work balance.  How can anyone argue with this?

 

Best Regards,

Derek Notman

Best Practices & Tips for Financial Advisors When Working with A VA

Working with a va

Building a team of virtual assistants is one of the best business decisions I ever made.

I was tired of the high costs associated with the traditional W2 employees and all of the hassle, heartache, and expenses that came with them.  So, I did something about it.  The following information is there to help you understand how to best build a team of virtual assistants and give you insight into how you should go about working with a VA.

Done right now only will it save you a ton of money (I was able to reduce my overhead expenses by ~61% because I embraced VAs) but it will propel your business to the next level.

The idea of working with virtual assistants has grown substantially in popularity over the last year, and with it the awareness around being able to run an entire business virtually. It was not always this way – the pandemic accelerated our adoption of working remotely.

I have been a protagonist of the virtual approach for years and, as a result, have much experience when it comes to working with a virtual team; I have ironed out the creases, so to speak.

As a virtual financial advisor, I have been through and tried it all, running my practice remotely for the past eight years – so here are the best practices and tips for building a successful working relationship between you and your VA.

working with a va tips

Be Realistic About Their Workload

One of the biggest mistakes financial advisors make when hiring a VA is expecting them to handle a permanent, full-time employees’ workload. VA’s usually charge per hour or task.

My advice is to be realistic about how much your VA can take on in terms of how many hours they will be working for you a month. Remember they are working for multiple clients, so be upfront with them and allow them to quote you, or at least be transparent about how much they can handle.

If you are paying them for ten hours a month, then do not expect more than that. If you do have more work for them, then you will have to pay for additional hours. They are part-time; remember that.

Train Them Thoroughly

Another aspect that financial advisors tend to overlook is the training of their virtual assistants. Yes, you will be able to find the right fit for your company in terms of experience, but that does not necessarily mean that the VA will be able to come in and be thrown in the deep end straight away.

It is essential to train them on your precise processes and allow them the time to get up to speed with your approach and methods of conducting business.

Do not Micromanage Them

VA’s are used to working alone, remotely, and you must give them the space to do so. Once they have a thorough understanding of your business, provide them with the responsibility; a sense of ownership. Brief them properly and let them run with it. That is the beauty of hiring virtual employees. They are self-starters by nature. This can be a massive asset to your business if managed properly – giving you the time to focus on what is important without having to baby them tirelessly.

dont micro manage when working with a va

Setup the Proper Infrastructure for Communication and Delegation when working with a VA

There is an overabundance of free tools available online for you to work seamlessly with your virtual assistant. Suppose you are willing to pay a subscription fee. In that case, there is also Office 365, which is the ultimate means for virtual collaboration, connection, and communication. You can quite smoothly run your entire financial planning practice using 365, Trello, or Asana (a personal favorite of mine).

There are Skype, Zoom, FreeConferenceCall, and Microsoft Teams for communication, which allows you to have one-on-one calls or even virtual stand-ups with your whole workforce.

So, be sure to do your research and pick the applications which are best suited to your service offering. Your virtual assistant would’ve probably have used most of them, so that should be an issue. Having the proper communication and task delegation infrastructure is critical to building successful relationships with your VA or virtual team.

Empower Them to Buy into The Business

Last but not least, showcase your ‘why.’ As with any hire, you need to communicate to them why working with you is important and beneficial.

Make sure they understand your “why”. Make sure they jive with your vibe. Make sure you like each other. Do not make them think you are always looking over their shoulder. Empower them to be their best, let them know it is OK to make mistakes, and they will want to continue working with you. They will emotionally invest in what you do.

In my virtual advisor system called Conneqtor, which is designed to equip you with all the tools and understanding necessary to run a successful virtual financial planning practice, I specifically teach on how to build a virtual team.

Learn how to run, market, and effectively grow your business in the digital world we live in – download our free eBook to learn more.

No matter your tenure as an advisor it is an almost certainty that you can save money and grow faster by embracing virtual assistants.  Mine have been with me for years and I consider them family.  They have my back, get things done, and are amazing people.  Done right, having a virtual team will be a game changer for your business.

Have questions?  Conneqt with me on LinkedIn and ask away!

Best Regards,

Derek Notman

The Perks of Permanency and Flexibility on the Remote Advisory Model

remote work model man working in nature

As I write this, almost 60% of the workforce in the United States of America has the option of remote work in their employment contracts. Workplace Analytics recently completed a survey and came up with the following forecast:

“Our best estimate is that 25-30% of the workforce will be working-from-home multiple days a week by the end of 2021.” – Kate Lister, President of Global Workplace Analytics

The whole world has had to adapt, and from a financial advisor’s perspective, this is hugely positive. For us, it means that we will cut down on costs dramatically, and we’ll be able to serve our clients when and how we (and they) want to.

When I refer to permanency, I am talking about the fact that you’ll be able to work from anywhere in the world, at any time of day, and for anyone you wish to, even if lockdowns continue indefinitely. A beach house? A cabin in the woods? Do you want to work in two different cities a year so that no matter what, it’s always summer? All good so long as you have a decent internet connection and the right infrastructure! The only thing I can think of that would stop you from working is a major technological shutdown, and if that happens well then, we all might as well just pack it in.

So, let’s look at some of the perks of the Remote Advisory Model.

Hiring New Staff Has Never Been Simpler

Communication is so easy to manage, given the tech at our fingertips. You can now hire staff at a cheaper rate, per hour and without having to fork out for any of their infrastructures. The remote advisory model has no geographic boundaries, meaning you can hire people from anywhere in the world.

Being able to hire international employees also means your virtual financial planning practice can run 24/7. If you have people representing your business in multiple time zones, your profits will increase exponentially.

remote model virtual recruitment

Remote work models increase productivity

Another reference from that Workplace Analytics article suggests that remote workers produce 43% more output than their 9-5 counterparts. So not only can your business grow significantly, but you’ll also have a much more productive team working for you. Oh, did I mention that your employees will be a lot happier too? By embracing the remote advisory model, you’re promoting a healthy work/life balance.

The same goes for you too!

A Healthy Work/Life Balance

You can now maintain a greater balance between your personal life and your responsibilities as a business owner.

Rather than having to work all day and visit clients in the evening after hours at their homes, you are freeing up your time to focus on other things that interest you. Have you always wanted to renovate a boat? Do you want to pursue a passion project or even spend time with your kids in the afternoons? Well, now you can – it’s all about time management.

working remotely has this dad enjoying time with his child in the autumn leaves

Being genuinely flexible allows you to live a fuller, more rewarding life.

Furthermore, a flexible schedule lowers stress and strengthens your output.

Retaining Employees Is No Longer an Issue

With the remote work model, you don’t have to have a single permanent employee if you don’t want to. You can quite literally run a business with a freelance workforce. Think about how expensive your hiring process is. With all of the online platforms for hiring freelancers now available, you cut those costs entirely. You pay per hour, per task, or project – no strings attached.

In fact, hiring freelancers is highly cost-effective as you only pay for their services. Are you looking for an expert in something out of your experience? No problem – you can find any professional online.

There’s another added benefit here – a truly diverse team.

More Creativity

When you bring a group of people together who have unique perspectives and backgrounds, it results in a more innovative workforce. If you have an idea, you can brainstorm with your team members, and receive much fascinating insight from them.

Think about how different the perspective of a junior financial advisor from California is to that of a digital marketer from Amsterdam, for instance? A diversified team can only be a positive step forward for your practice.

Technology to Better Serve Your Ideal Client

From building an easy-to-navigate website to promoting your services online, anything is possible in the digital age. You can even embed code into your website that syncs with your calendar to allow clients to book their own appointments. Your online presence becomes your new overhead cost (investment), and it’s a whole lot cheaper than office space and continuous travel expenses.

You’ll need to invest in software and perhaps a team of expert individuals to take your digital footprint to the next level. Fear not; it will most definitely result in more lead conversions.

A Fraction of The Cost

You won’t have to pay for electricity, water, office supplies, or furniture with the remote advisory model. You won’t have to pay for employee benefits or travel either.

It’s a no-brainer!  Haven’t read our Virtual Proclamation eBook yet?  Get it here for free and find out how you can start migrating to a fully remote financial practice today.

I hope you enjoyed reading this!

Kind regards,

Derek Notman

Remote Work in the Time of Corona

remote work for financial advisors

As I briefly covered in my last article, remote work is the way to go during this global pandemic. COVID-19 has shown us that working from home is possible for multiple industries and businesses. All you really need is the right infrastructure and digital footprint and the world is your oyster!

I’ve been a Virtual Financial Advisor for 6+ years now and have found so many benefits to working online. Adapting my brick and mortar approach to the online space has made my business flourish.

According to Forbes, some studies show that there has been a drop in productivity as the world embraces the remote work model, but this is because we’re amid a pandemic and because friends and family are at home with you. At this moment, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed, scared, and even distracted.

There are ways to get around this, though. Here are some tips for staying productive if you are new to remote work.

3 simple tips for remote work

  1. If you’re doing administrative work, try to add a deliberate distraction. For instance, listening to classical music with headphones. By blocking yourself out from the rest of the world (and your family), you can get a lot more done. Or even better, outsource it to a virtual assistance who probably can do it better than you and is a fraction of the cost of hiring a traditional staff member.
  2. Take a moment or two throughout the day to get lost in your thoughts – something unrelated to the task at hand; this is known to refresh focus – like stepping outside the office for 5 minutes. Take a brisk walk to get the blood flowing, take in some deep breaths of fresh air, and then get back to work and crush it!
  3. Another way to take a break and boost activity is by making yourself a cup of your favorite brew. Taking a coffee break isn’t just about taking a few minutes away from your work task, but caffeine actually improves physiological arousal and less inclination to be distracted.

Now that you know how to be more productive and maintain your concentration levels while working from home let us look at some of the benefits of remote work.

how to work remotely from anywhere

4 Benefits of remote work

In the financial services industry, more and more financial advisors are embracing the remote (virtual) model as clients’ needs, wants, and expectations change with the times.

There are many benefits to remote work, here are 4 reasons:

1.   You’ll save on fixed expenses

You will save a considerable amount by not having to pay for the fixed costs that usually come with running a traditional brick & mortar financial planning practice. Think office space, employee salaries and of course, commuting to meet with clients. These savings (amounting to thousands of dollars a month) can be reinvested into your business through more budget for marketing, or even be profit in your pocket!

2.   You can meet with clients anywhere in the world, for free

Yip, that’s right! There are countless free online apps for video conferencing, and with remote work, you can meet with your clients regardless of their location. As a result, you expand your reach into a global market – giving you the opportunity to make more money and gain more experience regardless of your physical location or theirs!

3.   You can work on your own time

When running a traditional office space, you usually have to be there from open to close. The beauty of remote work is that you can run your own schedule, affording yourself a better life/work balance in the process. It also means that you choose when to serve your clients. If you have something personal to attend to, or simply feel like going for a jog, or surf, you can.

4.   There are brilliant online tools that facilitate remote work

From Skype, G Suite, and FreeConferenceCall, to Conneqtor and Trello, there are incredible tools and systems to help you take your financial planning practice online. You can communicate, stay organized, and thrive by using the right tools for you.

So, besides the fact that we’re going through difficult times at the moment, remote work makes sense in general.  It did before the pandemic and will after. The tools are available, and it’s what the new generation of clients require.

BONUS BENEFIT: Internet speed and connectivity is everything. As we begin to invest more time in building our digital footprint and building client relationships online, we need to have a reliable internet connection. This great article by Consumers Advocate gives you the best internet providers based on in-depth reviews.

Will you be left behind, or embrace working remotely and become more successful and happier than you’ve ever been?

If you’d like more insight on how to become a Virtual Financial Advisor, get in touch with us at Conneqtor, or download our free e-book for an introduction on how our virtual advisor system can help you take your business online.

work from anywhere in the world with these online tools

Thanks for reading!

Cheers,

Derek