How To Build A Financial Advisory Practice Online

Key Point Summary

  • As a financial advisor, you should consider adopting a virtual (or hybrid) approach to positioning yourself as a leader and resource to your potential and current clients. Nurturing personal client relationships to form meaningful human connections and provide specialized advice in the digital age is more than possible, it’s the expectation.
  • The virtual realm can offer more visibility, enhanced customer engagement, and greater efficiency. Embracing technology allows you to concentrate on what’s important, delivering personalized advice in the digital age
  • Working online means you can slash your overhead drastically. The physical infrastructure you need to put in place to conduct virtual meetings and drive inbound client acquisition is no longer a large, expensive plush office.
  • Full time, in-house employees is not the only answer anymore – it’s time to consider hiring virtual staff to take advantage of their expertise and flexibility. 
  • A virtual financial advisor is no longer bound by physical location.  They are able to work with clients regardless of either of their locations. These distance-defying advisors are successful in part because they know how to nurture client relationships with personalized service at a distance.
  • A location-independent financial advisor is more capable of finding balance in their life. The anywhere advisor chooses a life of increased freedom and well-being.
  • Download my free eBook for further insight on how to build a financial planning practice online while finding true balance in your life. 

Want to build a successful financial planning practice online but don’t know where to begin? Let me be your guide to digital freedom. First, you should consider embracing the virtual (or semi-virtual) financial advisor model and its various dimensions to position yourself as a leader and resource to your potential and current clients.

As we always have done we must continue to direct our time and effort toward building real connections with our clients – relationships that align with their specific missions, visions, values, and goals. Although the virtual model has gone mainstream and is thriving in most parts of the world, this doesn’t mean you should be any less hands-on. Don’t neglect the most powerful tool at your disposal – that of human connection.  All we are changing is the medium for this human connection, replacing the brick & mortar office for a screen.

I built my virtual online practice initially to have something scalable, repeatable, and something that allowed me an incredible life/work balance. Many advisors ended up asking me how I did it all, many of whom initially said it couldn’t be done.  This is what inspired me to create Connector. 

My Virtual Advisor System is a proven program that will show you how to start or remodel your practice into a virtual powerhouse, teaching you how to acquire and work with your ideal clients from anywhere. 

My free eBook and the Conneqtor system explore key strategies for financial advisors looking to evolve & thrive in a digital world while enriching the balance in their lives. Let’s take a closer look at how to build a financial planning practice online and why it should be your top priority.  

Adapt to a Changing World 

‘The measure of intelligence is the ability to change’ ― Albert Einstein.

The world is changing rapidly, and the financial services industry needs to adapt accordingly to avoid being left in the dust. Admittedly a daunting prospect, but this change is a much-needed shift that presents a great deal of new opportunity.

Transitioning from face-to-face selling to virtual selling requires a new approach better suited to the demands of new-age buyers who prefer to work through digital channels. This virtual realm can offer more visibility, enhanced customer engagement, and greater technological efficiency.

Evolution is natural, but growth rarely comes without growing pains. The consumer and technology have evolved into 2021 versions of themselves, yet the financial services industry has largely remained stuck in 1985. Well, that’s all over now, and there’s no going back. The Pandemic has fast-tracked our outdated industry’s evolution, and tremendous good will come from this evolution for those who acknowledge and embrace the world we live in; the future is TODAY, and tomorrow.  Time we learn from what doesn’t work anymore and leave it in the past.

Ground Zero

It’s often said that change approaches slowly and arrives suddenly, and that was certainly the case last year when the pandemic changed our primary source of communication to video. What was once probable yet unlikely scenarios – such as celebrating a friend’s birthday on Zoom, or holding your book club debate over FaceTime – instantly became mainstream in 2020.  

Younger generations prefer these virtual relationships when it comes to service providers. So, this is your starting point. Whether, via Skype, Zoom, FreeConferenceCall, or FaceTime, your primary means of communicating with your clients must evolve. We are in the client satisfaction game, so give them what they want. This is the modern way they wish to interact with us to acquire our products and services. Millennials and Gen Zers make up a combined 48% of the consumer population, so it would be a missed opportunity for a financial advisor not to adhere to the changing demands of almost half of their potential customers.

Get rid of all your unnecessary files and paper too; you’re going to need to migrate everything online, and there are brilliant tools for this. The longer your business operates, the more data it needs to store. If you’re still storing paper, it’s not going to be long before it starts taking up a bunch of space, if it hasn’t already! Online storage is a cost-effective centralized solution that makes finding documents more accessible, saving you the most precious commodity of time… time better spent delivering personalized advice in the digital age.

The Infrastructure 

So, you’re probably wondering what exactly you need to set up a financial planning practice online. It can’t be as easy as only a computer and fast internet connection, can it? Well, yes, in fact. That’s pretty much it.  Yes, there some key infrastructure pieces you should incorporate in addition to your computer, the point is that what is needed to run a thriving advisory practise today is drastically different from what it used to be.

Remember Border’s Bookstore, Blockbuster Video, and actually having to go out to a bar to find your next “significant other?” These were once the infrastructures and social norms which businesses and consumers alike preferred, but boy, times have changed!

The beauty of working online means that you can drastically reduce your overhead (I dropped mine by ~61%). There are plenty of tools for organizing, administration, and communication, financial planning, etc. so your infrastructure requirements remain minimal as many of these tools are free or available at low cost.

Not having to pay rent is a game-changer and will allow you to filter your savings back into your business and invest in crucial aspects of running a virtual enterprise. Think digital marketing and digital infrastructure  – two necessities to run a virtual financial planning practice you can’t live without.

This new-age infrastructure also means a changed obligation to typical operating costs and utilities such as office supplies for your staff, internet for multiple people, insurance, payroll taxes, electricity, water/sewage, or a cleaning company. Again, this equates to drastic savings each month. Other savings associated with a virtual business include not paying for maintenance on plumbing, electrical, appliances, or even paint (yup, I painted 6,000 square feet to save money, ugh!), and avoid having to deal with a sewage backup at 1 in the morning.  I’m afraid that one’s not hypothetical and actually happened to me, ugh!

Reallocating these business expenses will also allow you to bring more home to enjoy life, and after all, that’s what it’s all about! Part of what Conneqtor offers is to teach advisors the physical infrastructure to put in place in order to conduct virtual meetings and drive inbound client acquisition.

The Ideal Client

Identifying, connecting with and acquiring ideal clients are the most important processes for any financial advisor. Do you want to transform yourself into a virtual financial advisor, but you’re concerned about how you’re going to get clients online? Don’t be!

I’ve been a virtual financial advisor for years now and know precisely how to get clients as a financial advisor online — I’ve learned through trial and error so that you don’t have to. I have designed a virtual financial advisor system that will set you up with everything you need to build a successful financial planning practice online. Adapting the analogy: Give a financial advisor a fish (lead), feed them for a day. Teach a financial advisor to harness the power of the digital ocean, you feed them forever.

My system teaches advisors how to build a robust online presence that will drive inbound leads to you 24/7. By no means am I overselling. After going digital in 2013, I used my wealth of experience to build a system that offers you a repeatable and tested online sales process with clients coming to you. The best relationships are the ones we chose. Conneqtor enables you to select the clients with which you want to work.

Setting up an online financial planning practice comes with the bonus of working with clients regardless of physical location. Your location no longer restricts you, nor do you have to spend money on travel, spend time stuck in traffic, or waste time with “coffee meetings”.  Let’s face it, not all of these are worth the money you spent on coffee! Become liberated to go after the ideal clients you deserve. The contact point between you and potential clients is at your fingertips. I’m not saying landing your ideal client is a walk in the park, but making contact with them certainly is.

So how do you acquire new clients while working virtually? Well, I’ve created what I refer to as an InboundSalesMachine webinar to share my journey as a virtual financial advisor and what I designed, to help advisors generate inbound leads without ever having to cold call or meet in-person ever again.

Dedicated Advice at a Distance

In the virtual space, you and your team become the centralized hub for advice. It’s your job to make sure your clients receive a high level of personalized service from high-calibre advisors. Consider the history of the handshake in the sales culture, symbolically sealing the deal. This gesture can’t be replicated over video chat, so other methods need to be used to compensate for this.

Visual communication and tone of voice carry incredible weight in how we communicate. Psychologist Albert Mehrabian once demonstrated that 93% of communication is nonverbal (Link to – https://www.wyzowl.com/infographic-the-power-of-visual-communication/). It is also said that people remember 10% of what they hear, 20% of what they read, and 80% of what they see and do.  

Virtual meetings actually empower us to have very meaningful conversations with our clients, sometimes more so than in person.  There is a major convenience and comfortability factor when a client is able to meet from the comfort of their own home instead of having a stranger sitting in their living room at night or having to drive across town. To be a successful virtual financial advisor, you will need to make your interactions with your clients as personal as possible but also make sure the virtual experience is a great one!  Don’t make people look up your nose or constantly wonder what you are saying.  Nurture these relationships by being ever-present to reassure them you can provide an even better service level than in person.  Complementing your virtual meetings can be done with email, voice/video notes, and the rest of your digital footprint.  Let people into your world.

I recently touched on the importance of self-awareness for a financial advisor and mentioned that it’s ok to get a little touchy-feely. No, I don’t mean in the physical sense! I mean that it’s ok and often very beneficial to get in touch with who you are. Not only will this allow you to form genuine connections with your clients, but it lets you evaluate your advisor journey and whether you are living a fulfilling life. 

When advisors ask me where they should start, I reply with a question of my own; “What is the single most important thing you are looking to accomplish by being an advisor?”

Initial responses tend to share the commonality of wanting to help others. Which – don’t get me wrong – I love, but the answer should be deeper than that. Being a Financial advisor is part art, part science.  When you combine the two it fulfils you and what you seek to achieve in life.    

As an advisor, what is it that lights a fire in your belly? Why is this occupation important to you? Will being a financial advisor help you do everything of value to you and your family?

Most advisors are not taught to think about these things, but all else is secondary to these questions of real pertinence. Start asking yourself the real questions!

Mixing It Up

If you enjoy meeting with clients in person and can’t imagine being an advisor without it altogether, you can set up a semi-virtual financial planning practice.  I suspect this will be where we end up for some time.  Once the COVID-19 pandemic exists only in our memory, meeting with clients can indeed form a part of your business if you choose to mix it up. If you feel it will keep things dynamic for you, go for it. The pandemic has proven beyond a doubt that the virtual or semi-virtual model works incredibly well.

When working with Gen X or Baby Boomer clients, they may still want to meet in person. Nevertheless, once you introduce them to the virtual model, I assure you that they’ll be happy to meet via video conferencing. It’s just more convenient for both parties. Once everyone has had a taste of the time-saving benefits, it’s hard to go back! 

Marketing

We live in the internet age. It’s such a fundamental part of our daily lives that the younger generations can’t even fathom a time when the internet wasn’t around. When internet consultation and recommendations are the go-to, you need to stand out digitally as the best financial advisor in town.

This is why digital marketing for financial advisors is so critical. It gives you the tools to work your magic and develop a robust online presence through social platforms, website, and email marketing campaigns.  

Marketing your services will require an effective strategy to be successful. Without a strategy, you are entering the digital realm blind, likely to waste money and time amongst well-tailored competitor efforts. A powerful strategy can increase your SEO ranking, drive traffic to your website, enhance your social media presence, and convert prospects into clients through inbound marketing.

Your digital presence will only grow and provide you with ideal clients if you follow the process of building awareness, getting your audience to consider you through engagement and prompting action to acquire them as a client. Trust the process!

Virtual Staff

With a virtual financial planning practice, you can be fully operational by hiring virtual employees. Not only is outsourcing far more cost-effective than hiring full-time staff, but you can acquire expertise in a variety of different skill sets.

There is a world of professionals working remotely who are rearing to help you move your business forward. Finding the right person is all the more possible with the number of companies that offer virtual staffing solutions.

Enjoy the flexibility of the virtual staff. Get the pros in and cut the dead weight. You can also leverage freelancers, you can access a whole team of expert individuals on call, using them when and where you need them. In the digital world, this is most definitely the way to go.

Work/Life Balance 

As an advisor, did you ever really want to conduct phone clinics at night, or meet with prospective clients at their home – sometimes at night, an hour’s drive or more away, only to get porched? Did you envision yourself becoming a peddler, pushing products like a salesman?  

No, of course not, but it’s been engrained into the teachings of financial advisory services and is what we believed we had to do to earn a living in this industry. The anywhere advisor chooses a life of increased freedom and well-being. I’ve previously discussed the value of being a location independent financial advisor, and I can’t stress enough the profound effect it could have on your life and your pursuit of balance.  

Deeper Understanding 

I hope this gives you a brief understand of what going virtual entails and its immediate benefits. For a deeper understanding and a mentorship guide to building a virtual financial planning practice, get the advisor playbook: Download my free eBook right away. 

Dive into the chapters of my eBook, where I explain my journey of epic realisations and eureka moments. I give perspective on the outdated nature of the financial industry and how to avoid extinction like the dinosaurs. Yes, there was a massive meteor that hit the planet and wiped a bunch out. But meteor or not, dinosaurs were doomed because they didn’t adapt to their changing environment.  The difference between them and us, we have a choice.

Thanks for reading, sending positive vibes your way.

Cheers,

Derek Notman

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. Here are some really insightful and practical ways in which you can manage stress at work by Zoe Talent Solutions.

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

How to Adopt a Virtual Sales Process for Your Remote Practice

asian woman adopting a virtual sales process for her remote practice

At the start of 2020, companies and financial advisors were scheduling client dinners and booking business trips to conduct face-to-face sales meetings. This way of operating came to an abrupt standstill as COVID-19 forced sales teams to shift their operations into the virtual world.

“Physical sales teams had to learn an entirely new system for maintaining and closing deals,” said Brian Moran, CEO of Small Business Edge.

Consider the history of the  handshake in sales culture, symbolically sealing the deal. However, this polite gesture can’t be replicated over video chat, during the current pandemic.

“Things like visual communication or tone of voice carry incredible weight in how we communicate,” says E.J. Kritz, director of training and insights . “While a Zoom meeting can still allow a salesperson to add a sense of human element by being polite and accommodating or dazzling customers with their enthusiasm, much of the deal is now done via email, taking away from the personal element and making the encounter more impersonal.”

Change is the only constant

The world is changing rapidly, and the financial planning industry needs to adapt accordingly, not to be left behind. Admittedly a daunting prospect, but this change is a much-needed shift that comes accompanied by great opportunity.

a virtual sales process outlasts constant change

Transitioning from face-to-face selling to virtual selling requires a new  approach better suited to the demands of new-age buyers who prefer to work through digital channels. This virtual realm can offer more visibility, enhanced customer engagement, and greater efficiency from technology use.

Building an entirely virtual team is a far more financially viable way of running your practice. You no longer require overheads, such as office space and equipment and there’s more room for collaboration, as you can work with specialised individuals as you need them. These digital collaborators can be located anywhere in the world, charging per hourly or agreeing to a set budget per project.

Trust the virtual sales process  

The same tools, such as Zoom and Skype, once used to discuss personal matters and connect with friends, are now used to give clients personalised financial advice in the comfort of their own homes. Younger generations such as Gen Z and Millennials actually prefer it.  In fact this was already mainstream before the pandemic with over 42 million households already prime candidates for virtual advice according to a 2019 Mckinsey report.   Not only will it save you time, but it can avert any awkwardness that arises from visiting clients at their place of residence after hours.

Having the correct digital infrastructure in place is essential to communicate with your virtual staff and clients while protecting all parties’ data. The brick and mortar model would require you to visit physical locations for sales meetings or go to a client’s home at night. Now you can conduct virtual ‘house call’ appointments. Using your business website, you could set up a scheduling tool to enable customers to set up virtual meetings online. This scheduling tool could sync with your calendar for convenience.

Communication is key 

Strong communication lines between employees and managers can further help workers feel part of a network and keep remote work from becoming isolating.

Working remotely allows for more flexibility within your schedule and gives you the ability to choose your hours. When time zones differ, and work schedules don’t align, it’s essential to be mindful of your co-worker’s time to create a working symbiosis.

Remote working can bring about a sudden change to your daily schedule. For instance, if an employee falls ill, you need to take on the responsibility to compensate for their absence as a team. You delegate the work among your team, to best maintain productivity within your practice.

communicating with teams virtually

Prospect through digital marketing

Prospecting transforms into digital marketing with your entire audience existing online. Adopting the virtual financial planning model is where you will need to connect with them.

First impressions are more important than ever, so invest your time and energy in designing and implementing an effective digital marketing strategy that can help increase your SEO ranking and improve your sales conversion rates.  This is your digital storefront do it right and clients will be coming to you.

Interacting with potential clients online can give you direct insight into what your audience wants. This valuable information can steer your decision-making processes in the future. It will also help you enhance your customers’ experience, develop loyalty and trust through exemplary service, and increase your ROI.

One of the key strengths of digital marketing for financial advisors lies in creating brand awareness to target new markets and consumers.

Delivering a high-quality service will result in more fulfilled client relationships and see healthy brand awareness transpire through feedback, reviews, and word of mouth publicity. These customer assets help build a brand reputation without costing you time, money, or energy.

Define and publish your virtual sales process

Once you get traffic (potential clients) to come to your digital storefront you must show them what to expect if they work with you.  Although each virtual sales process will vary slightly depending on the advisor you should make it clear how many meetings they should expect to have with you, how long each meeting typically takes, and what is to be covered in each meeting.

Whether you realize it or not potential clients want to know what your virtual sales process is since they want to know what to expect in working with you.  If you don’t tell them clearly what to expect you are giving them one more reason not to contact you.  Check out my virtual sales process for Intrepid Wealth Partners here as an example of what you should consider doing for your digital store front.

Prepare for the future

The sooner you embrace the technological revolution we are currently experiencing, the sooner you will be able to utilise the ability to work with people anywhere on earth and streamline your business collaboration to reach new heights.

The consumer and technology have evolved, we must do the same.

Cheers,

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

How to Drastically Reduce Your Overhead While Expanding Your Team as A Virtual Advisor

reduce overhead and expand your team

Arguably the best thing about transforming your financial planning practice into a virtual one is that your overhead will come down drastically. No office + virtual staff = minimized expenses.

A relatively obvious observation, yes, but let us take a look at what a virtual practice actually looks like from a financial perspective.

As a business owner, your goal is to service your clients to the best of your ability while generating as much revenue as possible while still living a life you love, the virtual financial practice will enable you to do just that.

No More Rent

Not having to pay rent for physical office space is a considerable benefit, resulting in your saving a lot of money each year.

Depending on your location, office space can cost many thousands of dollars a month in the USA; astronomical and no longer necessary. Think about how you can reallocate this expense for your business while also bringing more home to enjoy life….

You will then have more room to reinvest some of your savings back into the business for the crucial aspects of running a virtual business. Think digital marketing and digital infrastructure – two necessities for a virtual financial planning practice you simply cannot go without.

working remotely saves costs

No Running Costs Associated with A Physical Office Space

Now, with zero office rental fees, also comes the benefit of not having to fork out for the general costs associated with running a physical office.

No more obligation to typical maintenance and utilities such as office supplies for your staff, internet for multiple people, electricity, water/sewage, or a cleaning company. Again, this will result in a drastic savings each month.

Other savings associated with a virtual business include not paying for maintenance on plumping, electrical, appliances, or even paint.  Or having to deal with a sewage backup at 1 in the morning…ya, that happened to me, ugh!

Virtual Employees Are Cheaper

Another significant saving is not having to pay the salaries and benefits for permanent employees. Fewer employees physically present in your office means less money to be paid out every month – in this case, none at all.

With a virtual financial planning practice, you can be fully operational by hiring virtual employees instead. The benefits? Firstly, it is not your responsibility to ensure they are set up to work. So, you need not worry about office supplies, a laptop, or even their internet connection – you simply pay them by the hour or per job/task.

You won’t have to cover their benefits either. The amount you pay per hour or per task is all-inclusive, and it’s also very affordable.

Further to that, working with virtual employees as opposed to permanent ones also gives you flexibility. You’ll be able to forecast whether you’ll need someone’s services or not. If not, no worries, meaning no dead weight. You only hire when their expertise is required.

Through employing freelancers, you can have a whole team of expert individuals on call, using them when and where you need them. In the digital world, it is most definitely the way to go.

virtual team video call

Investing in Digital Infrastructure

When migrating to a virtual business, you’ll need to invest in digital infrastructure, as in the right tools to get you fully operational. Besides a virtual team, you’ll need an in-depth digital marketing strategy because this is where your lead generation and client prospecting will take place.  People aren’t looking for advisors in the Yellow Pages anymore!

Your audience lives online, and so this is where you’ll need to engage with them. My advice is to first build out the foundation yourself.  It will take a bit of time and effort but is necessary for so many reasons.  But eventually you will want to outsource these services. Getting up to speed with how marketing works is no easy feat as it is incredibly strategic. Your expertise is financial advice and planning, and that is what you should focus on. Instead, use the infinite amount of online resources available to build a virtual team that can take care of what you currently cannot.

By using the virtual model to your advantage, you will be working with the most experienced and knowledgeable individuals to help get your digital practice off the ground.

If this migration seems a little too daunting to you, don’t stress! I’ve designed a virtual advisor system called Conneqtor to help guide you every step of the way. It will train you on lead generation, virtual practice management, and digital marketing, etc., etc., etc.

It’s simple and will enable you to dominate as a virtual financial advisor in the digital world. Download our free eBook to get started.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article!

Kind regards,

Derek Notman

My Experience of Presenting at Riskalyze Fearless Week

riskalyze fearless week experience

We are currently in a global megatrend, and as financial advisors, we have no choice to evolve and embrace this change. The future is now.

If we do not embrace these waves of changes, we will become FADs (Financial Advisor Dinosaurs). As an industry, we are quite averse to change, but as a silver lining, the COVID-19 pandemic is somewhat forcing us to change.

The brick and mortar advisor is dead. But the virtual financial advisor will be able to make exponentially more money while drastically reducing their overhead. Furthermore, they will be able to form stronger connections with their clientele then what was previously thought possible.

I spoke about this at Riskalyze Fearless Week – more on that below.

fearless week setup

Riskalyze Fearless Week

I will most definitely look back at presenting at the Riskalyze Fearless Week Virtual Conference as a professional highlight of 2020.

It was an epic experience for me, packed with value and loaded with opportunities to meet so many distinguished, influential people.

This year has thrown us all for a loop, and there’s no denying that, but the whole Riskalyze team did a fantastic job of putting together a massive conference for the benefit of over 2,500 advisors all over the world. Riskalyze is undoubtedly paving the way for how virtual conferences should be done. A job well done, my Riskalyze friends!

I was humbled to have been included as one of the featured speakers for the event, and although the event was entirely virtual, it was still a blast and perhaps even more effective in some ways!

I was able to communicate with fellow advisors in real-time during my session, and I was also able to instantly schedule meetings right within the conference platform.

It was incredibly refreshing and encouraging to see how many advisors around the world are forward-thinking and looking to build an amazing practice while doing what is right for their clients. As I mentioned earlier, we have no choice to adapt, and in doing so, I can see how my peers are benefitting tremendously from the virtual financial planning model.

The 4-day event was packed with useful and practical information that was well diversified from a content standpoint.

And although so much was learned, my biggest takeaway was that our industry is becoming open to evolving, opening up to change, and is led by so many brilliant people trying to improve the work we do from so many angles.

Mindset is a hard thing to change, and the Riskalyze event illustrated just how open to change people are and highlighted the wondrous things that lay ahead for us all.

riskalyze fearless week

Takeaways from My Riskalyze Session

Our brain gets in the way of our evolution, when, in fact, the opportunity to transition to what the modern-day consumer wants from us is more straightforward and faster than what you realize.

The financial advisor who embraces this change and effectively transforms their business into a virtual financial planning practice will benefit from the following:

– Location independence

– A robust digital footprint

– A focus on process and relationships, rather than your product

– Cutting out costs like staff, travel and rent for office space entirely, reducing your overhead significantly (meaning more money in your pocket.)

– Using your knowledge and experience to position yourself as a thought leader in your industry, and in turn, creating more awareness around your service offering

– Heaps more time on your hands to focus on what truly matters to you

What Can You Do Right Now?

I understand that it may come across like we are just throwing around a bunch of new concepts and expecting you to accept them. However, we are merely introducing you to a very apparent reality. The world has changed forever. Before the pandemic struck, we were on the brink of an inflection point, and all COVID-19 did was accelerate that change that was already underway. I want you to know that the solutions and survival of your profession are within virtual reach.

Adopting a Semi Virtual Financial Planning Model

If you are interested in finding out more about what it means to adopt a (semi) virtual financial model, then download our free e-book.

Our system, Conneqtor, will equip you with everything you need to move forward in the new normal as a financial advisor, from lead generation to creating a robust digital footprint.

If you’d like to chat more about what our virtual advisor system can do for you, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

I hope you enjoyed reading about the future of our industry!

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

The Age of The Virtual Financial Advisor and COVID-19

The Age of The Virtual Financial Advisor and COVID-19

As we wrestle with a new way of life or try our best to adapt, one thing we have already learned from the COVID-19 pandemic is that many industries can operate remotely.

That’s the thing, with all that is happening in the world, time stands still for no one, and we now have to look at alternative ways to carry on with life, to make a living, but most of all to do everything we can to get through this together.

I like to think of myself as a bit of a pioneer as I embraced operating virtually some time ago already, and I can confidently say that running a virtual financial practice is a viable option in these trying times.

Up until a few years ago, financial planning was mostly based around face-to-face meetings, sitting across from clients, and providing them with financial planning and investment advice.

From client acquisition to client retention, building relationships was done in-person. Now, as we find ourselves amidst a global pandemic, this way of work is no longer possible.

Even when COVID-19 is one day behind us, meeting face-to-face will still seem like an unnecessary aspect of our role in people’s lives. Why would we need to? The rise of technology is creating a new service model for financial planning – the virtual financial advisor.

After transforming my company, Intrepid Wealth Partners, from a financial practice of the old mold into a fully functioning virtual financial practice, I noticed that every part of a financial planner’s role could be fulfilled online.

It makes total sense to use web-based tools and technology to serve clients. In fact, it opens you up to an international client base, because the location doesn’t matter. Further to this, there are huge cost savings, and my work has become more efficient due to the use of incredible technology.

In this article, I’m going to give you an overview of how to build a financial planning practice online. I will highlight the benefits of remote work, not only in the time of Corona but in the 2020s, and I will give you insight into some of the brilliant online tools you can use to make it happen.

Let’s start with the benefits of remote work.

Remote work in the time of Corona and beyond

remote worker

Before we get into building a financial practice online, let’s look at why remote work is the future of many industries, why it’s so beneficial and easy to embrace.

Firstly, remote work affords you the time to focus on yourself and your family a bit more than when running a traditional financial practice.

Secondly, most people love the idea of remote work because it means freedom to run your own schedule; it means being able to get the job done in your own time. Gone are the days of a standard 9-5, 5 days a week way of working. But thirdly, and most importantly, it means that work does not need to be done in a specific place to be executed successfully, which is perfect for serving new-age clientele like millennials generation z.

So, how does this impact the financial planning industry?

Picture this: instead of commuting to an office each day to work from a designated desk, you can execute your projects and design your days so that you can obtain and maintain an awesome life/work balance. In essence, it also makes it a lot more affordable to start your own financial planning practice. With remote work comes a substantial decrease in fixed expenses—the main ones being office space, in-house staff, and money spent on commuting.

You can choose to go forward as a one-person operation, cutting costs significantly, or you can employ people on a part-time basis, virtually, of course! The beauty of remote work is that you only work on-demand, which extends to your employees too. If you only need someone for a few hours a day, then this new way of work has made that possible. You no longer need to commit to giving people full-time employment; you can pay them on an hourly basis.

According to Flexjobs, an employer can save $22,000 per remote worker per year.

So, let’s look a little deeper at how the benefits of remote work will add value to building a successful online business.

Less time commuting

women and men on train platform

Being a virtual financial advisor means less time and money spent commuting, which means you can spend more money on building a stronger, more efficient service, and spend more money on marketing your services. This way, you can surely spend at least 10% of your gross revenue on digital marketing.

Think about how much time you can save as well. For example, let’s say you spend 1 hour a day in the car (driving to and from your office and client meetings), you do this 5 days a week, and you do this 50 weeks a year. Add it all up, and it equals approximately 250 hours a year in the driver’s seat. That is the same as 6.25 40-hour workweeks a year.

Think about this, over 6 40-hour workweeks a year; you are wasting time sitting in your car, that’s crazy!

Think about how much money you spend on gas or even domestic flights to meet with clients in-person, never mind what you spend on accommodation when meeting with clients in other cities? That sum can now go into client acquisition. Plus, marketing a virtual service is much more attractive to younger generations than the brick and mortar financial planning services.

Not having to pay for office space

Ok, so this is a big one. Arguably the most expensive part of running a company is renting office space to accommodate yourself and your employees.

By going virtual, you won’t have to consider the following:

  • Private kitchen
  • 24-hour access
  • Lounge area
  • Meeting rooms
  • Video conferencing
  • Parking
  • Janitorial services
  • Technology for employees such as computers, cellphones, and the internet

As you may know from experience, the price of renting office space varies. An office space per person can start around $300 per month in the US and goes up drastically depending on location and the facilities included.

By working remotely, the money you would have spent on office space can either go directly back into your business, your pocket or even just renting a smaller office for only you. The reality is that one of the first things that cripple a business when money is a little tight is not being able to pay overheads, such as employee salaries and office space.

With remote work, and more specifically by being a virtual financial advisor, you won’t have to worry about any of the above. Yet, you will still be able to deliver the same, if not more efficient and tailored service to your clients.

It quite literally is a win-win option for the future of your business.

Using the tech available to provide better service

Remote work is impossible without the incredible technology available at the click of a button or the swipe of a finger. Technology is what makes being a virtual financial advisor viable.

Here in the US, our Wi-Fi connections and internet infrastructure are the best in the world, so staying connected shouldn’t even be a concern. It is also very affordable.

Thanks to smartphones, cloud computing, instant messaging, and project management software, we can communicate and collaborate instantaneously from most anywhere in the world.

By getting your hands on the necessary technology to operate a virtual financial practice, and keeping up to date with the latest tools, there is nothing that can stop you from being successful.

This leads me to the next step in getting your head around how to build a financial practice online.

Online tools you can use to embrace remote work

virtual financial advisor on a video call

Before we get into some of the spectacular tools available, it is essential to remember that as a virtual financial advisor, you are not changing the advice and services you provide to your clientele. All you are doing is changing the way you communicate with prospects and clients; you are swapping out the kitchen table for a webcam, same advice, and relationship, different medium.

To take your financial planning practice online successfully, all you need to do is convert the brick and mortar way of communicating to a new way of maintaining relationships. You will then need to support this way of communicating with online tools to help you provide your services virtually.

So, let’s look at how you would conduct meetings virtually.

All your meetings are done over means of video chat, and here are some of the most popular tools for communication.

FreeConferenceCall

FreeConferenceCall is a really great tool that I use as my primary virtual meeting tool.

It is easy for me to set up and easy for my clients to click a link and join a meeting. It allows for multiple participants and does not cut the meeting off after a certain amount of time. I can screen share and even give the client control if they want to show me something on their computer. What is also nice is that if for some reason, a client can’t join via a computer, this service also has a call-in number so people can still be part of the conversation.

By far, this is my favorite virtual meeting tool. And yes, as the name implies, it is free!

Skype

You’ve probably used Skype before. As the original video conferencing software, it is the most well-known and widely accepted tool. With Skype, you can make free online calls, use free messaging, and very affordable international calling to mobiles or landlines. What we love most about this tool, though, is it’s Skype for Business feature – the best tool for internal online communication.

So, if you were to build a virtual team in the future, this feature combines instant messaging, video conferencing, calling, and document collaboration into a single, integrated app for effective collaboration.

Zoom

Zoom is excellent for external communication outside of your company. Zoom offers a full-featured Basic Plan for free with unlimited meetings, and there is no trial period. Just keep in mind that the basic plan has a 40 minutes time limit on meetings with three or more total participants. If you decide to pay for it (recommended), you can conduct meetings for as long as you like – perfect for that initial meeting with new clients.

The beauty with Zoom is that you can schedule meetings well in advance and send the exclusive meeting link straight to your clients, or if you have Office 365, you can send them a calendar invite, which automatically syncs with their calendar on their smartphone.

Skype and Zoom are the most widely accepted tools for video communication. Still, you will probably find that for younger clients, FaceTime or a WhatsApp voice call will also work, especially for check-in meetings.

Any other client communication can be done over email or even short video messages via cool tools like Loom.

At the end of the day, as long as both you and your client have a decent internet connection, you can conduct a video meeting with a client – whether it’s from a home office, or even on vacation if needs be.

This way, you can build a business around your life and not the other way around.

Now, let’s look at some of the online tools available for doing the actual work of a financial planner.

Office 365

When it comes to writing and compiling documents, crunching numbers, or creating a presentation, I recommend Office 365 simply because you won’t have to adapt too much. It’s an online version of all of the administrative tools that would usually come with a Windows PC or laptop.

It includes MS Word, Excel, Powerpoint, and more, but what makes it truly valuable is that it’s a brilliant collaboration tool for remote teams. You can have up to five members on one subscription, and with that comes an all-inclusive, synchronized suite for running the administrative side of any business. From email and Skype for Business to OneDrive – which makes the work you do available to you from anywhere—and to others when you collaborate or share. With a subscription, you are also able to download all the apps to your desktops for those that prefer working offline and uploading later.

To understand the extent of what you can do with Office 365, read this in-depth article – there’s a whole lot.

Conneqtor – The Virtual Advisor System

Now that I’ve explained the benefits of remote work and taking your financial planning practice online, ask yourself this: are you ready to join fellow entrepreneurs in the virtual movement of the future?

Conneqtor empowers financial advisors like you to have the ability to:

  • Exponentially make more money while effectively managing risk
  • Work with more prominent and more ideal clientele
  • Work from anywhere in the world while expanding your reach
  • Leverage your time & money to increase performance
  • Live the life of your dreams while helping your clients do the same
  • Achieve and maintain a remarkable life/work balance

I’ve created a turn-key system designed to show you (step-by-step) how to transform your business in a digital world. If you’re wondering what infrastructure you will need to run a virtual financial practice, then this system is your answer.

Conneqtor includes comprehensive guides on the following crucial factors for a successful virtual financial advisor:

  • How to market your virtual financial planning business online
  • How to build a virtual team
  • How to work with your compliance team
  • How to define and vet your “ideal client”
  • How to create an online presence that will drive inbound leads to you 24/7

The new world of work is right before your eyes and at your fingertips, will you take the opportunity? Download our free e-book to find out more.

Thanks for reading!

Cheers,

Derek