Mindset Shifts for Advisors Transitioning from Practitioner to Business Owner | Financial Advisors

If you’re a career changer, what you’ve learned as part of an industry certification program is only the beginning. The ability to run retirement projections or cash flow analysis is an important skill. It’s what’s going to help you earn a living.

What’s equally important is the balance between being a practitioner in delivering core financial planning services around investments, retirement, taxes, estate planning or employee benefits and then running a profitable business.

The former requires that you’re well versed in the latest industry topics. The latter requires that you’re able to build a business, fill it with clients, manage day to day and deliver good service at a price point that will enable you to stay in business – and pay your expenses. Shifting from knowledgeable financial advisor to fearless business owner takes patience, grit and determination. Here are seven mindset shifts for advisors transitioning from just delivering the service to mastering the art of service delivery with core business management skills:

  • Take risks.
  • Running a business requires different muscles.
  • Believe in your ability to be successful.
  • Understand that there will be blind spots.
  • Transparency is the window to growth.
  • Set your own goals and finish line.
  • Celebrate your losses and learn fast.

Take Risks

Every entrepreneur should get used to this one. It’s a requirement to get the most out of your business. Risks can be hard to maneuver, but they are necessary to help you figure out how to navigate your new venture. In this case, your business requires energy put into it. If you do not get comfortable taking risks, then your ability to grow your business the way you want may be limited. Moving from a practitioner mindset to a business owner is a risk, but it is critical in long-term business success. It’s akin to moving from the minor leagues in baseball into the major leagues. At this next level of growth, more will be required of you, and there will be additional responsibilities to manage.

Running a Business Requires Different Muscles

If you only work on upper-body techniques at the gym, your lower body will suffer. While you were in your certification program, you may have learned a lot about how to deliver financial advising services. Taking your business to the next level is going to flex a different set of business building skills. You’ll have to master marketing and sales, operations and client service, and human resources and administrative tasks. If certain business muscles aren’t exercised often, you may lose the ability to use them effectively. When you’re running a business, you want to make sure all areas of the business are well maintained and used. If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it.

Believe in Your Ability to Be Successful

Before anyone else will believe in you, you’ve got to believe in yourself. Sometimes that belief will come in the form of you taking risks, for the good of your business. In many cases, belief comes through action. The more action you commit to in your business, the more it will help push you forward and aid with your confidence. Proof of concept comes from taking risks and through trial and error in finding out the best way to move forward.

Understand That There Will Be Blind Spots

There’s no possible way to know it all, and you’re not expected to. Moving from delivering a service to running a functioning business will leave you with some blind spots. That’s normal. What you don’t want to do is to try and do everything yourself. Operating a business in isolation is a hard pill to swallow. Good business owners understand that they’ll need help sometimes. That help can come in the form of business mentors, coaches, colleagues and other professionals who can help with ideas to move you forward.

Transparency Is the Window to Growth

Along the same lines of understanding that there will be blind spots, being transparent with your business needs is important. Voicing what you need help with is the sign of a wise business owner. It’s also a key mindset shift from practitioner to business owner. There are always competing priorities when you’re building and running a business. Knowing how to voice your “help me” concerns is a great way to push past roadblocks and get to the help you need. It may help you speed up your next level of growth, but individuals can’t help you if you don’t speak up.

Set Your Own Goals and Finish Line

Comparison is a fast way to stall out on hitting your goals. Everyone has a different journey. Your version of success may not match the next advisor. And that’s OK. What you want to focus on is prioritizing your own goals and setting a strong finish line, one that matters to you, your business mission and how you want to create impact for your clients. At the end of the day, you want to be excited about what you’ve built, not someone else’s version of success.

Celebrate Your Losses and Learn Fast

Failure is part of the territory when you’re running a business. Your first attempt at something may be a home run or a strikeout. Nonetheless, the experience of failure doesn’t have to take you out of the game. Understanding what you did and why you did it can be a humbling exercise. Was it something you saw someone else do that you felt would work for you? Did you experience a bit of envy when another firm’s marketing efforts seemed to take off like a rocket? You tried the same thing, but it was a flop? What these experiences tell you is that you can’t always do things the same way others have. You’ve got to determine your own path. Pick up inspirations and bits of wisdom along the way and pivot quickly when something doesn’t work.

It may appear to be an easy transition from practitioner to business owner. Experienced business owners will tell you the opposite is true. Your ability to be your turn into a profitable endeavor requires that you start thinking like a business owner. These seven tips will help you mentally position yourself for the journey ahead. The rewards are great and the risks are there, but taking steps towards these mental shifts can help as you navigate this new terrain.


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