July 3rd will always be a special day…not because it’s the day before the 4th of July, but because it was on July 3rd, 2015 that I received an email from the Secretary of the State of Indiana approving my newly formed registered investment advisor for the business. I’d waited for a little over a month to receive the email and as soon as I digested the news, I started calling clients to let them know I’d be back in town on the 5th and it was go-time! It was time to revisit their financial plans and rebuild them from scratch, set up accounts at TD Ameritrade and realign their investments, and restart our relationships at RL Wealth Management (Silas, the S, wasn’t around back then).
This year the 3rd snuck up on me; usually, I have a mini-countdown going on in my head, but this year I’ve been busy and just happened to realize what day it was when I woke up. But I think that is a good sign…the busyness that kept me distracted from the calendar has been productive busyness–nothing I’m going to complain about because it is everything I’ve always wanted.
As I look back over the last four years, I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished with RLS Wealth Management and share with those advisors just getting started as evidence that you can build the practice you want and life you’re looking for as you start your own firm. Here’s just a little of what I’ve been able to accomplish and also an opportunity to thank all of those along the way that have allowed me to live this dream
First, the thank you’s: Obviously without the love and support of Ang, Roman, Leo, and Silas I’d still be working at a 403(b) company doing the best job I could in that environment, but not feeling fulfilled in the work I was doing. Ang trusted me to leave a safe job with stupid pay, good benefits, and security to chase a better way. She puts up with listening to me talk through ideas for growth, ways to improve RLSWM, and new business opportunities I see–my shiny object syndrome would annoy many, but she is always there to listen. She also trusted me when I decided to go all-in on leveraging content and social media to grow my business–it was non-traditional when I first started and is still not as conventional as the old ways of growing advisory firms, but it’s the perfect way for me.
Roman, Leo, and Silas have been understanding that sometimes I have to do some work when I’d much rather be playing with them; while I feel like I have great balance, there have been times I’ve had to ask them to give me 30 more minutes to wrap work up. They’ve also been supportive of my content by being active contributors to the podcast, videos and regular models for the photos in the Weekly Mixtapes. I enjoy having them help me and hope they are learning what it takes to grow and run a business while being a present parent.
I also can’t forget to thank my parents and sister for their support. My parents instilled the values that have guided me to where I am today; you can read little more about that here. They are constantly (in a good way) asking how things are going, checking on the business, and sharing my content with their friends and other family members, If Ang and the boys are my biggest cheerleaders, my parents and sister are right next to them–1a and 1b.
I try to thank my clients every chance I get because as nice as it is to have the support of the ones I love, none of this would be possible without them. My first 30 clients hold a special place in my heart and in the foundation of RLSWM as they followed me not once, but twice and ultimately were the start of RLS Wealth Management. Over the last 4 years, I’ve grown to over 100 households that I work with and I’ve tried to grow intentionally with people that I want to spend my time with and what have started out as business relationships have transitioned to friendships to adopted family members.
Ok, bear with me…I have three more thank you’s left…about a year ago I hired the firm’s Director of Operations, Darlene Kite and she has been a godsend. Darlene has taken so much off my plate and I never have to worry about whether or not she’s going to do a good job–she is meticulous and is constantly amazing me as she goes beyond her duties. I’m putting a notice out…other RIAs, stay away…you’ll never be able to lure her away so don’t even try 🙂 I’m looking forward to her increasing her time in the office and having her help me even more as she takes on more hours this fall.
I will always take every chance I get to thank Downtown Josh Brown for his friendship and mentorship along the way. Josh’s blog was the first financial blog that I stumbled across and was the inspiration to start a blog, which ultimately was one of the factors that led me to independence and my own firm. Along the way, Josh has taken phone calls, supported me, become a friend and mentor, and continues to inspire me to continue to do more and get better. It’s not very often that you get to meet one of the people you look up, let alone develop a lasting relationship. I always worry about not being able to bring value to Josh–it can’t be a one way street; one of the most memorable moments over the last year was being mentioned in this post. I’m forever indebted to JB, which is why there will always be a fancy dinner on me each fall in NYC. I hope I am able to pay it forward and fill the same role for someone else.
The final thank you goes to the unbelievable network of friends I have thanks to Twitter. I have the ability to reach out to some of the smartest professionals around for advice, to talk shop, or just a friendly conversation. I now have a weekly Friday morning video chat with two advisors that have become like brothers (shoutout to Tyrone and Douglas). I have a monthly study group with ridiculously talented advisors that continue to amaze me (shoutout to Ashby, Joe, Nina, Brad, Tim, Brendan, and Alex). I have monthly video chats with two advisors who asked me to be a mentor, which is crazy, but I love doing it (shoutout to Dasarte and Alec). I’ve also had the opportunity to talk with advisors from around the world (yes, world) and have learned so much from all of them. Being a solo advisor could be lonely, but thanks to the interactions and friendships that have started on Twitter, I’ll never be alone and I have a group of people I know I can always lean on and learn from. I could shoutout so many of my friends, but the list would be too long–hopefully, everyone knows how much I appreciate them and their friendships!
From time to time it’s fun to look back at where you’ve been; over the last four years as I’ve built RLSWM, I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of some pretty cool opportunities:
- Spoken at numerous conferences
- Created 2 blogs, 3 podcasts, a YouTube channel, and an Amazon Flash Briefing Skill
- Made a couple of industry lists: Financial Advisor Magazines 2019 10 Advisors To Watch and Citywire’s 10 RIAs to Follow
- Helped organize a National #FinTwit Meet Up
- Spoke to a group of Lambda School students
- Hiked 28 miles with FinTwit friends
- Participate in an upcoming Journal In The Round
- Learned the value of a pour over
- And more…
While it’s fun to look back on the past, I don’t like to spend too much time in the rearview mirror. I have no intention of letting the first four years define RLS Wealth Management’s legacy…this is still only the beginning. I’m excited about the future and in particular a couple of things:
- Going forward a focus on working with entrepreneurs. I’m finalizing the client agreements for these clients. I’m excited to share more as the official launch of those relationships gets closer. The plan, as of today, is growth for RLSWM will come from referrals and entrepreneurs. The future will be continuing to help my current clients while helping entrepreneurs align their personal and business finances and ultimately build their businesses.
- The launch of limited consulting with other financial advisors and firm-level workshops around my love of creating content.
Be sure to stay tuned. The last four years have been phenomenal, but there’s plenty more to come!
Disclaimer: Nothing on this blog should be considered advice, or recommendations. If you have questions pertaining to your individual situation you should consult your financial advisor. For all of the disclaimers, please see my disclaimers page.