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RLS Wealth Turns Six

Even though the time stamp on this IG post is May 23rd, July 3rd, 2015 will forever be the birthdate for RLS Wealth.

Today marks the sixth birthday for RLS Wealth and as I shared with clients this morning in an email, I don’t think I’ll ever not be excited on July 3rd—if I do, then I think it’s time to close up shop and start on a new Pursuit. Don’t worry if you’re an RLS Wealth client reading this…that’s not happening any time soon 😁.

I’ve never really been one to live in the past but on days like today, I like to look back and remember the early days and milestones along the way. There are so many great memories along the way but the ones that stand out the most today are from the early months of the firm…

In an effort to keep start-up costs low, I purchased a mobile scanner instead of an all-in-one printer with an automatic feed for scanning documents to submit to TD Ameritrade. At first, it seemed like a great idea—I could bring my scanner with me to my clients’ houses, scan documents while I was meeting with them, and then finish up at home later in the evening. This was a great idea in theory. Not so much when put into action…

I quickly realized scanning in statements while visiting with clients was a huge distraction, took too much time, and that I’d be better off taking the statements with me and scanning them in along with the account paperwork and client agreements. If you’ve never worked with a financial advisor before, you may not realize how many pieces of paper need to be scanned for each new client. A new client, an individual, could have easily been anywhere from 30-50 pages depending on how many accounts were being opened, transferred, and whether or not statements were front and back. Multiply that by two for couples, which were the majority of my initial clients, and remember, I only had a mobile scanner, which meant every page had to be fed through individually. There were thousands of pages to be scanned in.

Needless to say, in the first few weeks, I was up almost every night until 3:00 AM scanning away. I actually got pretty efficient and was able to feed a page into the scanner and quickly move to something else while the page made its way through and be ready to feed the next page through. During those late nights, I tried to get into Game Of Thrones but it required too much attention to keep track of all of the families and plot lines—I quickly got lost and quit watching. I resorted to listening to music and having movies on just to have background noise and keep me company down in the basement as everyone slept upstairs.

It would have been easy to complain, be annoyed with only having a mobile scanner, and be grumpy in the mornings because I was up late the night before but I looked at each page I scanned into the scanner as a brick. With each pass-through, I was laying a new brick in the foundation of MY company.

I was building for my family, myself, and for my clients.

I still have that scanner and use it from time to time. When it gives out, I’m going to keep it and put it in a display case to serve as a reminder of the late nights back in the summer and fall of 2015.

There are a number of other memories along the way I could have highlighted today and over the coming years, I’ll highlight a new one each year.

I thought I’d close out this post with some takeaways from the last 6 years that are applicable not just to financial advisors but to everyone:

1.) “Perfection Is The Enemy Of Great”. I know this is a famous quote but I first heard it from Taylor Schulte and I immediately identified with it. If you look back at my history, I’ve never waited for everything to be perfect before launching–truthfully, I probably could have waited a little longer on a few things like RLS Threads. I didn’t know the name of my firm until the day I filed the paperwork for my LLC—I just decided on RL Wealth Management because of the boys and figured I’d change it in the future if I didn’t like it. I wasn’t going to delay starting my firm to find the “perfect” name. Turns out, I like it after all.  Don’t get me wrong it’s still important to plan and prepare in advance but things don’t have to be perfect and every detail doesn’t have to be planned before you take action.

2.) Find your passion(s). If you are able to find passion in what you are doing it will make all of the hard work, tough times, and obstacles much easier to navigate. If you’re able to make your passion your work even better but realize that’s not always a possibility—not every passion is meant to be your career. And that’s ok. Just find a way to incorporate your passions into your life.

3.) Be YOU. My friend Tyrone Ross often reminds the Onramp team that “no one is better at being you than YOU.” Just be you. And if you can’t be you, try to find people and places where you can unapologetically be yourself. Authenticity has been a superpower of mine that I didn’t realize I was missing earlier in my career—I couldn’t be 100% myself in the past. But once I was able to be myself, magic started to happen.

4.) Iron sharpens iron. Surround yourself with great people.

5.) Put other first. As you begin to surround yourself with great people, focus on lifting them up. A rising tide lifts all boats and if you support those around you, good things will happen for you. One caveat: you have to GENUINELY lift others up—celebrate, promote, and help them because you want to see them succeed and not for what might come back to you in return.

6.) Don’t get complacent. The world is changing fast which offers opportunities to reinvent yourself, try new things, innovate, and take risks. Too many people get complacent because they become comfortable and they miss out on the chance to grow as an individual or professional. Growth happens when you get outside of your comfort zone—I can confirm this. Get uncomfortable with being uncomfortable—you won’t regret it.

7.) Be transparent. It’s safe to say my path as a financial advisor over the last six years has not been traditional. While growing RLS Wealth (2015 ended with $7 million in AUM and we just crossed $60 million this week) I have also experimented with creating content, consulted with other financial advisors, launched an online store, co-founded The AGC™, and most recently joined Onramp Invest. I have kept clients informed with each new endeavor—sharing what I was doing, why I was doing it, and how I was going to keep RLS Wealth as priority number 1. Without transparency, clients probably would have questioned where I was spending my time, the importance of our relationship, and may have begun searching for a new advisor. But, because I shared with them what I was doing and delivered upon my promise to keep RLS #1 there have been no problems.

8.) Embrace the Pursuit. I’ve done a lot of “wandering” over the last six years. The wandering had intention behind it but I was also trying new things, experiment, failing, pivoting, and following what felt right. I can without any doubts say that where I sit today is not where I would have been if I didn’t embrace my personal Pursuit and venture off the path I originally set off to follow. I want to encourage you to wander and allow opportunities and people you never imagined would come into your life to find you.

I could share more but I’ll save the rest for future posts on July 3rd…there’s many more to come and celebrate!

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.