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  • Writer's pictureSakthivel Thevar

The day when I could not afford to buy a book that cost $10.

“Dad, can you buy me this book?” This was the question my daughter asked me while we were walking past a book store after fetching her from Kindergarten 13 years ago in 2009 I told her it was not worth buying that book. The truth was, with only $7 in my pocket, I had to lie to my 5-year-old girl as I could not afford to buy a book that cost $10. This happened about 8 months after I left the Military to be an entrepreneur and it was one of my toughest periods both mentally and financially as things were not as I had expected. The thought of not being able to afford a book for my girl made me feel like a failure and affected me for some time. It was then that I made a commitment never to be in the same situation again.

When I left my stable career in the Military as a Captain, I was hoping to have a seamless transition to being an entrepreneur in the Financial Services Industry but things did not turn out as I had expected. The truth is, as much as being an entrepreneur was worth a path to take, I had to pay the price for not adequately preparing.

8 months after taking a leap into my entrepreneurial journey, I was at the edge, not knowing how I was going to pay for my bills and take care of my family with less than $7 in my account. I vividly remember how my situation left me feeling helpless and overwhelmed by stress and anxiety due to the uncertainties. I even felt totally out of control and too powerless to affect whatever may happen next. After 13 years, I know for sure that the $10 book experience had pushed me to make a commitment to myself and enabled me to grow professionally and personally into what I am today. The only thing that made me move on with resilience was that if I could get through my Ranger course, I can get past this. With the current challenges, remember that hardship is painful but when we learn from it and turn it into an opportunity for growth, we gain lessons that stay with us forever.

Today, I help many individuals, especially mid-career switchers like myself to prepare adequately and make a smooth transition into the entrepreneurship journey in the Financial Services and avoid similar mistakes that I had made. Here are 3 things that I had failed to do prior to my transition and believe you might find useful.

1. Figure out if Entrepreneurship suits you through informational interviews. Individuals usually take on the entrepreneurship path for many reasons. If you are thinking of starting a career in the Financial Planning industry, it could be to achieve a certain status, to have independence, to live life by their design, to achieve a potentially high income, or simply because it seemed like a good idea. Whatever your reason is, the most important thing is not to rush but to take the time to talk to someone credible to give you the required information so you can make a clear decision.

This is why I personally insist on having an initial informational interview with individuals who approach me to join my team in the Financial Planning Services. To be clear of how the business works, what is required of them to be successful, and a complete profiling test to see if they are suited for this business. This way, one will be clear on the chances of them succeeding rather than hoping.

This is what many usually fail to do and rush to embark on the required financial qualification exams rather than taking time to verify and decide if this business suits them.

2. Ensure there is proper training and mentorship program available.

Being a financial planner is not just a career but a business that you need to build in order to enjoy the perks like passive income, control of your time, and profitability. As such, knowing your products and going out there to sell them is not enough if you intend to build a business.

Each individual has a set of unique characteristics and habits of learning and achieving success in the Financial business. As such, I personally follow a designed program focusing on KASH which is an abbreviation of knowledge, attitude, skills, and habits.

From my experience, poor performance in this business is not just a lack of knowledge and skills, but also poor attitudes and bad habits so I designed the coaching and training program for our new associates based on the K.A.S.H model which divides performance characteristics into four distinct categories.

3. Develop your Entrepreneurial Mindset

A common question I get is ‘What is an Entrepreneurial Mindset?’

An entrepreneurial mindset is a set of skills that enable individuals to identify and make the most of opportunities, overcome and learn from setbacks and rejections, and succeed in a variety of settings. An entrepreneurial mindset is crucial in our business as it boosts educational attainment and performance, and is crucial for building your businesses.

Reflecting back on my personal experience, my purpose today is to build systems and processes for a much smoother transition, for those who want to tread the same path as I had taken.

And yes, my girl still talks about the book that I could not buy for her.


Sakthivel Thevar is an award-winning leader in Financial Services and a highly sought-after international speaker and Maximum Performance coach within the business and corporate circle starting his career in the most challenging way possible, as a military officer and Airborne Ranger in the Singapore Armed Forces. I would love to share more about my career in the financial planning industry with as many individuals out there so let’s chat if I can add value to you by clicking on the link below:

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