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  • Writer's pictureSakthivel Thevar

Why entrepreneurship Journey in Financial Services is not for everyone…

Updated: May 17, 2022

Entrepreneurship has become increasingly popular recently but the truth is not everyone is suited for entrepreneurship life. Entrepreneurship may seem and sound glamorous but the reality is it takes a special breed of people who are willing to pay the price through their hard work, dedication and discipline.

It takes a rare kind of tenacity to make it as an entrepreneur. If you are considering quitting your regular 9am to 5pm job to become an entrepreneur for the benefits it has to offer, then the biggest question you might and most likely have is do you have what it takes.

If you are considering the prospects of starting your journey in the Financial planning Industry, here are some things that you don’t usually hear about but you should before making the decision.

My first year in the Financial planning business

I was left with $7 in my bank account, unpaid bills piling up, a family to take care of, and facing constant pressure from people who kept telling me that making the choice to be an entrepreneur in the Financial Planning Industry and leaving a stable job was the worst decision I had made. This was the situation I had to face 13 years ago.

This happened about 8 months after I left the Military after serving as a Commissioned Officer for 12 years 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 fulfill my responsibilities for my family made me feel like a failure and affected me for some time.

My consistent failures to get a steady income started taking a toll on both my mental state and pride as a family man. It was then that I made a commitment never to be in the same situation again. I was aware of the cards dealt with and I had a choice to make. To go into self-pity mode or decide to “Rise Above Mediocrity’ and turn the table around. I chose the latter and there was no turning back.

Tapping on my experience and lessons learned as an Airborne Ranger, I embarked on my journey to better understand and take action to achieve maximum performance. My desire to succeed made me reflect, validate and realign my action plans at every stage to achieve so I heavily invested my time and limited resources to sharpen my skillsets in sales, communication, and other soft skills required to bring me to the next level.

Today, I'm definitely in a much better position running my business, coaching sales professionals, and being engaged to speak on many platforms. All of these would not have been possible if I did not face those challenges and made the right choices. From my experience going through such challenges, here are some things you might consider before making the decision so you are better prepared mentally.

1. Accept the fact that most Financial Advisors Fail

The fact is high turnover rate has always been a hallmark of the industry. Over the years, I’ve personally seen a high turnover of advisors in and out of this business. To put it simply, being a financial advisor is hard so if you’re looking for an easy career where you can just sit back and coast then this is not for you. As such, a comprehensive selection and interview process is important to determine if you really are suited for this industry even before you make the decision. Another reason for the high turnover rate is the fact that many Agency leaders’ training programs haven’t adapted to the changing environment. While one of the best traits you can have as a financial advisor is the ability to learn new things, many advisors are steered in the wrong direction. Today’s customers respond more than ever to people who can work with their specific needs rather than product paddling but yet advisors are taught techniques and principles that might’ve worked thirty years ago but fail to work today. Even if the techniques do work, other techniques that are much more effective get ignored in the process.

2. If You're In It just for the money alone, you're going To have a tough time

A lot of financial advisors join the industry (at least partly) because they discover that they can make a lot of money.

Don’t get me wrong, you definitely want to get paid well for your work and if you provide a lot of value, you should get paid extremely well but you need to genuinely want to help and make a difference to people first. Almost all financial advisors say they “put their client’s interest first” but do they really mean it?? It’s something to think about because if you want to become a financial advisor for the commission targets alone, this might not be for you. You need to understand that you’re building a long-term business that can potentially last for decades. That’s much bigger than just the next paycheck.

3. You are your greatest asset so invest in yourself.

We are the greatest asset that we own, so investing in ourselves may be the most profitable investment we can ever make. Not only does it yield future returns, but we can yield current pay-off as well.

In my opinion and experience as a leader in the Financial Planning Industry, an assured way to achieve a better quality of life, be satisfied, productive, and achieve our defined success is to place priority on investing in both our personal and professional growth. The consistent effort we put into investing in ourselves in knowledge, skills, habits, and mindset plays a large role in determining the outcome and quality of life and our business now and in the future.

4. Getting the Right Mentor

The benefits of getting a Mentor are definitely worth it but the challenge is to find the right one. The right Mentor can provide a wealth of information and knowledge and can shorten your learning curve when you join the Industry.

They are able to guide you, show you areas you need to improve and have the experience that you can learn from. However, finding a good mentor for a financial advisor can be a challenge. A lot of times this is because when you find someone who is successful as a financial advisor and able to see not just the results but the process required to achieve that success.

Mentoring and coaching many financial advisors myself, I have come to understand the important role a Mentor plays as this role comes with the responsibility of grooming advisors which can advance the entire Financial Planning industry forward.

5. You need to be good at sales

There is a misconception that sales in the financial advisory are about product paddling, persuasive selling, learning countless closing techniques, and using them on clients just to get a sale closed.

The truth is sales is about pairing a solution to a problem. To get good at sales, you need to get good at two things: uncovering a problem or need and pairing a solution to the problem. To uncover problems and needs, you must ask the right questions. Then you have to know how to solve the problem. The good news is that this skill set can be learned and with proper training and exposure you eventually become the expert in solving your client’s problems and adding value to their financial well-being.

My intent for sharing my personal experience is not to discourage you from wanting to join the Financial Planning Industry but to be clear about the challenges that are not spoken much about so you can make an informed decision to move forward.

Working on the above pointers was what enabled me to turn the table from being an unproductive financial advisor during my early years to being a leading financial advisor, leadership coach, and mentor to numerous financial advisors today.

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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