Entrepreneurs and business owners can get to a point where making money isn't the problem. Keeping and growing that money is a problem that too many discover far too late, and it costs them millions, sometimes tens or hundreds of millions!
As with most things these days, there are far too many options. The decision-fatigue leaves people not making any decision at all. Too overwhelmed by the options. Too busy trying to grow their company or focus on their family or health.
As an entrepreneur whose income and expenses are rising, I wanted to know how to not only make more money but keep and grow my money and legacy. Consequently, I interviewed Chad Willardson, AWMA, CRPC, the founder of Pacific Capital, who is considered one of the top financial advisors in the country. I wanted to know what I should focus on. Here are some of the principles he taught me:
- Don't get caught-up in advice from someone just because your friend or family member knows them. Instead, get advice from someone who knows what they're doing.
- Hire the best-- this may seem likely counter-intuitive advice because sometimes the "best" seem too expensive. But is the same advice I got from Kevin Harrington about hiring. When you hire the best, you'll get better results long-term. People who aren't courageous and willing enough to invest upfront never get the long-term results, but remain small-minded both subconsciously and financially. Hint hint: you won't find the best working within a big firm. Advisers who are also employees, which is most, rarely if ever know what they're talking about. They have an employee mindset. They are generally following someone else's principles, have little true wealth of their own, don't relate to entrepreneurs, and are mostly salesman.
- Work with people who have experience. Real experience. For example, if you want financial advice from someone, work with someone who has successfully navigated a bear market. If they haven't done that for themselves and others, what makes you think they can do that for you? You become the product of the leadership you follow. So, make sure you're following someone who has been through hard stuff and can help you through whatever you've been through.
- Willardson brought that last point to a few other places, 1) confidence and 2) integrity. You cannot have confidence if you're not getting strategic advice and partnering with people who are confident. True confidence is earned through capability and experience, not through grand plans and theory. You need to work with someone who practices what they preach. Therefore, if you want a financial advisor, get someone who is financially successful themselves. They should be running a successful company. They should be a role model for you, at least in terms of finances. Why would you get financial advice from someone who knows less about money than you do?
- Work with people who resonate with you on a personal level. Often times, when hiring a consultant or a company, people get confused and bombarded by stuff that doesn't matter. Willardson learned early on that what people really want is to be first, understood. He says that too many financial professionals get caught up in trying to sound smart and making the financial world seem overly complex. People prefer to have a strategic, but personal plan for their money, and to know exactly what's happening. They don't want to be sold all sorts of products. They don't want to get bogged down by stuff they don't understand. They just want someone who speaks their language and can help them make the best decisions to get the results they are looking for.
- Write down your business plan and financial goals. Be intentional about your financial future and what it means to you by actually putting it on paper. This may seem obvious, but few people do it, Willardson told me. As someone who has been able to achieve big goals at a relatively young age, I can attest to the science and application of this advice. If your goals and plans aren't written down, then you're probably not making the progress you think you are. If you aren't willing to set goals and plans for something, you likely have what Dr. Carol Dweck would call a "fixed mindset," which means you actually avoid that thing. You don't believe it can grow. If you really want your money to grow, set some very powerful and clear goals. Write a plan. Get some accountability and mentorship and guidance. Get real about getting rich, not just in money, but in happiness and true success. You can do this.
- Like eating vegetables, when you first start any habit it may be difficult. But over time, you acquire a taste and confidence. Your desires shift. You start to actually want to make better and better decisions. You see that your potential continually expands as you get more focused and make better decisions. You stop being trapped in negative patterns from the past and your future opens up.
Over the past six months, I've been applying some of the insights I've gotten from that conversation. I've actually developed a plan, accountability, and a system for tracking my finances. As a result, I'm not only making more money, but my vision and long-term impact are growing.
As someone with five kids and a growing family, I not only want confidence at work but at home. If you're serious about growing not only your business but your confidence and peace of mind, you need to learn how to grow your wealth. You need to learn how to develop a plan that works for you, one in which you follow and become excited about.