On today’s episode, Shawn Tydlaska, CFP® and Liz Plot, CFP®, ChFC®, AFC®, share their differing career stories and how Liz ended up working for Shawn. This story highlights the differences within career paths as well as how your career goals help know what career path is right for you.

Shawn founded Ballast Point Financial Planning after working in a corporate environment and having a desire to help more people with their personal finance. After three years in the business, Shawn shares what he’s learned in this process and his tips to helping other firm owners grow and expand, specifically as it relates to hiring and training staff.

Liz Plot worked as a financial counselor, specifically for a non-profit for service members before she started working for Shawn. In the process, she developed skills that were applicable to working with Shawn’s clients and helped develop her as a planner. In replying to a job offer, Liz found a fit for her that allowed her to continue doing the work she wanted to do.

Liz and Shawn started on a 30-day trial basis to see if they were a good fit for one another, and immediately clicked. Now, Shawn and Liz have teamed up to keep leveling up their current client experience while growing Ballast Point Financial Planning to new heights.

Don’t miss this episode where Shawn and Liz talk about hiring and getting hired at a small financial planning firm. They also share their tips to help you create a smooth hiring process!



[tweet_box design=”box_10″ url=”https://buff.ly/2WoMfQP” float=”none” excerpt=”Take your time to choose your career path. There’s no hurry to decide. -Liz Plot, CFP®, ChFC®, AFC® on #YAFPNW e152″]Take your time to choose your career path. There’s no hurry to decide. – Liz Plot, CFP®, ChFC®, AFC® on #YAFPNW e152[/tweet_box]


What You’ll Learn:

  • How you can grow and scale a firm – even if your venture into entrepreneurship is accidental
  • Ways to scale while staying true to your mission
  • How to coordinate with new hires
  • How to grow a new hire’s role within your firm
  • How to hire successfully


[show_more more=”Show Transcript” less=”Hide Transcript”]

Episode Transcript

Matt: Thank you Shawn and Liz for joining us today. We’re excited to have you.

Shawn: Yeah. Thank you for having us.

Liz: Yeah. Thanks for having us.

Matt: Alright, awesome. So Shawn why don’t you jump into a little bit about the overview of your firm and where it stands today, and how you got there on your career path.

Shawn: It’s actually our three year anniversary since launching, so we’re recording on May 2nd. Currently we serve about 69 families on an ongoing basis. We’ve worked with about 116 families since we launched. Our average client, they’re typically in their 25 to 40 year-old range. They’re about 38 years old. I’m 37 so it’s kind of in my peer group. We charge an upfront fee right now, about $1,300-$1,500 for kind of some of the initial heavy lifting, and we also charge a monthly fee that starts when they become a client. And on average that’s about 280 bucks a month.

Shawn: I would say we serve young professionals. A lot of young professional kind of just independent single women, or young couples that have newly combined finances, or had a kid, or just got married. Those are kind of our … I wouldn’t say we have a niche, but kind of the common demographic.

Matt: Very cool. And congratulations on the three year anniversary. That has to be an awesome achievement for you.

Shawn: Yeah, yeah, I’m really excited. And Liz, she’s been with me for about a year and a half, and then we also have Jeff Read. He’s an enrolled agent and he helps us do tax planning. So we did about 15 tax returns for our clients this year.

Matt: It sounds like not only has the firm grown, but now you’re starting to expand into other areas of expertise within your employees. So tell me a little bit about your career path, and how you ultimately got to starting your own firm.

Shawn: I was always kind of interested in personal finance. It kind of has this mystique about it. We didn’t talk about it growing up as a kid. I went to UCLA for undergrad, and I even had an internship at Merrill Lynch when I was a junior in college. And when I was graduating, I was pretty risk averse I would say. I didn’t want to work for … I interviewed at Ameriprise, and AXA, and Edward Jones.

Shawn: But those were all kind of … you’ve got to hit these certain benchmarks, or you’re out, or these certain hurdles. So I ended up working for the Capital Group. They manage the American funds in L.A., and worked there for about four years. Started studying to become a CFP at that point. My wife, she went to business school out in Boston, so I moved out there. I tried to look for a job in financial planning out there but couldn’t really find anything, so I kept working kind of for these big investment companies in kind of their back office doing corporate actions. In 2010, she graduated. We moved to San Diego and that’s where I would say I kind of started really in financial planning.

Shawn: I took an internship from kind of someone who has been like a mentor to me. I just reached out to him, told him we were moving back, and he let me be an intern while I was looking for a full-time job. And I worked at this dually registered broker-dealer. They actually sold a lot of raw land and non-traded reits and oil partnerships and just kind of lot of these things that are illiquid investments. Ultimately, that company ended up going bankrupt and actually, my next job was for more of what I would say real financial planning is. It was a registered investment advisor called Hokanson Associates. They served the typical very affluent. Our minimum was $2 million of investible assets. So I only charged 1%, so our clients were paying us 20 grand a year. I kind of just had feeling that I wanted to serve people that were more in my peer group and just have a bigger impact and touch the lives of more people.

Shawn: Our firm, they managed about $400 million at the time, and we had 250 clients and I was like, I thought to myself, “I want to help more people out.” So I decided to go to business school, because my idea at the time was to start my own kind of fintech company. This is 2013. This is before fintech was even a buzz word. And when I got into business school, I started learning about Personal Capital and Betterment and Wealthfront and these companies had raised hundreds of millions of dollars and I was like, “How can I launch my own firm like that?” So when I graduated, I went to Personal Capital as a post-MBA intern. So there wasn’t a long-term opportunity for me there. It wasn’t guaranteed or anything, but I was working really, really hard to try and get a full-time offer when the internship was up.

Shawn: And at that time, one of the advisors there that I was working with, he told me about XY Planning Network. I’d never even heard about it, so this is 2015, early 2016. And I started looking into it, and I would say that I’m kind of an accidental entrepreneur. I didn’t set out to really start my own firm. My wife was working for Salesforce at the time, so she had kind of the stable job. She was kind of the anchor spouse with the health benefits. And I decided now’s the time to take a chance on myself. I was really nervous. I had never been a client facing advisor before, and I didn’t know if people were going to pay me for financial planning. But I decided now is a good time to take a chance, and I hung my shingle as it were.

Shawn: And for me, it kind of was like, “Build it and they will come.” It was the Field of Dreams there. I didn’t have an existing book of business or anything, and I didn’t start out with any clients. Just kind of grew from there a client at a time.

Matt: And I want to dig a little more into those previous experiences that you had. You said it wasn’t the right fit, there was no long term path there. What were some of those indicators that gave you that insight and ultimately led to looking for another opportunity?

Shawn: One story that really sticks out to me, it’s kind of a complicated matrix of how these companies work together. But the person that I was working for, his brother owned another company that sold raw land. And so their dad actually was the one that would buy these giant pieces of raw land in San Diego and kind of places like that, kind of the ’60s and ’70s, and then they kind of took over the business for him. And so my boss started the broker-dealer because there’s only so much raw land you can sell people, so they needed to be able to sell them other things.

Shawn: And one day, he was really excited about this piece of land, and he was like, “You know what Shawn? You and Jen, you should take some of your money and start investing in this raw land. It’s a really good deal. Think about investing.” At the time, it was $10,000 or $20,000. And I was like, “Well, what did your brother pay for it?” His brother is the one that would go out and source these deals. And then he was pitching it like, “Oh, you know, Wal-Mart just bought a piece of land and they were paying, what, $9.00 a square foot. And then they were trying to sell it, sell this one to me for, I don’t know, $3.00 or $4.00 a square foot.” And I was like, “Okay, well what did your brother pay for it?” And he’s like, “I don’t know.” And I was like, “Isn’t it a little weird you don’t know what your brother paid for it?” And he’s like, “What? Don’t you think my brother should make money?”

Shawn: And kind of got a little heated, and I’m like, “No, he should make money. He’s taking on a lot of risk. But don’t you think it’s weird as an investor to not know what kind of your basis is?” A little bit later, he called me into his office and he’s like, “Look Shawn, if you’re having questions like this, maybe this isn’t the right fit for you.” I remember that so vividly. And ultimately a couple months later … I didn’t get fired or anything. It wasn’t like, “You’re fired on the spot,” but it was like, I was starting to look for a new job. The company ended up going bankrupt. They got complaints filed against them. The SEC started investigated them for using improper comps. So that Wal-Mart deal that they were promoting actually had water rates. And then their property didn’t. So there was just kind of a lot of shadiness going on.

Matt: And I think that’s a really important piece for not only new planners coming into the profession, or young planners coming into the profession, but just in general for career advice. When it doesn’t feel right, it might be time to make a switch.

Shawn: Yeah, I think I was just so excited and he was selling me on the possibility of the role and he’s like, “You’re going to learn so much, Shawn.” And looking back, it was a good experience. I learned a lot. I learned what questions to ask and things like that. But yeah, it’s hard. And then when I interviewed for my next role, they contacted my previous boss. And my old boss was like, “You know what? I think Shawn’s … I don’t think he’s going to make it in this industry. He’s too idealistic.” And I’m like, “Seriously? I’m too idealistic?” I think the industry could use more people like me and less people that are selling of non raw pieces of the land.

Matt: Yeah, you just asked really good questions.

Shawn: It’s hard to even know what questions to ask, but maybe for the audience, you ask questions like, “Okay, how much of your revenue is generated from financial planning fees?” Or, “How much is generated from commissions?” These products that they’re selling generate 8 to 10% up-front commissions. And there’s no way to get out of them. So maybe asking kind of the revenue mix of the firm could be a good indicator.

Matt: Alright, so after you had left that firm and moved into San Diego, how had that change in job, how has that helped you understand that starting your own firm was the right fit?

Shawn: So yeah, the next firm I went to was that high net worth firm in San Diego where a minimum was 2 million bucks. I would say this probably might resonate with some people in your audience that … I really felt like I was being micromanaged, and I felt like my ideas weren’t getting heard. And that’s when I kind of thought about, “What’s going to be next for me?” And I started exploring going to business school. Kind of once your head starts drifting, it’s easy to kind of lean back at your current role.

Shawn: So kind of, if I have one regret or some advice to your audiences, I love this phrase, “Grow where you’re planted.” I was kind of thinking down the road. I wasn’t doing my best work in that role, and I wasn’t 100% completely engaged. But you really got to give it your all when you’re at those firms, because you never know who you’re going to cross paths with. This industry is so small, so your reputation is so big. So really give it your all, no matter what role you’re in, even if you don’t really align with the vision of the firm. The relationships that you build will … You’ll cross paths with those people in the future.

Matt: And so as you transitioned to owning your own firm, how has the vision changed for that firm? I know we have Liz on here, who’s a lead planner with your firm at this point in her career, but was that always the plan, to hire and grow in scale of firm?

Shawn: So I was looking back at my original business plans and kind of some old e-mails and stuff, and originally, I wanted to have a lifestyle practice. I thought that I wanted to have a lifestyle practice. And my idea was, I wanted to have 30 to 40 clients and that would take up maybe 60% of my time. And then the remainder of the time, I wanted to do things that were more scalable, like maybe doing a online course, speaking engagements, maybe a podcast. And that was kind of my original goal.

Shawn: I hired Liz when I was kind of getting to maybe 30 clients, and she was having trouble keeping up with all the work, and onboarding new clients. And kind of as she’s grown, so has the vision for my firm. And the mission has always stayed the same. The mission of my firm is to positively touch the lives of one million young professionals and using personal finance as a tool. So that hasn’t changed. But what has changed is kind of, I’ve really enjoyed seeing Liz grow and develop as a planner. She came on as a client service associate, and now we have 69 clients. Nine of those relationships we’re co-leads on, and so she’s kind of running those meetings. I’m shadowing her right now. So it’s been really awesome to kind of just have maybe a multiplier effect.

Shawn: And so now my vision is more … I’ve been listening to Ric Edelman and Joe Duran and United Capital, and my vision is to build a national brand. It’s kind of crazy to say that out loud, but Jeff Read, our tax specialist, he lives in Maryland. Liz is going to move to Maryland, so we’ll have a West Coast office and a East Coast office, and kind of use that Diamond Team model that Angie Herbers puts out there. And kind of just build it … Right now I’m thinking one Diamond Team at a time, but I’ve also thought about maybe doing something like a bolt-on approach, where … There’s a lot of advisors out there that, they really love the financial planning. They don’t necessarily want to start their own firm.

Shawn: And I feel like Liz and I have built a really good playbook with our operations manual and templates and workflows for how to do financial planning for young professionals. Because it is different. They don’t teach you that in the CFP program. So now we have this really good almost rinse and repeat … we kind of have … It’s unique for each client, but we have a process that we put them through. So one idea could be we do a bolt-on where advisors can use all of our resources and then they’re kind of under our umbrella. So I’ve been just kind of toying around with that idea. But I think that the broader point is, I started out with this kind of lifestyle and approach idea, and I’ve kind of found that I really like building the business as opposed to just doing the client work.

Shawn: When I was hiring Jeff to do tax planning, it was really exciting to kind of be like, “Okay, what does our engagement letter look like? How are we going to collect the data? What software are we going to use? What price point? How are we going to message this to our clients?” So kind of building a business has been really exciting for me.

Matt: And now, we’re going to jump over to Liz, who’s maybe going a little less traditional in the sense of coming on as a virtual client service associate, and now moving into the lead planner role. So Liz, why don’t you tell us a little bit more about your story and how you ultimately landed at the firm with Shawn?

Liz: My background’s actually financial counseling. I did that for 10 years before I started with Shawn. I worked for a non-profit helping service members, and I found myself moving to California and needing to find a new opportunity. And I found Shawn’s job opening through Simply Paraplanner, via Facebook.

Matt: And so had you always been in financial counseling? Was that what you had studied in college or what you had an interest in, or how did you really get to that point of your career?

Liz: Well I studied finance in college, and quickly realized I didn’t want to be in sales or be a broker. As I was interviewing with those firms, it just wasn’t … I wasn’t interested. Right off the bat it wasn’t something I felt passionate about. So I went to work for the FAA, the Federal Aviation Administration in D.C. and helped train the air traffic controllers in their financial systems. So that was actually really neat but very different from what I studied. And then I ended up working for them for a little bit. They let me work … My husband’s active duty military, so he moved to Florida, and the FAA let me work remotely, but then they said, “You have to come back to D.C.” And I said, “Well, my husband’s in Florida,” and at that point, he was moving to Washington. So in Washington, Washington state, was where I found financial counseling because it was on the base that we were at. And that financial counseling led me to financial planning, just wanting to know more and digging more into the industry.

Matt: What were some of the factors that led to you making the leap into the financial counseling from the traditional finance background that you had?

Liz: Yeah, I stumbled into financial counseling accidentally. I was in between jobs and a friend told me about this non-profit. She said they help service members through financial emergencies, and come volunteer. And so I started doing that, but I didn’t see the connection honestly. It was, for me, what I studied in school and financial planning, financial counseling and planning were very different things. Now I see that there’s overlap, but yeah, I sort of just stumbled into it.

Matt: How has your role with Shawn changed from day one?

Liz: Actually, Shawn had me sitting in on meetings from day one, which actually really surprised me. And for the first 30 days, we did strictly contractor trial basis. And I started off working just 10 hours a week, and then the hours have increased over time, and now I’m full-time. Every 30 days, every 60 days, every 90 days in the beginning, Shawn and I sat down, we’d list my responsibilities and what my expectations were, what his expectations were, where we were, where we wanted to be. That was all really surprising. But because it was just me and him, I would do onboarding, administrative tasks. I have been doing from the start … He said, “Okay, you’re in charge of operations,” so I’ve been building that up from the beginning. Now I do the first pass of the financial plan, and that’s increased over time where initially it was just setting up the slides. But now it’s doing everything.

Matt: So Shawn’s just throwing more and more on your plate each day huh?

Liz: Yeah, that’s a really accurate way to describe it is … With us, it’s never really been me insisting or requesting. It’s usually been Shawn saying, “You’re going to do this now,” so. Which is good, because I’m very cautious, so it works out well.

Matt: Well that’s great, and I think it’s very interesting that as you were integrated into the firm, you just naturally became a better partner with Shawn, but also, as I understand now, you are a lead planner, correct?

Liz: So I’m … we’re co-leads on clients. I’m an associate planner, but yes, I prepare the presentation, I present it, and then Shawn sits in on meetings. And if there’s something that clients have questions on and I don’t know the answer to, then he’s there to help me out. But the clients that we’re focusing on making me the lead are part of our wealth builder package. So they’re younger clients who are just out of school, focusing more on the cash management and debt and student loans. That’s what I did essentially when I was at the Relief Society, so that’s a really good fit for me.

Matt: Great, and I think that’s very important just to point out how you said you were pushed into more responsibility, and I think that gradual transition is much better than what commonly is happening in the broader industry of, “Go sell or you’re not going to make it.” And I think Shawn, you saw some of that in your career path, so. As you were building the firm, and as Liz was starting to take on more responsibilities and you had those chances to review every 30, 60, 90 days, how were you identifying that she was ready for more?

Shawn: Let me just back up. I’ve never really been a manager, a direct manager over someone’s development, so this is all new to me. So I would say kind of open communication has been a really good key factor for us. We talk after every meeting, like, “What did you … What stood out to you? Do you have any questions? Any surprises?” And so I’ve actually had Liz kind of give me feedback too. I had her give me a 360 feedback.

Shawn: In terms of knowing when Liz was ready, I kind of used a philosophy, “Set really high expectations and then let people surprise you.” And let them kind of … I think innately, everyone wants to do a good job. It’s innate in everybody that they want to do a good job, so if she messes up on something like a … A good example, Liz, you’ll laugh about this, is we did a financial independence projection for someone, and she just really, really stumbled over her words and just … not a train wreck, but just … I was just kind of letting her kind of flounder a little bit. And then I kind of saved her after a couple of minutes. And after that, she has never messed up on that again.

Shawn: And giving her space to grow and … The clients, they know that Liz is learning and growing, and they’re understanding. They’re not going to fire you because she stumbled on something. So I think also it’s really good to keep people constantly challenged. So now when Liz does the first pass, we have a three meeting onboarding process. So she sets up all the slides now for each one of those meetings, and then she also puts in her recommendations in the notes. So it’s like, “Okay, think about it from the advisor perspective. If you were the advisor, what recommendation would you make?” So that kind of gets her thinking like an advisor.

Shawn: And then in terms of transitioning clients to her, with my model, I feel like I can only handle 60 to 70 clients, because we’re meeting twice a year. We’re doing tax projections, we’re doing tax returns, we’re doing a lot. So that’s why I’ve been needing someone to kind of help take on clients. And so we’ve done it two ways. One is for existing clients where they’re kind of been onboarded for a while and they’re kind of lower risk, I would say, clients. If they leave, it’s not like it’s going to break our firm or anything. And they’re actually I think happy. They’re like, “Oh wow, does this mean that you’re growing? Like your firm is growing?” And a softer way to position it is, we’re co-leads. I’m not just handing you off to Liz. We’re going to be doing it together. And then, so maybe that’s four or five of the clients where she’s been the co-lead.

Shawn: And then the other ones are brand new clients. And then those ones are much easier to have her be the lead on, because from the very beginning, she’s been the lead advisor, she was in on the prospect calls and the prospect meetings. And I just kind of set the expectations that Liz is going to be your primary contact and I’ll be there to kind of shadow her and back her up. But you’re going to be working with Liz going forward.

Matt: What we’ve seen so much in the profession is the lack of hand-holding, the lack of training. But it sounds like you pushed Liz to go further and then came back when she realized she needed help.

Shawn: Yeah, what would you say Liz?

Liz: Yeah, for sure. Like Shawn said, I think even when on our first interview, I said, “I’m a very honest person.” And I said something, and Shawn said, “You don’t have to be that honest.” That’s just who I am, and if this is going to work, you have to be honest too. So right off the bat, I said, “If I’m doing something wrong, you need to tell me in that moment, not six months later at my review, because that’s not going to work. And so that’s been really helpful. And also, both of us being flexible with the virtual set-up has helped.

Matt: Yeah, so when you say Liz that you enjoyed having that opportunity to be challenged and to be tested on things you may not be 100% comfortable in, and then having the ability to just be open and honest with Shawn both ways to get that feedback and to grow in the moment?

Liz: Yes, definitely, because I’m the type of person that isn’t necessarily going to say, “I’m ready for this,” until I am 100% ready for it. And sometimes, you need to try something when you’re 75% ready for it. And so Shawn recognized … Most of the time, he’s pretty good about recognizing when it’s a good time. Sometimes he’ll say, “I want you to do this,” and I wasn’t ready. But we have that honest communication, and I’ll say, “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” or, “I have no idea how to approach this,” and then we back up.

Shawn: I think one good way to do it is you start with a specific module, like insurance reviews. So that was the first thing that Liz started presenting to clients was, okay, we’re reviewing their auto insurance, their homeowner’s insurance, and their umbrella policy. And that was a very definitive task that she could prepare for and know … kind of have her talking points. And then we would do a dry run the day before so that she … as if you were going to present to a client, what would you say? And now we’re at a point where Liz is doing the slides and I’m like, before she sends them to me, she’s writing an e-mail saying, “Okay, I can present the long-term disability review, and I can present the spending plan review.” And so she’s already proactively saying, “This is what I feel ready and capable to present at the next meeting.” And I think that’s just a good tip when you’re training a new advisor.

Matt: Shawn, how has the experience with Liz, both good and bad, really shaped how you’ll onboard future hires? I know you currently have another part-time staff. Has any of the experience with Liz shaped how you’ve onboarded that employee in addition to the ones you’ll hire in the future?

Shawn: We kind of documented all the different technology that I need to hand over to her. A good tool is LastPass, where we can share passwords. And so we kind of documented the 10 or 12 different pieces of technology that she needs to get trained up on. Like Liz mentioned, she’s kind of the head of building out our operations manual. When she started, it was two or three pages, and kind of the first thing I had her do was reserve a study room for me. Go online, reserve it, very easy to follow, and these are the steps. And now, the operations manual is over 100 pages long, so kind of approaching it with the mentality, “If we’re going to do this task more than once, let’s document it and make sure it’s clear enough as if we were going to do it 1,000 times.” So when Jeff came on, he has that as a resource for how we do prep for our initial meeting, how we prep for our plan design meeting and how we prep for our plan delivery meeting. So he’s got kind of a playbook to follow.

Matt: So Shawn, many times advisors are bringing in new talent to the firm like you’ve done with Liz and don’t have a clear road map as to how to integrate them. How did you really go through that process so that when Liz came on board, you knew exactly what you wanted her to start with?

Shawn: I think creating just a little curriculum for Liz. We just created a two week schedule, I called it BPFPU, or Ballast Point Financial Planning University, and having time blocking areas of, “Okay, this is when we’re going to go over a firm overview. This is going …” Kind of having specific things that we would go over over that two week period. So kind of having that. But then kind of a broader issue was, I didn’t really know what I wanted my firm to be down the road, which I think is okay. I think it’s okay if you’re looking for some help to not know what your long-term vision is and to have different career paths.

Shawn: So Caleb Brown has this great slide where you start as a client service associate, the next step is associate financial planner, kind of moving from left to right, and then when you graduate to the next level, you can either go into firm management, like director of financial planning, director of compliance, director of operations. Or you could be a lead financial planner. You don’t have to be a lead financial planner, and when Liz first started, she didn’t know which direction she wanted to go in, and that was okay. We could’ve had her just be the head of financial planning and operations. So just kind of having options, and yeah, having a clear line of communication. We do those reviews every quarter. Yeah, so I think it’s okay to not have it all defined ahead of time.

Matt: Liz, as you were going through taking on more with the firm, how did you decide, “This is the path I want to go. I want to go towards the lead planner role.” How did you come to terms with that, just in your own mind?

Liz: In my past roles, I’ve been seeing clients. I’ve been client facing for 10 years, and I found that I was really missing that. I was sort of giving Shawn the opportunity to back out of making me a planner, because my husband’s still in the military and he’s still active duty. Well we’re going to move again, and so I just didn’t know how this was going to work. I would’ve been happy just doing operations if that’s Shawn was happy with me doing and I was fine with that. But then he said, “No, I want you to be a planner if that’s what you want to do,” and clients aren’t running away, so that’s great.

Matt: If either of you could give someone a piece of advice, what piece of advice would you give?

Liz: I would say to take your time. If your firm allows you to take your time to choose your career path, there’s no hurry to decide if you want to be back office or if you want to be client facing. Make sure that you’re happy with your decision and not just doing it because one or the other’s going to make you more money.

Matt: Right, and Liz, what were some of the questions you were asking early on with Shawn to sort of feel out whether or not you could do that within this firm?

Liz: My concern was with just, “Will clients want to interface with me virtually?” Because that’s what they’re going to get. I think because we work with a younger clientele, they are comfortable with that interaction and just, it’s fairly new what we’re doing, so that was my biggest concern.

Matt: Great. And Shawn, any advice for the advisors out there looking to make their first hire?

Shawn: Just kind of in general, I think there’s this conception out there that there’s a lack of talent. There’s all these advisors that are retiring, and there’s no one to backfill. I think it’s more, there’s not a good career path for people like Liz. And I want to give a shout out to Liz. She’s been very modest. She actually volunteered 4,000 hours over those 10 years. 4,000 hours of work. She was an accredited financial counselor, she had already taken classes to become a certified financial planner. So when you are looking to bring someone on, I’ve got a few different tips.

Shawn: Look for someone who’s got a dedication to their profession. So those are just huge signals that she is dedicated to becoming a financial planner. Another one is, it’s scary, it’s scary as an advisor hiring someone, doubling your head count from one to two. I felt a lot of pressure once I hired Liz that like, “Oh man, now I’ve got to bring on new clients to kind of support her and her income.” And to kind of help relieve some of that pressure, you can start with a 30 or 60 day contract and use it as a way for both of you to kind of test the waters. So it’s a way for Liz to see if she likes working for me, and if I like having Liz. It has worked out better than I could have ever imagined, having Liz.

Shawn: When I would prepare for client meetings, it would take me three to four hours to review all the notes and prepare all the slides, and now I’m down to 60 to 90 minutes before each meeting. That’s how long it takes me to kind of … to get ramped up. It used to take me an hour, hour and a half to write up all the noes and assign action items, upload that to RightCapital. Now I just review the notes for 10 minutes and Liz is doing all the follow-up too. If we’re doing Backdoor Roths, Liz is following up and saying, “Hey, you need to convert your IRA now.” Following up on all the action items.

Shawn: So I think kind of de-risking it. You don’t have to … When you hire someone, it doesn’t have to be a 40 hour a week proposition. You can position it as, Liz started with just 10 to 20 hours a week. And she’s kind of just grown from there. So those are some tips that I would give to some other advisors out there.

Shawn: Oh, and then also, a huge shout-out to Simply Paraplanner. I’ve used them for hiring both Liz and Jeff. I think when you’re thinking about hiring someone, think about what you want them to do, and that will really help you craft the job description. And be very transparent, be very detailed. I think my job posting was four pages long and about kind of the vision, the values, and kind of what I was looking for. And people will self-select into your role. And Simply Paraplanner handled the whole thing for me. 26 people applied, they corresponded with all of the applicants so they knew where they stood in the process. They sent out surveys, they cut the list down to just 10, they did one-on-one interviews with those 10, screened it down to three. They had those three people do a Kolbe Assessment. They have you do a Kolbe Assessment. Liz is kind of a little mini me in terms of where we ranked on all those different things. And it’s just really helpful to know people’s strengths and how to work together ahead of time.

Shawn: One thing for Liz is to give her a deadline. Don’t just say, “I need you to do this,” but kind of give her a dead;ine and that kind of just helps her be accountable. So if you are thinking about hiring, I really recommend Simply Paraplanner. I think they have 1,200 people on their platform right now that are looking to work virtually. And it’s a great way to just get leverage in your firm. Maybe write down just all the things that you want to delegate to somebody. Start there, and then that could be part of your job description. I think kind of seeing how it’s worked out with Liz, some other people in my study group are like, “Man, I want a Liz.” So it’s worked out really great. And also, I’m excited to see what Liz does because now that she’s kind of trained, she can impact the lives of so many people on her own. So it’s just been really wonderful.