Welcome to Profitable Advisor, a website dedicated to helping financial advisors build the practice they’ve always wanted. Each week you will receive new tips and insights in one of six practice management areas:

  1. Profit management
  2. Selling
  3. Marketing
  4. Automation
  5. Client Retention
  6. Succession Planning

In addition, there will be an occasional Swipefile, step by step instructions on how to implement strategies that work.

So, let’s begin with the first question in your mind.:

Why should you read a blog site written by some middle aged, bald guy from Ohio. That is a great question. So if we haven’t met, here’s a little about me:
To begin with, I am just like you. In fact, I am you. I became a financial advisor twenty years ago after spending my first ten years of work trying to convince other advisors to sell my company’s products.  Sales VPs they called us.  The best and worse sales job you can ever have.

On the one hand, you earn money like a Ponzi scheme, getting paid on whatever your recruited producers sell.  On the other hand, you have no control on how much they sell…or when they sell.  You just kept paying them visits in hope you’ll get through to them.

One major benefit, however, was watching how  both the good (and bad) advisors performed.  It was like being paid to take a class at Harvard Business School.

More than anything else, I learned that intelligence was not a prerequisite for success as a financial advisor.

Now, don’t be offended. I didn’t say YOU were not intelligent.

But…I met A LOT of big hitters who didn’t know the difference between a preferred stock and a junk bond. It didn’t matter.  They had no formal business training.  Systems were almost non existent.  But they knew how to attract clients. So naturally I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if someone who understood systems became an advisor.

Once I decided to put on the line my lifetime savings (in addition to a $25,000 bank loan), I learned one more interesting thing about a lot of  successful advisors:

Failure does not affect them.  It’s like water off a duck’s back.  

Many employed a “system” that said a good day was making ten calls, getting three appointments, and acquiring one client.

Fail 90% of the time and call it a “good” day?


Whose ego can handle that?  They just keeps plugging along .  So a 10% success rate is just fine with him.

But it wasn’t for me.  I had to do better.  I had to find (and I did) a way to market that would fit with me and what I enjoyed doing.  I had already committed to not taking on any friends and family as clients unless they begged me.

As good as many of these advisors were at selling, a lot of their businesses were complete failures: massive amounts of debt, excessive spending habits, bloated staffs, poor use of technology.

They drove cars they couldn’t afford, had watches that cost five times my wife’s second engagement ring (yes, the first one was so small I made it a goal to replace it), wore custom shirts and suits, and had a minimum of three staff people.

Don’t get me wrong, they were (are) great guys. But they epitomized the difference between “affluent” and “wealthy.”

One day I went golfing with one of them.  When he arrived, he told me he had forgotten his wallet.   No problem…I offered to pay.  “No”, he said.  “You pay now and I’ll send you a check.”

A few days later he sent me an email:  “Dan, is there something you’d like for $100 (the cost of golf) that I could simply buy and send you rather than send you a check?”

Then it hit me.

He didn’t have the cash.

This “big hitter” drove a Corvette, had five Rolexes (I use my cell phone to tell time), and took six vacations a year.  But he didn’t have $100 bucks.

I’ve tried just about every system known to man in the areas of accounting, marketing, technology, and finance. Those three years at Northwestern were valuable.  Yes, I made mistakes, but today I now run 9 systems that work.  They have dramatically freed up my time to have more leisure and to start second business, Advisor Architect.

I am not a guru.  Every great idea ever known to man has already been created.  We are all simply students who learn to apply what works with our own business.  Although I think Tony Robbins is a complete fraud, he did say one thing of value in his original audio program (yes, I purchased it):  “If you want the results other have, simply model their actions.”

Chances are he stole that idea from somebody else, but it has always been one of my core beliefs.

Advisor Architect is all about showing small business owners who call themselves financial advisors how to operate an extremely profitable business that they can someday sell for massive amounts of money.  This means you have to be willing to not only implement systems, but follow them. You must know when to say “no,” not only to a vendor, but to a particular prospect/client.  It means understanding the difference between “investment” and “waste” (Hint: a “first impressions” coordinator/marketing assistant is WASTE).

It means being a jerk at times because you’re the only one who really gives a crap about your business.

This blog, Profitable Advisor.com, will provide you with ideas and strategies toward achieving your profit goal. Each week I will provide content on one of  six profit related topics and challenge you to take the necessary steps toward operating your business profitably.

I will also provide you a share of brutal honesty.

Here’s one piece: You are NOT an Entrepreneur. In fact, if you read The E-Myth, you already know this. At best you are as small business owner who has replaced one boss for 200 (your clients). You are a slave to their whims and whatever challenge your IMO/TAMP/Regulator throws your way. Without you, there is not business. Hence, you are not an entrepreneur.

That’s okay. Most small business owners aren’t, but you can get there. This blog will help you.

Let’s get started!