A lot of commission based advisors express to me a strong desire to transition to a fee based practice.

Then comes the “but” word.

“But, I have I have to eat.”

“But, I have a large overhead.”

“But, I receive FMO benefits by hitting sales goals.”

Once in a while, you meet someone like my friend Lee.

Once a major annuity producer, he put on $60,000,000 of AUM in three years, all with brand new clients. He didn’t move a single annuity.  Today he receives over $600,000 a year in AUM fees.

Ask him how he did it.  “Work works,” he’ll tell you.

Did he have overhead?  Yes.  Did he need to eat?  He’s not skinny.

Essentially, he did what he had to do.  And he worked around the clock to make it happen.

No one appreciates the need for balance in life more than me.  As I write this, I’m on a plane to Florida for a few days of R&R with my wife.  But I know each day I’ll not only read my emails, I’ll also talk to several clients. In fact, I have three booked for tomorrow. You can get cell service on the beach.

Great achievement in this business (heck, any business) does not come to those who treat it as a job.  It has to be more than that.  A passion.  A calling.  Unfortunately, you don’t  create passion.  It either exists or it doesn’t.

It’s interesting, but the less passionate are usually the first ones to tell you how hard they work.

Or how many of their kids games they’ve missed (fyi: your kids don’t take attendance).  They get incredibly defensive when I point out that 35-hour work week won’t cut it if they want a million-dollar practice.

Neither will four vacations a year.  They’ll describe certain times when they’ve worked excessively hard, but that’s the problem.  Hard work for them is more the exception, not the norm.  Sorry, but working hard occasionally doesn’t count.

One great indicator of where low passion exists is the “out of office” notification some people leave on their email.  My friend Lee doesn’t even know you can do that.  As far as his clients know, he’s never “out of the office.”

Yes, I’m generalizing.  But I’m willing to bet for many advisors I’m not that far off.  Their practice is a job, nothing more.

Look, it’s your practice and your future. I’m not judging where you choose to be.  Just understand that to achieve major profit results you will need to adopt a necessary mindset, a mindset based on a vision of where you wish to be and the willingness to work around the clock to achieve it.   A mindset that in some ways can be detrimental to your home life.   A mindset that seeks more rewards in the future in exchange for paying a serious price in the present.

The presence of this mindset is particularly important when hiring and developing a junior advisor.  If you envision this person taking over your practice someday, then it’s imperative he demonstrate a passion equal to yours.  This is rare.  In his book, No B.S. Ruthless Management of People and Profits, Dan Kennedy put it quite eloquently:

“Your business is your life and your life is your business. They are intertwined and inseparable. Not so for your employees. Shocking as it may be to you, they have lives all their own. They think about all sorts of things a lot that you barely think about at all, like the price of gas or lettuce or movie tickets.  They think T.G.I.F.  You think: I need another day this week to work. They hope no customers wander in 15 minutes before closing time to delay their escape; you pray somebody comes in.  You care passionately about profit.  They probably don’t think about it at all or, if they do, they resent how much of it you make at their expense, through their sweat and blood.”

Brutally honest question: Which mindset do you own?  The owner or the employee?  You know how you should answer the question, but do your actions back it up?