There are many questions you should ask yourselves when embarking upon a career as a financial advisor. Indeed, there are many questions you should ask yourselves when embarking upon the path of owning your own business. For an advisor who is about to go independent, the most important question is…

Am I An Asset Manager Or An Asset Gatherer?
I have written in the past about advisors wearing too many hats and spreading themselves too thin. The three most commonly worn hats are:

• Portfolio manager
• Business development executive
• Client relationship manager

Working at a wirehouse, you are surrounded by support and infrastructure and can dabble in each of the three roles above. As a sole practioner or part of a small team, you will fail if you do not identify the role that best suits you and adjust your focus to that. Remember, clients are coming to you for your high-level thinking, not your multi-tasking skills. Are you demonstrating that quality when you are pulled in multiple directions?

Let’s take a closer look.

To move from the mindset of an employee to an employer requires constant self-scrutiny. To answer this big question, you must consider four key points:

Just how good am I at the portfolio management element of my business?

The first part of this exercise requires honest analysis and ego being left at the door.

Too many advisors overestimate their ability when it comes to the asset management side of the business, often to their clients’ disadvantage. Delusions of grandeur lead to poor performance. If leading fund managers struggle to beat the market, what makes you different in thinking you can outperform?!

What is it that gets me out of bed in the morning?

One of the benefits of running your own business can be the autonomy to focus on what you are really passionate about. Is it the stock picking element, studying graphs and performance metrics for various investments? Or is it spending time in a business social environment—the golf course or a conference happy hour?

An entrepreneur can be everything from the mailroom assistant to the CEO in the early days of starting a business. But why did we even take this jump, if the end game is not to focus on having a real purpose? We left the guaranteed salary of the wirehouse to make a difference in the world, one client at a time. What are we passionate about?  What do we want to devote more of our time to?

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