"It's difficult just to cold call," he says.

While Verseput is optimistic his efforts have met with early success-he has a number of prospects he thinks he can convert to clients in coming months-he's had to adopt some new habits too. One lesson: Keep clear boundaries between individual clients and individuals at businesses that are 401(k) clients.

"You get into the mode of wanting to help people," he says. But "if you get a plan with 20 people, you can't help everybody figure out their college savings plan for free."


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