I talk to a lot of advisors all the time about how to become a financial advisor or even what it takes to have their own firm. Here are my top 3 tips for going independent (and advancing your career)...
Tip #1: Get Licensed.
There is limited upward mobility on your income if you are not a financial advisor or planner that cannot render financial advice. In short, you will need to pass the Series 65 exam
(a 3 hour, 130-question exam) administered by FINRA. Some states will waive the exam requirement if you hold one or more of the following designations:
("Chartered Financial Analyst")CFP
("Certified Financial Planner")CIC
("Chartered Investment Counselor")ChFC
("Chartered Financial Consultant")PFS
("Personal Financial Specialist")
The lowest bar (arguably) will be passing the Series 65 exam, which would allow you to render advice as a financial advisor. You will need this if working for a firm that registers as an investment advisor
and renders financial advice or if you decide to form your own registered investment advisory and start building a client base.
Tip #2: Learn How to Sell
Regardless of what you've been told you will be a marketer or seller of financial services as a financial advisor. This is especially key if you plan to start your own firm. Don't be the best undiscovered financial professional because no one has heard of you. Learn to sell. Because in order to stay in business, you will need clients.
There is a lot of good literature and resources to glean from, so don’t relegate your learning exclusively to the financial services industry. Listen to others that are good at sales across various industries. Study sales techniques, sales psychology, and personal branding.
A couple of my favorites are Phil Jones
and Jeb Blount
. The goal is to clearly articulate your "UVP" (unique value proposition) to a prospective client in a way that makes them say: "this is exactly what I need".
Tip #3: Relax your expectations.
This is especially important if you are a career-changer since you are more or less starting from the bottom. Be realistic in your goal-setting.
By all estimations, a person graduating with a finance degree will do an additional 3-5 years in the industry before they have the experience to run their own book of business. There are exceptions to this, but I would say that 5-7 years is the average (including years spent in college).
Here are some things you can do to accelerate your career path…
-hire a coach (preferably someone inside the industry, not just a general business coach)
-get a mentor
(I'll speak more about how to do this in another post/email because you need to be specific about what you're asking for.)
-work for a financial professional (harder to secure but worth its weight in gold whether you are an intern or even work part-time)
Any of these methods will allow you to "fast-track" your progress in starting your own firm and advancing in this industry.
This can be a very rewarding and fulfilling career, but you will have to pay your dues, so be patient. 😉
Are you interested in a "faster track" to becoming a financial advisor? Take my free Career Audit
and see where you stand.