How To Go Independent

An objective source to learn about independent business models

When you would NOT want to go independent - Part 4

Sean KernanComment

I have spent quite a bit of time on the blog and podcast explaining why it might make sense to go independent--and I’ve spent a lot of my fourteen years in the industry either figuring that out for myself or talking to other advisors and articulating a case for doing so.

I think it is time to have a discussion about when you would NOT want to go independent. Obviously it’s not for everybody. If it was for everybody we wouldn’t need this blog. There wouldn’t be 60,000+ employee advisors concentrated in bank-owned firms. So, this is the fourth in a list of reasons why you definitely would not want to go independent.

Number four, you aren’t willing to work hard for a short period of time to improve your business and have more control over it. I have a good friend who, after fourteen years in the industry all at one firm (I met him as we started at the firm about two months apart, fourteen years ago), he is in the process of moving his practice right now from the only firm he’s ever been with.

He has a pretty significant business. He’s been very very successful in that fourteen years so he got a lot bigger business than when I had to move when I moved after three years and seven years in the business. The reason he’s willing to do that is because he sees the crash of activity and work and then have more control over his practice and he has ownership -- all the benefits that I’ve talked about on this show and on the blog.

But there is a big caveat to that. It is a lot of work upfront to investing your business. Moving that many accounts is obviously a lot of work. We’re busy if we have five new clients at a given time, or ten new clients, depending on the size of your staff. But think about having a hundred new clients, or two or three hundred new clients because that’s what you're doing when you change firms.

You might have to put in some extra time when you're transitioning your business to the independent channel. 

You might have to put in some extra time when you're transitioning your business to the independent channel. 

You go from having, let's say two hundred, to having zero, and then trying to add a hundred and fifty at one time. It’s a big undertaking. Now, again, there’s a blog post I did about the things I think you need to have, I believe I made a podcast on that as well, on what I think you should have and need to have to pull the trigger -- the absolute must-haves.

And one of those is help -- figure out how you’re going to get all that work done. Are you going to hire someone full time? Are you going bring your own existing assistant? Are you going to find a network to plug in that has resources that you can use? There’s actually outsource solutions where you can hire an assistant remotely, kind of on-demand need. So there are all kinds of ways to accomplish that but bottomline is it’s going to be a lot of work for you as well.

So, number four, if you aren’t willing to work hard for a short amount of time or harder than you had in awhile probably, to get more control of your business, you're not ready and should not go independent.