5 Top Questions I Get Asked About Becoming a Financial Planner

One of the best parts of my job is helping young people and college grads discover our industry (an industry that I’m proud to say I’ve been in for 15 years). It gets me very excited as I can’t think of many other careers that give you the chance to change the lives of people and their families, build great relationships and friendships, and all with the potential of earning a very healthy income to support a great lifestyle.

So, for anyone out there thinking is financial planning the career for me or is Skylight the right fit, then please read on as I share my thoughts on the top 5 questions that I regularly get asked.

1. What does it mean to be a business owner?

It’s amazing how many people considering a career as a financial planner don’t get that they are going to be a business owner and not an employee.  They are chasing pieces of paper, their masters and other qualifications, which is all great, but they haven’t put any thought into how they are going to get a revenue stream built.

I help take the blinders off and open their eyes to the challenges of what it takes to be a business owner.  Yes, it can be a very rewarding and lucrative career, but initially, it comes with a level of discomfort.  So, if someone wants “a stable 8-5”, a job where they punch in and out and are told what to do then my advice to them is to look elsewhere.   To succeed they need to be ready to take risks and not begrudge investing in themselves.

The ideal time to go for it is when they are young and their personal expenses are at their lowest. It’s unlikely that they will have a family of their own which makes it a good time to make sacrifices and go through the rough stuff.  Then once they are successful, they can have more stability.  This famous quote hits the nail on the head for me – “Entrepreneurship is living a few years of your life like most people won’t, so you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.”

2.  I hear it’s so difficult to break into the industry – how do you survive?

Yes, it can be difficult to break into the industry and we’ve all heard about the high failure rates. Yet many people are hugely successful, and I attribute this to having the right mindset, a huge belief in yourself and a clear vision of what you want and what it’s going to take.

In my experience, these 5 core reasons hold people back:

1.    Being unable or too afraid to talk about money

2.    Getting too emotionally involved – it’s a game of numbers so you need to keep things in perspective. One bad day won’t lead to complete failure, so you need to get back in and keep on doing it.  You cannot let a “no” cause you to feel depressed – shake it off and move on to your next conversation.

3.    Not understanding the buying cycle – you need to be in it for the long haul and not just for the quick wins.  The only constant in this industry is change – so be prepared to be dynamic and always be learning.

4.    Having self-limiting beliefs – you need to have the right mindset, be confident and believe in yourself and not be shaken by every little knock.

5.    Needing approval –  yes, we all like to be liked and respected, but we can’t let the fear of rejection rule us. If you are not asking for the business, then you are not helping anyone and not building your own business.

At Skylight, we help our financial planners scale these barriers through coaching and accountability.  I’m a firm believer that if you have great drive, a positive outlook, tenacity, and discipline, you can succeed and enjoy a lucrative and meaningful career as a financial planner.

3. What makes Skylight different?

At Skylight, we focus on people, not products.  The industry sometimes has a reputation for not listening to clients and telling them what they should be doing.  This is why people’s personal experiences with financial planners and advisors can be so negative.

Skylight turns this on its head and focuses on asking our clients questions to uncover their goals and aspirations.  We put our clients at the center of everything we do and are a trusted resource who engage at a personal level.  We are always open, committed to building lasting relationships and all our systems and processes are designed to support this. You only need to look at our social media to see it’s about others – what our financial planners do for our clients and what they contribute to the community.

4. How am I going to be developed?

Often people mistakenly think they are coming into an “entry level” position, with the end goal of being an owner someday.  So, it’s very important that they understand that they are coming in as an owner, and have the right mindset to leverage Skylight’s infrastructure and training and development program from day 1. Yes, they will receive product training, but that’s only a small part.  Our focus is on developing our financial planners so that they have the right behaviors and attitudes to become a successful business owner who is accountable and results-driven.

When it comes to clients, they need to understand what gets people to take action. So, we focus on teaching our planners how to connect with people, how to engage and have a great conversation and uncover needs.  But also, we teach them how to be a valued member of our community and how to network so that they can find out how they can help someone.

Our mentorship and coaching come from experienced planners and partners, accountability managers, marketing professionals, members of our Case Design Center and New Business Department so our financial planners get to learn from some of the best in our industry.  The beauty of it all is that we are constantly developing our planners.  It doesn’t stop after 2 weeks or 6 months, but our development program is ongoing and evolves to meet their needs.

5. I’m not experienced so why would someone trust me with their money?

When our planners start out they are supported and run appointments with veteran planners.  We have a great brand and we need to be able to deliver on our client’s expectations, so we connect our new financial planners with experts.

It’s not about giving new starts two weeks of training and then telling them to call their friends and family.  We ensure they have a good support system, work with a team, and help them to connect to our community.

I see this as a huge differentiator.  Some firms say they do this but in reality, they often fall short.

Thanks Coop for sharing with us!

As the Managing Director in our Cincinnati location, Charles ‘Coop’ is responsible for recruiting professional sales personnel, and to develop marketing plans to help these representatives reach their career goals. Please reach out to Charles if you are interested in learning more about a career as a financial planner with Skylight or about our internship program.