#FA Success Ep 305: Accelerating Growth Of (Fee-Only) Clients By Making It Clear You Have Nothing To Sell, With Mindy Crary

#FA Success Ep 305: Accelerating Growth Of (Fee-Only) Clients By Making It Clear You Have Nothing To Sell, With Mindy Crary

Welcome back to the 305th episode of the Financial Advisor Success Podcast!

My guest on today’s podcast is Mindy Crary. Mindy is the owner of Creative Money, an independent RIA based in Seattle, Washington, that offers a unique 12-month financial planning engagement – or as Mindy puts it on her homepage, “financial planning that doesn’t suck” – which has allowed her firm to work with nearly 400 client households just this year.

What’s unique about Mindy, though, is how, by only offering financial planning advice without any ability to provide investment management, her “advice-only” business has been able to attract hundreds of inbound clients every year through organic Google search and Yelp who are just seeking an advisor to advise them without trying to sell them on anything else, and made it feasible for her to profitably and efficiently scale up to nearly $1M of revenue providing financial plans that cost just $1,800 to $3,200 per client.

In this episode, we talk in-depth about why Mindy attributes the success of her practice’s structure to the realization that she does not enjoy selling products or investment management (or dealing with compliance that goes with them) and could more efficiently scale with an advice-only approach to one-year financial planning engagements that don’t need ongoing relationship management, how, by implementing her 12-month engagement structure, Mindy has been able to employ a highly systematized process that gives her and her staff the flexibility and capability to be able to serve a large number of clients throughout each year, and how, even though Mindy spends very little on marketing, she’s attracted nearly 400 new clients in the past year, with nearly 2/3rds of them coming to her firm from online Google searches and the positive reviews she’s received (unsolicited) on Yelp.

We also talk about how, after selling her first advisory practice, Mindy moved to Seattle where she began consulting and found that by being a CFP without a practice, she was receiving a lot of inquiries to share her expertise (as people seemed to feel more comfortable asking her advice because they knew she was not in the business to sell them anything), which inevitably inspired her to launch her current financial planning business, how Mindy’s use of 12-month engagements and not managing assets has made it feasible for her to charge lower fees than most other advisors and still scale up to nearly $1 million in revenue, and the unique payout structure that Mindy uses to compensate her advisors on a per-plan basis (which still provides her advisors a reasonable assuredness of their income potential because of the steady flow of financial planning engagements her firm receives).

And be certain to listen to the end, where Mindy shares how she navigated a lot of doubt early on from others in the financial services industry (along with her own internal doubts of whether she fit into the industry) but found that by sticking to her convictions, she could offer financial planning the way she wanted and stay true to herself, why Mindy advocates that the key to enjoying a career as a financial advisor isn’t necessarily about building your own practice but finding whatever role in the industry best fits your core competencies (even if they’re not entrepreneurial), and why Mindy feels that goals are a constantly moving target (as there is always the next goal to achieve), but success is about having systematized processes that creates stability in her business and gives her greater opportunities to focus on that future ahead… wherever it may lead.

So, whether you’re interested in learning about how Mindy structures day-to-day tasks to create more efficient processes, why Mindy chose a 12-month engagement process for clients, or how Mindy maintains lower-than-average fees while serving hundreds of clients per year, then we hope you enjoy this episode of the Financial Advisor Success podcast, with Mindy Crary.

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