With an office that looks out on the San Juan Mountains in Montrose, Colo., David Tillson says he's "amazed that every broker in America" isn't clamoring to telecommute. "That's the only thing I find unusual about this," he says.
Six years ago, Tillson ditched the wirehouse lifestyle, joined Raymond James Financial Services and built a 12-foot-by-24-foot office in the corner of his horse barn, complete with a picture window. "It's a helluva deal," he says, with a laugh.
Because Tillson's home is roughly seven miles outside of Montrose, in the middle of rough terrain during the winter months, he says some clients are reluctant to visit. "However, that can be an advantage in that it allows me the opportunity to interview them in their homes," Tillson says. "They are much more comfortable, and you can find out a lot more about the individual by looking around a person's home, for example, their risk tolerance."
Besides the view, are there other distractions to working at home? Tillson says no. "I don't think that working from home is all that intrinsically different from any other environment," he says. The peaceful mountain setting provides just the kind of solitude a financial adviser needs when analyzing a client's portfolio, he notes.
"In this profession, you have to be a self-starter. If you're not a self-starter, you don't belong in this job to begin with, regardless of the address," Tillson says. "Secondly, if you're going to work from home, you have got to have a level of efficiency about your operation."
For efficiency's sake, Tillson says he follows a simple, straightforward business plan--no commodities, options or business that generates "excessive paperwork or excessive worry." He owns all of his office equipment.
An assistant comes in once a week to help out with filing, but he ends up doing most of the organizational work himself. Of course, he had a lot more administrative support when he worked for Legg Mason and Prudential Securities. But those firms are much less likely to allow a broker to work from his barn. "It's the same reason they make you wear a jacket and a tie," Tillson says. "They want control of their sales force."