Many advisors have been taught to “eat what you kill,” creating a culture of competition for client assets and lack of collaboration. But two young advisors, active in the #FinTwit community, are launching a paid, private community for advisors looking to collaborate with colleagues and learn from each other to grow their practices.
Taylor Schulte, founder of the San Diego-based $72 million AUM Define Financial and host of the “Experiments in Advisor Marketing” podcast, and Justin Castelli, owner of the Fishers, Ind.-based $27 million AUM RLS Wealth Management and host of a podcast called “All About Your Benjamins,” already have about 400 advisors interested in joining the community; they’ll launch with a beta group in the fourth quarter, which will help them further design the program for the community.
“Contrary to what I was taught growing up in the wirehouse world, I've learned that collaborating and learning from other advisors is extremely powerful,” said Schulte, 34. “I think there's a large number of us that have gotten over this fact that we're not competitors. There's plenty of business to go around here, and we're each unique in our own way and we have different sets of expertise.”
Castelli, 37, said he struggled to find a place to go for help as a solo practitioner.
“I’ve had to proactively reach out to people. I’ve had to do my own reading. Twitter’s been a source for this type of inspiration and learning. But if I could’ve had a community like what we’re building four years ago, then I think I’d be a lot further along,” he said.
Many advisors have used the #FinTwit hashtag on Twitter to find community and bounce ideas off of each other. But that’s limited, Castelli said.
“You may go down one path of doing something to try to grow your business and communicate with clients, and somebody may go about it in a totally different way that you would never know,” he added. “And unless you have a common ground, a place to come together to talk about this stuff, you may never find out about other ways to do business.”
The new community, which advisors can join for an annual fee (not yet disclosed), will involve guest lectures, webinars, workshops and other projects aimed at holding each other accountable. The ambition is to make it a blend of marketing, branding and practice management resources. But it will also focus on personal development, something that’s important to the next generation of advisors.
“The premise of this group is to be a fluid community that will evolve as the needs of the community change,” Castelli said.
They hope to attract a newer wave of advisors that are more focused on having a lifestyle practice, with more of a balance between their professional and personal lives.
“You have people that aren’t all about trying to grow the biggest firm. They’re really focusing on building a firm where they can help their clients very well, but also balance that with a good family life,” Castelli said. “What things as a financial advisor or business owner do you need to keep in mind to make sure you are keeping yourself healthy—mentally and emotionally?”
Building a diverse community—not just made up of white men—is also a priority. They’ve partnered with some female advisors with large networks of other female advisors to promote the group.
“If this community is going to be about growing as advisors and growing as people, personally and professionally, we need to address that lack of diversity, and we need to do our part as a community to spread that,” Castelli said.