Filed Under:Your Practice, Practice Management

Confessions of a millennial advisor

When opportunity knocks, run to open the door!
When opportunity knocks, run to open the door!

Is it possible for a young millennial to work, be successful, and have an excellent work-life balance and satisfaction?

Being a millennial and an advisor myself, the answer is an emphatic yes! I would have laughed at someone if they had predicted that at age 29 I would be in the financial services industry. Today, I cannot see myself anywhere else. This is an amazing career and industry, and to start right out of college was the best opportunity I have ever been given. 

A career in the financial services industry allows me to be in business for myself, but not by myself. When interviewing candidates right out of college or a couple years out, I explain it is a hybrid position. This industry allows people to manage and grow their own business while having the structure of a 9 to 5 job. There are few places where you can control your income and build a business in the timeline you decide. There are few industries where being a young professional is not a limiting factor, and where you have the training and backing of a fortune 500 company.   When starting most businesses, you typically need to find investors, invest a large amount of your own money, and create a massive amount of liability. In financial services, one can start their own business with barely any capital and zero liability. You also have a training program and a tested track to run on, which if compared to starting another business, means that you don’t have to learn from mistakes.

What about finding success as a millennial? Success is there for the taking for those who work hard and smart. Since I started at New York Life, I have been told many times by career changers that they wish they had started at my age. “I would be retired by now at my age,” is their common reply. These agents are not in their 60’s or 70’s-- they are in their 40’s and early 50’s. This just shows the income potential in the financial services career. 

I do not pretend this was a cake walk and that it will be easy for people right out of school. However, if an agent follows the correct process, they can succeed beyond their imagination. 

Below, read a few specific “do’s and don’ts” I believe are crucial to success.

Expand Your Network

Don’t rely solely on doing business with people you know. After college, I moved to Chicago, and I am originally from Pennsylvania. Unfortunately for me, I did not have friends and family members to help start my business. I saw many new agents rely too heavily in the first 6 months on sales to friends and family. If an agent is not continually obtaining good prospects, the agent will generally be out of the business in a year.

Always Be Prospecting

Don’t let a bad experience ruin your day. I had so many “no shows” from prospects in my earliest days, I could not even keep count. Don’t quit-- find more names and keep prospecting. I made sure if someone stood me up at a restaurant, I would not leave there until I got the server's name and number. In other words, I was always prospecting! Learn to effectively prospect, and this business can be a delight!

Listen To Your Manager

Managers are there for a reason. If they tell you to spend 8 hours a week prospecting and have 10 appointments a week, do everything in your power to make that happen. A manager’s job is to help an agent succeed; be coachable and follow the process.

Track Your Activity

Any successful business owner knows how much profit is needed each month to keep the business going.  The profit comes directly from activity. Phone calls lead to appointments and appointments lead to sales. An agent should know how many phone calls they need to make in order to close a certain amount of business. If you are not tracking all the activity, you are working blind.

Establish Work-Life Balance

What about job satisfaction? It is no secret that we millennials want a good work-life balance. While a lot of work is required in the early years, you can largely control your calendar, especially after you have achieved some success. You can take some down time with family and friends, go on trips, and pursue your hobbies.

A huge aspect of job satisfaction is achieving the respect of clients and co-workers, and that respect is icing on the cake. Though I am still young, I simply do not let age get in my way. I attempt to always go above and beyond with my professionalism. Clients and acquaintances are usually very surprised to learn my age. As an agent, I dressed the part, knew the products better than other agents, and role played my scripts and methods to overcome objections regularly. I also invested in my business and paid for an office, so my clients could see how well I was doing. Has the hard work and attention to detail paid off? You bet it has!

A great job in an industry helping families survive and thrive, a clear path for success, and outstanding work-life balance — now that is a career that millennials can love!

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