How to Take Time Away from Your Financial Advisory Business

I love traveling. I love exploring new places, seeing new things, and of course, trying new foods! Now that my husband has retired (and COVID has died down well enough), we have a lot more time to do this.

No, I haven’t retired yet. Yes, I am still working. But that’s one of the perks of owning and running your own business—the holy grail of making your own schedule and taking time off when you want to.

Of course, there are two ways to travel when you work: (1) take your work with you and miss out on the point of the entire trip or (2) completely step away from the business to actually enjoy your vacation!

Just last month, I had a pretty monumental birthday—one so monumental that I only found it fitting to drown my sorrows in sunshine (and a few poolside mimosas, of course) in Palm Springs for 12 days. Surely this would ease my suffering, I thought, and I was right.

But as I sat on the back porch of our private bungalow with my husband one night, I couldn’t help but think to myself: how did I get here? Not physically. That we left up to Delta. But how did I arrive at the place where I could step away from the business and actually enjoy myself (and not worry that things were going up in flames in my absence)?

The answer was simple. Delegation. I harp on it with new and existing advisor clients all the time. And it’s days like these that I feel so sorry for the ones who don’t take the advice. Because if you can’t take time away from your own business to enjoy life, then you just live to work. And is working worth a whole life?

I don’t care how passionate you are about what you do, everyone needs a break. Everyone needs time away from the daily grind, the Groundhog Day that can become our daily lives. Of course, this doesn’t have to be nearly two weeks in the desert—this oh so glorious desert—it could just be staying home NOT answering emails, NOT taking phone calls, and just BEING.

So how do you get here? 

Imagine you’re a pack mule. Every day you wake up carrying loads of tasks that have to get done. Each time you finish a task, your load gets a little lighter. Great! So, the resolution to reclaiming your time and feeling better and finally being able to book that trip is to just get it all done.

Spoiler alert: it’s never going to happen. You’ve got to hand some of your load off to others.

Delegate for Now & Later

Now, this metaphor is dual-purposed, because the argument for delegation is not just so you can enjoy more of your life now, but so you can eventually stop working altogether (aka retirement).

You must not only delegate for your present sanity, but your future sanity, as well. Delegation in the present looks a lot like this:

Look at your list of monthly to-dos. Circle the things that (1) you don’t like doing, (2) you aren’t good at, and (3) are way under your pay grade. Now, figure out who can handle them for you. Train them on how to handle the task at hand. Then, put processes in place that guide those individuals on when and how the tasks should be done.

I like to compare this process to a debt snowball. Once you start, you’ll begin to pick up speed and the process will become a lot less painful. Just take the first step in faith of success and the next ones will come more naturally.

Done. Moving on.

What’s your plan for your business when you stop working? Will you sell it to partners, sell it to a third party? Leave it to an heir? Whatever your option, you’re not going to get two steps away from your role if you don’t begin the transition process early by delegating your current load over time.

And for financial advisors, selling isn’t as black and white as it is in other industries. Selling to a third party can lead to a lower valuation in most cases, so procrastinating on the delegation isn’t going to help your case.

Feel Uncomfortable? It Should

It sure is comfortable here in Palm Springs. But, the process of getting here wasn’t always a comfortable one. You arrive at this place by spending some time being uncomfortable. In other words, you get here by letting go.

I know it can be hard to let go of the vine and allow others to have a greater hand in the outcome of your business, but if you can’t let go, you won’t ever be able to get away—now or in the future.

And if you don’t figure this whole delegation thing out early, it won’t just cost you your time, it will also cost you money. If time, money, and the promise of getting away don’t motivate you to take the leap, I don’t know what will.

In the meantime, us delegators will be over here ordering another round.

If you’d like to join us, let’s chat. Not only can we help to lighten your load in the present, but also to plan for a smooth exit when the time arrives.