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One year on as financial advisers

One year on as financial advisers

We made it!

WOW! Yorkshire Financial Planning has officially celebrated its first birthday!

After years of extensive planning before taking the leap into self-employment this milestone probably shouldn’t have come as a surprise. But as I’m sure you’re aware more businesses fail in the first 12 months than at any other time so making it to this point certainly wasn’t guaranteed.

In to the ice bath

When I resigned from my role, many of those who’d trod on that path before me told me that I will undoubtedly have a moment when I think, “what have I done?”. I can categorically report back that this is true. Financial Advisers making the change from employed to self-employed is a well-trodden path. We weren’t the first, and we won’t be the last.

My moment was 6 months in during the Christmas break. Having spent the first 6 months working at the speed of light to get the business established, I finally slowed down and within just a few days the moment hit me.

Fortunately, I was also told that the moment will pass quickly, and sure enough it did!

The last 12 months have been a rollercoaster. Lot’s of up’s, lot’s of downs, a few loop the loops and a whole load of swimming in mud.  At times it’s felt like plunging in to an ice bath but that’s to be expected. 12 months on it’s fair to say I wouldn’t change my decision for the world. Here’s my reflections on what I’ve learnt.


1. Sometimes it’s better to float

I was at the top of my game in my previous employed role. I knew everything and was the person people came to for help. I’m a perfectionist and I like to know that I’m performing at my best.


Inevitably, a change of role means new systems, new processes, new products and well pretty much new everything. I literally spent the first 3 months of self-employment swimming in mud trying to become the expert, fighting reality and feeling beyond uncomfortable with how things were.

What happens when you try to swim in mud? You got it, you sink further.

So after much beating myself up for not knowing how to do the basics, it was time to have a fairly stern word with myself. Sometimes, you just have to accept how things are and that it’s all part of the process. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither would Yorkshire Financial Planning be.

I had to change my mindset. I stopped swimming against the mud, I stopped struggling and I accepted that for now, it’s ok to just float on top of the mud. It became our go to mantra to help us get through the process of learning and adapting to change.

Thankfully, one year on and the mud has gone. The systems and processes have been learnt and I’ve survived the change curve.

2. Get out of your comfort zone

Starting a new business is always going to be challenging. Stupidly, the bit I was most confident about  was sitting in front of a client. I mean, I had done that for the same institution for the best part of 15 years so how hard can it be right? Wrong – oh so very wrong!

I love sitting down with a client. Getting to know them, understanding their circumstances and nuances of their situation is always interesting. With minimal solutions available to help a client, it was pretty easy to know what product was most suitable.

With self-employment, I went from this comfortable comfort zone environment, to being a Partner of the largest wealth management company in the UK. Gone were a couple of simple solutions. Instead, I have access to a whole host of options and a solution for anything I could possibly need.

Having this range of solutions available to me was my primary driver for leaving my employed role. My desire to look after all of my client’s needs and be able to give proper holistic advice was exactly what I wanted. That said, it once again meant a lot of learning and it was definitely nerve wracking to retain it all ready to sit in front of a client.

A lot of studies later and I honestly don’t know what I was worried about. The pieces of the puzzle have all come together.

3. It’s all about the people

The biggest fear for a self-employed person is always going to be where will the next client appear from. We have been really lucky that clients have come from a variety of places and they have in turn referred other clients. Perhaps the biggest compliment you can have as an Adviser. The support and encouragement of our friends and family has also been amazing, without them life would have been a lot harder – Thank you!!

One of the surprises that I didn’t really think about was interaction with people. Despite the fact that when I left employment, I had already been working from home for 12 months during a pandemic, conducting appointments via video, I, in theory, should have been used to my own company.

On reflection, it’s surprising the number of people I used to talk to on a daily basis via various video calls and the like. I definitely miss work colleagues and the comradery of working in a big institution. The office drama is however definitely not missed!

On the plus side, I am far more productive with my new found peace and quiet. Don’t get me wrong, I love working with Caroline,  and being in sync with our plans and ideas but even she needs a break from me sometimes!


4. Pick the right support network

The financial services industry is unique in the way new businesses come to fruition. To be able to give advice, you need a network that completes all of your compliance. I could probably write an entire blog on our experiences and research to find our perfect match, as it certainly wasn’t an easy process.

The primary reasons for selecting St. James’s Place were for the benefits they would deliver to our clients as opposed to us. The biggest pro from our perspective was the wealth of knowledge, expertise, and support they provide to advisers. Even whilst it’s felt like a rollercoaster, at St. James’s Place, there is always a specialist to pick up the phone and talk to. We have also been lucky to meet and build an exceptional support network who always want to help. I don’t dare to think how hard it would have been without them.


5. Network to your hearts content

Many moons ago I worked in a hotel. I recall stuffy people in suits, usually filled with their own self-importance, turning up for breakfast networking events, you can imagine the dread when the word “networking” went into the business plan.

Clearly things have progressed considerably in the years since working in the hotel, or perhaps we just hit pot luck when we joined both the Hull Women in Business group. The ladies we’ve met are far from my previous experiences and yes ultimately we are there to promote our business but this is actually a relatively small part of why we go.

Women in Business arrange various social events ranging from rifle shooting, gin tasting (yes I am looking forward to that one!), training events to afternoon tea. It could never be described as stuffy. It’s relaxed, informal and a really supportive environment to be in. Whilst it was miles outside of my comfort zone, I now actually look forward to going and meeting new people so don’t knock it until you have tried it.

6. It’s a lot of hard graft

The last twelve months have been jam packed with a great many ups and downs but the key difference for me is the ability to do a job I love, in the way we always dreamed of doing it (minus the swimming in mud bit). It has been a lot of hard graft and long hours initially, but the difference between working for someone else verses for yourself is that if you put the hours in you are ultimately doing it to build something for yourself.

Old habits still die hard. We often apologise to each other for taking a break or wanting to do something non work related during the traditional 9-5 day. The apology is normally followed by the other saying “you do remember I’m not your boss right?” and some chuckling.

Nowadays neither of us would bat an eye at going to the gym during the day, or working very strange hours. As an early bird I’m often working by 6am but I know I won’t see our resident night owl Caroline online until later. Having the flexibility we need is great.


7. Learning to juggle

When starting a business, I was never naïve enough to think that I could go from an employed role to a self employed role and not gain extra things to do. I don’t think I had quite considered how many different hats you wear as a business owner, or plates that would need spinning, and how quickly you have to change between these in any given day.

Client meetings, preparing recommendations, completing reviews and maintaining knowledge will always be centre stage for a Financial Adviser and still make up a big chunk of my time.

Learning how to do accounts was inevitable,  but I didn’t adequately account for the extra bits. From marketing to HR, website design, website content, social media, networking, designing literature, sourcing suppliers, etc. The list goes on and on and on.

Juggling the hats has been an education all of its own! The need to juggle what feels like a hundred things at once can sometimes feel overwhelming, especially when they are not in your comfort zone or easily within your skill set. As overwhelming as it can sometimes feel it is also incredibly rewarding. From finally seeing the website go live for the first time whilst knowing the labour of love that went into it, to seeing the impact social content can have or holding your first branded folder – it all needs doing.


8. Celebrating the good times

So yeah, starting a business is hard work. It will push you to your absolute limit and just like a baby, it will become all encompassing. For me, it’s important to look back, to see just how far we’ve come. Creating space to celebrate the little wins and remember to be grateful for the opportunity we have. It’s exciting to build something of our own and I’m proud of what we are creating for our clients so they feel like they are part of something special. Because we truly believe they are.

For more help and advice or to receive a complimentary guide covering wealth management, retirement planning or Inheritance Tax planning, contact Yorkshire Financial Planning on 01482 275540 or complete our contact form here.

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