What does content have to do with being a financial planner? How can it help a new financial planner make their mark on the profession? According to Justin Castelli, CFP®, founder and owner of RLS Wealth Management, blogger, and podcast host, content plays a huge part in crafting your story and developing your personal brand. It can do so much for growing your business. That’s what we talk about in our latest episode of YAFPNW.

What content can do for your business

How did Justin start developing his personal brand and creating content? He first began working at an insurance company, then a bank, gaining his CFP® designation and building a book of business. Along the way, Justin realized that he wanted to have his own blog. He learned about social media and content marketing, and realized that vocalizing his beliefs about financial planning was important. And the best way he could share those beliefs with potential clients was through content.

Creating content like a blog or podcast is great for SEO and all, and it can reel in new clients for your business. However, it won’t replace the actual work that you’ll do. As Justin said, “content does not replace doing good work for your clients…If the client experience or your planning is not very good, you’re not going to be successful. This is one part of an overall strategy for putting yourself out there.”

Content is also a part of creating your personal brand, a term that Justin wants to replace because “it’s over used and people mock it now.” Instead, we can think of a “personal brand” as simply your reputation. It’s who you are, how you help clients, what services you offer. Developing your brand by creating content means telling people about who you are, over and over and over.

Choose one “thing” first… and be authentic

Building your personal brand in those terms sounds easy…in theory. If you’re a new advisor wanting to start creating content, Justin suggests focusing your efforts on one thing and getting good at it. Start a blog and publish posts consistently. Start a podcast. Film YouTube videos. 

“Do one, get good at it, find your voice,” said Justin. “Find the opportunity to turn that into something else, and then add another piece to the puzzle.”

How do you “get good” at whatever you choose initially? Being authentic is key. People can tell if you’re sharing on social media with an ulterior motive, or if you’re just posting fluff pieces to make your online presence known. When you’re being yourself and being authentic people can tell. That’s how you’ll find your audience. From a practical business standpoint, that’s also how you can bond with new clients. 

“If you really like basketball like I do, and somebody comes in and they’re a basketball fan as well, we already connect,” Justin explained. “We already have a bond that we can build upon, rather than trying to find that common denominator between the two of us.”

Be consistent and purposeful

Once you’ve gotten used to being yourself and being genuine, how do you create content consistently? Does that mean sticking to a schedule for publishing blogs, or consistently talking about the same topics? It’s a bit of both, Justin said. Furthermore, your messaging about what you do with your clients must be consistent with the actual client experience in real life.

“You’re telling people the same thing over and over, just in different ways, to put yourself out there for your branding,” said Justin. “And then the consistency between what they’re reading and who they think they’re going to get needs to be the same as what they get when they come in.”

Remember: you’re not going to get everything perfect right out of the gate. Striving to create the perfect piece of content every time is not the way to do it. In addition to being authentic and being consistent, Justin suggests focusing on adding value. How can you add value to a conversation on social media? How can you add value to a professional relationship with a more experienced financial planner, or your firm, or your clients? Thinking about how to add value was a large factor in Justin’s career.

“I just think about where my career has gone, the connections that I’ve made and the friendships, relationships that I have,” said Justin. “And it all started with just bringing value, whether it’s comments, whether it’s sharing and helping other people’s story be told.”

Justin had a lot of great advice to share on brainstorming content, layering personality into your content, networking, and so much more. Tune in to the full episode to hear it all! 



What You’ll Learn

  • What planners should focus on (instead of nitpicking others)
  • Justin’s start at an insurance company
  • The importance of creating content
  • How Justin started and grew his blog
  • Figuring out what you want to write
  • Layering personality and personal brand into content
  • Consistent messaging is key
  • Justin’s advice for brainstorming content (that works for you)
  • Referral agreements and collaboration
  • Networking through Twitter
  • Adding value as a new planner


Show Notes:

In this episode of YAFPNW, Matt Fizell, CFP®, and Justin Castelli, CFP®, discuss:

Want to keep up with Justin on social media? Follow him on LinkedIn, Facebook, and on Twitter at @just10castelli.



[show_more more=”Show Transcript” less=”Hide Transcript”]

Episode Transcript by otter.ai

Matt Fizell  00:00

All right, today I have Justin Castelli, who is the founder and owner of rlsa wealth management, the co founder of the advisor growth community and has been featured in several media outlets such as CNBC, Bloomberg, and has also spoken on a number of panels at industry related comp conferences. Thank you so much for joining us today. Justin.

Justin Castelli  00:22

Matt, thanks for having me. I’ve been excited looking forward to this all week.


Well, I’m excited to jump in. I followed you for a long time. You have such a passion for helping financial advisors craft their own stories, develop their personal brands, for a new planner coming in. Why is this even important for us as a financial planner,


especially for new planners, you’re working now in a world where thanks to social media, we have the ability to tell our story. You and I started the profession and 15 years ago at an insurance firm and then move to bigger firms. The corporate brand was all that was cared about and As you know, working with clients, clients really identify with the advisor that they’re working with. Even if it’s at a bigger firm. At the end of the day, most clients see their advisor as their main person. That’s the person that they like working with. That’s why they stay at that firm. When you’re able to tell your story, whether you’re independent or working for another firm, it allows you to better attract the clients, I think they’re going to be best for you to work with, whether that be you’re able to tell them the specific niche that you are able to specialize in, or you just want to attract clients that you would enjoy being around you kind of you want that know a whole role, where you’re nobody that calls you needing something makes you cringe, you just want to work with people that you like, and a lot of times we like being around people who have similar interests. So I think it’s very important to tell your story put yourself out there because it allows people to get to know who you are before they ever pick up the phone or send that email to come in and meet with you and it makes your job as an advisor a lot easier when that first meeting comes in and someone’s been reading your content or following you on social media for a while, they already know what you’re about. They know they want to work with you. So the tables been flipped, that we’re deciding whether or not that person is a good fit for our firm. And we’re not trying to convince them to work with us. We’re trying to decide whether or not we can really help them. Are we the right fit? And will we like working with them? There’s a lot to dig into there.


I want to key in on what you said about, you know, the beginning of your career when you were working with the insurance company, I actually came from a very similar background and compliance was always the, you know, the big fear driver there where they wanted you to talk more about the company than about yourself. Could you share a little bit more about that experience and what that transition was like for you after you shifted out of there?


Yeah. Before we get to that though, I do want to go down one tangent and if I forget to come back to answer your question, because sometimes I do that. Let me know but I think this is an important tangent, our profession financial advisors, we are horrible at tearing down our own kind. And what I mean by that is if you haven’t been on Twitter over the last couple years are you don’t run around on social media, networking with other advisors. You may not know this, but advisors love to nitpick about the way other advisors run their business. So I think we could all agree that there is a right way to take care of clients, putting their interests first taking care of them, doing financial planning, and helping them reach their goals. That should be the underlying theme. You know, I’ve talked to a lot of advisors and I feel sad and I feel bad when advisor feels like they have to justify what type of firm they work at. You know, the debate between fee only and commission or hybrid. At the end of the day, there are good advisors in every model. There are crummy scummy people in every model as well. Bernie Madoff was a fiduciary. So you can’t tell me that just because your fee only that means you’re better than another advisor. I know tremendous advisors doing great work doing better work than fee only advisors that are hybrid or even in the commercial world. Now I agree that those other business models bring more Conflict to the table. But the field in the world which I am a part of, is not without its own conflicts. So going back to my days at the insurance company, I don’t want anybody listening to this podcast or listening to me think that I’m shaming because I was at an insurance based firm, or I was at a commission based firm for a while. And that because I’m feeling lonely now that I feel as if those were bad steps or that there were bad people there because that’s not the case. My transition going to the fi only world partly was because when I left, the broker dealer world wouldn’t take me because I was too small. So going fi only really was the only route that I could go because I could actually set my firm up and start working with my clients and continue going on. Now. It just so happened that my values and my alignment of how I wanted to run my business lined up with being fee only so it was a good fit. And I haven’t changed that. But I don’t think that the advisor that has a broker dealer relationship or works at an insurance company that’s doing everything the right way for their clients is any less of an advisor than another. So I’ll get off my soapbox, but it It really bothers me to see advisors that spend more time talking about what other advisors are doing wrong, rather than sharing what it is that they’re doing, right, how they’re helping clients how we can make this profession better. We already don’t have a lot of trust in the world as financial service professionals, and then having advisors battle each other over fees, or active versus passive or whether or not somebody took a PPP loan, like, that doesn’t help our professions image and it doesn’t move us forward. And at the end of the day, it doesn’t do anything for our clients either. So the end of the rant is there is a there is a baseline way that we should be treating our clients. But as long as clients are being put first, they’re being educated they’re being planned for then I think that a lot of these are the conversations that you see advisors having is just a waste of time and I’m afraid it scares people from coming into the business because they don’t know what to do. So


I’ll stop there and go back to original question. I apologize for the sidebar. But when I said I worked at an insurance company, I know that sometimes That that comes with a negative connotation. I don’t mean that in any way at all. But going from the insurance company, the reason I didn’t stay there is I just I personally didn’t think that basing the plan for my clients with insurance was the direction that I wanted to go. Also, there wasn’t a lot of development at the firm I was at, I could see there was no way for me to grow where I needed to go and I wasn’t going to get the support. And truth be told the firm like I was at it was really designed. There’s a lot of churn a lot of turnover. So it wasn’t a good place to start a career. I spent some time at a bank and just realized that wasn’t where I wanted to be. I didn’t like working in a branch. I spent seven years at a 403 b company, again, another business model that gets ripped by the advisor community and rightfully so there’s a lot of crummy 403 B’s out there, but that was where I was able to kind of earn my way as a financial advisor. My Certified Financial Planning designation was earned there, the company paid for it. I was able to build a book of business of clients that viewed me as their advisor that I had hoped one day would follow And eventually they did. And that’s what allowed me to start my firm. So for young advisors that might be listening, or a, or somebody who’s transitioning to our profession, don’t worry so much about the path that your career might take you if you’re going to be a financial advisor, every advisor, no matter how highly regarded, they are, has made stops along the way to get to where they’re at. And maybe there’s things about their past careers that they would change to do different. Or maybe they wouldn’t go back and do that today. Knowing what they know. Now, I think as a young advisor or an advisor getting into the business, you get in you get the experience, you figure out your moral compass about doing things the right way. And then you get the training and experience that you need. And then you can go start that ideal firm that you want or go find that right fit for you at another firm that truly aligns with your values. But it’s hard to find that right fit right out the gate, when you don’t really know everything that you know, or that you don’t know everything you’re gonna need to know to make that decision.


Yeah, absolutely. And I think a lot of career success comes from, you know, being convicted about what you do. And that’s essentially what you said with you know, your values lied within fee only what was that transition like, though, from going from that insurance company where you might have had some of those barriers like compliance to do your own marketing, to shifting to the complete opposite gear, you know, a few late few years later in having to develop this personal brand rather than having that image of a company behind you.


It was a very enjoyable process because I wanted to have a blog. So when I really kind of really learned about the social media and the content marketing world was an asset, the 403 b company, and that’s where my long, long longest stint was it was an insurance company. So we can still talk to that experience. But I knew there’s no way I could have it. So one of the first things I wanted to do when I launched was have my own blog. You I am my own CHIEF COMPLIANCE OFFICER. I have no support in the background to help me make sure I’m doing things properly documenting, archiving, doing things the right way, but I get to be the final say and I know That I’m not going to be putting things out there that are going to be the things that get you in type of trouble, I’m getting ready to hire another advisor. So compliance will get a little bit more complicated because I’ll be responsible for monitoring what he’s saying out there. But I want him out there having a voice, I want him having an opinion, because people look to see that they want their advisor to stand for something. And what we stand for doesn’t be right for everybody. But we need to have a voice. We need to be able to vocalize what we believe about financial planning and what we believe about investing and how we think our clients should be living their lives. And the only way that you can put that story out there is through creating content. And I think that for the firms that don’t allow their advisors to do that, they’re going to be at a severe disadvantage. More and more, more and more advisors are breaking away to go to the independent space, whether that’s fi only or just to an independent broker dealer with more flexibility to have the ability to tell their story. Advisors are finally realizing that this really does work and it will help you build your business with the right types of clients and bring others other opportunities you may not even know are out there until you get into it. So the transition was, it wasn’t hard. I mean, setting up a blog and going down this path was very easy to do. It’s just putting in the work and putting in the time and, and having the perspective that everything that I’m doing, when I started was gonna take a while to pay off, you don’t open a blog and all of a sudden have a lot of readers. It takes time it takes work, you try new things, you fail at some of those, and then you figure out some, some good things that work and you keep going down that path. So for me, I think it’s some some way of being out there, whether it is newsletters, podcasts like this. Blogs, I think it’s important for advisors to have a voice because people are looking for it. And they they want to know what your stance is, so they can determine whether or not they want to work with you.


Yeah, that’s awesome. And I really liked what you say, you know about being at a disadvantage. I think the more voices you have out there, you know, marketing the firm, people have a better chance to connect with that. So what sizes did you go through to get started? And what exercises? Are you going to help your new planner go through when he comes on board that to start developing that personal brand? Because like he said, right, there’s everything under the sun. And I know you’re a little bit of a do it all, you know, type person. But where should someone even start? Like what questions should they be asking themselves before they start creating this personal brand?


First things first, doing content does not replace doing good work for your clients, you can be a great marketer, you can do a lot of great content. But if the client experience or your planning is not very good, you’re not going to have be successful. And it doesn’t fully replace being out there and meeting people and telling your story in person. This is all one bit. This is one part of an overall strategy for putting yourself out there. You can dial more to these ways if that’s more your personality. I’m a pretty passive person. It might surprise people to know that but I don’t like going out and being in social settings where I don’t know a lot of people and just watching Walking up to people to start talking to them like that I’m not comfortable with that. If we’re at a conference, and I don’t know anybody the happy hour, I’ll go back to my room, I’ll go work out, I’m not gonna hang out there and talk to people. I don’t know. I’m just not comfortable with it. So doing the blog, which is what I started with, was very comfortable for me because I could just put it out there and let it find its way around. So what I did was I just started, I created a blog on WordPress, and I just started writing, and I didn’t know what type of writer I was gonna be. I knew who I wanted to be like, and it’s no surprise, it’s no secret if anybody listening follows me. You know, I’m a huge fan of Josh brown and the Ritholtz Wealth Management guys of what they do and how they’ve grown their business. And that was the blueprint for me. So that’s why I chose to name my blog something different and have it off my website, because that’s what they did. And the other writers I was reading did the same thing as well. So I just started writing and I had no expectations. You have to go into it when you start not expecting to get a lot of feedback right away and that’s okay because you’re going to get better With the more repetitions that you get in, so, I don’t even know if you want anybody reading your first posts, because you’re probably not gonna be real good and comfortable in your own writing for 10 or 15 posts. But what I will have my new advisor do differently for me is, I am better now about how to distribute the content. I just wrote it, I put it out there with no real rhyme or reason to it. And luckily, I still had success. I did enough of it. I was consistent enough with it. And people got to know me as somebody who does it all. So it kind of fed into my, my personal brand as an advisor. But I think it’s just it’s created. So to get started, what I would tell somebody is, first off who who is your audience, who are you wanting to attract as clients? And then what are problems that they have? What are some What are things you can educate them on through your content that will make them want to follow you. So that’s the first piece is Who are you trying to communicate with that could be developing a niche you already have the niche or a certain topic you really want to dive into, but who is that audience? And then you kind of get into, like, where do they hang out because that can tell you how to distribute it. And then ultimately, when you’re starting down this path of content, what’s your ultimate goal? Is your ultimate goal to collect names and an email? Great, that’ll kind of determine how you want to write or how you want to create your content and where you want to distribute it. Is it to get people to your website? Is it good to get people to sign up on that spot, that those things will kind of guide you to how you want to do it, but the very basic fundamental thing is to just put pen to paper or start typing or hit record and start doing it and get comfortable. And I wouldn’t try to do too many. I mean, I do like doing it all. I do video I do podcast I write. But I wouldn’t start out the gate doing that. Do one, get good at it, find your voice, find the opportunity to turn that into something else, and then add another piece to the puzzle. So that would be my recommendation but for the new for the new advisor will have more of a game plan for distribution, where we’re going to set it when we’re going to put it out there, just because I’ve learned through experience of how to be more efficient with it.


Yeah, absolutely. And what I love too about your content is how you weave, you know, your personal life into this. I think we’re all a little guilty of this where, you know, we think we’re boring people, you know, what was that like for you like weaving some of the fitness elements into your content? Like, how should we as new content writers or new content creators, be thinking about those things that we might find boring about ourselves and layering that into the personality of our content?


Those are the things that are going to create your personal brand. So I really want to try to come up with a different term because branding and personal brand is, it’s overused and people mock it now. But all that really is especially for an advisor. Your personal brand is just your reputation. It’s just who you are. And as you take this reputation and you take the way you service, your clients and your expertise, and you begin to tell people about it. over and over and over, then your consistency in that message and the consistency in what you’re saying that ends up developing your brand. I think you need to do what you’re most comfortable with. I can’t tell you Matt, why I started putting pictures of my boys in blogs. I can’t tell you why I worked in fitness. I can’t tell you why I decided I was going to make it known that I love hip hop other than that’s me. And it just felt natural. So while I think there’s a lot of benefit for showing your personal side, if that’s not your comfort level, then don’t do it. Share what you’re comfortable sharing. It is important for people to get to know a little bit about you. Whether that be you disclose all of your life, like I probably share too much about my family, but that’s me and I can’t help it and the feedback has guided me down that path as well. I mean, I have people on Twitter saying that Silas needs his own tik tok account, like they, they take an interest in my children only because I’ve just naturally share them because I I can’t not show them, they make me happy and sharing pictures of them, I think makes other people happy. So I like doing it. It’s fun. And then the feedback I listened to said, Hey, people like this now, there’s a fine line between doing too much personal and not enough professional. And you kind of have to figure that out on your own. But let the responses let the feedback kind of guide you. But I would, I would tell anybody just starting out, just be yourself. Authenticity comes through on any forum, whether that is a podcast, a video or you’re writing. If people can tell that you’re being yourself and you’re being genuine with what you’re putting out there, then it’s going to attract people. When people can tell it’s fluff. When people can tell it’s got a ulterior motive behind it. They know that and they kind of stay away. So if you’re comfortable sharing your family, great if you’re comfortable sharing your passion for a certain sport. Great. put that out there because again, the end goal is this content, what we want to use it to educate and position ourselves as experts. The end goal for the content is to one day lead to growth. For your company, and why not lead that growth with people who are interested in the same things as you are because you’re gonna have a bond right away, just if it’s that thing. So if you really like basketball like I do, and somebody comes in and they’re a basketball fan as well, we already Connect, we already have a bond that we can build upon rather than trying to find that common denominator between the two of us.


Wouldn’t it be fair to say that a there’s no magic formula for this and be too much might just be too much for a certain subgroup of people within your audience?


I would agree that 100% I will definitely agree with you on the fact that there is no right way. Because the way that I have done it is not the right way it’s worked. And I’ve learned from it to be able to help other advisors skip some of the steps that I had to do. But I’ve never written a single blog post for SEO, which blogging and SEO are supposed to go hand in hand. But I’ve gotten clients from my blogs, if you write good if you create good content People are going to find it. So there’s no one right way, there’s a right way for you, the adviser. And the only way you’re going to figure that out is to try some stuff and put yourself out there and be vulnerable. And it’s okay to you have to dial back and change something or realize that you don’t like it. pivoting away from a strategy is not a bad thing. I think the worst thing you could do in the area that you really need to spend some time on, especially if you’re going to be doing very analytical content, is make sure that the information you’re distributing is correct. You know whether or not you share your family too much or not enough or you don’t put yourself out there you put out too much. Those things are forgivable. But if you’re putting out bad information that attacks your credibility, so you want to make sure that the information you’re putting out there to position yourself as an expert is right. That’s my biggest fear. My biggest fears messing up the information I’m trying to convey. It has nothing to do. I’m never worried about my style. I’m never worried about how long episode is or if it’s too short. It’s I just don’t want to put bad information out and I’ll just let it Everything else falls away, it would be just being myself,


what you’re alluding to there is consistency. Right? And you shared a little bit of that. With the authenticity piece, of course, we have to be factually correct. But would you say that being consistent in your messaging and who you are, is arguably the most important part of this personal branding exercise,


you know, that can go different ways that can be consistency from the standpoint of you post a blog post every Monday, or you can just consistently create content at a unregular schedule, but the content you know, you know, content is going to be coming out, you know, it’s going to say something. And the messaging, I think, to your point needs to be consistent as well. So you can’t, one month write about active management being the best way to manage a portfolio, and then the next month pivot and do passive unless you have a real good story. Why? So the messaging has to be consistent. And I would piggyback on that is the messaging about what you do with your clients needs to be consistent with what people experience when they come to you. Your firm, you can’t lead with all we believe in financial planning, every client has a financial plan, that’s the best way to have a relationship. And then when somebody comes to work with you, you dive straight to the portfolio and you never do a financial plan. So the consistency of frequency and creating content needs to be there, that consistency with the message needs to be the same. Because it’s compound interest. You’re telling people the same thing over and over just in different ways to put yourself out there for your branding. And then the consistency between what they’re reading and who they think they’re going to get needs to be the same as what they get when they come in.


It’s so hard in today’s world, especially where everything’s on the internet forever, you know, basically, you’re just gonna lose that sense of credibility if you’re flip flopping all the time. And the biggest struggle that I face personally is, you know, trying to create this perfect piece of content, like even when I was making the questions for this podcast, or where, you know, I thought this episode should go, you know, I was like, oh, is there a better way? How do you how do you coach people through that or how do you get over that yourself?


The two different answers. Me Myself I am. It’s funny. I’m a perfectionist when it comes to some things and there’s other things that I’m okay with things not being perfect, so perfectionist when it comes to taking care of clients working on the plan, making sure we’ve gone over everything and those things. If there’s something that has a critical, negative potential reaction, I want to make sure that everything’s right there, I want to make sure we go over all the details. We haven’t missed anything there. So that’s where I see like the planning, if we make a mistake in a plan that can have a big impact on my clients, I want to make sure that that is perfect. Whether or not my grammar is perfect on a blog post, whether or not a video that I shoot is perfect and doesn’t have a mistake in it. I could care less on that. I think that if the messaging is there, if you’re telling the story and you’re delivering the message and people can understand it, they’re going to be forgiving about a comma in the wrong place or the wrong version of their in your sentence. They’re going to be okay if you sneeze in a video and don’t start over. And I honestly think that especially when it comes to video. I think those little mistakes that you keep in, just make the video that much more authentic. And people will appreciate that because you’re being natural your human being, you know, things like that happen. And if you’re 10 minutes into a video, do you want to really start over from scratch because you happen to sneeze or you lost your thought, like, just keep going and that’s okay. So me personally, I have no problem putting out something that’s not perfect when it comes to content from the standpoint of once I know the information is correct, the delivery doesn’t have to be perfect. Helping advisors overcome that part of it is just getting them to put something out that’s not all the way to their liking. You just need to see that, hey, I can put this pop this blog post out that’s not to my high standard because, you know, I didn’t edit it four times over and you’re going to get good responses. You’re going to get positive feedback, and then you’re going to see, okay, the fact that it wasn’t perfectly written doesn’t matter doesn’t take away from the message and just getting comfortable with that. Now yet, you don’t want to go too far. You don’t Want to put out sloppy work, but it doesn’t have to be perfect. And with content, so much of it’s short lived, you put a blog post out, it’s hot for a day or two, and then it kind of falls back. And every once in a while SEO will bring it to the forefront. But it’s not something that people are looking at every day, getting a constant reminder of that one time you made a mistake on a blog post,


you know, how do we create content that lasts right like I understand some things like who knows if this Coronavirus or COVID content is going to be relevant next year or not? But what are you looking at, you know, in your personal brand to say, Hey, this is gonna last for, you know, a longer period of time than just this week.


Well, that lends to my personal style. So I when I started writing I mentioned the Ritholtz guys who I looked at and Josh sometimes writes analytical things with the charts and the research and Michael badnik is all over that. And I thought I wanted to do that but that’s just not me. I don’t have the time or the patience or somebody to run that research for me. So a lot of my writing 10 To be more, I say philosophical, that may not be the right terminology. But it’s more thought provoking. It’s more thinking about how are the law? How should we be living our lives? So how does the financial plan help that and it’s not so much research specific that that data gets old. Now, they’ll have suggestions of things that you can do that maybe over time, all right, but it’s more evergreen things that make up a financial plan, or just the basic things. So I think you know who your audience is, what your style is, may lend to writing more evergreen material. But from time to time, you need to do something spur the moment I think it’s good to do both, you know, when the secure app comes out, or cares that comes out, write a blog post breaking down what that is, or if you don’t have the time to do all the research, find a couple of real good resources that have already done that for you write a short blip about, hey, this got passed by Congress. It’s real important. Here’s some things I know that we need to be careful of. These two individuals did a great job researching it. If you want to learn more, click here. And then that way, you’ve learned said something that’s relevant to what’s going on in the moment with that new law or new bill or whatever it might be. But you also didn’t take a lot of time researching something that somebody else did. There’s nothing wrong with sending your people to other areas to continue to learn, because there’s value in bringing that resource to somebody. So I could spend two days researching all that, or I can send them to Jamie Hopkins who, that’s what he does, I’ll send it to Jamie and let him be the expert, but I still brought that resource to my client, I cut down their time for needing to search for the answers they’re looking for. And then as time goes on, maybe I do a follow up post and break it down a little bit more, or I can have that conversation with my clients in our meetings. But I, I think that just depends on your your style. If you’re more analytical than maybe some of your pieces aren’t going to live as long because you’re writing about things in the moment that when the data changes, it totally changes your thesis, but I think having a little bit of both is good. My personal preference is to be 80% stuff that’s never going to expire and 20% that’s in the moment responding to what’s going on. Were you always


like that? Or did it take some degree of having done this for a while to realize that you just can’t possibly do that and have time to do other things.


I it took me a while to learn that. And I would imagine that most advisors probably fall in the same camp because we’re problem solvers. So we like to think that we can solve the problems everywhere. And if we’re doing true financial planning, where we’re talking about taxes, and insurance, and estate and investments in retirement and college, you can’t know all that it’s impossible. You know. So you’ve got to find the areas that you are most excited about the ones that you enjoy the most. And then find ways whether it’s having somebody in the firm or having somebody to refer to, to take care of the areas that you don’t know you need to know a little bit in those areas. You need to know how to talk intelligently about them. You need to know when to identify to bring in the quote unquote expert, but you don’t need to know at all. And I think the sooner you can learn that the better off you’re going to be because clients don’t expect you to know at all. There’s nothing wrong with saying You know what, that’s a little bit outside of my comfort zone. Let me talk to somebody get back with you and then get back to your client and they won’t doesn’t matter. They just want the answer. They just need the help. And whether it’s you that you personally know it, or you bring the resource to them that helps out, you’re still the hero in both scenarios.


How do you leverage the other experts to help you build this personal brand? Do you have any specific examples in your career,


I did the opposite of what we’re told to do. So one of the first things you learn in the profession is find centers of influence and get in a referral agreement back and forth with them. And there’s nothing wrong with that. If you’re listening to this, and that’s what you do. That’s tremendous. If you trust the person and they’re sending business back to you, that’s great. Me personally, and this is not any judgment. I don’t like going into those types of agreements. I I don’t want anything out of it, other than I want you to take good care of my clients. So there are attorneys that do great work that happened to be my office building. I had a friend that is a CPA. I basically went to them and said hey, Have a need for what it is that you do. And I have limited knowledge, I know when I need to bring you in, I’m going to send clients to you. And all I ask in return is that you take real good care of them. I don’t care if you ever send me a client back. It’s not what this is about. This is about taking care of my clients and making sure they get the services that they need that I can help them with. I’m not I don’t care about you sending anything back. So there’s no pressure on you to return the favor. Just take real good care of my clients. And that’s all I ever did. And it’s been phenomenal. And I love being able to refer people out because it’s, you know, there’s no, that there’s no conflict there. I’m not doing it because I’m getting something in return. I’m doing I’m doing it because these people do great work. I trust them and I know they do a good job. That’s all that matters to me. So I feel real good about that. Because that just fits with my personal you know, the way I view life and what I feel comfortable with, not the other way is wrong, but that’s just what jives with me. So I just leveraged them as I know they do a good job for my clients. And that’s all that I worry about.


Yeah. And have you ever applied that same philosophy then to like collaborating on content or ideas or anything in, you know, the actual, like marketing side of things.


Yeah. So when it comes to collaboration, I, you know, I’m up until next week I’ve been by myself, so I crave having other people to create content with. I hate doing content by myself. That’s why I love doing the podcast. That’s why I love doing talking shops and the other videos that I do, because I get to dialogue with somebody else. I’m more comfortable doing that. So any chance I get to collaborate with somebody I want to, and I’ve kind of come to this point in my career where I actually like collaborating because I want to try to elevate other advisors. I have read into this mindset that there is an abundant amount of business to be had by financial advisors. We can’t as a firm, serve every individual or family out there, there are more than enough people who need our help. So I think we are better as a collective group of advisors that all have different specialties, different business models. And we help each other grow and get better. Because if I help you met, get better. If I highlight you and I promote you and your business grows and more people come to your firm and get good financial planning help, that makes our profession look better. And if our profession is getting elevated, because you’re elevated, that by default brings me up with it. And I look even better because now I’m a financial advisor in a very well respected profession, because other advisors that are doing great work are being highlighted. So my focus going forward, you know, I have my, my IRA, and I have my advisor joining my personal growth going forward is going to be running the business, maintaining my current client relationships, having one or two new clients a year personally, and then spending my growth time helping other advisors. So collaboration to me is key. It’s a lot of fun, and life is a lot more enjoyable when you are surrounded by people that you know and trust that you don’t view as competitors.


How could a new planner even get started? In building that peer network that can, you know, maybe help audit some of the content that you’re creating or just what you’re doing in general, as a financial planner.


I do think Twitter for a financial advisor is one of the best places to start. And it’s not the place to start to grow your business. It’s the place to start to network, the FinTech community, his views take a step back and you look at the information and the access to people that is available on Twitter. It is unbelievable. I mean, we all know Jim O’Shaughnessy, who wrote what works on wall street like a Bible of value investing, and he’s out there, shooting out gifts, joking around with people meeting people at happy hours. And that’s all accessible because of Twitter. And that’s just, that’s just one example. So starting out, and, you know, I went to Twitter, I had a Twitter account that I never used when I was at the 403 b company because I couldn’t and when I first got there, I just started following people and was reading their content. And I think that one of the key things is when you are going to participate in any of the social media, whether it’s Twitter or LinkedIn, do it with purpose, and do it with the intent of actually enhancing the conversation. There’s nothing worse than just chiming in to tweet something just to show that you’re active on Twitter, like bring something to the conversation, whether that is, you know, complimentary, whether that’s agreeing and elaborating upon upon something, whether it’s politely so showing another side of the argument, but be engaging and contribute to the community, whatever community that is. And then as you do that, more and more, you start to begin to develop these friendships. And you will be surprised at how accessible these people are. You can send them a direct message and you might get a phone call with them. You know, that’s where a lot of my friendships and relationships from Twitter started. It started out just general back and forth. Then setting up a zoom call, a phone call, you see each other at a conference, you find out there’s a lot of commonalities and now you become friends. So some of my closest friends In the profession, all started out on Twitter. A good example of that is Tyrone Ross. All art like we are almost like brothers. I text him every morning. He and I, Douglas Bonaparte have a zoom meeting every Friday morning. Those relationships started from following him on Twitter, I saw Tyrone tweeting about crypto, I had him on my podcast, we hit it off. And then the rest is history. And it’s all because of Twitter. And all because I genuinely reached out to him because I wanted to learn about crypto. I knew he knew more about it. I wanted to bring him to my platform, to tell his story and educate my listeners. So I think the easiest thing is just to get out there. Be active, contribute, and then be respectful when you do reach out to take some people’s time. You don’t don’t waste their time. Be polite. If you get told no, don’t take it personal. But I think you’ll get a lot more you’ll get more yeses than you think you will by reaching out and building that out. But Twitter has been phenomenal for my network. The AGC wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for meeting Taylor on Twitter. And we initially met a couple years ago, dialoguing on Twitter having a phone call, we bumped into each other at a social media conference. And then the AGC was born. So it’s it’s you just never know what’s going to come and with our profession, you know, I said early on, don’t necessarily don’t necessarily stress about your career path. You never know where you’re going to end up. Twitter can find you that next opportunity because of the relationships you have. from, you know, building these friendships and relationships online. My wife used to make fun of me. She’d make fun of me about these people on the internet. And then she came with me to wealth stack last year and met all these real people and saw how great they were. And then she finally got it.


She’s like, Oh, those are those people on Twitter.


Yeah, exactly. Exactly.


One of the things I really liked what you said there was, you know, come in there to add value. Could you just elaborate like How would you plan on reaching out to you add value to your life? I know you’ve already kind of alluded to that a little bit, but maybe just a more direct answer would be great.


Yeah, I mean, a young advisor could add value in a number of ways, you know, bringing new platforms to try, you know, marketing to. So I’m a big fan of Gary Vaynerchuk. And He always talks about give, give, take, I would probably be give, give, give, give, give, ask, like I wouldn’t take but the theory behind it is, when you see somebody you want to learn from, you need to be able to provide value to them. Because if you see value in what it is they offer, a lot of people do as well. And they’re probably getting a lot of asks, and there’s a lot of different ways to do things like that. It could be, you know, I do a lot of different platforms. If somebody had a way, like a strategy for Tick Tock to say, Hey, I am not on Tick tock, you should get on Tick Tock and you could do these three things that might differentiate you just thought you would like that idea. That was tremendously valuable. Whether or not I actually am minute, you took the time to, to find a way that you could bring value to me and help me out. I’m definitely going to take some time and answer some questions that you have. Because you thought of me first. I’ve sent people that I mean, my, one of my mentors is somebody I’ve always looked up to. And it started on Twitter. I’ve sent books I’ve offered to help set up before conferences. Now I take him out to dinner every fall like I find ways to bring value to him. I’ll never forget, as I started to get to know him, always wondering how do I bring value to him? How do I bring value for the time that what he does for me, whether that’s directly one on one, or just what he puts out there that I learned from? And I just tried to help whenever I could check in, send a book if I thought I just, you know, bring bring value one way or another. And I’ll never forget one day I was reading a blog post and he was talking about all these people in his life that motivate him and you know, my name was in this blog post. I had no idea that I was bringing more value beyond the books that I sent. Because you never know what the other person on the other end of the zoom or the phone call might be getting out of that. I’ll tell you that I have had a lot of conversations over the last two years with advisors all over the spectrum, new transitioning, wanting to start their own firm. And every single one of those phone calls, I think I just I got just as much out of it as the person who reached out to me. Now I’m very, I’m very generous with my time because people have been very generous with their time to me, so I, I believe I need to pay it forward. And I enjoy those conversations. You might come across people who aren’t as generous, but you’re never going to know if you don’t ask. So I get very long winded, especially when I get about things that I get excited about. But I just think about where my career has gone, the connections that I’ve made and the friendships, relationships that I have. And it all started with just bringing value, whether it’s comments, whether it’s sharing and helping other people’s story be told. And then being genuine through relationships going forward and that just kind of build upon it. So there’s there’s a lot of ways to bring value. You know, for those of us that are creating content, we want our message to get spread sharing a blog post and writing why you liked it is a great way to provide hidden value to the author of that blog and do it for the genuine reason and and I learned that by doing my mixtape so on my my blog, I do a Friday, I do a sorry a mixtape every Sunday. And I link to other people’s blog is consists of other people’s blogs, these are great blogs from this week that I thought were great that you my reader, I think you should read these. And I would always tag everybody when I would tweet it out and I didn’t tag them, just to tag them. I viewed that tag as saying hey, I really enjoyed what you wrote this week. Great job. I shared it with my audience just wanted you to know that somebody appreciated what you wrote. And a lot of those people tend to be on the mixtape over and over because I love the writing. And I now no all of them and I can’t directly say that it’s because I put them on the mixtape and I shared but I have to believe that that was a little bit Bit of goodwill that I was sharing their work because I enjoyed it. And that kind of allowed me to get access to them and then learn from them along the way. So there’s lots of ways to do it.


Yeah. And I think that genuine component is is so huge. Like, there’s nothing more embarrassing than recommending something just for the heck of it. Because it was number one on Google and not knowing how to talk about it. If someone asks you a question, you would never do that with our clients. Right?


Right. And I think that when it comes to being genuine, people pick up if it’s disingenuous, but I also think whether you want to call it the universe, or karma, whatever it is, when you’re doing things with ulterior motives, not because you really think that this is good, or you really want to promote somebody else, but there’s something in it for you, then things don’t work out. But I think when you go through life and you do things for the right reasons, whether that’s taking care of your clients, or promoting other advisors, or sharing other advisors works, or genuinely reaching out because you feel like you can learn something from the individual. You’ve got to do it for the right reason. If you’re doing it for any other reason than that, it’s not going to work out, you might get that access, but it’s never going to amount to what it would be if you just did it genuinely for the right reason. And I and I believe that to my core, and nobody can do anything to convince me other because that’s the way I’ve always operated and it’s always worked out for me.


Yeah, that’s awesome, man. And I really appreciate you coming on the podcast today sharing all of these awesome tips. If you guys want to see more tips from Justin, go follow him on Twitter. He’s always dropping his latest and greatest ideas out there. And yeah, thanks again for for sharing with us today. Justin.


I appreciate man. I’m sorry, we only got through about half the stuff because I get rambling too long. But you you had some great questions and this was extremely enjoyable. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to chat with you.