Our Top Blogs of 2018 for Independent Financial Advisors

9 min read
December 31, 2018

Over the past year at XY Planning Network, we published more than 100 articles specifically written for independent financial advisors on a wide array of topics from business building to branding. 

Interested in catching up on some of our most popular blogs you may have missed?

We've got you covered with a list of our top 10 most-viewed blogs published in 2018. This list includes everything from an article offering practical hacks that will help you market your firm like a pro to a reflective piece that explores the stigma surrounding lifestyle practices.

Happy reading from XYPN!

#1. 18 Marketing Hacks for Independent Financial Advisors

Marketing HacksWant to market your financial planning firm like a pro? You're in luck! I leaned on the "marketeers" of XY Planning Network, who have over 40 years of combined experience, to share some of our favorite pro tips.

Four of us marketeers on the team are tasked with marketing the Network to prospective members, plus one marketing guru assists XYPN advisors directly with marketing their firms. From Boston to LA, we're a dispersed team with no two in the same city and with very different paths to XYPN.

Many of our favorite marketing tricks and tips are things we picked up along the way, from coast to coast. 

So, in no particular order, here are 18 marketing hacks we love, and think you'll love too.


#2. Developing a 90-Day Plan for New Hires

Developing a 90-Day Plan for New HiresStarting a new job can be nerve-wracking for new employees, and it’s equally nerve-wracking for managers who need to get newbies up to speed as quickly as possible. That’s why our new XYPN team members have 90-day plans in place to ensure success and reduce stress.

Remember, a majority of employees decide in their first 6 months if they’ll stay with a company long term. Because hiring is one of the most expensive initiatives you may do during any given year, you can understand why having a clear plan for new team members is so dang necessary. You just invested so much time finding the ideal candidate; the last thing you want to hear sixty days later from him or her is, “I think I’m going to move back home.”

Enter the 90-day plan. Every new XYPN staff member receives a 90-day plan to introduce him or her to our culture, primary tasks, position goals, and a timeline to complete each. A 90-day plan offers a clear line of sight on responsibilities and expected progression in the job. It helps to transparently track and visualize progress and promotes autonomy, self-direction, and accountability. 


#3. Meet Our 2018 FinTech Finalists!

2018 FinTech Finalists

Drumroll, please... Six finalists have been selected to compete in XY Planning Network's 3rd annual FinTech Competition on Tuesday, September 25, 2018 during XYPN's annual conference, XYPN LIVE 2018 in St. Louis, Missouri. XYPN's FinTech Competition helps start-ups "move out of the garage and gain visibility," and encourages much-needed innovation of business-to-business solutions in the financial advisory space. 

XYPN invites conference attendees to watch the competition live in St. Louis, where they will experience an exciting preview of cutting-edge technology.

The top six contenders were chosen from a strong pool of applicants. The popular competition, sponsored by Ladder, drew more than 20 submissions. To be considered, the technology must be designed for financial advisors and support delivering financial planning services to Gen X and/or Gen Y clients. 


#4. Debunking the Entrepreneur Myth with Michael Gerber

Debunking the Myth of the EntrepreneurWould you be shocked to learn that the majority of people who start businesses are not actually entrepreneurs? Rather they’re “technicians,” people who have a particular skill but in reality know nothing about running a business. This is why most businesses fail.

That is the premise of the “Entrepreneur Myth,” or “E-Myth” for short, a term coined by author and business guru Michael Gerber. Gerber will be exploring the E-Myth, and how you can overcome it and find success, at XYPN LIVE 2018 in St. Louis this September.

Gerber has helped transform more than 100,000 businesses across the globe over the past 40 years. His New York Times best-selling book, The E-Myth Revisited, has sold more than five million copies and is one of the five top-selling business books of all time.

His goal? “To transform the state of small business worldwide.”

He’s off to a heck of a start.


#5. 15 Free Branding Resources for Financial Advisors

15 Free Branding Resources for Financial AdvisorsYour visual branding is the first impression you make on prospective clients. It is key to establishing your brand identity, setting you apart from competitors, and creating a believable, trustworthy image of your business. In other words, your visual branding is key to helping you connect with your clients, both prospective and current.

Many business owners convince themselves that investing in visual appearance is unnecessary, or that it can wait. But your branding can take your business to another level simply by speaking to your clients’ interests, values, and pain points through design, imagery, and tone. Even something like the right choice of colors can influence a prospective client’s judgment.

While you may not have the budget to support a visual brand created by an expert graphic designer or brand strategist, there are so many online tools that can help you shortcut the process—and the cost—of building killer visual content without sacrificing quality.


#6. Reducing the Lifestyle Practice Stigma: What Would Arlene Say?

WWAS_Reducing the Lifestyle Practice StigmaAs an XY Planning Network coach, I love all financial planners equally. I love rooting for everyone and seeing you all grow into yourselves as business owners and individuals. But if there’s one thing that drives me crazy about this industry, it’s the lack of respect that exists for people working to build a lifestyle practice.

There’s often a stigma around running a lifestyle-oriented financial planning practice. I’ve heard several negative things about this idea, including:

Lifestyle practice owners aren’t running a “real” business.

A lifestyle practice is a great option for people who don’t want to hustle.

Building a business takes a lot of time and effort, and if you’re not willing to give it everything, then you won’t be successful.

Wow. None of this is accurate.


#7. Marketing v. Prospecting: Knowing the Difference, and Developing a Plan

Marketing v. Prospecting_ Knowing the Difference, and Developing a PlanIn a recent mailbag episode of XYPN Radio, Michael Kitces and I discussed the difference between marketing and prospecting. We were both so invested in the topic, we spent nearly half the episode going over it! That’s because I firmly believe that there’s a fairly confusing cloud of information around both prospecting and marketing. The two terms often get used interchangeably, when they don’t actually represent the same strategy—at all.

What is Prospecting?

In my mind, prospecting is essentially outbound marketing. The goal when prospecting is to chase people that may or may not be interested in the services you offer and, ultimately, convert them into clients. One classic (if a little bit cliche) to view prospecting is the cold calling or door-to-door sales people that branded themselves as financial planners.


#8. 5-Part Marketing Plan for Independent Advisors: Why, What & How

5-Part Marketing Plan for Independent AdvisorsAs an independent financial advisor, you’re like so busy that you barely have enough time for marketing. You might shoot from the hip, squeezing in time here or there to crank out a blog or post on social media. Is taking the time to put together an actual marketing plan really necessary? Before I get into the ‘why’ of marketing plans, allow me to digress for just a moment about what you don’t need.

I’ve seen many marketing plans during my time as a ‘marketeer’ with XYPN that have more bark than bite. They tend to be too fluffy, too basic, or too high-level to be useful on the front lines. Large companies have marketing plans with hundreds of pages including an executive summary, an analysis of the market situation, a SWOT analysis, and more. I wouldn’t dissuade you from working on any of those pieces if they’re meaningful to you, but keep this in mind: large companies have teams of people putting together their marketing plans and they spend at least a couple of months doing them.


#9. Leveraging Zapier in Your Financial Planning Practice

Leveraging Zapier in Your Financial Planning PracticeThere are generally three camps of business owners when it comes to using technology for process automation:

1. They don’t know a solution but they believe it’s possible
2. They’ve heard of Zapier but haven’t dared to try it
3. They've learned Zapier & implemented the basics

If you aren’t in the third group, you are missing out on a powerful tool that I used to strengthen the onboarding process at my firm and to streamline my social media curation strategy. I went from learning about Zapier to consulting with RIAs on the power of Zapier in their firms. I discovered many entrepreneurs fall into the second group.

In this article, I will give you five ways you can leverage Zapier to accomplish one of these lofty goals: make your firm more efficient, improve your brand awareness, or increase your revenue.


#10. The Top 10 Misconceptions About XYPN

Top 10 Misconceptions about XYPNThe XYPN movement is growing rapidly. Yet despite thousands of XYPN shirts floating around and hundreds of members representing all 50 states, it’s still an uphill battle to get the word out about what we do, who we help, and how it all works.

XYPN members are fantastic when it comes to sharing the movement. For that, we adore them. If you’re one of our beloved members, you are already familiar with some common misconceptions about XY Planning Network, such as “all members are 25” or “XYPN advisors don’t manage assets.” I’ll address these misconceptions here so we can all get on the same page and make life a little easier for our marketing team.


Thanks for stopping by XY Planning Network! There is a whole lot more helpful, free content for independent financial advisors on XYPN Radio, Michael Kitces's Nerd's Eye View, and the Bean Blog by our friends at FA Bean Counters. 

Additionally, members of our Network have access to even more valuable resources through our members-only forums, XYPN Academy, and more. Learn more about XYPN membership benefits.

Kelly Moorman_300x300

About the Author

As XYPN’s Content Manager, Kelly is tasked with communicating the Network's value proposition to the world. For years, Kelly has helped organizations tell their stories in ways that inspire others to listen, and to care. Her penchant for a well-crafted sentence, good grammar, and clever wordplay has earned her the moniker “Word Whiz” around the XYPN office. She’s thrilled to share XYPN’s story with you and the rest of the world.

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