Penny Phillips: 4 'Expert' Business Tips Advisors Can Ignore

Penny Phillips, Journey Strategic Wealth

Advisors are likely already getting “inundated” with advice from experts about how to build a successful practice in 2023, according to Penny Phillips, president and co-founder of RIA Journey Strategic Wealth and founder of Thrivos Consulting.

But, in a video posted on YouTube, she warned: “The disclaimer that doesn’t usually come with the webinar you attend or the blog you read, is that what works for one advisor or even the strategy that’s working for hundreds of advisors may not be appropriate for your individual practice.”

Therefore, Phillips said, she “always cautions advisors at the beginning of the year to really stay focused on their mission, what they’re trying to accomplish, month over month, their vision, what they’re trying to do within their client base and community, and their value proposition.”

It is fine to attend a webinar or read a blog, she said. But she cautions advisors to “take all of the information … about what’s working with a grain of salt.”

Here are the four big “advisory business myths” that she suggested advisors “either ignore or take with a grain of salt” this year:

1. Advisors must be popular on social media to succeed.

The first myth Phillips cited was the “notion that advisors need to build a robust social media following in order to be successful” and that, if you’re not on Instagram, TikTok or YouTube, looking for prospective new clients, then “your business is just going to collapse and you’re not going to survive the next 10 years.”

That is a concept Phillips said she “vehemently” disagrees with. The vast majority of advisors will say they generated new business last year through introductions or referrals from current clients, she noted.

And most advisors “don’t even really ask for referrals,” she said, “which indicates that the good, old-fashioned being referrable, treating clients with exceptional care, being really present in your client’s life, those are still your number one prospecting tools.”

2. You must become a CEO.

The second myth Phillips cited was this industry “obsession” that “you, as the advisor, needs to transition out of the advisor role and become a CEO” at your firm.

“What I found working with literally thousands of advisors is that most advisors become ‘CEOs’ by accident,” she said. “They’re so good at being advisors that the business grows before they really know what to do about it. And, by default, they become the head of an organization.”

But “most advisors don’t want the responsibility of running human resources and operations, etc.,” she said.

“What most advisors want is to continue to be advisors and grow their business,” have “control over their destiny,” to own their book and not have a home office “breathing down their necks,” she said. But that “doesn’t necessarily mean they want the responsibilities of being a CEO,” she noted.