Offering financial advice can mean many things for different financial advisors, and there are many reasons that advisors choose to join the planning profession. But for many advisors, the process of articulating their philosophies about financial advice and what it is the advisor stands for can be much more challenging than learning the technical aspects of financial planning. Clarifying these ideas and developing a mission statement, or ‘manifesto’, can be a rewarding exercise that resonates with prospects and clients and can also be useful to create impactful marketing collateral – not only to express how and why advisors believe financial advice should be provided on a broader level but also to support their business growth by attracting the right types of prospects and clients.
In our 108th episode of Kitces & Carl, Michael Kitces and client communication expert Carl Richards discuss how advisors can communicate and market their own philosophies on financial planning and how the process of crafting a ‘manifesto’ can help advisors clarify and realize their most fulfilling vision of what it means to be a financial advisor.
Advisors who are looking for ways to articulate what it is they stand for can start by identifying who their ideal clients are and what they enjoy most about helping them. Having frank conversations with clients and prospects and asking them about how they have been served well (or not so well) by other financial professionals in the past, their most important successes, and the common mistakes they most often see others make can help advisors clarify their clients’ specific priorities, unique needs, and commonly experienced pain points. Furthermore, by connecting how their financial advice addresses their clients’ most common concerns, advisors can better understand the key elements that can serve as the foundation for a meaningful and relevant manifesto.
While there is no set rule on how long or short a manifesto used for marketing purposes needs to be, it is generally useful to provide it in a format that can be easily read and distributed. A small pamphlet or booklet can serve as a tangible deliverable for prospects, just as a website page can be easily accessible and can communicate the advisor’s beliefs just as clearly. Regardless of the format, a well-written, earnest manifesto can help advisors market their services to prospects while communicating their sincere beliefs about financial planning.
Ultimately, the key point is that by understanding and articulating what they stand for, advisors can more easily connect to prospective clients who will benefit the most from their services. Furthermore, doing so through a manifesto used as a marketing tool can also support the organic growth of the advisor’s business, and connecting with more of the right prospects upfront means the advisor will have more opportunities to establish and sustain more rewarding client relationships in the long run!
***Editor's Note: Can't get enough of Kitces & Carl? Neither can we, which is why we've released it as a podcast as well! Check it out on all the usual podcast platforms, including Apple Podcasts (iTunes), Spotify, and Stitcher.
The giveaway for physical copies of The Manifesto has concluded as of 4/5/2023. Listeners can still receive digital access to The Manifesto by visiting The Society of Advice's Manifesto page here.
- Financial Advicer Manifesto
- Carl’s Manifesto giveaway
- The Society of Advice
- 21 Declarations of a Real Financial Advisor (Carl’s Twitter thread)
- Kitces & Carl Ep 107: The Strategic Planning Process And Coming Up With (New) Ideas To Try
- LinkedIn poll on the proper pronunciation of ‘niche’
- XYPN Live
- Seth Godin
- On the hook (Seth Godin’s Blog)
- The Win Without Pitching Manifesto by Blair Enns
- Larry Swedroe
- Ramit Sethi
Kitces & Carl Podcast Transcript
Michael: Greetings, Carl.
Carl: Hello. Hello, Michael, I'm glad to see that you have a blue shirt on top of a blue shirt.
Michael: Well, you sometimes you got to do blue in layers to make sure you're living the full blueness.
Carl: Yes, I feel a little, I don't know, self-conscious, the fact that I have on a blue shirt too. It's not the same color though, just to be clear.
Michael: We can work on this though. We are expanding the Kitces blue shirt swag options these days. So, we might be able to get you like, I don't know if a collar, nice Kitces blue polo, we can send you Kitces blue T-shirt.
Carl: Part of the mafia. Yeah, for sure.
Michael: We can solve for this. We can solve for this.
Carl: I'll do that if you'll wear a dragon hat.
Michael: Society of Advice dragon hat, all right.
Carl: All right. And just for those of you not watching on YouTube, I just put the dragon hat on because it was sitting next to me, so, we'll see what we can do. If you'll get a dragon tattoo, I'll wear a Kitces blue shirt.
Michael: All right, I don't feel like those are even stakes. You have to actually like tattoo a blue shirt somewhere on your body. Or your whole body is a blue shirt.
How Creating A Manifesto Can Communicate Advisor Values [01:24]
Michael: It's like an odd, so ironically, that's like an oddly apropos theme for today though, because I... So, I actually wanted to talk about today is this kind of building the community that we build in the people that you serve, your clientele, your audience, your niche, whatever it is. Most of the advisor firms I see that get just the strongest organic growth, they stand for something for someone. They've taken a position on something that's meaningful to the segment of clients that they serve. And it becomes a beacon to them that draws them in. I like that advisor that works with young people, and has taken a stand that you don't have to work until 65 until you drop dead. Live a better work-life balance. You can do it while you're working and I'll teach you how, or the advisor that focuses in on how to live a meaningful life as a tech employee after you make your dollars and you try to figure out what comes next.
You just, people that stand up and stand for something often have a really big power and impact. And to me, one way that this shows up in just the marketing world are folks who go so far as to write the manifesto of their worldview and their way of seeing things. And I'll admit, I got caught up in this a year or 2 ago. We'd put a thing on our site that I called the Financial Advicer Manifesto. It was basically just like, okay, I'm going to stand up on my soapbox for a moment and sound off on my gripes with the industry, and how financial advisor has lost meaning as a title because it's used by people who give advice and it's also used by people who sell products. And look, I don't actually have a problem with folks that sell products. Sometimes consumers just want to buy a thing and they need a person to sell it to them. That's totally fine. But I do have a problem when people are operating as salespeople, but they're holding out to the consumer marketplace as advisors, and someone comes in, they think they're getting advice when in reality, they just came into a buying-selling experience.
And so, I kind of advocate for the separation of sales from advice, and that basically because financial advisor is just so lost as an interspersed term that we need a new word. And so, the new word I made up was advicer. You give advice with an R at the end. So, I give advice, which means I'm an advicer, who does this, we just got to roll. Here's the evolution of the industry. Here's why I think this matters. Here's why I think we should separate products from advice and advicers from advisers. And we put out the 7 points of what it means to be an advicer. You're actually focused on advice, and your product-agnostic and your objective and fiduciary and all those great things.
We just gotta put it out there. It's just like I feel like I keep talking about this. I need to just say it the way I want to say it, and put my mark out there in the world. And so, I did. If anyone's curious, you can go see it on the site kitces.com/advicer. And you can read it. So, we put that out there. It was fun to put out and interesting to see, we've gotten some good feedback on it. A couple advisors now who even start saying they're financial advicers and they put the image of the manifesto on their website that they were like, "I'm an advicer and here's what I stand for." And so, it's been really cool to see that getting out in the marketplace. For me, it's a page we put on our website because I found myself having this conversation over and over again of here's the thing I believe in that I think is important for the community that we serve.
And just, I had the conversation so many times, I'm just going to write it down once, and then I can just send people the manifesto or give them the manifesto so I don't have to keep explaining it over and over again. Now, I know you've done a version of this. Way more than I have. You've done a version of this. I know you did a manifesto thing recently as well, but yours is at a whole other level. It's printed, it's bound, it's a nice high-quality bound thing. You like leaf through the pages. I'm like, dude, I got Carl's manifesto in my hands, and it's not… Sure, I mean, it's a little booklet. It's 16-20 pages. So, my interest for today's session is to understand where this, I know why I did my little manifesto thing, just, I keep saying this, the advisor community, so, I just want to write it one place and let it be out there. I feel like you're doing it a whole other level when you've literally printed it, and made it a book and you send people the book. So, what's the deal with making an actual printed bound manifesto? Because, candidly, the only other context I've got for people that make printed bound manifestos usually involves people of a certain very creative persuasion that do sometimes not ideal things in the world. And I think you have a very positive slant on it. So, what's the deal with the printed manifesto?
Carl: Yeah, super fun. And it is fun to see, I think you've hit on it, right? Like putting a stake in the ground, and saying having an opinion, Seth Godin talks about it as putting yourself on the hook. I think in our industry, speaking broadly, when I use the term industry, we are trained to avoid having opinions, and we caveat so many things, and I don't like caveating things. And so, I was like, look, and I've done this before, but this is...the fellowship, that program we built, still people are joining all the time. The fellowships was the original version of this. It was the 21 Declarations of a real financial advisor is what the fellowship was. We just never did a printed version of it. It's an online experience with video and audio and all that stuff.
And it's so fun to see people using advicer on their website. It's fun for me to show up at a conference and see people wearing the fellowship shirt and it's like a secret handshake, you know what I mean? Nobody really knows there's a dragon, you know? So, I love that idea. And largely to me it's about like, how can I get an idea to spread in our industry and hope, just hope, right? Hope that it has an impact on behalf of the people. I'm pointing out the window right now. The people out there, the people that need our help, it's not really getting much better out there, like the land of financial… If I want financial advice and I'm not talking about our industry, I'm just talking broadly like blogs and websites. People don't feel better about their relationship with money right now than they did 5 years ago, or 10 years ago, or 20 years ago when you and I started. It hasn't changed much.
So, I'm always thinking how can we change? And one of the ways I've seen that in capital, like one of the ways I've seen that captured, encapsulated is in something called a manifesto. When you've got an idea, sometimes you wrap it up. Now, my inspiration for this was my friend Blair Enns at "Win Without Pitching" and Blair's book is called "The Win Without Pitching Manifesto," which by the way, everybody who listens to this would love. He happens to be talking to creative firms, but he's really talking about how to price valuable advice.
Michael: Okay, "Win Without Pitching."
Carl: "Win Without pitching," Blair Enns. And it's one of my favorite, he's one of my favorite people. He's been on the membership call a couple times, but his book is just so beautiful. So, that was my goal was how short could I make it? And like for the YouTube folks, I'm holding one up here, like, how short and beautiful could I make it? It's 32 pages and I kind of wanted it something like...
How To Decide Which Format To Use For Manifesto Distribution [09:41]
Michael: I just got to point, "How short could I make it?" And the conclusion was 32 pages, I feel like it's not the shortest in the spirit of “How short could I make it?”.
Carl: Yeah. But it's each section is really tight, and it's designed with lots of white space. So, 32 pages, I can't remember how many words it was, but I was going to write a book. So, as a book, this is short, right? As a book, 32 pages is short. And I wanted it, we did this matte finish soft cover. I wanted it like, you could roll it up and stick it in your suit coat pocket. So, I've always loved those things. In fact, Michael, I did research for this. I actually bought, I went and did, and I'm not suggesting anybody do this. If you go Google "manifesto," you end up in some, as you've already pointed out, some problematic places.
I bought different versions of manifesto on Amazon, different books. One of them, I won't mention what it was, but one of them I bought, it's called the, the X and it was a particular political affiliation, the X manifesto, well, I'll just tell you so that nobody thinks it's worse, but the "Communist Manifesto" is one of the classics. And I bought a copy just to see the print of it. Just to see what it was like. It's terrible because the things that now show up in my Amazon search are, I mean, I've long since donated the book somewhere or tore it up or something. But I just wanted to see like how...
Michael: Amazon thinks it knows you.
Carl: I know. How did they package that idea? It's just what I was fascinated by. I mean, I looked at it for like a week and then threw it away or gave donated it or whatever.
Michael: Side note, this is why I'm not concerned about AI taking over our business anytime soon.
Carl: Yeah. I'm like, no, stop with it. It's like the phone calls I get for funding for my business that I get like three a day for that I've never needed. So, anyway, manifesto. But this one was like the fellowship was "21 Declarations of a Real Financial Advisor" that was about...and your advicer is about what it means to be somebody who actually delivers advice. Like, this is a manifesto in service of an idea. And the idea is like, what does real financial planning look like? And I wanted to just put my stake in the ground and say, here's what I think. Now, look, I get it, I'm probably wrong, there's other ways to do it, it's all fine, but I'm going to put my stake in the ground as hard as I can with no caveats. This is what real financial advice looks like. And what else are you going to call that? Well, you call it a manifesto.
Michael: But why have you done this? I can just, maybe this is my own fixation. Again, I wrote a page on my website, it costs me no money. I take a little time to put it up and you know what I mean? It's a page on my websites. It's a couple hundred words. It's not a 32-page booklet. You wrote a lot more, it's longer, it's physically printed for whatever the costs are to do that and distribute that. Tell me, why have you gone to this… I was going to say extreme. I don't mean that in a negative way. But why are you taking it this far? What business results are you hoping to get from taking it this far?
Carl: Yeah, I don't, that's a totally reasonable question. And it's smart and it's why you're where you are and where I am where I am. But I don't really...all I cared about was what impact could I have? How could I get this idea to spread, and how could I help? Is there a shot? It's really interesting to wake up in your life, and you know this feeling, and think I have a teeny, teeny, teeny little tiny influence on a industry/profession, that's amazing. How could I help more? What impact could I have? And so, yeah, I mean, you've got a copy you've seen, it's beautiful. And again, the YouTubers aren't seeing it. The people who design, we didn't spare any expense on this.
So, you're right, but I was thinking more along the lines of like, how can I get this idea to spread about what real financial advice…. Now, look, in reality, we get people read the fellowship or sorry, read the Manifesto, and they join my membership program at The Society of Advice. I've gotten speaking engagements from it. So, I know that's going to happen. I'm not, but I've never, I don't think that way. I think, and this applies to some of the earlier conversations we've had about how do you find strategic direction, right? I just am like, I want to do this thing. It needs to be in the world. I'm so addicted to that process of, I've got a thing, it's gotta be in the world. And then I have all these fancy feelings about how it shows up. And one of those fancy feelings is it's gotta show up in a form factor that I'm proud of. And so, yeah, this is a book that you cannot buy. That's the other thing. We don't sell this book anywhere. You can't buy this book anywhere. I've never sold a copy.
Michael: So, can people get it if they want to get it?
Carl: Yeah. So, that's like, we can talk a little bit about how you and I have arranged a giveaway of some of them, but the way we've given these away is giveaways. I've taken some to events and handed them out at events. I think we had some at XYPN. I can't remember if we had them.
Michael: Yeah, yeah, you give some out at XYPN Live...
Carl: So, yeah. In fact, I had a whole... Yeah. In fact I brought, that's right. I brought two or three boxes to XYPN Live. So, we give them out. Yeah. And of course we can, and I don't, whenever the right time is, I want to continue this conversation briefly about tactics versus mindset. I do want to talk about that inside a manifesto. Because I think what you've done is point at a way of being, a belief system that sits above tactics. And I'm a huge fan of that. Because I think, if I can get you to believe you're an advicer, right, if I can get you to believe the 21 Declarations of a Real Financial Advisor, tactics are easy if I'm confident, and I can figure out what to do tactically. I can go to the Kitces conference and see somebody break down specifically. I can…one Google search away, one FP pathfinder search away, and I've got a flow chart. The tactics are easy. What we really need more of is this, who am I, how do I identify and what do I believe so I can feel confident? And that's the piece that I love about this manifesto work that we've both done.
How To Use A Manifesto As A Marketing Tool [16:39]
Michael: Well, so, translate this to me just for advisors. Does this work for advisors and what advisors do? Or is this like things that Carl does because Carl's Carl?
Carl: I completely think it works. And now again, we're going to get into this trouble that we always get because we never stop talking about how valuable it is to have a specialization or a niche, but I think...
Michael: I just, for the record, we put this out for a poll to the audience on LinkedIn. Like literally, I think like 2000 advisors participated in the poll and niche won.
Carl: Uneducated Savages.
Michael: Won. We don't have to ask about the percentage that it won by, but niche won.
Carl: Yeah, it's fine, fine, fine. I know I just have too much New Zealand and London in me, and they made a strong argument, would you rather buy quiche…niche witch or niche quiche? And I was like, yeah, but I understand.
Michael: Witches and niches.
Carl: I know, I know. I knew what you were going to say. So, anyway, let's not get into this discussion right now. So, yeah, I believe, especially if I've got a specialization or I've got a thing that I believe that if I can write it in the form of like, here's a set of declarations. Like here's what it means to work with me. Here's what real financial advice is written to the client. Here's the 7 things it means to be an architect that owns your own firm. Here's like...and there are more, their philosophy, their mindset. They're not super tactical. I believe that, man, that you print one of these babies up and for whatever it costs you, if you print a couple thousand, 3 or 4 bucks, whatever, hand it out like candy, will you get business from it? For sure. What does Angie Herbers say? 7 times on a book?
Michael: Well, and so, is that what it costs you at the end of the day? It's like 3 or 4 bucks to print?
Carl: Depends on how many.
Michael: I could spend like 3 or 4 bucks on really nice business cards sometimes prior, that's not a big scary number to me, given what some of us spent on business cards anyways.
Carl: Well, I can't...
Michael: If it's 10 or 20 bucks a piece...
Carl: I think we were more than that the 3 or 4 on this because of the form factor. But you don't have to make it this beautiful, but let's say it's 5 bucks.
Carl: So, that to me, does this work for...I would almost pressure if I was, and I don't do this, but if I was consulting a financial advisor, I'd almost pressure them to write this first. No, tell me what you stand for. What are your beliefs? What do you mean?
Michael: So, then there's a part of me that just immediately goes to like, okay, but compliance, there are no absolutes, Carl, everything varies by the client's individual facts and circumstances, right? I mean, as you'd said at the beginning, you don't have to caveat things, stand up for your thing. Well, okay, but don't we have to caveat things like compliance exists, our industry exists. We do personalized individual financial, applying for each client's needs and circumstances, Carl, there are no absolutes. It's all specific to the clients. Like...
Carl: No, they're.
Michael: Reconcile this for me.
Carl: I know. But I know you're playing slight devil's advocate here, but there's also a bit of truth to it. I think particularly there's, I don't know what the rules are around books, but I've certainly watched plenty of financial advisors do things in books that you could not do in marketing material. And if I thought of this as a book, like stories about their work, and even to the point, it's not quite case studies, but stories about work with clients. You've seen Larry Swedroe has been doing that for years. I don't know what the rules are. I wouldn't pretend to know what the rules are, but I think if you were to read this, I don't think you would see anything in... I think there are plenty of ways to happily and happily coexist with a great compliance person, and write a manifesto, let's put it that way. And make it so well.
Michael: Because I guess it gets to the stuff that you're saying earlier. This is like, I specialize in architects, and my manifesto is about, yes, you can have work-life balance as an architect who's a partner in a firm, but still trying to enjoy their life and raising their kids because you trying to work with 40-something architects, making partner in a firm, and these are not the things compliance worries about.
Carl: That's been my experience. Like my experience with all my speaking engagements, everybody, I'm sitting above, the things I'm talking about here are above compliance level. They're not individual tactics. It's like as you were talking about architects, I was like, wouldn't it be interesting, one of the declarations for architects could be measure twice, cut once or measure first or, the plan matters. I could think about things that I'd heard. If you go interview 20 architects as your clients, you're going to hear words... We wrote one for a dentist. And the one of the declarations, like the title of it was “Unchained From the Chair,” because they all said, I feel chained to the chair. So, I'm talking about those topical declarations that resonate with people on an emotional level. They're not tactical strategic ideas.
Michael: And do I have to write 32 pages?
Carl: No, I think everybody should go look at your example. It doesn't have to be that way. This doesn't exist anywhere but printed form. We did that intentionally. But the fellowship doesn't exist in printed form. And Blair Enns has done both. You can buy the book, which is his book's more like a hundred pages. You can buy a poster of just the declarations. So, no, and again, back to our earlier conversation about strategic direction and how you move, I would absolutely not print this before I wrote it up on a, in fact, I wouldn't even put it on a website first. I'd probably send it out as an email to all my clients, right, like when we talk about micro-actions.
Michael: So, people want to see a version of this. Are you giving some out?
Carl: Yeah. So, I can think of no better place for no, I can think of no audience that I would rather have their hands on a copy of this. So, what we're going to do is give 300 away. And again, this is the book you cannot buy. So, this costs, this is completely on us, including shipping and handling. So, we're going to give 300 away to listeners of Kitces and Carl. And you just go to thesocietyofadvice.com/kitcescarl. So, no, and just KitcesCarl, thesocietyofadvice.com/kitcescarl and the first 300 people. We are going to ship you a copy of this and we don't ask you for anything. Boom.
Michael: But you hope they'll be interested in more stuff. I mean, not today, just like that's the, it's the rational me. Please tell me this gets back to business.
Carl: Oh look, my entire life is about, here's an idea. If you like this and you'd like to go deeper, here's ways to do it. Of course. If you read this and you're like, I need more, well, we've got things, the fellowship, the membership, all that stuff. But I don't even, I mean, I think on the last page, does it even say... No? Come on. It actually doesn't. The only promotional thing in this entire book is, I'm holding this up, is a teeny little thing that says thesocietyofadvice.com. That's it. So, yeah, of course if you want more, you're going to know where to get more. And most people, the most common question I get these days is, "I don't understand your business model. Where do I get more?" Well, you go to thesocietyofadvice.com, you'll find out. But that's what happens with the manifesto.
Increasing Marketing Ideas By Experiencing Marketing Processes That Work [24:58]
Michael: Well, just to me, it does remind me of an interesting phenomenon. So, years ago, somebody gave me this kind of really interesting insight into marketing, they said so, a lot of us have had the experience where some mailer comes to your house, and it was clearly not for you, right? Just like spam solicitation, something. Well, ironically in our news too, come to this local dinner seminar about retiring early, and you're like, "Haha, I'm a financial advisor. You sucker, you sent me a mailer for your seminar and I'm a fellow advisor."
But the comment I'd gotten from someone in the marketing business a long time ago is, a lot of us, when we get the marketing things like that, and it doesn't really connect with us or this wasn't for me, we laugh about it, we joke about it, we tease about it like, "Sucker, spent a bunch of money sending it to me wrong." The only funnier thing than getting a mailer when you're clearly not the target client is getting several of them when you're not like, oh my gosh, this sucker keeps sending it out to me. They're just flushing money down the drain. And the point that had been said to me from this marketer was, no, you don't get it. Marketers only keep spending money on things that work. So, if you keep getting that mailer, it's working. Clearly it's not working for you because you didn't happen to be the target audience, but you are caught up in a marketing system from someone who is executing successfully because that's why you keep seeing it.
And so, if you keep seeing some kind of marketing thing, don't laugh at it and blow it off, pick it up more closely and look at it. And if you can, start going down their funnel. If they tell you to go to a webpage, and do a thing, like go to a webpage and do a thing and see what happens next because what you're seeing is a marketing system that works. And a lot of us don't even know what a marketing system looks like that works. But if you're seeing it, you're seeing a marketing system that works, and you may not do it the same way because who you serve is different than whatever is being targeted that you happen to be caught up in that you're seeing the mailers. But to me, just the encouragement I'd give for anyone who's listening to this, it's a similar phenomenon here.
Carl has a marketing system that works. So, maybe a manifesto isn't quite your thing. Go see what it's like to go through someone else's marketing process, marketing experience, and just see what you learn when you're on the receiving end of a thing that works. It might not be for you, and it might not connect with you, but I find just for me, I get a lot of ideas about how to leverage marketing way more than going to marketing seminars and marketing events and stuff like that. If you want to see marketing that works, sign up to buy things from people who have marketing systems that have clearly worked, and go through their actual experience, and see what they do and what road they take you down. So, I don't know, if you're at all curious about what manifestos look like, go down, take this journey, and see what it's like to go down this journey.
Carl: Yeah. That's super kind of you. I mean, look, we rely heavily on it just because I like it, and I kind of like to have fun. It's a crazy idea. We rely heavily on mystery and intrigue. If you go to thesocietyofadvice.com's homepage, there's nothing there except enter your email, and there's a dragon and enter your email, and then we allow you to go deeper down the rabbit hole if you'd like to. And I do the same thing...
Michael: Knock 3 times and a crack in the stone opens up.
Carl: Exactly right. We wanted to make it even more like, this was negotiated. I wanted to make it even harder.
Michael: This was your compromise.
Carl: Yeah, this was my compromise with the team. They're smarter than I am. But one, I'll tell you, just to emphasize what you said, you know who I love watching is Ramit Sethi. So, if you go to I Will Teach You To Be Rich. Everything you see, I promise he spent hundreds of thousands of dollars figuring it out. So, I love going there and just like, I'll often go there and just be like, what is he doing? Because I know he spent hundreds of thousands, probably more at this point.
Michael: Just like testing and refining and seeing.
Carl: Every single thing, every single thing on that website, the quiz that he did forever. You'll notice his website's often very, very short. His main website is very short, and you'll often see different versions of it. And I think that's really smart, and I love Robert Sophia for the same reason. In his podcast, Steal My Idea I think it's called, he gives you very specific ideas that he's encouraging you to steal. So, I think that's smart. Yeah. So, manifesto, we've got 300 of them, thesocietyofadvice.com/kitcescarl, we'll send them out to the first 300 and, no, it doesn't... We're going to even cover shipping.
How Advisors Can Begin The Process Of Crafting Their Own Manifesto [30:18]
Michael: All right. And for advisors who are thinking about this, aside from see what it's like to get a manifesto, just where do you get started? I mean, it's not the whole process because we're really in the journey, but for someone who's interest is piqued, where do you even start?
Carl: On writing your own?
Michael: Yeah. Or I don't know. Or even like figuring out what your own would be, I was already ready to write it. I'm way further down. That's way further down the road than. Think a lot of people are most are probably more on the like, I don't know, do I have a thing I stand for at the level that I would manifesto it?
Carl: Yeah. And you don't have to look, you don't have to call it manifesto. You could just look, I don't know that there's much difference between this and a mission statement. It's just one's just more fun to use, more fun to say. But again, I hate to sound like a broken record, is you go ask people, so go interview 10 people, take 10 people to coffee. Coffee's intentional. I don't even drink coffee, but coffee's intentional because it can last 5 minutes, or it can last an hour. Both are fine. It's a low commitment. Take them to coffee, sit, ask them, "Hey, I'm just trying to put together," specifically if it's around a specific area of specialization, right? "We're just trying to understand the unique challenges that," insert or what we use already, "architects that own their own firm, the unique wealth management, financial planning challenges that architects that own their own firm face. And since you're one of them, I thought I'd just ask you." And then ask them questions like, "What's the biggest mistake you've seen your colleagues make?" Always, always when you're asking about mistakes, ask about colleagues and then say, "What's the one thing you did right?" When you're asking about right, give them a chance. What's the thing you wish you would've been taught in architecture school about money? If you could wave your magic wand, what would this, and you're going to start hearing words like what's the biggest challenge? What's the one thing that keeps you up at night? Those kind of questions. You're going to start hearing words. And from those words, after you do 10, I bet you could come up with 7 declarations. That's what I would do.
Michael: Okay. I guess to me it all just comes back to that classic, if you don't stand for something, you stand for nothing.
Carl: Yeah, it's exactly like that.
Michael: You gotta pick something to stand for, for whoever it is you want to stand for.
Carl: And I think Seth Godin's question of what does it do? No, sorry, who is it for and what does it do? Is pointing. And so, if you had to say it at the high level, like who is it for? Let's pretend like it's for architects that own their own firm. What does it do? Tell me 7 things that it does. I just picked the number 7. Whatever. Tell me 7 things that it does. Well how do you know? Well, take a crack and then go ask 10 architects that you work with. And again, don't get caught up in our goodness.
Michael: Does this resonate with you?
Carl: Yeah. Or even before you even say, does this resonate? Ask them like, Hey, what does my work do for you? Right? Just go ask. You'll run into things. Don't get too scared about the actual questions. Just go ask.
Michael: Very cool. Well, thank you, Carl.
Carl: Yeah, cheers, Michael, super fun.
Michael: Awesome. Thank you.