My guest on today's podcast is Sheryl Garrett. Sheryl is the founder of the Garrett Planning Network, a financial advisor support network for fee-only RIAs with a focus on bringing financial planning to the middle market by making it available on an hourly, as-needed basis.
What's unique about Sheryl, though, is that what started out as a very unique business model in the late 1990s turned out to be so popular, that it attracted other financial advisors to her to emulate the model... and as a result, what started out as something Sheryl wanted to do for her own clients turned into a network of several hundred advisors all delivering the same hourly model in their own local markets.
In this episode, Sheryl shares her own path through the financial planning industry, how she struggled early on in a broker-dealer that required her to cold call and sell products, how she dropped her FINRA licenses and shifted to an early fee-only RIA, then picked her FINRA licenses back UP a second time for another broker-dealer firm, only to drop them again by transitioning once more into the fee-only channel for good... albeit by becoming a partner in a new fee-only RIA, only to quickly discover that the partnership wasn't going to work, which is what ultimately led her to finally start a firm of her own, a full 10+ years into her career.
In addition, Sheryl shares what it took for her to finally launch the Garrett Planning Network, what she's learned about the success and challenges of the hourly model for financial planning, why referrals from other advisors can actually be one of the best ways to build an hourly practice, how – just as with other advisory firm models – many hourly planners build lifestyle practices, while some endeavor to grow larger businesses, and how one of the appeals of the hourly model for her is that it kept her focused on trying to be as efficient as possible with her clients to help them manage their cost of advice.
And be certain to listen to the end, where Sheryl talks about the value of organizations like the Garrett Planning Network, where it's great to have the advisor support services... but in the end, the most powerful effect is simply finding a community of fellow advisors, pursuing a similar business model with a similar clientele, from whom you can learn, and with whom you can share best practices. Whatever your target clientele and business model happen to be.
So whether you are interested in learning more about the Garrett Planning Network, curious how you can grow your business by generating referrals from other financial advisors, or simply want to learn more about the hourly financial planning business model, I hope you enjoy this episode of the Financial Advisor Success podcast!