Hey independent advisors, how was your 2018? Not as good as you wanted it to be? Not good at all? It happens, and there’s nothing you can do about it now. What I do want you want to do, though, is figure out how to turn it all around in the new year. Whether your lackluster year was due to adherence to blind tradition, taking on too much responsibility for your clients, or simply an incomplete or ineffective business plan, you can absolutely make necessary changes now to ensure that 2019 will have a much different result. I work with advisors every day who have bounced back from near failure and gone on to build successful seven-figure businesses. Here’s how to do it.

Figure Out What You Need to Change

Just because you haven’t become successful yet does not mean you’re destined to remain mired in mediocrity. When you have the emotional agility to see where your business is weak and make the necessary changes, you can completely change the trajectory of your career. It takes some soul-searching as well as research to really figure out the most important areas where changes are needed. Sometimes it’s best to work backwards. What really killed you this year? Was it lack of clients? An inability to keep up with customer service? An outdated business model? Once you’ve identified the biggest reasons for your lack of success, you can start putting together options to move forward in a different manner.

Adopt New Habits

If your business isn’t as successful as you’d like it to be, it’s probably due in large part to your daily habits. Do you have plans to knock out paperwork or make client calls first thing in the morning but get wrapped up in putting out fires as soon as you walk in the door? Do you routinely skip those networking meetings you know you should be going to? Do you put off making follow-up calls because you don’t like the phone? If habits are keeping you in a rut, it’s imperative that you change them. One of my favorite books on how habits are formed and how to disrupt them is The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. This and other books will help you see why habits are formed and how to alter them into healthier habits that serve rather than impede you.

Reach Out for Help

You simply cannot build a successful advice-based financial planning business by yourself. One of the reasons I see many advisors fail is because they think of themselves as an island and resist reaching out to those who can help them succeed. When you tap into valuable resources like referral partners and mentors, you expand your knowledge base and receive support, insight, and connections to other who can either become clients or valuable referral sources. Whether you work in an office with twenty other people or you spend most of your time alone with your laptop, reaching outside your inner circle and actively engaging others is one of the best ways to achieve success.

It can be very difficult to come back from a year you view as a failure and make the changes necessary to turn everything around. Notice I said difficult and not impossible! I’ve seen plenty of advisors who have learned from their mistakes and taken their struggling businesses from near destitution to huge successes. When you focus on what went wrong and change your habits and actions to make better decisions, you can achieve the business you’ve been striving for in the new year.

Have questions or comments about re-launching your business in 2019? Please leave them below!


When you become a mentor to your clients, deeply understand them, and guide them toward a better future, then you’ve learned the ways of a financial caregiver. You’ve come to know what it means to be a true purveyor of advice, and how to use money as a conduit to a more fulfilling life for yourself and those you serve.