Quick Tips to Grow as a Paraplanner
Inside the Paraplanner Portal, our community members have tons of great tips and tricks they’ve learned while working with their advisors and developing into their roles as paraplanners. And if you’re already a member, you know we love to hear these insights during our frequent coaching calls!
In a recent open forum on best practices, we got to hear some great stories and ideas—and we’re sharing a few of the best ones here with you. From connecting on social media to communicating expectations to building confidence, here are three quick tips you’ll want in your back pocket as you grow your career as a paraplanner.
1. SOCIAL MEDIA: A TOOL OR A HINDRANCE?
Networking is one of the keys to your success in this industry, and if you’re active on social media, it might be tempting to simply reach out to advisors in your network to see if they’d be willing to offer you a job. On the coaching call, however, a few of our paraplanners reflected on this, noting that the situation can be a bit more complicated than you’d think. Many financial advisors are constantly being bombarded through their social media accounts, whether through LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or even Instagram. And while those messages may vary, the outcome is usually the same: advisors are far too busy to deal with solicitations on these platforms.
That’s why it’s important not to overkill on social media when you’re networking with others in the financial industry. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t reach out to connect with advisors, but you do need to be thoughtful about how you make these connections. Instead of going straight for the job, consider the fact that most advisors are happy to engage in a conversation about their experiences in the financial planning industry. For example, they’re often willing to discuss things like mentorship, to answer questions about how they got their start as a financial planner, and to respond to people who have a genuine interest in the field. But if you come right out of the gate asking for a job, nine times out of ten the financial advisor will mark your message as read without bothering to reply.
Instead, come to the conversation with a genuine interest in learning about the advisor’s expertise, knowledge, and experience, and find out if you can develop a relationship from there. Fostering this kind of meaningful relationship can possibly help you turn your connection into a paid working role somewhere down the line—as long as you don’t go into it with that specific intention.
2. UNDERSTAND THE IMPORTANCE OF COMMUNICATION
One thing that can really help when you first start working with a financial advisor is understanding the importance of communication. There’s nothing more frustrating than not knowing what should be done next, not understanding your advisor’s expectations, or wondering what must be done to perform well in your advisor’s eyes. A breakdown in communication can be frustrating on both ends—but fortunately, it’s easy to prevent with a few simple steps.
Make sure that you insist on open communication from the start. When onboarding your advisor, communicate your expectations and ask about theirs. Set up regular meetings (ideally once a week, at least) in which both of you can get regular feedback. Ask for complete data before you start working on any new financial plan. And always try to make sure information is communicated in advance, rather than crossing the bridge when you get there, as this can help avoid conflict and strain on your relationship. Lastly, don’t be shy about asking questions. By setting a standard of open communication from the get go, you’ll ultimately promote a long-lasting and healthy working relationship.
3. CONFIDENCE GROWS WITH EXPERIENCE
It’s a vicious paradox: you gain confidence through experience, but you sometimes can’t earn those experiences unless you have the confidence to chase them.
Often, we see newer portal members come in with questions about their first planning roles, making a career change, getting into virtual work, or coming into this career straight out of college. If you’re in a similar boat, it’s easy to start feeling a lack of confidence in yourself and your skills. You might feel like you haven’t proven your own value, or you might worry because you don’t have as much expertise as the advisor you working with. You might not feel ready to start looking for more work, or you might hesitate to ask for a bigger role within your firm.
We’re here to tell you: don’t let that lack of experience erode your confidence! Use all the tools at your disposal to boost your confidence; dive into the tech trainings, listen to the webinars, ask questions and learn from other paraplanners. Leverage the community to get the info and skills you need to succeed, as well as the confidence to earn that first role.
Fortunately, you’ll find that you’ll begin to build confidence even more as you gain new experiences as a paraplanner. Landing your first gig, beginning to work virtually, taking on more responsibility—all of this can really help you feel ready to find more work, or to increase your hourly rates. Once you gain some experience, you’ll realize that your services are incredibly valuable. After all, you bring a ton of talent, knowledge, and passion to your role! Don’t let your initial worries keep you from progressing further and building your confidence and expertise.
There are way more tips inside the portal. If you’re interested in hearing more from paraplanners just like you, check out the all the activity happening in the Portal. If you’re not a member yet, don’t forget to sign up for the waitlist to get updates about when the doors will open next. We’re looking forward to seeing you there!