I got chatting to one of my girlfriends the other day about starting a business. She wondered what I thought was the best thing about working for myself. My answer? Work-life balance. Funnily enough, it’s probably also the worst thing, too!
When I started Monarch Advisory Group, I was really looking forward to being able to take time off when I wanted to and setting my own hours. But in reality, when you’re starting a business work-life balance goes out the window. It’s not that you can’t afford to go away – it’s that you can’t afford the time away from your business. Whilst it looks like you can do what you want, you are still at the beck and call of your clients – it’s such an important responsibility.
That said, my motivation for starting Monarch wasn’t really about having control of my own working environment. After a number of years in the finance industry, it became really clear to me that there were just too many people who didn’t have any insurance. There’s only so much you can do about that when you’re not a financial adviser. So I made the choice to start Monarch.
Despite how valuable insurance is, and the sheer number of Aussies who don’t have it. It was a lot harder than I ever thought it would be. I thought: “Everyone needs insurance, why wouldn’t they come on board?” But insurance is quite off-putting. It takes a long time to pin someone down and get them to commit to a policy. And I started working with my friends!
It also takes longer than you think to get your cash flow going. I had 6-9 months of income ready to cover myself when I started. And don’t expect your cash flow to be consistent! After so many years in the corporate world, with a regular salary hitting my account each fortnight, it took me a while to get used to the fact that the money would not simply roll in.
But running your own business is also incredibly rewarding. As well as still being in business after five years, my milestones include being named as Finalist in the 2013 AFA Rising Star of the Year Award and becoming part of the Most Trusted Adviser Network in 2015.
I’m also very proud that I stuck to my guns and built up my business from scratch. It is very tempting for new advisers to buy a book of clients to get the cash flow going. But it was not the way I wanted to grow my business and I can honestly say that sticking to the strategy has certainly paid off.
I gave my friend who was thinking about starting her own business this advice: I didn’t just wake up one day and start the business. I did about 18 months’ worth of planning before I officially declared myself open for business. And once you start, you need to dedicate all your time to it.
But most importantly, I told her that I’ve never looked back. Opening Monarch Advisory Group has been extremely satisfying and I’ve met some amazing people. You really do get a different perspective on life when you run your own business, and I can’t wait to keep expanding that perspective for another five years! Happy Birthday Monarch!