Here at Twenty Over Ten, our clients make up who we are. Every couple of weeks we like to chat with our clients to showcase their financial advisory business and their new website. We recently worked with Financial Planning Done Right and our team is completely head over heals for their new website and sleek branding.
Financial Planning Done Right, based in Portland, Oregon, provides financial services to a very specific niche, sharing economy contractors. There is no denying that the founder, Mark Sharp, has a unique story, perspective, and business we’re intrigued by. Take a look at what we learned in this Q&A:
Your firm’s story is fascinating. Tell us a little bit about your travel experiences and how it kick-started your firm.
NYC is one of my special places to visit but due to the sheer number of things to do, travel logistics can be challenging. The subway is doable and walking if the weather cooperates, is nice. But what happens when you have don’t want to walk or deal with the subway? You’re stuck in a cab.
One way I didn’t want to get around was in the backseat of an expensive taxi. Friends who visited the city raved about Uber and recommended we skip the cabbies and try it. They were right.
From the rideshare request to the payment – the whole experience was easy, relaxing, and not anything like riding in a cab. I was so impressed with the driver professionalism, pleasant nature, and affordability, that I opted to use Uber for most of my longer city outings.
After speaking with many drivers, I learned that they face many of the problems most small business owners do – taxes, insurance, cash flow, retirement etc, while working in the sharing economy. I had an epiphany of sorts: these awesome people are looking for solutions to make working as sharing economy entrepreneurs financially possible, and I have solutions to help them.
From that point on, I have designed my practice, message, and digital presence around providing solutions to their most pressing financial problems. Then as well as today, helping Uber drivers, Airbnb hosts, and other sharing economy businesses succeed just felt like the right thing for me to do.
Working with independent contractors in the sharing economy is a unique niche to work with. What is your favorite part about working in the sharing economy?
It’s really quite simple: it’s easier to work with people who are passionate about and enjoy what they do. From experience, Uber drivers, Airbnb hosts, and Task Rabbit taskers are some of most enthusiastic small business owners to work with.
Then there is the practical side of what they do. I regularly use Uber and Airbnb when traveling so I personally use and appreciate their services and want to play a small part in helping their sustainability. So, in addition to working with some great people, I get to personally use an awesome service!
A lot of advisors just starting out often struggle with finding their niche. What advice do you have?
Look no further than the company that builds websites. Twenty Over Ten is a perfect example of the benefits of doing something well for a single target audience. They build great websites for financial professionals, not attorneys, accountants, or anyone else who wants a website. And because of that focus, the finished product is of a high quality.
Apart from that, my first piece of advice is to read Blue Ocean Strategy. The gist is how to create uncontested market space and make competition irrelevant. This book very much set me on the path to finding and choosing the niche I serve today. My goal is to become a trusted thought leader on business and personal financial planning issues for sharing economy entrepreneurs.
Second, don’t limit your niche possibilities. A niche can be a demographic, an expertise in solving a specific problem, a unique way to solve a problem, or how you ultimately deliver your service.
Third, put yourself in the shoes of the prospect who is looking for an adviser. Imagine the frustration and difficulty they face trying to find an adviser when they all are singing the same song. It’s like looking in the yellow pages for an attorney. Good luck with that. Would you spend hours reading the same website spill when they all sound alike? Would you spend hours on the phone interviewing each adviser to find the right one that gets you and your financial challenges better than all the others? No, you wouldn’t, so don’t expect prospects to do the same to find you.
Foremost, you have to make it easy for them to find you and a good way to do that is to differentiate yourself from all the other advisers. This way, your message doesn’t get lost in the constant background hiss of all the other advisors and it clearly reaches your intended audience.
Differentiation will be key for any advisor moving forward.
Back in August, you upgraded your website and social media presence. What shifts have you seen in your business since launching?
The website from day one was designed to be our marketing and sales hub. It’s where our niche goes to seek knowledge, find inspiration, connect with a community, and get help with their challenges and problems. Now a great website is a good start but you have to create channels to direct people back to the website, and that is just what our social media efforts have done. We cannot offer our value if people who need our help cannot find us… And social media, along with SEO and word of mouth, do just that.
Your site has a ton of great functionality. Tell us about the process of working with our team to design your site.
First, let me say I am a strong believer in letting people who do things well that I cannot, or don’t want to do, do it instead. Having said that there’s an interesting backstory. I come from a software development background and initially thought I could build my own website. Building websites aren’t the most difficult thing to do but you do need some tech chops, planning, experience and above all patience.
I got into financial planning to help people, not fuss over how this image looks or how this page behaves. From experience, I know building a website would have taken so much time and energy away from other important areas of running a financial planning practice that in the end, I knew would sabotage other efforts I needed to undertake.
Ultimately, I opted to have Twenty Over Ten build the site for the simple reason: THIS IS WHAT THEY DO AND THEY DO IT WELL. The decision to have Twenty Over Ten build the website and develop the awesome content was one of the best business decisions I made. From the designers and developers to the copywriters, all are top notch and so easy to work with. I was most impressed with their ability to take my vision and turn it into the site I have today.
This is as close as you will come to a high-quality turn-key website. They will take your vision, create the site, launch it, give you tools to keep it fresh, and above all, give you a professional online presence. A well designed website that clearly conveys your value to your target audience in a positive way is a competitive and strategic advantage. Twenty Over Ten can help you get there.
We see you have Sumo integrated on your site, that’s great! Tell us – how has this impacted lead generation for your business and what successes have you seen?
The response has been positive so far. We use Sumo as another acquisition tool for our marketing and sales funnel. Lead generation is a top goal of the site, as I am sure it is for most advisors, and active CTAs are a big part of fulfilling this goal. Moreover, it’s another way for us to offer value to a segment of prospects who are not at the point where they want to directly engage with the firm. It caters to our try before you buy prospects.
We just love your library of ebooks and how-to guides. What feedback have you received from clients and prospects on providing free resources like this?
For what we have, prospects and clients alike find them useful. Creating “heavy” content is very time intensive but the benefits are so vital to our business. We’re a big believer in Content Marketing and ebooks; quick-start kits are central in support of this.
What digital marketing resolutions do you have for your firm in 2018?
The short answer: Anything that expands our outreach efforts to connect and engage more of our target audience. As always, we would like to continue creating and delivering more epic content to our niches. But in terms of digital marketing, we would like to explore leveraging podcast as an additional way to deliver value to our target niche.
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