It’s always amazing how fast time goes by. I know, I know. People say it ALL the time. Just about every person I encountered after Harrison was born said the same thing, “Soak it up, time flies and he will be going to college before you know it.” He is now eleven months old and Tria and I can hardly believe it. We truly soak up every minute with him, but we still can’t get over how quickly each month passes.
I could go on about him for this whole post, but this month also signifies my one-year anniversary of launching Foundations Financial Planning! I am extremely lucky to be able to run this business every day. I get the opportunity to work with people about their life goals and dreams. It doesn’t get any better than that! That’s not to say I don’t struggle some days, mostly the ones involving paperwork and compliance, but I truly wake up excited to do my job. So I’d like to use this post to share with you the reflections I have from the past year (business only, we can talk Harrison later).
The first thing that comes to mind is that entrepreneurship is not for everyone. I talk with my clients about this frequently. A lot of business/motivational books tell you to find something you love doing and work towards making it your full-time business. I don’t think that is necessarily true. Being a small business owner is great, but it also is really crappy sometimes. I had many days over the last year wondering if it would just be easier to take my skills and go work somewhere. There is a big comfort in knowing you will get paid every two weeks. My point is you don’t have to own your own business to enjoy each day and have work/life balance.
The second thing that I experienced is that you need a plan at every stage of life. I’ve talked about it multiple times, but it’s worth mentioning again. I have clients in their 20’s as well as in their 80’s. Each one has a unique set of goals and needs for their finances. You are never too young or old to get organized. I can’t stress that enough! You can accomplish financial success, but it won’t be done without a plan.
My third thought is that everyone has a different definition of success. Again, this isn’t a big surprise, but I have loved listening to the different goals that my clients have shared with me. Although, one thing is similar in everyone even when the goals are different. Everyone wants to build a life that will make them happy. My goal is to align their money with that life. It is also obvious that people’s idea of happiness rarely involves buying lavish things. It almost always is about being able to have more free time to spend with family and friends. This time of the year is an important time to remember that.
Another few lessons are for those fresh entrepreneurs out there. Keep your debt to a minimum. This allows you more flexibility and reduces the pressure when you have slow months. Your business may take a little longer to grow, but it puts you in a better spot for the long term. Next, have a plan, but adapt as needed. I have goals just like every other business owner, but I don’t use written plans. Opportunities will present themselves all the time. If you aren’t flexible to change your plan, you could miss them. Last, get a hobby! Most business owners wind up dedicating any moment of free time to their business. You must give yourself a break. The best way to do that is to find something you enjoy doing that can take your mind off the business for a while. That also includes allowing yourself to sleep!
Well, one year down! This business started with a simple idea a few years ago. I wanted to provide a better way for financial advisors to help their clients. It’s incredible to think about how much has happened since then. I would like the thank my clients and everyone else who has helped me get to this point, especially Tria for her constant support. This has been an amazing year and I am excited for many more to come!
Mike Zeiter, CPA/PFS