Creating the Life You Want

From the Golf Course to Wealth Management Career Transitions, Personal Growth, and Creating the Life You Want is what our guest today Stephanie Follin shares with us. We don’t always start out where we are meant to be.  In a time when many people are looking for a  job today’s guest, Stephanie Follin shares her own professional journey from working seasonally at golf courses, to helping high net worth individuals and business owners plan their futures and transitions.

Stephanie Follin

To learn more about Stephanie Add or follow her on Linked In – She provides holistic, value base financial planning, risk management & investment advisory services to individuals and families, specializing in multigenerational planning.- Connecting her clients with strategies that are aligned with their values and are sustainability-focused & advocate for positive impact.

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Show Transcript from Career Transitions, Personal Growth, and Creating the Life You Want

Tim Kubiak 0:04
All the time founders are talking about what their value is and what their exit strategies are, especially if you work in tech. But it’s not a tech only problem generational businesses and generational wealth for small business owners and passing it on to an outside investor family is a real challenge. Today we’re joined by Stephanie fallen, we’re going to talk about a number of things, building your business and planning your exit strategies part of it. The second part of it is connecting your value to your portfolio client value to your portfolio and looking at how you manage your investment in your own wealth. Stephanie’s obviously in wealth management. Thanks for listening to bow ties in business. I’m your host Tim Kubiak. As always, you can find us on bow ties in business on Facebook and Instagram and bow ties and bi z on Twitter. If you’re running a business or have sales challenges, I have a new program launching you can reach out to me at Tim Kubiak comm or find me Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, wherever and happy to explore whether or not it may be a fit for you. Stephanie, thank you so much for being here. Welcome to the show. We’re gonna talk about a lot of fun things today. And I’m in the polar vortex and you’re somewhere warm. So I’m jealous right out of the gate.

Stephanie Follin 1:14
Yes, yes, I am. Thank you. I right now I am in Phoenix. And I I do usually I am from Chicago and I spend a lot of time there. So watching all the the Instagram and the Facebook, people prepping for the snow. I don’t miss it this year.

Tim Kubiak 1:32
Do you take pictures like little sand shovels and stop and say no snow shovels? Here?

Stephanie Follin 1:37
Are you what I’d like to do is send a picture where it’s like, you know, 60 degrees and be like, Ah, it’s a cool day today that that’s what really gets them going. One of

Tim Kubiak 1:47
my best friends lives in Vegas, and he was sending me the temperature in his car. The Vegas forecast screenshots at the St. Louis forecast. Like all day, yesterday was phone hazing. It was brutal. And then he was sending me real estate listings.

Stephanie Follin 2:00
Yeah, there’s there’s part of it. That’s kind of fun. Like when you move out of those cold areas to be like, Oh, now I get to be that person that makes everyone else jealous.

Tim Kubiak 2:11
You, you’re definitely location wise, in my case, have that that’s for sure. So if we can start, a lot of times we talk about business journeys. And your journey is an interesting one. I know a little bit of your background in your in wealth management now, but you kind of grew into your current role by supporting others, you might share your story.

Stephanie Follin 2:31
Yeah, um, so I did not start in wealth management. My degree actually went to Quincy University in Illinois. And my degree was in sport management. And I started at a college working in, in golf, I played golf in high school, college. So it was just kind of a natural place for me to go. And over time, I just kind of, you know, grew sick of the all working sunup to sundown every weekend, all weekend, I really missed having like, what a weekend really is. So I had talked to a friend of mine who, you know, was a financial advisor, and I had just said, you know, if you know, of anybody looking for something, you know, at that point, I was just looking to get out of, you know, golf into marketing or something like that. And he had suggested, you know, maybe you could work for someone like me, you know, I think is something you could be good at. And so I was like, okay, you know, that’s fine. Like, let’s see what that turns out to be. And I was incredibly fortunate to get an opportunity with a gentleman with Northwestern Mutual, and, you know, he gave me this opportunity to take any tests that I wanted one time. And for me, I’m not a big student, I’m not a big test taker, but for him to open that opportunity to, you know, fun that I felt like that was important to kind of take advantage of. Right so you know, you start you know, when you get into the business usually start with your life and health license, and that’s what I did. And then, you know, I started looking at the security side of the business, which is the investment side, and I just kind of figured you know, this kind of seems like the place that I’m really excelling in this is making a lot of sense. Let me just keep going. And so I then passed my series seven my series 66 and, you know, by the way I did I did fail the 66 the first time I took it by one question, so that doesn’t teach you to like really focus when you’re studying a home I don’t know what does but you know, I I then kind of outgrew the practice that I was in. I kind of outgrew the position that I was in supporting a smaller business and I was given the opportunity to go and work downtown Chicago for a while. management firm called Wwm investments. And when I started working there, I started as a director of operations. And I really just learned the business from the ground up. And, you know, learned how everything operated because as a director of operations, you’re essentially like the quarterback, right. So you are directing everything on a daily basis, you might not be executing everything, but you at least are in charge of everything that is being executed. And so from there, you know, I grew into this Director of Financial Planning role where I essentially was prepping our financial plans for clients, we were a high net worth office. So, you know, you see these, these lots of dollar amounts coming in. And, you know, once you just trust the process, and you don’t look at the numbers anymore, so

Tim Kubiak 5:53
you’re not real, right?

Stephanie Follin 5:55
They’re not, they’re really not real, which is why financial advisors sometimes forget that we’re talking to a client, because you know, we live in these numbers, and we see these kinds of numbers all day long. And Frost is normal. But the other side of it is a client, like this is something they have on their calendar being like, I have to see my financial advisor today, like it’s a little bit more of a not as enjoyable of an experience as it is for an advisor.

Tim Kubiak 6:23
And so,

I dragged my guy crazy, by the way. Good. You should I drive you nuts.

Stephanie Follin 6:31
Let me tell you, I’ve gotten a lot of calls in the last couple of weeks about one particular meme stock. So

Tim Kubiak 6:40
have you been on Reddit at all? Oh, yeah.

Stephanie Follin 6:42
Wow, have you been anywhere, it’s all over everywhere. But anyway, so yeah, I was in this position. And I was in Chicago, working in this wealth management firm. And it was a great opportunity. And I kind of got to the point where clients were coming to me, instead of going to our advisors, and then I had advisors coming to me and asking me for advice on on their clients. And it kind of kind of made me start to realize that, although this was absolutely not the path that I saw for myself, that there seems to be a lot of things aligning, and a lot of kind of signs going off that maybe the adviser track is the right one for me. And I kind of did a little bit of did a little bit of research. And, you know, I wasn’t totally sure. So I even looked for at positions that were, you know, a little bit similar to what I was doing, or maybe a little bit higher level. And, you know, those conversations were great. And, you know, I heard a lot and you know, I have to, you know, thank God, because I’ve gone through experiences where I mean, from the time I was 21 until I was 28, I got laid off six times. And if you’re ever looking for a job, you know that that is the most I mean, it’s the most depressing time in your life is when you’re looking for a job. So fortunately for me, this time around when I was looking at what was out there, I had a lot of traction. And I had a lot of response. And, you know, it allowed me to have these really great conversations to kind of really decide where I needed to land. And so through all of that, I ended up taking a position with LPL Financial, and wise world investment planning as a wealth management advisor, and creating this, this lifestyle that I live now, you know, I decided, just like any time you’re a business owner, you have to buy in 110%, like 100% is just not enough. It’s that extra 10% that really, you have to buy in. And so I really thought to myself, okay, if I’m buying in what, what exactly does that look like for me? And I just kind of came to the point where my friends and my family are my number one value in life. They’re the most important people to me. If they’re happy, I’m happy. So to be able to spend more time with them and not worry about how many vacation days I have. That was important to me. I also, you know, I love all my friends and I love that they’re getting married, but I also didn’t want to spend all of my vacation days on weddings either, because I’ve done that before.

Tim Kubiak 9:45
Yeah, I’m watching my daughter have gone through that recently. Yeah,

Stephanie Follin 9:49
yeah, it’s, I mean, it’s fun. Don’t get me wrong, the weddings are fun. They’re a great time. But then at the end of the year, you’re like, Wait a second. I just use all of my vacation time. Forever. everybody else’s, you know, wedding, no, no downtime

Tim Kubiak 10:03
for you.

Stephanie Follin 10:04
Right? And it’s like, well, where was my vacation? So? Yeah. And once I kind of was having those thoughts, I thought, well, I’m spending a significant amount of the Year in Arizona already. You know, I was coming out here three, four times a year for at least a week at a time. And so I thought, okay, if I’m spending that much time out there, I think I could. I think I could be a Snowbird I really think that’s something that I can do. I think that’s a great lifestyle. And I don’t want to wait until I’m in my 60s or retired to do that, especially in the world of COVID. Everything’s virtual anyways. So I really, at that point, once I made that decision, I just jumped and I did it. Because sometimes there’s a What do they say paralysis by over analysis. So the more you think about it, right? The more you think about it, the more you’re going to come up with the reasons why oh, this might not be a good idea. So once I made that decision, yeah, I just jumped and made my way out to Arizona to be a Snowbird so yeah, it’s been Yeah, it’s been quite the journey. I will say that,

Tim Kubiak 11:14
but it’s been fun. You know, if people listening have never picked up and change cities other than to, at all or other than to go to university, it is very different, right? your social circle, everything changes.

Stephanie Follin 11:28
Everything changes. I mean, just, you know, your daily routine, you’re who you’re seeing, you’re, and you realize, especially as an adult, and you meet new people, the great thing about moving when you’re kids is you move and then you’re in school, you get dropped into people as an adult, especially in the world of COVID you have to put in a lot of effort to you know, make those connections and, you know, build your kind of local tribe as you will.

Tim Kubiak 11:59
Yeah, yeah. Ironically, your area’s on my shortlist to get to

Stephanie Follin 12:05
well, anytime come on down.

Tim Kubiak 12:08
So yeah, I will eventually Snowbird

Stephanie Follin 12:13
Let me tell you, it’s a great lifestyle. Cuz I mean, it gets, the thing about Arizona is it gets cold at night. So like, you still get a little bit of that, you know, cold. So it’s not like you’re in the Bahamas or something. But you don’t get the polar vortex.

Tim Kubiak 12:30
You don’t get the polar vortex in order to get through in the Caymans. Yeah. Let’s talk one of our first conversations we had when we met each other was about helping business owners really prepare to pass on the business and go into the next phase of life or a different business. Can you share some of the things you do there? Because as we talked about some of my clients that is really folks had been in business 15 to 25 years, and they’re at that point.

Stephanie Follin 12:59
Yeah.

I’m glad, I’m glad we get to talk about this, because I think some business owners have a dream of legacy, where the business lives on beyond them. And I think that’s important, because it’s, it’s realistic, it’s incredibly realistic, to create something that’s bigger, that has that legacy in it. And so what we do with our business owners, and some of the things that we help them with is creating those legacy plans. You know, we like, you know, we work with a lot of families that are passing a business within a family, which, you know, that is a really natural transition for small business owners is to pass within the family. But sometimes their people want somebody to come in and buy the business, and they want somebody from outside the family to do that. And so there are options out there to facilitate that as well. So, you know, a business doesn’t have to die with the owner. There is that opportunity for that legacy piece.

Tim Kubiak 14:13
So one of the things you know, so I worked in a world of bars and resellers in technology, right? So everybody knows the tech company brands. But what people don’t realize is there’s literally 100,000 companies out there from small to cute, that you’ve just never heard of that sell their products to the corporate end users. And where I’m at, I’ve been in the business roughly 30 years at this point, and I’m watching people that have built their businesses over these 30 years, get to the point where technology shifting, it’s changing. And then they just don’t want to go through the next evolution had been through three or four already. Right? Yeah. So I see a lot of people. I don’t want to say fall prey because some people have done it very well. But the roll up strategy of I’m going to go get a bunch of outside money. I’m going to sell out for ridiculous multiple to this person who’s going to, you know, create synergies and all this stuff? Do you have guidance on things to look at as you’re starting to think about, frankly, passing the business, whether it’s inside the family or to outsiders?

Stephanie Follin 15:17
Yeah, I think it’s incredibly important to know the value of your business. Now, I say that because as a business owner, we love our business. And that’s our life. And so we may look at the value of our business and think that it is more than it really is. And so it’s hard for a business owner to give a straight kind of look at what their business value is. But that’s something that’s really important, because if you know, what the value of your business is, it gives you different opportunities, you know, what is what’s good in your business, you know, you know what’s bad in your business. So when you have somebody that you’re looking to, if you’re bringing in a third party to come in and purchase, you have a little bit more knowledge about what you’re actually bringing to the table, instead of just, hey, here’s this business I created that I love that’s doing awesome. Here’s how much we make a year. How much you know, what are you thinking? You have a lot more context to answer to go into those conversations, because you kind of have really good understanding of what the true value of your company is.

Tim Kubiak 16:34
Is it an EBIT conversation often when you’re dealing with outsiders? So is it comes in, look, here’s my EBIT, but I also paid for two boats and a Cadillac.

Stephanie Follin 16:43
Yeah.

Tim Kubiak 16:45
They do that right. I know they do.

Stephanie Follin 16:47
Yeah, no, that’s the that’s the business of small business, I think. But, you know, sometimes, yes, it is, when you’re finding a third party, the conversation with a third party buyer is much different than within the family. Because when you’re within the family, it’s okay. It’s your, it’s usually Okay, it’s your time to take this over. We need to figure out a financial way for you to take that over, not just an operational, hey, you’re taking over. But now we need to figure out the finances. So the conversation when you talk with third parties is definitely different. They look more critically at your your books at the operations they want to know. You know, because some people are out there just buying a business to buy a good opportunity. And so they want to see everything. Whereas if you’re in a family purchase situation, that conversation is much much different.

Tim Kubiak 17:44
In the famous situation, I have to imagine you have different dynamics. So my mother always had this dream that if you won the lottery, she was going to buy a golf course, ironically, and convinced my sister and I to move back and run it.

Yeah. Never been a good golfer. And I’m allergic to grass.

Stephanie Follin 18:05
I’m going to tell you right now, a golf course is a terrible investment as someone who was in the golf industry for so long, who still plays a lot of golf. I, I wouldn’t do it. And so good. I mean, I guess it’s a good thing. Knock on wood, your, your mother hasn’t won the lottery? Um, yeah. So yeah, um,

it’s just

there are a lot of different dynamics, and it’s in a family, and especially a family that’s in business together, because they’ve already come over a pretty big hurdle. Like, how many of us would really want to spend our entire day with our family, and a lot of small family business owners, that’s what they do. So they’ve already gotten over that huge hurdle that a lot of people are just like, Oh, my gosh, I couldn’t even imagine spending all day, you know, working with my dad all day long. Are you serious? Like, so, um, you do deal with different dynamics, but as that’s where you have this benefit as the the advisor in the conversation, because I get to be, I don’t want to say a mediator, because that’s not what I’m there to do. I’m there to help facilitate, but I’m, you know, I’m a third point of view. So, you know, you I see it within, you know, within my own family, right. So it’s like, I think that I’m, you know, being rational, my brother does not think I’m being rational. I mean, it’s the same thing when you come to the business table, like, it’s, I feel like my thoughts are what I am saying is right, and they feel like what they’re saying is right, and so is that third person in the room, you can just kind of be like, okay, let’s take the, kind of take the emotion, take the feelings out of it. And let’s actually talk about it in business. So kind of having that presence kind of brings that dynamic, a little bit down a little bit, but you definitely do see a lot of different dynamics.

Tim Kubiak 20:11
Yeah. And one of the things I would think is, you know, can you using my made up example, if my sister wanted to go do it? And I didn’t? Am I getting left out? Am I losing part of my inheritance because they didn’t sell it externally, what you know, in my case, I’m off running my own thing, I really don’t care. But that’s not always the case.

Stephanie Follin 20:31
It’s not, it’s not always the case. And you see very different levels of family involvement in family business. for that very reason that you just said, you know, you want a part in it, or you don’t want a part in it. I mean, my brother wants to be a chef and have a restaurant and I’m like, cool. I like to be a part of it. But I’ve never worked in a restaurant, like, I’m not going to come in and tell you how to run things. Like, I’d like to be a part of it. So there’s different kind of setups that you can have for a family business, where it’s like, you know, I can provide value to the business. And, you know, this way, I may not be there for daily operations, but I’m still providing value in some way. So, you know, it’s a little bit more fun when you’re planning and family business, because it’s just so unique and so different. Everybody kind of has their business set up just a little bit differently.

Tim Kubiak 21:30
So in the tech world, and I’ve got two launches right now, right? They’re at 36 to 60 month exit strategies. They know what they’re building, they plan to get acquired, right? Oh, yeah. They don’t plan to stand up and be the next big monolith. Yep. traditional family businesses probably don’t have that baked in. Is that a fair assessment?

Stephanie Follin 21:50
Yes.

Tim Kubiak 21:51
So how far out? Do they need to start looking? Is it dad’s mom and dad or 65, or mom and dad are 55.

Stephanie Follin 22:01
In terms of exit planning, we like to start planning immediately. Because when we start working with a business, we’re planning for your future. So we’re planning for that legacy right away. And the earlier we can put those pieces in place, the more smoothly the more successful. I mean, it just takes the whole piece of anxiety out of it. Because you know, you already have that plan in place. Um, you know, it’s funny, we talked about the that, that we talked about this this week, because it was groundhogs day, the other day. And I was looking up, and I was like, uh, how, like, how often is this guy really, right? Like, what’s the percentage of accuracy and he’s only right, like, 39% of the time. And I saw something and it was like, we’re really, we’re really looking at groundhog to predict the future. And, you know, there’s no way it’s funny, it kind of ties into this, like, there’s no way to predict the future, really, and Groundhog Day is 40% accurate. But by putting these plans in place, you just, you have a better way to, to take on whatever is coming forward. So, you know, we can predict and guess as much as we want. But what’s going to happen is going to happen. And so when we have the right pieces in place and the right plan in place from the beginning, it just kind of makes it a little bit easier to take on those.

Tim Kubiak 23:40
Yeah, so so one of the things I fight with clients all the time is, right, Google and Facebook have made the world believe that everything is predictable algorithm. And then machine learning is just going to make it all and everything’s just going to be consistent forever. That’s not human behavior. Right? That might not even be machine behaviors evolves. it’s arguable. Right? You know, and I love numbers more than the average guy. But you look at you, you’re like, yeah, did you see COVID? coming?

Stephanie Follin 24:10
Yeah, right. Right.

Tim Kubiak 24:12
And I and I have clients whose businesses are up, you know, double year over year, and part of my challenge going into this year was, you know, I’m like, Yeah, but you sold an extra seven and a half million, because everybody wants to work from home. Not gonna happen this year. Yeah. But we have to have growth really are your public company. By the way, I don’t believe public companies can always grow. So really, maybe there’s some cost controls, maybe you should just bank the money you made and go back to your projected growth rate from before that, which is a nice 14%.

Stephanie Follin 24:45
Yeah. You really have to manage expectations. And like you said, the the world of Google and Facebook, make everybody you know, think they’re an expert and Just fine. Um, yeah, but you really have to, as a business owner, you have to take the emotion out as much as you possibly can. And part of that is being realistic in what, what’s there, what you can do, and what the outlook is. Now. Also, as a business owner, you have to be the dreamer. So you have to be the one that’s, you know, thinking big that this is what we can do. But you also have to have that rational. Okay, this is realistic. And if that’s not you, if you’re not the one who’s realistic, then you have someone in your corner who is, you know, you have, you know, someone in your tribe.

Yeah.

Yeah, like, you come to them. And they’re like, Yeah, no, that’s not even realistic. And you’re like, Okay, well, that’s why I have you. So, you know, you have to have both points of view, you have to be that dreamer. And you have to have that, that person that manages your expectations. You know, just because that’s, that’s how it’s gonna work.

Tim Kubiak 26:13
I don’t I almost speak for you, I fall into crazy conversations. My favorite one, one of my favorite ones ever was, I’m in a boardroom, with some very powerful executives, they have a leading market share, will say just below 50%, right, it’s a mature market, the markets going to grow 8% their major lines of called eight to 12% growth in the coming year. And they’re sitting there telling their leadership, you’re gonna grow 20% next year, and I literally looked at and said, Where’s it coming from? on the market this much? Right? Can you take a percentage or two or share? Yeah, Mike, you launch a couple of new offers. Do you have any in the works? Oh, you don’t? Okay. Hmm. Well, then what? What are you going to do? Oh, you’re gonna go take all of this from your competitors, at what cost? Or price work? Right? If you could drive them out of business and keep the costs up? Certainly Go for it, you know, take it take it a lower margin. But it’s amazing. You know, you see it. And you know, it’s not my stat, it’s somebody else’s stat. But like 60% of sales, people in corporations now don’t make their numbers. It’s all just baked into the plan. Right? They just pick a growth number and assign it out. So if they need to hit 12, they assign 30% growth. And that’s just cost of doing business, which is great for me, because I have a lot of people looking for my planning active planning conversations.

Stephanie Follin 27:37
Yeah, but it’s true. I mean, a lot of these, a lot of a lot of people are setting metrics, arbitrary numbers, they’re just like, Yeah, no, we want this. So this is your number, without taking into account the reality of what that actually looks like. To your point earlier, you have some businesses that are doing really well. And in the world of COVID, a business that’s doing well was able to pivot. I mean, there’s not one business out there that didn’t have to pivot. And, you know, when you have to change so much of how you’re doing business, and you’re still you know, getting that growth, you know, do you set higher growth record or, you know, growth metrics? Or do you kind of sit back and say, Okay, why were we so successful? Why did we have so much more growth? Is that something that can be sustained into next year? Is that something that we can grow off of, instead of just saying, Okay, yeah, last year, we did 10%. This year, we’re gonna do 15%. That’s like, Okay, well, is it realistic to do 15%? Is our business model set up to do 15%? I mean, they always say like, it costs money to make money, you know, it

Tim Kubiak 28:59
cost inventory. Some businesses.

Stephanie Follin 29:03
Yeah, exactly. And so, you know, does this growth for you going from, you know, 12% 15%? How much more cost? Is that, like, you were saying, does that require more staff? Does that require more payroll? Does that require, you know, less payroll? Like, what does that really look like? Like, how do you truly try to achieve that, you know, extra percent, like you said, like, where does that come from you? You really shouldn’t just pick a number and say, yeah, I’m gonna, you know, I could sit here all day and say, I’m gonna pick up six new clients this month. Well, it’s like, well, how are you going to do that? And it’s like, Well, okay, this is how I’m going to do it. But I have to still justify that number. So yeah, you see that a lot.

Tim Kubiak 29:47
Yeah, yeah. I love the clients example, because I get that a lot. Well, you know, to get six clients, I need to make 300 phone calls and I have to have 18 genuinely interested and make a proposal and then I’m gonna To close a third. Okay, who are you targeting?

Stephanie Follin 30:04
Yeah, it’s like you can you can

Tim Kubiak 30:07
anc close like 300.

Stephanie Follin 30:10
Yeah, exactly. And you know what, when I came when I, when I decided to be an advisor, the one thing I didn’t want was that call 300 people? Yeah. Because that’s what I feel strongly about. That’s not why I wanted to be an advisor. And so to kind of set your metrics in that regard, I was like, that’s not really the type of advisor I want to be. Yeah. But you know, you do, you do have to track your numbers so that you have a good, you track your numbers to determine your activity. Really, like, that’s really what you’re doing? Like, okay, if I know that I have to go to six networking events with, you know, and I have to book at least like two meetings out of each networking event. Yep. You know, what, how does that trickle down to, you know, quality that, you know, quality clients with a meeting. But I also have to say, I’m going to six networking meetings to do you know, and I have to break it down, and what people are really looking for what’s quality to me, you know, what kind of client am I working for, there’s a reason why there’s 1000s of financial advisors, because we work, we don’t work with everybody, just like you don’t perfect example, you don’t work with just any doctor, like you want to go to the doctor that you enjoy. You don’t work with just any attorney, you go to the attorney that’s going to help you that understand your case. Same thing with a financial adviser. I’m not going to work with somebody who doesn’t have the same values that I do. You know, and that’s why we have so many of us. So yeah, it’s a it’s interesting when you kind of have to figure all that out, too.

Tim Kubiak 31:58
It is, you know, and it’s, it’s, so we’ve worked a lot this past fall with financial planners and property and casualty brokers, right. Yeah, people not unlike yourself. And it was not a business we intended to enter. Somebody made an introduction, you made an introduction, that introduction. And what we realized pretty quickly, to your point on the calling metrics is, you know, in the corporate world, we sit down and we look at, okay, who you’re calling on, what’s their level? And what’s their functional area? And where does the solution fit. And what I realized really quickly was, and I don’t want to over generalize, but the folks that we’ve helped, it had really good results, because we’ve done that really basic exercise, right? Hey, who’s likely to spend $76,000 on property and casualty insurance that you don’t have now? And And who do you need to call on him? Why aren’t they buying from you already? But why haven’t you called them before? Right? And a lot of cases, they’ve been the third big four years, right? They wait every year, they get the call? Can you give me a price, and they never get the business? Because they don’t have a plan to go take? Mm hmm. Right. So there’s this, there’s the sales maniac and me, right. So how do you you talk about networking events when we met at one? So you know, right, and I don’t do a lot. But in my case, that was a really interesting experience. And what it helped me do was get my pitch down to under two minutes to an audience that doesn’t speak my language. Yep. And frankly, qualify in or scare away everyone else.

Stephanie Follin 33:35
That’s exactly exactly right. I enjoy networking events, no matter what type it is really for the opportunity to practice my language to practice my articulating what I want my message to be, um, there are some networking groups that obviously have a lot more quality than others. But, you know, sometimes it’s just, you know, if you’re in a networking group, and everyone’s just giving a pitch, and no one’s really ever listening. Yeah, it’s not a deal. But it also gives me that opportunity to, to practice a pitch in a in a, you know, setting with my peers. Yep. There’s also then the opportunity to connect with people outside of that. So you know, when I’m in a networking group, no matter who it is, and

I actually much prefer virtual networking at this point, because I can watch better depth

Tim Kubiak 34:35
than I do in real ones. I’ll be honest, I don’t like that. Like real events.

Stephanie Follin 34:39
Yeah. And I, you know, I go to one real one a week and you just you don’t, you aren’t as productive. And I don’t want to say that you’re not paying attention that you’re not an active participant. But when you can be an active participant and through that conference, Pick out the people that you want to connect with one to one, and get those one to ones in the words before the meeting is even over. That, to me is more quality than in person. Because in person, you know, you’re sitting there waiting for everybody to get done, you’ve probably had to buy drinks or buy lunch or something. And then you have to, you know, kind of seek out the person in the room, which, you know, there is a lot to be said for that human interaction. But in terms of just working in networking, I like the virtual world so much more. But, you know, like I was saying, I like them for the practice of articulation. And then, like you said, you can either, you know, scare him away right away, or you pick the ones that you really want to work with, you pick the you want to work with people who you think can help you in a couple areas. And this is when you know, you’re doing networking kind of the right way, when you meet somebody like you and I met. And I decided that I wanted to know more about you in a more of a one to one setting, I want to know more about you, I want to know, you know, your journey, that’s always important to me, I like knowing people’s stories. And I want to know, how we may be able to help each other? Is it an introduction? Do you just need an introduction to somebody I’m trying to, I try and connect as many people as I can. So, you know, if I go into the room with, okay, I want to know more about you. And I want to know how we may be able to help each other. You know, that’s what I like kind of my first meeting after a networking meeting to be and then, you know, through getting to know them, you kind of figure out, Okay, this would be a good fit for me, this would not be a good fit for me, you know, through the conversation, you know, I’m a huge note taker. So like, I always have, like, my mouse pad is literally a notebook. So like, I have, you know, my mouse is going and then it’s like, oh, I have a note to take, like, it’s all right here. So in my conversations with people, I’m usually jotting notes, like who they are, what they do, but then if during our conversation, somebody’s name comes to mind, I write that name down, and then kind of towards the end the conversation, it’s like, Okay, well, you know, I have a couple of people in mind that I might want to introduce you to, you know, and I try in, at least provide value to my networking meetings in that way. Because that’s really how I try and approach it, you know, you can’t go into a networking room thinking, I’m gonna sell all these people here, because you can’t buy everything number one, because how often do you go into a networking room and purchase whatever people are selling you? Not very often,

Tim Kubiak 37:41
unless you’re selling bow ties?

Stephanie Follin 37:45
Yeah, I haven’t met anybody selling golf clubs lately. So I haven’t bought anything but, you know, it’s, it’s establishing that relationship and, you know, you it’s more valuable of a connection, when you can establish just kind of, hey, how do I get to know you, what it is that you’re looking for, that I may be able to help you with? And then you know, what I tend to do is, after that meeting, I’ll decide, okay, I feel like this person might find a little bit of value and learning what I do. So then I’ll introduce them. And I’ll say, you know, what I’d really like to do is, we’ll follow up with you and show you what our client process is. And, you know, we like to do that for a couple of reasons. Number one, to see if this is something that you find value in. But more importantly, we want to establish trust and a relationship between us. Because when you’re meeting with other people, we want to and you think that they could find value in, you know, having a conversation with us that you have the confidence to give that favorable introduction, you know, just like me sitting here, oh, I’m talking to somebody, I think Tim would be a great connection for this person, like the same thing. Like I’d like to be that person that you’re writing down when you’re,

Tim Kubiak 39:03
and by the way, she’s a good connector for people. talk me out there’s some good stuff. Yeah.

Stephanie Follin 39:09
Yeah. And that’s, you know, that’s what I like to do. You know, it’s just, it makes it so much more fun and more meaningful when you can do it that way. So that’s kind of how I approach my networking.

Tim Kubiak 39:23
And I think it’s a great approach. The truth is, I don’t take a lot of meetings out of those kind of calls, and you have a nice to sync pitch that like, Oh, this is interesting. I wanted to learn more as well. Right. And obviously, we’ve kind of gotten to know each other a bit beyond that. And as I talked to people, frankly, I kind of have some of your wealth management exit strategy talk track in my head now so that if that comes up, I can go Oh, hey, by the way.

Stephanie Follin 39:52
Yeah, exactly. And you know, I especially right now with with COVID and You know, so many people have gotten laid off, I meeting a lot of people who are looking for opportunities. And, you know, like I said, before I was laid off six times from when I was 21. I was 28. Like, I essentially didn’t work a winter. Like, that’s kind of what that broke down to. So to be able to help people who are looking for those positions, who, you know, I know what that feels like. And just to be able to make a an introduction that hopefully leads to something else for them. Like, if that’s what I can provide, then, you know, that makes me happy and makes me feel good. So

Tim Kubiak 40:35
that’s pretty awesome. Rich, I know, we’ve only got a few minutes left, but I do want to segue into a conversation you and I had previously. And I think it’s something not everybody realizes they can do it. And I have the mantra, I don’t invest in evil. Everybody can define evil what they want, I listened to death metal, I’m not defining that as evil. But industrially or commercially, is that Yeah, you talk just for a few minutes about how you can have that conversation, whether it’s with you or with their existing financial advisors.

Stephanie Follin 41:04
Yeah, so it’s it, it is a different way of thinking of, of your investments. Basically, what it is, is it’s it’s value based planning and value based assessment, Ira investments. So what we what we do is we work with our clients to define their values, you know, we go through value questionnaire survey and a really fun way, just to determine what it is that’s really important to you. And then we actually connect your portfolio with your values. So we’ll use a very basic example, let’s just say that you tell me that green energy is incredibly important to you, and you don’t like the tobacco industry at all. So what we would do, is we assessment, by the way, yeah, it’s, it’s a little more common. You know, a lot of people when they start thinking about, you know, where’s my money going? Perfect example, people’s, you know, they say you vote with your dollars, and you really do you truly, truly do. And I tie that in, because not to get political, but recently, with capital riots and the, the, when they were voting for the when they were objecting to the election. If you notice, in the news, a lot of those senators that voted to object the election, have lost millions of dollars in donors. And that is because those donors are companies that have shareholders, and the shareholders are mad. And what is a corporation’s number one priority, the shareholder, that is their number one owner value.

Exactly. And so if you, as an investor are investing in these companies, that means that you’re the shareholder, you have an opinion. And by being the shareholder and going to these companies and saying, you know, we don’t believe in this, this isn’t something that we’re aligned with those corporations are forced to pull their funding because they can’t make their shareholders mad. And so what we do, and what value based planning really does, is it aligned your portfolio to reflect your values, to advocate for a positive change. So, you know, we, like I said, green energy that’s important to us. That doesn’t mean we’re not going to still be in a company, like, let’s just say Amazon, Amazon still cares about sustainability. And, you know, that’s something that’s still important to them. But what we’re doing is we’re investing in funds that care about shareholder advocacy, and are going and making sure that as Amazon continues to operate as a business, they’re still being concerned with that green energy, they’re still concerned with their carbon footprint. You know, when, you know, you have power as an investor and as a shareholder, and so we’re connecting our clients with the appropriate portfolios that reflect where they really want to see a greater impact.

Tim Kubiak 44:24
That’s, that’s a great way for us to close. So I’m gonna I’m gonna link to your LinkedIn in the show notes. Is there any way other ways you want folks to reach out to you if they’re interested in having a conversation? What’s the best way to get ahold of you?

Stephanie Follin 44:36
Yeah, you

know, just shoot me an email, my emails, the best way to get ahold of me or connect with me on LinkedIn, like 10 minutes Add. My email address is going to be pretty easy. It’s just going to be Stephanie. dot fallen at LPL calm, I’ll keep it easy. And yeah, find me on LinkedIn. I’m always open to connect and have conversations.

Tim Kubiak 45:00
Thank you so much for taking time sharing your own story and sharing some of your insights.

Stephanie Follin 45:05
Thank you so much for having me, Tim. Pleasure.

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