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The Advisor Journey Presents: Authentic storytelling with Steve Sanduski

The Advisor Journey Presents: Authentic storytelling with Steve Sanduski

On the most recent episode of The Advisor Journey, Altruist CEO Jason Wenk and co-host Dasarte Yarnway interview Steve Sanduski, an industry veteran who helped grow a corporate RIA from 0 to $1.8 billion in AUM before pivoting to coach financial advisors on how to build their businesses and achieve their goals. Throughout the conversation, Steve shares two keys to success with TAJ listeners: 

  1. Prioritize authenticity
  2. Master the art of storytelling 

To catch the full episode and get more valuable insights on growing and scaling your advisory business from people who’ve done it themselves, subscribe to The Advisor Journey wherever you get your podcasts.

Why authenticity is crucial to sustainable growth

Growing a successful and future-proofed advisory business requires knowing who you are – and embracing it. As Steve and Jason both attest, trying to be someone you’re not is a sure path to unhappiness.

Too many advisors try to take on a persona they think their clients and peers want to see. They put on a mask and perform a character not true to their authentic self. Why? Because they believe that’s what's expected of them. Doing so can also bring financial benefits – such as luring lucrative clients to your firm or granting you access to more exclusive circles. But money alone can’t deliver happiness, and leading a performative, inauthentic life is a recipe for eventual discontent.

That’s one reason why leaving a Wirehouse to start or join an independent practice can be immensely liberating. Many advisors find that they can ditch the performative role they were playing and lean into their authentic selves – from how they dress to the type of clients they take on to what areas they choose to focus on. 

The power of authentic storytelling

Stories are central to financial advice. As Steve explains in the episode, storytelling is a powerful lever for growth and a tremendous medium for expressing your authentic self. It can come in numerous forms – from your client meetings to your branding and marketing materials to the content you produce.

As advisors, your content helps demonstrate to prospective clients who you are, what you’re passionate about, and how you hope to serve people. In turn, it allows you to connect with the type of clients who align with your values and who you can be excited about serving.

But how do you produce content that's both engaging and authentic?

Two exercises for creating content that resonates

Steve outlines two helpful exercises that you can use to build a content strategy that's true to your identity as an advisor. 

First, consider what you want to be known for. It could be areas of personal or professional interest or issues that apply to a type of client you believe is underserved. Steve encourages advisors to choose 3-4 categories they want to focus on. 

Once you’ve picked your content categories, you can begin creating. As you do so, try running your work through these two filters:

  • Can I write such that this is genuine to who I am?
  • Am I coming from a place of reason?

Using this framework will help ensure you’re creating content that reflects your authentic self and is geared to attract the type of clients you can see yourself happily growing with for many years. 

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Recognizing what “enough” is

And what if you’re content where you are? The discussion also touches on this scenario. As much as our culture may push it, focusing on business growth is not mandatory. Not every advisor needs – or wants – to scale their business. Some people are satisfied right where they are, and that’s fine. Too often, advisors burn themselves out in pursuit of an elusive success metric instead of staying true to themselves and enjoying what they have achieved. 

This sentiment is captured in a short blog post by Seth Godin (often quoted by Jason) that says, simply: “It’s okay to stop when you’re happy.”

To go deeper, you can listen to this full episode of The Advisor Journey by subscribing to the podcast.

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