June 14, 2022

#317 Deline Jacovides – Transcript

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Ben Nash
Hey guys, Ben Nash from the XY advisor team. And today I’m pumped to be here with Deline Jacovides. Deline is a founder and advisor at Massey wealth recently started just around six months ago. So keen to chat about, you know how that’s all come about and how it’s going. And d’alene is also the National Vice Chair at the Association of financial advisors, AFA Deline. Thanks for joining us.

Deline Jacovides
Thanks for having me, Ben.

Ben Nash
Look, it’s I think it’s super interesting, you know, kicking off a business, which you started just recently post COVID. World started from scratch. So I’m keen to, yeah, to hear like, how did that come about? No doubt, we’ll get into more about how it’s going as well.

Deline Jacovides
Yeah. So how it came about, I guess. I’ve been an advisor for nine years now and an employee and in financial services for 12 years. So I’ve been in the industry for a little bit. I guess, as I had gotten older, I’ve gotten more experienced. It was just something in the back of my mind that I thought I might want to do. And yeah, with COVID. And you know, that happening? I guess, it just felt like the right time to do it. After having my two young children. So I told myself when my daughter was two that I would launch my business. And yeah, like many other business owners, I guess there’s a lot of different motivations behind it. Part of it was being able to, you know, have be bit more creative, be have my own hours, all those sorts of things. And then the reality of it is yeah, something different as well, I think. But yeah, it’s been about five months now started at the end of January. And like I like I’m sure many business owners will say it’s been a bit of a roller coaster. But it’s been good. I’m really excited about the future. And I’m excited and happy that I’ve made the leap.

Ben Nash
Yeah, nice. It’s one of those things that I think you think about starting a business like Well, this week, right, I’m going to work, you know, flexibly Ramon hours, and then we kick off and you work in like 6070 hour weeks, trying to do the next thing. And the next thing it’s, it’s sort of takes a little while to find your feet. And often, as you said that the reality is a little bit different. What was the what was the launching process? Like? Because it’s obviously it’s pretty scary. When I started my business, do the same things started from scratch. And yeah, there’s a lot of unknowns there. How was that for you?

Deline Jacovides
Yeah, I guess I wasn’t, like you mentioned with the time thing, I wasn’t naive, I knew it would be a lot of work to get set up. And I think the biggest thing that made me nervous was that I was going from positions where I was fully supported with administration and systems and, you know, all that sort of stuff. And then I would be going into a one woman band, where I would be responsible for everything to start with. So to be honest, that administration, part of it really did make me nervous, because I wasn’t used to sitting there recording when did an FSG go out and recording things like that. So that that did make me a bit nervous. But I feel like I finally got into a bit of a rhythm already. In terms of launching. So I guess the first thing I did was start to interview different licensees to work out. Yeah, who I wanted to be license with, I knew being self license wasn’t something I was interested in doing. You know, as a new business, just not wanting to wear that extra hat. There’s already enough hats you have to wear when you’re starting out. So yeah, I started that process, probably six months in advance and stuff, like started to work out what was important to me with a licensee. So things that ended up being important to me were communication. So one thing I found some licensees just never got back to me when I made an inquiry or, you know, you’d inquire and then they you’d have a chat and then not really hear much back from them, whereas others very good communication. So that was important. Obviously, cost is something that’s really important as well when you’re starting out because that can vary quite significantly. And so it’s balancing out the cost versus the support you get from the licensee. And technology was something that was important as well. So what what tech do they use, or approve or allow you to use so yeah, that’s just a couple of examples of things that were Uh, that I worked out that were important as time went on, as well as like understanding the rest of the advisors as part of the group, who were they? Or what, you know, what did they typically do. And yeah, just making sure that everyone’s values were aligned.

Ben Nash
I remember when I first started my business and like, finally kicked off, and I was ready to like cracking in and one of the most like, the things that made me the most nervous was that in every business that I’d previously worked in, I was getting fed clients like it was prior to starting my business I was working in with a mortgage broker and lawyer and the owner of that business was obviously highly motivated to ensure that the financial planning side was successful prior to that I was in a bigger business that had did a lot of advertising and had a strong reputation in the marketplace. So I was super nervous about that and keen to go like, you know, crack the code and figure it out. But talking about admin support, I ended up spending like six hours one day trying to arrange the social icons in my email signature and quiz the IT people to do this stuff. But it’s like, there’s a million things that you just don’t think about that is normally done for you, and you start a business that you just immediately responsible for. So

Deline Jacovides
that you can that is so funny. I remember, yeah, it took me weeks to figure out where to because, you know, my licensee has all the templates that you need to kind of kickstart yourself. But it took me weeks to figure out where to find a third party authority template. And it just makes me law of like, how how long it took me just to find the most basic bits of information to get the advice process happening. So yeah, I’m definitely in a bit more of a rhythm. Now that I know where to find everything and complete everything. And all my adviser codes are set up with all the different products and insurers and all that kind of stuff. So yeah, hopefully I’m a bit more efficient now than I was five months ago.

Ben Nash
There’s a lot of stuff there to unpack. Where are you? Where are your clients coming from?

Deline Jacovides
Yeah, this is an interesting one. Because you did mention that that was something that you were getting client leads previously as an employee, that was something you were used to. And that was similar to me. So I’ve previously worked for businesses that I never had to go and find clients. So however, I wasn’t too nervous about that this time around. Because a few years ago, I set up a Instagram account and was giving financial education through that Instagram account. And that was probably about two years before I actually started the business. And over that two years, I think I’ve got about 7000 followers now on that account. And over time, people were asking how can I become a client, but they just weren’t the right fit for the businesses that I was working in? So yeah, I knew that I wouldn’t be. I wasn’t nervous about where to find clients, because I knew there was a demand out there. And I think, given the current advisor numbers, there’s Yeah, it’s quite easy to find clients, it’s just making sure that they’re the right client for you, which I guess I’m still trying to work out. So I’ve spoken to a few different advisors who admitted that when you’re, when you’re starting out, you almost take anybody who can what’s the saying that you can fog up a mirror or fog up a window, or whatever the saying is? Where I haven’t been quite, I’m quite clear on who I don’t want to give advice to. So I’ve made a decision that I don’t want to be giving advice on like SMSFs, for example. So happy to have an initial conversation with somebody. And if that’s something they’re really set on, then I’ll refer them to another advisor who does do that. Yeah, so there’s, there’s things like that, that I’m quite clear on who I don’t want to give advice on. But I do want to get more clear on who I want to advise moving forward, because I am conscious of like, so far, it’s been five months, and I’ve got about 30 engagement letters back. So there’s no shortage of clients just trying to find time to do the work and also just conscious of capping out too quickly and maybe not having the Yeah, ideal clients. So still working on that.

Ben Nash
Look, I think not knowing who isn’t the right fit to work with you is probably half the battle because it’s easy, especially when you’re you’re starting from zero revenue on day one. Obviously, you want to try and build your business quite quickly. But one thing that I found is that when people are like, like SMSFs, for example, and we’ve got a couple of SMSF clients, but and they just take so much time because it’s so if you don’t, if you’re not doing it day in and day out, you don’t have an efficient process around it. Whereas if you’ve got an SMSF focused business, right, you can build all your processes systems and tech around, they’re easy enough to do. It’s like for us with retirees, we don’t have really hardly any clients with pensions, we’ve got a few legacy ones that we look after. Again, it’s just it sort of breaks our mold. And it means either you run it unprofitably, or you charge much more than what a specialist business would do. So the I think niching helpful. But, you know, cutting out the people that aren’t the right fit is, is is a big part of that.

Deline Jacovides
Yeah, and that was a complete, I agree with that, I knew I wouldn’t be doing it efficiently, where I have worked for a business that specialized in SMSFs before, so we could do it efficiently and had the right team. But I wouldn’t be able to do that. Now. Looking at my client list at the moment, I’ve got about 40% of them as single females. So I am attracting a lot of single females. And that’s a combination of people who have chosen not to partner or have been divorced or widowed or something like that. And then I’ve got about 20% Retirees like retiree couples, I should say, and then the other 40% I guess, like professional families. And so I would say about 60% of my clients have come through from social media, and then the other 40% have been word of mouth referrals from existing clients. So it’s been a mixture.

Ben Nash
And what did you do? So you build a following on Instagram? And across socials? And then obviously, you kicked off your business? Did you have a launch strategy? Or what did you do to sort of pull those clients in or pull those conversations into the business?

Deline Jacovides
Yeah, so leading up to that point, when people would ask for advice, I would refer them on to other advisors, I know. And I had a few different friends that I would refer to. And then as once I made the decision that I was going to be starting this business, I would just let people know, yep, happy to give you a referral to somebody I trust, because a big part of it was people not knowing who to trust. And so I would say I can help, I’m happy to refer you to somebody. But if you want to work with me in the future, I’m planning to launch in January 2022. And if you’re happy to wait them, then I can look after you. So I kind of already had a bit of a waitlist happening before I even started. And then in terms of launching, I just I guess I just told everybody I’ve now started I’m taking on clients. And yeah, just Yeah, I felt I felt a bit inundated to start with to be honest. And yeah, significantly

Ben Nash
better than the alternative, though. So great. What is the typical day look like for you at the moment? And how do you go about, you know, managing your time between doing what you need to do to, to work on your business, plus, working with clients and wearing all of those, all those hats you mentioned before?

Deline Jacovides
Yeah, I’ve actually been going through the AIA executive wellness program thing that they’ve got going on. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of that before. But basically, it’s as they invited me in with a 10 or 15 other people to go through a bit of a program around learning how to work smarter and better and be a bit more, I guess, optimized with your energy and how you work. So I’ve been learning some great tips from that. We’re only a few sessions in. But what I have learned from that is because as you mentioned, you can be doing long hours as an advisor to start with as a business owner. So I’ve learned to do the real heavy thinking in the daytime. And then do the easy type of tasks like filling in forms at nighttime when I don’t have to be thinking like strategically, it’s more just like copying the data correctly into the form. So I try and leave the sort of more administrative tasks for the night time when the kids have gone to bed. And I’ve just jumped back on for a few hours. And then yeah, client meetings during the day, a lot are done via Microsoft Teams online. But then I do have a handful of retirees in Brisbane that want to meet face to face. So I’ve just got a serviced office that I’m renting a spot from when I need to do those meetings. So yeah, this comes down to again, like having those different processes that makes you less efficient, I guess. And that’s part of the journey of trying to work out well. What do I want to which direction do I want to go in? Yeah, and so it is a A bit of a mixture in terms of the work that you do every day. But I have been learning to block out more of my calendar. So I know that I’ve got a whole day to work on, you know, paraplanning requests, like the best interest duty submissions, and then try and have meetings all on the same day, because I find that if I’ve got a meeting, and then I have to switch back into like this administration mindset, after that meeting, I find that very hard to do. I don’t know if, if other advisors like that, you like that?

Ben Nash
So do they? Yeah, I tend to, I don’t do tons of client meetings these days. But when I do, I bank them up. And I do that because even going between that and content or marketing or team stuff, it’s I feel like it’s it is you got to shift your focus, shift the attention and get back into the groove. So yeah, I’ve found that to be quite helpful. I’ve had the default diary thing for for a long time, and it’s changed a lot. But depending on you know, what needs my focus in the business or what needs to happen. But I think for me, that’s probably been the biggest hack, especially with your clients, like you got these ongoing clients and ongoing relationships that you you want to look, you want to make sure that they’re provided for, but you also have targets around like your new clients and the work that you’re doing. And then your review clients as well. So, before I did that, I had just had stuff going everywhere in my calendar, but then I started going, hey, well, how many clients do I want? How many new clients? Do I want to be able to onboard each week? How many reviews should I be doing each week? How many ongoing clients do I have? And therefore, how many meetings do I need to put time aside for and then I just tried to set that up in the calendar. And it did work 100% of the time, but it probably worked 80% of the time. And that’s that was enough. And it’s funny that I think that it’s really easy that I had been in the thinking that I need to be, you know, super flexible. And I think it is important to be flexible. But for clients, I found that they they sort of use the flexibility that you give them and if you’re in periods where I just been inflexible, because I had to be because there was stuff going on, that people would just conform to whatever needed to happen at that time. And then I started saying, Well hold on a sec. Now. It will if that works, like maybe we’ll just do that all the time. And then it allows you to, you know, do what you need to do and be more efficient, as well. Yeah, I’m

Deline Jacovides
nodding my head so much to all of this, because I can relate. And it’s only been a few months in and I can relate to this. I think people don’t mind having to wait a few weeks for appointments if you’ve blocked out your calendar, because you’ve got other stuff going on. So because at the start, I was like you just kept my calendar open and let people book in via Calendly. You know, for introductory calls or initial discovery meetings, but then that causes you to be almost unproductive with the day because you’re stopping and starting. So yeah, I’ve learned quite quickly to block out time to focus on different things. And like you said, people don’t mind waiting for a few weeks if they need to.

Ben Nash
Calendly does have good availability scheduling as well. So I’ve used that extensively that it’s like, when I was doing the intro chats of the business, it’s like they can only happen, you know, after 10am and they can’t happen within two days of being involved. And you know, they don’t go bust this time or whatever. Yeah, I found that to be pretty helpful. So you mentioned you mentioned kids and family there I’m interested like as I started my business before I had kids and thankful that I was telling you a bit of background before we’ve we fired up the camera, but when I started planning to have a family I was like shit, I need a team now to to help with some of these things. So I don’t have to be on the one the one on the hook for all of this stuff. How do you go about finding the balance? Because your kids are young? Right, like five and three? So that’s pretty full on how do you how do you tackle that?

Deline Jacovides
Yeah, um, well, firstly, I think that I’ve got some good support network around me. So my husband is, you know, very involved and does half the domestic and home duties. Yeah, he is. Don’t tell him enough to his face. Yeah, and then, you know, the kids go to childcare. So you know, I don’t have to worry about the school pick up time at this point. Because I know that’s a challenge I’ll have to deal with next year when my eldest goes to school. And then in terms of Yeah, like you mentioned, starting your day, I do tend to not have appointments too early in the morning and try and block out time in the morning to go and exercise and look after myself first before I start the day because I know once I start working, I won’t be able to pull myself away to go do some exercise. So you know, that’s kind But important to look after myself, because if I can’t do that I’m not going to be much used to everybody else. And then yeah, trying not to work late every night, once the kids have gone to sleep and just doing it, you know, a couple of times. But we’ll admit, I am working a lot on the weekends as well initially, not again, trying not to do that every weekend, because I feel like there’s always going to be work there to work on. So it’s just trying to set some boundaries for myself as much as possible.

Ben Nash
That’s like the one of the most effective dieting strategies just use smaller dinner plates. So I feel like if you, you got if you don’t put boundaries around your time, then you just end up using more time. Whereas when you do, it’s like, you got a four day week or you’re trying to get something done. Because you you’re going away on leave for a week or two. It’s like, it’s amazing how productive you are in that time, because you happen, and you just, you just make it happen. So good, I

Deline Jacovides
think yeah, definitely. I think no financial year is a bit like that when you know, there’s this deadline coming up. So you’ve just got to get it and get it done.

Ben Nash
Totally, I know that it’s only early days in your business. But if you could go back to you know, the first of January, is there anything that you would do differently.

Deline Jacovides
I think at the beginning, I was quite nervous about finding clients, even though I kind of had this waitlist. And this, you know, I knew there were people that were very keen to work with me from social media. But I was quite nervous starting up with zero clients. But I think at the start, I would have just been to put the brakes on a little bit and not try to take on so many clients to start with, because I really underestimated how much time it would take to get set up to go through things like the whole pre vet process with compliance at the licensee, getting set up all my adviser codes, getting reset ups, all that kind of stuff took so much time and I really underestimated how much of my time it would take up. So if I could go back then I would have slowed down on taking on new clients to get all that working. Because like you really can’t do some of that stuff until after you’ve joined your new licensee. And because I did take on so many clients to start with, like, I’ve still got this bit of a backlog in terms of SOPs, I need to get out to people and, you know, formally onboard them, I guess. And so, yeah, I think I would have just tried to slow that down to get everything set up properly. So there’s not this backlog.

Ben Nash
I feel like that’s a lesson that you can take, it doesn’t really matter what stage of your business that you’re at. But if you’ve only got a certain amount of capacity with the resources that are there, especially if you want to, you know, not work a million hours we can to find any sort of balance that I’ve gone through periods and as especially in the COVID, the COVID, sort of middle of the pandemic peace was one of them, where we built our business sort of seized up essentially at the start of COVID with everyone, you know, fully bunkered down and panic buying, you know, toilet paper and all that thinking the world’s gonna win. But then on the other side of it, people just started going ballistic. And we had so many people that wanted to work with us, particularly because it had been quiet, we tried to onboard like 30 clients over a couple of months. And it was just chaos, because there’s so much going on that your resources are stretched too thin. And a lesson we took from that is that you’ve got to know your capacity and work to that. It’s incredibly frustrating as a business owner that you’re essentially delaying revenue when you you know, you work so hard, and you really want your business to succeed. And that success isn’t a big part is like get more clients work with more people. So it is certainly frustrating. But ultimately, from doing that you you give a better experience and then get better results for your clients get more referrals get better results from the business as well. And as you say that sometimes people they’re not, they want to know that things are happening, but they don’t mind to wait if they need to, as well. And in fact, they probably prefer to if it meant that they’re going to get looked after better than right because you’re stretched thin. So I think from day one, yes. But it’s probably something for you to keep in mind as you’re you know, building a team and business momentum builds as well.

Deline Jacovides
Definitely. I think that is a good lesson to take once I do start employing people because there’s going to be that period of having to train people and learning to work together. So you’re absolutely right.

Ben Nash
So I mean, how have you gone about building your light learning and building your knowledge as an advisor and now as a business owner

Deline Jacovides
Um, yeah. So I mean, as an advisor, I learned a lot on the job through different businesses being mentored by different advisors. So that was like the informal sort of training. And then, you know, having my CFP and doing those sort of official studies as well, that was like the formal side of it. But I guess moving into a business, there’s a whole range of different things to learn there. And so I’ve really have fallen on to my networks. So different advisors that I’ve met through different associations or different groups. Really, yeah. You know, pick people’s brains from that. And so part of that has been the connections I’ve got through the AFA, so other members there. So, for example, John cash are really good friends with him. He happens, we both happen to be licensed at the same licensees. So that was a pure coincidence that ended up that way. But yeah, he’s the chair of the National practitioners committee, with AFA and so you know, he’s somebody I look to a lot from a business perspective or business mentoring perspective, because he’s been in business for like, I don’t even know how many years now?

Ben Nash
Yes, not many. But I know the truth to be a

Deline Jacovides
long time. So yeah, building on though, I guess pulling onto those connections has really helped, which is why we have launched the AFA community group in the x y platform. So it’s only newly launched, but that has, we’ve set that up so that people can build their networks a little bit more. So IFA is typically done a lot of face to face, networking events, and various Yeah, in person events. And so we kind of just wanted to expand on that and create an online community as well to complement it. Because yeah, like John, for examples in Melbourne, I’m in Brisbane, yet we speak every few days, around various things. So having that online, especially in the post COVID world, like during that COVID. Two year, I think it’s, we can say we kind of pass it now. But yeah, during those couple of years there, a lot of people did move online, because there weren’t as many in person events.

Ben Nash
I think there still isn’t, and I think advisors have gotten super slack when it comes to. And I think as a society, we’ve got probably got pretty slack when it comes to just like social interactions and engagement, I just, I definitely have probably just my inner introvert, now thriving, but I think that there is there are less events, but also just because we’re so used to our bunker life that it’s like, people that just don’t go to as many things either. So I know with the X Y group, and with the AFA have been involved with them for a lot of years, like love getting, you know, pressing the flesh, and that was just what you did as it as advisors, but it’s really not what a lot of people are doing, you know, in that post COVID environment.

Deline Jacovides
Yeah, that’s it. So yeah, we’re not trying to take away from the in person stuff, because some people do love that. But it’s, I guess, opening up the borders and allowing advisors all across the country, because there’s not that many of us left. So just helping to build those connections and networks and sort of complement the in person stuff. So we’ve got that. So if anyone’s interested in joining that’s part of the AFA and wants to get involved in that. I don’t know if there’s like a link that we can put into the podcast notes or something like that. And that works. Yeah.

Ben Nash
But it’s also on the platform, right? So if you search on the x y platform, IFA, you should find it. Funnily tell us about because you guys have been working on this financial literacy program with the AFA as well tell us a bit about how that’s come about and what what it actually is.

Deline Jacovides
Yeah, so we’re working on a financial literacy program, as you mentioned, it’s still in its early days. But when we’ve spoken to advisors and the association and various people in the industry, everyone seems pretty excited about it. So I think it’s a fair comment to say that many advisors would love to be doing more in this space. I’d love to be giving, you know more education to general Australians helping more people, you know, educating their local communities and Yeah, like helping the next, you know, the young, the young generation, so that we’ve got, like, I guess, more financially illiterate Australians. So I think that’s a fair comment. But the issue we’ve got is that so many advisors are busy, their time poor, they’re running their businesses, I’ve got so many other priorities that they’re trying to work on. So they don’t really have the time to dedicate towards this. So what we’re trying to do as the practitioners committee is build out a framework. So in a financial literacy program, so that advisors kind of kind of just pick it up and deliver it. So we’re still in the early days of it, but in ideally, in our mind, we would like to be able to set it up with different organizations. So that an advisor, we can just simply say, here’s a, here’s a time slot, we need an advisor to go speak at this school or speak at this event. And then an advisor can sort of sort of step in and just deliver the content. That’s, I guess, the ideal end goal.

Ben Nash
And I think it’s great because it helps to build not only it helps people be more financially literate, so that they can, you know, set themselves up to be successful financially, but to be in a sort of position that can afford to get good quality help from advisors with obviously, with the cost of advice increasing significantly over the last few years and likely to continue on that path. And under shrink over time, but I think as a getting the message out that advice is here to help and building that trust in the profession. I think it’s great to see that happening through these community groups as well. And we’re just chatting a little bit offline. But I think, you know, historically that that stuff has happened that often comes attached with alignment with some sort of specific product or company solution that comes off the back of it. So I think it’s, it’s great to see. And also Yeah, I fully agree with those comments, that advisors time poor, and have wrapping all of the content up in a nice bow for them to just tweak and put their spin on is helpful, as opposed to someone trying to reinvent the wheel. So for people that have to learn more, or maybe get involved potentially, in that program, what’s the best way for them to learn about that?

Deline Jacovides
Yeah, we’ll get involved in the AFA XY group, I think that would be a good start, because we’ll be posting more information in there. But then also, yeah, just get in touch with me, or John, or Ronnie was on the last one of the last podcast as well. So I think he might have mentioned being involved in this as well. So you’re getting in touch with one of us. And we can talk about how you can learn more and get involved. Like I mentioned, it’s still early days, but then happy to keep if anyone’s interested in knowing more happy to keep them in the loop as we develop this or if if they want to join and yeah, getting involved. I think you really hit the nail on the head as we were talking offline. A big part of us wanting to do this is around improving the reputation of financial advice in Australia, we’ve had such a bad rap in the past, the last few years, and it is picking up I think, from what I read in here. But there’s still some more work to be done in that reputation, area. And then, as you mentioned, making sure that we do have financial, financially literate Australians so that they can afford advice in the future. And they understand the value of advice unless a lot of people don’t realize the value until they actually get advice and go through the process. So I think if people can see it everyday, people can see what we’re doing as advisors as a whole. And we’re all sort of on the same page and delivering the same information and message and content that’s only going to to help us all rather than having different messages or different information that we’re spreading and things like that.

Ben Nash
Or even just helping advise consumers know what advice actually is would get it. It’s not easy with every advisor doing things a little bit differently. But that confusion, I think leads to people not taking advantage when they when they should so it’s great to great to see that work happening and I agree that I think the the reputation is increasing as advisors have somewhat forced to focus more on you know, higher value higher impact work as an uplift in the, you know, the standards and advice. So I think as that starts to get through to consumers, they spread the word there and initiatives like this one, help, you know, get that exposure more broadly. Really awesome to see and well done for you know, making the time to drive that sort of stuff while you’re, you know, managing a young family and Oh baby business as well. Well done. But Deline, thank you so much for sharing your insights super pumped to see where the where the journey takes you and really look forward to hearing about again on the next one.

Deline Jacovides
Awesome. Thanks for having me, Ben.

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