July 26, 2022

#328 Ryan Porter – Transcript

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Ben Nash
Hey guys, Ben Nash from the XY advisor team. And today I’m here with Ryan Porter. Ryan is founder and director at catalyst wealth. And he actually also owns a semi professional zoo that happens at his house each evening from from five to eight is details me with three kids under five. So where we might get into some life advice, but I’m keen to pick Ryan’s brain on his advice journey and some of the things that he’s focused on today, Ryan, thanks for joining us, mate.

Ryan Porter
Thanks for having me, Ben.

Ben Nash
Mate I, you’ve been at it for about six years running as your own business, but in advice for a bit longer than that I thought maybe a good place to start was maybe just talk us through your your advice journey and how you ended up where you are today?

Ryan Porter
Yeah, sure, no worries. came into the industry in 2009. Around sort of, you know, Munish GFC. So getting a job as a little bit tricky. I was a, I was a high school PE teacher in another life during the casual teaching circuit, not really enjoying what I was doing. And I had a mate who was a professional footy player who got injured and was doing his DFP ANP in the horizons Academy. And so he sort of we used to catch up all the time and sort of talk about property investing, share investing, and he just said, you should have a look at this. You know, not real happy in teaching. So, yeah, sort of jumped in and through Kaplan did the DFA Southern Financial Planning journey, went out looking for a job and everywhere, wanted you to have two years experience. So struggle, struggling with things for a while and ended up getting a job at like a mortgage broking company, one of the directors was a planner, and they were sort of looking to switch on a financial planning business pretty quickly. But when I started, they said, Look, we’re not ready just yet. So we’ll throw you in. We’ll get you the mortgage broking sort of accreditation. So you’ve got both. And then yeah, they switched on the financial planning business about six months seamless. I finished the course. And just jumped out, gone go into some insurance. So started in the in the business. Yeah, in a mortgage broking slash planning business, focusing sort of on that insurance space. And from there, had a couple of jobs and then became an owner in MLC franchise. And we’ll see advice in Caringbah 2016, a couple years later, jumped out of the franchise and sort of rebranded and created catalyst wealth group. So yeah, so long winded response, but 2009 through two sort of 22. And mmm, four or five advice stops in between.

Ben Nash
Yeah, nice. And what led you to start your own business? And how did you find that transition after being in the game for a little while,

Ryan Porter
with the same friend, who sort of got me into the industry, he actually owned the franchise prior to me taking it over. And we would sort of catch up all the time. And I guess talk about as an industry, it was an awesome industry where you could do good work, but from a business owner perspective as opportunity to create your own business or start your own business and build an asset, while sort of doing work that you enjoyed. So there’s probably that the big picture planning around doing a work day to day helping clients but at the same time, being able to build an asset that could sort of help financially in the future sort of triggered me, in my family, this sort of for small businesses. So I’ve come from your parents and grandparents who have all on their small businesses, so sort of in my blood, and one of my sort of big goals, I guess, just from watching all them over time and go on their sort of individual journeys was to sort of eventually become a business owner in some sort of capacity and advice was where I ended up.

Ben Nash
Nice. And what surprised you the most about that transition going from being an advisor inside a business to you know, running the show yourself?

Ryan Porter
Well, that it’s still, it’s still a challenge to this day, I would say sort of in five, six years in on the business front, but just the difference between being advisor, walking in and sort of doing what you need to do in front of the clients. And then outside of that all the business responsibilities that come with running your own show and managing a team and all the business administration that needs to be done whilst being an advisor, which is yet as I said, still a bit of a work in progress after a couple of years.

Ben Nash
Or maybe if you figure it out, just just let me know because I still struggle with all those things. You know what to focus on the, you know, the million things that you can do that it seemed like sort of good decisions, but what’s the best decision and how to grow and how to build your team and how to tweak your service. And there’s always plenty to work on. And I think one of the things for me that attracted me to advice when I was early on in the piece was the fact that there’s so much like legislation to learn and tax rules and strategies, and then that changes all the time as well with what’s going on, you know, with the with the law with the regulatory framework and with what’s going on in markets, as well as and I think that business owners like the next level to that where you’ve got all of that stuff, but then you’ve got all of the business piece that sits around it as well. Just for the people listening in, what does your team look like? And what are your What are your clients look like? And what do you do for them?

Ryan Porter
So at the moment, there’s three of us in the team on the on the advisor, Aaron, who works me, he’s sort of the power planner, and I guess, like sort of strategy advisor. And then we’ve got jazzy who’s in the Philippines, who so does most of the admin work admin support. from a client perspective, most clients would be sort of 30s 40s and 50s. Usually, predominately couples, probably higher income earning corporates were based in southern Shire. So in where we live, I guess property is sort of big focal points. And most clients have got sort of reasonably big mortgages if they’ve sort of got assets. And yeah, focus would normally be, you know, setting them up for retirement or going on sort of usually like a 10 year financial planning journey, where we’re sort of helping them work towards their goals and create wealth along the path.

Ben Nash
Nice and I was going to, I just had a bit of a blank because I was trying to think of a joke about Southern Cross tattoos and whether people might get a discount if if they had because I’ve heard that the Sutherland Shire has the highest per capita number of Southern Cross toes, is that true?

Ryan Porter
I wouldn’t be surprised. And in the next couple of years, in the next couple of years, like tattle repetitive renewable businesses will probably be a space where there’s, you know, a reasonable business market.

Ben Nash
Perhaps some sort of strategy around that, potentially. But what so almost six years in, as you said that what have been the biggest learnings for you on on that journey?

Ryan Porter
We’re just thinking about what you’ve what you’re saying. But like you said, you know, your business, my business, the challenges, all of us, which sort of faced with our own businesses is the same, I think it’s probably a recent learning, but really trying to dial in around what you’re good at. So that moving forward, you can spend time there and try to focus in that area. And then, you know, building a good team of people with supplementary skill sets, and then be it internally or maybe externally with coaches or accountant, you know, sort of the business support team around you is really key. Probably not something that I did early on. And yeah, I guess maybe growing now as as a business owner, it’s an area that I’m sort of really focusing on, and even internally in the business, recently completed some sort of like personality tests, profiles, through wealth dynamics, to sort of see where everyone’s strength wise and moving forward trying to expand the business. And the way that we do things so that everyone can sort of work a bit more on their strengths. In the places that yeah, their skills are.

Ben Nash
Nice. What’s your wealth dynamics profile?

Ryan Porter
On a star? Yeah, so I think I think Oprah Winfrey is the one that I remember, similar sort of personality traits to me. But yeah, yeah. And then fortunately, Aaron, who sort of yet other key role in the business, he’s a law. So we’ve sort of got a real balance, I guess, between sort of two ends of the spectrum.

Ben Nash
Absolutely. We’ve we hire I think, in our Philippine team, I think maybe they’re all They’re almost all Lourdes that that’s basically our brief to to the VA platinum, the BPO that we work with with that that other mic, we’re basically just looking for loads because we need people that are across the all of the detail and stuff and we rely on that a fair bit when it comes to hiring. I don’t think there’s any, any right or wrong answers there unless you’re a mechanic, which of course is the right answer because that’s my profile. But when what I’ve found with using that profile over time is it’s more just it’s not like what can you do or what can you not do? It’s just like, where are you in flow? And you know, the mechanic profile is about high creative energy and high detail energy. So give me a spreadsheet and I can rock that all day and I feel super pumped at the end like I just want to keep working on it. Whereas I’ve got 0% in the in the blaze energy, which is the people energy which seems really weird. As an advisor, and for, you know, for the last decade, I spend most days talking to people, you know, whether it’s team or whatever, but if I do have a whole day of Back to Back meetings with people, whether it’s clients or team, whatever, I just feel really drained at the end of the day. So it just sort of they’re not like I say, not what you can and can’t do, but where are you in flow. And I’ve found, particularly when we’ve had people that have exited the business, either they’ve chose to exit or we’ve chosen to exit them, when we look back at their their profiles and their, you know, the different testing that we do, and we do part of their onboarding, we those gaps speak up, like we it sort of sticks out to go shit, this probably something that we should have seen, or should have realized, or should have called out and kept the closer focus on, you know, in the early days. So I think it’s really important I was I was really fortunate that one of the guys in our business coaching group is an organizational psychologist. And when I’d had I’d hired some people, and they didn’t, they just weren’t the right fit for the roles, and I was talking to him going shit, it’s so hard to find the right people for the right roles. And he helped me create these different sort of frameworks for testing, where we’d go look at, okay, what’s the role, what are the attributes that we need for success in that role, or the competencies, and now we assess them with different different methods. So we use wealth dynamics, as one part of that for where people are in flow, we use SHL testing for like psychometrics to make sure that from an aptitude perspective that they you know, good with numbers, if they need to be or they’re good at checking stuff if they need to be or they’re good at solving problems, if they need to be and then, you know, doing stuff with interviews, as well. So I reckon it’s really powerful. That approach and the more we lean into that, the better the results I’ve found that we have when we do actually bring someone into the team. But yeah, it’s also just sort of interesting from how you communicate with people as well, and how people like to hear the messages, you know, internally within the team, and then also with with clients as well. What I was gonna ask you, what, what does a typical week look like for you? And how do you structure your How do you structure your time?

Ryan Porter
Yeah, well, I, one of the areas of, I guess, most improvement is that sort of time management. Pay pace for me, you know, the consistent, like, element is something that I’m just sort of always working on. But I’m pretty big on sort of mapping out the ideal week, usually sort of Friday or Sunday. So before it starts, what life like to sort of chunk, maybe one to two hours each morning, which is working on, I guess, priorities, which might be a bit of business planning, or business development, strategy prep for clients, before I do anything else. So before I sort of jump into email, just because generally that sort of, you know, flow time first thing in the morning, you’re the freshest. Ideally, if, if I’ve set you know, the top 123 priorities the night before, a walk out, feeling really good about myself, at the end of the day, where you can have those days sometimes where you’re not that organized, and you jump in, and I guess Yeah, you know, start chasing shiny objects get to the end of the day, and it doesn’t feel as successful as it sort of should be. So yeah, I have the book, the one thing was really, like a big sort of powerful resource for me at NASA tool that a monster is probably the number one book that I would now hand out to sort of clients and friends. Just focusing in on using time as as a resource, looking to get a return from it. So yeah, try it try to sort of time block my priorities throughout the week. And as I said, normally as a sort of non negotiable try and sort of do first hour and a half to two hours each morning. As yet my sort of, you know, top one or three priorities for looking at email before sort of jumping in, you know, booking meetings and sort of going with a day can can take us I find too much whitespace in the diary on Sunday or Monday morning, Lisa, sort of not this week when it gets to get to Friday, or start looking back.

Ben Nash
Nice and how do you how do you find balance with you know, you got three young kids at home? You know, and a partner and stuff like how do you find that balance between as a business owner there’s always so much there’s always another thing that you can be doing and you’re trying to grow the business and manage the business and look after the clients and you know, look after your family, how do you how do you tackle that?

Ryan Porter
And again, area that’s constantly under construction, but I would say from that like the one thing book. Again, comes comes back to sort of the business piece where you know, make appointments with yourself get stuff in the diary. So that that’s true. The key be, you know, a gym, which is a little bit of meat, you know, me time, or doing my Sunday is four and a half. So there’s a few like extracurricular activities for football training and stuff like that, where I got to leave work a little bit early and share the load with my partner. So making sure that that’s all sort of penciled in at the start of the week, I guess, like you said, it’s easy to, you know, all of us on the on this call and yourself myself, you know, you could go back and, you know, we could work all day with all the administration and tasks and things to do that needs to be done in financial planning. And we’ll probably spent time there doing those things, you know, read it, and we work into stupid hours and stuff like that. So I think, you know, a growth pace from being in the industry for a while is, you know, you’ll never get it all done. The people pleaser in me, always wants to sort of respond to emails quickly, or say yes to a lot of things. So I guess growing, as a business owner is learning to say no, a lot more, like you said, back to try to focus a bit more on the things that really matter, which again, you know, it’s probably Yeah, a growth journey, as as a husband as a father, and you know, definitely as an advisor, you know, not not everything we do carries equal weight. And working on trying to focus on the things that do matter. And then coming back to that personality profile, setting things up. So I can spend a bit more time on the things I’m good at that carry a lot of weight within the business is, I guess, yeah, we’re at what we’re focusing on, and you know, sort of continuing to try to work on

Ben Nash
and it’s amazing that you, you know, stop work and don’t work as long hours, but still the most important things get done. So it’s, it’s the, there’s always more to be done. But I found for myself, like when, when I when we had our first kid, then that was that helped. That forced me to switch off a bit, particularly when we had our second one that now it’s like, my five to seven is off limits, and I don’t do team stuff, I don’t do client stuff I don’t to buy in fact, I don’t know I don’t after having second kid, I just switch off a laptop and I don’t switch it back on again. In the evenings, I make a point of of doing that. And, you know, stuff still happens, nothing catches on fire for the most part. And you know, you get there. So it’s good for that little bit of forced boundaries. Because I find it particularly as business owners, there’s always something more more to do. Ryan, what are you working on it? Or what are you focused on in the business at the moment.

Ryan Porter
So we’re probably at a point where we’re looking at and exploring, I guess, where we go from here, just as a business. And even just in terms of sort of the team structure. So we’ve got three of us at the moment, we’re probably missing 111 position, one role, probably like the CSO type role. At the moment where Aaron who works for me, he works from home, Jersey, she’s over in the Philippines. So I’m sort of the only one in the office at the moment. And we had a staff member resigned late last year, haven’t replaced her just yet. So I think going for people in the team, just with our skill sets, where the business sets and sort of what we need to set the moments probably like the immediate focus, and just working out what that team structure or what little pod structure looks like, within our sort of part of the world. And then from there, like probably most advisors we’re looking to grow. And then it’s just from a model perspective, I guess, business model perspective working, if we stick in the shorter term with just me as the advisor, Aaron is an advisor. So we’re exploring some options around him, maybe starting to sort of move up to the LOA role? Or do we look to sort of push on and grow and maybe end up with a couple of advisors in the business? Just yeah, I guess what hit play in the future scenarios? Yeah, you know, running some, some modeling cash flow and, you know, doing the stuff that we talk to clients about within the business.

Ben Nash
And so how, yeah, how do you I was gonna ask you, How do you tackle that that decision? Because obviously, there’s, it’s hard and the like, certainly we are, I’ve tried a whole bunch of different things, haven’t cracked the code with that done some stuff that’s worked. Some stuff that hasn’t worked as well. And there’s a lot of different ways to be right. But I suppose it is fight. Like when it comes to clients, a lot of different ways that you can build your wealth. There’s a lot of different ways you can build a business. And I don’t think there’s any one approach that’s perfect. So yeah, what is the process that you go through when making those decisions?

Ryan Porter
Well, the CSO, or at the moment, we again, bit of self awareness, I guess it’s probably just a big part that we’ve just explored where the businesses that how the team is set up and what our skill sets are. And I guess Yeah, we just sort of come to the conclusion that we’re that we’re missing a piece and for us to grow, you know, the things that we’re all doing now that we sort of need to pass off to someone Who will be really good at it to help facilitate a bit of growth in in the short term? So, yeah, at the moment, we’ve probably just looked at sort of the gaps in our in our process because, you know, continually reviewing how we do things and trying to become more efficient and do things a bit better. So, I guess Yeah, through that process, we’re just uncovered quite a few gaps that haven’t been filled since the previous staff member resigned late last year. So there’s probably just no real financial metrics at this stage around sort of what that person will do for the business. But it’s just that, you know, we know that with a bit more capacity, you know, there’s more work that we can do, there’s more growth that we can achieve with that sort of business model with the four people. And one thing through this, this may be useful, it smacked me in the face when a bit of work with some business coaches, and they were talking about different business models. And what they were sort of talking about as an ideal sort of structure for a smaller startup business was one, one person in sort of sales and marketing, I guess, which I would sort of put myself in as the advisor and sort of the business development person in the business to end delivery, which I’ll say at the moment for us would be Aaron jazzy, who’s in the Philippines, and then one for sort of administration. And I guess, in our industry, maybe like client services or support on that front. So that’s sort of the mini model, I guess, that we’re working towards, and probably help maybe shape my decision around like working on that four person team. Is that the moment? Yeah.

Ben Nash
Yeah, I think that those, we share the same, you know, coaching support through the through David Dugan, and the abundance global community, and they talk a lot about the different team structures or, or team sizes, particularly that are profitable from a business perspective. And I sort of didn’t believe it was the first few times that I heard it. But we’ve absolutely experienced that, that when we had a four person team, it was highly profitable, because you’ve got to you’ve got a good balance there, not too much in terms of your costs, then we grew and went past that 12 Verse a number and as we were getting there, it was like profitability went backwards. But then you get to 12. And things are like sort of humming along again. And then the next step from there is 24, with 21 people at the moment, notice that in get and obviously, it’s a big leap to add another whole 12 people that you slow your profitability slows, because you like creating support structures, or, you know, trying to do it the other way around, which is difficult, where you got a lot of delivery people but not the right support, and you know, that then a team get pissed off. And that’s difficult to manage as well. So, yeah, I think there’s a lot, there’s a lot in that a lot of different ways, obviously, you can structure it, but yeah, definitely effective. And rings true with those models and the size and how they work. It’s just, you know, figuring out how to get from each state in one stage to the next, which is the tricky part, in my experience.

Ryan Porter
Yeah, and just having a little bit of that framework to work towards where, you know, before that, you know, reach out to other mates that were advisors and or, you know, friends that in other businesses, you know, I guess x y is a great resource to use there, obviously, with everyone sharing about how they run their business, and just yet looking at the different models, the different team structures and trying to pick what you can out of what, what you know, who you can speak to, or what you can see to sort of make your business a bit better.

Ben Nash
That’s right, yeah. And you mentioned before your PD day with 90 different advice, businesses, and they’re all doing things a bit differently. I think that’s the thing about beauty and curse, I suppose of advice that everyone’s everyone’s got their own take on on different things. And there’s a lot of different ways to be right. So unfortunately, there’s no, you know, one bouncing ball that everybody can follow to get there. But yet, so I suppose that the obstacle is the way in that, like, you know, it’s sometimes frustrating, as I’m sure you experienced from time to time with that journey, but it’s all sort of the fun of it as well, in full, at least for me, I find that figuring that piece out and trying some stuff, some of it doesn’t work, some of the does, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s interesting in especially in this sort of transition period with a bias where we’re, you know, getting more interest in and sort of results for consumers and getting more consumers behind it as well, which is great to see. So

Ryan Porter
and then, you know, and the other point, and again, came a bit from the conference the other week with with all that sort of business structure in mind, it’s, you know, it we’re pretty fortunate in the industry where, you know, there’s there’s a lot of things tilted, as I said, like in our favor. The demographics and the media, that compliance, you know, that’s the thing like we’re, you know, we’re fortunate where we sit, some friends that have different business models with different industries, you know, different conversations about their sort of prospects and opportunities moving forward to Yeah, like you said, there’s other challenges, but there’s

Ben Nash
totally, and it’s somewhat protected from the change that like COVID disruption and those sorts of things. Obviously, businesses have all been disrupted by the fact that we can work from wherever and you know, manage things remotely and people are getting on board with that puts us in a good spot. But Ryan, I could check this all day, but I know you’ve got a zoo to get through. So I won’t. My last question for you is, if you could go back to your back to yourself, day one, you know, rolling out the shingle in your business and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?

I should prep you for that question. So

Ryan Porter
yeah, I probably, I probably would have focused on Yeah, like maybe that sort of time management piece a little bit more being being really clear about, you know, what my strengths were, what my targets were, what my sort of KPIs were, and making sure that my diary each week, and each day was sort of matched up to that because I think early on, I got bogged down a lot with the administration, and all the behind the scenes that came into the business and so that the growth path of the business, you know, when I took that shift and made that change has been vastly different to what it was at the start. So

Ben Nash
yeah, absolutely. I think making sure your highest priority work and as easy we get the pleasure hit from responding to the email or taking that little thing off the list, but it’s like, what is the one thing to that you know, to that book reference that you mentioned, and you know, getting behind it so that you can have the impact and move forward. So yeah, some definitely some great advice there. Ryan, thanks for sharing your story may really appreciate it. Looking forward to hearing about the next stage when we catch up next time.

Ryan Porter
You know, I think certainly been all good.

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