Empowering Women in Financial Services: My Journey to Starting a Private Practice

As a financial advisor who ventured into private practice, I want to share my experience and insights. A desire for greater control over client relationships drove me to start my practice. Along the way, I learned valuable lessons about the importance of support, understanding your business, finding a mentor, targeting the right market, and leveraging your passions.

The Importance of Support: From Virtual Assistant to a Dedicated Team Member

Initially, I started small, with a virtual assistant. This was a good beginning, but I soon realized that to be the advisor I aspired to be, I needed someone who was not just a remote worker but a part of my practice's culture and vision. Hiring an assistant was a game-changer. It allowed me to focus on what I do best - advising clients, without sacrificing the quality of client service. The key takeaway? Don’t hesitate to seek help. It can be transformative for both your practice and your clients' experience.

Know Your Numbers

Before diving into private practice, it's crucial to understand your operational costs and practice revenue. This knowledge is fundamental to determining whether starting a private practice is a viable option for you. It's not just about passion; it's also about practicality. Understanding the financial side of running a practice is essential for long-term success.

The Value of an External Mentor

Having a mentor, preferably someone outside your firm, can offer invaluable perspectives. They bring a wealth of experience from a different environment and can provide unbiased advice and guidance. This external viewpoint has been instrumental in my journey, offering fresh insights and strategies that I might not have considered otherwise.

Identifying Your Target Market

My niche evolved over time. I now focus on business owners with assets ranging between $2-4 million. As an independent advisor and a business owner myself, I've found that I can relate better to my clients. I understand their challenges and aspirations intimately, which allows for more meaningful conversations about tax and succession planning. Identifying and understanding your target market is crucial; it shapes your service offerings and your approach to client relationships.

Passion Fuels Success

One piece of advice I'd love to share is to find something you're passionate about and integrate it into your professional life. For me, it's volunteering with the Houston Rodeo. My love for its mission has not only been fulfilling personally but has also helped me build lasting relationships and attract clients who share similar interests. Passion breeds authenticity, and clients are drawn to that.

Starting my practice was not without its challenges, but it has been an incredibly rewarding journey. The freedom to shape client relationships, the ability to provide personalized service, and the personal growth I've experienced are unparalleled. My advice to women in financial services considering this path is to be prepared, understand your strengths and limitations, and embrace your passions. Your journey might differ from mine, but the core principles of support, knowledge, mentorship, market focus, and passion are universally applicable.

Let's continue to empower each other in this dynamic and exciting field! Remember, in financial services, as in life, the most significant investment you can make is in yourself.

selectLeslea226Leslea Stock-Lopez, CRPC

Houston Chapter

President and Financial Advisor, Star Group Wealth Management

Leslea has been an investment professional for over 22 years, and is the President of Star Group Wealth Management. 

Her firm serves professionals who are planning for or are in retirement and want a comprehensive retirement guide for lifetime income. Leslea is a    12-time, Five Star Awardee, which recognizes the top 3% of advisor in Houston for outstanding customer service and the highest ethical standards.

Leslea is a native Pittsburgher and obtained 2 degrees from the Pennsylvania State University.  She moved to Houston in 2002 to pursue her financial advisory practice.  Leslea is married to Louis Lopez, her life partner and the man who makes her laugh every day.  They have two children, Sarah age 13 and Jamie age 17.

Originally posted on WIFS website on March 5, 2024
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