Podcast Transcript

Episode 03, Season 1

How to start a modern advice business, with Jessica Brady

 

Jessica Brady: [00:01] And then we give them some different strategy options that ties back to the goals that they’ve told us were important, and I’m not driving the car. They drive the car, I help them navigate. That’s really important to me, and I educate clients that it’s your decision, it’s your money, and you should be really clear on why you’re making that decision and own that decision, and that really helps from an accountability perspective as well, because then the plan’s not just thrust upon them that they need to stick to.

Fraser Jack: [00:32] Welcome to the Goals Based Advice Podcast, where we have conversation with pioneers of the new world of financial advice. I’m your host, Fraser Jack, and I’d like to thank you for tuning in today. We’d also like to thank our supporting partner, Advice Intelligence, for powering this podcast.

Fraser Jack: [00:48] In today’s show, we chat to Jessica Brady who is the Co-founder and Goals Based Advisor of Fox and Hare. We chat about the structured planning process that they went through to set up and open the doors of their goals based advice business, we cover their target market of busy professionals looking to get their world sorted, and we chat about the consumer groups, the focus groups that they had to test all their plans and make changes along the way, really changing up what their original ideas were, to really include consumer focused language, and understanding what the consumers’ fears around advice were, and what’s really important to their clients, really asking the consumers to help them build the business that the clients wanted. And now, one year in, we chat about how they’re managing a fast-growing business and managing the pains along the way, and more importantly, we chat about how to combine advice with wine and cheese. Jess is such an inspiration. Let’s get straight into the chat.

Fraser Jack: [01:50] Welcome to the show, Jess.

Jessica Brady: [01:54] Thank you. Thank you for having me.

Fraser Jack: [01:56] It’s so good to be chatting to you. Tell me, I think we might just start with where you are now, with your business. Give us a bit of an overview of you and your business.

Jessica Brady: [02:04] Yeah, sure. My business partner and I launched Fox and Hare almost 12 months ago, in October 2017. We are just about to turn one, which is clearly a very big milestone in small business. Just to kind of set the scene, we have two founders and directors, we’ve got two part-time support staff onshore, and then we do have offshore support staff that we use for overflow work.

Fraser Jack: [02:27] I can’t believe it’s been 12 months. It’s gone so quickly.

Jessica Brady: [02:29] I know. It has and it hasn’t. It’s been such a huge amount that we’ve fit into a 12-month period, so it’s one of those things where it feels like it’s gone forever, and it feels like it’s gone in a day.

Fraser Jack: [02:40] Yeah, and tell me, how’s it going in that business? Have you been ... you happy with where it’s been going over the last 12 months?

Jessica Brady: [02:46] Yeah, I think by every benchmark we have done incredibly well. We achieved our sales target, we hit our revenue target, we hit our client numbers. We probably have a little bit more work to do in terms of work-life balance, but in terms of achieving all of the things that we really set out to do from day dot, I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved, and it’s been through nothing other than sheer hard work and a lot of luck.

Fraser Jack: [03:14] I think a lot of the planning, too, by the sound of it, no. We might unpack this because everyone’s going to want to know how this came to be, how you managed to get all these amazing goals that you set yourself in a 12-month period. We might go back to the beginning. Let’s take it back. How did you get into this career, this industry, and how did you become an advisor?

Jessica Brady: [03:34] Yeah, so it certainly wasn’t on my priority list when I was at school, it wasn’t an aspiration to become a financial advisor. If you’d have told me then that I would become a financial advisor, I would have most definitely laughed at you. But I did, as I was at uni, I did start to work for CBA, which was my first foray into financial services, and then, flash forward, I think it was just under 12 years and I’d worked for CBA for a number of years and then I moved over to Macquarie, where I met my soon-to-be business partner, and then I actually stepped over to Zurich before we launched. But Fox and Hare was in the works for probably two and a half-ish years before we actually did launch, so to your point before, yes, tenacity, yes, a bit of luck, but an awful lot of planning before we kicked off.

Fraser Jack: [04:20] So, that’s quite a long time. I guess it’s a lot of thought around wanting to become an advisor before your planning. What made you decide that you wanted to be an advisor?

Jessica Brady: [04:30] When I was at CBA, my BDM that I worked for forced me to go and get a financial advisor. I thought she was completely mad because I was so very young and didn’t think I needed a financial advisor, and very grateful that she did, I got insurance policies on level when I was in my very, very early 20s, which I’m very grateful for.

Jessica Brady: [04:48] But what really stuck out to me was my financial advisor at the time, which was a lovely gentleman by the name of Steve, who was very late on in his career, and he was really focused on my retirement goals and my superannuation goals, and I just felt really disconnected from the advice, because I knew retirement was important but he didn’t really talk to me about, you know, what if I wanted to save to buy my first home, or an investment property, or how to start thinking a bit broader. I think it’s because he was looking at me, thinking, “Well, she doesn’t have any money for me to investment. What am I going to do?”

Jessica Brady: [05:24] So, for me, it was around uncovering that no one was really helping people like me, and no one was really speaking my language. Throughout my career, I got the opportunity to see so very many financial advice businesses, and I looked on their websites, and what did they do? They did estate planning, and retirement, and superannuation. In my 20s, that’s just not something that appeals to me, and so I just felt there was such a big gap in the market to help the next generation of advice clients, and really, that’s why Glen and I started Fox and Hare.

Fraser Jack: [05:55] You and Glen got chatting, obviously had similar values and goals and aspirations. How did that sort of develop?

Jessica Brady: [06:01] Yeah, so we did really long road trips out to the central west of New South Wales. I think we went about five hours west together, and you’ve got a fair amount of time in a car to start unpacking, what’s your next move career-wise, and where do you want to go, and what do you want to do? We just kind of started realizing that, actually, we had quite similar goals, in that we looked at the corporate world, and while it offered us some tremendous benefits, both of us, for differing reasons, couldn’t really see ourselves working our way up the ladder. We’d both looked at these financial planning businesses, because they were our clients, and thought, there’s a really big hole here that needs to be filled. It kind of just snowballed from there.

Fraser Jack: [06:41] Okay, great. So what do you do after that? You’ve decided that you want to do it, how do you piece it all together?

Jessica Brady: [06:48] Yeah, so this is absolutely the big behemoth. It’s like, oh my gosh, where do you start? How do I eat this elephant? We literally just looked at each other and we were like, “So, what do we do?” But I think our background in corporate was incredibly helpful here, so, like any good corporate, we had it as a project, we had a project name, we set up Asana, which is a project management software, and we basically assigned ourselves all of the different parts that we knew we were going to have to learn about, and then started working out who was going to look after what piece, and when were we going to have that by, and then we just, we stuck to the project.

Fraser Jack: [07:31] Okay, so that’s quite, like, very structured, very structured, an idea, set it up, and work on it, like your side hustle, I guess. How did that then evolve over, like you said it took quite a long time to come to fruition?

Jessica Brady: [07:43] Yeah, so I Glen and I worked most Tuesday nights on this, and every weekend, and then we would other nights ad hoc, but we were really structured on at least having one night a week where we would go through where we were up to, and then one day on the weekend, and then, as I said, through that project management software, you can track stuff anyway. But we were really diligent and really accountable to each other, and I think that that meant, unlike a lot of other businesses that open their doors and then think, “Okay, now what?” we kind of opened the doors and we were ready to rock and roll. It was pretty cool.

Fraser Jack: [08:17] How did you go with reaching out to other people to get advice or ... along the way, when you were both working in a corporate role and ...

Jessica Brady: [08:26] Yeah, that was hard. That was very hard because we couldn’t tell anyone that that’s what we were going to do. It was such a long time away, that we were going to hit the button. So we had a close couple of people that knew that we were doing what we were doing, and they were amazing. Obviously, I think the fact that we’re here is such a good testament to the fact that people are so open and willing to share, and that was no different for us. People opened up, literally opened up their businesses and let us in, and let us look under the hood and tinker around and ask stupid questions, and gave us everything and more than we could ask for, and we will forever be indebted to those people.

Fraser Jack: [09:00] You mention that you, when you did your planning, that you set a time when you were going to get to your, the endpoint. How far out did you set that time?

Jessica Brady: [09:09] Yeah, so that was two years away from, I think, when we originally put a date on it, and there was a few different metrics behind that, around really understanding how much stuff there was to learn, but also making sure that we could back ourselves financially, and there were some other milestones that we wanted to get to, but we were pretty ruthless on making sure that that was the time that we did it.

Fraser Jack: [09:33] All right, now take me closer to that time, because there’s obviously a lot of work to do, setting up, you’ve got everything there setting up, but then you’ve also got some hurdles in your own mind, of mentally, I suppose, coming up to taking a corporate career and resigning from it.

Jessica Brady: [09:50] Yeah, that was massive for me, I think because I really loved my job. I would suggest it’s easier to leave a job that you’re really not enjoying, or you’re around people that you don’t feel that are supporting you or helping you be the best version of you, but I didn’t have that. I had a really great corporate job that I loved, and that made it so much more challenging for me.

Jessica Brady: [10:12] It was, mentally, it was actually really hard for me, because I felt that I was a bit ... I was living a bit of a double life because I was going to work super enthusiastic, really interested in what I was doing, and then I was coming home and working on this project that I knew I was going to be setting up soon. That was really hard, and resigning from that job was incredibly stressful. I remember sitting on the couch the night before I resigned, just crying to my partner, going, “Am I doing the right thing? Is this the right thing?” He was like, “Yes, of course this is the right thing. This is what you’ve been planning for so long.” It was a really big challenge.

Fraser Jack: [10:44] Yeah, I guess no matter how much you plan it, it’s still going to be emotionally a big leap to take.

Jessica Brady: [10:49] Yeah.

Fraser Jack: [10:50] So tell me, then you’ve resigned, and you’ve ... How much notice did you have to give on your ...

Jessica Brady: [10:56] I had a whole heap of ... because I was doing a lot of speaking, I had already locked in a whole heap of speaking gigs, and so I wanted to honor that, that was important for me. So I think I ended up working out another four weeks, I think, or maybe a bit longer. But it was a crazy, crazy period because I was going into the new office in the morning, then I was going to my regular job for, I don’t know, an 8:30, 9:00 start, and then I was leaving that job and going back to the office and doing my third shift of the day, so I was doing huge hours during that period, just to make sure that we were ready to go.

Fraser Jack: [11:33] Yeah, a busy transition. Okay, and then so you finish up your last day at your corporate job, then you opened the next week, is that right?

Jessica Brady: [11:43] Yeah, we did. No rest for the wicked. So I finished my corporate on the Friday. In fact, I’d flown back from New Zealand, where I’d been speaking at a conference on the Friday, did all of the kind of handover and pack down and farewell stuff on the Friday, which was pretty crazy. Saturday, got up at some excruciating hour to do all the filming for our website, and then Monday, first day in the office on a weekday, and at 9:30 I’m seeing our first client.

Fraser Jack: [12:11] Wow. Wow. You could pinch yourself, just going, “This is ours now. We’re open the doors.”

Jessica Brady: [12:17] It was wild. Yeah, it was crazy.

Fraser Jack: [12:19] Wow, okay. Talk to me about your business now, at the moment. You’ve got a fairly structured target market in place.

Jessica Brady: [12:29] Yeah, we do, so maybe I can talk a little bit about who we work with?

Fraser Jack: [12:34] Who you work with, who you serve, yeah.

Jessica Brady: [12:35] Yeah, sure. We tend to work with clients that are between 25 to 50, who are time poor professionals.

Fraser Jack: [12:45] Okay, and I’m assuming there’s plenty of those around where you are, in Sydney.

Jessica Brady: [12:50] Yeah, there are. I think this is an area where a lot of educated younger professionals know that they need to do something about it, and they know that they’ve got to get to it at some stage, it’s just about making that connection that now is the time, and if not now, when?

Fraser Jack: [13:08] Yeah, exactly. I think there might be a lot of them around, but if they’re time poor, and they’re busy, and they’re working hard, how do you shift them? How do you start the momentum shift from them being too busy to worry about it, to actually starting moving towards your service and what you offer?

Jessica Brady: [13:26] Yeah, sure. We offer strategic goals based advice, so we’re really interested in not amassing wealth for the sake of amassing wealth, but really understanding, what do you want to do? Where are you wanting to go? What’s important to you? What are you going to look back at and say, “Gosh, I’m so glad that I was able to do that”?

Jessica Brady: [13:42] So when you start having coffees with people and saying, “What do you want to do?” and people get really open and honest about all their amazing dreams and aspirations, and I would suggest most people have dreams and aspirations, they’re really connected to those dreams and aspirations, but when you go that next layer deeper and say, “Cool, what are you doing today that’s helping you move towards that?” there’s a pretty big realization that everyone’s getting out of bed in the morning, everyone’s going to work to earn money to do all these amazing things, but they’re not using it to help them towards that.

Jessica Brady: [14:15] It’s just around helping people understand that if you start moving yourself towards it today, imagine in 12 months where you’re going to be. I guess it’s just around explaining the story about why people need to have a plan.

Fraser Jack: [14:28] What are some of the tools and things that you use to get them towards, coming towards where you ... to help them to, well, make those plans, but to find out where they want to be and what they want to do?

Jessica Brady: [14:37] Yeah, so as we go through the advice process?

Fraser Jack: [14:41] Just before the advice process. How do you get them in the door, I guess, for the first part of the advice process?

Jessica Brady: [14:46] Yeah, sure. First and foremost, my target demographic have absolutely no idea what a financial advisor actually does, and they don’t understand what the process of getting financial advice looks like. For us, we wanted to demystify the process and debunk all of the myths, and so we created a one-page document that’s really simple, that’s a bit of a flowchart, if you like, and it just helps in that initial conversation around, “Okay, cool, this is what we do, and this is how we work, and these are what our clients ... this is the journey that our clients go through.”

Jessica Brady: [15:18] I think it helps clients, or potential clients, understand what the journey is, at what part does different things happen. You know, we don’t ask for financial, deep financial information, until the third time I’ve met with them, which is probably unusual. On the second page of that document, or on the other side, we’ve got our different coaching programs, and then we have a flat fee model, so we also run through that. So I think just demystifying and taking the questions, you know, debunking any of the questions is a good start.

Fraser Jack: [15:48] So setting expectations. It’s a great document. I’ve actually seen that document. It’s kind of like an infographic, isn’t it? It runs through. It’s really a really good-looking document. Now, that’s when you’re sitting in front of them. Is there any way you do ... Do you do webinars or seminars or anything like that, where you get to a group, from one to many before they come in?

Jessica Brady: [16:06] Yeah, we do. We’ve done a few events that have been amazing, both for existing clients and for potential clients, just panel events, actually, that have worked really well. It’s not sales-y, it’s not talking about what Fox and Hare do, it’s just adding value, so just picking an education topic, getting some really good speakers, putting on some wine and cheese, you’ll notice a theme, I quite like wine and cheese, and giving people some ideas and concept. It’s then that people often self-select that they need our help.

Fraser Jack: [16:36] I wanted to ask you about some of these groups that you ran, even before you started your business.

Jessica Brady: [16:41] Yeah, so to your point before around who did we go to for help, which was quite challenging, one of the things that we did, which was quite unusual I’m learning, is we actually got a whole heap of people together that we didn’t know, and we held some focus groups, which was amazing because we should never think that we understand our target demographic. I mean, Glen and I were in our target demographic, we thought we knew what our target demographic wanted, and then we realized, actually, we need to change some of our language, particularly language, because, goodness me, we are so jargonful, and they really shaped our offer.

Jessica Brady: [17:18] So, yeah, we had a number of focus groups, where we had them independently facilitated, and we literally just asked people, well, we had different topics, but the first one was all around money, and how do you feel about money, and what do use, are you a good saver, are you investing, what’s the best thing you’ve spent money on, what’s the thing that you’ve wasted the most money on? Then we moved over to, what is a financial advisor, which was hilarious, the responses, I wish I could have recorded them, and just realizing that our target demographic has no idea what we do was a really interesting observation. Not a surprise, but a really interesting observation for us. So, yeah, we just kept doing focus groups.

Fraser Jack: [17:55] So what would you think were the key real learnings from those first initial focus group, around money, around how people think of it, and obviously what they think of financial advisors, but what were the key learnings that you took out of them?

Jessica Brady: [18:06] Yeah, so I think our particular demographic, in the climate that we’re in at the moment, are really skeptical. There’s this real level of skepticism that, “You’re going to put me in a product because you’re going to get something from it.” That was really interesting for us, and the fact that ... I mean, we, part of a boutique licensee, and we were probably always going to fit with a smaller boutique licensee anyway, but that really cemented for us that our clients needed to know that we were not linked to a bank, because perceived or otherwise, there was this conflict for them, and that was really interesting.

Jessica Brady: [18:39] The fact that we charged a flat fee was really appealing to them, so explaining what a flat fee model was like, that was really important to them. So we just got some really interesting ... So we have no lock-in contracts, that’s probably the other one that came out, that was really important, so people don’t feel that they’re locked in because we’re going to not add value. Just like a Netflix account, you can cancel at any time, that just means there’s continual value. So we just got some really good ideas around how to make sure our offer fit.

Fraser Jack: [19:07] Yeah, interesting. So it felt like that, you know, the consumer has this perception that they’re waiting for the sale, they’re waiting for the product to come out, is that the way you felt it was?

Jessica Brady: [19:19] Yeah, I think there’s almost this anti-institution movement for many in the younger professional demographic, here in Sydney. I have no doubt that it will kind of move beyond that over time, but clearly we’re in the middle of a royal commission, so it’s probably not anytime for the foreseeable future, but it was really interesting to see just how cautious they were, and skeptical, and these are the people that were going to uni, or had just come out of uni as the GFC happened, so they have literally lived through that as the early parts of their career, and they are much more skeptical than we realized.

Fraser Jack: [19:56] Yeah, okay. So you focus a lot on the goals at the beginning, with your conversations?

Jessica Brady: [20:01] We do. It’s all about goals, because how on earth am I meant to write a plan for you if I don’t understand what you want to do?

Fraser Jack: [20:07] Yeah, and take me through that process. Take me through that initial first couple of meetings, where you spend all the time on goals. How long does it take, what sort of things do you talk to, how deep do you go?

Jessica Brady: [20:16] Yeah, sure. So the very first meeting with someone is a coffee, generally, and it’s very casual. Before they come in for a coffee, they complete a little mini fact find, if you like, and it’s got some stuff in there around, what do you have, assets and liabilities, but more importantly, what are your biggest financial frustrations, what are your financial aspirations, a couple of other pieces of info, and then tell me about you. That’s a good question to throw in because you can work out a personality profile pretty quick in the tell me about you section. So coffee is super cas, it’s just about understanding where are they at and what do they want, and then introducing them to who were are and what we do.

Jessica Brady: [20:51] If they would like to move forward, the first real formal session is called a goals and values session, and that is simply that; who are you, what drives you from a values perspective, and where are you heading, what are your short, medium and longterm goals, and the conversation is completely focused around those things. So I would say, on average, the meetings go for about two hours each, and by the end of that meeting, we have an entire whiteboard of what’s important to people, how they make decisions, so what’s their decision making process, and what’s their goals across a timeline.

Fraser Jack: [21:23] How do you draw those goals out of somebody? Do they start with hopes and dreams and aspirations, and then you put parameters around that become goals, or how do actually ... how do people actually respond to, you know, what are your goals?

Jessica Brady: [21:35] Yeah. This is a behavioral one, and around personality type, I think. So in that coffee meeting, we do really run through that journey document that I talked about before, and for people that are a bit more introverted, we’re pretty clear on, you know, this is your homework between now and then, this is what you need to go away and do. We send them a prep email before the goals and values session as well, just so that those people don’t come in, feeling quite overwhelmed in a moment, and not being able to articulate what’s important to them. It’s not because they don’t have goals, they have them, it’s just that they don’t respond well to being caught out without having done some prep.

Jessica Brady: [22:11] So that’s been good learning for us, making sure that we’ve given people the right time and space to have done homework. A lot of people won’t do it, because they’ll just be able to kind of do it on the fly, but it really helps those people that maybe would have been a bit more timid in expressing those goals in the session. They’ll come with a workbook, they’ll have mapped it all out, and then we kind of just drill a bit deeper.

Fraser Jack: [22:35] Great. So that’s your first two meetings. Really, they’re all sort of fact find meetings in the old world. What’s the process after that?

Jessica Brady: [22:42] Yeah, sure. Then they decide if they would like to work with Fox and Hare. Again, it’s about making sure people feel really comfortable and not feeling like they’re being sold to, and if they want to work with us at that point, that’s where we get a whole heap of financial information from them. Our job in the background, then, is to go away and work out, how do we take their numbers and their goals and create some strategy options for them, and the next meeting is a numbers workshop.

Jessica Brady: [23:08] We teach them basic financial literacy, what is investing, what’s a growth asset, what’s a defensive asset, understanding risk v return, all that sort of stuff, and then we give them some different strategy options that ties back to the goals that they’ve told us were important, and I’m not driving the car. They drive the car, I help them navigate. That’s really important to me, and I educate clients that it’s your decision, it’s your money, and you should be really clear on why you’re making that decision, and own that decision, and that really helps from an accountability perspective, as well, because then the plan’s not just thrust upon them that they need to stick to.

Fraser Jack: [23:44] Yeah, I 100% agree with that. I like the idea of do with, not do to, you know, that co-creation of the strategies, how they work. The plan is made up of a whole lot of strategies that can help them achieve their goals in a better way, or a faster way, or whatever it might be, and I really like that. How many hours would you say that process is, over, what, four meetings, five meetings?

Jessica Brady: [24:08] It depends. If the client’s got a really low level of financial literacy, we’ll actually do two numbers and education workshops, and there’s probably people listening to this, going, “Oh, my gosh, you’re investing so much time in them.” But what I realized was, those clients feel really overwhelmed if you’re trying to do that much stuff in one meeting, and they are so grateful. Now that I’ve started splitting it for some of them into two sessions, they are so grateful that you’ve taken the time to teach them something that they’ve really not understood before, they are so loyal to sticking to the plan.

Jessica Brady: [24:38] It’s actually an amazing investment, because what I found was, those people with low levels of financial literacy that we put a plan in place for in the beginning, they couldn’t really make the connection between what they were doing and how that was helping them go to their goals. So what we’ve realized is, actually splitting that has had a tremendous impact on clients feeling that they are in charge of making sure that it works and really getting it.

Jessica Brady: [25:01] So, you know, it can be 10 hours face-to-face with a client. We’ll use Zoom or technology if that’s required, and if that’s better for the client, that’s completely fine, but there is quite a lot of face-to-face time, and that’s why we need really, really efficient back office processes, to make sure that when we get out of those meetings, things can flow as fast and as efficiently as possible.

Fraser Jack: [25:22] Yeah, I really like the way that you frame that as investing time, and it really is an investment of time, because they’ll become a longer term client, they’ll be a long, loyal, sticky, as, in the old world, client, for a long period of time, and I guess the value of that client over a long period of time is where the investment pays off.

Jessica Brady: [25:40] Yeah, and I get amazing ... I had one client who had seen a few other financial advisors and just didn’t feel that it clicked, and I get regular emails, or, I mean, I got an email from her after our first numbers workshop, we did two, she said, “Jess, I’ve just gone home and canceled $700 worth of subscriptions I didn’t even realize I was paying for. How crazy is that? I’ve just had money bleeding out of my account, and now I’m just much more aware.” For me, that was just a penny dropping moment, going, “Oh, my goodness.” That seems so basic to me, but I’ve really helped her on her journey, and she has done so incredibly well and continues to flourish, and that’s clearly very rewarding for me as well.

Fraser Jack: [26:21] Yeah, great. So a lot of time spent with the client, working with the client, to create their plan, sounds incredible. Now, from the business point of view, where are you right now? What are you working on over the next few months, six months, 12 months?

Jessica Brady: [26:34] Yeah. Given that we’ve had phenomenal growth in our first 12 months, and we had never run an advice business, or any sort of business, or been advisors before we started, this is now an amazing opportunity to take stock and to just really focus and start prioritizing on making sure that we can support ourselves through the next level of growth.

Jessica Brady: [26:54] What that looks like in a practical sense is, in the business, I run all of the HR-related activities, so making sure we’ve actually got a HR process, like an actual Fox and Hare way that we do things. That’s been a tremendous focus for me, making sure that all of our team understand their role, and also how they contribute to client outcomes, because it can be quite disconnected if they’re not on the frontline and they’re not seeing how their work is really impacting the clients.

Jessica Brady: [27:21] So we’re just building some really robust processes around that, and team culture. I want our team to know that there’s a Fox and Hare culture, even when we’re still teeny tiny. And then Glen, who is far more structured and organized than I will ever be, he’s really looking at, how can we make sure that our processes are the most efficient that they can be, to really help us continue to grow.

Fraser Jack: [27:44] Great, now, I’m just going to ask you a bit more, to expand a bit more on this idea of culture. From a small business point of view, how do you go about ... what’s the practical steps you go about creating that and setting it with your staff?

Jessica Brady: [27:55] Yeah, this is really interesting. I think culture is a bit like wind. Sometimes it not very apparent, and then other times it’s very, very apparent, whether your, kind of, the culture is good or bad or otherwise, and it’s, to me it’s just like, this is the way that we do things around here. That’s really, in itself, quite hard to define, in terms of particularly when you’re a small business, I think, how do you define team culture.

Jessica Brady: [28:20] But we have a very clear mission that we’re on, in terms of what Fox and Hare is all about, and underpinning that, we’ve got our core values of our business. I sat down with our team and we created a document around, well, what does it actually mean behaviorally to live these core values, what do we expect from each other, and it’s about making sure that we all contribute to that document. It’s not my document that I get to wave around at people, it’s about saying, “This is our team, this is how we want to continue to grow and flourish, and therefore this is what we expect from each other,” which has been an amazing process, actually.

Fraser Jack: [28:58] So you go right down to the idea of, this is how I’ll behave, and this is how you’ll behave, and this is what we do about it, and all those sorts of things?

Jessica Brady: [29:04] Yeah. Yeah. The fact that this is what we expect from each of us, and also the accountability on us. So I’ve made everyone in our team do a self-care plan, which is a bit weird, but looking at, how do you cope with stress, and what are your coping mechanisms, and how are you looking after yourself, and eating well, and taking time out to really focus on your attitude and mental health, and that’s probably missed in the wash of a lot of small businesses because there’s so much other stuff going on.

Fraser Jack: [29:33] I also think that culture’s a great thing when everyone’s accountable, you’re accountable for things you do, and your staff can come to you and say, “Hey, you’re not doing these behaviors,” or whatever it might be, so it’s a group activity. So that’s what you’re working on at the moment. What about longterm? Tell us about the longterm for Fox and Hare.

Jessica Brady: [29:50] The longterm plan for us is to help young people get their financial world sorted. I mean, young, I say young, young is clearly pre-retiree, so it’s a pretty long age bracket. I am just so passionate about demystifying financial advice. I just think, particularly at the moment, we’ve got an amazing opportunity to put a line in the sand and say, “Hey, we are professionals, we are here to help you, and we’re going to do this together.” I’m just so very passionate.

Jessica Brady: [30:19] Particularly, I’ve noticed that a lot of women have come to see me, and they just lack so much confidence around money. It’s like they’ve been fed this story that, like, “You will never get it.” Rubbish, you will get it, you just need to invest the time and learn. So for us, that is our ultimate goal, to have amazing clients, that are happy, that are achieving their goals.

Jessica Brady: [30:39] In terms of taking over the world, no, that’s not likely to be what it is, but I do see an opportunity later to look at different streams of our business, you know, the do it myself, do part of it with me, do it all with me, and that’s probably a longer-term journey, but I do think that there’s a huge opportunity to help those people.

Jessica Brady: [31:00] We’re only seeing two in 10 at the moment, and that hasn’t moved, I think, in the entire time I’ve been in the profession, which is over a decade, which is crazy, so we need to do more and understand that there needs to be different options to suit different needs, and I would like to think that Fox and Hare, longterm, has some ability to be able to help those people.

Fraser Jack: [31:19] Yeah, I really love that term, financial confidence, that you talk about. Just knowing your process and what you go through and how you do that, I’m imaging that your clients grow in that financial confidence scale, as they go through your process to the end, and you must see a massive transformation as they’re going through that.

Jessica Brady: [31:38] Yeah, and I think, in the beginning, we wanted to do everything in one SOA, and we realized we were completely overwhelming some of our clients. So actually, we agree, particularly for our clients on the Like a Boss program, where we see them every few months, what are we going to focus on throughout the year. So, “Our first part of work is going to be this. Okay, cool, and then we’re going wait for a month, and then we’re going to really focus on this,” and then clients know what’s coming, and then they’ve got this space to know, “Okay, that’s okay, I can ask that in this next meeting.”

Jessica Brady: [32:08] So, just, it was a big change for me because I just felt that I was obliged to do everything in one go, and I think there’s so many of us that are building humongous SOAs, trying to do everything, and actually, our clients just don’t get it. So we’ve done the complete opposite, and we’ve really chunked it down, and we’ve really had good success off the back of it.

Fraser Jack: [32:27] I love the terminology you’re using, Like a Boss. What are your other plans? Your Like a Boss plan’s obviously the greatest one, or the-

Jessica Brady: [32:34] It’s only because a lot of our clients take up that program because they do want a lot of accountability. So our other programs are Get Sorted, which, quite a few people are like, “That’s me. Just help me get sorted, for goodness’ sake.” Then the third one is for more complex clients, small business owners, SMSFs, et cetera, called World Domination.

Fraser Jack: [32:50] World Domination, I love it. I love it. Great terminology.

Jessica Brady: [32:53] Yeah, this is back to speaking clients’ language. Like, our names that Glen and I made up were so boring, and so stale from-

Fraser Jack: [33:01] What were they? Let’s hear the different-

Jessica Brady: [33:03] I can’t even remember, literally can’t even remember, but I remember they just got laughed at in our focus group. Glen and I looked at each other and we were like, okay, [crosstalk 00:33:12]-

Fraser Jack: [33:11] But the corporate world would have loved them. They would have loved them.

Jessica Brady: [33:14] No, because in the corporate world you’re not allowed ... like, if you’re not in marketing, if you’re not in comms or PR, that’s not your job. You couldn’t write things on LinkedIn unless they’d been approved, or ... like, you are indoctrinated in it. I get it, they need to protect their brand, and obviously it only takes one silly comment from one person to bring disrepute on the brand. So you’re so indoctrinated in this corporate lingo, that you have to, yeah, rise above that. So actually, I think it may have been Glen’s partner that helped, and he, yeah, also ripped apart our website and said, “None of this makes sense. You guys are speaking a different language.”

Fraser Jack: [33:51] It’s great. Good feedback to get from consumers’ point of view.

Jessica Brady: [33:55] Yeah.

Fraser Jack: [33:55] Now, you mentioned Glen’s working on most of the technology side, and obviously, with you, efficiencies is pretty important in your business when you’re setting it up. What sort of things do you use for efficiencies?

Jessica Brady: [34:07] Yeah, well, can I say, it is a journey, and we are not at our destination just yet. It’s a humongous frustration, actually, because you just think, goodness me, there’s so many of us feeling the same pressures, surely there must be something that can just, bam, fix everything.

Jessica Brady: [34:23] What we do use is we use a different CRM to our financial planning software, just because of the functionality that it gives us is well over and above what we could have. That also tracks our pipeline, it tracks our revenue, it’s an amazing little system, actually. Over and beyond that, we use video technology, we use caption-based technology. As I said before, we use video recording technology. I’ve got one client who I’ve never actually met face-to-face, which is pretty amazing in this day and age, but you can have clients anywhere in the world, and your relationship is really no different.

Jessica Brady: [34:57] So we’re looking at technology that reduces friction in our business, and what we’ve ended up with is a bit of a patchwork of technology, so we actually have created a slide in our business that talks to all the different pieces of technology and what we use them for because we do have quite a lot.

Fraser Jack: [35:15] Yeah, I speak to a lot of advisors and planners that call themselves location independent, not having to be in one particular spot, and be able to service clients really all around Australia for that, or overseas.

Jessica Brady: [35:28] And why can’t we? One thing that I’m, you know, I’ve got a client in New York, I’ve got a client in Cambridge, in the UK. The thing that I think gets missed a lot in financial services is, particularly if you do goals based advice, you have to walk the walk. If it’s your dream to go and live somewhere six months of the year, what are you doing about it? And if you tell your clients you’re on that journey too, they’re going to know that you follow the same process of them, and I think that’s a good thing. I would say we aren’t very good at that, as a whole.

Fraser Jack: [35:56] I would agree. I completely agree. Now, I’m going to quickly move on and get to ... Thank you for sharing your business with us so openly. We are going to do some recordings, come to offices and do some recording about the advice process, would you be willing to do one of those recordings for us?

Jessica Brady: [36:13] Yeah, of course, would love to.

Fraser Jack: [36:14] Fantastic. We’ll still that up in the Goals Based Advice Academy as soon as we get it ready. We might finish, though, with some of your top tips. I like sort of asking a few top tips as we go, and finish on some top tips.

Jessica Brady: [36:26] Okay.

Fraser Jack: [36:27] If you’ve got a friend who is a consumer thinking about getting advice, what do you say to them?

Jessica Brady: [36:32] If I have a friend who is a consumer thinking about getting advice, I think I would say to them, do it. Don’t wait till you’ve got millions of dollars in the bank. That’s not the right time to seek financial advice, which I think is a huge misconception. And I would just get them to ask some questions around who that person is licensed through, what does that mean from a product selection perspective, and how do they get paid.

Fraser Jack: [36:56] Yeah. Yeah, okay, great. Now, thinking of, you probably know a few people in this situation, but some friends of yours that may be thinking about starting their own advice business or following a similar pathway to you, what’s your advice for them?

Jessica Brady: [37:15] Plan. Plan as much as you can. Don’t open your doors and then scratch your head and work out what you’re all about. Get really niche on who is your ideal client, have some target avatars, and then go and find those people and ask them what on earth they want, and listen, and build your business around what they’re telling you. And make sure that you’ve looked after yourself financially, and you’re practicing what you preach, and that you can financially sustain yourself for a period of time, so that you don’t have to take people outside of that target demographic to pay the bills.

Fraser Jack: [37:48] Yeah, good point. Some good advice there. Tell me, if you could go back in time, any time, and give yourself some advice, what time would you go back to, and what would you say to yourself?

Jessica Brady: [38:04] I’d like to think that all of my challenges have been an amazing learning that have helped me create the person that I am sitting before you today.

Fraser Jack: [38:12] That sounds too corporate.

Jessica Brady: [38:14] Oh my gosh, I would change a lot. What would I tell myself? If I was fresh out of school, I would tell myself that you should save from day dot, which I didn’t tell myself, and I didn’t know, and I wish my parents had taught me more, but they didn’t, and here we are. So I think that would be it. I think I would tell myself at 18 that you need to set yourself up ASAP. I think I would also tell myself to be kinder to myself, because I pushed ... I think we’re so taught to push, push, push, push, push, and I was, I ran marathons upon marathons in terms of corporate life, and I think I could have just been a bit kinder to my body and myself and my wellbeing.

Fraser Jack: [38:59] Yeah, good advice. Good advice. It’s a hard one, isn’t it, that question-

Jessica Brady: [39:02] It is.

Fraser Jack: [39:02] ... to go back and think about what you need to do.

Jessica Brady: [39:06] I mean, yeah, I could have gone down many alleyways just in that, with that question, but I’ll keep that answer.

Fraser Jack: [39:12] Good, good. Now, thank you so much for coming on the show today, it’s been an absolute pleasure having you share your wisdom. I wish you all the best with Fox and Hare, and I know you guys are doing some great things there. How can people get hold of you, I guess, if they wanted to find out a bit more from you?

Jessica Brady: [39:26] Yeah, sure. So we are foxandhare.com.au, and we have chat bots on our website, which are us, they are not robots. So obviously, check us out on our website, we’d love feedback, good, bad and ugly. Otherwise, LinkedIn I think is probably the right place for me.

Fraser Jack: [39:41] Now, yeah, so you’re also a chat bot. That’s really interesting in itself.

Jessica Brady: [39:43] Yeah.

Fraser Jack: [39:44] Yeah, okay. All right, well, thank you so much. It’s been an absolute blast having you on, having a chat, Like a Boss, and I really appreciate you giving up your time and being on the podcast, so thank you very much.

Jessica Brady: [39:54] Thank you so much for having me.

Fraser Jack: [39:56] Thanks, see you.

Fraser Jack: [39:58] If you haven’t already, I’d love you to subscribe to the podcast on your podcast platform of choice, and to continue the conversation, head over to our social media channels. We’ll catch you next time.

 

Disclaimer: This document is a transcription obtained through a third party. There is no claim to accuracy on the content provided in this document, and divergence from the audio file are to be expected. As a transcription, this is not a legal document in itself, and should not be considered binding to advice intelligence, but merely a convenience for reference.