Start-up Series

PP 041: START-UP SERIES – Verse Wealth – First year review: looking back + looking forward

James O’Reilly and Corey Wastle started a Melbourne-based financial planning business called Verse Wealth in January 2015.

This is the ninth and final episode in a monthly series with James and Corey, to follow their first year in business.

This week they're reflecting on the first twelve months - their achievements, their disappointments, and their plans for the future.

Listen and learn

In this episode, we chat about:

WHERE THE BLOODY HELL ARE YOU?

  • How the first Verse Wealth employee is going, and how they found her
  • How their Facebook lead generation campaign is performing
  • Why they may be buying a chicken suit in the near future
  • Why one of the biggest family law firms in Melbourne wrote a rap for them #word

DEEP DIVE

  • How Verse Wealth have performed in their first year of business, including client numbers and revenue
  • What the most rewarding part of the year was
  • What the biggest disappointment was and what they would have done differently
  • What James and Corey are most excited about for 2016 and beyond

SMARTER NOT HARDER

  • Why Verse Wealth decided to update their values and change "smarter not harder" to "be effective"

LISTENER QUESTIONS

  • "What’s your one big tip for advisers thinking about taking the leap and starting their own practice in 2016?"

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PP 039: START-UP SERIES – Verse Wealth – Pricing advice with values and value at the core

James O’Reilly and Corey Wastle started a Melbourne-based financial planning business called Verse Wealth in January 2015.

This is the eighth episode in a monthly series with James and Corey, to follow their first year in business.

This week we’re talking pricing.

Listen and learn

In this episode, we chat about:

WHERE THE BLOODY HELL ARE YOU?

  • Why Corey and James have opened a second office in Sydney
  • How the recruitment process for their first staff member is progressing
  • Corey shares he's a finalist in the AFA Rising Star Award, with the winner to be announced in late October

DEEP DIVE

  • How Verse Wealth price their financial planning services and why (hint: values and value play a big part)
  • What variables go into calculating fees for clients, and what tool they use to help them
  • We walk through a pricing example for a full service client
  • Why Verse don't put fees on their website

SMARTER NOT HARDER

  • James tells us about an online scheduling tool called Calendly they are using to book client appointments quickly and easily. James says it's "bone easy".
  • James also shares a tool they are using to send SMS surveys following client appointments

LISTENER QUESTIONS

  • "It feels like there’s a heap of events happening at the moment (e.g. FPA conference, AFA conference, etc). They are often a big investment in time and money to attend. What does a dream event for you look like?"

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PP 033: START-UP SERIES – Verse Wealth – Start-up costs and money decisions

Corey Wastle and James O'Reilly from Verse Wealth

James O’Reilly and Corey Wastle started a Melbourne-based financial planning business called Verse Wealth in January 2015.

This is the seventh episode in a monthly series with James and Corey, to follow their first year in business.

This week we’re talking start-up costs. We get into where exactly they’ve spent their money – particularly on some of the big ticket items – and we also talk about ongoing costs, as well as when and what they've reinvested back into the business.

James and Corey were very generous and open about things, so there’s real numbers discussed here. 

You might be surprised as to what the costs actually are – they were certainly lower than what I anticipated. 

Listen and learn

In this episode, we chat about:

WHERE THE BLOODY HELL ARE YOU?

  • Leads coming through consistently from 30+ referral partner relationships (7 leads in the last 2 weeks)
  • Recruiting for the first Verse Wealth employee
  • The results of last month's Periscope experiment
  • The challenge of converting leads into clients
  • James' awarded a LinkedIn Power Profile (and a slightly dodgy trophy)
 James is big in India #notlegit

James is big in India #notlegit

 Source:  Verse Wealth Facebook page  #legit

DEEP DIVE

  • Where the funds came from to start Verse Wealth and how much they set aside
  • How Corey and James researched and planned for the costs of starting their business
  • The prices for some of the big ticket items needed when starting up e.g. licensee fees, PI insurance, legal fees, office space, technology, software etc
  • What they got wrong
  • Why Corey and James decided not to draw a wage for the first 12 months
  • How much it costs to keep the business running – the bare bones, no wages included – each month
  • When they decided to start reinvesting back into the business and why

SMARTER NOT HARDER

  • Nothing new this week. But if anyone's got any printer recommendations...

LISTENER QUESTIONS

  • "What's the best financial decision you've made in your business so far?"

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PP 031: START-UP SERIES – Verse Wealth – Client acquisition via content marketing and social media

Verse-Wealth---Corey-and-James-300x300.jpg

James O’Reilly and Corey Wastle started a Melbourne-based financial planning business called Verse Wealth in January 2015.

This is the sixth episode in a monthly series with James and Corey, to follow their first year in business.

You've heard in previous episodes about the work James and Corey are doing building a solid referral network.

But they are also using social media and content marketing as a way to get the Verse Wealth name out into the community, and pull new clients into their business.

So in this episode, we take a look at the how, what and why of the Verse Wealth content marketing and social media client acquisition strategy.

Listen and learn

In this episode, we chat about:

WHERE THE BLOODY HELL ARE YOU?

  • Ongoing work building referral partner relationships
  • Testing Facebook ads
  • Struggling with capacity to get everything done
  • Corey proposing, with the help of a truckload of roses (and Harvey) - yes, it's a happy ending

DEEP DIVE

  • What strategies Verse Wealth are using to attract new clients
  • How Verse are using social media in their marketing, including what platforms they're using and what activities they're doing on each
  • A look into the strategy Verse are using with their Facebook ads, including their results so far
  • Why Verse are "bullish on Periscope" and the experiment they are running with that platform
  • Where blogging fits in to their strategy, and the process they are using to create content

SMARTER NOT HARDER

  • James shares two useful services:
    • Undullify - a subscription based graphic design service
    • WPCurve - a subscription (or one-off) service that helps you solve all your WordPress headaches (WordPress is a popular platform for building websites, big and small e.g. RiskInfo.com.au and ProfessionalPlanner.com.au are built with WordPress)

LISTENER QUESTIONS

  • "How do you make time for social media and content marketing? And how do you decide where (and what platform) to spend that time?"
We’re trying to surround ourselves with people that believe what we believe

PP 028: START-UP SERIES – Verse Wealth – Productivity and priorities

Corey Wastle and James O'Reilly - Verse Wealth

James O’Reilly and Corey Wastle started a Melbourne-based financial planning business called Verse Wealth in January 2015.

This is the fifth episode in a monthly series with James and Corey to follow their first year in business.

One of the challenging things about being a start-up, is that there are a lot of new ideas and tasks to get your head around and execute on. There's attracting clients, serving clients, building relationships, marketing and brand building, accounting, creating systems, looking after technology and training yourself. 

So in this episode, we take a look at how Corey and James plan and prioritise in their business so they stay focused on the things that really matter.

Listen and learn

In this episode, we chat about:

WHERE THE BLOODY HELL ARE YOU?

DEEP DIVE

  • How do Corey and James structure their day?
  • How do they ensure they focus on the things that are important in their business, including their values?
  • How do Verse Wealth decide what to work on next?

SMARTER NOT HARDER

  • James shares the idea of a "parking space" and how that helps them to focus and alleviate distractions (+ beef up the muscle mass)

LISTENER QUESTIONS

First things first

PP 025: START-UP SERIES – Verse Wealth – Creating amazing client experiences

Corey Wastle and James O'Reilly

James O’Reilly and Corey Wastle started a Melbourne-based financial planning business called Verse Wealth in January 2015.

This is the fourth episode in a monthly series with James and Corey to follow their first year in business.

In this episode, we take a closer look at the Verse Wealth client experience.

Listen and learn

In this episode, we chat about:

WHERE THE BLOODY HELL ARE YOU?

  • Bringing new clients on board
  • A continued focus on building partnerships with accountants and mortgage brokers
  • Planning the new "Verse TV" series and a webinar in the new financial year

DEEP DIVE

  • What happens in each of the meetings in the Verse Wealth new client process
  • Why they are including imagery in Statement of Advice documents
  • Who and what some of James and Corey's key influences have been in developing the Verse client experience (including a lot of book recommendations)
  • What a "wow" file is, and how they are using it in their business
  • How the client experience relates back to the core Verse Wealth values

SMARTER NOT HARDER

  • James shares how they have gone paperless

LISTENER QUESTIONS

  • "For an adviser who has only worked in a bank, what are some of the differences between working in a banking environment, and working in a small boutique practice?"  - Susie Munro [Sixpence Media]
Be remarkable - Verse Wealth

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PP 022: START-UP SERIES – Verse Wealth – Building referral partnerships using LinkedIn

James O'Reilly and Corey Wastle

James O’Reilly and Corey Wastle have recently started a Melbourne-based financial planning business called Verse Wealth.

This is the third episode in a monthly series with James and Corey to follow their journey.

To start the episode, James tells us about a LinkedIn post that blew up his account for a few days (and he also now has a few new friends in the Cayman Islands and Jordan).

And Corey takes great delight in the fact that James lost the productivity challenge and had to swim across the "not-quite-pristine" Yarra River.

Listen and learn

In this episode, we chat about:

WHERE THE BLOODY HELL ARE YOU?

  • James and Corey's continued focus on building partnerships with accountants and mortgage brokers
  • The challenges of hiring their first employee, to help them with paraplanning and administrative support

DEEP DIVE

  • Why Verse have chosen partnerships as a way of building their business
  • How they are deciding on who to approach and whether they might be the right type of people to build a relationship with
  • Why it's important to find a cultural fit when building partnerships
  • How James and Corey are using LinkedIn to do this (step by step) 
  • How they decide when the right time is to take the relationship offline
  • What kind of value they are offering to the people they are building connections with
  • Why it is important to have a non-selfish approach to building relationships (i.e. it's about giving not getting)

SMARTER NOT HARDER

  • James shares how they will soon be using video to help make their risk profile process more engaging and time effective

LISTENER QUESTIONS

  • "How do your clients respond to a non-traditional engagement process?" - Steve Richards [Commonwealth Financial Planning]
It's all about giving and adding value - Verse Wealth

PP 020: START-UP SERIES – Verse Wealth – Building a brand

Corey Wastle and James O'Reilly from Verse Wealth

James O’Reilly and Corey Wastle have recently started a Melbourne-based financial planning business called Verse Wealth.

This is the second episode in a monthly series with James and Corey to follow their journey.

Listen and learn

In this episode, we chat about:

Where the bloody hell are you?

  • A focus on building partnerships with accountants and mortgage brokers
  • Why they are hiring their first employee
  • Getting clients on board
  • A challenge to get things done that will result in someone swimming across the Yarra River
  • A marriage and moving house

Total transparency

  • What James and Corey are reading right now
  • The CRM software Verse Wealth use

Deep dive

  • What brand means to them (hint: it's more than a logo)
  • The Verse Wealth brand values
  • How James and Corey came up with the brand
  • What resources and process did they use to create their website and video
  • How they will live out their brand values

Smarter not harder

  • James shares how they are able to hire their first employee so early in their business

Listener questions

  • “What is the response you are looking to get from potential clients with the way you are positioning your advice business through marketing, etc?” – Clayton Daniel [Hillross and XYAdviser]
  • "What have you found to be the biggest challenge in setting up your own firm?" - John Pierre Saliba 
Branding is people's perception of you and your business - Verse Wealth

PP 019: START-UP SERIES – Verse Wealth – Starting a new financial planning business

Corey Wastle and James O'Reilly

James O’Reilly and Corey Wastle have recently left their roles at a big bank and joined forces to start a Melbourne-based financial planning business called Verse Wealth. This is their start-up journey.

This is the first episode in a monthly series with James and Corey to follow the ins and outs of starting their financial planning practice.

We’ll be tracking their progress, sharing in their successes and challenges, and deep diving into their decisions, strategies and tactics to launch an advice practice built on clear, strong values and a desire to do things in new and exciting ways.

Listen and learn

In this episode, we chat about:

Where the bloody hell are you?

  • James and Corey’s backgrounds
  • What Corey and James have been working on over the last few months to get their new advice practice up and running
  • What they are focusing on right now (and it might surprise you)
  • Their successes so far
  • Their challenges so far
  • How they are creating an outstanding client experience

Total transparency

  • We discover some random facts about James and Corey, including their favourite football teams, first jobs, and most importantly, their favourite ice cream flavour (we cover the big issues here folks)

Deep dive

  • Where they’re at with their business right now
  • Why they started their business
  • How and why they work as a partnership
  • Why they chose their dealer group (Synchron)
  • How they are funding their business
  • Why they are taking the long road
  • Who their ideal clients are
  • How they are different
  • Their goals for the business

Smarter not harder

  • James shares a tool they use to send quick, personalised emails

Listener questions

  • “When starting out, will you take on anyone who fogs a mirror as a client? Or will you stay steadfast in only taking on your target client?” – Rob Skinner [Innergi]