Financial advisors who are just starting their own firms might need to think about side jobs or other ways to make money as they build their businesses.
Although the amount of income generated at the new firm to start will depend on the book of business that advisors can bring from other firms, one side gig could be preparing income tax returns during tax season, says Mark Cussen, a financial author and educator in Leavenworth, Kan.
This can also help generate new clients, because advisors can usually discover most of the other major aspects of a client's financial situation during the preparation of the return. Working part time or even temping at a company can also provide an advisor with a foot in the door along with a regular paycheck.
Side jobs could be inside the profession, such as doing paraplanning work for another firm, or something completely unrelated, such as driving a city bus during off-hours, says Alan Moore, founder of Serenity Financial Consulting in Milwaukee.
"Another lucrative job that I've seen advisors get is writing gigs, which can pay upwards of $500 per article," he says.
When Thomas Balcom founded 1650 Wealth Management in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Fla., he also taught a CFP course at a local university to help make ends meet as his business began.
It also helps to have support from others, says Gregory Alerte, a managing partner of Premier Heritage in Woodbury, N.Y.
"In my case, my wife's income as a teacher really helped," he says. "She also understood that I had to dedicate long hours and work many weekends at the start to build the business."
D. Alexander Washington, president of Washington Consulting Group in Bala Cynwyd, Pa., only planned to strike out on his own after he was earning commissions on sizable cases at his earlier firm, so that he could cover his overhead for more than two years.
He was also able to obtain an unsecured line of credit for unforeseen expenses.
Indeed, planners "need to do financial planning for themselves" before starting their own firms, to understand exactly how they are going to get by for the first two to three years, says Arthur Stein, founder of Arthur Stein Financial in Bethesda, Md.
Fortunately, he became profitable within several months because of his existing book of business that provided income from insurance sales and financial planning fees.
Stein was also frugal, renting space within an "office suite," which came with a color printer, furniture and a receptionist.
"Inadequate cash flow can be ruinous," he says. ”You don't want to be in that situation."
Katie Kuehner-Hebert is a freelance writer in Running Springs Calif. She has contributed to Financial Planning, On Wall Street and American Banker.
This story is part of a 30-day series on going independent.