Three Financial Planners who understand the power of 1,000 true fans
To be a successful creator you don’t need millions. You don’t need millions of dollars or millions of customers, millions of clients or millions of fans. To make a living as a craftsperson, photographer, musician, designer, author, animator, app maker, entrepreneur, or inventor you need only thousands of true fans.
This was the opening of a viral blog post by Kevin Kelly, originally written in 2008.
I didn’t come across this concept until reading a later newspaper article, explaining how the music business was changing and how aspiring musicians could make an excellent living by following this approach.
A revised version of the essay was later included in the Tim Ferris book, The 4-Hour Work Week. It’s been simmering away in the back of my brain ever since.
What about Financial Planners?
Applying the 1,000 True Fans approach to Financial Planners is problematic.
In our profession, we tend to think of ‘clients’ rather than ‘fans’. Client capacity has been a perennial debating point, with numbers varying from working with 20 ultra-wealthy clients to a couple of hundred mass affluent individuals – or more, with the right support team and business efficiencies in place.
There are some signs that this mindset is shifting. My contention is that, increasingly, Financial Planners will in the future work with a combination of clients and fans.
For the sake of clarity, a true fan is defined by Kevin Kelly as someone ‘that will buy anything you produce’.
The trouble is, as Financial Planners, we typically produce an intangible service; financial planning, investment advice, behavioural coaching, etc.
These items are a) incredibly valuable, and b) very difficult to scale, due to the intensity of delivery.
So what could facilitate a shift from working with clients to working with fans? How can Financial Planners take their ‘product’ (knowledge and skills developed over years or decades) and apply it at scale, to 1,000 true fans, rather than say, 100 individual clients?
Three Financial Planners already doing this
There are already examples from which we can learn.
Take my friend Pete Matthew.
From filming short financial education videos on various Cornish beaches for his YouTube channel, Pete has built a mega-brand in Meaningful Money. His flagship audio podcast has recently smashed through 2,000,000 downloads across its 290 episodes.
Building a loyal fan base through Meaningful Money has given Pete the platform to publish an excellent and top-rated book, and launch an online course – Learn How To Invest. He mentioned in a recent interview on another podcast that he’s making several thousand pounds a month from this course alone.
He’s also partnered with investment manager 7IM to make a self-service investment platform available to his fans.
Knowing Pete, he’s no doubt get many more products and services up his sleeve, ready to present to his loyal fan base.
Another Financial Planner who is finding fans, as well as clients, is Catherine Morgan, founder of The Money Panel.
Catherine offers financial planning and coaching for women, and has already created two online courses.
She’s got her own podcast, now in its second season, recently contributed to a book in celebration of International Women’s Day, and has a growing Facebook Group which is almost halfway to 1,000 fans!
(Catherine is also one of the speakers at the Financial Planner Marketing Summit in Guildford on Friday 21st June – what a great opportunity to learn more from her!)
Another example is Andy Hart from Maven Adviser.
Andy has a podcast (there’s a recurring theme here!), writes blog posts, and records videos.
He also hosts live events, including conferences in London, Ireland and South Africa under the Humans Under Management brand.
I do not doubt that Andy is already thinking ahead to the Humans Under Management book and online courses.
Building your brand
That’s just three examples of Financial Planners who have recognised the value of working with fans as well as clients. We’re currently working with several clients who wish to launch their online courses and membership programmes, produce podcasts, write books and grow Facebook groups.
In his essay, Kevin Kelly sets the criteria of earning at least $100 a year from each true fan. You also need to have a direct relationship with each fan, so they pay you directly.
What I love about the 1,000 true fans model is that it doesn’t require you to become a superstar. There’s no need to reach celebrity levels of recognition to make this approach pay off.
Instead, you can readily build your personal brand in a specific niche, attract fans who appreciate what you do, and who are willing to spend money each year on your premium output.
By giving away plenty for free – your podcast or video episodes, blog posts, Facebook Lives, etc. – and forming your tribe of true fans, it’s possible to earn a good living from an activity that’s eminently easier to scale than working with individual clients on a one-to-one basis.
What other examples have you seen where Financial Planners are building their tribes, in line with this 1,000 true fans approach?It's time for Financial Planners to find 'fans' as well as 'clients'. Here's why and how, with three Financial Planners who are already doing it. Click To Tweet