060: Bryan Miles on How Financial Advisors Can Use Virtual Assistants to Save Time & Money

060: Bryan Miles on How Financial Advisors Can Use Virtual Assistants to Save Time & Money

In today’s conversation, I sit down with Bryan Miles. Bryan is the co-founder, along with his wife, Shannon, of Belay Solutions (formerly known as EA Help). Belay provides virtual assistants to help business owners and C-level execs in a number of industries grow without the added stress of having to do everything on your own.

I was introduced to Bryan through our mutual friend Michael Hyatt who started out as a client of Belay, and in turn, Michael put Belay on the map with a single tweet. If you’re finding yourself with email inbox overwhelm, getting bogged down with travel bookings, or stress at home due to lack of calendar integrity you’ll want to put this episode on repeat.

Also, don’t miss the advice midway through the episode that Bryan got on the side of a mountain while climbing with one of his mentors on what it truly means to “own a business.” Some of the wisest advice I’ve heard in any interview I’ve ever done.

One last thing… If you scroll down past the resources section of this page, you’ll find an unexpected “Added Bonus” from Bryan that I know you’ll love!


Here are a just a handful of the things that you’ll learn:
  • [05:36] First off, Bryan shares why he and his wife decided to leave their jobs at the height of a down economy, turn their life savings into startup capital, and launch a much-needed business – despite the fact that their families thought they were crazy – and why they knew they were making the right decision.
  • [12:07] Next, we talk about what a virtual assistant really is – and what their services can mean in the context of the largely brick and mortar financial services industry, where so many advisors are running solo operations. Bryan shares stories of how bringing in assistants and virtualization are transforming the workforce as a whole – and why the word “assistant” is something of a disservice to the talented, qualified individuals Belay works with. 
  • [22:52] From there, we get into why Entrepreneur awarded Belay Best Company Culture in 2017 – despite the fact that they have no office and don’t take face-to-face meetings. Bryan takes me through why the Mute function during video calls is the devil, his unique closer that leads prospects to sign contracts, and how to make virtual meetings as meaningful – or more meaningful – as in-person ones. 
  • [34:00] We then dig into the issue that I see time and again during my coaching calls: the struggle to find great talent. We talk about how to feel comfortable handing off work to an assistant after years of doing it yourself, and the team that Bryan’s family works with to take care of their own day to day operations and oversee their wealth.
  • [47:36] From there, our conversation organically leads to a big topic: how ego can get in the way of growth. Bryan shares the story of a climbing trip he took with a hugely successful entrepreneur, the piece of advice that pissed him off because it was so right, and how it led him to scale Belay like he never had before. 
  • [55:19] Finally, we dig into why responsiveness is so important, why this leads so many leaders to let assistants run their email and calendars, and what it truly means to lead a great company.



  • [09:16] Why Bryan and Shannon changed the name of their business after establishing their brand – and how they simplified their organization, improved their ability to cross-sell, and stopped getting angry emails from confused video gamers. 
  • [13:38] What the name Belay means to Bryan – and how it reflects the company’s mission.
  • [19:08] What Bryan’s clients are really getting when they hire an assistant.
  • [21:43] How virtual assistants help their clients achieve work-life balance and separation when our smartphones make it easier than ever to be “always on.” 
  • [30.62] Why winning an award from Entrepreneur has led to Bryan receiving many inquiries from other businesses looking to move away from the traditional in-person work model. 
  • [32:08] How Bryan handles time off for both his corporate and executive assistant employees.
  • [43:58] Why Bryan will drop the wrong client when needed before they do damage to the brand.
  • [52:08] How to have a startup that empowers and delegates instead of working grueling, exhausting weeks – and the question you should be asking yourself with every task surrounding your business. 
  • [56:56] Why letting someone else run my calendar and email has created a better experience for my clients. 
  • [1:07:58] Bryan’s advice to his younger self – and how this affects how he sets goals and plans his company’s growth.
  • [1:10:08] Why Bryan aspires to be a multi-dimensional person – and why so many successful people are one-dimensional.
  • [1:11:08] The books Bryan recommends the most.
  • [1:12:38] Bryan’s one piece of advice for financial advisors. 





Added bonus!!! Here’s the email response I received after emailing Bryan at his personal email address that his episode was officially live…
(Screen shot of email with personal emails blurred out)
Talk about practicing what you preach!?!? I grabbed special permission from his team to share this autoresponder with you all in case you’d like to model how to successfully “delegate your inbox” when out of office for an extended trip. Drop me an email or leave a comment below if you put this into action with success!
Here’s the screenshot of Bryan’s autoresponder –> “save as” and keep for the next time you go away! 


Thanks for checking out the latest show, on to this week’s featured reviews!

This week’s first review comes to us from Kurt Stahl who says:

Kurt, what’s up man!?!? Thanks for the review, always fun when I see them come in from people I actually know and have worked with. I hope you are listening in to this episode as I want to give you a personal shout out as it’s been incredible to see both your personal and business growth in the few short years you’ve been at Advisors Excel. For those of you listening in, I’ve literally seen Kurt transition from a one man team with little to no marketing into a firm that’s literally done a “double double” having grown from $4.5M two years ago, to $11M last year and now is pacing for $22M in 2019. What a testament to hard work and being open minded to marketing ideas and strategies that some of our biggest offices are having success with. Kurt is a lesson in, as Jim Rohn calls it, being the average of the 5 people you surround yourself with… Congrats Kurt, can’t wait to see what your firm looks like in another couple of years!!! Thanks for the partnership, we appreciate you.

The next review comes to us from user Crupper cakes who says:

Thanks so much for the kind words and review. Not going to lie, since starting the podcast, my book collection has increased exponentially as well!!! This review made me think of this quote you Game of Thrones fans out there will love from George R. R. Martin, “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.” And if you think about finding a mentor in today’s day and age, often times we overlook the simplest option that is lying right in front of us – books. In reality, we all have an unlimited supply of mentors right down the street at our local library, for FREE. We have a saying in my house with our children, “Readers are leaders.” And I have to say with every interview I do, it rings more and more true. A common theme with ultra successful people is they read… a lot. So glad to hear the podcast is inspiring many of you out there to read more books, it has me as well. Thanks again for listening in and the review!

And the last featured review for the week comes to us from Bob Lamm, who says:

Bob, two reviews from clients on the same podcast! Thanks for the review man, really appreciated!! It’s been awesome to see the work you, Rick, Parker and the rest of the team have gotten done in just a few short years. It continues to inspire me how some of the most successful financial advisors in the country approach their business and are constantly striving to get better and better at how they deliver value to their clients. You all are certainly leaders in that regard. Thanks for all you do and the partnership, we appreciate you all.

Ok, as we wrap this show, thanks again for those of you who have taken the time to write a quick review, I love reading each and every one. In fact if you’d like to connect on a more personal level, give me a follow on Twitter, I’m @brad_johnson. Let me know you listen to the show, how you found it, who I should have… etc. I’d love to continue the conversation there!

Take the 1st Step to Building Your Ideal Practice: Apply for “Virtual Discovery Session

For those of you that have interest in diving deeper or figuring out how you may be able to have our team help you implement many of the ideas shared on the show, my day job happens to be consulting financial advisors from all over the US on how to grow their business and design a practice that serves them, versus them serving it. Yes it’s possible to grow your business and work less, this is a model we’ve replicated over and over in markets all over the country… So, if you’d like to apply to see if it makes sense for us to have a 1-on-1 conversation on how to overcome what may be getting in your way, you can do that at bradleyjohnson.com/apply. It takes about 5 minutes to fill out the application so we can understand what your business looks like, what challenges you may be facing and how myself and my team may be able to help. We then dive into a Discovery session where we ask a lot of questions based on your survey. We do a lot of listening, and take a lot of notes to build a rough draft of our proprietary Elite Advisor Blueprint – 90 Day Plan™. Taking the first step is as simple as applying at bradleyjohnson.com/apply 🙂


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