074: Bryan & Shannon Miles on How to Create an Award-Winning Culture without a Physical Office – The Virtual Financial Advisor Series™

074: Bryan & Shannon Miles on How to Create an Award-Winning Culture without a Physical Office – The Virtual Financial Advisor Series™

Bo Eason

Welcome to The Elite Advisor Blueprint – The Podcast for World-Class Financial Advisors. I’m Brad Johnson, VP of Advisor Development at Advisors Excel, and it’s my goal to distill the best ideas and advice from top thought leaders and apply it to the world of independent financial advising.

In today’s episode of The Virtual Financial Advisor Series™, Bryan and Shannon Miles join the podcast. Bryan and Shannon are the founders of BELAY, an organization that specializes in providing virtual assistants, bookkeepers, and web specialists to help companies grow. With over 1,100 team members across the United States and no offices (even before the COVID-19 pandemic), BELAY has won a number of major awards for company culture, including Entrepreneur’s award for Top Company Culture in 2017. 

Bryan is also the author of Virtual Culture: The Way We Work Doesn’t Work Anymore, a manifesto championing remote work and respecting employees to retain incredible talent and create a forward-thinking culture that embraces the future of work. 

Today, Bryan and Shannon are here to talk about what it means to create and maintain company culture in a virtual workplace. The insights from this conversation couldn’t possibly be more timely – especially if you’re an advisor struggling to make sense of the transition from an on-site, brick-and-mortar operation to an all-virtual, all-remote firm.


Here are a just a handful of the things that you’ll learn:
  • #1: How you can create a culture of accountability and ensure that work is getting done in a 100% virtual work environment – and the proven framework Bryan and Shannon have been using to do this for years, via Zoom. [15:24]
  • #2: Why it’s so easy for business owners to come across as tone deaf in their messaging during the COVID-19 pandemic – and how to tailor your messaging to provide value, cut through the noise, and change only where your conversation happens – not your value proposition. [36:33] 
  • #3: What financial advisors should know about working with business owners (like Bryan & Shannon) and what their family office did to show up differently for them during this time. [41:35]



  • [9:05] Why shared company culture is more than just a beer fridge or a ping-pong table – and why BELAY wins awards for company culture despite never having had a physical office.
  • [19:15] How to effectively run a large Zoom meeting – and why “be on video, be off mute” is imperative to effective communication. 
  • [23:42] Why leaders need to be extremely sensitive to employee needs and be flexible right now. 
  • [29:22] How virtual meetings are bringing businesses with multiple offices closer together than ever before. 
  • [37:49] The moment Bryan learned that he didn’t truly own his business yet – and why “own, not run” has been an idea at the heart of BELAY ever since. 
  • [49:29] Why Bryan and Shannon rate their financial services firm a 10 before the crisis and during the crisis. 
  • [01:02:47] What could have become red flags as Bryan and Shannon worked with their financial advisor – and why it’s so crucial for financial advisors to view both parties in a relationship as equals.
  • [1:05:49] How Bryan and Shannon have learned to talk to their children about money to stop them from growing up entitled. 
  • [1:13:23] What Bryan and Shannon did to help keep their brewery afloat during the COVID-19 crisis.
  • [1:16:41] The one thing that has helped Shannon define and achieve success in life. 
  • [1:18:50] Why we’re responsible for taking leadership, stewarding success, and building things as best we can for as long as we can.




This week’s featured review is a little different, as it’s actually a message that came to me on LinkedIn from Nigel Wilkens who said…

Inspirational Podcast – Thank You! Hi Brad, it is my pleasure to correspond with you. I’m a big fan of your Elite Advisor Blueprint podcast and have been following you for many months. I find your podcast inspirational and it’s the reason I took the massive step to leave the UK in February this year, to become an offshore IFA in Milsasyia. Unfortunately, I’m now in a lockdown situation like most of the world and I’m unable to see potential clients and do not have a client base. I’m in the process of listening to your podcast on how I can run virtual appointments and I have just requested to join your Virtual Advisor Facebook group. I’m confident with your help and the groups help, that I can make a success of my business under the unprecedented circumstances that we all find ourselves in. I hope you and your family are safe and well and look forward to more inspiring podcasts from you and your guests. Kind regards, Nigel Wilkens


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 🙂


Already heard it once or twice? Please leave a short review here, and tell me which guests I should have on!

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Elite Advisor Blueprint Podcast is provided for informational purposes only, For financial professional use.

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