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.
SELECTED LINKS FROM THE EPISODE
- Virtual Culture: The Way We Work Doesn’t Work Anymore, a Manifesto
- Own Not Run
- COVID-19 Conversations
- NoFo Brew Co
- The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals
- CARE for AIDS
- Michael Hyatt (also check out Michael Hyatt on the podcast)
- Dave Ramsey
- Pete Vargas (also check out Pete Vargas on the podcast)
- Tony Robbins
- Jim Rohn
- Stu McLaren
REVIEWS OF THE WEEK
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 🙂
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Welcome to this episode of The Elite Advisor Blueprint Podcast with your host, Brad Johnson. Brad’s the VP of Advisor Development in Advisors Excel, the largest independent insurance brokerage company in the US. He’s also a regular contributor to InvestmentNews, the Wall Street Journal, and other industry publications.
[00:00:26] Brad Johnson: 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. Today’s episode is another one in our Virtual Advisor Series focusing on how to navigate the leap from brick-and-mortar to the new virtual environment we all find ourselves in today. Also, if you aren’t already a member of our private Virtual Advisor Facebook community, this episode has been live for almost a week inside the group as I’ve been live streaming each and every episode as they happen there. If you decide to join the group, you’ll also have the added benefit of live Q&A sessions during the actual recording, instant access to all tools and downloads shared by guests, and joining a community of 350 plus financial advisors and growing from all around the world, trying to make the leap to a virtual practice. Please consider this my personal invite to join the conversation. It’s as easy as searching for The Virtual Advisor on Facebook or visiting TheVirtualAdvisorSeries.com.
Today’s guests are Bryan and Shannon Miles. They’re 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 all across the US and literally no office space, have never had it 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. And that was up against many, many companies, basically all of them that had a brick-and-mortar office culture. Bryan is also the author of Virtual Culture: The Way We Work Doesn’t Work Anymore, a manifesto championing remote work and empowering employees with incredible talent to create a forward-thinking culture that embraces a future workplace environment.
[00:02:27] Brad Johnson: So, today, Bryan and Shannon are here to talk about what it means to create and maintain company culture in the virtual workplace. Obviously, 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 the on-site brick-and-mortar operation to an all-virtual all-remote firm. Here are just a few highlights of what we get into. Number one, how can you create a culture of accountability and ensure that work is getting done in the virtual work environment and the proven framework Bryan and Shannon have been using to do this for years via Zoom. Number two, why it’s so easy for business owners to come across as tone deaf in your message right now 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. And number three, what financial advisors should know about working with business owners like Bryan and Shannon, and what their family office did to show up differently for them during this time.
Okay. Before we get to the show, Bryan and Shannon have put together a couple of gifts for you, Blueprint listeners, that couldn’t be more timely. First, they’re sharing the BELAY guide to working from home. It’s an extensive collection of tools and resources to help you and your team work remotely with confidence. There’s a serious amount of wisdom packed into this gift. It’s all being provided for free so don’t miss out on it. Second, Bryan sent me a box of autographed books that I’ll be giving away until they are literally gone. Bryan not only preaches the virtues of having a virtual team, he lives it, and BELAY doesn’t even have an office and all of their employees work virtually. So, we’ll be giving away his book, Virtual Culture: The Way We Work Doesn’t Work Anymore, a Manifesto. So, here’s what to do next if you’d like to free working from home downloads or a copy of Bryan’s book. Number one, visit BradleyJohnson.com/74. Those are the show notes. There’s a graphic right at the top with all the details.
[00:02:28] Brad Johnson: If you’re listening on a mobile player, simply scroll down to find the link. Number two, if you’d like a copy of Bryan’s book as well, all that I ask is that you leave an honest review out on iTunes. And number three, once you’ve left a review, just drop us an email via firstname.lastname@example.org with your iTunes username and a mailing address, we’ll drop you a copy in the mail as a thank you. That’s simple. So, that’s it. As always, thanks for listening and without further delay, my conversation with Bryan and Shannon Miles.
[00:05:02] Brad Johnson: Welcome to this episode of The Elite Advisor Blueprint Podcast. Special guest today. Bryan and Shannon Miles, welcome to the show.
[00:05:10] Bryan Miles: Hey, thanks for the opportunity to be here.
[00:05:11] Shannon Miles: Yeah. It’s good to see you.
[00:05:13] Brad Johnson: I’m excited to be here. You know, we were joking before we started recording here. I’m like, Bryan, you inspired me so much on the last podcast, you working from home and recording from home. You know, myself and the whole rest of the world decided to join you. So, thanks for starting a movement here.
[00:05:27] Bryan Miles: Anything I can do to trigger a pandemic.
[00:05:31] Shannon Miles: Please don’t.
[00:05:33] Bryan Miles: This wasn’t my fault, for the record.
[00:05:36] Brad Johnson: And, Shannon, welcome to the conversation. Obviously, you two are partners in life and marriage, but also in business. Your name was brought up a lot on the last episode, so it’s good to have you in person here as well.
[00:05:47] Shannon Miles: Thank you. I’m here to redeem my reputation. Now, Bryan and I next month we’ll be married 23 years.
[00:05:56] Brad Johnson: Congratulations.
[00:05:57] Shannon Miles: Thank you.
[00:05:57] Brad Johnson: Well, this year’s 15 for my wife and I, Sarah and I. We were actually supposed to be not too far from you, Blackberry Farm, celebrating our 13th. I’m hoping by the time July rolls around, we can actually enjoy that trip.
[00:06:11] Bryan Miles: I hope that you can too. The place is really cool.
[00:06:13] Shannon Miles: Have you been there before?
[00:06:15] Brad Johnson: Our mutual friend, Michael Hyatt, was my introduction to Blackberry Farm and now nothing else will live up to that experience.
[00:06:26] Shannon Miles: I hope to get there this summer.
[00:06:27] Brad Johnson: Yeah. I hope so too. That’s what’s getting me through this as I record from a spare bedroom that is now an office as well. My downstairs office was too close to the homeschooling area with three kiddos so it’s the upstairs now. Well, let’s dive in. So first off, I want to thank you. This conversation was kind of started by an impromptu text that I sent Bryan. I’m like, “Hey, I’m getting hit up by advisors that we work with all over the country. All of them overnight have gone from a very brick-and-mortar business to 100% virtual.” So, I’m sitting there, I’m like, how can I add value to all of these advisors that need help running a team, meeting clients, creating culture? And I’m like, “Ah, Bryan and Shannon, they’ve run this little company that got turned into a big company 100% virtually,” and so you were kind enough to say, yeah, let’s hop on, let’s record. So, a few things I want to dive into, I’m just going to come out of the gates firing here.
So, for those that didn’t catch the last episode, we’ll put it in the show notes with you, Bryan, where you described a lot of BELAY, which was a virtual assistant company, but if you and Shannon can give kind of the cliff notes for those that haven’t caught the last episode, what is BELAY? What was the structure of the company? And then we’ll just kind of go from there.
[00:07:44] Shannon Miles: Yeah. So, when you own a business, it can be really hard to find great resources. So, BELAY exists to help growing organizations with their staffing needs. So, like you mentioned, virtual assistants, bookkeepers, and website specialists. We source team members from all over the United States that work virtually in those three capacities. BELAY, we started in 2010 and have never had an office. So, all 1,100 of our team members, whether they work as 1099 contractors for those three service lines or if they’re on a BELAY corporate team, we all work remote. So, we’ve shifted a lot of our marketing messaging to just help people know how to do that since it’s really the foundation of how we’ve set up our organization from the beginning.
[00:08:35] Brad Johnson: And can you give context because not only have you had a massive team virtually, and never had an office ever. Never had a physical office, correct?
[00:08:42] Bryan Miles: That’s right. No office. Yeah.
[00:08:44] Brad Johnson: You guys were so far ahead of the game on this.
[00:08:47] Shannon Miles: We were virtual before virtual. It’s cool.
[00:08:49] Brad Johnson: Yeah. So, can you also give context? Because not only did you run a virtual team, but you ran it so well to award-winning levels from multiple publications. So, can you just, I know you’re not egotistical people, but I think it’s helpful for context. What were some of the awards that your business won? What’s your work environment?
[00:09:07] Bryan Miles: Well, besides like winning like best workplace awards in the metro Atlanta area, the biggest I would say connected around our company culture was the Entrepreneur Top Company Culture Award. We won that in 2017 and we were up against 50 other companies that we think all still had offices. We were the only one and so word got out like, “Hey, how in the world this company get number one without an office?” And so, we fielded a lot of kind of media and a lot of questions around that and our answer is very simple, is that culture is not an office. Culture is shared vision. That’s what culture is. And so, what we’re finding especially in a time like right now is that people, especially employers or owners are going, “Man, I don’t know that I actually need an office,” like we’re working. We’re producing results. It seems like our teams are connecting. There’s reasons to get together face-to-face still and that’s true of our company as well. We still have face-to-face meetings and we’re not having…
[00:10:05] Shannon Miles: That we’re doing virtually.
[00:10:07] Bryan Miles: Yeah. But having an actual physical office doesn’t equal great culture. Like it doesn’t matter if you have a ping pong table or a beer fridge in the back, or the most beautiful boardroom, that doesn’t equal culture. It’s people aligned around shared vision that equals culture. So, my encouragement, especially to FA or financial advisors out there, is short everything that has to do with commercial real estate REITs right now because I think that there are going to be big carcasses all over our country once this is all said and done. Big buildings are going to be very empty for a long period of time.
[00:10:41] Brad Johnson: I agree wholeheartedly with that. One of my clients, we were just talking yesterday and his question to me was, “Do you think once this COVID-19 thing, once it blows through, once it’s over, do you think it’ll ever go back to how it was before? I go, “Not a chance.” Not a chance because business owners are not dummies and if they say, “Wow, here’s the mortgage payment that comes in for the commercial real estate that we have to house all these people in.” I mean, there was an adjustment period but we kind of weathered the storm and now, whether it’s Zoom that we’re on right now or other Microsoft Teams has been a big one that’s exploded. Slack, obviously. I think people are going to figure out really quick. To your point, culture does not equal physical proximity. So, either Shannon or Bryan, hop in here. Let’s go back to you won this award, and everybody that had an office said, “How did you do that?” So, how did you do that? Like, what are some frameworks that maybe advisors can follow out there?
[00:11:40] Bryan Miles: Well, not to point to it but this book I wrote, and it is our playbook. It’s called Virtual Culture, The Way We Work Doesn’t Work Anymore and it was our playbook. We’re not saying that we’ve got it all figured out on how to create a virtual organization, but it’s our playbook for how we did it and there’s so many practical things that we do in there, but a lot of them had to do with how we communicated. What we did to kind of defend culture and protect culture and a lot of things around like creating conflict norms and debate inside an organization, those are all things that were part of that playbook that we wanted to share with the world with and, yeah, I’m really proud of it. It’s funny like the book is actually selling better now than when we launched in 2018.
[00:12:21] Shannon Miles: It’s timely.
[00:12:22] Bryan Miles: It’s just timely. It’s kind of weird.
[00:12:24] Brad Johnson: 2018 was the launch?
[00:12:25] Shannon Miles: Yeah.
[00:12:26] Bryan Miles: Yeah. And now it’s like, “Oh, this book is really helping me right now.”
[00:12:32] Shannon Miles: Well, I think in that point, it was not only just to capture some really practical examples of how we’ve grown this organization, but also, a lot of people were in this mindset of like, I know the world is becoming more virtual. My teams are asking to work remote, even if not 100% part-time, like, how can I make this work? And it was a lot of inquiry around being proactive and trying to get ahead of that curve. And now, everybody is just thrown into this situation seemingly overnight, working remote. And so, I think for those organizations that were able to get ahead of it maybe have one or two days where their teams worked remote, they probably are weathering this a lot better than an organization that literally just had to go like stay at home and figure out how to work from home overnight. But there are definitely some really practical tips in there about how to make it work, whether you were able to gradually transition or how to do it immediately.
[00:13:35] Bryan Miles: I’ll make this short as I can but this idea, this is what employers and owners are dealing with right now is that it used to be that you came into an office, there was this notion that was built around this old concept of factory work. So, you think back to factories, what they would do is they put their folks in the middle on the assembly line and they put their managers around them in a circle. And then the gist was if I can see you, I can control you. Well, think about corporate office space today. You put everybody in cubicles in the middle and you put your managers on the outside walls around them. That’s that same model. If I can see you, I can control you. Now, that’s gone. I can’t see you. I have to trust you. And I actually think it’s a beautiful thing for the workplace globally right now that’s happening is because we’re now as employers, and as owners of companies, we’re saying, “I trust you to produce the result. I trust you to do the work when I can’t see you.” And it’s creating whole new levels of connection with people with their employers right now. It’s a pretty fascinating time.
[00:14:36] Brad Johnson: Very fascinating. And there’s a lot of different directions I want to go here. First off, what an amazing name for a book. I can see why it’s selling better. I literally just created a private Facebook group because I was getting hit up by all of these advisors like, how do I work virtually? How do I hold an appointment virtually? How do I mark it virtually? So, I started a Facebook group, The Virtual Advisor, but that was like a week ago. You wrote the Virtual Culture two years ago, so well done. I guarantee it’s flying off the shelves. And by the way, I bought a bunch of those books for the first podcast for those listeners. Right now, we’ll tell you how to get a free copy because I still have a few of them. So, I’m guessing those will fly off the shelf pretty quick.
[00:15:18] Bryan Miles: That’s cool. Thank you.
[00:15:19] Brad Johnson: Yeah. So, let’s circle back around here. So, what are some rhythms? You’ve led a team, an award-winning culture virtually back to what you just went through, hey, we’ve got all the workers in the middle surrounded by their managers checking in. Let’s go to accountability first because that’s a big one right now. I can’t see my team’s phone report. I can’t pop over my head over their cube and make sure they got that project done. So, how did you create accountability in a 100% virtual culture?
[00:15:47] Shannon Miles: I think it really starts with like our organizational goals and objectives. We set those out in the fall of every year for the following fiscal year and it starts with knowing exactly where we’re heading as an organization and then breaking that down into what does that mean for each team? How does each team contribute to those defining objectives? And then breaking it down even further of how does each team member individually contribute? So, it’s clarity from the very top all the way down to metrics of measuring job performance and KPIs. So, it’s not any different than if you were in the office together. That’s just good business practice but we found it even more powerful in our organization because if you are not clear on those things, if you’re not clear about where the organization’s heading or what the expectations are for the individual team members to help get there, it’s really easy to miss expectations. And it’s really easy to cause frustration and lack of clarity and I don’t know how I’m doing so we just tried to remove as much of that ambiguity as possible.
[00:16:55] Brad Johnson: Are there frameworks like 4 Disciplines of Execution, Entrepreneurial Operating System, or did you create your own frameworks of kind of accountability?
[00:17:04] Bryan Miles: We created our own. The biggest premise is this and we had to figure this out in the early days because we were all virtual. It’s this principle right here that we believe in wholeheartedly is that as leaders in our organization, we need to delegate the result, not the task. That’s a big thing right now that a lot of leaders are missing out on when they’re sending people home right now to work from home is that they’re giving them the 82 things they have to do to equal the result, versus allowing them to own the result and then work backwards. Maybe they can do it in five steps, not 82. And it basically is saying to folks, “Hey, we trust you. You’re an adult. We know your heart’s connected to our organization and what we’re trying to accomplish, but here’s the result I need from you.” And that’s just a principle we’ve seen that’s worked out so beautifully inside BELAY is that we just allow people to own the result versus just the task.
[00:17:52] Brad Johnson: What’s the rhythm of accountability? Is that weekly? Is it daily? Just kind of you were describing the framework.
[00:17:58] Bryan Miles: It’s based on really the role like some of those things are like very lofty in big things so those end up with our senior leadership team. And then there’s mid-level managers in our business that maybe have more of a monthly cadence or a bi-weekly cadence. Then we have frontline employees in our business that their result may be a weekly or a daily cadence. So, it really just depends on the role itself inside the organization.
[00:18:22] Shannon Miles: Like if you think about our sales positions, right, we use Salesforce, so they need to be logging their activity in the system. Same thing with our relationship management team, our CSCs, they should be logging their activity in that system so that we can see the touchpoints that we’re having with our prospects and our clients. But there are other positions that a weekly checkpoint is appropriate and our leadership team meets every week. Just this year, we implemented based on Dave Ramsey’s model of team meetings, a weekly meeting where all 100 of our team members get together every Monday morning at 10 on Zoom and it’s led by our CEO and we highlight the core value and we have maybe one or two departments that are updated during that time. And then we share a story, just reinforcing our core values and as part of those regular rhythms and cadence of meetings.
[00:19:18] Brad Johnson: So, let’s go into the tactics there. We literally just did one of those this morning at Advisors Excel, 600 employees. That’s a big Zoom meeting. Are you doing meetings like we’re doing now where everybody’s on video, you doing webinars where the two of you are kind of broadcasting? What’s the setup there?
[00:19:32] Bryan Miles: It’s a giant big Brady Bunch.
[00:19:34] Brad Johnson: So, how does it even work on Zoom? Are you scrolling through? What’s the max squares on one screen?
[00:19:41] Shannon Miles: 25, I think.
[00:19:42] Bryan Miles: 20 or 25.
[00:19:43] Brad Johnson: So, you got pages of 25 that you’re just flipping through?
[00:19:46] Shannon Miles: Yeah.
[00:19:47] Bryan Miles: And a really simple thing too, something that size we just ask everybody to go on mute. We have a clear agenda. It’s organized. It’s not chaos. And the other thing too is we want to see you like you have to be on video. It’s not okay for you to not be on video right now because I joke about this but, Brad, imagine you and I are having a cup of coffee face-to-face somewhere and I go, “Hey, hang on just a second,” and then I drop a sheet down right in between the two of us. And then I go, “Okay. Go ahead. Let’s talk.” Nowhere in this life would you tolerate that behavior, but for some reason, we can hide our screen on video and we just don’t accept that as something you should do in BELAY.
[00:20:27] Shannon Miles: Yeah. But, I mean, logistically for smaller Zoom meetings where maybe it’s our leadership team of 10, you are on video and you are not on mute. Because when you mute in a smaller group setting on Zoom, you’re basically having to decide if what you have to say is important enough to go off mute and sometimes the conversations happening so quickly, the moment passes and then you’re just disengaged and disconnected. So, barring any really distracting background noises we say, be on video, be off mute.
[00:20:58] Bryan Miles: Yeah. The mute is a devil.
[00:21:02] Brad Johnson: Let’s talk about corrective actions. So, let’s say you’re doing one of these 10-person meetings, and you’ve made it very clear. I’m sure even in your hiring process, you talk about it. Let’s say you have somebody that’s consistently going on mute or their video’s popping off where you can just see their name. What’s your first step of how you go about correcting that behavior?
[00:21:22] Bryan Miles: Well, it’s a conversation.
[00:21:24] Shannon Miles: From the leader.
[00:21:25] Bryan Miles: I’ve been in meetings where I’ve just said, we’re not starting the meeting until Bob and Cindy are coming only ne. And then they get the point pretty quick.
[00:21:33] Shannon Miles: I can’t think of and maybe there are examples that I’m just unaware of, but I can’t think of many of our team members who would just consistently show up that way because it’s just so ingrained in our culture that if somebody wasn’t living up to those expectations or exercising them on a regular basis, there’s probably something else going on. It’s probably an indicator of, hey, is something happening at home? Is there a misalignment in expectations? Like, it’s usually an indicator of something else that’s the bigger problem. Like in a marriage when you fight about the toothpaste, it’s not about toothpaste. It’s like are you disengaged from this team? Are you unhappy in your job? Are you needing resources that you’re not getting? Is that why you’re showing up this way?
[00:22:22] Brad Johnson: Yeah. So, let’s go. And I get that completely and I think part of that is your whole business is built on a virtual culture. So, if you’re going to give advice to a brick-and-mortar company that’s now overnight a virtual culture, what would be your reasoning? If you’re communicating to employees, “Hey, this is why it’s important, videos on at the beginning of every meeting and audios on,” how would you communicate the importance of that?
[00:22:44] Bryan Miles: I think it’s pretty obvious like, “Hey, if you’re going to be on a meeting, you need to be present,” and the way you show me that you’re present is by showing me your face. And especially in the conversation of less than, say, 10 or 12 people, I need to know that you’re engaged in that conversation so I need you to be off mute because I value your participation and your words. There might be a conversation where you’re invited to the discussion, but not invited to the decision. We still need to see you and we still need to hear from you as well. It’s very important. And so, you say that a couple of times to people, they’ll get it and they’ll value that. They’ll really understand where you’re coming from. I think that’s the cool thing about creating a wonderful culture, whether it’s on-site or virtual. When you have a culture that’s vibrant and pumping and protected, what happens is it chews out those people that don’t want to be part of it because culture just protects the right things that matter for your business. And once that’s up in a very vibrant way, folks will say, “This isn’t working. You need to do this,” and they’ll defend it more than even the owners will.
[00:23:44] Shannon Miles: I think this is a really weird time though, Brad, because I think leaders need to be uber-sensitive to where their team members are right now. They’re scared. They’re uncertain about their jobs. Their kids are probably home. They’re having to homeschool for the first time. They may be working in the same environment with their spouse for the first time. Like, they may be scared for their parents like who knows? I think leaders need to be very, very sensitive to where their team members are right now, and approach this situation with the long view in mind. It’s less about, “Hey, here are the five things you need to do on Zoom to show me that you’re still engaged,” and it’s more like, “Hey, guys, our cheese has been moved. Our cheese is not even in the same world that it was in a month ago. So, let’s all figure out together what are our new normal is going to be,” and give some flexibility in that.
I think in a perfect world, you would say when you’re working, you’re on Zoom, your kids are not around, you have no distractions, you’re very mindful of your environment, you have a separate space to work like those are the right things to do. It is not possible. There are a lot of people right now and I don’t think leaders should approach this with too much rigidity or they’re going to end up disconnecting their teams instead of engaging them during this time with like I mentioned, taking the long view. This isn’t going to last forever. We will get back to some form of seeing each other face-to-face. So, I would lead in a way that you anticipate that instead of being too rigid with your teams right now about the rules and regulations.
[00:25:23] Bryan Miles: I would agree with that wholeheartedly. I think there is an abundance of grace that’s required right now from a leadership perspective. We’ve said this many, many times, people will remember how you treated them in this season. They just will. This has never happened before in the history of earth as far as we know to this level and magnitude. And so, it’s impossible for people to forget the season in time and they’re going to look back on it, and they’re going to see it. They’re going to remember the people that helped them and they’re going to remember the people that weren’t so kind as well. So, it’s important that leaders remember that.
[00:25:54] Brad Johnson: So much gold there. I just want to encapsulate that. In fact, I will encapsulate. That’s going to be a solid clip we’re going to redistribute but, yeah, so much gold there. I think self-awareness as a leader right now has never been valued higher because, yes, the tough part about that as a business owner, they’ve never had more stress as far as, okay, how do we keep the lights on? It’s all hands on deck. So, that’s a very delicate balance right now that every business owner and entrepreneur is playing. But to your point, how you show up in the tough times is how you will be remembered.
[00:26:25] Bryan Miles: That’s right.
[00:26:27] Shannon Miles: Well, and we’ve talked to a lot of business owners right now who have been appropriately transparent with their teams. Like, I don’t think you can be a robot as a leader right now and say, “Let’s pretend this isn’t at all happening, and let’s just move forward.” It’s like, “Hey, guys, here’s where we are as an organization. Here are the challenges that we’re facing. Here’s what we’re doing to mitigate the risk. And here’s how it’s going to impact you, but I don’t have all the answers.” None of us know when things are going to start to turn around. So, I think there’s also an appropriate vulnerability that leaders need to have with their teams to let them know they’re aware of the impact.
[00:27:06] Brad Johnson: Yeah. COVID-19, coronavirus, whatever we want to call it these days, it’s the great equalizer. It doesn’t matter your wealth. It doesn’t matter your religious stance, it doesn’t matter your politics. We’re all actually pretty much in the same spot right now for kind of self-quarantining as I feel we all should be right now. So, let’s pivot a little bit and I want to go to culture. I mean, we’re kind of dancing all around it right now but right now, we can’t get together face-to-face. I’ve had done some really cool things. I had a virtual happy hour with a couple of buddies the other day. We did it with my team last Friday and what’s really interesting, what’s been a learning experience for me and I’ve pretty much built a virtual business in the last 10, 15 years on the coaching side with advisors in a weird sort of way, and I want to get your input on this, I feel more connected with my team than I ever have been.
And, Bryan, you hit this on our last podcast because I’m seeing like I’m invited into your home right now. I can see the background. You can see my spare bedroom and I’ve got team members, dogs are barking in the background, but you’re actually invited into people’s homes right now. And I think the other thing is different from when we were in the office, if I had to go to a meeting, it was like, “Okay, I got to end this one. I’ve got to walk across the office that’s maybe a five-minute walk in our office to get there,” and it’s kind of a pain in the butt to go to all these. I can literally click, I’m in this meeting, I’m in this meeting. And so, it’s actually a lot more convenient to connect. I’m just literally popping in on team members. Our new business team just got crushed with a ton of business last month. And I’m like, “Hey, you all hanging in there? How’s it going? I appreciate it. I know it’s all hands on deck over there right now.” I quite honestly would have probably never done that in a real office environment but it was really easy to do it on Microsoft Teams. I just pop in and say, “Hey, can I grab a minute?”
[00:29:02] Brad Johnson: So, I’m kind of setting the stage there but you’ve all run a virtual business much longer than I have. I’m sure you’ve got a lot of rhythms or systems for creating team culture. What are some of those that might be able to benefit the audience?
[00:29:14] Bryan Miles: Well, you know, it’s funny. You’re not the only one saying that. And by the way, we need to have grace extended to us. We have our mowers here and it’s really loud.
[00:29:22] Shannon Miles: They could not be mowing closer to our office than they are right now.
[00:29:24] Bryan Miles: Yeah. So, this is a perfect example of grace that’s required by us. People earlier this week, we had a conversation with the editorial director of Entrepreneur Magazine, really great guy, and he was talking about the same thing like they have an office in downtown New York and in Irvine, and he said, “I actually feel closer to our teams now in Irvine than ever before,” and he’s like trying to figure out like, why is that? And I think it’s this right here is there’s a level of presence that’s occurring on Zoom that doesn’t even happen in actual physical office. There’s a lot of distraction in an office, and this is very connected. I mean, you can pick up on facial expressions because I’m literally in your face like it’s a little different than an office. I just think that this whole concept of this idea that you’re present physically with who you are and how you come across as being kind of I don’t know what the word is, overseen in some ways.
And the same thing is true like you’re getting a glimpse into people’s lives, but you’re seeing their home right now, you’re seeing their kids, you’re seeing like life as it is, and a dog or a cat walk by you and you don’t get that when you’re just coming into an office every day. You just don’t see that side of folks. And so, I think it’s a really beautiful thing for what’s happening with teams and the company’s cultures right now if they’re really embracing us.
[00:30:45] Brad Johnson: Yeah. Most days, my four-year-old does not walk into our boardroom and just join the meeting. She usually does it at least once a day. But that’s what’s cool about this like every single one of my clients, I’m on a coaching call, my four-year-old literally walked in one day, sits on my lap and she literally just falls asleep right there on the chair. And we just kept the call going and he’s like, I guarantee you he’s like, “Oh my God.” I mean, he’s trying to interact with her and it’s just a whole another level of connection, not like you want your children walking into every meeting but back to grace, we all need a little bit right now.
[00:31:20] Shannon Miles: It’s humanity right now. So, at the beginning of this year, we launched a new organization called Own Not Run and the whole intent is help business owners experience freedom in their business. Well, when COVID-19 hit, a lot of business owners were just trying to figure out how to keep the lights on, let alone worry about achieving this self-actualized freedom in business. So, as part of our needing to shift the messaging and the resourcing of that organization, we started these series of COVID-19 conversations and we’re just interviewing people on Zoom that are in our network and talking about how they’ve been impacted. One of our first interviews was with Damon John. He’s been a long time customer in front of our business and he’s on the porch or deck or whatever, the balcony of his major awesome penthouse in New York City. And his chief of staff is in his house and we’re here interviewing.
And Damon’s daughter just walks out and he puts on these boxing mitts and they just start boxing while we’re talking. It’s like that, obviously, never would have happened if they weren’t home and it just created this moment of relatability and genuine like she wanted to play and we were having a comfortable casual conversation, why not put on the boxing mitts and just box at the same time? He wasn’t any less professional. He wasn’t any less helpful. He wasn’t any less impactful. But there was that human moment that was pretty special.
[00:32:58] Bryan Miles: Yeah, I think we put on a facade like before March 16, social media is everybody’s highlight reel and you saw people on TV all glammed up. Now, we’re seeing people on TV like Kelly Clarkson, no makeup on.
[00:33:10] Shannon Miles: Yeah, Hannah Montana.
[00:33:11] Bryan Miles: Yeah. Or that other girl, I forget her name, brushing her teeth before 10 AM like there’s just an element of reality with everybody right now and so we need to encourage that with our teams too. So, the fact that your daughter falls asleep or our mowers are going on or I’m growing out my COVID-19 facemask like, we’re all just being real right now and I love it actually.
[00:33:33] Brad Johnson: Yeah. Authenticity, which was much needed in our culture is actually coming back in a big way. It was funny like last night, perfect example, I’ve got a buddy, Sean, a coworker with me, and has some of the best phone skills, any sales skills of anyone I’ve ever crossed paths with. And we’re just trading texts as buddies and some ideas some of our clients are running with where, actually, all they’re doing is going old school, picking up a phone and saying, “Hey, Bryan, Shannon, I was thinking of you this morning. A lot of craziness out there. How you doing? The family good? You healthy? You hanging in?” That’s the opening. And the level of connection with advisors actually just picking up the phone like they haven’t done in forever, it’s amazing how well that is working, number one, just to check in with the clients make sure they’re doing all right but, number two, it’s leading to a lot of business because people are so hungry for human connection right now. But anyway, long story short, so I’m talking to my buddy, Sean, and like, “Hey, we should share that idea.” And I’m like, “What?” We’re actually each pouring a glass of wine. I’m like, “Let’s just go on a Zoom.”
We pop on a Zoom. We have the same conversation we would have had anyway and we just stream it right into the Virtual Advisor Facebook group. And I think that’s the power of everything that’s going on right now. It’s shifting the dynamic in how we think both personally and businesswise right now and I just see so much opportunity for those that during times of hardship, it actually if you look through a different lens, there’s so much opportunity out there right now for those that want to take advantage of it and show up and serve.
[00:35:04] Bryan Miles: I agree. There are some really innovative things happening that we’re seeing across multiple businesses of our friends or whatever and just a simple one like with our brewery that we own. We’ve had to shut it down. I mean, we’re going to lose in April 90% of the revenue we would have received normally and we’re relying on to go sales right now and people are afraid to crawl out of their house right now. So, it’s limping along. However, we’re doing that and I’m really proud of it. And we’ve also decided to help our community with our teams like we’ve told them, “You get to keep your jobs. We’re going to continue to pay you.” Like that’s on purpose and with this now, we get to be a blessing to other people. And so, it’s being appropriate with your organization or your business and being innovative because there are so many new ideas and new opportunities that are going to not only happen after this but even during this season in time. So, I’d encourage folks to continue to be innovative and not wait or press pause on that. It’s starting right now.
[00:36:04] Brad Johnson: Yeah, I see this. I was talking to another buddy. Actually, I’ve got a friend, Amber, that runs. She builds a lot of websites for influencers, New York Times bestsellers. Are you all familiar with Pete Vargas? Have you crossed paths with him?
[00:36:18] Bryan Miles: Yeah. Definitely.
[00:36:19] Brad Johnson: So, Pete’s an awesome guy. He’s been on the podcast in the past but right now he’s doing a virtual web series called Rise Up, and Mike Hyatt, our mutual friends on there, and you guys should probably be on there. If you’re not, you need to ping him and say, “Hey, get us on there,” because you’d be awesome on there. But he’s just going out and he’s like, “Hey, there’s so many entrepreneurs out there trying to figure this out. Let’s just serve them.” It’s not a paid program or anything like that. It’s just live streaming conversations with big business leaders that are all facing this together and it’s like, “Hey, all of us combining our powers,” we’re going to get through this a lot faster than if we’re all siloed trying to figure it out on our own. And I think there’s so much opportunity. So, let’s go back to that. So, is it COVID-19 Conversations or is it COVID Conversations?
[00:37:04] Shannon Miles: 19.
[00:37:05] Brad Johnson: Okay. Because I just love the play on words there from a marketing, candid conversations, COVID conversation. But let’s go into we talked before we went live and, Shannon, I think you said it. You said, “We’re doing this Own Not Run,” and then we’re like, well, that’s kind of tone-deaf right now because nobody’s thinking about running a business from the beach right now. So, you switched and you said, “Here’s what business owners really need and we’re going to do these COVID-19 conversations.” How quickly did that happen? How quick did you get it up and running? And what’s been the feedback so far from just your audience or your tribe on that?
[00:37:41] Shannon Miles: Can we share a little bit about the origin of Own Not Run? Is anybody like…?
[00:37:46] Brad Johnson: Yes, please. Yeah.
[00:37:47] Shannon Miles: The climbing story.
[00:37:48] Brad Johnson: Oh, yeah, yeah. Please do.
[00:37:50] Shannon Miles: That’s your story.
[00:37:51] Bryan Miles: All right. Yeah. So, Own Not Run was really born out of the experience we had nine months into our business. So, in 2011, we had a really cool thing happened. Our friend, Michael Hyatt, signed as a client and that was a really cool moment but another moment during that, almost that trip, while we were in Wyoming, is I was climbing the Grand Teton with a friend of mine, and wildly successful business guy, and long story short, he was asking me some questions in the tent around 10,000 feet, and he said something around the fact he’s like, “You don’t own your company,” and I’m like, “Yes, I do.” I was getting a little peeved and he goes, “No, you just need to understand that the day that the business doesn’t need you day-to-day is the day that you own your business. Until then you run it.” And I was like, “Ah, he’s so right.” So, we climb to the top. We came back down the next day and I told Shannon like this is the story. This is what he said. So, Shannon and I just kind of built this mantra between the two of us of own not run. And this idea that we’re going to own the business and allow other people that are really qualified and great and little resources we put them to run it.
So, Own Not Run was this thing we just kind of carry and we actually saw it to fruition with BELAY, where we now are co-Chairs of BELAY and we have a CEO that’s very capable. That was our former COO that’s now running the CEO capacity for BELAY. When we did that, we thought, “Okay, now that we’ve done that, we’ve done it also with our brewery as well. We have a really great person that oversees the brewery day-to-day and we can act in the owner capacity for that,” we thought, and we’ve had a lot of people say, “How in the world do you do this?” So, we want to create content to teach business owners how to enjoy the freedom of owning their business. But right now, there’s not a lot of freedom. There’s a lot of pain. And so, we wanted to be appropriate in our messaging right now to say, “Hey, like that season will come again but right now, what does it mean to be a really good owner? What’s it mean to really steward your business right now in this kind of season?”
[00:39:45] Bryan Miles: So, that’s kind of where the COVID-19 Conversations come from is this place of like let’s talk about what it means to be a leader and owner during the season of time. And it’s created, fostered some amazing conversation, and a lot of transparency and we’re getting really great feedback on and people are appreciating it. So, we’re happy to do it.
[00:40:04] Shannon Miles: Yeah. And the evolution of the change we had to make happen pretty quickly. This is brand new. It’s a baby company. We just started in January. So, we had this grand plan of content development and free resources, paid resources, curated events, the train has left the station. We’re geared up just like a lot of business owners. There’s this master plan for 2020 and then the middle of March happens, and it’s like, how can we start to market and communicate about this amazing event in Rosemary Beach in October that people will pay for when it’s like there’s nothing going on in Rosemary now? Everything is shut down and so many business owners are just trying to figure out how to stay afloat. That just felt very tone-deaf. So, when Bryan and I sat down, it was like the Thursday after everything started closing, he’s like, “I think we need to pause Own Not Run.” I was like, “No, we still need to do it.”
He’s like, “Shannon, who’s going to want to come to an event this fall when they don’t even know when they’re going to be able to travel again?” I was like, “Dang, you’re right.” But what ended up evolving over the next week or so is less of a pause and more of a transition because I don’t want to say pivot. I’ve said it 1,000 times in the last two weeks. I’m doing everything I can to not use that word but that’s what it was. So, that was the birth of these interviews, these conversations that we were having. We felt like that is where we could bring the most value to the people we’re trying to serve during this time.
[00:41:35] Brad Johnson: So, let’s apply that to financial services because I was just having a conversation yesterday on this and very successful firm, 100 million-plus of assets gathered on an annual basis, which is the top like 1% of the 1% of the 1%. And what I’ve found back to your transition word, I see because the rules of the game have changed, people are getting overwhelmed and paralyzed by kind of all of the moving parts, “Do I get a Zoom account? Do I get a WebinarJam account? Microsoft Teams? Oh wait, how do I do?” And so, it’s just overwhelming to them. And I found what really helped advisors cut through the noise is your business model has not changed like I should say your value proposition has not changed. What’s changed is the location of where that conversation happens. It’s still the same conversation but your point, Shannon, on tone-deafness, if you were doing tax planning events prior to this, you probably don’t want to do a webinar right now of, “Hey, tax planning tips for retirees.” Tone-deaf, right?
So, maybe you say, “Hey, three tax planning tips for retirees to take advantage of during the COVID-19 pandemic.” Okay. Still same principles, but now I call it the wrapping paper around the message, right? You’ve just made sure, hey, you’re on point and you’re actually talking about what people care about right now, which is 100% that because that’s all that they see in their newsfeed, their Twitter feed, wherever they’re at. So, I want to go to like you as business owners of this brewery and this goes more into the marketing that we’re kind of unpacking for advisors right now. So, high level, you’ve got BELAY, super successful business, so successful and you took your own advice, own not run. You’ve now transitioned. Was that beginning of 2020 for the new CEO?
[00:43:26] Shannon Miles: Yeah, 1,000 years ago, three months ago.
[00:43:30] Brad Johnson: Okay. So, 2020 you’re now shareholders but not operating, right?
[00:43:35] Bryan Miles: That’s right.
[00:43:36] Brad Johnson: So, you transitioned there. And then in between that, the brewery is, my words, not yours, was kind of a fun project that you started. That was obviously another business, retail business there locally. And now you’ve got this new business venture, Own Not Run. So, let’s just put BELAY and Own Not Run on the shelf for a second. Let’s go into the business that I’m guessing is impacted the most right now which is the brewery.
[00:43:59] Shannon Miles: Yeah.
[00:44:00] Bryan Miles: For sure. Yeah.
[00:44:01] Brad Johnson: So, NoFo Brew Co.
[00:44:03] Bryan Miles: That’s right.
[00:44:04] Brad Johnson: What’s NoFo stand for?
[00:44:06] Bryan Miles: It stands for North Forsyth. It’s the area we live in our county here in Atlanta in NoFo and we like to say drink NoFo like a Mofo.
[00:44:14] Brad Johnson: I like it. Well, I had FOMO when I was in Atlanta and I didn’t swing up…
[00:44:18] Bryan Miles: Yeah. That’s right.
[00:44:19] Brad Johnson: …because I didn’t have enough time. So, once this opens back up, I will be swinging by.
[00:44:23] Bryan Miles: Please do.
[00:44:24] Brad Johnson: So, let’s go to now before we went live and you hit a little bit of this on the last interview, Bryan. Your family office you use that hence the finances for the family and the businesses and all of that. You said they’d actually been very proactive. And so, I want to speak to financial advisors out there that want to work with small business owners because those tend to be really good clients. If you were giving advice to financial advisors out there as you’ve navigated this as a small business owner that now has a business that’s shuttered currently and the revenue hit like you said 90% of revenue disappeared overnight, what did your current family office do right in their communication and how they helped you? And also, are there any things they didn’t do that you wish they would have if you were a financial advisor out there?
[00:45:09] Bryan Miles: Yeah. I think one of the first things they did and we got a call from the owner, the guy that founded it, and also from kind of our person in the family office that’s kind of pointed to work with our family on a more consistent basis. And they both called separately and just they met us at our point of need. “How are you?” And they didn’t approach it from how it impacts their business. They just said, “How are you?” I mean, they could clearly see our numbers, right? So, they know where our numbers are because we have a lot invested with them but it was just, “Just give me a baseline and understand where you are right now. And we know what’s going on with the numbers. We see that. We have a plan for it. I’ll share that with you in a little bit and just, how are you?” And that level of humanity that they approach the conversation with, they work with some very wealthy families. And we’re on the lower end of their spectrum. We’re first-generation wealth, and so they’ve got families with second, third-generation wealth.
And what they reassured me and Shannon was, “Hey, this is happening to everybody. People with tons of money and wealth, they’re still impacted in this in the same way that you are as well.” So, it helped almost level the playing field to say, “Okay, well, what are they seeing that’s practical?” And they gave us some ideas and some things to consider. They told us make sure you’re looking at the stimulus bill and how that’s going to impact your business, make sure you’re paying attention to the law and how certain people might take advantage of the Family Medical Leave Act if that changes. They’re just very proactive and saying, “Hey, look at these things. This is what we’re hearing. This is what we’re seeing.” That meant a lot because it showed that they were in the bunker with us, that they were taking on mortars as much as we were.
[00:46:48] Brad Johnson: So, we are now what is today, April, they all blend together.
[00:46:52] Bryan Miles: Yeah.
[00:46:53] Brad Johnson: There is no division between weekends and weekdays.
[00:46:55] Shannon Miles: I missed my mom’s birthday this week. That’s how bad it gotten.
[00:47:02] Brad Johnson: We can edit that out if we need to.
[00:47:04] Shannon Miles: That’s okay. It’s part of my therapy. I just have to keep saying it.
[00:47:09] Brad Johnson: Okay. So, it’s now April 10. About approximately how far into the COVID-19 crisis before the personal phone calls hit?
[00:47:19] Bryan Miles: So, I kind of look at it as March 16 is where I feel like just stuff at the fan and it was like, the next day, I got a phone call. I mean, it was rather quick and it started with an email, “Can I jump on and chat with you?” And, yeah, it was just very wonderful for them to say, “Look, we’re here through this with you. We got you.”
[00:47:40] Shannon Miles: And not to freak out. They’re very, very just everybody’s going through it. We’ll weather it together.
[00:47:46] Bryan Miles: I think a sense of calm is very important.
[00:47:47] Shannon Miles: Yeah.
[00:47:48] Bryan Miles: And they did that and we’re able to kind of maintain that then for the people that are employed by us too across our businesses, but there was a sense of calm and reminder, “Hey, this isn’t the first time that crazy stuff happened in the market. This might be the first pandemic, but we’ll get through this.” There was just a kind of a solidarity element of it that was really great.
[00:48:11] Shannon Miles: And you talked to him probably every other day since then.
[00:48:14] Bryan Miles: Yeah. They’ve been very active as it should be. We are their business and I think they’re up to 50 families right now that they oversee over and they started back in ‘99. They averaged about two families a year that they bring on per year.
[00:48:31] Shannon Miles: Very boutique.
[00:48:33] Bryan Miles: And so, I didn’t know what to expect when something like this would hit but I’ve been pleasantly surprised. I think that’s important I think for financial advisors to really understand is that no matter how big or small a client is, they will very much appreciate the personal genuine connection to them in a season like this. It’s like I said earlier, we will remember how people treated us in this season of time.
[00:48:57] Brad Johnson: So, I’m going to ask you each of this separately. So, this will be a fun little relationship quiz. So, let’s go into the personal psychology. Let’s say 10 is perfect relationship like this office that you’re working with couldn’t have done anything more perfect prior to this. Let’s say one is that you need to fire them. So, each of you just maybe think of a number right now, your number before this and now your number after this based on their communication level and what you’ve seen since. So, before and after numbers. Shannon, you got yours? I know I’m throwing you on the spot here.
[00:49:31] Shannon Miles: No, you’re not. I can’t think of anything but 10 and 10. We’ve never had an issue with this firm and their approach has been the same before the crisis and after. So, they’ve always given us this level of service and communication. So, it just hasn’t felt any different.
[00:49:52] Bryan Miles: Yeah. I would say maybe 10 and then 11. I mean, they’re not paying us a thing right now. In fact, we’re paying them but the bottom line is when we first thought through, okay, we need a family office, what it needs to look like, they showed us like this is not an engagement with you. This is actually an engagement with grandkids that you don’t have. This is a 100-year approach that we’re taking. And so, that brought a lot of sense to this that there’s no reason to be in haste and make decisions. It’s just we’re going to start mitigating your risk. We’re going to start looking at things differently for your family as a whole and we’re going to manage your wealth in a different way than what you may know because we’re first-generation wealth. We came from very modest backgrounds. We don’t know and so we had to lean into people because we’ve been blessed with something that we want to steward really well. And so, and maybe it would be different if we had experience across other family offices or something like that, but we haven’t.
But I will just tell you like their approach, there’s been no hard right turn with these guys and this experience. It’s just, “Look, this is what we’re doing. This is the plan we have in place. This is how we leverage a down market. This is how we leverage an upmarket like this is our plan,” and it just makes good sense. And by the way, that plan was determined for us, specifically. They have different plans and different investment profile types based on the family and what they want out of it. So, we agreed to, we had a meeting about it. We signed off on it. And so, they’re following the Miles plan in terms of how we approach this, coupled with this overlaying guidance with their team internally.
[00:51:34] Brad Johnson: All right. So, I want to unpack that a little bit. I’m going to make a blanket statement. Please no numbers or anything like that. But I’m going to assume like everybody else in the world right now, your account amount, the amount in the portfolio or the plan prior to this, and as opposed to today is below what it was going into this. Is that fair to say?
[00:51:53] Bryan Miles: Correct. That is correct.
[00:51:54] Shannon Miles: Fair assumption.
[00:51:55] Brad Johnson: And what’s interesting is you go through the communication and the ramped-up communication during a difficult season. And your rating went from 10 to a 10 and a 10 to an 11 as the account value actually took a dip.
[00:52:09] Bryan Miles: Yeah.
[00:52:10] Brad Johnson: Huge lesson right there as far as proactive communication, how you show up in the hard times. The second thing I heard you say was I heard you say the board plan at least two or three, maybe four times there. So, one of the things that we preach from the mountaintops on our side is there’s a very big difference between building a portfolio for a client and building a plan.
[00:52:31] Bryan Miles: That’s right.
[00:52:31] Brad Johnson: Portfolio just does whatever the market does. It rides the roller coaster, right? A plan strategically, like you said, upmarket, downmarket, how do we navigate those? Well, there are different plans for each of those two scenarios. So, it sounds like they were very proactive on the planning side, which I’m sure also leads to a lot of the positives from yours. Is that fair?
[00:52:51] Bryan Miles: Yeah.
[00:52:51] Shannon Miles: And we review it twice a year with them too. So, we’re really aware of any adjustments need to be made and as our kids age. They’re 14 and 11 right now. The plan is going to look different five years from now.
[00:53:05] Bryan Miles: Well, I think it’s important for people to remember and we talked about this with our sales team in BELAY all the time, people don’t buy products and services. People buy relationship. People buy from people they like. And so, it’s important that your relationship and the person that you are shines through in transactions way more than the product or service itself. Yes, it’s got to be there. It’s got to be a competent thing and a competent product, and it’s got to perform, but they’re not buying that. They’re buying you. And so, that’s what we did was we bought the owner, the family office, and the guy that would be working with us on an ongoing basis. That’s who we really bought. And that is, fortunately for us, has been a consistent thing all along.
[00:53:48] Shannon Miles: Yeah. I mean, we’ve referred several families to the firm because we’ve been so pleased.
[00:53:55] Brad Johnson: Yeah. Okay. So, this is kind of fun. This is my first husband/wife at the same time. So, I love that dynamic of both viewpoints. So, relationship quiz number two here. So, let’s go to you bought the firm for the relationship. If you had to define that down to one word, like here was the one way they showed up that we’re like, yes, this is the firm for us. Think of that word. And, Shannon, what’s your word? Bryan, what’s your word? Shannon, I’ll let you. You both have it?
[00:54:25] Shannon Miles: Yeah.
[00:54:25] Bryan Miles: Yeah.
[00:54:26] Brad Johnson: Okay. Shannon, what’s your word?
[00:54:28] Shannon Miles: Specialized.
[00:54:30] Brad Johnson: Bryan, what’s yours?
[00:54:31] Bryan Miles: Mine’s clarity.
[00:54:34] Brad Johnson: Interesting.
[00:54:35] Shannon Miles: Well, based on how we were talking about the firm, did those words surprise you?
[00:54:41] Brad Johnson: Not really, no. Specialized, I think what’s interesting, business owners and going to family office, as wealth accumulates, you need more specialization. There’s more moving parts. There’s more tax planning, estate planning, right? It’s not just a financial plan. It’s how all of those worlds kind of work together in conjunction so that absolutely makes sense. And then clarity, that’s an interesting one because I think that applies to every financial advisor under the sun. It’s the Tony Robbins, how do you simplify the complex, that the firms that are best at doing that are the firms that win the most clients.
[00:55:14] Bryan Miles: Yeah. Well, if you look at like why we made this decision, we’re kind of forced to start thinking this through as one, we were starting to handle more wealth but beyond that, it was more of a, “Man, things are getting really complex,” like there’s this estate planning stuff and then, “Oh, here’s our CPA,” and over here is like, well, how we need to think through some other legal issues and risk mitigation and it’s like…
[00:55:37] Shannon Miles: The insurance.
[00:55:38] Bryan Miles: All this stuff is swirling around our family and we want to be wise with it and we want to protect our family long-term and it was just like, “Man, we have to go build these independent relationships with everybody.” And when I started to understand like the concept around a family office, I’m like, “Oh, this makes a lot of sense like this is a no brainer.” And then as we qualified these guys, in particular, they have a staff about 40 full-time people, they’ve really worked really hard to create an environment where families feel welcome and safe and simple things like our guys they actually sit down with our kids, independent of me and Shannon. I’m like, “Why would we want to do that?” They’re like, “Well, if you two are dead, they’ve got to feel comfortable with us.” And I’m like, “Oh my gosh, that’s brilliant. Terrible but brilliant.” But you think about that like…
[00:56:25] Brad Johnson: They got to figure out which one’s going to blow the big inheritance the fastest, right?
[00:56:30] Shannon Miles: Exactly.
[00:56:31] Brad Johnson: So, hold up. Fourteen and eleven they’re sitting down with right now?
[00:56:35] Bryan Miles: Yeah.
[00:56:35] Brad Johnson: One-on-one?
[00:56:37] Bryan Miles: Yeah. On breakfast, they’ll…
[00:56:38] Shannon Miles: They did together. Yeah. But we weren’t there.
[00:56:42] Bryan Miles: On purpose. That’s intentional.
[00:56:44] Shannon Miles: And they asked like how we were as parents and things like that. So, the kids had a really good time with it.
[00:56:49] Bryan Miles: Yeah.
[00:56:50] Brad Johnson: That’s awesome.
[00:56:51] Bryan Miles: But it’s little simple things like that, that add up because God forbid something like that would happen to mom and dad, these two people won’t be strangers and they’ll be making significant lasting decisions on behalf of our kids. So, there needs to be a rapport there or a recognition of this so there’s not some stranger walking into a room. And so, that’s what I mean is there was a lot of complexity and a lot of things I just didn’t know or understand, nor did I really want to at a molecular level that we needed and we knew we needed to have for our family. And then the relational elements kind of glued all that together, which were very important.
[00:57:27] Shannon Miles: Yeah. I think another value that I didn’t anticipate having from engaging with this firm but has been one of the most powerful things for me, Bryan is a big picture thinker. He’s always trying to look around the corners, model different scenarios, get ahead of anything that could happen. And in the past, like he’d have to run those things by me or these big visions and dreams and he still does, but now he’s got an objective third party that’s in our corner to bounce all of those ideas off of and model these different scenarios with and it’s given a lot of peace in our relationship that I didn’t anticipate because he least have a healthy outlet for that part of who he is. And that’s probably why clarity came to mind because he could run these different scenarios by Ken and Steven, and brainstorm things and then have clarity on the other side about what to do without that affecting he and I as husband and wife. Does that make sense?
[00:58:31] Brad Johnson: 100%. That’s a great like a vetted sounding board.
[00:58:35] Shannon Miles: Totally. Yeah. That’s a good way to put it.
[00:58:38] Bryan Miles: And then in long term, what we’re trying to accomplish, and they’ll go, “Oh, that’s a great idea,” or I have to rethink that or you need to talk to this guy about this or whatever. They’ve created a really great safe harbor for those things where you can’t just go do that with like maybe an employee in a company or whatever because they don’t have context or understand risk maybe at that level. They’re not doing anything wrong. It’s just they’re not in this seat that I’m in or we’re in. The other thing too that I’m just thinking about all this now, I didn’t know we’re going to talk about family offices. That’s cool. I will tell you another cool thing about a good family office is they’ll also bring you appropriate amount of deal flow for you to consider because they see deal flow all the time across multiple families. And so, there’s some cool opportunities that present themselves that wouldn’t otherwise be out there in the public for people to take advantage of. And we’ve been a recipient of that, which is really cool too.
[00:59:27] Brad Johnson: We’ve all sat in masterminds and the power of a mastermind is it’s kind of the old Jim Rohn, you’re the average of the five people you surround yourself with. With them working with 50 ultra-high net worth families, some of which are multi-generational and have kind of gone down the road prior to you, have there been any synergies and connections they’ve said, “Bryan and Shannon, you need to meet these other clients we work with because I think they can help you there from a business perspective,” or just a vision perspective of what your family might face in the future? Has that happened?
[00:59:58] Bryan Miles: Yeah. There is an air of obviously for privacy’s sake but what they’re really good at doing is saying, “Hey,” they won’t name the family but they’ll say they thought through it this way and we can black out everything and show you kind of like what specific tenants were there or in like deciding on a particular document or whatever. They’ve done a really good job of showing you like the spectrum of how things can be done because there is some subjectivity to that and they’ve done a really good job of providing examples around that.
[01:00:30] Shannon Miles: Yeah. More so that than connecting families direct for brainstorming or masterminding kind of things.
[01:00:37] Bryan Miles: What they have done really well though from a networking perspective is they’ve got a deep network of professionals. So, they’ll quickly say like, okay, that’s outside of our scope. We know this one person that can do this one thing, and we’re going to bring them in and they got a great network that’s already established. Another great thing that…
[01:00:54] Shannon Miles: Quarterbacking.
[01:00:56] Bryan Miles: Yeah. We don’t have to go scramble and figure out.
[01:00:58] Brad Johnson: Yeah. So, Shannon, I want to ask you this because I won’t even put context so I’ll just go ahead and ask it. What was your experience as the female in this whole conversation? How were you treated? I’m just going to leave it at that. I’m not even going to lead a direction. How are you doing…
[01:01:17] Shannon Miles: No, no, it’s fun. Just keep going. I want to hear what I was doing.
[01:01:19] Brad Johnson: …during the engagement process from this firm?
[01:01:23] Shannon Miles: You know, Bryan and I are a rare breed, I guess, and like you said, “This is a first husband and wife I’ve talked to.” We get that all the time like as far as we know, we’re the only husband and wife that are in business together that are clients of this firm. It could be that the husband and wife are separate business owners and they’re doing separate things or that it’s been the husband’s business or it was the wife’s family business or whatever. So, because we are so 50/50 in our business, we approach the family office and we’re approached by them as equals, and so we’ve never like a tagging along or let’s fill her in after the fact. It was always coming to the table side-by-side as equals.
[01:02:14] Brad Johnson: Was there any ways from their perspective that the firm made sure that you knew that that was the case? “Hey, Shannon, we view you as an equal or treating you as an equal in this decision-making process.” Anything that stands out?
[01:02:26] Bryan Miles: I mean, I’ll answer for her. I just think there was never this idea of like, “Come on, little lady. Let’s tease you out some information here.” It was like, “You two are in this together. We get that. You know, you’re 50/50 partners. You started this together. You co-founded everything together.” There’s this very much this respect I think that has always been there. We live in…
[01:02:49] Shannon Miles: I think that would have been a red flag for us if there was any sense of patting me on the head and, “Oh, the wife.”
[01:02:59] Bryan Miles: And her radar is up for things like that.
[01:03:01] Shannon Miles: That would have been a big red flag for us to move forward with them as a firm. Maybe that’s one of the things that made us feel comfortable with them in is that they didn’t show a distinction between how they were interacting with me and how they were interacting with Bryan.
[01:03:15] Bryan Miles: And it also showed that they understood it, too. I mean, I think that that’s important. Like, I’m certain there are families were the dad, if you will, or the great patriarch is the ruling half A and he gets to say and do whatever he wants. That’s just not our family. It’s not how we were approached it. And they were really quick to acknowledge that I think.
[01:03:33] Brad Johnson: Yeah. I didn’t want to lead the conversation, I kind of wanted to, but I wanted to just get your feedback because I see that as a common theme, that financial services is very male-dominated. Now, there’s a lot of female rock stars that are very quickly climbing the ladder and quite honestly kicking the guys’ butts because they actually listen to people and have empathy so that’s helpful. But one of the things I see is a common, it’s almost like a blind spot for a lot of advisors where they sit down at the table and if you are my client, “Hey, Bryan,” and literally 95% of the conversation happens right here. Michael Hyatt was just claiming on the last interview we did. He’s like, “That was one of the reasons we left our previous advisor because he didn’t view it as equals.” So, I just think that’s such a blind spot and it’s cool to hear like that would have been a red flag have they had that blind spot, but they obviously didn’t.
[01:04:26] Shannon Miles: Yeah, for sure.
[01:04:27] Bryan Miles: Yeah, I think that it behooves the financial advisor or family office or whatever to really understand and do the homework on the people that they’re sitting down with ahead of time, and really knowing and reminding himself that people buy from people they like. You can’t come across as chauvinist. You got to show that there’s confidence. We made this decision based on a 100-year idea, literally. The premise was first generation makes it, second-generation stewards it, and third-generation spends it. And we’re like, “Well, we don’t want that to happen.” And so, they said like, “Well, we take 100-year approach to this,” and they kind of walked us through kind of the methodology behind it and they knew that that would be something that’d be very important for us to hear as first generation. And I can’t overemphasize like the importance of really understanding who you’re talking to and where they sit. It’s important that you know the messaging connected to that.
[01:05:20] Brad Johnson: How did they phrase that? You said it earlier. You said, “We’re making decisions that will impact your grandkids.” Is that what they said?
[01:05:27] Bryan Miles: Yeah.
[01:05:27] Brad Johnson: That you don’t even have right now.
[01:05:29] Bryan Miles: That’s right. Yeah. So, they took the long view. I mean, and he specifically the guy that started, his name’s Ken, Ken was like, “This is how I’ve done it with my family. I’m first generation and this is what I’ve done.” And so, it was very personal too. It’s like, “Hey, I’m on this journey with you,” and it was very helpful versus this guy that’s got it all figured out, all buttoned up. He was just very like…
[01:05:51] Shannon Miles: Yeah. Their kids aren’t that much older than ours. So, what’s interesting too, when we started to make a profit at BELAY and started to have some money that we could put away and not have to reinvest every dollar into the business, one of our greatest fears as parents is that we would have entitled children. Being entitled was never an option for Bryan and I so our kids have access to more resources than he and I ever could have imagined and our fear was that it would be an expectation that they would just grow up with a certain level of travel and gadgets, and material things that would make them entitled. And so, when we shared that fear with the family office and really leaned into them to help us figure out how not to let that happen, that’s been one of the recurring things that we talk about during our meetings is what they’ve seen work with other families, what they have done with their children to slowly turn over monetary responsibilities so that you’re not flooding them too young with something that they can’t even handle.
So, just a really tangible practical we don’t want to ruin our kids. How do we raise as good kids as possible has been even the extent that our family office has partnered with us. And so, it’s not just the portfolio. It’s not just the investments. It’s how do we have a family that fulfills the vision that Bryan and I have and how does our family office help us do that?
[01:07:22] Brad Johnson: So, Shannon, that hits home with me as a poor farm kid. It’s funny, I bought my first pair of Air Jordans like two months ago and I was like this is a midlife crisis because I couldn’t have them when I was a kid so now, I’m buying them and I’m like, the almost 40-year-old dude rocking the Air Jordans.
[01:07:41] Shannon Miles: Better late than never.
[01:07:42] Bryan Miles: It’s better than a golden chain and a Corvette.
[01:07:45] Brad Johnson: Yeah. There we go.
[01:07:46] Bryan Miles: Or a girlfriend.
[01:07:49] Brad Johnson: So, let’s go to that because also really, Sarah, my wife and I, that’s a big thing for us is our kids are growing up with things we never had and that we’ve all seen it play out. If you don’t do it well, it’s not pretty. Were there any ideas or core themes, takeaways from these conversations that you implemented to not raise entitled kids?
[01:08:08] Bryan Miles: Well, the cool thing was is they’ve also spent time around our kids and they were quick to say like, “Hey, you’ve got some great kids.” They were kind and they’re like, “We were around some kids that are pretty interesting.” So, without naming names and so I’m like, “Okay. Well, we at least benchmarked okay.”
[01:08:23] Shannon Miles: We’re not ruining them yet. That was confirmation.
[01:08:26] Bryan Miles: But I think also they showed us in their own families, but also examples of other families how they have approached this at an age-specific type of thing and that’s been very helpful too like you don’t just hand your kid at the legal age of 18, in our state, $25 million of cash. You don’t do that, not that we even have that to give. But the point is you do it in a way that is very age-specific and it’s thought through and you put the intent as the family or as the parents into what’s happening. So, there’s the distribution maybe of wealth but there’s also the distribution of intent that goes with it. Here are the expectations, here are things that we want to see, here’s the freedom that you have, here’s the blessing that comes with that, here’s what you’re to be as a blessing to others. So, there’s all these dynamics that you know you want to impart and they kind of just create a framework for you to do that. I mean, remember…
[01:09:18] Shannon Miles: What’s that document we created that was like you said the intent, and then what we’re doing with the money?
[01:09:26] Bryan Miles: Yeah. Well, it was tied to our estate planning, but it was almost kind of like beyond what happens with the estate, here’s the intent behind it and here’s kind of what mom and dad want to see happen into multiple generations.
[01:09:42] Brad Johnson: Like a legacy document is what…
[01:09:44] Shannon Miles: Yeah, exactly.
[01:09:45] Bryan Miles: More or less, yeah. And so, it’s our way of speaking to maybe a generation we’ll never meet. Lord willing, I get to hang out with my grandkids but maybe not my great-grandkids. So, what are the things we want to push into the future that it’s important when you say you’re part of the Miles family, that a part of that, and a lot of it has nothing to do with the dollar sign. A lot of it has to do with your responsibility and care for others.
[01:10:10] Shannon Miles: Like one of those things in there is we value taking calculated risks. So, we’ll allocate a certain amount of money for you to start a business.
[01:10:21] Bryan Miles: But there’s contentions on it that we specify and like a term, you can’t just go out and create a new business every year and then it sucks. Like so there’s some framework around that.
[01:10:30] Shannon Miles: It’s like two rounds of funding or something like that. So, just practical things like that, that are tying the things that we value as a family to how that will translate monetarily for the kids.
[01:10:43] Brad Johnson: I’m curious because this is a question I’ve asked a lot as a parent because entitled kids is one of my biggest fears. A common theme I’ve heard from pretty much everybody that has been successful that has not raised jerks for kids has been some form of service or giving or called a mission trip, third world country, and actually be exposed to people that have needs. And it makes you really quickly realize, “Oh, wow, I thought I had it rough when I didn’t get an order when I wanted it at Buffalo Wild Wings or whatever.”
[01:11:14] Shannon Miles: Yeah.
[01:11:15] Brad Johnson: So, has any of that context been woven in where they’ve said, “Hey, here’s how other families served together or exposed their kids to others in need?”
[01:11:24] Bryan Miles: Yeah. Very much encouraged. Also, very much encouraged to create the dynamic and make sure it’s really solid between parent and kid and creating an environment where communication is really clear around that and then also, yeah, going out and seeing that, hey, you come from a family of means. So, what is that for you? Like, what’s your responsibility with that? We talked about that often with our kids. It’s like, “Yes, you have a different life than mom and dad had and we’re actually really proud of that. But you have a responsibility now in a growing way that we believe that God’s working into your heart, a responsibility to be a really great contributing adult to this world one day. And so, we want you to carry that. We don’t want you to be intimidated by it. We want you to just carry that responsibility in a healthy way.” And so, that is a conversation we have, like we’re actively involved in a few ministries.
One, in particular, is that organization called CARE for AIDS and it’s this really beautiful ministry that’s done really, really well and ran really well too and they go into places in East Africa, and they built centers to help people that have been ostracized that have AIDS, and they created centers around that. And so, we’re giving our kids glimpses of like how we’re being responsible as adults so that they can model that as they get older as well.
[01:12:41] Brad Johnson: Such a powerful word there, modeling. Not saying it, actually doing it.
[01:12:44] Bryan Miles: Doing it. Yeah.
[01:12:45] Brad Johnson: I love the lens you’re looking through. We’re not apologizing for being successful because we worked our butts off to get here but I think you’ve even said it, stewardship, a few times. There’s a stewardship that comes along with that and we want to make sure you’re prepared to handle it. That’s cool. Thank you for sharing that. I mean, we go of like way deep there, but that’s such a powerful conversation for advisors out there that are trying to figure out what do successful people actually want and need and what drives these decision factors? So, thanks for welcoming us into the psychology of what’s going on in your head.
[01:13:17] Bryan Miles: You bet.
[01:13:18] Shannon Miles: That is a first for us to talk about on a podcast interview, I promise you that.
[01:13:23] Brad Johnson: That’s where I try to go on these podcasts.
[01:13:25] Bryan Miles: That’s great.
[01:13:25] Brad Johnson: I don’t want you just talking about this stuff you do on every other podcast. Well, cool. I know we’re getting towards the end of our time here together. I’m just trying to see. Okay. So, I’ve got one other just we can hit this really quick. You mentioned the office you work with and how they kind of poured some resources in. One of the things that’s top of mind which I think they’re out of money already, but so we might be a little bit behind the eight ball here but the Paycheck Protection Program, which is kind of a small business owners relief fund from the government, and my guess is that won’t be the last one. There will probably be new rounds of that. How did your firm say, “Hey, you own a brewery that’s shut down right now. Go apply for this loan?” Are they literally filling out applications on your behalf or how was the messaging around that?
[01:14:09] Bryan Miles: It was a rather quick phone call with the guy that owns it. His name’s Ken. He just said, “You guys need to do this. It’s looking like, first off, did you keep your staff?” “Yes.” “Okay, go do this.” And he just explained how other families are doing it right now because I have a little bit of guilt like we’re in really good cash positions in our companies like we work really hard to have solid cash positions. We know where our cash is. Do we really even need to ask the government? Are we taking it out of someone else? And he quickly just said, just do it. There’s plenty of families that are doing this like it’s more or less a grant when it’s done the right way but the other cool thing because we work with a very large bank here in Atlanta called BB&T, well, it’s actually now called Truist. They merged with SunTrust.
A lot of our accounts across organizations are in BB&T. They’re flooded with people trying to do it. So, the beautiful thing with them is they’re also connected to a private bank and the private bank had easy access into filing everything. So, we kind of skipped to the front line in terms of it because they had access to a private bank that was representing the PPP. And so, that was just another cool thing that they did to kind of help us get in front of the line.
[01:15:21] Brad Johnson: Well, there’s a lot of gold in this whole family office approach. I see our upper echelon of offices now they’re not working with typical family office wealth. Now, they might be aspiring to but I think there’s so many things you said there as far as just though kind of the one-stop shopping. I’m not driving over to see one CPA and other estate planning attorney, a financial advisor, they don’t even know who each other are so there’s a lot of lessons I think that can be taken from all of that advice. So, super helpful. Okay. Well, this has been a solid 90 minutes jam-packed. So, I just want to keep this thing rolling, but…
[01:15:59] Bryan Miles: I feel sorry for the person who has to transcribe this.
[01:16:02] Brad Johnson: My man, Charlie, he’s a master. So, if you ever need – you probably already have podcasts running but if you need a connection there, he’s an 11 out of 10 as well.
[01:16:12] Shannon Miles: Nice.
[01:16:12] Bryan Miles: That’s great.
[01:16:14] Brad Johnson: All right. Well, let’s end with just one kind of philosophical question. Shannon, ladies first. So, if there was one thing and, obviously, audience of financial advisors here, so if you want to target it to them, if there’s one thing that’s led to your success to this point, and I’m not going to define success, so however you define success, what would that be that you could share with the audience here?
[01:16:43] Shannon Miles: I would say dreaming bigger than I ever imagined and not limiting possibilities or opportunities based on the past but being very future focus, and dreaming really big, I think, has been a huge contributor to success.
[01:17:08] Brad Johnson: Before I go to Bryan, what’s helped you on that journey to dream bigger? Has it been your husband? Has it been other resources you brought in? Just if you could expand on that.
[01:17:18] Shannon Miles: Yeah. I mean, for sure, Bryan, he’s definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone to try things that I would have never had the courage to do. But I also think it’s just experience and seeing that when we dream big and take risks to achieve those dreams, seeing how it’s paid off, seeing that those risks are being rewarded and it’s provided us a great opportunity to be a blessing to a lot of other people. So, the dreams are not just what can we achieve? What can we acquire? It’s based on the influence that has come with success, how can we then help other people so I think it’s partly Bryan in pushing beyond comfort zones, but then also just seeing evidence of how those dreams have been fulfilled.
[01:18:21] Brad Johnson: One of my good friends you’ve probably crossed paths with him. You know Stu McLaren?
[01:18:24] Bryan Miles: Oh yeah.
[01:18:26] Brad Johnson: Michael Hyatt’s the connector here.
[01:18:28] Bryan Miles: Yeah. He is.
[01:18:28] Shannon Miles: He’s like the hub.
[01:18:30] Brad Johnson: Yeah. He is. He’s a solid hub to have in your life, for sure. He has a saying, “More money, more impact,” and I think that’s what’s cool is you look through that lens, you don’t really ever have to apologize for success because you’re able to have more impact on the world and things that matter. So, Bryan, I’ll ask you the same question. One thing that’s led to your success, what would it be?
[01:18:53] Bryan Miles: Without a doubt, we’ve seen our success through the lens of stewardship. We believe that leadership is a stewardship that if you understand what the word stewardship means, it’s a couple of things. One, it means you’re managing something that’s not yours and there’s also an element of time connected to it. Meaning, we are stewarding this thing. We’re managing this thing for a season in time. For example, we would say this inside of BELAY, “We will not be the CEO of this company forever. We are going to be the best managers of it for the season that we’re in that seat. I’m one day going to die. And guess what? Everybody else will too.” So, there’s a seasonality to us as humans that we see in this. So, it’s our responsibility to take our leadership and steward it really well and what happens when you do that, you’re managing something that’s not yours, and you’re being limited to take care of. When you do that well, more comes your way. Bigger and bigger circles of success are coming your way.
And all of a sudden, the thing that was small that you were stewarding now became this very big thing that you were stewarding but your actions have always remained the same that you’ve always seen into something that you’re responsible for. And so, that’s true of us and the wealth that we’ve been given. Our responsibility with our kids, our responsibility to our employees and to our leaders that run these organizations, that we are stewarding this for a season in time as best we can. And I think that that’s the right way to hold things like this, so that you don’t become a me monster and you don’t let your ego run wild and you don’t see yourself as bigger than who you are, that you’re just simply stewarding an asset for a season in time. So, that’s been our approach.
[01:20:28] Brad Johnson: Well, I’m going to end it on that because both of your advice there is so spot on in all things in life and business and everything that comes along with it. So, thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much for showing up. This was such a fun conversation. I’m now actually counting down the days. I will come to Atlanta and hang at the brewery once it’s back open. So, if you throw a big re-grand opening party, you let me know. I’ll have to get that on the calendar.
[01:20:53] Bryan Miles: We’ll throw a grand opening party and only allow 50 in.
[01:20:58] Brad Johnson: Perfect.
[01:20:59] Bryan Miles: Yeah.
[01:21:00] Shannon Miles: Yeah. Thank you for having us on.
[01:21:02] Brad Johnson: Absolutely. So, thank you so much, Bryan and Shannon. Stay safe out there and until our paths cross again. We’ll see you.
[01:21:09] Bryan Miles: Thanks.
[01:21:14] Brad Johnson: Thanks for checking out the latest show. On to this week’s featured review. And this week does happen to be a little bit different as this is actually a message I received on LinkedIn just a few days ago. It comes to me from Nigel Wilkins, “Inspirational podcast. Thank you. Hi, Brad. It is my pleasure to correspond with you. I’m a big fan of your Elite Advisor Blueprint Podcasts and have been following you for many months. I find your podcast inspirational and it’s the reason why I took the massive step to leave the UK in February of this year to become an offshore IFA in Malaysia. Unfortunately, I am 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. I have just requested to join your Virtual Advisor Facebook Group, and I’m confident with your help and the group’s 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 Wilkins.”
Wow. So first off, just my heart goes out to you, Nigel, to make such a big leap, and then pretty close to right after the move to be faced with something like this. I just can’t even imagine what that must feel like. But I do want to share with you in every situation like this, it’s what you make of it and it’s what does this make possible. And I can tell you, there’s never been a greater need for true financial advisors that are willing to step up, overcommunicate, and bottom line, just reach out and connect and serve. And so, if I’m going to offer you advice right now, number one, thanks for joining the Virtual Advisor Facebook Group.
[01:23:08] Brad Johnson: Just even in the last couple days, the conversation with Chris Smith on how to connect that’s archived inside of there, the conversation with David Bach on his sister that oversees 1.1 billion of assets, her strategy for connecting right now, both of those would be go-to conversations that I would lean on because there’s a lot of wisdom and it has nothing to do with how you manage assets. It has everything to do with how you show up during these unprecedented times to serve others. So, make sure you tune into those. Obviously, so glad to have you in the group. You’re in the right place to figure this out. As we’re all navigating the same world of very brick-and-mortar business, I think financial services lagged so far behind many other industries and how do we take that same approach and bring it to this virtual world we’re all living in. So, thanks for the message, Nigel. It means a lot that the podcast has inspired you. It’s what keeps me going and thanks for joining The Virtual Advisor Facebook Group. We’ll try to add as much value to you as we can in there and help you get through this.
And the fun thing is going to be two, three, four or five years out, when we’re meeting in person hopefully someday and high-fiving and joking about this crazy time period and what that was like uprooting and starting a brand new business in Malaysia, because I promise this too will pass. You’ve got this. So, that’s it. Thanks for listening in this week. By the way, for those of you listening in, if you need help in this new norm that we find ourselves in, come join The Virtual Advisor Facebook Group. There’s no cost and the whole idea is us all figuring out how we can navigate this new virtual world together so I’d love to have you join the conversation in there. Until next time. Take care.
[01:25:00] Brad Johnson: Thanks for listening to this episode of the Elite Advisor Blueprint. For access to show notes, transcripts, and exclusive content from our show’s guests, visit BradleyJohnson.com. And before you go, I’ve got a quick favor to ask. If you’re liking the podcast, you can help support the show by leaving your rating and review on iTunes. Not only do we read every single comment, but this will help the show rank and get discovered by new listeners. It really does help. Thanks again for joining and be sure to tune in next week for another episode.
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