Ep 068

Overcoming Loss and Serving $10M+ Clients


Triad Member - Tim & Julie Sullivan

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Inside This Episode

Today, I have the pleasure of talking with Triad members Tim and Julie Sullivan – a dynamic husband and wife team that lead Strategic Wealth Advisors Group together.

After joining Triad in early 2023, Tim and Julie have grown their business by leaps and bounds. Not only did they just sign a $12 million client (their biggest ever!), they’re also already more than halfway to hitting their $70 million AUM goal this year.

But Tim and Julie’s journey isn’t just inspiring because of their thriving advisory practice… It’s also how they’ve turned serious personal tragedies into powerful motivators for success in business and life. Plus, how they’re giving back by starting their own non-profit, Light the Way.

In this episode, we talk about the Sullivan’s incredible journey, why they have such a heart for giving back to their community, and some of the simple changes they’ve made in the past year that have fast-tracked their business success.

3 of the biggest insights from Tim & Julie Sullivan

#1 How key strategic changes like creating a mission brief have helped Tim & Julie land their biggest clients ever… I’m talking as much as $12 million from a single client!

#2 Why you should set BIG goals that scare you a little bit – like The Sullivan’s goal of hitting $70 million in AUM by year-end.

#3 The #1 factor that Tim & Julie believe has helped fast track their team’s growth, that other financial advisors can easily take advantage of starting today!


  • Giving back to the community
  • Overcoming serious personal tragedy
  • Journey from $15m to $70m AUM
  • The impact of the Enneagram System
  • Tips to become a better leader
  • Advice for husband-wife teams
  • Mission brief that led to $12m and $6m clients
  • How financial plans help win business
  • The Sullivan’s secret growth weapon
  • Tim & Julie’s take on “do business, do life”






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  • We’re not promised tomorrow, and we want to be able to take advantage of every day like it’s our last day.” – Tim Sullivan

  • One thing that I think is very helpful is to check your ego at the door.” – Tim Sullivan

  • It’s not about money. It’s not about your investments. It’s not about what you can do for him. It’s getting to know your client and speaking that language and being genuine and real to where they could see that you live that same language. That’s what it’s about.” – Tim Sullivan

Brad Johnson: Welcome back to another episode of Do Business Do Life. Have another special one here with Triad members, Tim and Julie Sullivan. Welcome to the show.

Tim Sullivan: Thanks for having us, Brad. We’re looking forward to it.

Julie Sullivan: Thank you.

Brad Johnson: Yeah. I just love these conversations. And I feel like we already did a podcast before we hit record here, so I’m excited to dive in. And what’s fun is as this community has grown and come together, we talk about doing business and doing life, and we just had an opportunity to do a little life and hung out in Florida, did a special charity experience with Tim Tebow and his foundation. And one of the things that’s been really cool that as I’ve gotten to know the two of you better, very, very successful when it comes to business. But when it comes to life, I just love how the two of you show up. You always just bring energy in the room. Every experience I know who I’m going to see in the gym at like 5 a.m., it’s going to be both of you. Julie’s reading a book, typically, while she’s like on a treadmill or a stair climber.

And I just love the energy and the passion you all bring to life and you’re always giving back and finding ways to serve others. So, let’s start there. Was there something in the two of your background that just that need to serve and give and just how you show up? Where does that come from?

Tim Sullivan: Well, I’ll let you start.

Julie Sullivan: I think it was because, growing up, my parents weren’t financially savvy. And so, we had some struggling moments and times and we are very passionate about giving back to the community and loving our community. So, we have that financial opportunity to be able to do that now. So, we have started a nonprofit that’s in the works right now. It’s called Light the Way. Our website is LighttheWay.love, and we are excited to give back to vulnerable people, kids, foster care kids that are born in situations that they can’t control, veterans that have served our country blood, sweat, and tears, and that are looking statistically that they are facing our homeless and our depressed and so wanting to give back to those people that are our heroes. And then families that are just facing a hard time and they need a helping hand financially, supporting them, loving them, encouraging them, and showing them that they are loved.

And, yes, they’re having a hard time right now but with love and support and us and our community that we can help them. And Tim is really passionate about that because of what he had with his situation with his wife. And so, it’s really important to us to help families that are going through that because Tim knows how, you know, luckily, we are in a great financial position. But what if families are not in that same position that we are in? So, we want to help out families as much as we can.

Tim Sullivan: Yeah. And I would second that. And also growing up, I grew up in the city of Cleveland, you know, two hard-working parents, but didn’t have a lot of money. And what my dad did make, he spent and had to borrow money and borrow money from family members, and seeing over the years, realized I don’t want that for my family. I want to be able to support my family, my kids, make a better life for them. So, yeah, always trying to do better and making a better life for my wife, making a better life for my kids. But then just also going through life and realizing, “Man, how great is it that we could wake up in the morning or some people can’t?” So, yeah, we got to enjoy every day like it is our last day and live it to the fullest. And that’s what we want for our clients more than anything.

What’s so great about this business? I tell people all the time I don’t even have a job. I get to wake up every morning to help people retire, help them live their best life in retirement, you know? And I think that’s what’s so rewarding. Besides getting paid, right, we all get paid really well as a financial advisor but that’s more rewarding, being able to help people out.

Julie Sullivan: We were able to take some family inside before Christmas. And one family was facing breast cancer. The wife had breast cancer and the husband, I believe, had prostate cancer. And we made them seem like they were coming into the office for an interview but we have already selected them. And what we did, so we all surprised them and they came in, they were like, “Oh, what is this?” And we said, “Hey, you are nominated to receive this gift.” And we paid six months of their mortgage, gave them gift cards, just like Myer’s because whatever they need, which was food, and they literally said, “Well, now we can feed the dog.” The dog was without food for a couple of days, and we’re like, “Wow, how lucky and how blessed are we?” But to see the impact that we made on that family and the difference and their tears and how we helped their son who gave up his job to help take care of his kids.

Luckily, it was like during that COVID period so he could be a teacher and work from home but he left Chicago and moved to Michigan to take care of his family. But to see the impact that we made in that significance, we left that and all of our employees, every single one had tears in their eyes and we said, “We need to do more.” And then we found this lady, and it’s just interesting how life happens. And you meet people that you cross paths with and we’re like, “Wow. Thank you, God.” But we met this lady, Courtney, who has helped 25 kids that needed respite where it means like CPS has come into their house and it was like trauma, severe abuse, and they needed a caregiver. And so, Courtney has helped 25 kids in their darkest hours of being abused in that transition of a loving home. And she was just struggling. And she has adopted, I believe, four kids now of her own.

And so, we paid six months of her mortgage and gave her gift cards and gave the kids a Christmas. And so, all the kids, one kid that she was helping with had a tube, like a feeding tube, and she’s just like the world’s best super mom. I don’t know how she does that. Every single time I see her and the kids, we’re exhausted after half an hour, but she does it 24/7. And so, we helped her pay for her monthly or her mortgage for six months and gave back to the kids. But to see the love that the kids had, it made such an impact on us. And again, we were like, “We have to do more.” So, that’s why we started our nonprofit and then she helped us get started with foster care, and we’re so glad that she did. So, it’s the people that we meet in our life that influence us and change our path and bring significance.

Brad Johnson: Well, thanks for sharing that. And that’s how I’ve seen you show up from day one is just like a light in every room that you enter. And one of the things we talk a lot about at Triad is success is about me and I and significance is about others. And you’ve said it a couple of times, Julie, already, significance. And I’ve got a friend, Stu McLaren, that I actually met through Michael Hyatt, was a really successful entrepreneur up in Canada, and he kind of hit this crossroads where he sold his first business. I don’t know how much he made but it was substantial probably where he didn’t have to work another day if he didn’t want to. And he kind of went through this season of life where it’s like, “What’s next?” And what he came out of that he said, “More money, more impact.”

And so, I think that’s what’s cool is you’re using the success of your business, the financial success of your business to create significance for others. Like, at what point do you want to stop that? Let’s keep helping more retirees and then we can help more others in our community with that. And so, Tim, I want to go back to you because some people are probably a little confused because it’s Tim and Julie Sullivan. And you mentioned Tim’s wife, and Tim’s first wife, it was obviously a really, really tough life circumstance. A lot of adversity there. I can’t imagine. So, Tim, would you share some of that? Because I’m sure some of that has shaped some of this chapter for you, if you don’t mind.

Tim Sullivan: Yeah. It’s really giving me a different perspective on life and especially helping our clients out. So, 2002, I was at my office in Cleveland, Ohio, just outside of Cleveland, Ohio and we were actually preparing to go on a trip up to the Fader Lakes, upstate New York. And at the time, my wife was 28 and we had two kids at home underneath the age of two so we needed a little break. And as I’m pulling out of the parking lot to go pick her up, my secretary comes and says, “You got a phone call.” I’m thinking, “Hey, it’s either my wife forgot something that she needs me to pick it back up or she’s running late,” which she was known for. So, I come back in the office, pick up the phone, and first thing I hear is her sobbing on the other end, and she tells me that she had the results back from the Cleveland Clinic, and she’s stage four.

She’s tested positive for cancer. They thought it was serious enough that she has a double mastectomy. This is Friday afternoon. She had surgery on Monday morning in whether she has a single or double mastectomy. So, of course, 28 years old. Hurry home. I prayed, cried, a lot of talking. And my wife made that decision to have that double mastectomy on Monday morning. And Monday comes and after about 11 hours surgery, 11 lymph nodes, double mastectomy, reconstructive surgery. Out of those 11 lymph nodes that they took out, she tested positive in 10 of those 11 lymph nodes. So, stage four breast cancer, they gave her six months to live. So, of course, that just completely rocked our world with the two young kids at home. And at that point, we made a pact to do everything that we can possibly do, to live out those six months by traveling and doing everything that we possibly could, especially with the kids.

Well, six months came and gone and she is still here. A year came and she was still here. Amy was able to ring the bell that she made that one year. And unfortunately, right after that one year was up, her cancer had come back in her lower back. So, she spent the next 14 years, and she made it 14 years safely, dealing with chemo, radiation, a number of surgeries. Pretty much was getting chemo or radiation every three weeks for about ten of those 14 years. So, it’s a long journey. And it taught me to take nothing for granted, to enjoy every day like it’s our last day. We took our kids on some of the greatest vacations because we wanted to be able to spend time all together as a family. I think that shaped me to who I am as an advisor, father. I think I’m a better husband for going through that. I think I’m a better son and definitely a better advisor because I know what our clients are eventually going to go through, right?

And it happens all the time where because our clients know my personal story, they reach out to me, and they know that since I’ve gone through this, that I could actually talk to them about this. So, one of the things that I always talk about with everyone in our presentation or with a client is I don’t know what my mother-in-law went through when she lost the child, but hopefully, I never have to go through that. I don’t want to ever go through that. But I know what it’s like to lose a spouse just like my mother lost. She doesn’t know what it’s like to lose a spouse. So, I think I could have more of a connection with some of our clients because of some of the things that I’ve gone through. But it’s definitely, you know, our motto here is to help our clients live their best life in retirement.

And there’s nothing more true than what I truly believe in because we’re not promised tomorrow, and we want to be able to take advantage of every day like it’s our last day. And I look at it and say, “You know, what would my wife be thinking? What would Amy be thinking right now if I was wasting today? She can’t. She doesn’t have that day. What would I be doing if I wasn’t taking the kids on vacation or enjoying life with Julie, right? You know, because that’s what she would want for me. And if she was here, she would be wanting to enjoy life to the fullest itself. But unfortunately, she doesn’t get that chance. So, I feel like if I’m not doing that stuff, then I’m doing a disservice to her.

Brad Johnson: Yeah. Thanks for sharing that, man. And I know I checked with you before we hit record, but it’s weird how life throws you these curveballs and how you deal with them in the moment. I can’t imagine. But how that shapes you and how it teaches you these life lessons that now you can enjoy those days more today with your kids, with Julie because of that. And I promise, it’s made you a better advisor because you have a level of empathy most of us will never hopefully experience. And so, are there any other lessons that came out of that experience for you when it comes to just being a better husband, being a better dad, being a better advisor that you could share with others?

Tim Sullivan: I think realizing that taking advantage of the moment, yeah, there might be times where you don’t want to say something. Maybe there are times you think you could put something off. I’d say no. You know, I’ve been very grateful. I’ve been very lucky as a husband, whether it was Amy who has passed away, it’s always believed in me from starting out my career, always putting that faith behind me. You could do it. I believe you could do anything. Now, Julie, having that faith, we can do anything together. You know, it’s about having a team but I think taking advantage of something that you might put off to another day, maybe it’s something you want to say to your kids. Maybe it’s someone you want to say to your mom or your dad or just a loved one or anyone. I think one of the things Chris Smith says is just speaking truth.

And, yeah, nothing’s more important now because you don’t know if you are going to be here tomorrow. I’ll tell that person this next week. Are you going to be around next week? We don’t know. I mean, chances are you probably will. You’re pretty healthy, but who knows what’s going to happen between now and then? So, I would say always being, what does he say? Being in it or being in it at that particular minute and with nowhere to get, I think is something that Chris says. And I think that is so true, especially when you’re having a conversation with your spouse or you’re having a conversation with your client. Be there for that minute and let them know how much you care because like I said, we’re not promised tomorrow.

Julie Sullivan: You’re coming to the event later?

Tim Sullivan: Hahaha.

Brad Johnson: Yeah. Julie believes in you so much, she believes you can run marathons with no training.

Tim Sullivan: No more. She’s actually running a marathon this weekend in Cleveland, so.

Brad Johnson: Oh, nice. But you’re not.

Tim Sullivan: I am definitely not.

Julie Sullivan: He’s bringing the kids to support me.

Tim Sullivan: Yeah.

Brad Johnson: Nice. Well, hey, you’ll be right there at the finish line. Well, so let’s go to your journey as a financial advisor. And I know we kind of talked about a couple of mile markers along the way. So, I’m going to hit just kind of high level to lay it out so the listeners can get familiar with your story. I would love to also hear when Julie entered that story, because you’re now a husband and wife team, and there’s a lot of husband-wife firms out there that are probably listening in and would love to hear kind of that dynamic and how it came to be. So, 2005, you get into the business, you kind of entered this captive insurance group, come out of the gate swinging. I think you brought in 8 or 10 million of annuity business the first year, 2015. You then kind of jumped to being an independent advisor. You start managing assets that year. You’re 15 to 20 mil.

Fast forward, you kind of have the growth that I think you hit 40 million or so. And then this year, which is really cool, goal of 70 million of total assets. As we sit here and record this today on May 17, 2024, 35 million brought in already. Well, it sounds like another big one right around the corner. So, 35 million, over halfway to that $70 million goal and we’re not even halfway through the year yet. So, as you hit rewind, and if you were kind of sharing some inflection points along the way for advisors out there, Julie, I know you’re handling the upside. And that’s evolving too as you go. But what would be some inflection points or some learnings along the way that you’d like to share?

Tim Sullivan: Well, Triad was an actual company years ago, and it helped me out a lot sooner. So, unfortunately, Brad Johnson didn’t start Triad sooner. It would have set up the process.

Brad Johnson: Better late than never, they say, right?

Tim Sullivan: Better late than never. Yeah. Exactly. I was a captive agent for many years. Didn’t know any different. And I wish I would have became independent a lot sooner. So, that’s definitely the first thing that I tell anyone, especially who was captive. I didn’t know the other world that was out there. But when I started into my own practice, again, I think I was just swinging for the fences. Didn’t really have a great FMO at that time, so didn’t really have great guidance on what to do and how to really build a team or build a company. So, I was just for the most part out there selling annuities and life insurance. And I didn’t really managing money at that point because I had my Series 65 for many years before I even used it, and then finally realized the importance and then the revenue of having that 65, especially continued revenue every single year.

So, I would say, one, is just having a confidence and learning the actual system. Now, there’s not a whole lot that we have to do other than hop on the Triad training calls and listen to what they have to do. One thing that I think is very helpful is check your ego at the door. Even when I first got on this business, I simply said, went up to the person I was the most successful at my company and said, “What do I need to do?” And he explained exactly what to do, and that’s all I’ve ever tried doing, whether there’s a presentation or a story, someone is always going to be better than me, I’m going to go up to the most successful person to try to learn their process. So, learning things from like SHP and their appointment process has helped us out drastically. Listening to Anthony Pellegrino or any other successful people at Triad, I think just being a sponge and just adapting that into your practice.

And sometimes, you know, your employees are going to be upset because you’re always changing but if that’s what stirs growth, and I’ve always been that, you know, willing to admit that I don’t know everything and except, well, when it comes to arguing with my wife maybe that I know everything.

Brad Johnson: Don’t make that mistake, Tim. I can tell you that one.

Tim Sullivan: Well, at least that’s what she would say. But, no, I’ve always checked my ego at the door. And one of the things that I think I was glad to hear from one of our employees, our team members, rather, this past week and she said, “You know, what I like is that you’re always doing things to better yourself and the company, and you don’t have an ego.” And it’s like, well, if I had an ego and where would we be today? You know, you always have to be continuously learning and willing to change. And that’s what’s great about this business. So, finding the successful person, learning their processes, and figuring out how they got there, and then trying to speed up that process because even they’ll tell you that they’ve made some mistakes over the years. And if you try to avoid those mistakes, you’ll get there in less time than they did.

Brad Johnson: Yeah. Julie, I’ve seen that same approach from you. When did you officially join the team and then what’s been your experience as well and your learnings along the way?

Julie Sullivan: So, I got pushed into joining the team by… I was doing digital marketing and advertising, and I was honored by Google, went to the Super Bowl 50. I had an amazing life and then COVID hit, which kind of changed everybody. And so, we were scrambling because Tim had an in-person workshop, and he was like, “What am I going to do?” And I said, “Well, that’s easy. I do digital marketing and advertising.” So, we quickly and his office manager at the time, how would you say it, just really wasn’t looking to grow as kind of content and didn’t want to learn anything new, and basically said, “I didn’t have any time to do this.” And I said, “Okay.” So, we figured out we did GoTo Meeting, and Tim was one of the first and foremost. He quickly adapted that, did some recordings, and we had the best year ever.

We have changed our webinars over from GoTo Meeting to BigMarker because now we can do a recording that looks live, and I can sit back with a glass of wine in my hand and do the text messages. Then it seems like I’m talking to them in real life, and they have no idea that I’m just at home, right? And so, we quickly adapted to that. And then, I said, “Wow. I love talking to and making a difference in these people’s lives.” And I went to one of Tim’s workshops and this guy came up to me and said, “Are you Tim Sullivan’s wife?” And I said, “Yeah.” And he says, “You have no idea how your husband changed my life forever,” in tears just falling down his face and I said, “Wow. With digital marketing advertising, I didn’t feel like I was making a difference.” Yes, I was great in sales and I was taught percentage but I wasn’t making an impact on people’s lives and seeing the happy times or telling them that they could retire now instead of waiting five years.

And seeing what Tim does and how he makes an impact on people, so I said, “I want to do that.” And so, then Tim asked me a couple of times and I said, “Are you sure you want to be stuck with me literally 24/7?” And I think he’s regretting it now if you look at his face.

Tim Sullivan: He’s smiling. He doesn’t look very regretful right now.

Julie Sullivan: But you know what? It was you, guys, and honestly, we were moving forward with another company, and I was mad at Tim. I was like, “Why are we taking this meeting?” And he’s like, “Just listen. Just give it a chance.” And I came into the meeting with Shawn and Ryan and Jordan, I was like, “Oh.” And then I was like, “Wow.” After 15, 20 minutes, I was like, “Okay. I see the difference here.” And I contribute our success to you guys, to Triad, to the coaches, to Shawn, to you, Brad, for teaching us and then saved. You know, it’s been so helpful personally. And in our marriage, the Enneagram scores because Tim’s an 8. I’m a 3. And so, I can’t get mad at him. I’m like, “Honey, and I usually start off the conversations but I know you’re an Enneagram 8. If I didn’t know this about you, I would be really upset but I’m going to let this slide. But I’m so mad at you. Moving forward, can you think of my perspective here.” So, the Enneagram is very helpful.

Tim Sullivan: We found out the 8s are the best.

Brad Johnson: You know how often that gets said inside of our office, Tim? Mostly by Shawn, the 3, but…

Julie Sullivan: Yeah. Go, Shawn!

Brad Johnson: Yeah. No, I love that you brought that up, Julie, because Sarah and I, my wife, we first experienced the Enneagram at a marriage retreat with Michael Hyatt. And so, he brought Ian Cron in. So, those unfamiliar that are listening or watching, wrote a book, The Road Back to You. And so, that was my first experience. And Sarah and I had been married about ten years at that time and those two days I felt like I understood her better than I had the prior ten years. And it was she’s a 6, I’m a 7, and kind of same coin and opposite sides, I can be an optimist to a fault. She can be she calls it a realist. I call it a pessimist. And so, it was really cool because I realized just the different lens that we all see the world through, the different communication styles.

And those unfamiliar, an 8 can kind of turn the volume up a little bit without realizing it sometimes. That’s intimacy, right? Like, an intense conversation, Tim, might be like an intimate conversation to you. And that’s awesome to hear that experience at Triad has helped on the marriage front, too, because what’s funny is I experienced it on the marriage front first, and then I was like, “Oh my gosh, this applies so much to business and interacting with the team and healthy communication styles.” So, how has it played out on the team front for you all? Has everybody inside of the firm taking the Enneagram or how has that played out?

Tim Sullivan: Yeah, everyone’s taken it. And it’s helped Julie out more, and myself too. I’m not being an 8. I’m not a person that gives a lot of compliments because I figured you’re expected to do your job. Your job, it’s made me realize, well, I guess I got to take time out and make sure I’m telling everyone they’re doing a great job because of their score and how they like to receive praise but it’s really helped Julie out I think managing the office more than me.

Julie Sullivan: Yeah. Definitely. We are all 3s and 1s and 8 and then we have 1, 3 with a little bit of a 2 in them and that’s our junior advisor. And so, the 3s want to just like have a list and we get stuff done, right? And so, we have those 1s where it’s, you know, although I find it easier to understand what I need to give them versus what I would normally do. So, it’s coaching and so many different aspects of how to communicate to one another. And it’s helped our team that each other they understanding their scores. And when we did that, we did the quick, we had everybody do the quiz and they read what they were about, the good things and the bad things. We had a lot of aha moments. And in fact, a lot of our employees have their significant others through the same quiz. And they learned it was like counseling that they didn’t have to pay for is the best counseling.

Tim Sullivan: And that our kids do it as well.

Julie Sullivan: Yeah.

Brad Johnson: Yeah. So cool. Well, so those that are listening and maybe unfamiliar, but the Enneagram, did an episode with Ian Cron so just go back and look for that one and you’ll have a full hour on deep dive on the Enneagram but there’s basically nine different personality types. And, yeah, one of the things he said that hit home with me, he said a couple of things when he came in and spoke to Triad. He said it was a study by an Ivy League school. I don’t remember which one but he said, “The number one factor in personal like success measuring it,” I don’t remember how they did it in the study, but it was self-awareness and just being very familiar with how do you show up around others. And I’ve found in the Enneagram, we also do the Kolbe inside of Triad. And so, just those self-assessment tests or personality tests, there’s no end all be all but I just have found it just super helpful and different communication styles.

And I think specifically, I’d love to hear your take. When it comes to leadership like, Tim, you’ve obviously been a great salesperson from day one. I mean, there’s not too many that year one go out and knock out 10 million of annuities. So, you’ve had always a skill of probably connecting and selling and influence but what’s interesting that I’ve seen, one of the things a lot of financial advisor founders struggle with a ton is when you shift from, “I’m a great salesperson to now I have to be a great leader and business owner and lead a team.” And that comes with, “Not everybody thinks like me or communicates like me.” So, now I have to understand different personality types and manage and lead and inspire them to all run in the same direction. So, as your team has grown, what learnings have you had and just like going from great salespeople to business owner, CEO, COO?

Tim Sullivan: I’ve learned to get out of the way. And I mean that because I know what I’m good at. I put my stamp on what I think is important but then I realized Julie is going to be much better than me running the office and leading the team that way. And I’m going to endorse what she says or give her the power to do that because that’s what she’s really good at. And I’m going to continue to run the sales side of it, you know, and train the junior advisors that we recently hired and just focus on that. And, yes, in the sales meetings are in the team meetings that we have, I pretty much let Julie run it. Very seldom, I mean, I’ll stand up and I’ll say what I have to say but she’s running the office so good so I could just sit back and let her do it.

Julie Sullivan: There was no process before, Brad. Nothing. Little bits and pieces. But when you added new team members and employees, there was no here’s how we train people or here’s what the first week looks like or here’s papers that they should sign. So, we just adapted into, as we grow, we need to have clear expectations outline before and so they know what to expect. And we have training. We have a process of employee reviews after 30 days and 90 days.

Tim Sullivan: I think a lot of that actually came from Michelle Short. Yeah. You know, maybe from you guys from going to the lodge that we attended and also brought in our team members with. But then Julie had individual conversations with Michelle and really building the processes that we have in place now. So, I think we were always open to change, open to suggestions. We understand that other companies have been very successful and just let’s mimic that. So, open for advice. And Julie’s taken that and helped create the systems and processes that we have in place now.

Brad Johnson: Yeah. You guys have been, you have been diligent students. That has been an observation I made. And you said it earlier, Tim, but just like checking your ego at the door. It’s hard to teach somebody that already knows everything. And you have come in open-minded, willing to put in the work, even willing to challenge stuff you’ve done one way. And then, hey, maybe this hasn’t been the best way. Maybe there are better ways to do this. And I think that’s one of the biggest factors in growth that I’ve seen is just being open-minded to other options or other alternatives. And so, Julie, on your side because it sounds like when you kind of got there, it was like a great sales guy with probably a few people surrounding them but not a lot of systems or processes. You all have come out, brought the team out to Scale Summit, which is our team-based training with founders.

Well, what have been some of your biggest breakthroughs of like, “Wow,” before and after like this was before we were exposed to that and after and some of the biggest changes there?

Tim Sullivan: I think we only had three team members too when Julie first joined besides myself. So, it’s myself, secretary, and two other people, one kind of doing managing the office and the other one just kind of doing new business paperwork. So, Julie came in and really built our team to where it is but go ahead.

Julie Sullivan: Yeah. And unfortunately…

Brad Johnson: And how many team members is that now, out of curiosity?

Julie Sullivan: Nine.

Brad Johnson: Nine. Okay.

Julie Sullivan: And we just hired an intern too for the summer, so that will be ten. But when I started, we had that office manager that was really just content. And she liked just being her and Tim. And so, I felt and I think Tim could say too like she did not want. She was holding Tim back. She didn’t want him to grow. She was happy just being here and Tim and so when I came, well, she forced me to come on board because she didn’t want to learn. They go to meetings or they go to webinars. And what was happening in the world, I couldn’t control COVID. COVID was happening if we wanted to or not. And so, we had some personality issues. And unfortunately, she decided to leave. That was her decision. We tried to talk her out of it.

Tim Sullivan: Brad, that was, you know, when you talk about having to make our decisions, that was someone where when I first met her, we didn’t know her. She was from Colorado and had no family here and instantly became a family member to us. She celebrated Christmas and New Years and Thanksgiving, her and her boyfriend with us. And they became family. Everything that we did, we went on vacation with them. So, that was a tough decision that it was kind of, she kind of left on her terms, but it was also I was kind of pushing her out the door, too, because she wasn’t the right fit for us. But when you hear like different companies talk on whether it’s the DBDL podcasts or in the trade events, and they talk about having to make tough decisions to let your employees go, that’s one of the hardest decisions that we had to make but it also spurred growth with Julie taking over.

Brad Johnson: Well, like one observation I’ve had on that and then Julie, I want to get your take is, unfortunately, sometimes your business when you are growing and changing and evolving, sometimes you outgrow team members if they’re not willing to do the same. And it sounds like that’s just kind of what happened. Is that fair?

Julie Sullivan: Yeah, that is really fair. And she was like happy that she did not want to learn anything and she came right out and said that. And I was happy that she did because we were able to part ways as friends but it’s unfortunate. But you got to try it. It’s just taught us so much on that aspect of like having. We hire better now. We are speaking our language. You know, we believe more than anything, Brad, and everybody out there that you deserve to live your best life. And we help our clients and we help. And it’s not just for our clients. If we don’t have our employees, how are we going to get clients? So, we speak that language every single day to them. And I’ll ask our employees, like after we have a tough conversation with them, like, “Hey, we want to challenge you because we do believe in you because we do love you, because we do support you, because we do encourage you. But guess what? I’m going to challenge you because I believe in you, and I am here to serve you as a leader because I know you can. We want you to be the best.”

We want our junior advisor to go golfing to some of the fun places that he has told us that he wants to golf to. We want one of our other employees to go to Italy because that’s her dream. We want our employees living their best lives.

Tim Sullivan: Just like our clients.

Julie Sullivan: Yeah, just like our clients. And so, it starts with our employees. We do a lot of fun things and we give back to the community. Going to the animal shelter today and getting some puppy kisses and some puppy love. But then also getting some dogs and cats rescued. So, we have fun but when we’re here, where our employees are committed and they’re ready to, they work hard and they…

Tim Sullivan: Kind of sounds like Do Business Do Life. I don’t know.

Brad Johnson: I love it. There’s a lot of lens there.

Tim Sullivan: One of the things you mentioned earlier kind of like what you would tell someone who started out in the business, too, I know that we have a lot of companies that are husband-wife teams. The Afraimis are one of them. But one of the things that’s nice is my office manager has a vested interest in how the business grows because it’s my spouse, right? So, I think that is so key when you’re able to be able to work with your spouse like that because no one’s going to be more committed. No one’s going to want the growth of the company or care more about myself and my success than my spouse. So, yeah, luckily, we’re able to get along at work and home because it’s a win-win situation for us.

Brad Johnson: On that note, and that’s what’s so cool about the finance space, just growing up in and I started at the age of 26, how many family connections there are. There’s a lot of husband-wife. There’s a lot of father-son, father-daughter, not as many mother-son, mother-daughter but there’s a growing female advisors. It’s exponentially growing since I got in the business, which is awesome. But if you were to say, “Here’s the best things about that,” which you named some of right there, Tim, so, Julia, if you have any additional takes, go for it but also like if we were to caution against maybe where there have been rough patches or frustrations and you’re just giving other husband-wife teams out there some advice, what would that be?

Tim Sullivan: I’d say leave it at the office. You know, sometimes, not sometimes, most times it’s business. Even when we get home, still talking about business, just going through emails, talking about what happened that day. So, I think it’s probably leave it at the office and being able to separate, which could be hard for one of the spouses.

Julie Sullivan: Don’t be pointing fingers at me.

Tim Sullivan: Business and personal, you know. So, if we have a disagreement, remember, that was a business disagreement. It wasn’t a personal disagreement. Or if we have a personal disagreement, let’s not bring that into the business. So, I think we’re able to do that. Even if, I mean, like all marriages might have a rough patch and we might be arguing at home but we get into the office, we could shut that off, and we could coexist at the office. So, I think that’s the main thing is just being able to separate business from personal. And, of course, you have a great personal life but every once while you have that disagreement. You just have to be able to make sure that you separate the two.

Brad Johnson: Yeah. Julie, what are your thoughts?

Julie Sullivan: I agree with Tim on all of that. I think it’s been great working together because we have so much in common, and I know him well and so I know how to communicate to him and it is hard. We are so committed to growing our business and scaling our business and we are so passionate about it. To find employees that are just as passionate, it’s just not going to happen, right? But I can speak that passion to our employees and I think I’m seeing such a huge difference in the commitment level to our employees. Before we started with you guys, we started with you guys in January of last year to now. It’s how we speak to them. It’s telling them that they’re loved, supported, “We want to encourage you and challenge you,” and speak in that language in them every single day. And so, they do feel loved. They do appreciate us.

And in fact, we just had one of our employees say to Tim and I, “I want to let you know I’m seeing a huge difference in your leadership in the last six months.” So, he started with us in September of last year. So, to know that we are talking different, that we are speaking with significance not only in our clients’ lives and making, you know, we’re on a mission but also to change the lives of our employees, that’s where it starts, right? Yeah. And Tim gave this really good analogy, where one horse to pull, how much weight?

Tim Sullivan: Learned that, we got that off the Triad first.

Julie Sullivan: Yeah.

Brad Johnson: Oh, nice. Let’s hear it. I wasn’t on this meeting. Let’s hear it.

Tim Sullivan: What was it? One horse could pull like 7,000 pounds but two horses could pull like 21,000.

Brad Johnson: Oh, interesting.

Tim Sullivan: Yeah. So, it’s like, “Hey, if we get moving the forward momentum as a team, there’s nothing that we can’t accomplish. So, let’s just work together here, you know?” And that’s the biggest thing that I think our team has to understand, as you know, if they’re not the right fit or they’re not coming in and putting 100% effort in, it affects the rest of the team members in one way or the other. You know, if we’re trying to hit our goals for the year, it affects. So, let’s all be on the same page working towards one common goal and we’re all going to benefit from it, not just us as business owners, but you guys as part of our team as well.

Brad Johnson: Yeah. Well, and that is such a simple thing to say. You didn’t just spout off any rocket science there but it’s easy, easily said, hard to do, right? Simple, not easy is the way to put it. And it takes work to lead. It takes setting your ego aside. It’s some days it’s taking a couple of deep breaths before the emotions you want to come out, come out, you know? And the cool thing is your team’s recognizing that. I love that. Like, hey, we’ve really seen the leadership and the intention and guess what? None of us are perfect. We all have days where we mess it up. But I think the cool thing is when you have the intention and they see it day in and day out and you model it, it’s only a matter of time before that starts attracting more of the right team members. Obviously, more of the right clients, which I want to get into because you had some really big wins here lately. But I love to see, it’s been awesome to observe the work I’ve seen you all putting in.

Tim Sullivan: Well, Brad, where would we be really, right, if we were doing all the work writing annuity business, managing money and it was just the two of us, where would we be? How much money can we really pull in? You know what I mean? That’s what we got to get them to understand is each one of their job is important. You know, I don’t want to do paperwork. I’m not good at paperwork. So, I’m going to hire someone that’s going to do really good at paperwork, and it’s going to free my team up to allow me to go write more business. Same thing with our payor planner. By then payor planning I don’t have to do it, frees me up to write my own business. So, we all work together as a team, and we want to be successful if we did have them as part of our team. And once they realize that, they realize that their job is just as important as mine, getting the transfers transferred over for us to get paid so we all get paid. Everyone’s job is important.

Julie Sullivan: I think the only disagreement that we really had, Tim, was our goal is 70 million this year but Tim was like, “No, let’s do like 60.” And I’m like, “No, we can do it. Our team is ready. You know, we’re getting all this coaching. We’re doing all the right things. We’re fine-tuning our process. And they said that we could do more.” And so, I think that was like the disagreement that we got into this year and I want to meet that goal.

Tim Sullivan: At the launch, I went in with 60 and when I think it was, I think, Ryan was running our group at that time, the yellow group. And Ryan said, “What is it?” I said, “70-ish.” He said 60 so I went for the higher 70.

Julie Sullivan: I’m glad to influence you, honey.

Brad Johnson: I like it. Well, you know what, what I’ve always found, we’ve obviously benefited from Michael Hyatt’s coaching at Triad, and I was fortunate to benefit from some of that before Triad ever existed. And one of the things he said to me, and he’s been a big influence on goal setting for me is like, “A good goal should scare you a little bit.” And the cool thing is, okay, so you set it for 70 and you hit 65. You’re still ahead of the game. And so, I love that you push yourself. And by the way, set it for 70 you’re at 35 million year-to-date with it sounds like about another 6 million to get tacked on to that, so sounds like it’s working out alright so far. But with that, I want to take this time is flying so I want to get you mentioned a couple of things earlier before we started recording, Tim, and, Julie, you’ve touched on this as well. I had the team pull up your mission brief.

And so, those unfamiliar with Triad that are listening in or watching in, we do as Triad has evolved, one of the things we’ve realized is, and it’s no fault of you all, like you think about it, Tim, when you first got in the business, you’re just running hard trying to pay the bills, trying to make ends meet. And so, it’s almost like the extraction of what makes you unique and distinct, and why people should come to you and not to other financial services firms, many firms have never taken the time to actually do that deep work and kind of extract that DNA out. And so, the mission brief that I’m looking at that came from our launch plan and a lot of deep work from the both of you and your team, I just want to hit a couple of things, and I’d love to talk to how these statements have impacted how you’re showing up. And recently you’ve brought on a $12 million client. You’re in the process of a $6 million client. Before that, I think your biggest client was maybe, what, a few million?

Tim Sullivan: Yeah, probably just a few mil. And probably only had a few of those. So, then we’re a lot less.

Brad Johnson: Well, you’re making a habit of one’s a lot bigger so I love that trend. So, I’ll hit a couple of these and then I’d love to hear you just riff on the before and after and how you’ve seen that show up differently. “So, loving, supporting, and challenging clients like family. What we’re known for, we are known for, is helping clients live their best life. That means peace of mind, knowing they’re taken care of, and have the freedom to take advantage of opportunities and do what they want, when they want, how they want. Yours, how you serve clients the strategic wealth method, which is the five worlds: income, investments, taxes, legacy health care; three step process: simplify, secure, support.” And lastly, I’ll just hit this real quick while we’re riffing on it. “The true outcome of our work. What we do is retirement planning, but helping clients have the peace of mind that we’ve done everything possible to live their best life is the true outcome of our work.”

So, whoever wants to touch on that between the two of you, how has that been showing up in how you market your business, client conversations during appointments? What’s kind of the impact of that deep work?

Tim Sullivan: I think the language was a game-changer. Besides changing our appointment process, I think the language has been a game-changer. Our current clients prior to using the language, that resonated with them because that’s who we are prior to the language change. This is who we’ve always been. However, now they’re seeing that in our marketing. They’re seeing me speak at our seminars. They’re seeing our team members talking the same way. And now we’re getting emails or text messages resonating from our clients that are using the same language back to us. So, it’s nice seeing them use us as a soundboard, I guess, or repeating some of the same messages that we speak back to us. And that’s really nice. It’s rewarding. It’s showing it’s paying off. But that’s who we’ve always been as individuals and advisors and business owners that we’ve always believed in, but we never really spoke that way. So, I think that’s had a drastic impact on us getting the $12 million client, the $6 million client.

Julie Sullivan: Well, tell everybody why he went back so why he went, you know, and he said, “I wasn’t really happy with my financial advisor. You care about what I want to drink, what I want to eat, and striving to figure out what I want to do for the future. I never even thought of my financial advisor, my previous one, doesn’t even really talk to me. And you guys are asking me everything and wanting to know our dreams, aspirations,” and what they want to do in the future and encouraging them and helping them figure out what the future looks like because that’s so new for them, because they’re transitioning differently.

Brad Johnson: Yeah.

Tim Sullivan: It goes back to your question then, what would you tell that advisor that’s just starting out? It’s not about money. It’s not about your investments. It’s not about what you can do for him. It’s getting to know your client and speaking that language and being genuine and real to where they could see that you live that same language. That’s what it’s about. They want something different. Anyone could help them out a little bit on taxes or the right investment. For them, we might not even have the right investment. Someone might have a better investment than us but if they believe in us and they like our philosophy, and that ties into what they believe in, that’s where you’re winning your clients, especially the higher net worth. Yes, we’re doing the five-world approach, which is what they’re not getting with their current advisor, for sure, but it’s also the money, which on top of it, they haven’t been spoken to this way.

They haven’t been challenged this way. You know, they haven’t had an advisor be bold enough to talk to them that way. You know, especially challenging them to live their best life and spend their money. You know, what most advisors are telling them, “You can’t spend that much because you’re going to run out of money.” And we’re coming back in and tell them, “No, you got to spend more money. Otherwise, if you have $12 million left over at age 90, I feel as if I failed you because you didn’t spend enough and enjoy life enough. And that’s I think where the language comes into play. I think it had a major effect on us getting that 12 million, that 6 million, and probably 3 or 4, $2 to $3 million cases this year. Well, we were getting that in effect.

Julie Sullivan: Yeah. We are more intentional with everything that we do with our monthly newsletters. We are asking our clients to share with us them living their best life and pictures and what they’re doing. I get text messages and emails now every single day, which is this is why we do what we do. We love doing what we do because we get to see our clients living their best life and their happiness and their traveling, or driving their new motorcycle, or getting their brand new car. And where they’re kind of wishy-washy about getting this and Tim is like saying, “No, you are fine. Let me rerun the numbers for you. Let’s rerun that scenario and you’re going to have this much money left over at 100 years old. You’re good. Go buy that car, live your best life, and come with us. And stop by the office so we want to take a ride on that car, though.”

Brad Johnson: I think one of the greatest gifts a financial advisor or a financial services firm can give their clients is the ability to spend with confidence in retirement. Because think about it, you’ve all seen it. You’ve seen it. Each of you have probably seen it dozens, if not hundreds of times now, where it’s the multi-millionaire that’s living like they’re broke. And isn’t that the saddest retirement story ever? It’s like what a waste. Yeah. So, I want to go to another angle here that we haven’t hit yet. I’ve told you this before in person but as we got Triad Wealth off the ground, you were one of the founding members of Triad Wealth. And so, the trust in us I don’t take lightly at all and I know every day that team is doing their very best to continue to grow and iterate and improve a very young RIA that’s fast-growing. But one of the things that you were the first, one of the first firms to test out was we kept hearing, you know, you talked about the five worlds.

Well, saying that you do the five worlds is one thing. Delivering on doing a CFP level standard income, investments, taxes, health care, legacy estate, that’s another. And you all have leaned pretty heavily on our financial planning team, Scott and the team over there, and I know they dove in pretty deep on the $12 million client that you just recently onboarded. So, what advice would you give advisors where we know building a true financial plan takes a lot of work, hours of time? And we’ve seen that, which is why we’re building a financial planning team out because a lot of firms just struggle like, “Hey, I don’t have somebody at that level of financial planning expertise to even be able to deliver on that.” But what’s been your take as you’ve kind of evolved into that and now really start to deliver some high-powered financial plans to be able to land clients like that?

Tim Sullivan: That’s a good part of our success has been that. You know, Scott, Brent, Sarah, and I know there’s more over there, Jenny, she’s been a blessing on just helping us get our clients over. But having the confidence of knowing we’ve got an advanced planning team is what I call them to be able to assist our clients and took place yesterday. Our $12 million client had some questions. Brent was on the phone call with us and Brent could put things a lot better than I can, especially when it comes towards talking about the ins and outs of the investments. And there is no questions. They got the phone. They’re very confident moving forward. So, it’s been a blessing, and not only that, but with our team. So, we hired a couple of payor planners last year, and they’re training to be, well, junior advisors/payor planners.

And the confidence that they get because they can bounce ideas off of Scott, and one of the best conversations that I had or compliments for my team took place last week. We had a call with Scott, and Scott said, “Hey, moving forward, how do you plan on using our services?” And he’s like, “We’ve had a great relationship so far, but how much more do you think you have to use us?” And I said, “Well, I’m not sure how my payor planners are doing right now.” He goes, “You know what? Actually, I haven’t had a whole lot of conversation with them recently because they’ve been doing such a good job. They just send it over to me and I’m able to confirm that that’s exactly what I would recommend.” So, they got that training from him. They didn’t get it from me.

Julie Sullivan: I was just going to say that was free training that we got. You know, he mentored and trained and gave the confidence to those junior advisors and our payor planners. And we didn’t have to really do anything.

Tim Sullivan: Yeah.

Julie Sullivan: And making the switch was the best decision we’ve ever made for so many reasons. We became our own RIA and then we transitioned from state registration to federal. Now, we are a federal SEC-registered. So, we’re over 100 million and definitely growing.

Tim Sullivan: Yeah, that’s the best decision we made. It was a hard decision because we were very loyal to our previous. And getting to know Brent and everyone there, you guys as owners, that allowed us to have the trust and confidence in you guys to take that step. But, man, I tell you what, what are you waiting for? Why are you trying to do this yourself when you can have these guys help you out? And, I mean, I’ll be the first person to say that what I’m best at is sales. I’m not best at building plans and I don’t want to build plans just like I don’t want to manage the office. That’s not what I’m good at. So, these guys are not good. They’re great and they’ve given us so many opportunities that we never really considered, or they’ve uncovered so many opportunities for some of our clients. That’s helped us win those 12 and 6 and $3 million cases because it was really the result of their hard work to uncover that for us. So, we’re very grateful to them. We’re going to continue to use them and we’re very blessed that you guys built that team up.

Julie Sullivan: And even having Brent as he’s an extension of our family and our team, right? And Tim could actually kind of just like take a step back because he knew that he had Brent on the call yesterday, and he was leading the call, which was great with his expertise and the structured notes and all the portfolios that he talked about yesterday. So, just a bonus.

Tim Sullivan: Well, I literally said, “Brent, you want to take this?” And Brent said, “I’ll take it.”

Brad Johnson: I love Brent. So, Brent, our CIO, who we’re very, very fortunate. I mean, everybody you named on our team, that’s the thing, like we want A+ talent on Triad and that’s people that obviously are very gifted in this business depending on their specific role but we also want just great humans. And I feel that’s the thing that humbled me the most, Tim and Julie, on this journey three and a half years in is the level of talent that has accepted to join the mission that Triad is on, and I’m blown away every day when I hear stories like that. So, thanks for sharing that. I will 100% be sure to share that back with the team because they care and they bust their butt every day when they come in and they really do. They care. Like, that’s the biggest thing is you can’t fake that and they really do care to serve you guys. So what…

Julie Sullivan: Can I say one thing on the operations?

Brad Johnson: Yeah, please.

Julie Sullivan: So, piggyback what you said, they more than care. You guys got A++ talent on that. Jenny was taking phone calls, like when we were transitioning, and still does to make our life easier. She has got a halo above her head so she’s like shining because we used to have to send out quarterly statements like one-by -one, right, which is tedious. She’s like, “No, no, no, no, let me go into…” And now with link like of a button, I have all of our quarterly statements being sent automatically within two months. And that’s because of Jenny and because of Lindsay. And so, they are not only…

Tim Sullivan: They’re going above and beyond.

Julie Sullivan: Yeah. And over and even on the weekends like answering questions for us and I’m like, “Don’t answer my email. Like, stop.” And she is and it’s like, so they are just amazing. And then again, another extension of our family. And you know, I consider her like a friend and just a great resource. And we’re so happy that we made that decision and thank you for doing it.

Tim Sullivan: So, don’t wait, guys. If you’re thinking about making that switch, don’t wait. We fully give that endorsement and feel free to reach out to us at any time if you want to talk to us personally but reach out to Triad Wealth and move forward. It’d be one of the best decisions you guys make.

Brad Johnson: Wow. I really appreciate that. I didn’t expect the conversation to go there, but one thing I know about both of you is you speak from the heart and you mean it so I really appreciate that. And I can tell you, we won’t rest on our laurels. Every day the rent is due and there’s things that can be improved and made better. And one thing we always try to do is just listen, you know? We’ve got the feedback coming if we’re willing to listen to it. So, I’m curious because one of the things I’ve seen get in the way of a lot of advisors, it’s happened a lot more on the security side than I think on the insurance side of their business, but it blows me away how many offices oftentimes are like underwhelmed with their partnership over there. But it’s a pain in the butt. It’s like, “Oh, I got to…” I think you guys had a couple hundred million that you had to transition.

If you were to say, just give me a scale here, this could be a dangerous question, but, ten, while transitioning 200 million of assets was way easier than I thought it would be, one, it was way more painful than I thought it was going to be, where on the scale of actually once you got into the trenches and started moving the assets, where did it come in at?

Julie Sullivan: Well, Jenny did all the hard lifting.

Tim Sullivan: Yeah. I don’t think it was that painful. I just think it was things that we weren’t expecting because we were hand-held at the last company because we were basically an IAR underneath their RIA so they pretty much did everything. So, I think we were just surprised by how much we have to do now being our own RIA. That was it. I think the transition wasn’t that difficult. Did we have hiccups? Yeah. Were there growing pains for both Triad as well as us? Yeah. But you guys were Johnny-on-the-spot and you guys were always getting back to us and making sure things were taken care of, our questions were answered. Jenny reaching out, Lindsay reaching out, Sarah, Brent, everyone went above and beyond for that which made that transition smooth, as smooth as it could be, probably. And anytime we ran into a problem, they addressed it. So, yeah, maybe it could have been better.

So, if we’re going to grade it, maybe it’s like an 8.5 out of 10 but that wasn’t necessarily for anything that was on Triad’s part. That was just the growing pains of moving it over. And now, as soon as it was done, it was like, “Why didn’t we do this sooner?” You know, what took us this long to do that? But, yeah. No, I encourage people to do it.

Julie Sullivan: It’s like having a baby, right? The pain, the labor.

Tim Sullivan: Yeah, Brad. So, maybe you know about that.

Brad Johnson: I’m going to leave that one in Julie’s court. I know nothing about that, but.

Julie Sullivan: But then after you remove the baby, you’re like, “Oh, my God, this is why we did it, right?” Like, now we own everything, you know? It’s like we are our own RIA. And so, you guys did a phenomenal job and everything. You guys were full support. It was just the transition of making that transition, which we’re so glad that we did because now we control everything, right? So, again, to piggyback off Tim said, you guys were phenomenal.

Tim Sullivan: As you know, you’re just moving over a large quantity at one time. It’s hard.

Julie Sullivan: Yeah.

Brad Johnson: Well, I think the other thing, Tim, you mentioned in your story that you started out captive and you said, “Wow, best thing I ever did was go independent.” And I think there’s obviously a case to be an IAR, you know, maybe when you get started and kind of training wheels on where somebody is helping you. But to truly, I mean, if you look at any financial services firm that manages assets of any like typically 50 million, 100 million, you’re starting to get into those bigger numbers, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen them maintain that IAR for a long time. So, it’s kind of and the thing that happens from my experience is the problem only gets worse. You know, if you’re like, “Should we jump from an IAR to RIA at when we’re at 25 million? Okay. Well, let’s wait.” Well, now you’re at 50 million. Now, you’ve got twice the assets to move.

So, the problem compounds the longer you wait. And so, I think what’s cool is you can now truly operate as an independent financial services firm because you are on RIA. You’re kind of calling the shots. You’re making the rules when it comes to managing the assets. And so, I’m happy for you, guys. It’s really going to unlock, in my opinion, that’s what I’ve seen unlock a ton of growth with other firms that have just gone down that path before.

Tim Sullivan: Great.

Julie Sullivan: We’re seeing that now.

Brad Johnson: Well, hey, it’s Friday afternoon. We’ve been going for a bit. Before we get to a little bit more of the do business, do life side, anything else in your journey, just on the financial services journey that you’re like, “Man, I wish I would have known this five years ago, ten years ago,” that’s been super helpful with your growth story?

Julie Sullivan: Wish we have known you guys ten years ago.

Tim Sullivan: Yeah. I would just say knowing what you don’t know, listening to the people that have gone there before, like I said, checking your ego at the door, and just being open to change and try. The reason why Triad exists and it’s like no other place. You’ve got people that are top in the business that are willing to help you out if you ask. And I’ve always had trouble asking. Never had a problem listening, especially if someone was going to come up and invest time in me. But I always had trouble asking. I don’t know, I guess it was pride. But when you do, man, they are open to share everything with you. And the fact that SHP gives you their seminar process, gives you their sales process and it’s showing so many people how to be successful, I mean, there’s no ego there. They’re there to truly help serve, serve the best of us.

And I think if you’re open to that and you’re willing to do the same thing, man, just be open to do that, and I think your career will be fast-forwarded to where you want it to be, and you’ll get there a lot sooner just by doing that. And whether you’re a captive agent or you’re just starting out in the business or you’re a seasoned pro but you’re looking for growth, that’s why you guys exist. And it’s a great organization. And I’m not saying at the point you guys for being here on the podcast. That’s just truly how I feel for being a part of Triad’s membership. You guys are awesome at what you do and the other advisors and the other financial teams out there are what makes it a great thing because they’re the ones that are willing to share their stories and their success.

Brad Johnson: Well, I appreciate that. And I’m so excited for the two of you and your team because the cool thing is, up to this point, even though you’ve scaled and grown the team, you’re just getting to the beginning stages of scaling the advisor team. And it’s going to be so awesome when we have a conversation a year or two, three years from now, and you’re at north of 100 million a year because I know you will be. And you’re like, “Yeah, Tim only did half of that,” and the year after that, “I only did 25% of that.” And to me, that’s the most beautiful thing about truly scaling a business is it’s not all on your shoulders. And guess what? That’s a win for you and it’s a win for your team because now you’re providing revenue for other members of your community, other members of your team. And it’s just a beautiful thing as you start to unlock that next level. So, I’m so excited for the both of you.

Tim Sullivan: I love last week’s podcast with Jordan Flowers. I had a chance to listen to that. And it’s so true. Looking at Tom who spends a good portion of his time traveling and enjoying life and Jordan saying, “Hey, next year, I only want to be doing this percent of the overall business.” That’s so true. That’s the same where we are at. I want to be out loving on our clients, spending time with them, enjoying life with them while I have the rest of the office running the business. Because like Jordan said in that podcast, “Hey, if I’m not around tomorrow, I want the company to exist.” I want it to go on whether I’m here or not to be able to spot for our clients to have someone to take care of them, as well as something to leave behind for our family. So, I think it’s so key to be able to enjoy life and transition out of that lead advisor role into more of working on the business.

Brad Johnson: Yeah, and that boat’s not going to drive itself, Tim.

Tim Sullivan: No, the boat is not going to drive itself. Exactly right.

Brad Johnson: I love it. Well, let’s… This is a perfect transition. As you all know, podcast is Do Business Do Life. That’s our mission at Triad to help you all, our members, achieve unlimited growth and freedom in both business and life. That’s our goal for our team members. So, I would love to hear Tim and Julie’s definition of what do business do life means to you.

Tim Sullivan: First.

Julie Sullivan: No. You go ahead.

Tim Sullivan: Well, business, we’ve already discussed that. It’s really building something for our team, our clients, our family, something that we could be proud of, something that we could change people’s lives like we’ve been talking about so far. But doing life, enjoying life to the fullest, you know, traveling, I mean, every year we try to take probably three or four, maybe even five vacations, getting away with some of the family, some with just me and Julie, which is I think key, having that personal one-on-one time with your spouse then also being able to bring the kids involved, get them incorporated into that vacation so you’re building that legacy. And we, of course, have our trips that we want to take. But also, I think just spending time with our family while we can, spending time with the kids while they’re still young, 23, 21, 11, and then our bonus daughter, our little foster daughter at 3, spending time with the kids and enjoying life. To me, that’s what it’s about.

It’s not necessarily about I don’t look at it as about me or the company. It’s about, yeah, we could build the company but I want to build a foundation and build a family, something that our kids are always proud of and they’re always staying in contact with. You know, they’re not growing apart. That, to me, is more important than anything else is family for sure.

Julie Sullivan: Yeah. Really spending quality time with them and doing things that matter to them and to have like a significant impact on them where they say like, “Hey, we did this growing up.” And this summer, Delana and I are going to be taking a mission trip to Arizona with our church to give back to the community. And she doesn’t know yet that she’s going to be camping and sleeping on the ground. Going to break that to her but I’m excited for her to see the world in a different lens or a different viewpoint and how blessed she is but then also giving back to our church and other community. So, we’re super excited to do that and spend time with family. And that’s what we’re all about.

Brad Johnson: I’ve seen that. Well, and we’ve been fortunate at the founder’s retreat to get the families all together. Is the full crew coming to Amelia Island this summer? Have you got that far ahead?

Tim Sullivan: We’re not yet sure. I think Delana is coming for sure. Not sure the older kids will. We’ll see. Yeah, they’re both working now even though I told my son that he’s got to come and pick on Gracie, but.

Brad Johnson: Here, I’ll ruin a little surprise just to give you a little more ammo. So, Henner, who obviously came last summer out to Tahoe, he’s bringing a friend this time. Brian Ortega, who is a UFC fighter.

Tim Sullivan: Yes.

Julie Sullivan: Somebody I know.

Tim Sullivan: Yeah.

Brad Johnson: Yeah. So, there you go.

Tim Sullivan: Yeah. Hopefully, we could get him out. We try to get as much as we can with our kids but that’s why, Brad, you got to spend as much time with them when they’re young because as they get older, of course, they have their own lives like we did. That’s one of the reasons why we bought our latest house on a lake was to bring, you know, to have the kids to bring their kids, our grandkids back eventually.

Julie Sullivan: Don’t say grandkids yet.

Tim Sullivan: I’m looking forward to.

Julie Sullivan: Their friends. Bring their friends.

Tim Sullivan: Bring their friends back now, then bring the kids.

Julie Sullivan: So, then we can have them over and their friends over, and they want to come visit us and have fun and wakeboard, surf and… It’s the little things in life, right? It’s never missing a track meet or seeing that victory, right, or seeing softball. And that’s the greatest thing about this business, right, is we can work around the kids’ events and their sporting things that they all do. But it’s not just with us. As we tell our employees, we give our employees flex time so I never, ever want any of our employees to miss anything with their kids. And they have that time to take that flex time to utilize because those are moments that are so precious. And what, we only have 18 summers to spend time with them so let’s take advantage of that to the fullest, right?

Tim Sullivan: And as advisors, come on, guys and ladies, we could always change our schedule. An appointment is not worth missing time with our kids. It’s not. You know, it was my goal ever since I had my first child that I wasn’t going to miss any of their events, and I never will because it’s not that important. It’s great to have that extra piece of business but you’re never going to get that time back with your kids.

Brad Johnson: Yeah. No amount of money will buy it back.

Tim Sullivan: Yeah.

Brad Johnson: After it’s gone. Yeah.

Tim Sullivan: Great.

Brad Johnson: Well, let’s end it on that. So, this has been an incredible conversation. Tim and Julie, thank you so much. There’s so much to learn from this conversation both in business and life so thanks for sharing so openly. Thanks for always just pouring into the community every time we get to hang. I love it. So, looking forward to the next one. Till next time.


These conversations are intended to provide financial advisors with ideas, strategies,
concepts and tools that could be incorporated into the advisory practice, advisors are
responsible for ensuring implementation of anything discussed is in accordance with
any and all regulatory and compliance responsibilities and obligations.


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