Brad Johnson: Welcome to another episode of Do Business Do Life. Kristy and David, welcome to the show.
Kristy Afraimi: Thank you.
David Afraimi: Thanks for having us.
Brad Johnson: Well, it’s long overdue. And as I was preparing for it today, you all have a really, I mean, you were an early Triad member. I think before we were even public as a company, we kind of had a year of stealth mode and it’s just been so awesome just to get to know you as a couple, as early Triad members and just see the incredible evolution and growth that’s happened in your business. I’m really excited to dig in. But before we get to that, one of my favorite stories was how I think it was at dinner the first time we met. You shared kind of the origin story of actually been getting into this business and you guys have an interesting one. I think it all started with the direct mailer. I won’t spoil it, so I’d love to just hear that and I think it’s always fun for advisors to hear how you kind of got into this industry and how that came to be.
David Afraimi: Yeah. I think it was like 25 years ago, really didn’t have a career path at that time, found out we’re having our first baby so I got this mysterious recruiting letter in the mail by somebody that I never met. Actually, at the time I was a waiter. So, actually, I thought it was somebody that I impressed by waiting on them and gave them excellent customer service. So, I went in for the interview and they just said, “Hey, we’re going to give you 20 leads a week and you’re going to drive to people’s homes and you’re going to help them protect their homes.” And I’m like, “We could do this.” So, at that time, Kristy and I were living with her parents. We actually moved into their home in a converted living room. And then from there, I spent pretty much working 12 hours a day driving to people’s homes all over the Bay Area in traffic, and then a few years later moved out to Colorado to open up our own firm. And then 2008-2009, the mortgage industry collapsed so our whole LEED program just went down. And then that’s when I decided that we wanted to do something more comprehensive.
Brad Johnson: Kristy, so you’re pregnant.
Kristy Afraimi: Yeah.
Brad Johnson: And David has… I’m just picturing like the Willy Wonka’s golden ticket that you pulled out of a direct mail for some reason. So, what was your side of that, Kristy?
Kristy Afraimi: You know, in that moment, David was all about like, “Oh, my God, I’m going to be a dad and I’m working at a restaurant and I think I need a legitimate job.” And I was like, I really didn’t care in that moment. I’m like, “We’ll make it work, whatever, and no pressure.” And he was just all about it. So, he went to the interview and he’s that guy, right? He’s an 8. He made up his mind. He knew what he wanted and it was like it was a done deal. So, I was not chill about being pregnant. I was freaking out, of course, but I was really calm about, well, what’s going to happen next. I think I was freaking out about myself personally, being pregnant, being a woman, having no experience but in terms of like the long-term, it didn’t bother me. So, I don’t know. It’s not like a man-woman thing. That was kind of what he carried. So, yeah, he just went with it and I kind of do what I always did or I did what I always do, which I was like, “All right. Put my seatbelts on. Let’s go.”
Brad Johnson: And for those listening in that are like he’s an 8, I know we talk about the Enneagram a ton. So, I was talking with Dave and Kristy before we went live. So, Kristy’s an Enneagram 1, David’s an Enneagram 8, and I’m sure we’ll get into that here in a bit and how that’s helped not only the two of them as husband, wife, business partners, but also we were talking about how that’s also become a team culture thing as well. So, maybe I’m making this up but wasn’t there a part of this story that involved this magical golden ticket getting lost somewhere along the way? What happened then?
Kristy Afraimi: David was in the restaurant industry, as were quite a few of his friends, and we invited our family over to celebrate the fact that we were having a baby, even though we were totally nervous about the whole situation. So, they were shucking clams and I am definitely the type of person, I’m like frame the know. You need to know all the information about the know. We can’t lose the know. Let me take ten pictures. In that moment, I had done none of that because I let David kind of roll with it and decide what he was going to do. So, yeah, in the midst of that party and shucking clams, the paper gets lost. And I think it was the next day that he came to me and I really freaked out, not so much for myself but I knew previously how much he had spoke about how excited he was for the opportunity. I mean, I took pictures of him in his suit going to the as he was preparing, like, what am I going to wear for the interview? I wish I had that picture. I would hold it up right now.
Brad Johnson: We would put in the show notes 100% if you did.
David Afraimi: You got it.
Brad Johnson: So, if you send it my way.
Kristy Afraimi: Yeah. You got to pop it up. So, David can be very laid back in certain situations. And in that moment, he was like, “Eh, don’t worry about it. We’ll find it.” And I went into my full-on like, “No, we have to look for it right now. Like, we’re not doing anything until you look for that.” So, we’re searching all over the place and we couldn’t find it. And I just said, “Dude, go look in the garbage. Go look in the garbage.” It was basically in that brown sheet with all of the clam shells or whatever. And so, he found it wrapped up in all that, smelled like this, put it in a Ziploc sandwich bag, and kept it there until his interview. And the funny, not funny thing was in the moment that he was not really worried about it, he was like, “Well, I can look him up online or they’ll probably be online. We’ll find him.” The company at that time didn’t even have an online presence, so that wouldn’t have been an option. So, anyway, which is kind of funny, right, which right there the dinosaurs like that company didn’t even have an online presence at that time. So, yeah.
Brad Johnson: Isn’t it weird how these little moments in life when you look backwards just how monumental that little experience was and how that was a whole trajectory in both your all’s life. It’s cool how that works. So, for time horizon, because your oldest is 22 so this was right around 2000-ish.
Kristy Afraimi: Yeah. It was like October of 2000.
Brad Johnson: Okay. Yeah. Well, I got in this industry in ‘07 and I remember in ‘07 it was a big thing because we were building websites for financial advisors. That was an entire creative department. It was just build them websites. They made websites. So, hey, I don’t think the firm that you started out that was too far behind because I know that was still a thing in ‘07.
Kristy Afraimi: Seven years later.
Brad Johnson: Okay, cool. So, I think one of the things I just love about this industry is the early grind that almost everyone experiences. And to me, it’s those character-building years where you realize the grind, the hard work it takes, and then obviously also the impact you can make on people’s financial lives. So, let’s go to young David in his best suit and tie, going door-to-door, knocking on leads. What were the learnings there? What was that like?
David Afraimi: I mean, you just really got to build and connect with people. I mean, you’ve got to find some type of commonality, some type of mutual with their liking, and you got to get people to like you and trust you in a very short amount of time because you’re there for a specific reason. You’re there to help. Obviously, you’re there to help people. You know, that time we’re helping people protect the mortgage in case they were to die but I’ll tell you one thing. Most of the guys that were coming in at that time were probably 6 to 7 years younger than me. I was 27, 28, really was the first person of the sales reps having a baby. So, one thing I made sure like if I didn’t have enough appointments, I would stay. I mean, we worked seven days a week. I mean, we would phone call Saturday morning, Sunday night, and I would come home and I’m a huge football fan, so I was missing Raiders football. That was actually the only time in my life that Raiders were actually good. And this is the early 2000 with Jon Gruden. So, here I am, missing Raiders games.
Brad Johnson: Was that Rich Gannon? Who is your QB?
David Afraimi: Yeah. Rich Gannon, Tim Brown, even Jerry Rice at the end. So, here I am, missing Raider games because I put my career first but what I was doing for my clients first, what I was doing for my own family first. And there was no you’re leaving at five like our night, the sales started at 5:00. So, 5:00 we would drive an hour to 2 hours. I mean, there were times Kristy would check in. She’s like, “How was your night?” I think she was saying, “Did you make any sales? Because we want to move out of our parent’s house.” And one time, like, I didn’t pick up the phone because I was taking a nap in my car because we’d go, sometimes we drive to these people’s homes and they would no show you. I mean, you’d be literally knocking on the door. These are preset appointments and you know they’re in the house because all of a sudden the lights would turn off and then I would just have to go take a nap in my car and sometimes I wouldn’t get on. I mean, I would spend from 8 in the morning until 8 or 9 at night. Sometimes I’d come home going, oh, for 4. And I tell you what, coming home, sitting in my car before I walked in the house because Kristy’s like, “How was your day? But aka did you make any sales?” It was tough, man. I wanted to quit probably ten times. I just never did.
Kristy Afraimi: Well, there’s a period of time when he came home and, I mean, David’s a quick start guy so he would be all excited about making sales. And then all of a sudden, like 60 days later, I’m like, “Dude, you made all these sales,” but like I don’t mean to ask you about money and then it would be like dot, dot, dot. And I’m like, “What? Tell me.” And he’s like, “Well, I found out about something I didn’t know before. There’s this thing called a chargeback.” So, he gets excited about a big sale and then something with chargeback. So many tidbits.
Brad Johnson: Yeah. Because here’s what’s cool about this show is you never know who’s going to listen. There’s the advisor that’s just getting started out listening. There’s the seasoned advisor. So, if you go back to those formative years where you were just getting into this industry, I’ve got to connect. I’ve got to figure out how someone that literally is just meeting me opening their front door, how I can get that personal connection. Was there a mentor that helped you out? Were there books you read? Because most that get into this industry don’t make it past that stage like this is really hard. I went, “Oh, for 4.” No thanks. I’m going to go back to waiting tables at the restaurant or whatever else is out there. What got you through that?
David Afraimi: What got me, I think, because at that time there wasn’t really a lot of mentorship. And, yeah, they have sales meetings, they have scripts. You’ve seen the movie, Glengarry Glen Ross/Boiler Room, we had a lot of that. I think anyone that was in the business in the late 90s, early 2000s we weren’t really there. It was more of a transactional sale than what we do now is flipping our relationship. I think the thing that drove me the most was I didn’t want to go back to being a waiter and I’m like, “Okay. Well, how my kids are going to… How am I going to raise my… How am I going to have a life? I mean, I could build a business but how am I going to have a life? What are they going to do? You know, they’re going to come visit me at the restaurant?” So, I was so determined I wasn’t going to fail. So, I think a little bit of luck and a lot of bit of grit and grind is what got me through that early stage.
Brad Johnson: And I remember a bit of that in my early days where I left behind the corporate job. I was just scared. I was like, I’m going to do whatever it takes. I’m going to stay late. I’m going to make ten extra calls. And I feel like there is probably a little bit of that driving you with the kiddo on the way, kind of burned the boats behind you, for lack of a better term. Was that part of it as well?
David Afraimi: Oh, yeah. I mean, raising a family, making sure that you can, you know, Kristy and I always talk about like are we going to have enough money to raise our family? Are we going to be able to do all the things that we want to buy a house, save for college? And the only way I saw that we could do that is by making in this industry. Hell or high water was kind of my motto at that time.
Brad Johnson: Okay. And, Kristy, feel free to chime in on any of this. What I love is the dynamic.
Kristy Afraimi: Yeah, I wasn’t sure if I said or not.
Brad Johnson: You know, you’ve got full permission. And I think what’s also cool, there are so many husband-wife teams in finance. There are so many family offices. I mean, like family offices, like literally family members working together, which creates all the benefits and challenges of that dynamic. So, yeah, Kristy, maybe we go to like kind of past the early grind and now maybe things are starting to come together. At what point did it kind of take that next inflection point where you’re no longer going door to door? What did you kind of go to an office set up inside of this firm? Did you end up leaving this firm and doing your own thing? Where did that come to be?
David Afraimi: So, what happened was, within probably a year-and-a-half, I went from individual sales to managing a team. So, at that, you had a hierarchy. So, I would get to hire and training sales reps so there would be additional revenue coming in. But then we moved out in 2005 that’s when we moved out to Colorado and we built the whole office. So, within two years of moving out here, I no longer was in the field is what we call it. And I had eight or nine sales reps. We had operations. No one ever gave me a book on how to be an entrepreneur and how to build a business. We just did it by, again, sure, by grit and grind. I mean, I look at all the books that we read now and all the mentorship that you guys give us and mentors along the way. If I would have had a group like Triad with the mentorship and the vision and how to build a team and a culture, oh, my gosh, I mean, probably we’d be at a whole different level but we feel like we’re on that path now for sure.
Brad Johnson: Well, I’m glad you’re here.
David Afraimi: Yeah. Me too. Thank you.
Kristy Afraimi: Part of what took David out of the field when we moved to Colorado is that we were getting leads from doing mortgage leads. And so, you never knew how many were going to come in, and what came into an office in California was largely different to what came in in the office in Colorado. And there were two agents from the Fremont office that came out with us, and we only had enough leads to feed them. And in that moment, me not being a selfish person, but being concerned like, “Oh my God we have a house, we have this business, we have an office lead, we have kids, we have all of these expenses.” And David’s like, I mean, they came out with me like I have to give them a lead first. So, part of what took him out of the field, he was actually out of the field to a certain degree immediately because we didn’t have the leads. And the leads were the only thing that dictated the sales. So, there weren’t a quiz funnel or in-person dinner seminars. In fact, we did our first in-person dinner seminar at I think it was an office building. David, what was the food that we brought in? I don’t even remember. It was probably in like 2006 or 2007. What is that like? Oh, beef stroganoff.
Brad Johnson: Catered it in? Nice.
Kristy Afraimi: Yeah. That was probably a couple of years after we came in. That was like our first funny seminar moment, right, with like no leadership, no nothing. Somebody mentioning it and that’s being like let’s rent a place and bring in some food. But, yeah, that was kind of what the early years look like in terms of him coming out of the field, which was really nerve-wracking because at that point I’m like, “Well, what do you mean? We’re going to depend on the sales that they make only?” Because we don’t have a choice. But, David, he’s a glass-half-full kind of a guy so he was like, “We’ll make it. We’ll make it.” And again, I’m like, “I have my seatbelts on. Okay, let’s go.”
Brad Johnson: Hey, it seems like a theme that just kept working so you kind of repeat. Okay. So, let’s fast forward a little bit and we went ahead and pulled kind of your gross number. So, I’m going to share these and then we can talk through them. So, we’ll kind of fast forward and we can maybe pull out of this when you all left and started your own firm. But if we look back just the last five years, 2018, 17 million of new assets gathered. David is the sole producer, sole advisor, Three team members. So, those three team members include the two of you. Was it three team member? Okay. So, basically, the two of you and one additional team member. 2019, 18 mil, David’s still a solo advisor, added a fourth so four team members. 2020, nice little jump there in a COVID year, which is pretty awesome. 31 mil, David’s still solo producing advisor relationship advisor. Did out-of-service advisor that year. Still up four team members. 2021, 35 million of new assets gathered, still 100% of all the sales are going through David. Six team members, still one service advisor. 2022, we take a little new approach, 39 mil of new assets. You’re up to seven team members, but now only 90% of that production came through. David, I say only 90%. It was 100. Is that right?
So, 90% through David. Yeah. No, you’re not carrying all of the burden on your own shoulders. You add, I believe, Max on the team. And that was the last six months and he’s responsible for about 10% of production. Now, fast forward, we just talked about 2023 numbers. So, keep in mind, 2022 was 39 million. 2023, pacing for 60 million. We sit here and record this about halfway through July. Added another 250K target life. On top of that, it was a substantial jump from previous years. Pacing to add the 9th and 10th team member. Actually, yeah, eight, nine, ten team members this year. And I don’t know if you have the numbers off the top of your head, percentage-wise, how much of that is flowing through David. About 60 million. How much through Max? You guys know off the top of your head?
David Afraimi: Yeah, for sure. Max has brought in by himself 25% of the production, and then another 25% is joint work. Because sometimes Max will say, “I want you to come in to this meeting,” because there are sometimes clients they don’t put their exact assets on a white sheet and they come in. They’ve got 3 million. Max happen to do the first. That’s when he’ll kind of wrote me in. But he’s brought in 25% of this year’s production all by himself. And he now has his own service advisors. So, that’s been big too.
Brad Johnson: Wow. Okay. So, I wanted to just kind of get the lay of the land there so the listeners could kind of see the growth trajectory. 17 mil just a few years back, over triple that pacing for 60 this year. Not all of the production just on David, the founder, the selling advisor, brought in the next advisor as well. But there’s also if we just rewind before we get to these last five years, there was an inflection point there where like the model you describe, the way I describe it is kind of the old-school agency insurance hierarchy. You know, stack these team members underneath. This might not be politically correct but it reminds me of like the multilevel marketing a little bit. Is that fair?
Kristy Afraimi: Yeah, I would say the name, but…
Brad Johnson: And no disrespect if anybody is out there in a model like that but it’s kind of like you bring in and then the ones that do well, they go up a notch and then you stack more than maybe half of those make it half down, and then you just continue this kind of thing where really the model that I’ve seen is closer to a firm, like a law firm if you look at that where you’ve got the seasoned advisor that makes partner and then they bring in the new grad student, the law student that kind of earns their keep and then works their way up. But it’s more of like a partnership and an evolution that way as opposed to just stack a bunch of people below me and hope a few of them pan out. So, big setup, sorry, but let’s kind of rewind and like talk about that evolution of their key inflection points like aha, like walk through that kind of what led to that growth there.
David Afraimi: I mean, a lot of things. I think number one is building a vision for the company, a 3 to 5-year vision, which you guys helped us build our vision manifesto. It’s having shared messaging above and beyond, “Hey, I’m a financial advisor and I offer holistic financial planning.” I mean, who doesn’t say that today? So, working with Chris Smith and having that distinct message that really differentiates us from everyone else, I think probably the biggest thing is focusing on our team and really having a culture where everyone feels like they’re a part of the vision. I think like Kristy mentioned the Enneagram, and I could tell you being more than an advisor, being a leader and hiring and training leaders and people owning their roles because in the beginning of 2016 when we decided to be independent, we had that advisor-in-charge model where everybody would come to me and ask me questions and I would just shoot out answers and it was just whatever idea of the day worked. We were going to try to implement as fast as we can, but really funneling everything through the team, focusing on the team giving the team, again, that culture, that environment where they feel empowered, where they feel like they love. Like, I look back in when we started our career, there was no culture and now I see why we went…
Kristy Afraimi: It was grind culture.
David Afraimi: We ran through people like left and right where now it’s like the mindset is completely different.
Kristy Afraimi: So, when you say evolution, a big part of why we went from our agency to just David and I and then really the decision to continue to grow the office. I don’t know that it was a decision as much as it started to happen and we were enjoying it again. But we made a very strategic like looked at each other and said, “I don’t want to do this anymore.” We were exhausted in that stacked environment. We were exhausted being the agent, the advisor in charge, so to speak, exhausted by you have situations where people are like, “Ah, I could do what you do. See you later.” Because whether or not it’s a difficult thing that you’re doing, people see it from the outside so it looks easy and people tend to believe they can do it, which is great and which can be really challenging and frustrating as well. So, that was something we really decided upon and we were like we are never going to have agents again. Like, we don’t have agents. You know, we can do fine in this space with you and I.
And we had another gentleman that was part of our team in a support role and just being really simple because we were like, hey, we want to choose happiness and peace over, “Oh, we have this big team and this business is building,” because it wasn’t building. Well, at that point, we didn’t realize that it was like, well, it’s not that it’s not building correctly. So, it wasn’t that it’s not building. It wasn’t building correctly and not to make a biblical reference but a house built on sand, we all know what happens to it. And really at some point, like you’re just heavy lifting and heavy lifting and heavy lifting. And again, it’s like just put it down and I think that’s what we decided to do. And then as we had more success, met different people, got different nuggets, pulled from different people’s experience and knowledge, we started to grow and it started to become easier. And we still have a lot of challenges but a huge part of that happened with meeting you guys because of what you guys have shared from a business development perspective.
And I love to mention to people that and say it in front of you guys and it’s a great reminder. Our first meeting with you guys, I was like, “Yeah. They must have some really awesome marketing and I’m really excited about going and seeing what they’re doing on marketing.” And when we left and David was like, “What did you think?” And I was like, “I don’t really give a crap about their marketing business development.” That’s where it’s at. That’s what we need. So, plugging that in was huge. But again, getting back to the evolution thing, we were just exhausted and threw in the towel in some regards, not for ourselves, but that kind of dream of having an office or a big office or that like Rich Dad, Poor Dad, getting away from that environment. We were just like, you know, we just don’t want to do it anymore. So, it’s almost kind of funny that we’re here now. I think that’s sometimes interesting.
Brad Johnson: There’s a lot of lessons there. And first off, I appreciate all the credit and you all have been awesome. Kristy, you sent an email the other day. You need to be a professional email writer because there was like three spaces between each word.
Kristy Afraimi: How did you see it?
Brad Johnson: I did. And it made our team’s day. And it was something about a long hug with like seven Os.
Kristy Afraimi: Yeah. I’m like, then you’re going to be like, “This is awkward. Let me go.”
Brad Johnson: So, first off, I appreciate all the praise but one of the things I can say from a decade and a half of doing this, there’s delivering the content and the frameworks. And then there’s the hard work of putting them into place and changing, being open to change, challenging your own thoughts. As Dan Sullivan says, thinking about your own thinking and what you just hit, both of you, I don’t know how many times I’ve heard over the years you said throw in the towel, Kristy. Man, I’m tired of managing people. I’m just going to lifestyle it out like I went there. I hit burnout. It was chaos. I would train my competition. I had this headache of personnel. And so, you know what, I’m downsizing and it’s just going to be a small team and we’re just going to lifestyle it and like life again. But you also hit and this is why you guys are Triad scholar of the year last year, by the way, because you’ve been so incredibly coachable and you’re like using our terms. You’re like advisor in charge model.
And the cool thing is you were just building with the wrong blueprint, kind of the old school agency model where it was all the constraint was you, all of that was on you versus developing a team, empowering a team, creating career tracks inside of your firm. And you said kind of this light bulb moment went our business development, our industry is if I hear another shiny marketing object thrown around on emails or webinars or Facebook ads, that is not the answer.
Kristy Afraimi: Yeah.
Brad Johnson: Half the time you ask an advisor, “Hey, how are you different from the competition on the street?” They don’t even know. It’s like they start listing their services, “Oh, well, we’ve got great service where people really like and trust us.” Like, no, that’s not a differentiating factor. And so, there’s so much there that you hit on but it’s a testament to you all being incredible students of being open to just challenging the thoughts you had before and exploring a new way. Does that spur any additional thoughts or ideas? Just kind of how did you shift that? Because that takes trust and that takes going to the unknown and the fearful place that is often scary. And I’ve seen advisors tiptoe out and then like, “Oh, that didn’t work.” And then they run the other way back to the old way. How did you all process through that?
David Afraimi: Yeah. I would say that like meeting new guys and finding people that are really authentic because we worked with three different market – you wouldn’t want to call market. I know there are some bad words. We don’t want to say marketing agencies.
Brad Johnson: So, in our industry, those that are in FMO, field marketing organization, which is a bad word at Triad because we’re a business development company to your point.
Kristy Afraimi: Yes, we are.
Brad Johnson: But yeah, so go ahead though.
David Afraimi: Yeah. So, really finding coaches, right? Coming and visiting you guys, real, authentic individual like Kristy is our – she is the key. She is the – what’s the word I’m looking for? Like, she’s the soul of the company. Like, she’s…
Kristy Afraimi: I probably wouldn’t say that. I’m more like mama bear like I’m a gatekeeper like, “Tell me why I should trust you and then tell me again. And then I’m not going to trust you and talk to me in three months and tell me again.”
Brad Johnson: Well, this is why you and my wife, Sarah, get along because Sarah on Enneagram she’s Enneagram 6, which is known as the loyal skeptic. So, that might be a little bit of you too, Kristy. You know, you’re like, “Prove it.”
Kristy Afraimi: Yeah. You mentioned that in something recently and I was like, bing, bing, bing, bing.
Brad Johnson: Yeah, which is great because David’s hitting the gas, you’re kind of tapping the brake and saying, “Hey, let’s make sure this is like it checks out.” Your differences are a strength there. That’s a really cool dynamic.
David Afraimi: But your guys’ approach like we’ve seen and heard it all like we’ve seen it all and everyone else is the same. When we came out to you guys, I mean, you kind of knew that the story of burnout, how to take difference of success and significance and really having a business that blesses your life and not controls it. And we live that like we have money. You know, we’ve made plenty of money but we had no time to spend it or wasn’t. If we stopped working and there was no revenue, so we really wanted to find people that can coach us to build a business. Jim Collins wrote a great book, Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionaries. And I read that book years ago and when I came and visited you guys, I felt when we left that I’m like, “These are the guys that can help us build a business to last that’s bigger than us.” And it just felt good. It was authentic. You know, I like to jump in. Like you said, I am all gas. I like to jump into things quickly and implement it because that same week we interviewed another organization and they led with marketing and change.
They took us out to – they put us in a nice hotel. They did all the things that normally that you see talking to us about that, “Yeah, if you come work for us, you’ll get two nice trips a year.” I’m like, “I can go on my own trips.” I want to really build a business and really impact people’s lives, our clients’ lives, our team members’ lives that last well beyond our tenure in the business. And I would say you always say you want to underpromise, overdeliver. You guys have over-delivered in every single area and it’s not even close.
Brad Johnson: Well, I appreciate that. And by the way, one of the things around here, we always check our egos at the door. We’re always open to feedback. I remember early on in the relationship, I don’t remember the exact scenario but I remember there was some feedback. And, Kristy, you delivered in kind of a way and I’m like, “Thank you. We got better today.” We got better. That was a gap. That was a blind spot. And you’re right. You know, as a start-up, there’s a lot of gap stressing. There’s a lot of gaps that first year. And in partnership, which is we’re not trying to be a brokerage firm that works with everyone. We’re trying to develop true deep partnerships where it’s mutually beneficial where we can have a deep impact and do business and do life with people that selfishly I want to surround myself and my kids with. And in partnership, whether it’s marriage, whether it’s business, I’ve just always found that starts with open communication and transparent communication. And that’s one of the things I love about the two of you. You’ve always been willing to deliver that but it’s not from a place of you suck at this. It’s from a place of, hey…
Kristy Afraimi: Sometimes it is.
Brad Johnson: Well, you know.
Kristy Afraimi: Behind closed doors. No.
David Afraimi: No, this is this. Yeah, go ahead, Kristy.
Kristy Afraimi: I mean, I just want to be honest. If anybody is watching this, they’d be like, “Oh, yeah, I know that happens.”
Brad Johnson: Yeah.
Kristy Afraimi: No, I was going to say you mentioned about like just the transition and I always feel like so much of it just happened in the sense that David and I never really sat down and were like, “Okay. We’re going to continue to build this and we’re going to add an advisor.” In fact, I’d have to sit and remember for a minute how we decided to hire for Max’s position because he was the first support like advisor to David and he’s the full advisor with us now. So, I can’t really remember where that conversation started but I always revert back to the whole like David was ready to run through a brick wall and I’ll laugh with David and say, like, “He’s the caveman who’s like I’m going to run through the brick wall and then like, ah, he’s pulling me by the ponytail. That’s a lot. That is just like such a theme in so many things that have happened and the hard work has brought us there. So, I know that there’s that and we should take a little bit of credit for that.
But I think some of our relationship with you guys, a lot of it, a lot of the positive impact it’s had on our professional and personal life has come from your intention of what you came to build. And I know for me, at least, that’s been inspiring to focus on the intention of what we want to build here. I’m a big person, you know? I want to help everybody. You know, I don’t care what it is. Do you need me to come help you unclog your toilet or do you want me to come do something fabulous with you? Although I’m not really good at the fabulous stuff but feeling your intention have the impact along with all of the strategic things that you bring to the table, our willingness to learn and implement it. And then us just seeing that and taking that and duplicating that in our own business and our own way with our own intention, I just feel like that’s where everything starts. If your intention is right in the first place, everything tends to blossom from that point, if you’re adding in all the other factors, the physical work, the mental willingness, and all that good stuff. So, when I think of that whole transition process for us, it’s like David being so hardcore, me just being like, “Okay. Let’s go,” and then this beautiful intention and care that was brought to the table for us that we’ve learned so much for and added and like, “Oh my God, we’re continuing to grow.”
Brad Johnson: Okay. So, I want to circle back here. I was taking a few notes. You throw out a number of things. You threw out vision, you threw out a distinct message. Obviously, we love Chris Smith around here. He’s done a lot of work inside of our Triad community. He threw out Enneagram, Ian Kron. I know you were for an experience with him. Leader versus advisor, that’s kind of a mindset shift really and you mentioned the advisor-in-charge model. Let’s go to because you’re kind of hitting all over this, Kristy. I was actually just on a Zoom call last night. Sarah and I were on and Chris and Melissa Smith. So, Chris is like Melissa, they run something called Family Brand, which is actually taking a lot of that work that we’ve utilized inside of businesses and applying it to your family. Like, how do you create that same intention with your family? So, I’ll let you know. We’ve only been on call once. I’ll share openly, but it’s already been amazing.
But one of the things that came out of last night’s call are the most fundamental form of creation that humans have are words and language. Because if you think of everything that’s come to be, a human had to tell a story that got somebody else to believe in that. So, hey, here, let’s build a city together. Like, everything stems from that and what I just dissecting a bit of what you’re saying is you got really intentional about who you wanted to be, the vision, how you message that vision to your internal team that creates the culture to the prospects externally that are like, “Wait, this is how, BAM, your firm is different from the 50 other firms that are on this block here.” So, let’s just like dive a little deep there, and whichever of the two of you wants to jump in, how has that played out? And if you’ve got any like phrases or before and afters, I’d love to just hear your thoughts behind that.
David Afraimi: The messaging to me is really, like, if you would ask us, what is your differentiators? We’re unapologetically authentic. We will show up in your life the same way that we show up in our own. And I’ve seen and I’ve said it a million times, Max has said it a million times that when you see the impact on a prospect’s face when they go, “Wow, I’ve never heard that,” you can kind of see them relax, you can kind of see them lean into that a little bit. You’re like, “Well, this is a little bit different.”
But I think, the messaging to me, it really explains to a pros– above and beyond, look, probably, you’re going to get a great financial plan, right? You can walk down the street and you can talk to a hundred different firms. But really, what you’re going to get a firm, what you’re really going to get from us besides being unapologetically authentic, we’re going to maximize the one thing that money can’t buy and you can’t get back, which is your time. That’s really all that prospects care about.
I don’t really think they really care about what stock to own or what annuity to have or what portfolio or what life insurance. They just want to know that they can spend time with their loved ones because we’re taking care of the major decisions. And I just think, the messaging to me is just really relaxed, not only the people that come into our office because we put it, we talk about it in the seminar, we’re repeating it in meeting one, meeting two, meeting three and all their reviews.
We had a client come in yesterday who’s unfortunately, her husband passed away last year unexpectedly, got cancer, and this was the first time we were working with Kris, but I think probably six or seven months. But we started really implementing the messaging, I would really say about four or five months ago. We were holding everyone accountable. And she said to me in the meeting, she’s like, “You all have meant so much to us. You really protected my time and energy.” And when she said that, I was like, “I can’t believe it, we had our first client say that.” And that to me now is, when you have your clients repeat your messaging, your clients will believe in you when they know that you believe in what you do.
Look, man, people are very in tune with– I mean, you can go to a hundred different seminars within 30-mile radius. So, you’ve got to have a differentiator. And if you don’t have your own unique brand messaging, I mean, we’re talking about in our business that I think, unfortunately, you’re a commodity like a lot of other advisors out there.
Kristy Afraimi: So, I kind of do lean a little bit there. Sometimes, I have like a get a mic and get on a mountain kind of a moment. And I had it with our team the other day because we were kind of harping on memorizing the messaging. And first and foremost, what’s so cool about the messaging is that you guys pulled that out of us. So, it’s truly authentic to who we are as individuals in terms of being unapologetically authentic and showing up in our client’s life like we show up in our own. That’s definitely who I am, 150%.
And so, there was kind of a tone of like, you have to memorize it, you have to memorize it, you have to memorize it. And I was like, “Wait a minute. You have to be it, nonetheless.” You have to be it because you can say it, but if you’re not actively being who you say you are, there’s an opportunity for a breakdown as well. So, yeah, I love it because it came from us.
And then, that’s my message with our team is like, “We have to be this. This is who we are.” And honestly, it’s a frickin awesome thing to be to, I’m like Bible reference, do unto others as you would to yourself. And we’ve all not done that at times, myself included, but that’s pretty much, I hit on that, except for when I’m rippin’ on Afraimi. I really…
Brad Johnson: Hey, the other guy on here is that what should be.
Kristy Afraimi: I have those moments, but it’s so important to be it, it’s so important to be it.
Brad Johnson: Okay, let’s hit the pause button there. So, that is a magical moment. I want to go back to what David said, then I want to go to what you said, Kristy. It’s a magical thing when you message something that’s truly authentic to you and it resonates with the people you help, and then they’re like, “Thank you.” That’s back to being a leader versus being an advisor. And advisor is like, “Hey, here’s the stock of the day.” A leader is like, “I’m going to hold you accountable to this financial plan that gets you where you want to go and protects that time.” That is so important to you. That’s our finite resource that we all have the same amount of on a daily basis.
One of my mentors once said, “When you’re tired of saying that thing, you’re 50% there.” And so, I think that’s the thing I’ve seen in finance is it’s we are unfortunately a shiny object industry where it’s like, here’s the trainer of the day. You go to the conference. They hit the keynote. You’re like, “Oh, that was good.” You scribble it down and you run with it for a month. And then you go to the next conference so that you run with the next thing.
And what you guys went that I want to call out is you went deep, you went an inch wide, a mile deep, and you lived it and you became it versus, oh, let’s go this way today and that day tomorrow. And that’s the power of it, but that’s the hard part because we get bored with stuff. So, what was the discipline? I know we helped obviously extract it, and obviously, we do everything we can to package it to make it accessible for you all and your team. But is there anything that just helped? Because if there’s another advisor out there that’s kind of like done the whole, like, “Hey, I do this today and that tomorrow, and then the next thing,” was there anything that changed in you all or was it just, no, this resonated because it was just core to who we were?
David Afraimi: I would say the amount of– like your guys’ message seems like I’m going to be real, real honest here because you go work with a marketing organization and they say one thing and you go visit them every six months or three months and they say something else. I was like, “I wonder if their messaging is going to change.” I wonder if what Brad and Shawn and then Kristin and Nick, I mean, what has still blown me away is that you guys, as much success that you had, I mean, we were sorry, BAM was hired as office number 13. I think you guys are right around 50, 50 plus, or whatever it is in a…
Brad Johnson: We call it Lucky 13 around here.
David Afraimi: Lucky 13. But going from 13 to 50 in as much people that you work with, your guys’ messaging hasn’t changed one bit. You talking about being authentically yourselves, I mean, you guys are still those two guys that I met in a humid– it actually wasn’t too humid in Kansas, beautiful downtown Lawrence, with your wonderful wives, I mean, you guys are still the guys that we met. And then on top of that, all the education that you brought us. So, I just listen to Episode 19 on DBDL.
So, we’re at a very monumental moment here at BAM Advisory Group. We’re about to hit 100 million under management. So, I read the Road to 100 million and I would say out of the key factors, build an incredible team, do that one thing really well, have a marketing machine, I mean, since we’ve joined you guys, I mean, I feel like we’re hitting now. We still have long ways to go. We still have challenges. This isn’t perfect, ladies and gentlemen. We still have storms that we’re working through.
The key thing is that we recognize the storm early, we know how to get out of it quicker. And it’s just those business development coaching moments that we get with you all, where before, I would have to call my marketer and it would be more reactive where you all are so proactive, I could bring anything to Nick or to Ryan or to you or to Shawn. And you guys have been– and I’ll tell you one major thing that you’ve helped me with because I’m a pretty emotional guy, I don’t really have a high EQ. You’ve taught me to be calm and confident. Leaders need to be calm and confident.
So, when I’m about to go into a meeting or something happen here, I just think, okay, calm and confident, I’ll tell you what, that in itself has done amazing things for us. I’m still learning. I still have my moments. But yeah, a lot of those things have just been so impactful that we’ll be forever grateful.
Kristy Afraimi: Being an entrepreneur, it can be really lonely. And you do feel like you’re the only one, too. Am I the only one who is screwing up in this area? Am I the only one who doesn’t know what to do? Am I the only one who is waking up at 2 a.m. in the morning with eight things going through my head and worrying about the clock?
Brad Johnson: You’re not. You’re not, Kristy.
Kristy Afraimi: I know, but you know what? It’s comforting, right? Because you say, just like starting this podcast, be authentic, show up as yourselves. And so, when you have a community of people who do that, everybody just goes, “Huh, I’m not the only one.” And then there’s, of course, the learning from each other, right? Well, this is what I do and this is what I do and this is what I do. And taking all these little nuggets and figuring out what fits for your situation or what works for how you like to do things or trying a couple of different things and being like, yeah, that worked, or this one didn’t.
But the peace of mind that you get from just sharing those experiences because when you are an entrepreneur oftentimes, you don’t have– the company I worked for when we were having our babies was a large corporation. So, we were brought to corporate headquarters and had all these massive trainings and all of these things going on. And I never thought about the fact that we were going to have any of that, David and Kristy with two kids moving to Colorado to start our financial advisory firm. You don’t think about those things.
I think about that more now being that we have that again through you guys, but yeah, it can be really lonely, right? And who do you go to mentorship? And I never really thought about, I kind of laugh when I hear some of the other offices talk about who they’ve hired prior to coming aboard with Triad or whatever to help them along the way. And I was like, “Geez, I never even thought about that.” But a lot of entrepreneurs don’t have access to that, and also, don’t really know that that exists outside of themselves or outside of a large corporation that has that all put together.
Brad Johnson: Yeah, so true. And I just realized we missed a big piece of this origin story. So, I want to circle back. At what point did David put together the sales pitch to bring you into the game, on the business side?
Kristy Afraimi: I mean, honestly, sometimes I think back on that and I’m like, ah. No, he was like, “I don’t want to be gone at night anymore.” Well, he was gone a ton, but he definitely was gone from 6 p.m. till sometimes 11 p.m. There were several times when I would talk to him and I was like, “Dude, you sound groggy.” You’re like, “What are you doing?” And he’s like, “I went to my 5 o’clock, and then my 6:30 canceled, but I have a 7:30 that’s not far. So, I pulled along the side of the road and took a nap.”
And so, it was maybe a year and a half. Or how many years into the business? Three years into the business, I think, that we had Ty, and he was just like, “Dude, I do not want to be gone this much. I want to be around my kids. And so, I either quit and I find a different job and you go back to work,” which I had quit my full-time job, but I was actually recruiting in the office where David worked. So, that helped us when he came out here because I did all of our recruiting for our office when he moved out here. I’m like, oh, I lost my train of thought for a second. I do that sometimes.
David Afraimi: Yeah. So, 2004, I had the sales pitch that said, “Hey, Kristy, we’re having our second baby. Let’s retire you from the corporate world.” Kristy actually had some experience doing Internet sales for a while for a small company. So, I said, “Why don’t you just recruit and email?” Kristy was, “Hey, this is how we’re going to build our business.” So, she got about, I think, it was nine months’ worth of experience. And then after that, we decided, let’s go do this in Colorado, let’s build our own agency.
So, Kristy did a multitude of things – recruiting, operations, business processing. And who would I trust more than my wife? No, I couldn’t pay anyone enough. She’s going to do a way better job than anyone that I could go hire and fit.
Kristy Afraimi: Yeah, but ultimately, he was just like, “I don’t want to be away from my kids.” And honestly, I mean, I’m definitely– well, I mean, you’re not a fighter without being a lover, so obviously, I’m both, but I’m very much a soldier. I’m like, let’s do it. I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but he said, he’s like, “Okay, let’s do it.” And we started looking around at places, and quite honestly, we hadn’t really thought much about the business aspect of it, but we came to Colorado. We found a house that I really fell in love with because it was an old house, brick, like– and so, we put a down payment on it, and literally, we signed our names to the down payment. And I called my mom and I was like, “Well, we’re moving to Colorado and we’re starting a business.” And that was it.
Brad Johnson: And this was 20 what?
Kristy Afraimi: 2005, January of 2005. And then we moved in June of 2005. For the most part, there wasn’t a lot of planning for the business. It was putting the down payment on the house, that was like the move. That was like, okay, we are starting the business because we’re moving.
Brad Johnson: Yeah. Okay, so I want to shift here because you are the first husband-wife team from a Triad Member Spotlight to come on the show. And we’ve danced all around it. I love your guys’ dynamic because you always keep it real. You’re like Sarah and I, you love each other, but you throw a couple of jabs every once in a while.
But let’s talk about the dynamic of where– this is the Do Business, Do Life show, right? And we’ve talked about Do Business and the dynamic there inside of the business and how that came to be and that. The Do Life side, let’s talk about that because one of the struggles I see is sometimes, that’s really tough to separate those two. And it can be almost sometimes unhealthy where you’re talking business over dinner.
So, do you have any tips for husband-wife teams? There’s a ton of father-son, father-daughter, some mom-son, mom-daughter teams. But if you were just going to give advice to the family dynamic and how that works in both business and life and to maintain a healthy balance and boundaries, any tips or even mistakes you’ve made along the way that others can learn from?
David Afraimi: Yeah, I would say for any husband and wife team, read Rocket Fuel.
Kristy Afraimi: Oh, yeah, that would have helped. The Enneagram has the Rocket Fuel.
David Afraimi: I would say definitely, I mean, we’ve repeated some of this. Do the Enneagram, know your partner’s number because you have to know the healthy side and then the unhealthy side. I mean, I’ve always been one to make sure that I was there for my kids. I would say that initially, when we started our business, I had a lifestyle practice because one of the reasons I’m like, if I’m going to leave California and come to, at that time, a small town like Colorado, Denver was smaller 20 years ago, I want to be at every practice, I want to be at every birthday, I want to do everything.
But I would say now, for Kristy and I, and this is the hardest part of the business because we’re both so passionate. This is our baby. I think, it’s us letting go and having less control of the business, the more we do that and the better we hire and the better we train and the better we empower our team, having a better team is allowing us to become better leaders. It’s still a work in progress.
But besides reading that book, besides taking the Enneagram, I would just say, you’ve got it. There’s a point in time in the business where you got to let go of the controls and I think you got to find a happy medium, like I am work hard, play hard. Kristy’s in the Enneagram 1, so work comes before play. Me, I’m ready to play when I feel like the work is done. And we’re still trying to find that sweet spot. But yeah, it’s definitely a work in progress, man. It’s definitely something we don’t have down and I think we’re just scratching the surface really to have that balance where we come home and it’s like, okay, let’s not even please, let’s don’t bring up war. God, please, let’s not talk about it.
Brad Johnson: Kristy, what are your thoughts?
Kristy Afraimi: Well, yeah, we can say that now, right? Because I don’t know, did the Enneagram exist? Maybe it did. We had no idea it did. And Rocket Fuel, when was that book written? So, for people now, absolutely do that. And I think that plays into so many aspects of life, right? Understanding just who the other person is.
I don’t think David and I had a clue who each other were when we met or when we moved in together or when we had a baby or when we got married. We’ve learned along the way. And then things, some of the growth that has come from having challenging times, talking to friends, talking to family, therapy, Enneagram with you, reading books, learning actually too about yourself because I’ve said for myself, the most impactful thing for me about the Enneagram was understanding who I was in that space when I was in an unhealthy space. And I’m like, uh, I don’t want to be that.
Self-awareness, I think you guys have spoken a lot about self-awareness. A lot of the themes have been a lot about self-awareness. So, I think the combination of being self-aware and understanding your partner, whether that’s your spouse or just your business partner, that’s huge, right? Because you’re getting a little bit of an insight into their mind and their heart and their soul because you never know how someone’s going to interpret something. We think we know how they’re going to take it, but we say it one way and they take it a totally different way. And so, understanding how that person operates, how they digest information, then you understand a little bit more about how to communicate it, which helps everything.
David Afraimi: And if I can make one more point, and I forgot to mention this, is that Kristy and I are working every day to make sure we are aligned in our decision making. I would think, like I have a bad habit of just coming in and going, “Blah,” versus meeting with Kristy being aligned, checking my ego out the door. So, one of the things that’s helped us, here’s a tidbit, is that we are meeting more. Up until a couple of years ago, we were only meeting once a month trying to run this business.
Now, we’re meeting at least once a week and we’re implementing getting out of the office. I just got to drag her out of the office. Getting out of the office one Friday a month for three or four hours to work on our big rocks. But for any husband, wife, father, dad, or just any integrator and visionary, let’s call them that, if you are not aligned, your team is going to be off balance.
Brad Johnson: So good. We need to pull that last five minutes and just any husband-wife team, such good advice there. I mean, any team in general, but I just think the difference between a husband-wife team is, when you leave the office, it doesn’t stop, right? So, if there’s a disconnect at the office, now, it just carries right into your home life. And the self-awareness, I’ll tell you, I heard it said one time, and we’re all parents on here, it’s actually not that different. Your team craves the same thing your children do, which is a unified safe environment where mom and dad are on the same page and like your mom and dad at home and at the office, right?
And if you’re not all on the same page, I remember Shawn and I in the early Triad when we were just getting pummeled, bombarded with body blows every day, right? I mean, we had a team of three, five, and we’re trying to compete with teams of thousands out there and some of the large organizations. And I remember the advice from Michael Hyatt. We were doing a coaching session. He said, “Your differences are your strengths.” So, just because you see the world differently, that you can allow that to create friction, but if you actually step back and are self-aware, you’re like, “Wait, there’s a different angle that my partner’s viewing this from. That’s actually a complete blind spot I can’t see. And if I embrace it and listen and seek to understand, that’s a massive benefit.”
Although in the communication styles, it doesn’t always feel that way. So, then you do that and our other struggle, which Enneagram helped a ton there was we were so busy doing and working in the business, we couldn’t connect and work on the business. And so, his advice to us, we were going through a tough time. Shawn, if you’re listening, you’ll agree, I know.
But at one point, we met three times a week. 100% truth, we were so disconnected. We loved each other like brothers, but we didn’t like each other on a daily basis, right? We were hitting some of this.
And Michael asked us, he said, “How frequently are you, as founders, getting together?” And we’re like, “Oh, it’s been a few weeks.” And he goes, “You need to ramp up your cadence of communication.” He’s like, “You have to be aligned, and if you’re not aligned, then your team can’t be aligned.” And so, we literally ramped it to three times a week, I mean, a little one-hour sprint. And I’ll tell you, that was a massive shift and just our communication coming together as partners. So, I love the communication tip and I’ve experienced the exact same thing on our side, so such good advice.
Kristy Afraimi: David’s definitely going to be like, hahaha. But yeah, the meetings are, because I’m always like, “Dude, just let me work.” I’m like, “I hate you.”
Brad Johnson: You’re like, “I got stuff to do. I got stuff to do. I don’t have time.”
Kristy Afraimi: Everybody wants to meet, and dude, I just want to get behind my desk and handle business. No, the meetings are great. And the other thing that I’m finding for myself that’s really cool and probably David as well is we never really had much of an opportunity to work on the business. And working on the business is really fun to me anyway, I’m sure to David as well. I’ve never considered myself much of a visionary, but I feel like, oh yeah, you do have some good ideas, and oh yeah, that is along the vision side of things. Getting the opportunity to do that, actually, it’s increasing the appetite, which then I say, “Okay, well we have to meet more because I got to tell a bunch of people what to do so that I can eat this little beast that’s growing over here.”
Brad Johnson: Hey, Kristy, every once in a while, us husbands have a good idea. I mean, it’s not very frequent, but every once in a while, we do.
Kristy Afraimi: I am enjoying the meeting more. I am. It’s having a positive impact on a variety of ways.
David Afraimi: This is recorded, right?
Kristy Afraimi: Yeah.
Brad Johnson: Hey, we can play this back, but hey, do not weaponize this podcast. That’s not smart. Don’t do it.
David Afraimi: No, I’m not.
Brad Johnson: Well, I know we’re towards the end here of our time. Before we get to the final question, any other just thoughts as far as the evolution in your business, the growth, the empowering the team? We’ve touched on all kinds of topics here, but any closing thoughts before we get to the final question?
David Afraimi: I think when you’re building a team, hire slow, deal with things that happen in the moment. I think one of the troubles we had building our team is that when something would pop up that Kristy and I knew was not aligned with our vision and our culture, we would just, I would say, ignore it, deal with it later, just because we’re like, hey, we’re too busy or I have too many appointments.
Tell you what, man, if I can add another gem to how you guys have helped us, you guys have helped us with office conflict, like surgeons. Because before, I was never calm and confident. I would just come in like a wrecking ball and just the result was always bad versus, you guys actually gave us a framework which now, we just finish up all of our reviews.
And our reviews are like the team’s looking forward to because it’s so positive and it’s open and honest feedback. And you know what? Where do you want to be in six months? If we could change anything, how do you want to advance in the company? I would just say, communicating, if the leaders are aligned and then you communicate at a high level with your team and provide them with feedback, then I think just that alone is going to help you build an amazing business that you will be proud of and just love to come to work every day if that’s kind of what your goals are.
Brad Johnson: I remember that conversation driving home. I don’t remember what was happening that night, I just remember I was pulling in to Silver Lake High School’s parking lot, so it could have been one to serve as volleyball games and we were on, all three of us on a call. And oftentimes, the cool thing with clarity when you have an unknown, then it’s all these anxieties pop up. And of course, that’s been one of my biggest learnings as an entrepreneur. I ran a small sales team in my prior life. I had zero drama for, I mean, a decade and a half. I mean, I’m sure there were a couple little mini ones, but I was like zero drama. And then, you exponentially increase, we have almost 60 team members now here at Triad, like more people means more interactions, more different personality types. And guess what? That comes sometimes with conflict, as all humans have.
And so, one of the things I’ve just learned to embrace is it’s just part of what you signed up for as an entrepreneur. But now, what are the frameworks for clear communication where you can lean in, have tough conversations, but back to being authentic and real? That’s what team members want too, they want real, they want authentic. And what I’ve found is when you just lean in and you have the proper framework, that’s honestly to help them see blind spots they might not realize, level up, grow professionally and personally, potentially, it actually doesn’t have to be this ugly, dreaded review that all this corporate politics of making crap up that nobody believes. It can actually be a real human conversation. And who doesn’t want that in their career?
And so, I just remember that conversation, testament to you once again. At Triad, we didn’t want to create BS awards that, at the end of the year, parade across the stage and get recognized for whatever. So, we created this year a Scholar of the Year award, and the two of you were the benefactors. And it’s so clear, after this conversation, why. You listen, you put in the work, you study it, and the results show, and it’s just so awesome to hear. And I just want to give you all public shout-out that, yes, I appreciate all the love and the frameworks.
But guess what? There’s a lot of advisors in my career as long as I’ve been doing this, they got many of the same frameworks that you’re sharing, but they didn’t put them into action. They didn’t do the hard work. They didn’t lean in. And so, testament to you all, and it’s awesome. This is the most fun I have because it’s the most amazing vibe of great humans get together that want to level up in business, in life, and like, let’s go. Well, we’ll all figure it out together. So, super grateful to have you in the Triad community.
And you know what I have to end with. So, when it comes to doing business and doing life, I would love to hear the Afraimi’s definition of that. And you can, however you want to divide and conquer that, go for it.
David Afraimi: Well, first and foremost, it’s a business that blesses our life and it’s more than just financially, right? It’s having an impact in so many different ways. And if I break up Do Business, Do Life, doing business is with people that you actually like and you care about, where in the past, I think it was all motivational or it was all financially incentives where you do business with people. But when I think about Kristin Shea, who is the person who’s the most responsible for us to be here and is just an amazing human and a wonderful woman, then of course, you and Shawn as leaders of the company, I literally love to hang out with you guys, have beers and talk. Yeah, well, if I have 10 minutes of your time, I’m going to ask a question, but let’s talk about life, let’s talk about sports. You guys are Chiefs fans, which I don’t really like. So, we could talk a little bit…
Brad Johnson: I always wondered how long it would take.
David Afraimi: So, doing business with people that you really enjoy and care about, and then doing life is being able to enjoy all the precious moments with the people that you love the most and be there for them. One of our core messages in our brand manifesto is the true outcome of our work is maximizing the one thing that money can’t buy and that none of us have enough of is your time. We’ve experienced, because he’s experienced losing a loved one in a very quick time and too early in their lives and we’re blessed to be able to have business partners who encourage us to enjoy our life but give us the framework to where we’re still growing our business.
I’m enjoying more of the things that I love to do personally, which is mountain biking, or like last year was our first full year with you, I took the boys to three Warriors playoff championship games, but when I left to do it, I wasn’t worried about the business because I had a team. Revenue was still coming in. I mean, it’s just not work-life balance. I think that’s a lazy answer to Do Business, Do Life, but it’s really loving the people that you work with and then blessing the people that you love the most because your business can bless you as well.
Brad Johnson: Kristy?
Kristy Afraimi: Yeah, I mean, it’s pretty cool to be doing business with people that you enjoy hanging out with. It’s like, I don’t know if I realize there is a concept to that before, or if even that was a possibility. So, definitely, that Do Business, Do Life, enjoying the people on a personal level, like when I think about hanging out with you guys, I’m like, I definitely don’t think about talking shop, or when I talk to Kristin, we talk shop, well, when I have a moment where I’m like, “Oh my God, I need your help.” We talk shop with you guys, but outside of that, just really enjoying the person, like a family member. It’s an amazing dynamic. That’s how I like to connect with people anyway.
And then for me, and I was thinking about it, actually, David, of course, because he’s like my reminder, reminder, reminder. You know he’s going to ask you at the end of the podcast, DBDL, what does that mean? Have you prepared for that? And then, of course, I’m like, “No.” So, I did start thinking about it last night when he mentioned that to me. And for me, I think, it’s right now, I’m always about doing it. I’m going to do the business, I’m going to get in their work, I’m going to do life, I’m going to be chopping down whatever trees I need to for David, for my kids, for my family, for my loved ones, but more so with that is being super present in those moments because I’ve spent a lot of time in my moments being somewhere else.
And going back to the things that you guys have done for us, I knew there was one time I think I texted you and I was in California, I think for my nephew’s graduation, or might have texted all three of you or posted it in Triad, it was like I was there 150%. Did I go on my computer a little bit and handle some stuff? Sure. It was like in the morning, with my coffee, on my brother’s couch, frickin beautiful.
But in every moment, I was there with them, 150%, and the structure and the blueprint that you guys have brought to the table that we have learned and implemented has created the situation. So, that is huge for me, right? Not just doing business, doing life, getting in there and doing it, but being in that moment. Because I always say, “Oh my God, there’s so much I don’t remember.” And I was like, “Well, I was there physically, but I don’t think I was there mentally.” And we have a peace of mind with your business. You can leave physically and mentally. And that’s something that we previously didn’t have a lot of opportunities to do, even if we left physical, from the physical standpoint. The mental was still there, the worry or the concern or the thinking about, so yeah, being present in the Do Business, Do Life.
Brad Johnson: That’s a couple of mic drop answers right there. And I, as an entrepreneur, if any entrepreneur out there that says they haven’t done that or it’s almost like an out-of-body experience or you’re sitting there, I remember like Sarah called me out at a family dinner, I’m sitting there, I’m present, I’m on time for family dinner, but I am mentally checked out. My mind might as well still be in the office because I was processing five things. And that right there, that you said it, both of you said it, the confidence in the team, and honestly, like as an entrepreneur, how awesome is it that you’re creating a business that creates opportunities for families. It’s just such an awesome spot to be in when you empower a team and that team empowers you where you’re able to unplug and be present and create those memories because none of us know how many days on this earth we have left. So, I just love that.
And by the way, doing business, doing life, we’re like two, three weeks away from Tahoe. We were talking earlier, Ty and Jordan, both your boys, selfishly, all of my kids, like, Triad DBDL, I’m like, “I don’t want to sacrifice.” I made so many sacrifices over the years where I left the family behind to go to these business conferences and events. And that’s why we don’t do events at Triad, we do experiences. And experiences are with people you love hanging out, doing business, doing life. So, I’m excited for my kids to hang with your kids. You got the CrossFitter I promised. My 13-year old is going to look up, he’s like, man, he sure is going a little harder in that workout. I better, too, so.
Kristy Afraimi: Jordan is like David. He’s running through brick walls too. That kid is crazy.
Brad Johnson: Well, he’s going to see a world-class CrossFitter in Jason Khalipa. So, he’s going to see if he wants to, depending on how far he wants to go up in the CrossFitting world, they’ll be exposed to a guy that made it all the way to the top. So, I’m excited for that.
Well, with that, this has been an awesome conversation. Thanks so much for carving out the time and openly sharing and giving your all as you always do. And we’ll see you here in a couple of weeks out in Tahoe. So excited for that.
David Afraimi: Alright, thanks, Brad. Appreciate it.
Kristy Afraimi: Thank you so much, Brad.
David Afraimi: Thank you so much. Take care.
Brad Johnson: See ya.