We had the opportunity of sitting down with Derek Notman, a Wisconsin based Entrepreneur, Financial Advisor and founder of Intrepid Wealth Partners.
As is the case with AVirtual, he too offers comprehensive services in a virtual manner. We chat to him about embracing and implementing the virtual model.
1. When did you start Intrepid Wealth Partners?
I started Intrepid Wealth Partners in August of 2016. It was previously under a different name that I was forced to change since a hedge fund from New York City went after me for trademark infringement. I don’t have billion-dollar pockets so was not able to fight them, although I believe I was in the right, but ultimately had to change the name to what it is today.
2. How long have you been a financial planner/advisor?
I have been helping people with their money since 2006.
3. What has been the most challenging aspect of embracing the virtual model, and how has the industry changed over the past 5 years?
The biggest challenge to embrace the virtual model was that there was no roadmap to follow. I knew I wanted to work with clients in a virtual manner and had to build the virtual model myself to make it a reality.
The industry is changing faster and faster each year. I would say the last 20 years have seen tremendous change, and the last 5 years has been changing at an ever-increasing speed. Technology in financial services is finally catching up to the rest of the world, and the consumer is now at a point where they are very comfortable doing their financial, investment, and insurance planning online.
Initially, there was a flash in the pan with Robo Advisors, but at the end of the day people still want to work with people, we are simply now living in a world where humans can work together through a virtual medium.
4. What is the key to maintaining relationships virtually?
It is something I call the Trust & Transparency Exchange Model. People want and need to be able to trust the experts they work with and to do this, whether virtual or in-person, they require the expert to be transparent about who they are, what they do, who they do it for, what their prices are, etc. Knowing all of these things allows for a base of trust to be built and then built upon.
This exchange goes both ways as it is just important for the advisor to be working with clients who value their expertise, are engaged in the planning process, honest about who they are, what they need, etc.
All meaningful relationships require trust & transparency, by combining expert human advice with robust technology clients are able to build a meaningful and personal relationship with their advisor while still getting all the advice they need to realize their hopes, dreams, and goals and the advisor is able to work with the exact type of clients they want to work with, everyone wins.
5. You’ve created a video series called Intrepid Insights, hosted on you ‘Love Your Finances’ blog, where you interview entrepreneurs about their personal journeys. Is there a common lesson between business owners? If so, what?
I have learned a great deal from this video series but would say the common thread or lesson one can learn is that all successful entrepreneurs/business owners surround themselves with SMEs (Subject Matter Experts). They are smart enough to know they don’t know everything so they make it a point to surround themselves with experts and then coordinate them all towards executing on the common vision.
6. What is the most valuable thing you’ve learnt as an entrepreneur?
To protect the downside. Bad things in business and life, if we are not prepared for the worst-case scenario and it happens, it can ruin us.
I was almost ruined a couple of times and after having been through some dark days; it became crystal clear that protecting one’s downside is just as important than hoping for all the good things that may or may not happen.
7. Why do you think the virtual services model works so well?
It is mutually beneficial. Clients benefit from expert advice at lower costs and better meeting times. They are not tied to an advisor/client relationship that is location dependent but can work with an advisor that fits their style and personality, regardless of where either of them lives.
Advisors benefit since they no longer have to work long hours (nights & weekends), no longer have to work with cold leads that don’t want to talk to them, and no longer have to put their lives on hold to help their clients live theirs.
It saves them time, money and allows them to define a market niche of people they truly want to work with, regardless of location. The old way of doing business was flawed; it worked but was flawed. The virtual model is a win-win.
8. What are your go-to resources for launching a new idea/project?
My wife, in-laws, and a few close advisors. I have new ideas all the time and when I really think I am on to something I will run it by the people who know me and will tell me what I need to hear, not what I want to hear. After this initial vetting of an idea, I then surf the web to do my research, etc.
The problem is that there are more ideas than I have time for so I have a book I keep on my nightstand where I write ideas down and will someday come back and look to launch some of them.
9. Out of all the entrepreneurs you’ve spoken to, what was the most valuable lesson you learnt?
To trust my gut. To believe in myself and trust what I am feeling in my gut about pretty much anything. I used to ignore my gut and try to “think” or “will” myself into a situation only to have it fall apart.
Had I listened to my gut and trusted myself, I could have averted pitfalls and been successful faster. All the successful entrepreneurs I have worked with and gotten to know all did the same thing; they trusted their gut and then ran it by their most trusted advisors, friends, and family.