What If I Don’t Want a Lifestyle Practice?

There are plenty of “reasons” why you’re telling yourself you can’t have a lifestyle practice—all these are head trash. Here’s why.

6 min read

One Little Thing Advisors Do To Tank Onboarding
Matthew Jarvis
Financial Planner, CFP®

If you’re not running a lifestyle practice yet, what’s your excuse?

There are plenty of “reasons” why you’re telling yourself you can’t have a lifestyle practice—all these are head trash.

So, let’s clear the garbage and talk about the main excuses advisors give us for why they don’t have a lifestyle practice (yet) and how you circumvent these objections to build the practice and the life of your dreams.

What if I don’t want it?

But Matthew Jarvis, CFP®, and Micah Shilanski, CFP®, what if I don’t want a lifestyle practice—I like going into the office every day.

So you love what you do—that’s awesome! But a lifestyle practice is more than just time in the office. It actually goes deeper than that. Here’s what a lifestyle practice entails:

  • Running your office at your peak level—whatever that looks like for you
  • Implementing Surge—you can’t have a lifestyle practice without Surge Meetings 
  • Applying forcing mechanisms to ensure you’re getting your stuff done on time
  • A shortened work week or a shorter working schedule—take a day off each week and a week of each month
  • Hyper-focused working time so that you’re making every second in the office count
  • An intentional family time where you’re actively engaged with your family to be the best parent and the best spouse you can be
  • Using processes and systems that allow you to step away from your business

To be successful as an entrepreneur, your business needs to be able to run without you micromanaging it. As a good rule of thumb, if you step away from your business and it collapses, you have a job—not a business.

Lifestyle practices are intentional practices based on how you want your practice and your life to look.


Professional activity performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that pushes your cognitive capabilities to their limit. These efforts create new value, improve your skill, and are hard to replicate. – Cal Newport

Setting up a Surge Schedule for your office is the most powerful step you can take to increase your effectiveness while being 100% intentional in Delivering Massive Value™.


What is your why?

Whenever you’re building a practice, your marketing plan, or whatever else, your “why” needs to be at the very center.

You will never get where you want to be if you don’t have a big enough “why” or extreme accountability.

Micah Shilanski used to work seven days a week, racking up 60-80 hour work weeks until his daughter Avianna became a forcing mechanism that made him revamp his entire practice.

I didn’t want to work like a dog for the next forty years. The idea of grinding through 40-plus hour work weeks gave me indigestion. I learned about Parkinson’s law (any activity will fill the time you give it), and it felt like a dare.

Can I take three weeks off to travel to China without causing chaos in my office?

Could I take every Friday off and still get the same amount of work done in less time?

Will my practice burn to the ground if I spend six months on a boat with my family?

I built a lifestyle practice because I wanted to find out if it was possible—spoiler alert: it was, and dozens of highly successful advisors run lifestyle practices.

In the US, we measure our value as people with our work schedule, as if working forty hours or more each week makes you a better person.

On the contrary, working more doesn’t mean you are more productive or successful. Only by working effectively and intentionally can you increase your productivity and success.

But they’ll think I’m a bum.

In my office, there are other advisors; if I start leaving for a day, or even weeks at a time, they’re going to think I’m a bum.

Plenty of advisors who are in family practices face this problem. Here’s how you solve it:

Set Key Performance Indicators that your team can agree to for your office. You get time off if you’ve hit those metrics and completed your weekly work. If someone in your office calls you out for leaving, you can point to your KPIs to prove that you’re not slacking.

Manage the expectations of your team and your coworkers. If taking Fridays off becomes a problem with other advisors in your office, take off another weekday, like Tuesday or Wednesday.

If your off day comes around, and you’re not caught up on your work, then as the leader, you need to set the example and work until the job is done.

Is it fair for your team?

Does your team get irked that you have so much time to play outside the office while they do the work for you?

First off, my team isn’t doing the work for me. My job is different from theirs, and I’m very transparent about that.

I get my work done every week to take time off. If I haven’t met my KPIs, I don’t leave. But you can be sure I’m committed to my time away from the office and ensure that I finish my work on time.

Second, I manage expectations when I hire new team members. During the interview process with new hires, I explain that I will be gone for months at a time and ask if that will be a problem for them. If it is an issue, that person doesn’t get hired because they won’t be a good fit.

I also clarify that I shoulder all risks as the company owner. While my employees will never miss a paycheck, my neck is on the line if the business does poorly. Getting ample time off is one of the many benefits I enjoy as compensation for the risks I’m liable for.

What if?

This is all fine and dandy, but maybe Matthew Jarvis and Micah Shilanski are super-human or have super-human-sized egos.

Stop telling yourself that this won’t work for you, and start seriously wondering how your life would change if you could spend more time away from your office.

What’s the worst that could happen if you try to take more time off? In all honesty, something will probably happen, but it will likely be reparable, and you can work through that.

You’ll never know if you can have a perfect life/work balance unless you try.


Action Items

Starting in the first quarter of 2023, commit to taking every single Friday off plus one week off each month. Have some forcing mechanisms in place to get you out of the office.

You won’t experience any catastrophic harm during that quarter, and if you find you hate having a work/life balance at the end of the three months, then, by all means, go back to grinding.

Take this quiz, and discover where you are lacking focus and what needs to be improved so that you are one (not to say much more than one) step closer to having a perfect RIA. 


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