At Capacity? Here’s How To Level Up

Feeling like you’re at capacity? Micah Shilanski, CFP®, shares the dangers of limitations and how to reach the next level in your practice.

5 min read

Micah Shilanski
Micah Shilanski
Financial Planner, CFP®

Early in my career, another advisor tried to tell me where I’d hit capacity, and my dad gave him both barrels.

Here I was, a little junior advisor sitting at the roundtables for breakfast at some conference many years ago. I started chatting with the advisor next to me, and he asked me about my goals and business plan.

I explained to him that my plan was between $150,000 and $200,000 GDC and that I wanted to level up to $500,000 GDC. I spelled out for him how I hoped to get there.

This other advisor turned to me and said, “Oh my god! That’s not how you do it! Here’s where you’re going to hit your limits—you’re going to hit your capacity.”

“Shut your mouth!” My dad slammed his hands on the table, leaned into the advisor I spoke to, and continued, “Don’t you dare fill my son with all that bull crap. I don’t want to hear it.

“Don’t you dare say another word! He doesn’t need your head trash, and he doesn’t need your limitations.

“He’s going to do great things and doesn’t need you to fill him with false limitations just because you can’t get things done in your office.”

It took me several years to fully appreciate what my father did for me that day. Looking back, I see the benefits of my dad’s outburst.

This other advisor was trying to feed me his head trash and his limitations, which would have become my head trash and my limitations like a self-fulfilling prophecy.

      I am so grateful for my dad because he intentionally ensured I didn’t see any limitations. It’s made a massive difference in my career and in the value I get to deliver to clients because I don’t have the same capacity limits we’re still seeing in the industry twenty years later.

      If you embrace the mindset that you’ll reach a capacity wall at about $300,000 to $500,000 in production, your entire world will shape around that. You’ll find yourself sitting at a table during a conference, discussing how you’re at capacity with twelve clients and $100,000 in revenue.

      Or, as my father taught me, you can shift your mindset and refuse to believe in a capacity wall. Over the years, I’ve surrounded myself with other like-minded advisors who have $1 million, $2 million, and even $7 million in production and are still growing without junior advisors and capacity issues.

      These rockstar advisors don’t see capacity issues; they see growing pains as an opportunity to get to the next level.

        As you grow, you’ll hit different problems at different tiers in your growth structure. These could be hiccups in profitability, with your team, with clients—whatever the situation or process, it can be solved by shifting how your business operates.

        Instead of viewing it as a “capacity issue” or hitting a wall, you’re just reached a place where your business needs to pivot, where doing what you’ve always done is no longer enough to reach the next level.

        Lack of ability to work

        Throughout my career, I’ve noticed that what experts in the industry call a “capacity wall” is actually an inability to get their hands dirty and do the hard work.

        Playing office is a massive culprit in reaching capacity. Advisors who feel like they can’t grow their practice don’t have a solid process of success to follow.

        Instead of rebranding your practice or improving the graphics on your webpage, how about you redirect the energy you’re spending picking color schemes into identifying your pain points and building processes to alleviate those?

        Ask yourself your most significant pain point today, and start there. What sucks up the most of your time is the process you should fix.

        How does your prospect process look? You should have that prospect process dialed in step by step. Refining your prospect process is an excellent place to start if you’re not bringing in clients like you want.

        If you feel slammed into a capacity wall, stop playing office and start prospecting.

        Don’t be casual about it

        At The Perfect RIA, we’ve done the industry a bit of a disservice by talking about all of the time we take off and glossing over the time we spend grinding in the office. And there are a lot of people out there who misunderstand our intent.

        Too many advisors think they can casually reach a million dollars of production or that they can casually reach a highly profitable, effective practice.

        There’s nothing casual about reaching this level of success. You have to roll up your sleeves and grind like a maniac. You have to earn your dream practice through effort.

        Do you want to spend the night watching whatever’s on Netflix? Or are you willing to spend your evening learning about eye contact, body language and honing your communication skills so that you can be a master of your craft?

        The few advisors who are willing to work hard and put in the daily growth-triggering repetitions will get to the top. Those who are casual about their practice will hit walls.

        You need to decide which kind of advisor you want to be.

              Action Items

              Spend more time with people on the other side of whatever your mind says is your capacity.

              Ask advisors who are a level or two above you how to deliver more value, take time out of the office, and charge top-level fees.

              Advisors who are crushing it are practically the same as you: they’re not more intelligent or better looking. They simply don’t have to limit beliefs about capacity and can show you around to the next level.

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