I’m in the backroom of my old warehouse where I’ve created a makeshift office. Finally, I’ve built up the courage to go out on my own, for the freedom to lead a team to serve my clients the right way – and to better protect my family in the long run.
Three hours earlier, I’d passed my resignation letter across a fancy desk after fifteen years with a large, well-known financial firm.
Now, I’m hurriedly searching the White Pages for phone numbers of my former clients to announce to them that I left my old company. “Hi Rob, I’m not calling as your advisor, I’m just calling as a friend because I wanted you to hear it from me first…” And then I’d pause knowing ethically and lawfully I could not say a word to solicit them as a client. The whole thing feels like the scene in Jerry Macquire when both agents are racing to call people.
I’m thinking, I cannot fail. This is my freedom… This is the freedom for all the people who are going to come after me. This is my personal and professional revolution.
So far, the first three calls have gone awful… “Hell no, Scott! You shouldn’t have left!” These are the exact words of one of my very best former clients.
By the call’s abrupt end, I feel annihilated, alone, and panicked.
My two long-time assistants, Amanda and Lou-Ann, approach. They’ve been overhearing my conversations, and they give it to me straight:
They’re right. I need to be who I’ve been for as long as I can remember.
A particular event in my childhood shaped one of my deepest internal drivers.
When I was three, I was in bed when I heard someone enter the house; I thought it was my parents coming home from their date.
I opened my bedroom door and immediately saw a man grabbing a big knife from a kitchen drawer, and walk into the living room where the babysitter was sitting.
I walked out and said, “Dad?” He turned towards me, and I realized it wasn’t my father, it was a stranger!
The stranger was shocked to see me. Startled, he chased me to my bedroom. A thought rushed through my young mind, What can I do to help her?! I picked up my mini-baseball bat and ran out to protect her.
He was beginning to assault her as I ran at him swinging the bat. But I couldn’t stop him. He chased me back to my room, where this time I pushed a chair in front of the door.
I don’t have a memory of how the babysitter was saved. What I remember is being next door at her house later that evening, with her, her mom, my parents, and the police. It was my description of the assailant that helped them arrest him.
I remembered this childhood incident as I took in my administrative assistant’s urgent advice to, “Pick that phone up Scott and just be who you are. Protect and Connect!”
And that’s what I did. I shifted from panic to purpose. Before making my next call, I recentered on my vision. I was building something bigger than myself, a business that would serve clients, and shape the course of many other advisor’s careers in the future.
I picked up the phone. Boom. It worked!
I was back to my old self, Connecting, and Protecting.
The rest of the day went great and that was the start of Freedom Street Partners. I was on my way to a successful company that was bigger than myself. And I was free to build a team that leveraged my strengths and relieved me from having to try and do it all. I was able to do far more of what I love.
Later, as Freedom Street Partners grew, I found my deepest fulfillment by providing protection and advice for other advisors, guiding them to their next chapter, either to an upgrade or to an exit.
Today, we’ve been able to help advisors from many firms across the country achieve freedom in their business, while we’ve grown our company from zero to just under 3 billion in assets under management.
Back in 2016, I was on a mission to start a personal and professional revolution from my desk in an old warehouse. To be honest, I chose the name “Freedom Street” based on the vision of our country’s Founding Fathers. I saw a way that our industry could be strengthened through personal connection. I’ll let the industry judge if my team and I accomplish that revolution, but experience has taught me this:
I hope my story inspires courage in others whether they’re starting in a fancy office or starting over in a warehouse.