Part of my marketing plan is to run seminars in local school districts on pertinent subjects. This year, the topic is matter is “Is Your 403(b) the Best Option?” The goal is to help teachers understand different 403(b) plans and which (if any) to use. I was lucky enough to be welcomed with open arms into three districts.

But my first presentation did not go according to plan. Perhaps it was an ill-conceived topic, or maybe it wasn't promoted by the district. But… no one turned up. It was scheduled at 3:30 p.m., 10 minutes after school got out, and the superintendent came to welcome me. But after 30 minutes rolled by with no attendees, I felt like I had been stood up on a date. I packed up my things and went home.

After I had drowned my sorrows in a large bowl of ice cream, I sent an email to the superintendent to thank him for the opportunity, but let him know that there were no attendees. He was shocked, he said, and very apologetic.

Fortunately, I have a good relationship with this district, and the superintendent has offered to have me come in again -- and pledged to personally advertise and promote the session. So I’ll be going back in the spring, hoping this time to draw a bigger audience.


It's true that my RIA is not growing at the pace I thought it would. Having a network of teachers as well as established relationships in this niche, I expected that the firm would find its footing more quickly.

But that hasn’t happened. I still have a few clients I acquired in the first months, but the number hasn’t increased, and I’m now in the second part of my first year. I have reached out to a number of associates who are teachers, and I am blogging regularly and promoting my firm to various teacher groups. I'm seeing more web traffic and getting interest, but it's still been hard to get prospects to take the next step.

All of this has been taking a toll on my self-esteem, so I've been looking for other ways to keep my confidence up. Here are the two solutions I've found.

1. Talk to other advisors.While I know that everyone's journey is different, I sometimes have to be reminded that all new firms go through a startup period. Many of my peers have told me they experienced long dry periods in the beginning, and that things started to change slowly. Keeping this perspective keeps me looking forward instead of down.

2. Go to work.There’s no better way to defeat doubt than doing some work. Every week, I make a to-do list, which then gets broken down by day. Getting to work keeps all the distractions at bay. Feeling accomplished after a day of work helps to quiet those negative voices.

What do you do when negative self-talk gets louder? Share your strategies in the comments below.

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