It took four years of dreaming, and nine months of late nights and hard planning, but now it’s real. I’m running my own RIA.

Through this blog, you’ll be able to experience what it’s like forming and running an RIA on your own. I’ll take you through my experiences, both good and bad, and help you understand what it takes and if this is the road you should be taking. For those already on this path, my hope is that there will be some fresh ideas coming your way.

Monday may have been a holiday, but it was my first day running Finance for Teachers, an RIA focused on the specific financial needs of educators. My website isn't officially launched yet, but I am speaking with my Web developers about final tweaks and plan to launch later this week. I’m also still coming to grips with “all things compliance” -- even though I’ve gotten a big thumbs up from my compliance consultant, it still doesn’t quite feel real.

However, I already took care of my first piece of marketing: I launched my company’s Facebook page.

I’m sure many people are thinking, “Isn’t that one of the last things to do?” While it doesn’t fall onto the natural list of things to take care of, this was one of my most important.

You see, many of my Facebook friends are teachers or have teachers in their network. They knew the company would be launched soon, but didn’t have an exact date. By posting my Finance for Teachers introduction video to the Facebook page, writing some quick info and sending notifications to all the relevant people, I was able to let my network know that the company was officially launched.

By 8 a.m. Tuesday, I had picked up more than 40 “likes” -- even one from someone I don’t know. Now these people will see the updates to my company page in their newsfeed. Their contacts all saw that they “liked” the company. The buzz about my niche firm is starting and it’s only two days old. Can’t beat that exposure, right?

Dave Grant, CFP, a Financial Planning columnist, is the founder of Cary, Ill.-based planning firm Finance for Teachers. He’s also the founder of Fee Only Consulting, which focuses on developing the skills of Gen Y planners. In addition, he’s the founder of NAPFA Genesis, a networking group for young, fee-only planners.


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