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Mind set and outlook on life and business, are critical components for success

Mind set and outlook on life and business are critical components for success

Nancy D. Butler, CFP®, CDFA, CLTC

At age 31, while in the process of a divorce, Nancy took her 2 daughters and with no child support, alimony or other source of income, moved 70 miles away and started her own business.

At the new location she was offered a salaried position at a higher pay then she had ever had before but realized they were hiring her at “the top of the ladder” leaving no place to grow. She did not want a job. She realized she needed a career. Nancy felt being self-employed would offer the flexibility needed to be home with her children when she needed to be.

Keeping her mind focused on the life and business she needed to build for her children and herself seemed impossible in her current state of mind and with all she was currently dealing with. The divorce had caused her to feel like a failure. And she had gone from living with her parents to being married, and was now going to be on her own for the first time in her life and needed to support and care for two children at the same time. She realized that she needed to be strong for them and do her best to keep a smile on her face.

She learned that mind set is everything and if you think you can’t do it, you probably cannot. Her mantra became “You can do almost anything you want in life, you just have to want it badly enough”. She learned quickly that she needed to focus on her long term vision for her family and business. And realized that living in constant fear of how they will get by from day to day would not enable her to have the life and business she wanted and needed and can also be very depressing. Having a continued focus on and vision of what their future can be, became exciting and gave her something to look forward to. In what felt like a totally out of control life, she was finally starting to feel in control of their future.

She chose to start a financial planning and asset management business. Nancy knew nothing about saving, investing or financial planning and had never owned a CD, mutual fund or anything other than a savings account. She told herself that even if the business didn’t work out, the knowledge and experience she would gain would be worth it since what she would learn about managing money would help her to raise her children.

So, while in the process of the divorce Nancy studied and passed the required federal and state securities exams to obtain the licenses needed for this new career. She also spent several hours every week starting the first week and throughout her entire career obtaining and updating the education needed to be the best financial planner and asset manager she could be. Not only her children but also her clients were relying on her to do a good job for them. Nancy learned that her reputation was and remains a critical factor for her peace of mind and success.

She attended weekly training sessions and participated in industry workshops, meetings and conferences. She found she learned as much from the speakers as other business owners in attendance.

Knowing that before too long she would need to put her children through college, she needed to put herself through school before that happened. Nancy obtained her Certified Financial Planner and Certified Long Term Care Specialist designations. She also became one of the few Certified Divorce Financial Analysts in the state and has testified as an expert witness in court for the financial aspects of divorce. This enables her to help better assure a fair split and that the person hiring her understands what their financial life will be like after the divorce.

She learned early on that getting in front of one client at a time would not build the business fast enough. It was imperative that she get in front of a lot of people quickly, but had little money to spend on marketing. She needed to “think outside the box” and find low cost ways to get the public to know who she was and what she can do for them. So, Nancy became very good at marketing and media relations, enabling her to build the business quickly. One strategy she employed was to go to all the local libraries and review their card file for local clubs and organizations that might have the need for a speaker at their meetings. She then set up a campaign where twice a year she sent everyone she felt appropriate, a letter offering as a free public service, her services to be a speaker for their meeting or conference. She included her bio and a one page overview with bullet points outlining topics she was qualified to speak on that would be appropriate specifically for their members.

After about 4 years Nancy found herself either on the radio, television or in print at least monthly for the next 25 years. With the only cost to her being the mailing campaign she sent out twice a year.

Nancy really enjoyed helping others determine the goals that are most important to them and help them put a plan in place to accomplish those goals and be financially secure.

The story of one of the first clients Nancy worked with is what kept her going and made her really want to make her business work. The client and his wife were in their 80’s. They had not seen their children in many years because they lived across the country and neither the client, or their children could afford the trip. After helping them to restructure their finances Nancy was able to double their income. A year later she received a letter from the client stating that he and his wife had gone to see their children and grandchildren, some of which they had never seen before. One week after they returned, his wife died. He stated they never would have seen their family before she died if it wasn’t for Nancy’s help. He and his entire family were writing to thank her. That, and her own children became the reason she needed this business to succeed.

Mind set and outlook on life and business are critical components for success

Nancy D. Butler, CFP®, CDFA, CLTC

After about 18 years in business Nancy started to look for her successor. She needed to know that the business she started in 1981 still had a great reputation and was helping people for many years to come. It was also important to her that she could retire feeling great about the position she left the business in and secure in knowing her clients would be well taken care of. Nancy worked with several prospective buyers only to decide they were not a good match. Either, she did not like their sense of ethics, they did not have enough knowledge in how to run a business successfully or she felt they were just not a good match for her clients. Finally Nancy found someone she thought would be a good match. They worked together for 3 years before signing legal documents outlining her succession plan. Nancy actually signed five years in advance stating when her last day owning her business would be, how the practice would be valued, how he would pay for it and many other important details.

Nancy built the business from scratch to one of the top asset management and financial planning practices in the country with the company. After achieving Hall of Fame status, with approx. $200 million in assets under management and 1,200 clients, in 2007 she sold her practice.

Nancy decided she didn’t want to die with all of the knowledge she had built up over the years and needed to find a way to “give back”. She is now a national speaker to help business owners do a better job for their clients and improve their bottom line. And speaks on topics to help individuals live a successful life and realize their dreams. Nancy also teaches continuing education classes to financial advisors and insurance professionals to enable them to renew their licenses and continue to run an ethical business.

Nancy stated “It feels great to have left the business in the best position it had ever been. And selling it has enabled me to not have to work if I choose not to”.

Nancy has been quoted in many local and national publications including USA Today and The Day. And has been a speaker for major corporations such as Pfizer, General Dynamics and Dow Chemical. Nancy has also been a guest on several live TV and radio call in shows.

For more information,view Nancy’s web site at and my blog at http://

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