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Scott Danner is the CEO of Freedom Street Partners and the author of Freedom Street. We discuss how to unlock potential in yourself and to define and create your path to freedom. What does freedom mean to you? We delve into mentoring, Scott’s personal story that led him to his current role, and much more. A must listen for sure!
Thank you to Scott for the inspirational conversation.
Check out Scott and his team here: https://www.raymondjames.com/freedomstreetpartners/scott-danner.htm
Get Scott’s book here: https://amzn.to/39vE90S
Transcript powered by Happy Scribe
Hey, everybody, this is the DiscoPosse Podcast. My name is Eric Wright. I’m gonna be your host. And this is a conversation featuring Scott Daner. Scott is the author of Freedom Street. He’s also the CEO of Freedom Street Partners. They’re a fantastic financial services team, and we really explore a lot of the core of what people define as freedom and ultimately finding that personal path to whatever you need to define as your freedom, your future. So Scott’s a fantastic person to chat with, and we don’t go into his own history of what drew him to helping people unlock what it is they need to find their personal freedom. So it’s a fantastic story, and it was a great conversation. If you like this and other amazing conversations, of course you can head on over to youtube.com/discopossepodcast and you can see the video version of it as well. And this is made possible by the amazing folks like our friends over at Veeam Software. I got to give a shout out because if you’ve got data, if you’ve got applications, if you’ve got content, it needs to be protected. So everything you need for your data protection needs head on over to vee.am/discoposse. Check it out. They just had their really cool VeeamON conference, and they had a lot of really great announcements. This is stuff that you need. Look, ransomware is on the rise. We got craziness going on the world. Stop the craziness, get yourself protected with Veeam. So go to vee.am/discoposse and check it out. Speaking of startups and protection and growth, and what do you need to do? If you want to grow, if you want to think about what’s next, then you want to think about bringing on a sales team that has driven, that has culture first. And this episode is brought to you by the amazing folks over at the Shift Group who are turning athletes into sales professionals. So if you’re looking to hire driven and competitive former athletes, or how to architect a real successful go-to market strategy that can scale both efficiently and effectively, head on over to shiftgroup.io. They’ve got an incredible group of candidates, whether it’s entry-level all the way to leadership, and they’re going to help you build culture first sales organizations. So shout out to JR and the team at Shift Group, go to shiftgroup.io and see what they can do for you. With that also – oh, that’s right. You like coffee? Go to diabolicalcoffee.com. With that, here comes Scott.
Hi, everybody. I’m Scott Danner, author of Freedom Street and CEO of Freedom Street Partners. And I’m here on the DiscoPosse podcast today.
Fantastic. That’s like my I always say it’s my on air lights. The moment you hear that, it’s like you press the button and it’s on. So, Scott, thank you very much. This is a fun meeting of employment history. It’s a hilarious thing when I see folks that come up on my guest list. And I think, number one, you’re a great content creator, you’re a great presenter. And I’m excited on that side. But we actually share some background in companies we worked for, which is always a funny – it is a small world, after all, as they say. But for folks that are new to you, Scott, if you don’t mind, let’s do a quick intro. And obviously, we’re going to talk about the book and we’re going to talk about your own history and what brought you to bring that to the world. I’m already wishing it was longer than the time that we’ve got allotted because I’m looking forward to this.
I’m excited to be here. And as I said in the intro, I’m author of a book that just came out at the end of last year called Freedom Street, how I Learned to Create a Rich Life, live my Legacy, and Own the Future as a financial advisor. And I promise it’s way more interesting than most financial advisor stories because it brings in real life childhood, all kinds of stuff that I think makes it relatable to people in all facets of work. And number two, I’m the CEO of Freedom Street Partners, which is a financial advisory company. We clear through Raymond James, and that’s our mutual work history. And it’s a great company, a great entity. And we are in seven States. We have just under 50 advisors, and we manage about just under $3 billion in assets. So I’ve been doing the financial advisor thing for almost 20 plus years, actually over 20 years now. And it’s been really great to me. And what I love most about it is honestly finding the connections between people and helping them solve life’s biggest issues, solutions, problems, whatever it is that pops up. And like you mentioned earlier, it’s always nice to see that there’s usually one thing in common with just about every human out there. So being able to find that and start there is usually a really great spot. So I’m very grateful to be here and looking forward to the conversation as well.
If you don’t mind, I’m going to start off with a big question. And this is always the fun part. I’m going to put you on the spot early. Define freedom. This is one that we often really get stuck on. We use the word, but you’ve got such an experience and history in bringing it in various forms to people. So, Scott, when someone comes to you and they say I need freedom, what does it really mean?
Yeah. So we always say, what does freedom mean to you? Right? What does freedom really mean? And ultimately it starts with what lights you up. What makes you feel good, what makes you happy, what’s a perfect day for you. Where do you want to be, who’s surrounding you? What are the things that really drive you to add more of this in your life. And when you can start to find that you can actually build a life around freedom. I think freedom stands for a lot of things. And I’m always very grateful because I’m always amazed that I could come from very humble beginnings and build something so great and so wonderful with so many amazing people. And so much of that lies in the freedom to create the freedom to be an entrepreneur. I think freedom to me is doing what I love every day with the people that I love doing it with and always putting my family and our friends and our relationships first. So it’s such a big word and it has such a different dynamic to so many different people that I think freedom is individual. And it’s something that you define and hopefully you have the ability to get it.
It’s always interesting. So fellow who I was lucky enough to work with, ironically enough, through Raymond James, his name is Andrew Johns. He is actually currently with a company called Canaccord. He switched teams along the way, but Andrew himself was fantastic. And I remembered him putting a tweet out and it was like just a picture of him. And it was like the classic sort of like nerdy. It says $0 assets under management, zero weeks experience, first day as a financial adviser. And this was, however, many years later, he says, looking back on that, he’s like amazing to see this journey from humble roots to growing. And he had a very strong business and has continued to build a team as well. Which is always interesting in the ability of not just being individually successful, especially as an advisor. There are lots of fantastic individuals. But to also be ultimately a leader of a team to help support a client base and a community. And I think that’s the one thing that genuinely separates. And I don’t want to use the word successful or not successful. I’ll say prolifically successful in that they can scale the success of their clients. When there’s a different mindset that comes into play, you bring that mindset and you’ve developed a team to carry that vision. So it’s always that very just an amazing mix to me of like that entrepreneurial capability and then leveraging a machine behind it so that you don’t have to worry about the clearing house. Ultimately, you bring people towards their freedom and you have tools and techniques and products that help them get there. But it’s vision mapping and delivery on it. It’s quite amazing.
Yeah. Well, you hit on two really big points, I think. Number one, nobody hits success alone. You are successful for a multitude of reasons, and it’s usually an army behind you. And if you don’t realize that truly successful people are very quick to realize that. We have a mentality here at our company that we say we’re better together. We’re building something bigger than ourselves. These are internal cultural taglines that we use every single day. And the truth is, I cannot be anywhere near as successful as I’ve been able to become without the team behind me. And I think that’s the first big point that you’re making. And then you talk about the word partnership. I’ve always used partnership because anytime you’re meeting with a client, you’re creating a relationship to truly understand what freedom means to them. Anytime you’re in a friendship, a relationship of any kind, the goal is to help the person that you’re surrounding yourself with kind of live a better life, have a better experience, enjoy each other’s company. But if I don’t know a little bit more about you, I can’t ever actually have you want to know more about me. And so it’s kind of a mutual respect. But when you talk about prolific success, prolific success comes from actually understanding you did not do it alone. That is really important.
Humility is one of the strongest traits of great leaders. The ability to do stuff when no one is watching, and the humility to understand that you are powered by the adjacent humans that get you there. It is something. It’s funny. I always love the merger. People get like, you know, I work for 20 years across financial services firms in tech. But for me, my success, this came from deeply understanding the nature of the business and what made the business successful and what made their clients successful so that I could develop technology solutions that would then help that company deliver success to its customers. That’s my purpose. That’s my goal. And then in technology now I work for a technology vendor, and I got on the technology space and startups. We use this word. This is phrase all the time, and I was laughing at it. It’s the goal of everybody is to become the trusted advisor. And I say, you misuse that phrase all the time. It’s kind of like the Princess Bride. You keep using that word, but I don’t think it means what you think it means. Right. Like it’s an overplayed phrase.
But the truth is that it really is a genuine connection of their goals and their limitations and their comfort. There’s a reason why we have KYC. As a technology marketer, I have a KYC program that I run people through. What is your ability to be comfortable in this type of marketing and this type of sales situation? I have to understand the profile of investment in messaging and marketing and sales. It’s funny, and I learned this from literally working beside trusted advisors who are regulated to KYC and what that means. You already have this mindset, Scott, of being trusted. What drew you to this as a field in the beginning?
Yeah, a couple of things. Number one, trust is earned and authentic trust is about building relationships and developing that trust. Trust is something that builds over time and gets stronger and stronger and stronger as long as it’s not about the transactions. Trust built on transactions are weak, and they’re weakened every single time the person realizes it’s just about a transaction. And I think that I was blessed in the sense that I was working for the state attorney general here in Virginia, and I was assistant director of crime prevention. And my job literally was to travel around the state doing PR type events in crime prevention for the attorney general, especially in the places where he was less likely to go. And so I ran a lot of senior and law enforcement events where I would bring the law enforcement community in and teach retirees how to not be taken advantage of. Identity theft was fairly new at this time, and I was out there really teaching about what to be aware of, and I was educating all the time. But I saw a major gap in trust, in helping people in the financial areas. It seemed like the people that were being taken advantage of were people that didn’t have trusted advisors, didn’t have great family foundations.
I also have a really great backbone of a great family. In my book, I started out by talking about The Lion King and how Simba was held up and hung over the mountainside for the entire village to see. And when I was born in an Italian Catholic family to a Sicilian grandmother and five aunts and an uncle, I was a firstborn grandson. I had this feeling of great confidence and so many people behind me. One of my aunts, who I was extremely close with, I happened to call when the AG did not win the governor’s office, and I didn’t have a job. And I said, hey, I don’t know what I’m going to do when I grow up and I need help, and I just can’t figure it out. And she said, I think you’d be really good at this job that I see these guys coming in and doing every day. She was working as an admin assistant in one of the offices at Edward Jones, where I had worked prior to founding Freedom Street. And she said, I feel like you’re young and you’d be great at this, and it falls right in with what your mission is of trying to help people.
And I remember fighting her a little bit on it. I put in an application. Two weeks later, I was hired, and I had to learn. And I started from the ground up almost exactly like the story you defined where the guy was standing there with zero assets under management. I had no family money. It was one of those things where I was knocking on doors in cold calling. But I was willing to work because I came from a very, very hard working family without a whole lot of extra, and I was willing to learn the story. The last part is I got lucky, Eric, because I came into the business at a time where it was very difficult in the early 2000’s, the 1999-’02 time frame, the majority of people that started, fail. Because not only were they failing because of September 11 and all the stuff that was happening in that first financial crisis, but ’08 and ’09 happened right at the meat and potatoes of when they would be actually finally getting going in their careers. And today we have more 80 year old financial advisers than we do 30 year olds in our industry.
And the reason is, most of them were so transaction based. The old school way of doing it was so transaction based that I learned within the first months of my career. If I don’t build a relationship with these people, nobody’s going to stay with me when times get tough. And when times get tough, that’s when trust elevates. That’s when you develop the next level of trust. And by being able to really have been an expert in something I didn’t even know I was an expert in, it was just really connecting with people and building something that had nothing to do with the business but had everything to do with the success of helping the other human across the desk from you. And so whether it was the early stages of the AG’s office or my aunt and the family confidence, or it just happened to be hard work and hustle of understanding, connecting with more people would get me there. It kind of led me in that path.
It’s one of the most interesting challenges because especially you talk about the timing of it. Right. Like between the financial crash, which was much more prominent in the United States, I happened to be in Canada while it was going on and working at a financial advisory firm and interestingly seeing things begin. I remember signing the deal and closing for a condo in Vancouver, BC, which was sort of known for the sort of disturbing prices of real estate because you’re surrounded by water and mountains. The only way you can, the prices go up and so do the properties. Right. Like they’re all condos. There’s a fixed amount of property. So it’s perfect market economics for the market, not for the people participating in it. But I signed in Halloween of ’08 and people said this is like we were losing a bank a week at that point. But I had luckily, the insight into the way the market was moving and being adjacent to seeing it happen because we knew, the news was figuring out that this was going on. But the financial world, we were already playing it out. It’s sort of the famous scene from the movie Margin Call where it was meant to be this idea of like, imagine. So what you’re telling me is that everybody’s moving around, we’re all dancing and the music is coming to a stop. And then the quant who’s at the table, he says “No, imagine that actually the music has already stopped”.
And we’ve just realized it. And so it was interesting that it could have been the worst thing I ever did. And it worked out to be good, that it was actually the trough of the pricing. But to see that the resilience of good relationship based advisors and relationship based selling in anything to survive those troughs is differentiating, right. Because it’s very easy to get in the game. And like I said, we can do transactional business. And that happens. There’s still a huge piece of that in every business. But the true relationship sellers I’ve learned now in technology, like it’s – you see them and they’re different. It’s like that kid that plays soccer and you’re like, it’s an eight year old kid, you’re like, that one’s different. You can tell. And then now, years later, I’m an older gentleman. I’ve witnessed it in action with folks like yourself or I’m like Scott’s different. He’s got a bigger picture in mind. But it seems like it’s been there for a long time. It started early with you. Now when you moved in and now you’re doing the business, what was your focus when you bring a client on board? What is the thing that said, I’m Scott, and this is my goal for you?
I think it was first connection. So the first thing I wanted to understand is really understand the human behind the money. Our tagline today is life wealth optimization. And we say constantly that life comes first and really prioritizing life all the time first. So it’s like going on a date and they start talking about all the things that have nothing to do with getting to know each other. You have to get to know each other. And that was always my objective, to connect with a human first. The next thing was to establish what was most important in life and help them attain it. Sometimes it’s actually helping them go back on things that they never thought were possible. I used to say that I’m a life coach that specializes in money and people would laugh. You really have two types of people, the people that immediately shut off. It was the perfect elevator pitch because people would immediately shut off if they don’t believe in that. If they’re straight, transaction driven or hyper analytical, they literally are lost in that first phrase. I’m a life coach that specializes in money. But the people that we really served well immediately go, wow, that’s interesting. What does that mean? And I would say, well, I obviously do investment management. It’s something that I have to do every day. The next thing I do is really scenario planning. If-this-then-that. If you do this, then what happens here? And it’s just true financial planning. And the third thing is vision coaching. And they would say, what’s vision coaching? And I would say, well, it’s really identifying what lights you up what are you going to do in your next chapter? What are we working towards? How do we actually measure success on a grander scale? It’s going back to the term freedom again, right? What is your freedom and how can we help you work towards that? And when you go into those types of conversations, it really changed the dynamic of everything. And that’s one of the main reasons that I wanted to put a book out. That’s one of the main reasons I wanted to put all these ideas into the world was because I felt like there really still are not enough of those soccer players, as you define, which is a great analogy because I have a 12 and a 15 year old son who dedicate all their time to soccer, and we love the sport and you can tell the difference.
But I really felt like we needed to change the game. The game needed to go back to connection and humans and relationship driven advice. And it’s any business. And when you can get that vibe and that energy that goes with the right relationship and the right connection and someone actually caring about shaking your hand and looking you in the eye, not robotically doing it because they know they’re supposed to, you start to really tune in to who those people are, and they stand out immediately. And I love that analogy that you gave because it’s really everything we believe in.
The interesting thing as well is the idea of optimization as a word, both in technology, in finance, in life, and anything. Optimization is much more about the scale on which you measure optimization. So there’s local Optima where if I’m driving and I want to get there a little faster, I’m going to just kick it up and I’ll go 10 miles over the speed limit for a little while. Maybe I’ll go to 15. Right, because I don’t see any police around. But if it’s a seven hour drive and there’s only one stretch of highway that I can go 15 miles an hour over, that local Optima is actually risk inducing because you’ve got a higher chance of getting caught by police in this corridor because they know they’re using aerial radar or whatever. Right. So having the broader view and understanding the scale and the timeline allows you to optimize. And this is one of the things that people have trouble seeing because they’re simply thinking now, just the same way that I buying real estate in October. It’s a fundamentally bad idea by any measure of most people. Right. But when I looked at my optimization was a 20 year timeline, I said, this is either the bottom or near the bottom, and I’m willing and able, luckily, to maintain the risk level. It did net longer term benefit. But I had to view the timeline. And for me, most people can’t see that timeline. That’s why I loved your idea of life-wealth optimization. And it’s so much different because you can give them the broader view, but then help them map to it. So, Scott, when you meet somebody, what does that discovery process look like?
Well, I think the first thing that we try to do is we try to make sure that we’re understanding again the things that stand out. So the discovery process is going to be just like meeting for a cup of coffee. Who are you? Not what do you do? That always draws me bonkers. And I know you probably go to a ton of these things, Eric. We go to events and everyone the first thing they want to know is what do you do? And I want to know who you are first. I want to know what you stand for. I want to know more about you as a human. And so all the surface area questions that I don’t care about, I start going deeper and deeper. And a lot of times people walk out and they’re like, I haven’t talked about that ever with anybody. And that’s always been a goal. The goal is not to get people uncomfortable, but to balance the uncomfortable with the comfortable. What are the things that they’re going to think about when they walk away? You mentioned something super interesting to me, and that is – think about the long game. If you made all your decisions on a long-term basis, how much better would most of your decisions be? Even as a young teenager. I have teenage boys and the bottom line is we all were teenage boys or teenage girls at some point in time in our lives back in the old days. And as a teenage boy, I always thought pretty long. I made bad decisions, but I was always playing chess and not checkers. And so the objective is to really make long. You would have still bought that house in Vancouver if you were thinking as you did long-term. Now for the short-term, it was a really tough decision and you questioned it. But in the end, knowing that you were there for the long term. Every time I make decisions, every time we help people make decisions based on a longer time frame, they tend to come out ahead. I always do this drill and I love this when I do town halls. I started doing town halls when I was early in my career because I found that the same phone calls, the same questions would pop up over and over and over again.
And there were two things that really helped people. Number one, knowing that they weren’t in it alone. So knowing that other people had the same questions as that made them not feel stupid for asking the question. And it also helped us answer it once and not a thousand times the same way. And the second thing was, everybody needs when you’re playing a long game, everybody needs a little love. You need a little bit of understanding that it’s still a long game and it’s going to work out and things will be better if we just are all in this together and we talk through it. And I started doing these town halls and I like to play this game where I will ask, any time things get a little bumpy, I ask people in the room how many people have been married for more than 25 years? And then I go all the way up and believe it or not, we often get to just this past week, I did one and we got to 60 years. Okay. They were married for 60 years. And sometimes it’s more than that. Okay. They got married super young, highly successful.
Here’s the point. I ask all those couples how many days were rough? And they all laugh and they say, tons. And I say, how many weeks or months? And they laugh and they say tons. And I say, some of the time they’ll interrupt. They’ll say they were actually very bad years, tough years. And I say, but you’ve been married 60, 65 years. When you look back, what was the long game worth? And they said, well, all those bumps in the road just helped us build a stronger relationship. They helped us build more trust in each other. They helped us serve as a beacon to the next generation of what relationships and long-term success really looks like. And it’s commitment and loyalty and understanding that there’s bumps in the road. And I think understanding that in the process, your question was process driven and what someone goes through. But understanding what we’re really looking for, I think is even more of an interesting part of that process because we’re looking for people that really understand that. They’re working towards that level of freedom. But they’re understanding that bumps in the road, a short real estate blip in the market usually ends up playing to your advantage if you stay long enough. Vancouver is a hot market. Mountains and water, you can’t go wrong with that.
Yeah. And that is always the interesting thing that I’m not sure whether it’s like going through adversity as a kid and watching my dad go through a difficult – he was in the tech market. In the tech job market when there was no such thing. Right. This was when comdex was new. Like that’s the age that he’s at. Right. So here I was watching him through the 80’s lose a job, which meant months of no work and newspaper ads to apply for jobs. So fundamentally different. So I have this really interesting challenge when I see stuff these days that exposure to adversity and an understanding of the longer game and that there’s Optima over time are played out differently. And so I kind of feel blessed that I got that exposure to that experience because it taught me down the road and I’m so lucky. My wife is a great example, she says, I had a financial surprise which my taxes got re-assessed. And they’re like, oh, yeah, it’s like Monopoly. It’s a banker in your favor. It’s never in your favor. It was very much not in my favor. This situation. I was horrified. I was just like, this was a real shock to the system was going to be a financial impact.
And I was worried to bring it down. My God, how do I say this? And I said, this is what happened. And I’m not sure what to do. And she says, well, it’s easy. We just pay it and we work through it. Because she had that ability to see long term, and there are difficult times. And versus you could focus all your attention on that situation. And so living through cycles of market, cycles of jobs, cycles of exposure to adversity for me was healthy. I always say I’m jaded, but the truth is I’m blessed because I’ve come out the other side of it. When you’re in that town hall, those are people that kind of get they’re closer to getting what you’re bringing to them and what you can give, what you can help them to achieve. Let’s talk about the people that are not in that room. What do you see as the risk when people don’t have that insight? How do we give them? Like, how do you put Freedom Street on their map?
Yeah, well, I think, first of all, we have to always have a growth mindset. And so if I’m trying to educate myself and grow myself in any capacity, I’m always learning. And so putting out information that was putting out Freedom Street as a book was part of that mentality, launching all the videos that we do on positive mindset. I think everything starts with mindset for the most part. For me, mindset is everything. I have one of my son’s high school soccer teammates. He had a little injury, and he’s been texting and keeping up with me. And I’m literally like, hey, keep your head up. Just keep doing what you’re supposed to do. Everything’s mindset. Because the minute he gets down on himself is the minute that it starts to change, it starts to feel heavier and feels like you can’t do it. It’s building those good habits to make discipline easier versus because, you know, discipline equals freedom. We all know that. But discipline is a hard word, but habit is an easier word. So we help them establish the habits that end up building the discipline that help them look in the long term.
And I think the insight that really helps people is just starting with that growth mindset. Starting with putting stuff in their brain that helps them think bigger. I also always believe we should always reset the environment that we’re in and look at who you surround yourself with. Eric, you have great conversations, 200 plus of these great conversations. Just think of all the things you’ve learned from talking to a boring financial advisor or a CPA or some of the jobs that other people don’t realize the depth of what they’re doing and how they’re doing it because they shut off because they have one mindset of what that looks like. And the reality is, for 20 plus years I’ve been sitting across from people in an office learning stories, hearing challenges, understanding business fails and business wins, helping guide people towards their biggest successes and being there when they’re not so successful. And the reality is it’s like sitting in and learning and learning and listening. It’s just helping. Developing that in other people and then sharing it with the world so that more people can think in the way that gets them there. And having an abundant mindset doesn’t hurt.
Not thinking in a scarcity mindset is very valuable and it’s something that probably is one of the biggest indicators of success is are they able to shift from there’s only so much of this to there’s so much of this that I need to share it with the world and the world will give it back to me. The universe is there to share amongst each other and build something bigger than ourselves.
Yeah, it is interesting that you say that like the mindset and the I’m selfishly doing this podcast is because I love learning from people and people. I had chat with a friend of mine recently and I said everything I do is to make my grandmother proud. She’s long since passed, but she always said I was a shoe repair man and then I was a landscaper and then I worked in retail and everything I did, she was proud of me because I was proud of it and I wanted to be the best at it, whatever it was. And my ethos has always been whatever I’m doing right now, whatever I’m learning. What if I needed to make a living and support my family doing this thing? That’s how much I want to learn about it. And like you said, I look now, I started this as like a tech podcast. I’m going to talk to my nerd friends because I know how to speak that language and I’m excited by it. But I wanted the story underneath it. And then now to speak with amazing folks like yourself and people who are CPA. I’ve had folks who are sex and relationship therapist way outside of the vein of this text.
But in the end, to hear people react to those stories and say that I would have never known that I needed to listen to this person, but they’re fantastic now that I’ve heard it. Like I said, that’s Freedom Street as a mindset in showing people the opportunity ahead and mapping the path with them. It’s important. Partner. We mention that word before and you talked about the strength of that word. Partnership has been early on for you, obviously in your advisory team. Partnership is incredibly important because it is a journey you map together, not you don’t create a journey and then you hand it, here’s your playbook, do these things and you’ll get there.
Let’s talk about what does partnership mean to you?
I think a lot of what we mentioned when we said the relationship really correlates to partnership, because partnership is sometimes a closer relationship. It’s even more dynamic. And I have partners in the business that we work with. I have partners every day. We also everyday in our affiliate businesses and our other components. And it’s really interesting because when you mentioned the word freedom street, when I wrote this book and I came up with some of the pathways to kind of having a better partnership, not just with the people in your life, but with yourself. That’s something that doesn’t often get explored. We often look at how we’re doing in the world to other people. We spend very little time internal. And the average age of a financial advisor in my industry is 62 years old. Successful financial advisor. I mean, not someone who just came into the industry and is successful because they’re not fired, but somebody that genuinely is making a pretty good living in this industry. The average age is 60 something years old, and it fluctuates 58, 64 depending on what article you read. But let’s just use 62. Here’s what I found.
So many advisers had helped everybody else with their continuity plans. How were they going to step out of the industry? How are they going to sell their business? How are they – they hadn’t done it for themselves. Almost 70 plus percent of independent advisers had never had a continuity plan or a succession plan. And so one of the reasons I put this book out there that triggered us to put it out there was a partnership with the community of which I work in. And financial advisors are somebody that are just like attorneys and doctors and all the other professions, tech professionals, they build this baby of a business, but they never think about what happens when it’s time to move on. The tech world does a really good job of this. I mean, maybe they do it too early. Sometimes they go in and they basically build it, sell it, build it, sell it, build it, sell it. And in our world, it’s the opposite. And what I found was the reason the sub line is to create a rich life, live my legacy, and own the future was three things.
I found that, number one, living a rich life had nothing to do with money. And it was really important to help people define what living richly really meant to them. That’s part of the process. Whether you’re selling a business, whether you’re in the tech industry, it’s not just about a number, okay? Because every time you get a number, if you’re a tech industry professional and you have a start up and 10 million is your number. I can guarantee you that the minute you hit 10 million, you say 20 is now your number. And the minute you hit 20, you’re like 50. If I can get to 20, I can get to 50 and the numbers change. But what are you doing to live richly? Making an impact, living a legacy versus waiting to leave one really important to me. I talk a lot about the daily habit of impact. What are we doing every day that’s leaving an impact, an imprint on the world that my kids and my family can look back and say, hey, dad did this. Dad was working on this. Dad was always trying to, hey, he didn’t have any time the other day, but he spent 45 minutes on with the local board trying to help them revamp so they can provide something in the community.
And I want to have that as something that’s important because here’s what we find. People that are too tied to their businesses, their legacy is all tied to their business. And so selling the business is almost something they can never fathom, because everything their impact relies upon is in the business, not outside of it. And once you can live richly and you kind of get into that, living a legacy versus leaving one, you own your future now. You could set the core, you could set the course, you could set the blueprint. But if you haven’t established those couple of things and what you’re doing to your question is you’re partnering with yourself. You’re actually identifying what makes you click. What am I doing that’s working? What defines my future path of success? Who’s with me, and how can I go ahead and dive deep into this path so I’m set up for success in the future.
It is interesting that partnership begins with being your own partner. And I often think of this idea of, like, goals versus execution. The latest topic that I’ve got a lot of because I say it’s almost rolling my eyes I shouldn’t because I genuinely believe in what it is. What I don’t believe in is people that set these sort of big, hairy, audacious goals. There’s nothing wrong with setting the BHAG, as they call it, right? But sustainability is a big topic in life, in the energy sector, in tech and everything. We should be concerned about the impact we’re having on the world, on the Earth, on our communities, on each other. And everybody says, like, all these press releases come out, that company X has developed their sustainability plan to hit a target by 2030. And we joined the 2030 project, and we do all this stuff. I remember that in 2025, LA was going to have no gas powered vehicles on the roads. 2025 not far away but we’ve kindly hidden that press release, right? So when people say they’ve got sustainability goals, when I get into discussion with them, I don’t say, what’s your sustainability goal?
I say, what have you tactically done over the previous twelve months towards this goal? Let’s not talk about what’s ahead, but what have you already started so we can amplify that. Like, this is you partnering with your goal and then executing on it. And as you said, right. It’s small things. It’s habits that we create. And it’s very easy for us to just say like, yeah, I want to make a million dollars a year. Fantastic. What does that mean to you? Why is that a number? There’s always one thing. But secondly, what’s your habit forming path to reach that? And that’s the piece that’s always missing. I mean, I struggle from it myself, but that’s why I’m excited. I’m emotional hearing you describe this text. I’m like, I’m going to leave this conversation. I’m going to write stuff down and do things. I’ve got to exercise. I’ve got to call my wife. I got to do it. Everything I do is to that long term habit creating opportunity to reach that goal.
Yes. When you talk about making a million dollars. I just did a video on this yesterday, literally on the exact topic. And I used that example. I was like, okay, so you want to make a million Bucks? Can you quantify how you’re going to get there? Can you actually lay out the path? Most people say things like this and they never actually believe that they’ll attain it. They actually say things like this, and they never formulate the real vision. They immediately switch off in their brain that it’s possible. That’s the first problem that people do. Right. We do this on lots of things. I mean, we all do this. Sometimes you go into a new room and you think, I’m the smallest guy here. I don’t know anything. And then everyone starts sharing ideas and you jump right in and you’re like, wow, this is great. I belong here. But you had to remind yourself you belong there. And I think everybody every level, I’m sure Bezos and Elon Musk go into an occasional room and they’re like, man, this is a big room. I don’t know how big the room can be, but there are definitely things.
But charting the path of what you can control is really the next thing. So get your mindset right. But then what are the things you can control today? What is the word? Practice is a word that I love. I have a twelve, almost 13 year old son. And the kid practice every day, right? And he executes upon something in a game. And people are like, oh, my gosh, how does he do that? I can’t believe he just did that. And I go, I mean, he does it in the backyard literally every day. Like, the guy tries this every single day. And we kind of lose the habit of practicing the older we get. We forget that if we want to get to a million dollars, we have to practice million dollar habits. What does that look like?
This is one of my favorite, sort of like a bit of a time waster every once in a while, I’m sure is I scroll through Instagram for fun and just a bit of a distraction. And one of my favorite things is sort of like motivational things, because once you click on one of them, it’s all over. That’s going to be your feed, which is actually probably pretty decent, but I don’t know who the voice is behind it, but there’s an audio and people put just videos in front of it. They reuse the audio. And so fella, it’s almost like a preacher. Practice, practice, practice. What does practice make? And you hear the audience go, perfect. He goes, Absolutely not. Get that mindset out of your head. That is not the case. Practice does not make perfect. Practice makes better. What are you better than yesterday? Do it, right. And that whole idea. And I say even the simplest thing, I always joke on camera. It’s like just like goofy little things that I do because I’m a big fan of card magic. And so I sit there every day and I just fan cards and I look back and the first time that I tried to fan a card set and people look and they say, how do you do that? If I hand them this deck of cards, it’s the same physical set of cards. The difference between me being able to do this now is that I’ve done it 25,000 times. And I literally can’t do it bad now. I say it’s like I’m broken. I cannot show you how to not fan a deck of cards because I’ve taught myself the habit and the muscle memory. So this is the new every day it gets smoother, it gets better, and I can do it quickly. And it’s hard sometimes to impart that wisdom and create that path for people. Because when you have money, when you have career success, when you have whatever, this is what I’m always interested. How do you give people that inspiration and guide them through that journey when you’ve already practiced it so much. You may not remember how hard it is difficult at times and such, because that’s it. It’s very easy to say, like, I’m going to make a million dollars this year. And people like, that’s fantastic. But helping them reliving that path to a million with them. I love this idea. So, Scott, how do you teach when you already know but teach in a way that they can adapt and learn?
Yeah, you said it earlier. You’re very grateful that you had adversity because adversity taught you that you could do harder things. You could actually overcome challenges, and then you happen to marry the right person who, when something adverse pops up, you do it together. So now you’re seeing another skill that’s extremely important. And that is being surrounded by people that make you better, that lift you up. There’s some fundamental things that never change. No matter how great you are, no matter how big you become, if you’re surrounded by the right people and you understand that on the other end of adversity is often success. Unfortunately, it’s sometimes fortunate and sometimes unfortunate. So I had this conversation. We have a Sunday night dinner at my parents every Sunday with our whole family. And it’s a wonderful time. And we were talking about the challenge of how children and young adults struggle with anxiety and adversity. They almost get to doing hard things and stop and pull back now. And what they’re not realizing is that on the other side of that uncomfortable feeling is really good stuff. But you have to actually feel the uncomfortable feeling.
You have to change your mindset. My boys, every time they have a soccer game from the time they were two years old, I would ask them if they were nervous, and they would say a little bit. And I was like, you’re not nervous. You’re excited. Remember, you want to change the words to match what it’s truthfully doing to you. Can you wait to play? No, I can’t wait to play. Do you love playing? I love playing. Then you’re excited. You’re not nervous. See, when you tell yourself you’re nervous about something, you’re giving yourself a negative connotation to something that doesn’t need to exist in your brain. And so when you talk about adversity, the first thing I do is remind people that you want to do something that’s not easy. And that means that it’s going to take work. And work is sometimes really uncomfortable. It hurts. You’re going to fail. Get used to it. If you take a basketball and you take 25 shots and you haven’t shot a basketball before, you are not good. But the more you fan your cards, the more you recognize and level up each time. And I think, honestly, this is where authentic advice comes in.
Being in a good relationship, relationship advising relationship, good quality relationships in general require truth. Trust requires truth. So you also have to be willing to tell somebody when they’re lying to themselves, because that also is something that’s difficult. And we also live in a world sometimes now where people are really afraid to say truth. We don’t want to say that. We want to blame the spoon for eating the ice cream, not ourselves. Right? It’s the Spoon’s fault. It’s the box. It’s so big. They didn’t put it in a big box. Like, there’s always a reason why it’s someone else’s fault. But if you look in the mirror, you’re bringing the spoon to your lips every single time in that really big container. And you know how good it is. And it’s okay. It’s your choice. But the reality is just know that if you want big things, if you want to build the next big, great tech company or you’re building a great financial advisory business or you want to be the best CPA. It’s going to take a lot of uncomfortable adversity and you work through it. And on the other side of that work is usually some level of high performing success.
It is amazing that truth. And that being with them while they’re going through the journey and giving them the little nudge that like, hey, I saw you yesterday or I saw you last week and I can tell it’s coming together. They can’t necessarily see it. Right. It’s often lost in that thing. And like those incremental changes are not visible when you’re the one incrementing. But the honesty and the partnership of going through that with them lets you be on that journey instead. Remember two years ago you said this was your goal. We’re two years in and you’re 20% there, and that’s 20% more than you would have been if you hadn’t mapped out the goal and started the plan and then introducing adversity. That’s why I’ve never been a fan of the sort of the helicopter like, I mean, I’m a helicopter parent. I have four kids. Certain amount of helicopter. You do you’d want to protect them from things, but I also purposefully don’t protect them from everything. You don’t want them to experience real negativity, but you want to expose them to it a little here and there. So that almost like an immunity response that they know how to get on the other side of it.
And you could say, remember like that. Remember how that felt? That was tough. You don’t want to feel that again. Right? We want to try this BMX trick, this snowboard trick. My oldest daughter is a Championship snowboarder for slope style, and it scares me every time I see her doing a backflip off of a 40 foot ramp. I’m like, but what I gave her early on was taking her through a tree run when she was five on skis and having her bounce off a tree. But it gave her the ability to say that I’m willing to test the edges. And I think that’s a real big thing. Scott, you talk about this. So when people go and they want to find Freedom Street, their Freedom Street, what’s your sort of first layer advice you give?
I think the first is we have to ask the question and the questions all lie in what does freedom mean to them? And you start there and a lot of times it’s too big for people and I’m a big picture person and so I’ve got to work it down. So we talk about what’s the perfect day for you? What are you doing? Where are you at? All those types of things are important. But really the recipe is in the book and that’s living richly, living a legacy and then owning the future. And what does that future look like? If we’re going to live long term and we’re going to think long term and we want to have success, it’s not immediate. Anything given immediately is usually something we don’t appreciate. We have no idea where it really came from. It’s why most lottery winners are broke within a couple of years or months because they have no concept of what it took to get that amount of money. So it’s just easy come, easy go. It’s way better to create something of substance. And I think really identifying it when we identified I mentioned earlier, 20 plus years of being a financial adviser.
You know what I’ve been my entire life as I’ve been a coach, I’ve been a consultant. And the reality is I’ve done this for a living, working over and over and over again in this space. But it’s something I feel very comfortable in, something I love doing. Watching the impact Watching your success makes me as happy as watching my own level of success. And when you learn that about yourself, you’re really able to give a lot more of yourself in those types of things. And that’s what Freedom Street was about for me. It was about giving people the recipes to really create each part of this book of creating a rich life on the road to riches, tell stories of things that I failed at. Moments where I thought I was going to get a promotion, and it was the most important thing in my life, and I didn’t get it. And my wife has two glasses of champagne and a bottle waiting for me that evening to celebrate. And I didn’t understand what we were celebrating. But again, surrounding yourself with the right people, having the right dynamic, knowing the path you’re working towards all made that a better situation.
And a learned experience helped me two years later, define the next path, which has been great for lots of other people who have now followed us and built something bigger. And that’s why we created the coaching and consulting practice was to help business owners in any industry really go through these challenges because life is full of transitions. So Freedom Street is really helping to navigate those transitions with ease because you define the most important attributes of what you’re living for.
I’m getting excited because I think I said at the beginning it’s to be able to learn and hear and get inspired by it. And knowing that there are people out there that we can impact through these conversations, people sometimes ask me, like, what do you consider your greatest success? And I say, it’s the success I’ve created for somebody else through a lesson that I’ve given them. So the greatest thing I can do is help somebody achieve the greatest thing they will do. And it’s such a fantastic feeling, and I can see it and hear it. Your background is quickly before we finish up, because if you don’t mind, they’ll just stretch a couple more minutes on this one, because your entry into advisory and financial advisory and this side of the world was via crime prevention, which is very interesting, but your choice in how you targeted it was really about empowerment in community, empowerment in things. And so you went that route. It really genuinely seems to me, Scott, that from very early on, you had that. What can I personally do to empower my community to be better? So how do you go from crime prevention as a practice to where we are today?
I think it really ties with self awareness, understanding what you’re great at, what you’re good at, and what you’re not so good at. And I’ve always had a tendency to lean heavily in what I’m very good at and great at and surround myself with people that are better than me at all the ancillary things, just like we talked about in the beginning. I am the person at Freedom Street that you want to bring in, to talk big picture, to dive into the weeds on your vision, to break down the challenges, you know, to look at, okay, here’s where we want to go and here’s how we’re going to get there, and we can chart it all out. When we get into some of the analytics, I bring in the experts and I have an input, and I’m a part of all those decisions, but I get to have experts that are better at it than me. And I think what I really wanted was I wanted to build towards strengths. I wanted to create a company and a culture that was built around people that were great at their space and putting them in the space that they love doing.
So when someone comes on, I’ve hired so many people that we’re looking for X job, and we find the right human, but the right human doesn’t fit the exact job we were looking at. So I’ll change the job. I’ll change what we’re going to be utilizing this human for if it’s the right person for the culture fit. And we’ve really done that. It’s interesting, to your point just a second ago, when you talk about making an impact. I have been doing these videos on YouTube, and we just launched a new channel. But ultimately I’ve been doing these videos on Facebook and LinkedIn and all these different, different facets and putting things out. And the person that started helping me is a phenomenal PR person. She’s really great with video. And she used to come to me and say, are you getting the ROI you need? She was trying to quantify every single thing. We talked about it yesterday, and I kept saying, no, it’s a long game. I’m not here to make money on this today. I’m here to get better at doing it. I’m here to provide more impact. And you know what I love more than anything? Is I love getting the feedback and the loop back that this conversation gave someone the ability to think bigger.
It gave someone the tools. In the book, at the end of every chapter, I literally have a set of questions that evaluate, do you see yourself as this person or that person? Do you see yourself doing these types of things? What can you practice every day? What gets you to that millionaire mindset? Whatever it may be, it’s about that process. And I think to directly answer your question, after spending almost 15 years at a great company where I was growing and learning, I found out that I was in a box, and I needed to break out of the box and do my own thing. And the reality is that’s where Freedom Street partners came from. I told everyone we were a tech startup. So it’s funny because the connectivity between what your startup is and what we were, and that’s who we were. We started with nothing. We built up this business. We have offices in seven states today, and we’ve developed a path where we’re building something bigger than ourselves.
And it was the vision from the beginning. We had a vivid vision. Cameron Harold wrote a great book called Vivid vision, and I’m in a couple of groups with Cameron. He’s a phenomenal person to talk to. But we created a vivid vision in the first three years, and we knocked everything out of the park, and we did so because we kept putting the right puzzle pieces of human capital in the right spots. And all those people are better at the area they’re serving in than I am. And again, it’s that teamwork mentality that bigger and better together mentality that really helps people understand. But it’s about the impact and part of there’s a deeper thing, and we don’t have time to go into the depths of it. I know, but here’s what I could tell you that I find really interesting. In the beginning of a journey, a lot of times you start out, maybe scarcity leads you to abundance. Maybe my fear of losing it all because I didn’t come from anything in the beginning kept me from spending any money. So that when the bad years came, I was always in a better position. And then when my abundant mindset kicked in, I happened to be in the right position. The same thing goes for failure and affirmation. I think what I found is, I found a lot more comfortability helping other people be the greatest version of themselves early in life because I was trying to find my own way.
I was trying to figure out how to get myself where I needed to be. And what I learned is I just needed to continue to learn from other people. And all that coaching and learning and teaching was actually bringing leveling me up every single time. So I very rarely turn down conversations like this because I learned just as much from you as hopefully you’ll learn from me. And each day we get better and better at this. Right. And so my mindset of just this open learning, open mindset, really learning from the things that I might not have been great at very early in my career are the things I want to be best at at the next chapter.
That’s amazing, yeah, great. And vivid vision, fantastic. Cameron is a great writer. I seem to remember he was in BC as well, another Vancouver. There was some presence he might be Canadian. I’ve read so many bloody books these days, it’s hard to keep track of who’s who, but I do. There’s a fantastic, fantastic book. Cameron seems like a really great human. And Scott, you are, you are doing great things. And as I say, the greatest mentor has a great mentor. And it’s an important lesson that people don’t. They forget. They think that once you are reaching a certain level that you are now at the top of the chain, like, no, you are looking – you get there by your peer group and you get there by your mentors. And it continues up. Even therapists have therapists. That’s how it has to go. Because if you stop receiving knowledge, it’s really not fair in my mind for you to give it out.
Yes. If you’re not growing, you’re dying, right?
Yeah. And they sound like witticisms that you would put on an Instagram post or something. But when you see it in practice and you hear about the people that are being successful at helping people be successful, I’m turned on by that. That’s my thing. If you came to me and said, what’s the thing that makes you wake up and get this? It’s like I’m on this microphone for an hour a week, an hour and 20 minutes a week, and it’s the greatest moment. It just lights my week up because I learn something and I try to put it in practice. And then I share it and it’s so great. Scott, your passion for this is palpable. It’s obvious, and it’s earned. And the success you get from it is deserved. So I’m going to tell people, get the book, get involved, learn. So thank you for spending the time today. So, Scott, if people do want to get a hold of you and of course, we’ll have links to the book and to your team at Freedom Street Partners. So what’s the best way they can get in touch?
The easiest thing to do is, ScottDanner.com, and you can kind of see all the links there. I really encourage people. What I’m extremely passionate about is this YouTube channel we’re building, and it’s just in the infancy stages. But the reality is it’s all about hitting the next algorithms. And I think putting more positive information out there to people is really something that we don’t have enough of. There’s too much of the algorithm that’s putting negativity into our feed on purpose. I’m a Duke basketball fan and taking the loss to UNC last weekend was challenging. You would be amazed at every single UNC fan I’ve ever known in my entire life was in my feed. It’s like they knew how to make me feel miserable and I want the opposite. I want to create stuff that helps people feel great. I want them to look at something that we’re doing and see that we believe in them, that I believe in them that your conversations are there to help people be the best version of themselves. ScottDanner.com the books on all major things. My wife ordered it from target and it was delivered to the house.
Amazon.com audible, we just love for you to get the message out and don’t be turned off that it says financial adviser. I think what you’ll find is that the story is something that was written for anybody and I think that’s the value takeaway. I hope it’s something everybody finds good information and reach out to us. We’d love to hear from you.
That’s amazing. There you go, Scott Danner, thank you. Absolutely. This has been a real pleasure and everybody needs a little bit more Scott Danner in their life feed I can tell you that.
Eric, thanks for having me, man. Such a great conversation.