“My Experience in trying to become a Financial Advisor and my love affair with Twitter”

My journey to becoming a financial advisor has not been one of an orthodox approach!

I do come from a very, very humble background. Asking for an internship or job at a small/medium size firm, as an administrator or paraplanner, went out of the window due me lacking: technical skills, having a very open personality and having more hair than the average man!

My journey started when I graduated 3 years ago. I was rejected by all of the FTSE 100 companies (graduate jobs , internships etc). I was having 3 interviews a-week, with no luck. I eventually settled for un-paid internship 30 minutes from where I live in Wolverhampton due to my humble beginnings preventing me from learning how to drive (it’s expensive).

I worked 4 months for a man who helped write the copywrite laws for the music industry (Paul Birch, from Revolver records) as operations manager for his fair-trade coffee business. Then I left to work 3 months (6 days a week) earning below minimum wage (those were the good days) for estate agents in Birmingham. One of many jobs was sending mortgages to the authorised mortgage broker (who I eventually went to work for) – I loved it! I left the estate agents, went back to my previous employer.

I came across The Charted Insurance Institute by mistake (the best things in life are always found by mistake). I applied to Join the “Insurance Institute of Watford as council  member for young professionals”.  To my amazement the lovely Susan Hill reached out to me and invited me to the AGM, where I spent one year as a council member with an amazing group of people. 

The turning point was when I purchased a book on “wealth management” by mistake by the ever so lovely “Jason Butler” (available on Amazon). I showed it to Susan who told me he was on “Twitter”. I at once created account and followed him. It took a very long time to make friends with, the more I learnt about him (old articles) the more I read about him the more I could relate to him.

As the months rolled on we become good friends (and still are). I met him at the PFS event in Birmingham before bumping into Alistair Cunningham (“Hi, I think I follow you on twitter were my first words in-person to him – that approach still works to this day, so I keep doing it).

After spending the whole day looking for Jason, I eventually found him, setting behind me at a talk by Hayley Tink on “money coaching” (brilliant talk, lovely lady). I eventually got him to sign my copy of his book and on the second day we had brief convention, took a selfie together which eventually helped me to get noticed. I also met Alistair, Alan Smith, Andy Hart and Darren Cooke, all of whom I knew thanks to Twitter.

I eventually got myself a job thanks to Jason and many other Financial Advisors/ Planners who retweeted our selfie. I spent one year auditing non-advised insurance sales, doing admin work for mortgages and helping set-up the commercial mortgage department. At the same time I was spending an unhealthy amount of time on Twitter (said no person ever!). There I came across Martin Bamford, Chris Budd and so many other amazing and lovely people. When attending events I will normally scribble out my employers name and write ( I’m from Twitter)…

I left the place I was working at due to me not feeling that I belong, (among other reasons). Since leaving work (beginning of this year) I have focused on myself, spent more time meeting lovely people on Twitter and finishing off my IMC. I also sit for the young professionals, on the insurance institute of Birmingham. And attend more events than I should!

Personally, I think the future is bright for me. Making the adjustment back to work should be an interesting one, as I decide where to work. I have roughly 4 exams left and 1 year CPD and then I’m chartered.

For anybody entering this amazing profession I would suggest: get the exams out the way as it frees up-a lot of time; focus on the ability to communicate, either written or verbally; work on your  emotional intelligence (Adaptability, Conscientiousness); find a mentor(s) who have walked the path you are walking. Enjoy the journey. Be proud of who are and where you have come from. Often the hardest part is asking for “help”, Just remember you are only human and are allowed to make mistakes – just learn from them.

I hope it all goes well for you!

Alam Zaib

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