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Want to learn my “recipe” for success as a professional advisor? After all, I’ve been selling one product – my professional advice –since 1997. That’s 23 years’ worth of advisory business where the actual growth is up to my clients, not me!

What most advisors want – and a lot of what’s being marketed – looks a lot like a recipe for baking – just follow the guru’s steps and process precisely, and you’ll be successful. If you fail, it’s because you didn’t follow the recipe closely enough.

There is a recipe for advisory success, but it looks more like one for chili than for a cake.

In other words, advising is more cooking than baking.

How so? Let’s compare baking and cooking.

Baking a cake:

  • There are very few “right answers” – the range outcomes is super-finite.
  • There are a lot more ways to fail than there are to succeed.
  • Ingredients are prescribed in specific amounts. You can’t decide, “I like eggs, so I’m going to add a few more. Plus, I’ll add some anchovies.”
  • There are a lot of precise ingredients, with little overlap jn their functionality. For example, even though baking soda and baking powder both make things rise, baking soda needs acidic ingredients (like lemon juice) whereas baking powder contains its own acid. (Confession: I had to look that up on Wikipedia.)
  • Sequence is essential. For proof, google “advanced baking techniques” and see how many of the results contain words like “tricky at first” and “with practice, you’ll…”
  • Conditions have to be just right. If the recipe says “350 degrees,” they mean it!
  • Messing with the recipe will most likely result in failure unless you have gone to baking school and/or spent countless hours trial-and-erroring things.