“No one has ever become poor by giving.”
―Anne Frank, The Diary of Anne Frank: the play
It’s more than just a concept. Or a philosophy. Or a state of mind.
At Painted Porch, it’s all of those things. And it’s also the core of what we do.
We Get Acquainted
You set up an appointment so we can all get acquainted, which usually lasts an hour.
You decide whether to proceed to the Help First process. If you do, we’ll ask for a list of documents and information, which will allow us to start our work.
It usually takes us about 2 weeks to put together an initial financial plan. When complete, we’ll meet (in person or virtually) to walk you through the plan.
During our initial review, there are often questions and new ideas. We want to make as many revisions as it takes to make sure the financial plan reflects your reality.
We follow your lead. Usually by this point we’ve come up with at least half a dozen recommendations or projects that we can guide you through, so you just let us know what you’d like to prioritize first.
We will never push you to sign up and become a client. That decision will come from you whenever you’re ready. We’ll make sure you have the tools to be able to implement your own plan, or if we don’t feel like the right fit for you, we can even help you find someone else.
Why do we do all of this for free? Primarily, it’s because we love getting the opportunity to interact with tons of interesting people and to help them wrestle with interesting challenges. The work really feeds our souls.
But many are skeptical. The idea that a company will give you free, unlimited financial planning and advice for 6 months sounds suspiciously too good to be true. After all, companies don’t just help people, with no strings attached – do they?
We think they should.
For starters, oodles of scientific research support the myriad benefits of giving to, and helping, others. It makes you a happier person…it leads to better health and longer lives…giving promotes cooperation and better social connections…it also promotes gratitude, an essential component of greater happiness…and, perhaps most importantly – helping people actually makes the world a better place.
Of course, making the world a better place — while an audacious and worthwhile goal — doesn’t always translate to a business model. Giving away your best product may be a popular tech (or drug-dealer!) model – but can a service business really give away their sweat and toil and knowledge and experience without some compensation? Some professionals try to bridge this gap with a compromise – by charging thousands of dollars for a financial plan, offering to waive that fee if the client agrees to have that professional manage their money for the long-term.
It’s an OK start, but why not go further?
What if, instead, financial advisors just gave away free work to people? What if they truly just entered each situation only with a desire to help? And what if they resisted putting any sales pressure at all on those potential clients to work with them?
It’s the textbook definition of actually helping, with no strings attached. Help First.
Granted, an approach like ours doesn’t work for everyone. You have to genuinely love the work – solving complex problems, helping people get to a better place. You have to love it so much that you’d do it even if you didn’t get paid. We hope that’s true for at least some of our contemporaries…because if you don’t love it that much in the first place, you may be in the wrong line of work.
The good news?
People respond. It just feels better to them.
And what if other advisors adopted this approach? They’d still have to be good at what they do, but we think they’d experience similar growth, client impact, and financial success — while re-making an entire industry along the way.
Because here’s the secret: Help First is just a bet on ourselves. This isn’t a “plug numbers in and spit numbers out” approach. We’re rolling up our sleeves, giving away a lot of free, high-quality work. We bring genuine compassion for the people and enthusiasm for the process. We don’t stop helping to solve problems until our potential clients feel empowered. And zero pressure, not even a mention of how we get paid. We’re simply betting that people will have such an amazing experience, and will be so pleased with the results, that they’ll be excited to continue working with us. And if they don’t, that’s fine too. Because it still feels good to help.
Does this approach work every time? Does everyone choose to become a client at the end of the process? Of course not. But even those who choose not to become clients often refer friends or family to us simply because they enjoyed the process so much, and were empowered by it. And many of those referrals do eventually become clients.
In 2017, when Jeff Bezos was asked about the top three things Amazon focused on, “Customer First” was at the very top of his list. We are practicing this same idea. Ours may be even more rewarding — because we enjoy it as much as our potential clients do. It’s a win-win for everyone. We help people become happier and more empowered; we form genuine relationships; we get to do quality, meaningful work that we love; our potential clients feel great about the process, and never feel pressured to do something they’re not ready for. And we’ve been able to build a dynamic, thriving business out of it.
So why doesn’t everybody Help First?