Ready to Attract Millennial Clients? Up Your Game With Crowdfunding
In the words of Steve Jobs, it’s time to “think different.” About technology, about your clients, and about your business.
There’s a lot of change going on in the investment world, and roboadvisors and new DOL regulations are just the tip of the iceberg. Perhaps the biggest shift facing advisors today is the emergence of crowdfunding as a major investing opportunity for younger investors. Whether you know a lot or a little about crowdfunding, now is the time to up your game.
The crowdfunding movement was born out of the Great Recession. In an effort to generate new growth, President Obama signed the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (JOBS Act) in 2012, and it revolutionized capital raising for startups. It also revolutionized investing for individuals.
Crowdfunding is currently forecast to account for more funding in 2016 than all of venture capital combined.
That’s a game changer. For advisors, crowdfunding is poised to have a huge impact on your business model—and your revenue—unless you take time now to learn about it and turn it into an advantage before it becomes a threat. If you’re not convinced crowdfunding is coming your way, consider the following:
- Crowdfunder, “the first truly diversified fund for early-stage startups,” invests in startups backed by top VCs in the index—at their same terms. Once the fund invests, select fund investments are shared with the investor network online. By offering a greater magnitude of diversification than traditional VC firms, Crowdfunder is able to capture early-stage market returns and deliver them directly to investors.
- On the popular crowdfunding site IndieGogo, Honey Flow, an Australian beehive maker, recently grabbed headlines for being the fastest campaign to reach $1M—and then $2M. With an initial startup goal of $70,000, after 15 minutes on Indiegogo, they'd raised $250,000. They’re currently the most successful crowdfunding campaign ever launched outside the US.
- At the end of 2015, Fundrise, a real estate crowdfunding platform, introduced its Income eREIT. The response from investors was swift and dramatic. By March 2016, the company had raised $23.4M in settled subscriptions. The company’s goal is to “give everyone the opportunity to invest directly in high quality real estate, without the middlemen.” Today, there are more than 80,000 members of Fundrise totaling nearly $3 billion worth of real estate investments.
- Crowdfunding site Kickstarter is now launching more books than all but the largest publishers. One of the most notable successes is Rebel Girls, a children’s book that tells the stories of 100 inspiring women by introducing young readers to role models from the Brontë sisters to Serena Williams. One hundred and forty days after launch, the campaign hit $1M in pre-orders, making it the biggest publishing project in Kickstarter’s history.
- Stratifund provides an independent, unbiased, centralized source of information about equity crowdfunding deals to let anyone invest in startup companies: Without a broker-dealer, and (are you paying attention?) without an investment advisor. According to the company’s website, Stratifund delivers independent research, easy-to-read reports and “all the info you need, with none of the fluff.”
What does the recent uptick in crowdfunding platforms and successes have to do with your advisory business? A lot.
Especially if you are hoping to attract and work with Millennials to grow your practice.
According to a 2015 survey by Capital One ShareBuilder, 93% of Millennials stated they were wary of the public markets. They lack trust in the markets and they lack knowledge when it comes to investing in stocks. It’s no wonder Millennials lack trust in the markets -- they watched their parents suffer through the stock market crashes of 1987, 2001, and 2008, and it wasn’t pretty.
Financial literacy is also a problem. But, as with most challenges faced by this demographic, their response is to turn to technology as a safe haven. Keep in mind that Millennials are on deck to inherit an estimated $30 TRILLION, and they’ll be tomorrow’s biggest earners as well. Combine their love of technology, their lack of trust in the markets in general, and their need to invest, and crowdfunding is sure to play a significant role in their financial futures.
As an advisor, your goal is to attract as much of those assets into your practice as possible, and that requires helping Millennials reach their goals on their own terms. How can you add value when Millennials are able to access so much online and, as the crowdfunding websites promote, cut out the middleman? (Hint: That middleman is often you.)
Begin by making it your mission to stay informed about what’s happening in the crowdfunding space. Spend just 30 minutes each week on sites like Crowdfund Insider and the crowdfunding due diligence site Crowdd. Check out the top crowdfunding blogs like Ayudos, Early Investing, and the Crowdability blog.
Perhaps most importantly, have conversations with Millennials about how and where they plan to invest. Then share what you’ve learned and keep your ears open for new information. The more you know, the more value you can add. And that is precisely how every advisor earns the trust—and the business—of the clients of tomorrow.
NBA Player Carl Landry Demonstrates the Value of Persistence in Life and Work
Written by: Jon Sabes
When you meet Carl Landry, stand-out college basketball player and nine-year NBA player, you imagine that becoming a professional basketball star was a straight forward run for the 6-foot-nine-inch power forward.
However, when you go deeper into Carl’s background, becoming a NBA professional was less than certain and little came easily to the 33-year-old from Milwaukee:
- He was cut from his high school team as a freshman and averaged less than ten points a game when he did play as a senior.
- He started his college career not at Purdue, but a junior college where it was not clear he would play.
- When he finally got to Purdue, he tore his ACL in his knee his first year and reinjured it the next year.
- While his family held a party for him the night of the NBA draft, he slept in the Philadelphia airport after missing a flight following a workout for the 76ers.
- In the NBA playoffs, Carl had a tooth knocked out, but came back in the same game to make a game-winning blocked shot as the Rockets beat the Utah Jazz 94-92.
Landry, who I interviewed on my podcast, Innovating Life with Jon Sabes (www.jonsabes.com), is a remarkable example of the value of “persistence.” In a time where technology creates the image that anything is possible at the touch of a button, persistence is an under-appreciated trait. When I spoke with Carl, I clearly saw someone for whom success has only come through a force of will that made him a NBA player, but it also made him a better player every year he played. That’s the kind of personality that has produced greatness in business as well as sports.
Carl was, in fact, drafted that night he spent in the airport. The Seattle Supersonics chose him as the 31st overall pick and then traded him to the Houston Rockets where he rode the bench for much of the first half of the season. When All-Star teammate Yao Ming was injured, he stepped in and played a key role in the Rockets astonishing 22-game winning streak (the third longest streak in NBA history). And, that season, after sitting on the bench for 33 of the first 36 games, he was named to the All-Rookie second team.
Carl was the first in his family to go to college. “I told myself that this was my ticket out, so I did everything I possibly could to be the best person in school and also on the court,” he said.
His family life in Milwaukee showed him what he didn’t want to do. “Just being honest with you, seeing some my cousins, peers, they went to work for jobs paying six, seven dollars an hour or they didn’t go to work at all and then living off welfare. I didn’t want that.”
When he was first injured, he had to contemplate the end of a career before it even got started. “When you have an ACL tear, it’s over…no more basketball,” he told me. “I said, God, give me health again and I’ll do everything I can to leave it all out on the line and be a successful individual.”
On my podcast, Carl pointed out another interesting lesson he learned in the NBA: Not doing things just to fit in.
“Fitting in was easy,” he said. “Doing everything that everybody else does was easy. If I stood out in some type of way, I’m going to have different results. I’m going to have stand-out results.”
That’s called the “Law of Contrast” and it produces that exact effect of changing the outcomes that everyone else is experiencing. Carl is smart, he recognized that differences make a difference, and doing whatever it takes is what is required to make real, meaningful differences.
Every off-season for the last 11 years, he has run a camp for kids in Milwaukee where he tells youth his story of hard work and persistence. “I always tell the kids to apply themselves and always be persistent,” he said. “If you dream, apply yourself and be persistent. With hard work, man, the sky’s the limit.”
When Carl says the sky’s the limit he means it. He is smart to recognize that it’s important to dream big, because if we don’t – we may be selling ourselves short. “You have to dream bigger than your mind could ever imagine,” he said. “I wanted a nice house. I wanted a nice car. I said, and I got all of that. So, what do I do, do I stop now? Maybe I didn’t dream big enough.” That’s a big statement coming from a kid who grew up to be the first in his family to graduate college and go on to be not only a top NBA basketball start, but a good businessman, father and someone who gives back to the community.
I’m convinced that in whatever he takes on as a basketball player or in his post-hoops career, Carl Landry is not going to stop getting better at whatever he does, and in the process of doing so, make the world a better place.
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