Trevor Wilde | Crain's Phoenix

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Trevor Wilde

Background:  

Wilde Wealth Management Group opened its doors in 2003. The Scottsdale, Arizona-based firm helps its clients accumulate, preserve and transfer wealth.

The Mistake:

Early on, the mistake that I made was feeling that every ounce of myself had to be poured into the business and not having any sort of work/life balance. 

About five years ago, I was pretty much at my wit's end. I was so busy running the various mechanics of the business that I had high anxiety. My stress had gone through the roof because I was not able to maintain any balance.

I have four young kids. When they were first born, it was easier because there weren’t as many activities. But as they aged and got into soccer and other activities that are important for me to be at, it just became impossible to balance.

I vividly remember running out of a meeting, trying to make a soccer game across town, while still having multiple conference calls left for the evening. I felt completely overwhelmed. The next day, I sat down with our staff and completely restructured my family/work scheduling rules.

Our business is referral based, but we actually decided not to take on any new clients until we could get things under control. I didn’t have any boundaries around scheduling. I’d get scheduled at 7 at night and 8 in the morning. It got to the point where it wasn’t doable. There was no balance.

My stress had gone through the roof because I was not able to maintain any balance.

The Lesson:

It took about seven months to fully restructure and implement formal rules for scheduling clients and new prospects. We turned away all referrals for that period of time, until we felt like we had a good plan moving forward. 

We had to redefine for our clients what the expectations would be. For years, we’d meet clients on Saturdays or in the evening. It was a matter of retraining them and discussing what would be acceptable going forward. They had grown accustomed to something that was not realistic or maintainable.  

It was game-changing for me. It really allowed the business to continue to grow. Before that, we were having capacity issues. I was stressed. Everybody else was stressed. 

It was a big deal for us. It's allowed us to restructure and reformat. It’s been a huge change in my life. There are still some nights when I’m working until 7, but it’s more of the exception.

It’s allowed me to be present with my kids. I’ve coached soccer for two of my daughters for the last three years. We have family night every Monday. I’m typically out of the office by 4. 

The stress level is lower and it’s allowed us to continue to grow. That was the biggest problem before — we couldn’t grow. We couldn’t move forward until we got things under control. This change has allowed us to get back on a path of continued growth.

Photo courtesy of Trevor Wilde

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