Some of us have developed expertise and specialised skills but remain restricted within the confines of an employer. Ellen Thornthwaite of Feel Good Financial Services was working for a large bank for several years and realised there were many things about the corporate culture that didn’t sit well with her. Overtime, Ellen made the decision to leave the banking sector, taking her experience and skills learnt to begin working with a mortgage broker as a contractor, learning what life can be like being self employed.
Over this time Ellen learnt a lot about being self employed and picking up knowledge outside of her prior experience in banking. This led to the decision to launch her own business in February 2018 called Feel Good Financial Services. The business provides a number of different support options for the Sydney and South Coast regions ranging from first home purchases, reverse mortgages, asset & equipment finance, defence home ownership assistance scheme loans, business loans and more.
Ellen has blended her corporate and finance skills with a passion for providing individuals with personalised care and support to reach their financial goals. Ellen is achieving by telling her own story, sharing her experiences and highlighting her own passions in the local community.
When it comes to finance, it can be an awfully sensitive topic for some and Feel Good Financial Services is taking the right steps early to build trust, personal connections and deep loyalty through local referrals.
What did you get out of this episode? Here’s what I learnt;
1. Provide Reassurance – Preempt the questions – Removing the first awkward questions which might stop people from making contact as they don’t want to go through the possibility of having to ask (what they feel) are obvious/awkward questions that they don’t want to ask.
2. You might not know, but you can learn – Realising that the budget didn’t allow for someone else to create a website, Ellen decided to dive in and learn how to create a simple website from scratch. Using online tutorials and guides along with feedback from her husband and sister, Ellen was able to get a website together and up within 2 days. While those two days were filled with headaches and uncomfortable moments, Ellen saved a lot of money and established more of a confidence and control over what she is creating when it comes to providing additional updates/changes in future. Ellen also knew that by holding off for several months to raise money or find another way of getting a website up, that she could potentially lose a lot of money. Short term pain for long term game rings true.
3. Learn from others mistakes – Ellen retells a story of wanting to go to a local restaurant, looking online and seeing the opening times indicating that the restaurant was open only to find on arrival that it was closed. Ellen sent an email to the business to tell them what happened and they responded that they were unable to update the information as their web developer was on holidays and they couldn’t get in touch with him. Ellen decided that she would never want to find herself in that position where she is at the mercy of someone else and that gave additional motivation to learn new skills such as creating the website herself.
4. Embracing referrals – Ellen hopes to pull back on the amount of time and money invested in attracting new leads in the next 12 months and work primarily off a referral system from existing clients. Ellen has an advantage in Finance where trust becomes a big factor in a persons decision to work with a broker however the upfront hard work needed to establish those first few clients is essential to reaching a level of self supply that works organically rather than a forever ‘hard sell’ of attracting completely new clients. How can you get your first few customers to help you spread the word and refer them to the business.
5. Charity – Part of Ellen’s approach is to personalise as much of the business as she can. As Ellen put it ‘I am the product that I am trying to sell’. Part of this includes an opportunity to give back to local charities in the area that are close to Ellen’s heart. This shows another personal side to Ellen and can be an added incentive for a prospective client who might identify with Ellen’s passions.
Location – Sanctuary Point, New South Wales