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  • Malissa Marshall, CFP®, MS Tax, EA

Reflections on Four Years in Business


Looking back over the past four years, the biggest surprise for me has been the extent to which I've developed relationships with other financial planners. Although I mostly work alone, I interact weekly with other planners throughout Vermont, the US and even around the world. When I started this business, I never would've anticipated that I would find a community so willing to support one another – and, after serving my clients, this is what I've loved most about the work that I do.


Speaking of clients, without whom I would not even be here, I've had the honor of working with over 40 individuals and families and helping them achieve their financial goals over the past four years. The work that I do to support you all is immensely rewarding to me personally, and I am grateful every day for the trust you continue to place in me as your financial advisor.


Focusing on this past year, my big picture goals as a business owner have been to "create space" and "go deeper," and I have made some significant progress in both areas. I "made space" by completing my Master's degree and paring back the number of clients to whom I only provide tax preparation services, and both of these changes have helped to free up a lot of my time and energy to better focus on my financial planning clients.


"Going deeper," for me, is the cornerstone of providing better services. A couple of changes I've made recently include starting this Friday Newsletter and investing in a more advanced software tool for quarterly portfolio performance reporting and billing. You may've noticed the new billing reports I sent out in early October, and the new performance reports will be first distributed in early January. And I have other ideas in mind that I look forward to rolling out over the next few months.


"Going deeper" has also meant leaning further into my experience with cross-border planning and tax issues, and using that background to serve as a resource for other advisors within the financial planning community. Over the past year and a half, I've given nine presentations to five different financial planning groups on various cross-border planning and tax topics, and just started a monthly newsletter for other financial planners to raise their awareness of issues in this area.


Finally, in the interest of "going deeper," I also enrolled in a coaching program tailored to financial advisors at the beginning of this year, and will continue for at least another year. The program is both helping me find ways to provide a deeper level of services, and also to manage my business more efficiently* – which in turn will ultimately allow me to provide additional services.


So, all in all, I feel very grateful for the experiences I've had so far, and the relationships that I've built, and I'm looking forward to continuing to grow and build in the future.

* Unfortunately, business management was not taught as part of my undergraduate curricula in political science and German literature.



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