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Advisors’ most interesting side hustles

In your role as a financial advisor, you’ve likely suggested that clients take on side projects to earn extra cash or to just try something new. But have you ever thought of doing that yourself?

Some planners have. While some of these side hustles weren’t designed to be big money makers, they help keep these professionals grounded and fulfilled.

Scroll through our list to learn what your fellow advisors are doing outside their planning practices.

Sean Wood, Stewardship Advisory Group, Evergreen, Colorado
I have a pretty interesting and unique side hustle that is way off the beaten path — I help run my county here in Colorado. I was elected back in 2016 and sit on the three-person Board of County Commissioners in Clear Creek County, which is immediately west of metro Denver.

Further reading: Why advisors make good candidates
David Demming, Demming Financial Services, Aurora, Ohio
We have added an interesting new enterprise in recent years, a craft brewery run out of an extra building on our property. It is called Lucky Owl and the slogan is "drink wisely."

It is run by four partners, all of whom are successful in their own right: an IT manager, two CFPs from our firm and a top oncologist.

The mixture allows us to make good beer and have fun without economic pressures. We have not yet added a tasting room but rather distribute through local restaurants with tastings in many public settings. We have even supported a local fundraising event for cancer research.

We have been profitable since day one, because of our low overhead and selling out all the beer we brew. We will be part of a winter beer festival with 60 to 70 breweries in downtown Cleveland in a couple of months. There will be thousands of attendees, including some invited clients.

Since we are on tap at more than a half a dozen restaurants, it is not hard to find our beer. The recent inclusion of long-time clients in tasting has been building a broader common bond.
Photo by Scott Wenger
Christopher White, People’s Bank, Terrace Park, Ohio
I teach CFP classes at a local university and at financial service companies that have brought the program in-house. I also teach exam preparation courses for the comprehensive certification exam, which is administered three times per year. Some of these exam prep courses are local and sometimes it involves traveling to other parts of the country. It's a pretty good side gig!
Michael Kay, Financial Life Focus, Livingston, New Jersey
I write for Forbes, Inc.com, and Psychology Today to try and get my message across. Psychology Today pays a small amount based on clicks. I write in chunks and when ideas hit me. On average, it takes me an hour or so per week.

I've also written two books: “The Business of Life” and “The Feel Rich Project.”

Neither project makes money — especially after the cost of human capital — which basically means I could take that time I devote to writing and do something else. I could go out and meet people, have client meetings or other tasks involved in running my firm.

But it’s a way of informing both advisors and consumers about planning and how to bring their money and life into better alignment.

I have also begun a speaking career aimed at consumers to bring better awareness. The speaking gigs generally pay, just not much.

For more on advisors who write books please see: Voices Is writing a book worth the effort? and Should I … write a book?
Nicole Corning, Wells Fargo Advisors, Scottsdale, Arizona
I’ve worked in politics and finance during my professional life — two very male-dominated industries. I had never felt there was uneven playing field for men and women. Then I found out I was pregnant.

I had always been very career-focused, yet the second utterance out of nearly everyone’s mouth after “congratulations,” was “are you going to stay home with your baby?”

I even had a manager tell me when I answered that I’d definitely be coming back to work after maternity leave that his wife had thought the same thing. I asked my husband one night if anyone had asked him if he were going to stay home with the baby. He is a wise man and chose not to answer that no-win question.

Feeling defeated, frustrated, sad and at times really angry I poured all of my emotion into writing. It had always been an outlet for me to vent my feelings and now the words just flowed out of my pain and onto the pages. After a few months I realized I wasn’t simply journaling, I was writing a book.

I published “Working Mommy’s Manual” in 2012 as a way to empower other working mothers to know they are not alone. Once I published the book I found an outlet for my ongoing writing through posting on my weekly blog also called the Working Mommy’s Manual. My blogs are also published on Working Mother Magazine’s website.

I’d say there isn’t a direct effect on my practice because I have to keep the two totally separate. However, in today’s day and age most people can find out that I have a book and a blog on Google. I don’t have any direct evidence, but I think that women feel more comfortable with me as an advisor because they see how I support women through my work.

I spend about two hours per week writing my blog. My side gig as a writer was never intended to be a money-maker. Its purpose is to keep me and my fellow readers sane — and that is worth more than money to me.
Doug Boneparth, Bone Fide Wealth, New York, Dave Grant, Retirement Matters, Cary, Illinois
When Boneparth came up with the idea to poke a little fun at his own profession, he knew his novelty T-shirt idea wasn’t going to be a “cash cow.” He partnered with Financial Planning contributor Dave Grant to launch the business selling shirts with sayings on them that relate to the financial advisory profession.

Boneparth came up with three T-shirts with sayings that read “#Fiduciary AF”, “Come at me broker,” and “I do it for the bps.”

Read more about their business here: Advisors poke fun at industry with T-shirt side hustle
Alan Sylvestre, Wells Fargo Advisors, Mystic, Connecticut
Inspired by our daughter, my wife Tanya and I founded Inclusion nearly 10 years ago with a mission of providing support, education, transportation and housing for adults with disabilities.

Our current initiative is to build a life skills center in Pawcatuck, Connecticut — with additional plans to create space that includes an integrated, shared-service model to support services such as occupational, physical, psychiatrist, audiologist and a residential smart living unit.

Our overall vision for Inclusion is to develop a campus for adults with disabilities in which all of their needs — including housing, education, transportation and medical — are met in one place. Our website is still in the works and we spend probably about 10 hours a week on this.

We anticipate having 40 clients in the first year with expected growth of around 100 clients within three years. Our goals also include a social enterprise much like Paul Newman’s Newman’s Own brands.
Daniel Lash, VLP Financial Advisors, Vienna, Virginia
When my kids were younger I regularly volunteered to coach and referee in the various basketball leagues they played in. As they got older my coaching skills were not enough to continuing coaching them. However, I found that I enjoyed refereeing and three years ago became qualified to referee high school basketball in my area. Now with one kid in high school and another there next year I have to juggle watching them play and refereeing at other schools.