Prior to choosing a career, Melissa Ahearn Lange made a checklist of things she was looking for in a profession. First, it had to be in non-transactional sales with long-term opportunities. Second, it had to offer the autonomy to be her own boss and create her own destiny. Third, it had to provide limitless financial potential and opportunity for career fulfillment. After stints as a personal trainer and a short-term position in pharmaceutical sales, she found the job that satisfied her checklist. And she’s been successfully working as a Northwestern Mutual financial advisor ever since.
When Melissa Ahearn Lange was starting out as a financial advisor with Northwestern Mutual, she realized that confidence was one of the most important tools you could have. So she increased her own level of confidence by relying on training and mentors and by putting herself in situations in which she could learn from her associates. Now the feeling of being self-assured gives her the edge and perspective to help her clients succeed.
In Her Own Words
Making a Difference
Being a personal trainer in college positioned me well for the career as a financial advisor. Not only did I have to build my own client base, I had to work with these clients to set goals and develop strategies to meet them. It’s really similar to what I do now, except I’m helping clients achieve financial fitness instead.
Ironically, being in this business during the Great Recession was rewarding for me because it leveled the playing field. As a younger professional I knew I could create a great destiny because everyone had to figure out how to make it under these new circumstances. The flexibility, the ability to be my own boss and the money are also very rewarding.
Although I’ve been a financial advisor for a while, I sometimes have to manage the perception that someone who appears younger isn’t as qualified. Some prospects have issues with this, as well as the fact that I was a communications and not a finance major. However, I’ve dealt with it by keeping up to date with the industry and world events and by surrounding myself with a highly qualified team of experts.
While you want to be knowledgeable in all areas of your profession, know that it’s okay if you don’t have all the answers. Sometimes you just need to be the quarterback who guides the team. I do a lot of joint work with people across the country who specialize in various areas of our business, which allows me to better assist and plan with my clients. And my clients know that I have their best interests in mind when I enlist someone else to help.
When you’re just starting out, it’s easy to forget that clients are talking to other providers as well as you. That’s why it’s important to sell your team and not just yourself. This way they understand that you have the resources they need and that you’re their advocate.
Learn More About Melissa Ahearn Lange
Visit Melissa Ahearn Lange’s website to learn more about her career as a financial advisor.