Welcome to The Charleston Entrepreneur Podcast, where you go behind the scenes with financial planner and business exit planner Brett Fellows to hear stories of how leading Charleston entrepreneurs navigate the inevitable challenges that arise on the path to financial freedom and get insights from real business owners about how to break through to the next level in their business. And now here’s your host, Brett Fellows.
Hello, I am Brett Fellows. And thank you for joining me in the first ever episode, episode number one of The Charleston Entrepreneur Podcast. And I am really, really excited to get this podcast and educational series for entrepreneurs kicked off today.
I’m also a little nervous, I have to tell you. This is some new media for me, but I think I’m pretty excited about it. We have some great content planned, a series of interviews with local small business owners, and just a lot of resources, I think that will really do some good things and give you a framework for making good financial decisions.
Let me start by introducing myself. I’m Brett Fellows, a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and Certified Exit Planner™ and founder of Oak Capital Advisors, which is a fee only financial planning firm based in Charleston, South Carolina. For over 15 years, I’ve helped entrepreneurs in the Charleston area grow their wealth and then successfully exit their businesses so they could retire on their own terms.
And my goal with this podcast is really to do the same for you and with each episode, hopefully, by providing a new insight or action item that gets you closer to financial freedom. My initial plan with this podcast is twofold. Every month, there will be one podcast where I talk about some of the technical issues of financial planning for small business owners. But more importantly, give you action items that you can take away and apply immediately to your business or your personal finances.
Next, every month, we’re also going to have an episode talking with local Charleston, South Carolina area small business owners, actual local business owners talking about their industry, what they’re doing right what they’re doing wrong, what they should stop doing and what they should start doing. So not only will this be a way to showcase local businesses, but it also will be a way for us all as business owners to then learn from the experience of other business owners.
Okay, so who is this podcast for? This podcast is for the small business owner who’s seeking more balance, perspective or clarity when it comes to planning for your financial future. You’ve worked hard and had success as a business owner. And now you’re interested in growing and someday selling your business so you can retire comfortably and on your own timeline. So you’re looking to tap into smart financial decision making strategies that benefit not only your business, but your lifestyle and ultimately your family’s future.
In today’s introductory episode, I thought it would be helpful to go into my own backstory, the story that led to the planning process and what became Oak Capital Advisors. Now this episode isn’t intended to be a self-promotional diatribe here, but to share how my experience as a business owner has shaped how I think about business and money, and how that ultimately flows through to the work I do with my clients and the insights I’ll be sharing with you throughout this podcast. And I think any successful business owner is going to have to go through a similar thought process and I hope this podcast really connects with you and helps establish some rules for the game if you haven’t already established them in your own business.
I started truly working as my own business owner in the mid 1990s. And I personally have had a kind of a journey that really foundationally has had a huge impact in how I see the relationship between business and money for small business owners.
After graduating from college, I started working with a family-owned golf operating company just north of Boston, Massachusetts. And I was only on the job for a few months when in 1996, a guy by the name of Tiger Woods announced he was turning professional, some of you may have heard of him. The economy at the time was rolling, and the internet was just getting started into what’s now referred to as our tech boom of the 90s. Also, the baby boomer generation was just beginning to retire. So if you put together this booming economy and the largest generation at the time beginning to retire with a lot of time and a lot of money on their hands, introduce those two factors to the excitement that was Tiger Woods.
The golf industry went crazy, golf was an activity everyone could do, and as an industry just skyrocketed. And our golf company was on the leading edge of that wave. Being just outside of a major city, we were able to be part of this tremendous growth. And then as we grew the business, we then were able to scale our own operations to newer opportunity. We, frankly, were in the right business in the right place at the right time. And over the next five to seven years, I was able to be part of really something special, I was also able to experience firsthand the relationship between business and money.
And what I learned was, if you think about it is a business owner, you have to deal with two amazingly selfish things and one schizophrenic business partner. The schizophrenic business partner is the economy or the stock market. You have no idea if it’s heading up or down, it’s amazingly irrational. And by the time you think you can do something about it, it’s too late. So there’s your business partner, welcome to it, whether you like it or not.
Now, the two selfish things you as a business owner will always have to deal with. Number one, the business itself. Think about this, your business is relentlessly stealing from you your time, your money, your resources. Now the goal, of course, with your business is to make a profit. But as I learned with the golf boom, the more our business grew, the more she took of my time, my energy and eventually my confidence. So in that regard, the business itself is selfish.
The second selfish entity is money, whether your business is successful or struggling. As humans, we’ve seemingly evolved to this place, where frankly, we tend to identify our self-worth with money. And if you define your self-worth by money, you define yourself by how much you have, or what you have, or how much you don’t have. And if you don’t take control of that relationship, well, that relationship controls you.
It was these realizations that I experienced from our growth as a company, and what the business expected of me that foundationally had a huge influence on the way I see our association with business and money. In fact, it had such an impact that in 2005, I sold my ownership portion of the golf operating company and then purposefully launched into financial services. I thought if I felt this way, other business owners must be having similar experiences. And to achieve financial success, not society’s definition of success, but success on your terms, you first have to change your relationship with your business and your money.
And most people have this idea that financial advice is just about managing money, dealing with money, but I disagree. I think financial advice is really about perspective. And at the time, I just couldn’t get out of my head this idea of what better way I could make an impact to really help a human. If I could help business owners understand what’s happening with their money, with their business and our schizophrenic economy or the stock market. And to help business owners think about what is it that you would love to do if you didn’t have the money? Or, what is it you would do if you did have the money?
So that’s where my passion comes from. My life is way better, because I’ve learned over the last 25 years to apply certain financial principles in this light, the power of liquidity, the power of structuring your debt properly, the power of accumulating assets before you think about reducing debt, the power of entrepreneurship, the power of leveraging your income potential by investing in yourself, investing at an early age and making your time value of money compound and work for you. The power of appropriate risk management to be able to really help people feel like no matter what happens to them, their family is going to be in great shape.
My career in financial services brought me here to Charleston, South Carolina in 2005. And today, I have my own firm, Oak Capital Advisors, that’s dedicated to helping entrepreneurs and small business owners in the Charleston area achieve financial success.
So I hope that sets the stage for this podcast, which I’m hoping will provide a new perspective on money management and financial planning for entrepreneurs, possibly one you haven’t heard before. And I am very much looking forward to future episodes and especially getting to know all of you better.
With that, I’ll leave you with two final thoughts. First, your business and money can be selfish. If you don’t control your relationship with both, they will control you. And second, success looks different for everyone. Ask yourself, what is it that I would love to do if I didn’t have the money? What is it I would do if I did have the money?
So thank you again for turning into the very first episode of The Charleston Entrepreneur Podcast. We’ve got a long way to go with two new episodes every month. I am super excited. So be sure to subscribe to this podcast so you don’t miss out.
And if you’re interested in learning more, you can visit my website and check out our free resources, or click the free retirement assessment link where you can schedule a call with me at your convenience. Or feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn. I’d love to hear from you and find out about what you do and any questions you may have. Have a great week.
This podcast is for informational and entertainment purposes only and should not be relied upon as a basis for investment decisions. This podcast is not engaged in rendering legal, financial or other professional services.