Going Self-Employed as a Mortgage Adviser | by Gary Das

Be Your Own Boss. Your essential steps to success as a self-employed mortgage adviser

7 Essential Steps to Generate a Self-Employed Income Fast

You’ve decided to go self-employed as a mortgage broker, but how can you create a viable business? 

Going self-employed can be hard and it can be scary. It’s daunting and it’s a worrying prospect.

You are coming from an employed position, from the security of a job and suddenly you need to provide for yourself.

How do you get customers? How do you earn an income?

The business needs to make money to give you the opportunity to support your family, to do the things that you love with who you love, but how?

In this post, I will walk you through the key steps to getting started as a self-employed mortgage adviser.

Prefer to watch? This video will tell you all you need to know to get started.

Whether you are brand new to being self-employed or whether you’ve been doing it for a while, what I am going to tell you is still going to apply to you.

Why?  Because there are some basic foundational principles that I think apply to everybody.

Starting out in self-employment can be a lonely journey. I’m here to support you and you can tap into that support through the Financial Pro Podcast.

Join our community of like-minded self-employed and small business advisers and you never need to feel alone on this journey. Jump into the Mortgage Pro Facebook community HERE.

1. Have a Plan

Thinking back to when I first started in 2006, I actually went self-employed about a month after I bought my first flat. It was right at the peak of property prices and I got a hundred percent mortgage.  

People called me crazy. People called me mental because I’d committed to paying a mortgage. I’d committed to new bills, a new lifestyle living on my own, and then decided to go and break into self-employment.

But before I went self employed as a mortgage adviser, I’d actually been building a mortgage brokerage for somebody else.

With another lady and the owner, we built the business up to a hundred thousand pounds a month. And I was sales and compliance manager, managing a team of advisors.

I knew that I could buy leads and inquiries. Thanks to my previous experience I knew what the conversion ratio was on leads and enquiries.  And I knew that if I spent two and a half thousand pounds, I’d be able to get leads at £15 each.

So I knew that I could buy and convert leads so I borrowed two and a half thousand pounds off my dad to get the business started.

You may not need to buy leads, but the point is that you need to have some experience under your belt and you need to have a plan for getting started.

I’ll go over some free strategies for getting leads and clients later in this post.

2. Plan How Much You Need to Earn to Cover Your Expenses

When you have a salary you know exactly what your monthly income will be. That changes as soon as you go self-employed, so you will need to have a plan for your earnings.

Work out how much money you need on a monthly basis to survive. Look at all your bills and expenses and come up with a monthly figure. £1000, £2000 whatever it might be, make a note of it. This is your minimum target.

And then work backwards from that figure in relation to the field that you could charge for.

So for example, you can work on the principle of making £350 per £100K that you can arrange from a mortgage lender, or £200 for every £10 of life insurance that you sell.

Work out your metrics. How many mortgages do you need to arrange? How much life insurance do you need to sell?

3. Focus on the Fastest Way for a Self-employed Mortgage Adviser to Start Earning an Income

Now you know your minimum income target you’ll need a strategy to get you there.

Top tip: Focus on protection to start off with, not mortgages.

Now, this is the thing and the mistake that so many mortgage advisors make going all-in on the mortgage. The problem is that you then have to wait three months in order to be able to get any money.

That’s why it’s difficult.

What you need is you need to have the confidence either to charge a fee straight from the off so that you can actually earn some money immediately, or you start focusing on actually learning the protection side of the business.

In actual fact, what you could do is you could focus on life insurance, critical illness and income protection.

Why? Because that could pay you within one week, two weeks, depending on the insurer and if the client is fit, well and medically good.

If they’ve got medical conditions, then that might mean writing off to the doctor, which means it will take roughly 60 to 90 days, depending on the doctors to get paid, much like a mortgage.

Now, every insurer has webinars, training and business development managers who can talk you through the products. And they have the ability to give you the product understanding that you need.

And if you speak to them, they’d probably be able to coach you and support you.

I think it’s actually better to focus on the protection and the insurance side before you start focusing on the mortgage.

Now you may be thinking, Whoa, hang on a minute. You’ve just blown my mind because you are telling me to do something that even on my radar. But you need to be able to secure your income and gain confidence as a self-employed individual.

I can tell you almost every mortgage adviser, when they start out, will drop the protection conversation for the hours of research that mortgage takes. They will not prioritise it as much.

Why is that?

People need a mortgage. They come to you when they want a mortgage.

Mortgages are comparatively simple, because as a mortgage adviser you are just an order taker. “What are your details, what’s your circumstance? This is the best lender for you.

Do you like me enough to use me? Do you want me to do a good enough job?” Done.

So why do client protection?

You advise a client on protection, because people don’t want it, but they need it.

For protection, the research is more complicated. It’s, “here are your circumstances. Here’s who you are as an individual. And here’s what I recommend to make sure that you can safeguard the future of your family.”

But what you also don’t realise if you’re starting out is that protection, life insurance, critical illness, income protection, health insurance can make up 60% of your income. And it pays a hell of a lot quicker.

The protection gap in the UK is massive and there is such a huge opportunity with every single person that you meet, to cover them for protection.

So I actually speak to my advisers and I train them that protection is a priority in building financial foundations.

Think about it from the clients perspective:

If you can’t get a mortgage now and you’re employed, or you’re self-employed and you have no protection over your income and something like you go and catch COVID or you go and break your arm. And you’re a plasterer.

You go and do something that has a massive impact. You have a car accident, whatever it might well be.

Your ability to be able to get a mortgage in three, six, nine, 12, 18 months is out the window.

Because if you can’t pay your bills or your living expenses, all of a sudden your credit report goes down the pan, your credit score gone, your ability to get a better interest rate, to pay the least amount for your mortgage, gone.

So you owe it to your clients to understand protection and to help them build a solid financial foundation before committing to the debt of a mortgage.

4. Phone Everyone You Know

What do you do when you are starting out as a self-employed mortgage adviser and you have no clients?

What did I do? And what can you do too?

The first thing I did was pick up my mobile phone and I rang everybody in my address book to say, Hey, just want to let you know, I’ve gone Self-employed.

Some people I hadn’t spoken to you in ages. it gave me an opportunity to reconnect with some old friends, to an opportunity to say hello, to some people who I hadn’t spoken to for a long time.

You’ve got an opportunity with everybody that’s in your address book to just turn around and say, “Hey, how’s it going? What you’ve been up to, how’s your year been, how’s life how’s COVID…” whatever it might well have been, and just have conversations, build relationships.

It’s not about cold calling and pitching straight off of the bat, but when someone says, “Hey, what have you been up to?” you can tell them about what you do.

“Well, I’ve been doing this over the course of the last 12 months. I’m now fully qualified mortgage and protection advisor. You know, I’m, self-employed, have you reviewed your mortgage lately…” whatever it might well be, and just see how the conversation flies.

5. Send E-mails to Your Contacts

Equally, you’re going to have an email list of people within your Google, your Gmail, your outlook, your Hotmail, whatever account you’re using.

And you’ve got the opportunity to write a nice little email and send that out. You will be surprised how much that has a big impact because that is going to give you the opportunity straight away to be able to get more results.

You need to ask every person you know for referrals in the early days. Testimonials aren’t important, referrals are more important and it’s prioritising those referrals.

It’s having conversations. And this is the beauty about the life insurance and the protection side.

If you do a good job in explaining somebody’s protection you are making sure that they understand the protection that they need, and what they need to cover themselves against.

Points to get your client to consider:

  • What if you couldn’t go to work tomorrow?
  • What if you were to die?
  • What if you were to suffer a critical illness, how would you survive?
  • Describe to me what life would be like, tell me what you would do in this scenario?
  • Explain to me how you would get through life, knowing that you didn’t cover your family. How would that make you feel?

This sort of stuff is something that when you do a good job for somebody, when you help them, when it’s about their own personal situation and what life looks like in the future, then actually what’s going to happen is they’re going to be able to refer somebody to you immediately.

6. Post on social media

When I downsized my almost seven-figure mortgage insurance brokerage to start all over again in 2016, within the niche of self-employed mortgages, I realised that I had to do things differently.

I started to produce videos. I started to put content out online, starting to answer common questions that clients had. I started to post on my profile consistently. I then started to show up in Facebook groups, then started to use LinkedIn and Instagram.

It doesn’t matter how many friends you’ve got. Doesn’t matter if you’ve never really used social media before.

Start to post three times a day, with valuable content a little bit about you, a little bit about what you’re up to, what you’re learning. Share the case that you’re working on, all of that kind of stuff is absolutely key to being able to raise awareness.

Just post to have people see you ever present.

Then you can work up to using Facebook groups in your local area, which can be an absolute goldmine when it comes to generating enquiries and leads locally to you.

Social media can be worldwide. It can be UK wide. It can be wherever you are in the world.

You can attract clients, you just have to be consistent at it.

The thing that I often see with my mentees, is they do social media for three months. They start to get results, and then they get really busy with the mortgage and protection side.

And then they go through dealing with all the inquiries that they’ve managed to generate. And three months later they’ve got no leads because they stopped doing what made them busy in the first place.

You need to be consistent.

So you start at one post a day, then two posts a day, then three posts a day. Engage with other people on their channels and on their platforms.

I started in 2016 with no clients. Now fast forward to this point in time, we’re generating easily over 150 leads a month with virtually no advertising spend. And my team has grown substantially and continues to grow.

And at our latest team meeting, the whole team was saying, you know, you’re the marketer, Gary, you’re the face of the brand. You are the face of the business. Just keep doing what you’re doing. And we will manage the leads as they come into the business.

So to summarise this for you, the first thing you need to do is:

  • Ring all of your contacts. When you go self-employed, re-engage to get some relationships going. Talk to some people.
  • The second thing that you need to do is send an email to all of your contacts.
  • The third thing that you need to do is start posting consistently on your social media profile.

7. Put Out the Right Kind of Content to Attract clients Through Social Media

Your posts can’t just be all about business. And you need to share a little bit about yourself.

People will buy into who you are, not what you do.

They’ll buy into why you do it, not how you do it.

There’s a great book by Simon Sinek called “Start With Why” that talks about that.

You need to make sure that you are leveraging the opportunity to build relationships with people.

Imagine walking up to somebody consistently, or a group of people and going, Hey, I’m a mortgage broker. You want to get mortgage, Hey, I sell life insurance. You want wanna buy life insurance?

They will switch off. They will unfollow you. They will not deal with it.

The Secret to Building Relationships on Social Media

So you need to provide value. You need to lead with information. You need to help other people. You need to ask questions, engage and have a conversation.

And trust me, it’s like planting a seed and waiting for the tree to grow. Some of you will be absolutely outstanding at producing content and get results within 24 hours.

Others of you will need to learn and you will need to develop skills. But I’m a firm believer, particularly when you’re starting out, in utilising all the free and low-cost channels. Before you start paying for ads.

I started my organic social media in 2016. I didn’t start paying for any social media until 2020. So that was almost four and a half, five years of just consistently posting and had huge growth and huge customer loyalty and personal profile and understanding online.

And you can do it too.

Other posts you may like:

Build a profitable financial services business

Mortgage Advisers, are you facing overwhelm?

Overcoming low quality leads

So if you’ve liked this post, then let me know in the comments below, let me know what you think.

Ask me any questions that you might have in relation to how you can start out generating leads, inquiries, and sales.

Remember:

  • Treat this as a long game, not a short game,
  • Work out how much money you need on a monthly basis to survive
  • Don’t complain, work your butt off to make it happen.
  • And just ring everybody. Speak to everybody.
  • Go to local networking events, build relationships, relationships, relationships, and that will pay dividends over time.

So hope it’s inspired you. I hope this gives you some thought processes. I hope that you take action off of the back of this, because action is the only thing that is going to get you results.

Remember that I am here to support you with the Financial Pro Podcast

The winner of Mortgage Strategy’s Best Small Broker 2019, owner of Active Mortgage and Mortgage Pro Coach, Gary Das takes you on an entrepreneurial journey of education, inspiration, and motivation to help develop the skills generate more leads, sales profit and time so you can build a successful lifestyle business.

I’m here to help and support in any which way I can. Find me on Social Media and make sure that you engage, ask questions, comment and subscribe.

Wherever you are hearing or seeing this have a fantastic day.

And remember, now is the time to become Pro.

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