Question of the Week
Creating Impact As A Socialist Advisor
Another great MDB episode this week. I chatted with Zach Teutsch and Ari Weisbard, the managing partners of Values Added Financial. Values Added Financial helps progressives build thoughtful, prosperous, and impactful financial lives. Through their business, Zach and Ari aid clients with balancing their own needs with the work they do in the world.
In the episode, Zach and Ari share how running a feminist, LGBTQ-friendly, and anti-racist company has helped them attract more clients than they ever imagined. They also discuss the importance of articulating who you are and why saying no to the wrong clients makes room for the right ones.
Mission-driven businesses don’t just talk the talk.
Like other guests on the show, Ari describes a mission-driven business as one that cares about more than just profit. In practice, that means making decisions that balance the interest of the business with those of the broader mission.
“For us, at Values Added, we care about our teammates; we care about our clients; and we care about the world,” Ari said.
For Zach and Ari, the definition of a mission-driven business goes a little deeper because they also put their values into practice. As Zach explained, that means publicly campaigning for higher taxes and investing in organizations wanting to create a more just system.
“If we had a different business, there would be real business consequences that were negative, but because we’re so public about who we are, it means I can say things and not worry,” Zach said.
Socialist financial advisors are in demand.
Thanks to being unapologetic in his beliefs and actions, Zach has gained a reputation on and offline as a socialist financial advisor. Although the term sounds contradictory, that language has resonated with the right type of clients and has been a boon for business.
“There are way more socialists who need a financial advisor than there are socialist financial advisors,” Zach said. “That’s been one of the surprises to me is just how many amazing people need the exact thing we want to provide.”
The focus on wealthy progressives as clients has helped Valued Added Financial have an even more significant social impact than he could have initially imagined, Ari said. Zach added that there is enough space in this niche for other mission-driven entrepreneurs to be successful, although he didn’t fully believe it was possible until it happened.
“I knew it is true that the more niche you are, the more people are excited,” Zach said. “I knew that in theory, but it was really hard to believe until it happened to us.”
Put your values up top.
True to its name, Values Added Financial prioritizes and celebrates its company values. Stating those values up top has helped Zach and Ari not only to attract the right clients but also to attract better job candidates.
“By putting a version of those values right at the top of our job application and using language that’s a little bit more colorful and full-bodied than the typical Equal Opportunity statement, it did help to get a very diverse candidate pool applying,” Ari said. “In the same way it helps us get the exact right clients to come to us, it was really helpful to get a really great, strong, diverse candidate pool.”
Quote of the Week
“I knew it is true that the more niche you are, the more people are excited…but it was really hard to believe until it happened to us.” – Zach Teutsch
Task of the Week
I really, really loved this episode, especially the validation around how being yourself helps attract the right people to you. And I hope you find it helpful too. Here are some other ways to check out Values Added as well: