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From knocking on the door to building a $2B independent venture

There is a lot to be said for a strong culture.

This generally serves as the main difference between firms and, for many consultants, is credited with fostering growth through an ethos and community with which they feel well aligned.

Take Jim Dakota for example. His journey into wealth management began after exiting a career in accounting and joining the financial advisor training program at Edward Jones.

It was 2003, and he could easily have picked up one of the bigger wirehouse training programs, but he felt that Ed Jones was a better match for his entrepreneurial nature.

Jim built his business by knocking on doors—literally—cold-calling and networking within his community.

And that was growing, eventually leading to $85mm in assets under management at the firm.

But like many free-minded consultants we spoke with, he felt he was pushing the model and wanted more autonomy.

So in 2014, he left Jones to launch RIA Dakota Wealth Management, which would become Enso Wealth Management in 2016 – a firm that today manages some $2B in assets.

In this episode, Jim shares his story with Louis Diamond, which includes:

  • The strong culture that Jim experienced in his early days at Ed Jones—and how it became less fraternal and more competitive over time.
  • The creation of a nascent practice at the firm – and why Jim decided to split after 11 years.
  • Concern over the legal repercussions after her departure from Ed Jones—and how it affected her transition process.
  • The choice to build an RIA firm from scratch—and why he felt like the path was right versus right. Joining another firm.
  • At Enso they created the unique recruitment model- and how it differs from other platforms.
  • Also, Jim discusses what he describes as “Freedom 3.0” – and how he sees it as a driving competition in the free space.

As Jim shared, he really wanted to be a “business owner” and stand shoulder to shoulder with the business owner he was working with and the prospects he was talking to – A vision that he could feel only outside the bounds of Ed Jones .

It’s a story for any advisor who may be feeling that they have found their current firm practically the best way to address those feelings. And what’s more, a clever narrative around achieving extraordinary growth.

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