“Be likeable and you’ll win.” It is remarkable that something so simple to understand is so difficult to implement. I think being likeable is more important than being smart or hardworking. Because if you’re likeable you can get the smart, hard working people to do what you need.
I had the pleasure to interview Ali Hashemian. Ali is the President of Kinetic Financial, a leading concierge-based financial services company in Los Angeles that provides comprehensive and customized financial strategies to clients and businesses. As a financial planning professional with over 15 years of experience, Ali is well-versed on the topic of investment planning, tax-advantaged planning, risk management, life insurance for seniors, economic conditions, and financial forecasting. Ali has also trained thousands of financial advisers in the U.S., and holds a degree in Personal Financial Planning from UCLA and a designation as a Certified Financial Planner. Ali is the author of the bestselling book, “Overtaxed: Six Powerful Tax-Free Investment Strategies,” and has been featured on major media outlets, including CNN, FOX, ABC, US News & World Report, Forbes, and more.
Thank you so much for joining us Ali! Can you tell us the story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Myfather ran a small financial practice, and I wanted to do anything but follow in his footsteps. I wasn’t attracted to working for my dad in a small “mom and pop” type of business. There is nothing wrong with a small business, it just wasn’t for me. Eventually I realized that I could use my knowledge of the industry but go in a different direction than my dad. I started by working for one of the largest financial companies in the world and then quickly realized I wasn’t the “corporate” type either. I was too creative and entrepreneurial to slowly work my way up the ladder. But I learned a lot from both small business and the big corporation environments and that is what prepared me, at the age of 28, to lead a company.
Can you share one of the major challenges you encountered when first leading the company? What lesson did you learn from that?
The biggest challenge I faced with leading the company was addressing growing pains. When a company is growing it seems like everything should be good. Unfortunately, money doesn’t solve everything. For example, you can’t control how and when you will find employees that will be integral to company growth. Sometimes there are a bunch of good candidates for hire and other times the market for talented employees is dry.
What are some of the factors that you believe led to your eventual success?
The two biggest factors we attribute to our success is the professionalism of our marketing campaigns and the passion of our team. Early on I realized that that the only thing more important than creating a relevant brand is having the employees that actually execute the company’s vision. An image is useless if you can’t deliver.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became CEO”? Please share a story or example for each.
- “A business plan is mostly useless.” We spent countless hours planning things that were never executed. We also executed things that were never planned.
- “Marketing is more about experience than about budget.” We have had very expensive marketing campaigns that did not produce much in the way of results. On the other hand, we have spent a lot less and marketing campaigns that we have perfected over the years that perform very well.
- “Look for talent everywhere.” Some of the best employees of the firm came to the company from non-traditional sources. It is important to remember that the best candidates may not be actively looking for a job.
- “Enjoy it when you’re small.” As a leader, I was constantly focused on growing the company. And there is nothing wrong with growth. But it is important to enjoy the journey. I look back fondly on the company in infancy and miss the simpler times.
- “Be likeable and you’ll win.” It is remarkable that something so simple to understand is so difficult to implement. I think being likeable is more important than being smart or hardworking. Because if you’re likeable you can get the smart, hardworking people to do what you need.
What advice would you give to your colleagues to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Clichés exist for a reason. One of my favorite sayings is, “find something you love to do for work and you’ll never work a day in your life”. I have seen people that can find the love in a career of flipping burgers. Never lose that perspective. One of my own personal sayings is “better busy than bored.” Nothing is worse than having a job where you look at the clock every 15 minutes.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
The executive management team at Kinetic Financial has been integral in helping me get where I am today. These are resourceful individuals that can solve problems independently and intelligently. However, there most important quality is loyalty. When you surround yourself with trustworthy people, executing the company goals becomes much easier.
What are some of the goals you still have and are working to accomplish, both personally and professionally?
The biggest goal I have both professionally and personally is to become somebody to everybody. Of course, attaining this goal may seem impossible. But it is precisely this constant evolution that makes this goal so satisfying. There is an unlimited number of people that you can create a lasting impression on throughout your lifetime.
What do you hope to leave as your lasting legacy?
I hope to leave this world better with a better reputation for financial advisers. Today, bad press in the financial world gets all the attention. However, every now and again, you hear that heartfelt story about how proper financial advice positively affected a person. I want that to be the norm.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would enhance people’s lives in some way, what would it be? You never know what your idea can trigger!
I think financial literacy for young people would greatly change our world. We learn about history, science, and math. But most people don’t know anything about taxes when they come out of school even though they will have to deal with taxes almost every day in some shape or form.
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