MATTHEW SHEIBLER: Good morning, everyone. Welcome to the interactive entrepreneur, sponsored by interactive accountants, where we help you minimize your taxes and measure your success. Today is episode number six. We're meeting with Antonio Lopez this morning, who happens to be a friend and colleague of mine. Antonio Lopez has been on wall street for about 15 years now, dealing.
Advising clients on financial matters, banking. You name it. If it arounds wall street, this guy's probably touched it at some point in time. We're gonna be talking with Antonio a little bit about, you know, what he's doing today. You know, his greatest successes, his greatest failures, the typical four questions we ask our entrepreneurs.
A little bit more background on Antonio. He happens to be a Jersey boy, just like me born and bred. And now he's a Miami transplant, just like half the world seems to be lately. So without further ado, I want to introduce everyone to Antonio Lopez and we're gonna start it right from the get go Antonio.
Tell me what is your biggest success in your career and what did it.
ANTONIO LOPEZ: Well, good morning, Matt. And thanks for having me on I would say my biggest success was to take the huge leap forward and putting 101% faith in myself to be an entrepreneur. I always worked for other people up until November of 2018.
At that point, I, I took a huge leap and started my own financial advisory practice. But before that I always worked for others. Always had a boss. now it's just me and my clients. So that was the biggest success. Believe myself, taking that huge step forward and building everything I've done since.
MATTHEW SHEIBLER: done since then, and being an entrepreneur, right?
Taking that leap of faith. What is it taught you?
ANTONIO LOPEZ: It's taught me that I'm a lot better at this than I originally thought I was gonna be. Right. Because momentum of small successes adds. Right. When you realize that you are a bird that can fly out of the nest and find your own worms and, you know, go on forward.
It means a lot. So when you take that first step, it's like, where am I gonna find clients? So you're throwing everything against the wall. Some things stick, other things don't, you can't be too rigid. You have to have a plan, but you have to know when to pivot. So one of the biggest things I've learned is you have to be.
You have to be persistent. You can't think that something's a failure if it doesn't work the first or second time, but you have to do no when to pivot off. Cool.
MATTHEW SHEIBLER: So having, have you set all those wonderful words of wisdom right there? You know, definitely I can identify with the baby steps in my career as an entrepreneur.
I've definitely run into a bunch of walls. You know what I mean? I've got the bruises and the scars to prove. But you know, bouncing off those walls, not necessarily like a rubber ball, but you know, just like realizing that you, you hit a, you hit a wall where you, you, you know, there's a blockage somewhere in the path, not stumbling on it.
And moving on to the next thing and seeing what sticks to your point, like, you know, our, our moms used to throw the pasta against the wall to see if it was done right. When it was done, it would stick to the wall. Right. You know what I mean? I still do that when I cook pasta , you know, my wife doesn't like it too much, but I still do it.
So, you know, having, you know, having heard that everybody, you know, my, just to kind of recap what Antonio said is, is, you know, launching a career as an entrepreneur, you know, and, and running into those walls and not only, you know, learning from those, those encounters that we have, but, you know, also like pivot.
Or changing direction and, you know, not just giving up is what I heard, you know, don't give up.
ANTONIO LOPEZ: Right, right, right. I'll I'll give an example there. You know, whether you are a financial advisor or you're in any type of business where you have to go out and get clients they're not walking in. Your they're.
MATTHEW SHEIBLER: Banging on the doors or anything like that.
We, you know, unless you've got the greatest latest donut in your donut shop was that cronut remember Cronus back in New York city?
ANTONIO LOPEZ: An alpha and you know, you're an alpha be an alpha, but there were times when I felt like, well, I have to stay in first gear, right.
Or I should stay in first or second year neutral.
MATTHEW SHEIBLER: You just want to hit the clutch and go second, third and bang the
ANTONIO LOPEZ: games. Do you know what, if you are gonna fail, fail being your. Right. Don't fail being a lesser version of yourself, whether you're an alpha or whatever else.
MATTHEW SHEIBLER: So that's the lesson learned is if you, if you're, you know, we're gonna fail that's without doubt failures always happen.
You know what I mean? There's the reason that's how you learn. That's raise the Lord. It's a reason why people say, you know, you know, two steps forward, one step back. Right. You know, but you know, to, to take those failures and learn from them, right. That's. Probably the hardest thing, I think, for any entrepreneur to take the failure, learn from it.
How do you apply it?
ANTONIO LOPEZ: Try not to make the same mistake twice, right?
MATTHEW SHEIBLER: Absolutely. Yeah. You know, cuz as they say, the definition of insanity right. Is doing the same thing over and over and over and expecting different results.
ANTONIO LOPEZ: Yeah. Yeah. I have, I have a, I have another friend who's a financial advisor in his first year.
He did something like 59 lunches in one year to try to create. Clientele. He, you pay for lunch, bring people in advertise or bring people in, not one client from 59 lunches.
MATTHEW SHEIBLER: Some of his lunch would have just a big meals, entertainment deduction that year. Pretty much yeah. Yeah.
ANTONIO LOPEZ: Huge. But he's like, oh, I just, what? You know, but he, he loved getting up and talking front of you, but okay. He pivoted off.
MATTHEW SHEIBLER: Gotcha. Gotcha. All right. So here in that, now we're gonna get into number one business tip. For any entrepreneurs that are listening today, what would be like the number one thing that you tell people that are either, you know, getting into business for themselves, or even thinking about getting into business for themselves or have been in business for themselves for 20 years?
Like what's your mantra?
ANTONIO LOPEZ: Do a SWOT analysis define a SWOT analysis for us SPER. W four weakness O for opportunities T for strength. Okay. You have to do a SWOT analysis that has to be part of your business plan.
MATTHEW SHEIBLER: I have never done a SWOT analysis. I'll be honest. What I do is a personal balance sheet.
Okay. You know what I mean? Where I chalk up my assets, I chalk up my liabilities and hopefully my assets are greater than my liabilities. That's a good accountant. You would. And I got equity, right? I think like an accountant, you know what I mean? But I actually know a lot of people that use this concept, not just for.
Business, but for life. Yeah. You know what I mean? Yeah. Like, all right, I'm doing a good job with my kids. I'm a good mom. I'm a good dad. I'm a good son, a good daughter. You know, I am a good boss, you know, a good boss or whatever. The, the case may be. You know, I'm a good coach for my, you know, the little league or whatever it is, you know what I mean? And they throw those in their assets column and then they'll look at their liabilities and it's. The mortgage, I, I, I should go to church more or, you know, or, you know, I should cut back on my drinking or I should, you know, cut back on all the sweets that I'm eating. You know what I mean? Whatever it may be, you know what I mean?
And at the end of the day, like I said, hopefully your assets are greater than your liabilities, but if your liabilities more than your assets, don't, don't go. That should be like what I call my personal. Right, right. That's real. If you think of a car. Yes. You know what I mean? And like, you know, the check engine light comes on and you're low on gas or you're low on gas.
You know what I mean? Something is telling you, like, your car is telling you, Hey, like something needs to change here. You know? So for me as an individual, that's my dashboard. And I, I have this expression. You've probably heard me say it before. Keep it simple. Stupid. Yes. You know, that's my mantra. So for me, when I'm looking at my dashboard, Put my check engine lights off, you know, there's gas in the tank and you know, there's nothing going on too funky with the temperature or the oil pressure.
I'm okay. Yeah. You know, but if there's something beeping or there's a light lid up somewhere, you gotta access it quick. I gotta, you know, deal with that, you know, before it gets too late and I blow an engine or, you know, I blow a relationship even worse.
ANTONIO LOPEZ: 100%. And if I, if I may say, you know, one of the most important things, I think I have a leg up on a lot of financial advisors because of my path to here.
MATTHEW SHEIBLER: I never heard a financial advisor say they have a leg up on all other financial advisors before. And it's already, never heard that before.
ANTONIO LOPEZ: Yeah. Right, right. No, but like, it goes to any business, right? If you were an apprentice to somebody else, you saw how they did. And you saw how everybody else in that line of business did the thing to serve clients or make that widget and sell that product when you're an apprentice of somebody you're, you're assessing the whole landscape.
So therefore in a SWO analysis, what are the opportunities that is where from your time serving under somebody else, you are thinking, if I did this on my own, what would be my. Before you go out and start your own company, your own business, your own service. You need to be thinking, what is your edge? Cuz your edge is gonna be your biggest selling point to get clients.
And so when you do a SWOT analysis, you, you realize that and then you build it into the business plan. Also how much money you wanna realistically make that year? Work it backwards. If you wanna make let's just say I'm throwing a crazy, let's say you wanna make a million dollars. Okay, well, how much do you charge for your service?
How many clients are you gonna have to bring on to satisfy that income? Whether it's a million dollars or a hundred thousand or 50,000, and then reverse engineering, then you know what you have to be doing every day or every month, every day, every week. And it helps build out a consistent plan and then every quarter reassess what you're doing and maybe stick with it or tweak it.
MATTHEW SHEIBLER: What I heard is. You know, again, just kind of getting back to what you're saying before with your biggest success in your career, right. Is to always have this opportunity, whether it's a SWOT analysis or whether it's just thinking about things is to say, okay, this is what's working.
ANTONIO LOPEZ: This is, what's not right. Where do I need to change?
MATTHEW SHEIBLER: Yes. You know I know Antonio is a financial advisor, so like a lot of. You know, a lot of the talk that we've heard so far is to get clients or to get this, but if you're an entrepreneur and like, let's say you're, e-commerce, you know what I mean, same principles apply, swap out clients for customers.
You know what I mean, swap out for when I'm making how much money instead of it's sales, you gotta think gross profit. You know what I mean? My sales less, my cogs gives me my gross profit and that's really, what's going to kind of, you know, feed my purse for lack of a. Okay. Fourth and final question in Antonio, we're gonna be wrapping things up to you soon. What is your biggest challenge in business right now?
ANTONIO LOPEZ: Okay, so biggest challenge. It's obviously very specific to what I do.
MATTHEW SHEIBLER: which is without a doubt, you know, we're, we're ask, we're talking to Antonio here. We're not talking to anybody else. So right.
ANTONIO LOPEZ: now, Whether you're retired or you're building wealth, it's the stock market.
Right? So I love how, when the stock market's doing great people go, I don't know, it's too high. I'm gonna wait for a pullback. Well, there's been a 15% pullback and it's the uncertainty that keeps people even more when the market obviously is up the uncertainty of how much farther can it fall to get people to move.
So I never talked to folks. That's my biggest challenge. Getting people to move the sense of urgency. Either if you keep doing what you're doing on your own, or you keep doing what you're doing with the current advisor, you have, you're not gonna be any better off. Let me show you why. And let me show you why it'd be better to work with me now, the market being down hurts, you know, because again, it adds to the uncertainty.
Well, if I change with you and the market keeps going down, did I make the right move or not? But that's on me to show the case. Gotcha. Most financial advisors, I hate to say. They charge for a plan. They rarely do one. You know, it is keeping people on track. You could have an average of 30% returns in your portfolio, but if you don't know the right type of accounts, you need to get to your goals and the right allocation and the right amount of money that you need to set aside either every month or every year, you're not gonna get to where you want to be.
Whether it's having an. To leave to your, to your heirs or have enough money to not go broke when you're retired, got it's having a plan. Most advisors don't have a plan and most people can't speak to the plan, but that is the first thing I bring up with clients. Before we talk about the returns they've got.
And that is the last thing I address at the end of every meet the plan and what they're paying for. You know what they're paying.
MATTHEW SHEIBLER: I know an accountant world. We always. You know what I mean? Some of our clients are obviously small and, and they're not really doing planning or anything like that. You know, they're just kind of winging it for lack of a better word.
Other of our clients are a little larger and they do have some plans in place. You know, I was actually working on one literally over the weekend, you know what I mean? And there's a lot of tools out there that people can use if they don't know about it. So if you're like an entrepreneur and you're looking to do some type of business planning, you know, One of the tools that interactive accountants uses is called live plan.
Okay. It actually is something that I learned when I was taking the Goldman Sachs 10,000 small business school. I'm actually a graduate from that. Nice. And the live plan lets you kind of like, you know, dictate a few things. What's my mission statement. What's my plan. You know, it allows you to do a forecast, leaving, integrate with your QuickBooks.
If you're using that software, so you can do budget versus actual stuff. And it also will do benchmarking, which is really cool. So depending on the N a I CS, which is the north American industry classification system, right. That code that you plug in there, it'll give you some benchmarking data. So if you're not involved with like another trade group or something like that, you know, and you're just doing, you know, let's say eCommerce again, you.
You could pop in there e-commerce and see what other people's margins are, see what their gross profits are normally, you know, and compare yourself. It's really cool. I'm not trying to sell live plan here or anything like that. It's just one of the tools we use. You know what I mean? But just to kind of introduce people to the concept, to your biggest, you know, tip out there, the biggest struggle planning.
ANTONIO LOPEZ: benchmarking is huge.
MATTHEW SHEIBLER: There's a lot of tools out there that people can use and sometimes they. Need to hear from somebody. So if you haven't heard me, you know what I mean? There's tools out there that you can use to plan. Right. All right. It's just a matter of finding the time to do it. Sometimes at least that's my biggest issue.
ANTONIO LOPEZ: If you're, if you fail to fail to plan.
MATTHEW SHEIBLER: you're planning to fail. Exactly. And on that note, folks, I think we're gonna wrap it up here, Antonio. Thank you so much for coming over and doing a podcast with us. If you wanna get in touch with Antonio, we're gonna give him an opportunity to give us his he's gonna give out which phone number.
MATTHEW SHEIBLER: Well, we won't even try to spell out that email one more time. just do us a favor. Repeat the telephone number two more times. Okay. It's.
ANTONIO LOPEZ: (201) 921-2938; (201) 921-2938.
MATTHEW SHEIBLER:I don't know if you ever saw it on a commercial boat. They throw out the phone number three times and usually people. Gives people enough time to write it down. You know what I mean? Yeah. Yeah. So Antonio, again, thank you so much. We really appreciate all your, you, and we'll be wrapping things up here, folks.
Thank you again for listening to the Interactive Entrepreneur Podcast sponsored by Interactive Accountants. If you are a healthcare professional, a lawyer, an e-commerce entrepreneur, or an Amazon DSP owner. Definitely reach out to Interactive Accountants. We specialize in working with those industries. Thanks everybody, everybody. You could check us out online at interactiveaccountants.com and feel free to contact Antonio. It's not every day. A visitor gives us his personal cell phone for you to reach out. I encourage you to reach out to him, ask him the question and talk with him about your financial advice.
I refer Antonio to my clients and they are happy. Thanks everyone. Take it easy.