Most financial planners follow a typical process, but Chris Hobart has never been one to do things the “typical” way. After all, 9-year-olds don’t typically start a restaurant in their parents’ basement. But entrepreneurship and hard work has always made sense to Chris – and that drive led him to create a financial planning firm that does things a little differently.
Chris has always been one to dream big, for himself and others. He’s dedicated his life to helping people imagine and create for themselves that goes beyond typical. He’s also made it his mission to help clients make smart decisions for their future by providing honest, thoughtful advice and service that always exceeds expectations.
Chris even helps other advisors build their own better-than-typical practices, believing that every individual deserves access to trustworthy financial guidance. His wise counsel has been featured in national media publications, including CNBC, CBS, The Wall Street Journal and USA Today. He’s also a recurring expert guest for Charlotte Today on WCNC in Charlotte.
As an avid supporter of his local community, Chris donates time and resources to Charlotte’s local organizations. He and his wife, Renee, are avid supporters of the performing arts, and they have a joint passion for making arts education and musical theater accessible to all young people. Chris has also served on the Board of Directors for Junior Achievement of Central Carolinas, a local organization that helps young people unleash their true potential.
Family means everything to Chris. He credits his hard work ethic and positive life outlook to his parents, Randy and Arlene, who taught him valuable lessons about being a great husband, dad and leader. He spends most of his time outside of work with Renee and their two daughters, Sloane and Blythe, and he loves nothing more than traveling with his girls and seeing the world through their eyes.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
I always imagined a career path helping others and part of that meant dreaming big, both for myself as well as for others. I’ve dedicated my professional (and personal) life to helping others with their finances. At just 9 years old, I started a “restaurant” in my parents’ basement and from there I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur. Fast forward and I founded Hobart Financial Group which we are currently rebranding to Hobart Wealth which more accurately represents the services we offer to our clients. Our goal is to help clients grow and preserve their wealth.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Every day I wake up at 5:45am. I have a very strict ritual of working out from 6am-7am, making time for my family and taking my kids to school from 7am-7:45am, and then I’m at my desk from 7:45am to 5:30pm. Unlike many entrepreneurs who say you have to work around the clock, 5:30pm-9:30pm is my family time. From 9:30pm-10pm I spend time planning for the next day, and I’m in bed and asleep by 10pm every night.
How do you bring ideas to life?
My wife always jokes that I am a kite and she is the one on the ground holding the string, preventing me from flying away into the unknown. My wife is a wonderful ground for me keeping me in touch with reality. I’ve always been an idea person, and coming up with ideas has never been a challenge for me. The key is having a great team behind me to help implement and bring ideas to life. That is what I’ve established at Hobart Wealth and I make sure I have that team in place before embarking on any new ideas.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Blockchain and crypto. It’s been a while since anything has really disrupted the financial industry like blockchain and crypto have been and in my opinion will continue to do, and innovation is always healthy for a marketplace.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Thinking time. Far too often, entrepreneurs act without much thought. While it’s important not to overanalyze, it is important to step back and think about various situations and give my mind the time it needs to connect the dots and think through different possible outcomes to a situation.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Build it smart from the beginning to prevent having to rework or redo it over time. I’m a big believer in doing things right the first time.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I don’t believe in reading piles of books. Most entrepreneurs will say that reading a multitude of books every week or month is the key to success. I’m a much bigger believer in reading the same few books multiple times over to engrain the lessons and actually incorporate them into your life and business. The key here is finding a few stellar books that are worth reading multiple times!
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Take time to rest your mind. It is okay to sit around and watch TV from time to time or do something that helps rejuvenate your mind. You don’t have to be on 24/7/365. Sometimes your mind needs a break and I have found that these breaks help make me even more productive as an entrepreneur.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
This isn’t rocket science but so many businesses do it wrong. Client experience is everything. I go to extreme lengths to ensure our clients have a positive, unique, memorable experience, and that goes beyond just delivering on the product or service you offer. It comes from building a culture around being customer obsessed and thinking of every little nuance of a client experience.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Keeping team members who are not a good cultural fit within Hobart Wealth. We now focus very heavily on ensuring every team member we hire is the right cultural fit first and foremost prior to hiring, and ensure we fire quickly if we find someone who ends up being the wrong fit.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I’ve always had this idea of creating a dental cleaning office. No dentist or doctors, just dental hygienists who can offer a monthly cleaning membership where you can pop in for a quick 10 minute monthly deep cleaning without the fear of the drill.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
It was more than $100 but as an entrepreneur I believe every dollar we spend as a business on top-tier employees is a dollar well spent. Your employees are everything especially in a service based business, if you have one going above and beyond buy them a $100 dinner gift card or some other small action to let them know you appreciate them.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Calendly – it helps make scheduling meetings with clients and partners super easy without 50 emails back and forth trying to find a time that works for everyone.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The Road Less Stupid by Keith Cunningham. I am not a huge reader as I need a book that is an easy read that I can consume easily and quickly to get ideas flowing. For a business owner however, this book is a must read, as it has had a huge impact on myself and my business and is loaded with impactful ideas that will challenge your thinking.
What is your favorite quote?
“You’re not as smart as you think, but you have more potential than you can imagine”
-Client experience is everything and that goes beyond just delivering on a product/service
-Culture and hiring the right employees who fit your culture can
-Take time to think and let your mind rest and recharge
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.