Stephanie Cox Hulsey is a financial advisor from Knoxville, Tennessee. Always aware she would work in the finance industry, Stephanie began her journey to becoming a financial advisor at an early age.
With an affinity for numbers, she began working for her uncle as a bookkeeper at his sporting goods store after graduating high school. In addition to allowing her to gain valuable experience, Stephanie Cox Hulsey used this job as an opportunity to test her investment skills. After saving her wages and earning money through investments, she put herself through university to become a financial advisor.
Stephanie Cox Hulsey continued to pursue her goals by working as an intern at various financial firms while attending university. This allowed her to learn from some of the best financial advisors in the industry. Through these ventures, she truly found her passion for helping clients take control of their finances and eliminate debt. After graduation, she worked in New York for several years before moving back to her hometown of Knoxville.
Today, Stephanie Cox Hulsey owns and operates her own private firm in Knoxville, Tennessee. She offers valuable investment advice and portfolio management to a range of loyal clients.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
After putting in the hard work to get my degree and spending years gaining experience in the industry, I thought that creating my own firm was something I was qualified to do and capable of pursuing. I wanted to move from New York back to my hometown and I thought that was the perfect opportunity to venture out on my own and start my own firm. I got my business up and running as soon as I returned home and I haven’t looked back since. I don’t regret not doing it sooner — I think I needed to use those early years to gain experience from others. I think that it’s my extensive experience that helps me to be successful with my firm.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Typically, I’ll get up early and jump right into my day, after some coffee, that is. I spend my day working closely with my clients, doing research, and evaluating outcomes to help provide them with the best support possible. To make sure I’m productive, I allow myself some time for breaks throughout the day. I think this is very important. I’ll often stop to take a walk or to read the newspaper, just as a way to step away from work for a short mental break. I find this keeps me productive by ensuring I don’t get too overloaded and overworked. If that happens, then productivity declines and nothing gets done.
How do you bring ideas to life?
If I have an idea or something I’d like to try out, I’ll write it down first. I’ll note the idea, as well as the steps I think I’ll need to take to bring it to life. After doing this, I’ll sit on the idea and allow myself to absorb it in full. After I’ve given myself some time to think it through and decide I want to move forward, then I’ll get to work on the steps I’ve come up with for myself.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I love the continued trend in technology that we are seeing. Nearly every industry has been touched by technology at this point but I think we have a lot farther to go. For instance, in the finance industry, there is still a lot of paperwork that needs to be done on a regular basis. With the help of technology, I think we can and should eliminate this. No one needs to be writing memos with a pen and paper these days, there are so many more efficient and more secure ways.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I think that allowing myself to take breaks throughout the day and ensuring that I get some quality time away from work at night really helps me to be productive. If I overwork myself then my productivity definitely falls and therefore these breaks and personal time help me avoid that.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would say there’s no need to doubt yourself. For a long time, I struggled with gaining confidence in myself and my work. But, after years of schooling, internships, and work experience, there was really no reason to think that I couldn’t succeed. I would tell myself that you need to believe in yourself and be confident in your skills and abilities.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
While they might agree with me to some extent, I don’t think anybody fully feels the way I do about paperwork. I just think paperwork that involves an actual pen and paper, at this point, is so archaic. With computers and other technology, we can be much more efficient and effective than we are when handwriting documents.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I read. I read nearly every day and I think it’s a great habit to get into. Whether you’re reading about topics in your industry or just about world events, I think you can gain a lot from reading. In fact, some of my best ideas have come when I read something that inspires me or helps me to think about a scenario in a new way. I would recommend everyone take some time to read, at least a few times a week, if not daily.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
A focus on personalized service and exceptional customer service has really helped me grow my firm. Too many businesses these days forget how important customer service is. Being a people person and working closely with clients not only allows me to get to know them better, but it also helps me understand their preferences and thought process, which is so helpful in my industry and, I would imagine, almost any industry.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I think my biggest setback, thus far, has been the lack of confidence I had in myself early on. Eventually, I overcame my self-doubt by focusing on aspects of my work that I was confident in. By reminding myself of my experience and knowledge, I was able to get rid of that little voice telling me that I might not be capable. After I was able to overcome that, everything fell into place. Confidence is such a huge success factor and it’s important that people remind themselves that they are capable of whatever they put their mind to.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I’m not sure if this already exists but I think it would be great to have a website where people could find mentors in their industry. I think having a mentor is so important, especially when you are just starting out in a field. Often it can be hard to know where to look for one, or, if you have someone in mind, to know if they would be willing to mentor you. This is where I think this idea would come in handy. Students and new employees could find possible mentors in their area or even within their company or school that would be willing to work with them.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I recently purchased a subscription to a meditation app. So far, I’ve been extremely happy with my purchase. Meditating helps me to clear and rest my mind so that I can be more productive while I’m working and this app has really helped me to do that.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
As simple as it is, the reminders app on my phone has been so helpful for me. Not only do I use it to remind me when I have appointments and deadlines, but I also use it to remind myself when I need to take a break and even sometimes when my day should be over.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
There’s not one book in particular, but I think everyone, whether they’re in the financial industry or not, should read about budgeting. Whether it’s a book or even an article online, I think it’s so important that people understand budgeting and practice creating and following a budget, especially early on in life.
What is your favorite quote?
I love that quote that says something like, whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right. I think it’s so powerful because it speaks to being confident and to the extent to which confidence can help you succeed in whatever you’re doing. Whenever a moment of self-doubt crosses my mind, I always think of this quote just to remind myself that I’m in control of what I can and cannot succeed in doing.
• Being confident in yourself is an important key to success.
• Taking time to relax your mind and to step away from work each day is important to upkeep productivity.
• Learning from others, whether it be working with a mentor or reading an article or book, is a great way to grow and develop new ideas and knowledge.
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.