Nadine-Lajoie

Title: President and CEO, Lajoie des Finances Inc.

City: Montreal (Ile-Perrot)

In the business: 16 years

Book size: in excess of $45 milllion

Fastest time on the race track: 180 mph

I’m currently reading: Everything is Subject to Change by Greg Reid

CAPITALIZE ON YOUR DESPAIR

In 1995, I contracted severe pneumonia and lost 18 pounds along with my will to live. I was a secretary for an insurance brokerage but a colleague coaxed me to leave and rediscover myself. After recovering, I got my insurance licence.

The story of my struggles became the cornerstone of my client relationships. I worked not only to better their financial lives, but I also encouraged them to talk about their dreams, struggles, fears and philanthropic interests. One client told me about a troubled child, and I referred her to a life coach. The intervention changed her family: the child’s grades improved and he got along better with family and friends.

In the next three years, I gained 450 clients. I now have more than 800 and a business partner so we can continue to provide personalized service.

OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE

In 2001, I bought a motorbike and participated in a racing season three years later, marking the start of my second life as an international racer. People said I would never be successful starting at 34. Yet I placed in more than fifty competitions: third at Daytona against 75 men in 2007 and ninth that same year in the National WERA Championship.

A few years ago, when the pace of business became overwhelming, I trained my associate to become my business partner. Then I bought an RV and toured 21 U.S. states for four months, racing bikes, making friends, attending financial and lifestyle conferences, and expanding my network.

DEFY THE NAYSAYERS

Guys I worked with in the finance industry placed bets against me. When I resurged with a growing client base, they were stunned. My strength comes from retaining my sensitivity and vulnerability. I am unafraid to make emotional connections, and unapologetic about who I am. As a result, I attract a better quality of clients.

Originally published in Advisor's Edge