Glenda Schmidt | Crain's Portland

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Glenda Schmidt


Glenda Schmidt founded Schmidt Financial Group in 1993 and ran the business alone for 10 years. She's now in the process of transferring the $300 million financial planning company to her son. 

The Mistake:

Not doubling down in the first decade of the business.

There was only me, and I was doing all of the worksite marketing, all of the on-boarding of clients, all of the servicing of clients. It was just me. I didn’t have any backup. I really should have done a pause long enough to bring in somebody so that I could double down on growing the business in the first decade. But I didn’t.

And I think it was because I was kind of a lone ranger at that point, thinking that I was unique. There weren’t a lot of people like me, so there wasn’t an obvious way to go find another Glenda.

[In 2003] was when I really started building the infrastructure. There was still growth, but when I look back on that, it really was a lost opportunity in a way. I don’t know if I could have pulled it off if I had done it any differently, but just in hindsight I recognize that. And it was a risk that I probably should have taken, because I knew I was onto something; it was very successful.

In my own business, early on, I had more risk capacity than I took.

The Lesson:

Don’t take more risks than you need to take, and know your risk parameters. There are two forms of risk. There’s the risk in the market that you’re willing to take. And then this is the financial planning part of it, which is, “We know the market risk now, and now we need to look at it from the basis of your financial plan.” What is your capacity risk?

I’ve been doing this a long time, and I always feel like you just have these divine appointments. You have these periods, these seasons of your life where you’re learning something, and then you just apply that. But you have to be open to the opportunity.

I’ve always been open to the opportunity, but I think in my own business, early on, I had more risk capacity than I took. That was a limiting factor for me.

Follow Schmidt Financial Group on LinkedIn here.

Photo courtesy of Glenda Schmidt.


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