What winning Paraplanner of the Year has meant for Rebecca Lucas
11 April 2019
Rebecca Lucas talks to Professional Paraplanner about her involvement in the paraplanning community and why winning the Paraplanner of the Year award spurred her to help others.
Have you entered this year’s Paraplanner awards? There’s still time to get your entry in – the deadline is 23 April 2019. Email [email protected] for an entry form. The awards are:
In-house Paraplanner of the Year
Outsourced Paraplanner of the Year
Paraplanner Team of the Year
New Paraplanner of the Year
Administrator of the Year
It has been six years since Rebecca Lucas set up her outsourced paraplanning firm Lime Outsourced Paraplanning but the past 12 months have proved somewhat of a turning point, following Rebecca’s decision to devote more of her time to the paraplanning community.
She says: “When I set up Lime Outsourced Paraplanning, my two children were still very young and my focus was upon building up my client base and creating a sustainable business, while balancing that with family commitments.”
However, with her children now older and her business fully established, Rebecca says it felt like the right time to explore volunteering, and in her own words “give something back” to the paraplanning community.
She explains: “Now the business is established, I have more time to become involved with conferences and industry events. I always found I got so much out of these events, so it’s great for me to be able to become personally involved and give back my time and experience. Plus, I still learn a great deal from attending.”
Rebecca has recently become involved with organising Powwow Down South – an informal gathering for paraplanners to exchange views, learn from each other and share ideas. Rebecca was also asked to speak at a Personal Finance Society event, after Caroline Stuart approached her upon hearing she was interested in taking part in industry events.
For fellow paraplanners looking to do the same, Rebecca recommends putting the feelers out with industry contacts and emailing people asking if they know of any opportunities.
“The whole paraplanning community is so supportive of each other and events like this are great at bringing paraplanners together. There is no competition, everyone is willing to share their knowledge, experience and help,” she says.
It was the support and wealth of information proffered by fellow paraplanners that helped Rebecca when she made the decision to set up her own business. She took guidance from Richard Allum’s forum which contained lots of tips, and she reached out to other paraplanners for advice.
Paraplanner of the Year
Rebecca says six years later she now receives requests from others seeking to do the same, particularly following her win at the 2018 Professional Paraplanner awards, where she was named Paraplanner of the Year.
For Rebecca, winning the award came as a huge surprise; “Just being shortlisted among such fantastic names was a real honour so I never expected to win,” she admits.
After posting an article about her award on her LinkedIn page, Rebecca was astounded when it was viewed 7,000 times. The post prompted both old and new contacts to reach out to congratulate her and saw a rise in the number of new business enquiries the firm received. It also led to other paraplanners approaching Rebecca to ask for her advice and tips on setting up their own outsourcing business.
“Winning the award has been an all-round positive experience and being recognised for the work I’ve done drove me to want to help others and give some of my time back to the community,” she says.
Rebecca hopes that the current paraplanner-specific events will help make paraplanning a more obvious career choice for others and says she will continue to be involved with different events and initiatives.
And the beauty of being self-employed means Rebecca enjoys the flexibility and freedom to invest time and effort in industry events as and when. So far, she says she has been able to strike a happy balance between focusing on growing her own business and volunteering her time.
The future is bright
Looking ahead, Rebecca believes demand for paraplanning services will continue to grow. She plans to expand her own business both in terms of client numbers and recruiting a new paraplanner to the team.
“There is a definite demand for outsourced paraplanning,” she explains. “A lot of firms I speak to either want an in-house paraplanner but can’t find the right person in the local area or want an in-house paraplanner but simply can’t afford to pay a full-time salary. A firm that offers outsourced paraplanning meets those needs.”
Rebecca also plans to launch her own platform cost comparison site, after failing to find success with existing models. While carrying out her own platform due diligence for clients on excel, Rebecca came to the idea that she could create her own website that advisers and paraplanners could use to compare platforms.
She says: “It’s been in the pipeline for a little while now, but beta testing is set to take place over the next few weeks, and we will definitely go live later this year, which is really exciting.”
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