Work At Home Success Profile of Drew Parker, The Complete Retirement Planner
Drew Parker is the creator of The Complete Retirement Planner. Setting new standards for personal financial planning tools, his company provides the means for anyone to easily create a comprehensive, year by year retirement plan that is as individualized and accurate as possible. The company was founded in 2017, and quickly gained satisfied customers from coast to coast.
Prior to founding TCRP, Drew Parker spent 16 years as a Financial Planner and Financial Manager for a Fortune 500 company, gaining extensive experience in designing and building financial planning tools. He’s also a G.I.A. trained Gemologist, with 15 years of experience in the fine jewelry industry as the Vice President of a fine jewelry retailer, and then as a Vice President of a diamond wholesaler. He retired from the corporate world at 55, and is now fully devoted to The Complete Retirement Planner.
1) How did you get started working from home?
I always wanted to have my own business, but never had that bright idea that would inspire me to go out on my own. When trying to plan for retirement, I was shocked that I couldn’t find an in-depth planning tool to help me figure everything out. Try to find one! Fortunately, I had experience building financial planning tools so I built my own. Then friends and associates all wanted a copy (they couldn’t find a proper planning tool either), and I knew that there was demand for a better solution for retirement planning. The Complete Retirement Planner was born, and, as an e-commerce business, it allows me to work from home.
2) How did you choose this career?
This career chose me! I never intended to start a business, I just wanted to know, with reasonable certainty, when I could be able to retire. But I couldn’t find a planning tool that accounted for enough personal information, provided a year by year plan, had flexibility, and that didn’t use assumptions that didn’t apply to me.
During my search I also learned that 74% of households have no retirement plan, and don’t know how to create one. With retirement calculators being nothing more than misleading toys, no comprehensive planning tools, and advice columns that only regurgitate vague rules of thumb, I knew why. Retirement planning is a critical step in achieving financial security, and I wanted to help the 74% with the means to create a plan that would be as accurate as possible.
Having a well thought out goal, and, more importantly, knowing what it will take to achieve it, is knowledge that everyone should have.
3) How did you get started (initial steps)?
Building a retirement planner that will work for anyone (think of all the possible variables!), but is still user friendly, is no small feat, so developing the product was the first step.
Once the planner was ready, I started a Kickstarter campaign to fund the start-up costs for creating an e-commerce company. Unfortunately, the campaign didn’t reach its goal so instead of hiring people to design an e-commerce web site, set up an LLC, help with SEO, write copy, etc., I learned how to do it all myself. It was time consuming, and often
frustrating, but I learned a lot about what it takes to accomplish each of these tasks. If you don’t understand every aspect of your business, you won’t be in a position to make the best decisions down the road. You don’t always need to do
everything yourself, but you should at least have a solid understanding of what it really takes to do each job.
In the end, I was able to be fully operational for less than $1,000 instead of the projected $8,000-$10,000 it would have cost otherwise. Believe in your ability to learn!
4) How did you get your first customer?
I contacted everyone who had made a pledge to my Kickstarter campaign, and offered them the same discount they would have received had the campaign been successful.
Since they already supported the project, they were pleased to be able to get the product even though the campaign had failed. I also asked friends, family, and past business associates to mention the web site on Facebook. I didn’t want to spend money on advertising before I knew how well received the planner would be, so I let the business grow organically. In only a couple of months we had customers from coast to coast. Growing organically builds a stronger customer base, and provides important information for future marketing without spending money up front.
5) How do you market your business?
We’ve been very fortunate to grow organically from the beginning. As an e-commerce business, we’ve tried running ads with Facebook and Google AdWords, but have had little success.
Reaching out to online magazines, bloggers, and other influencers has provided better results in terms of generating traffic to the website. For a small business, referrals will always generate more interest, and a better conversion rate, than general advertising. If you have a large advertising budget, that might produce different results, but our priority was to
help keep our prices well below market by not spending on a traditional advertising campaign. It works for us, but each
business will need to tailor that decision to their unique situation.
6) What does a typical day look like?
Every day involves reading customer feedback to come up with new features and improvements, reviewing the web site analytics to get insight into our customer base, and working on blog posts about key planning thoughts. The goal is always to improve the product, and to learn something new.
7) What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started?
I had plenty of experience running a business, but no experience starting a business from the ground up. With so much to learn, I wish that I had sought out the advice of others with start-up experience early on in the process. You can learn
it all yourself if you’re determined enough, but it will take a lot more effort and time, and you’ll have to learn everything the hard way. You will benefit greatly from reaching out to others who have done what you endeavor to do, and by allowing their experience to shape your concepts and methods.
8) What advice do you have for someone wanting to work from home?
When you work in a company environment there are always people around you to help with questions, and to offer guidance.
If you run your own business from home, by yourself, or with others, you don’t have the same type of support.
You will be solely responsible for keeping yourself focused, so keep this in mind:
-Look for an opportunity to create a product/business that will help others. It will be both rewarding, and humbling.
-Never lose sight of your objective, or fall into the trap of spending too much time on tasks that don’t add to the bottom
-Believe in yourself, and your ability to accomplish whatever is necessary.
-Always strive to improve – both your business, and yourself.
– Treat your customers better than they expect to be treated.
Find Drew Parker Online: The Complete Retirement Planner
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Leslie Truex is an ideaphoric writer, speaker, entrepreneur, social worker and mom trying to do it all from the comfort of her home. Since 1998, she's been helping others create careers they love by providing work-at-home information and resources through Work-At-Home Success.
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