Do you have an interest in entering the financial services field? Lucky you!

The U.S. economy is thriving in many areas and the country is well-diversified. If one industry has a bad year, the others can take up the slack, making for a nice, stable environment for planners. However, we can still assume the markets will go both up and down. Either way, market volatility creates awareness and new challenges. This is a major reason why financial professionals are important.

The road to becoming a successful financial professional is difficult. Here are five things you should consider if you want to be a financial professional.

1. Understanding the Financial Markets Isn’t Enough

It’s great if you’re a financial wizard, but ironically enough this will only take you so far as a financial professional. All too often I interview candidates who have a tremendous resume with respect to their financial knowledge and analytical background. They know what they are talking about when it comes to being able to read analysts’ reports and talk about the current financial markets but at the end of the day they don’t get an offer. Why you might ask? Read number 2 to find out!

2. Marketing Yourself Is the Secret Sauce

The financial services industry is competitive. You have to set yourself apart, somehow, and you have to get the word out that your service is superior. The world won’t come to you because of your “financial expertise”—you have to go out to the world. Networking, social media, door-to-door prospecting, cold-calling, or contacting people you know are all tools you can use to get yourself out there and let people know what you can do.

Show up, hustle every day, and tell a story that is unique. There is no other way to do it. If you can market yourself, you will most likely succeed at a high level as a professional.

3. Surround Yourself with People Who Inspire You

Getting started as a financial professional is a roller coaster ride of good days and bad days. Unfortunately, there are naysayers, haters, and lazy people out there just waiting to get you when you’re down. Get caught up in that negativity and you can assure yourself of a lackluster career.

You need people both in and outside of your group who can inspire you. You’ll still need to be a self-starter to be a good financial professional—other people can only motivate you so much—but the attitudes of those around you have the ability to help drive you towards success or possibly failure. Be mindful of those you surround yourself with. Which leads to number 4….

4. Not all Financial Companies are Created Equally

The moment you put yourself out there to be working as a financial professional, potential employers will call. In our industry, companies have limited risk in hiring and recruiters are often paid for every hire they make no matter how bad the new employee is. Do you really want to work on a team of bad employees? Just because you get an offer, doesn’t mean you should take it.

There are a lot of great financial services companies to work for and quite frankly, some not so great. Do your homework; learn about your potential employer. And when they interview you, you should interview them. Look at the company’s culture, its products, what others say about the organization—basically, you’re looking for a good fit, a place where you can excel and where you want to spend your time. The search isn’t easy, but building good relationships never is. Find the person, the group, that feels right. Don’t fall for pitches. Ask them “why should I work for you?” Then listen.

5. This Career Is a Marathon, not a Sprint

If you are looking to hit it big fast, just stop reading now and go do something else.

The financial services business is a marathon. There will be good moments and bad moments, but you are building for the future. You are creating relationships from nothing and you must prove yourself. Earning trust takes time. If you commit to the process, mile after mile, like a great endurance athlete, you will be building toward a successful career that will hopefully increase—year after year.

Is Financial Services for You?

There is incredible responsibility in being a financial professional. Families and businesses will rely on you. While the pressure can be tough, the rewards of serving others are hard to beat. And I say, go for it!