E24 | Finding Clients and Watching Video Games

What if you could turn your passion into your best source for leads?

What if you were finding clients in the communities you were most passionate about?

I think this is a great idea and is exactly what Galen Herbst de Cortina did.  Galen is an avid “gamer.” He likes video games and video game culture. He’s part of the Twitch and gaming community.  His firm is a southern California based RIA, Buff Your Finances that is branded and oriented to the gamer community.

Galen is building a practice that appeals to younger clients.  In this episode of the show Galen shares details about his two major marketing channels.

  1. Sudden money recipients and active members of the “Twitch” gaming community.
  2. People with student loan issues

What is Twitch?

Twitch is a platform that enables people to watch other people playing video games, and monetize it.  Twitch is an Amazon acquisition that allows “streamers” to live broadcast themselves playing a video game. It’s akin to watching live sports, only it’s video games and viewers build a interpersonal relationship with the video game star. This has turned into big business. Amazon bought the platform for close to $1b.

Why do gamers need a financial planner?

There are people who win tournament prizes and there are a variety of sponsorship/paid traffic opportunities. As a result, it’s a community that is in need of financial advice. And Galen has been there to be that advisor.  These are people who people who go from “What was a passion to become a professional.”

The video game culture is a tight knit community so it is also an ideal place to find clients. The success stories are Sudden Money stories.  People who just liked to play a game, entered a competition and received a six or seven figure purse.  Then these folks have a number of serious and sudden financial planning needs.  They just got pushed into a new tax bracket, their cash flow changed suddenly and then there is question understanding their relationship with this sudden income, and help rationalizing how something that was a hobby is now a business.

Galen wants to be “Helpful and affordable to the community that needs it.”

Then there is the not-such-a-success story.  Someone who isn’t a “pro” but is part of the community.  They have a situation that needs financial help and knows Galen through their virtual community.  Maybe this person is a software coder, or has some other day job that has created a financial planning need, rather than a professional gamer; but they know they need a financial planner.  Galen has spoken at Twitch-Con and has established trust with this community.  He has positioned himself (along with one other firm) to be the go-to gaming CFP(R) Pro and is top-of-mind for this community.

The core of his strategy is to educate his audience and have him be top-of-mind for his niche and to teach his audience good financial principals through his digital marketing.  This is in the spirit of episode E21 | Moving Beyond AUM and Finding HENRYs, where Sophia talks about the fiduciary duty to help elevate the financial literacy of anyone in her audience.

Student Loans

The other arm of Galen’s business is advising millennials on student loans.  He is able to offer modular projects where he helps clients with this specific and pervasive need.

This is an important topic because most of these clients come from other advisors.  Galen appreciates the referral and has a specific relationship with these clients.  Using a strategy like Eric Roberge shares in E06 | Working with the Press (part 1), if the client realizes their larger financial planning needs and wants help with it, he sends the referral back to the original advisor for that work.

Don’t kill the golden goose, send the client back to the referral.



I had Galen come on the show because I think he has created an excellent example of a millennial firm.  The firm supports his life and leans into his passions.  He has been able to become a thought leader in a specific niche and a tight knit community that heavily supports itself.  He has found a group of people who need his help and appreciate his advice.

I think there are a variety of tight knit communities like Galen’s.  There are fields of wide open opportunities for new RIAs to find clients through communities that vet and trust each other.  Look at the communities that you are a part of and passionate about.  What are their financial planning needs?  Is there enough opportunity that it is worth designing an offering that is specific to that group?  It might be your church, your region, your hobby or what your spouse’s industry.

There are a lot of people who need financial advice and you can only have the conversation effectively with so many people.  Working within your passion as a niche could present enough opportunity to build a solid wealth management business.

Jake Wagner, CDMP

About the Author

Jake Wagner, CDMP

Jake is trained as a Certified Digital Marketing Professional. He is called to connect true financial planning professionals with their clients and prospects through effective digital marketing. He understands the needs and concerns of the financial planning profession and the wide range of regulatory compliance needs and concerns.

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