John Sastry is a native of Chicago, IL. His father, Tony was a professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology and his mother, Barbara, was a school teacher. John’s father eventually took a professorship at Bradley University. John graduated from Richwoods High School in Peoria, IL.
He then graduated from Truman State University, where he was a Presidential Scholar and Army ROTC cadet. He was commissioned as an Army Intelligence Officer and proudly served with various units including the 82nd and 101st Airborne (Paratrooper) Corps. He left active service with the rank of Captain.
John then graduated from the University of Missouri School of Law, where he was selected to the Order of Barristers. While in practice, he was a clerk to U.S. Administrative Law Judges and also was an Estate Planning attorney. John was a member of the Probate Committee of the Missouri Bar and published several probate-centered articles for the Journal of the Missouri Bar and the Missouri Lawyers Weekly
John met several financial advisors when wrapping up probate estates. He was intrigued by the financial advisors’ knowledge of financial markets, lack of having to account for billable hours and client-centered focus. At their urging, he studied and passed the Certified Financial Planner exam and has worked in the financial services industry for the past 15 years.
He and his wife Angela live in Chesterfield, MO. John is an avid sport motorcycle rider and collects vintage arcade games. He and Angela also frequent the beautiful rivers in Missouri and Arkansas by canoe.
How did you get started in the business?
I got started in financial services because of the billable hour. I didn’t like the amount of work it took to account for it or what it entailed. I thought financial advisors charged by the hour and one day commiserated with them about the process. However, they informed me that they did not charge by billable hour at all and that caught my attention.
How do you make money?
By delivering financial solutions to clients.
How long did it take to become profitable?
Unlike brick and mortar businesses with large fixed expenses, financial planning has very low overhead. When I first started, I would meet clients at their homes or at restaurants. I worked with very low overhead. I was, therefore, able to become profitable fairly quickly – probably within a few months. However, it took a few years to feel comfortable with my level of earnings.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it work?
Yes, of course. However, I learned the 40% rule in the Army. When you think you are ready to quit, you still really have 60% left in the tank. Also, I had no Plan B.
How did you get your first customer?
I actually solicited my physician, who was nearing retirement. He began working with me and referred me to other physicians.
What is one marketing strategy other than referrals that you’re using that works really well to generate business?
I was never very successful with advertising. It was expensive and I did not get great results. II network with attorneys, CPA’s and business contacts. I have found success in showing them what I do in terms of financial planning and contrasting my approach vs. other advisors they might encounter.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
Success is relative, isn’t it? What has made me consistent is that I know that I don’t have all the answers. However, I am willing to get the answers by learning new things and communicating them.
What is your most satisfying moment in business?
When clients and their children tell me, ‘Thank you.’
What is your favorite free time activity?
I enjoy sport motorcycle riding. I am a member of a racing club and try to get out as much as I can. Sport riding has the ancillary benefit of forcing me to remain relatively fit, as you must become one with the bike when performing demanding riding. My current bike is a Honda CBR 1000.