The last time Scott Leibfried was an employee, he was working at a car wash in college. He graduated in 1997, went to work as a financial advisor and never looked back. 26 years later, he’s made quite a name for himself as an entrepreneur who won’t slow down, and won’t stop growing. He is:
- A Barron’s Top 1,200 Financial Advisor
- CEO of StackStone Wealth, a Private Wealth Advisory Practice of Ameriprise Financial Services in Dubuque, IA, with 19 team members and more than $8.5M in GDC each year
- A coach and consultant running Balanced Growth Leadership, which just merged with coaching firm Dynamic Directions (D2), with Scott becoming a co-owner of D2
- A licensed pilot and avid adventurer who climbs 14,000-foot mountains for fun
“(Growth) is just part of my DNA,” he said. “We’re going to continue to grow for the right reasons. I’m a believer in scale, and if we don’t scale responsibly, we become irrelevant over time.”
These aren’t just words to Scott – they’re a life philosophy. Since he began working with D2 as a coaching client in 2009, he has taken StackStone from $856,000 in annual revenue to more than $8.5M, and increased the practice valuation from $1.4M to more than $20M.
“Scott is a rockstar,” said Travis Chaney, CEO of D2. “He has presented at multiple D2 events and his materials have been some of the most requested. We hear a lot of people say, ‘I want to be like Scott.’”
Scott attributes his growth path to learning to think bigger with the help of Travis and Dr. Nido Qubein, Travis’ own coach. “One of the things that was really holding me back had a lot to do with my belief system,” he said. “My mindset was smaller and I needed to believe bigger. The challenge was between my own ears.”
He learned to shift from primarily an advisor role to a CEO role, where he could serve as the firm’s rainmaker with the time to train other leaders while reducing his client base to a few top clients. He has also led several practice acquisitions, which has contributed to the firm’s growth.
Even as Scott experienced success as an advisor, he continued to push himself to grow personally and professionally by moving into coaching other advisors. His own coach asked him to take over the reins of Balanced Growth Leadership (which was affiliated with D2), so he began coaching in 2017. His connection with D2 has grown as Travis began coaching Scott and Scott began referring his own clients more to D2 for specific services.
As Travis and Scott spent time together (sometimes around their shared love of bourbon), they realized their value systems, work ethic, and even their surroundings meshed well. “Owensboro and Dubuque are almost sister cities demographically,” Scott said, “so there are commonalities we have from being in middle America.”
A full merger between the two coaching firms followed naturally, with Scott coming on as a partial owner of D2. “Scott passes all the tests as it relates to becoming an owner with flying colors,” Travis said. “He understands what it takes to run a large small business. It only made sense to bring him on as an owner because of all these shared commonalities and success that we’ve collectively had together.”
As part of the merger, BGL clients will become full D2 clients with access to a greater range of expert coaches along with more tools, resources, and services, and attendance at D2’s live events. Coach Nancy Ainsworth, who works alongside Scott, will join D2 as well.
“We’re inheriting two great coaches and a lot of great practices who are a very good representation of who we are and what we stand for,” Travis said. “Our mission is to work with entrepreneurial financial advisors, and by this merger, we’re expanding our footprint, which is important to us.”
Scott sees the merger as a chance for continued growth. “If you’re swimming in a small fishbowl,” he said, “your growth may be stunted because the bowl’s only so big. If we’re choosing to swim in a larger bowl, it’s not smart to jump into the ocean. In the coaching business and the financial planning business, this is the next right step for all of us.”
Scott knows about taking a lot of steps. As an avid adventurer, he has climbed 10 14,000-foot peaks in Colorado. His last climb (Long’s Peak) included 15 miles and 5,000 feet up and down at altitude. Scott and two friends started the day at 1:57 a.m. and finished 13.5 hours later at 3:27 p.m. This summer, he is headed to Grand Teton mountain in Wyoming for a more technical climb, and is planning to show up “in the best shape of my life.” Oh, and he’s a licensed pilot, so he’ll fly his own plane to get there.
Growth for Scott is not just about numbers – it’s growing personally and professionally to a state of significance. “A lot of it for me is about being a servant to the people I care about the most – my family, my team, my community,” he said. “I want to continue to be a servant through a mindset of abundance.”
Click below to watch Scott discuss how D2 has challenged him to grow, and what the results have been: