the adviser logo

How solo brokers can beat the ‘overwhelm’

by Peter Ellis 7 minute read

Single operator brokers can sometimes feel overwhelmed by the job, but help is at hand. Broker and founder of Lending Mate, Peter Ellis, reveals his three tips for solo brokers.

Having been in the finance industry for over 12 years, eight of those running my own business, I can honestly say that I have seen it all. Starting in 2007, when we had the GFC, we’ve since seen interest rates rise then plummet, we’ve had the introduction of the NCCP, a booming property market, the banking royal commission, the changes and “different year” of 2018-19 and now, in 2020, even more changes are imminent with the best interest duty for brokers, along with many other updates.

Throughout all this time there have been highs and lows, wins and losses. Settling loans can be a mental rollercoaster when you are being inundated with leads one month and the next day you’re working out where business will come from.  For many, this rollercoaster and the changes the industry has been through have made us wonder why we do this day in, day out.

While some may have moved on from the industry, or pivoted roles, the one thing that stands out is the resilience of the solo broker. When I say solo, I mean the one-person business with a broker and perhaps a personal assistant or two, or outsourced help. 


Something like 70 per cent of mortgage brokers are solo operators, which is huge. I feel that many of those could attest to having gone through the ride at the theme park called ‘Being self-employed’.

Many of us get out of bed to start the day, drive to an office/stay in the home office, turn on our computers, answer emails, chase a few deals and then wonder what’s next. Does anyone else have these thoughts floating around in their mind?

  • I need more leads
  • How do I look for leads?
  • Where is that deal at?
  • Is my compliance up to date?
  • Will my deals settle this month so I can be paid the next?
  • I have bills to pay but cashflow is tight
  • This deal didn’t service, what can I do?
  • Who can I talk to? I don’t want to bother someone else as they are probably busy
  • How can I grow?
  • What are the lender turnaround times?
  • I need to get more CPD points in time for my industry body renewal
  • I’m stressed and doing too much and have no time for myself or my family/personal life.

If you said yes to any of these, have you ever asked yourself what can actually be done to assist or, at least, reduce the overwhelmed feeling and keep you motivated?

The three keys that I know will assist are:

  • Being part of an aggregator that keeps in contact with you and has a community.
    As we go through the changes of 2020, I think monthly visits/calls, at a minimum, are critical. Whether you settle $500,000 or $5 million per month, every broker deserves the same access to their aggregator.  If you work by yourself, you may find that you can go in circles. If you haven’t heard from your BDM for a while, pick up the phone and use this time with your BDM. You could ask if there have been any changes in the team, whether there is a new IT support service, marketing contact, compliance officer, anything that may give you a contact to help you in areas where you have knowledge gaps or need support.  You could also ask what the aggregator is planning with advertising (if you work for a branded aggregator), and whether they are organising any webinars, broker catch ups or state days/training that you could participate in. Be curious and ask away.      
  • Monthly Broker catch ups

Coffee meets, after work functions at pubs and clubs, and lender sessions are all useful.  While many of us are time poor and may not like travelling to an event, socialising is part of our DNA and makes us feel a lot better. This is particularly the case if we can talk with others who may be going through similar experiences and may be able to help us or make us feel that we are not alone. 

  • Using online groups or having a mentor

There are some good groups out there, with most aimed at the “daily grind” of work (policies, structuring, which lender to use etc.). Online groups can also be useful to make you feel like you are not alone in your thoughts or questions; when you see someone with the same comment/question, it boosts your confidence. 

I also look for groups that are positive, which helps you feel that you can ask any question without the worry that negative comments will appear. I have always lived by the saying “no question is silly”.  After all, we must remember that every broker was a beginner at one stage and we are all at different stages in our business journeys. 

Likewise, a mentor is not just for new-to-industry brokers. The word mentor is used for many things but, for me, it is all about letting brokers know that there is someone there that they can call anytime, about anything to do with the industry. It may be an overused saying, but being able to “phone a friend” is such a help to business owners. 

At the end of the day, this industry is built on people and relationships.  The more we can interact and help each other, the better. One hurdle today is another learning point for tomorrow.

It’s a journey – we just have to make sure we don’t travel alone.

peter ellis blog

Peter Ellis

Peter Ellis


Peter Ellis is the founder of Lending Mate and creator of the Solo Broker Best Practice program, designed so that single operators need not go through the ups and downs typically associated with business. 


You need to be a member to post comments. Register for free today


PhilipLowe mb

RBA attempts to curb runaway inflation

On Tuesday (5 July) the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) announced at its monetary policy meeting it will increase the...

flood qld suburbs ta

Home loan support offered to NSW flood victims

Widespread persistent heavy rain over large swathes of NSW over the weekend and into Monday (4 July) has caused major...

Dr Jane Rennie CPA

Accountants to decline ‘capacity to repay’ requests

The leaders of CPA Australia, the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA), and the Chartered Accountants Australia and...

Read the latest issue of The Adviser magazine!
The Adviser is the number one magazine for Australia's finance and mortgage brokers. The publications delivers news, analysis, business intelligence, sales and marketing strategies, research and key target reports to an audience of professional mortgage and finance brokers
Read more