Shared by Jeffrey R. Armstrong – President/Owner of Armstrong Capital
Your favorite Master Note Buyer – Straightforward, Honest, Fair…
Once in awhile every professional asks the question of himself or herself, “am I worth what I make?” With all of the events taking place in the nation; the rise and fall of interest rates; the real estate boom or bust; the stock market highs and lows; we all want to make what we are worth. There will always be cycles of varying supply and demand for every cash flow industry niche. Different professions have varying backgrounds and expectations. This article will focus on the issues of particular importance to professionals in the Note Business and cash flow industry.
A professional keeps abreast of technological change that enables him to do his job more efficiently. This includes a habit of trying new techniques in the workplace and sometimes includes formal classroom training, both during and off-hours. This also requires a reasonable personal investment in the “tools of the trade,” normally meaning ownership of a personal computer or laptop with reasonably current technology and, as part of good citizenship, developing the capability to work efficiently from multiple locations with less commuting and travel. Of subtle importance is a mentality that is open to paying attention to new ideas, despite the pressures and urgencies of a particular situation.
A professional does not promise a customer a product or service that he cannot deliver within reasonable expectations of time and cost. A professional subjects himself to continuing education by attending conventions, advanced classes and workshops offered in their particular niche or industry. All of the above examples require a level of concentration and psychological commitment to professionalism.
A professional recognizes that once he has delivered the service or started the transaction, the customer/client will expect follow through and completion. This means a professional will make himself available to support the customer throughout the transaction, or have the means available to support the customer, with reasonable reliability and frequency. A professional responds reliably and stays with a problem until it is resolved or until it has played itself out without expecting extra compensation. A professional provides some of the infrastructure for making himself available, such as office hours, a dedicated land line phone with voice mail and an email address.
A professional should be wary of funding sources, investors and brokers which he knows to be involved in harmful, unethical or immoral activities. Before he works with potential associates, the professional satisfies himself or herself that, within reason, the activities of the potential associate and customers are fundamentally ethical. Even in the short run, the professional does not knowingly provide services to enterprises he or she knows to be illegal or immoral.
Personal Character and Conduct
If, as often occurs, a professional has access to sensitive customer records that may include personal information, social security numbers, tax ID numbers and physical addresses normally protected by privacy expectations, the professional must protect them as if they were his own.
A professional complies with existing laws, regulations, and internal audit requirements. These include following accepted information security procedures (including protection from computer viruses), complying with document recording regulations and niche specific protocols.
A professional works well in a team environment. The team might include investors, brokers, sellers, buyers, lenders, appraisers, title officers, escrow officers and processors. He is helpful to others in reasonable proportion to his own need for assistance and his own position, and will pitch in, to help colleagues with any issues that may arise.
A professional avoids using mind-altering substances (whether legal or not) which could later affect his reality perception while working. This would include use of alcohol during or shortly before work.
A professional does not make hateful or threatening statements about others by phone or even email where such statements cause disruption and distraction, or even publicly outside the workplace where knowledge of his statements may disturb other associates and even customers. This does not rule out participation in civilized debate or discussion in a reasonable and fair manner but does rule out gossip and hearsay. (However, the First Amendment would protect the logical reasoning or other content of arguments which he could make.)
The professional does not behave in a bizarre manner that may cause customers to mistrust his motives or the adequacy of work already implemented.
Disregard of some of the conduct rules listed above may put someone in the cash flow industry at risk for legal liability, when, for example, the professional has repeated access to personal customer information.
Conflict of Interest
The professional safeguards all private, proprietary, company-specific, or confidential information that his investors or customers entrusted to him. This obviously means not using the information for his own purposes and following all regulations regarding access to or removal of (including downloading) the information. Of course, it also means honoring copyright restrictions (as in website content, text in copyrighted industry publications and for-hire intellectual property) and complying with license agreements (not making illegal copies for personal use unless proper authorization is given).
The professional does not enter into private business arrangements where he has something to gain (i.e. double dipping) from competitors of, or competition with, his investors, customers, clients or associates.
Independent Contractor Responsibilities
Independent Contractor professionals, of whom most cash flow industry participants are, have certain moral responsibilities (to say the least) outside of those already required by federal and state civil rights laws.
The most important responsibility is to fully disclose all known facts about a certain transaction, situation, issue or expectation of involved parties that could reasonably affect the outcome of a particular deal.
Furthermore, Independent Contractors tend to take a pragmatic attitude towards workplace ethics: “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Yet, all of these principles concern the underlying question, of earning what is rightfully one’s own. Neglect of these principles has caused a lot of turmoil that is usually blamed on poor associate relations and “greedy” profit-taking.
Reliability, after all, is a two-way street, even in a more “libertarian” world of spontaneous order. In today’s world, professionals will look at all opportunities as finite and want to explore other opportunities, especially entrepreneurial ideas, on their own.
These standards of conduct may indeed sound like a “perfect world” scenario. When one considers that, the commonly accepted and proposed limits on associate conduct seem a bit unfair. Indeed, consider that some professionals must sign “non-compete” agreements not to work for competitors after either resignation or termination for cause. But much of this “unfairness” is relieved if professionals are freer (given public policy) to contract and work (legally) “for themselves.”
At the very least, self-employed persons (as independent contractors) should be allowed to use “pre-tax” dollars in purchasing health insurance, just as are salaried employees. Furthermore, social security and Medicare should gradually become privatized (with individual accounts and medical savings accounts). These changes would encourage people with multiple (but possibly conflicting) interests to become and remain self-employed and to spread their services among many additional customers and clients.
Participants in the Note Business and cash flow industry should want to be professional simply because of their own self respect. True industry professionals establish and cement relationships that lead to referrals and return business while participants who behave unprofessionally are sabotaging their own business and creating a bad name for the industry itself. A cash flow industry participant displays professionalism by his or her competency, accountability, reliability and personal character and conduct. By adhering to suggested professional responsibilities a cash flow consultant will thrive as an Independent Contractor into the future and be worth every earned penny he/she produces. TWITA!