“Brad has a sixth sense about what information is going to land based on where you are in your entrepreneurship journey. He won’t bother with the stuff that you’re not ready for. A lot of other advisors like to show you everything they know all the time. Brad’s not like that.”Jeff Cohen, Founder
Back in 2014, Jeff Cohen decided that after 25 years as a software engineer, he was ready to work for himself. For several years, he freelanced on a range of software development projects while continuing to teach at the University of Chicago.
It was Brad who first said to him, “you know, you’re not freelancing, you’re running a business.” At first, he was like “no, no, no.” But, pretty soon, with this new lens on his work, Jeff started getting serious about refining and growing his business. Today, Jeff develops custom software for clinical researchers – helping them leverage technology to improve public health.
One of the biggest takeaways from your work with Brad so far?
Habits. One of the most important things I’ve learned from Brad is the value of good habits – being consistent and methodical in my work.
Early on, I remember Brad saying to me that I shouldn’t focus too much on goal-setting. And, I was like “what are you talking about?” Goal-setting was a chapter in every business book I’d ever read. But once off the goal-setting treadmill, I experienced how developing healthy business habits gives fruit. Growing healthy habits (like consistently following up on unpaid invoices, reaching out to past clients, and reviewing finances) is hard, but it’s life changing. And, it’s helped me reach my goals.
How has your work changed because of Anchor Advisors?
Before Brad, I was really scared of anything that looked or smelled like “sales.”
Brad helped me shift my thinking: selling my services is about finding people who could benefit from my expertise and then engaging them in a conversation – I’m not trying to convince anyone to buy a product. I’m trying to help people solve problems. Now, I don’t shy away from selling my services – I’m excited to talk to researchers about how my team can help them achieve their goals.
What differentiates Brad? How would you describe Anchor Advisors’ services to a colleague?
As a professor, I know there can be a tendency to teach without listening. Brad is able to listen and be present as he advises. He’s not thinking ahead, formulating his response – he’s listening. And, as a consequence, he’s able to genuinely empathize with whatever I’m wrestling with and then help me brainstorm the best way forward.
Brad has a sixth sense about what information is going to land based on where you are in your entrepreneurship journey. He won’t bother with the stuff that you’re not ready for. A lot of other advisors like to show you everything they know all the time. Brad’s not like that.
He starts with understanding where I’m at, what I’m interested in, what’s important to me. Then, within those areas, he looks for opportunities to push me just outside my comfort zone. As a client, you don’t really notice these nudges, until, in retrospect, you look back and see how much you’ve grown.
Your favorite thing about working with Brad?
In addition to all the other stuff we’ve talked about? You’re never not going to laugh when you’re on a call with Brad! We have fun together. It’s the call I look forward to. My whole business would look different if I didn’t have our monthly calls motivating me to stick with it.