Setting Business & Personal Financial Goals with Worth It Author Amanda Steinberg

Setting Business & Personal Financial Goals with Worth It Author Amanda Steinberg

The Nitty Gritty:

    • How the founder of DailyWorth and author of Worth It uses a two-prong approach to set financial goals that are ambitious.
    • Why failure is an opportunity for learning and growth and you shouldn’t be afraid of it.
    • How you view your identity and feelings of self-worth impact your ability to create financial goals that get you to the life you desire.
    • How having a little “Steve Jobs” in you isn’t a bad thing. Just ask Amanda who established the roots that gave her wings!

It’s easy to assume that Amanda Steinberg, the founder and CEO of DailyWorth, the leading financial media company for women, and author of Worth It, has super powers when it comes to setting business and personal financial goals. But in this week’s Profit. Power. Pursuit. podcast she shares with us that while there were times when she appeared to outsiders to have it all together—$200K annual salary, $700K home—she wasn’t experiencing the “exhilaration of affluence.” So, she reset and can now teach you what she learned.

Two Approaches to Setting Financial Goals

It’s not about the speed of our growth, but about the unit economics. That’s what investors want to see. How much do we have to spend to acquire one customer? What is our profit margin on that customer? That’s actually more important for me to master and perfect…

– Amanda Steinberg

Whenever Amanda is setting financial goals there are two strategies she always takes to planning: a top-down and bottom-up approach. In top-down planning you look at your entire market and assume there are no limits on your marketing, capital, and talent resources. Once you have a framework for the possibilities, you bring it back down to earth to assess the possibilities through the realities you have. How many people are on your team. What you know about your sales ability. What capital you have.

You find a number that is both really ambitious and realistic relative to your resources.

– Amanda Steinberg

Battle the Imposter Complex when Setting Financial Goals

Oftentimes entrepreneurs, especially female entrepreneurs, struggle with self-worth when setting financial goals. We don’t set an audacious goal, because it feels like it’s bigger than what we can do. We worry about how we will be perceived—too aggressive, “She has a lot of Steve Jobs in her, and I’m not sure that’s a good thing,” (how Amanda was described once), or a failure if we don’t achieve the goal. Amanda learned something as a video-game playing kid that she suggests you employ as an adult when you fail:

“Treat it like a game. Then failure doesn’t feel like a reflection on you it’s just a normal part of the learning process.”

Set goals that feel a bit uncomfortable to you. In her book Worth It, Amanda explores the Good Girl to Lady Boss transition women are in the midst of and explains how to facilitate your own identity transition to create your life and your money on your terms.

Learn more about Amanda’s journey and what you can do to create more financial security in your life by establishing three crucial roots that then give you the wings to live the life you desire.

We’ll be back next week with another inspiring entrepreneur, but in the meantime, don’t forget to subscribe to the Profit. Power. Pursuit podcast on iTunes so you never miss an episode.

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Turning Customer Research Into a New Product with Copyhackers and Airstory co-founder Joanna Wiebe

Turning Customer Research into a New Product with Copy Hackers and Airstory co-founder Joanna Wiebe

The Nitty Gritty:

  • How listening, watching and interviewing customers about the pain points of their process, helped the Copy Hackers team develop the basic idea of a new product.
  • What the jobs-to-be-done approach to innovation is and how it facilitates customer research.
  • How growth, innovation and building new solutions build on the battle scars you learned from other endeavors and creates opportunities and new responsibilities for your team.

Listen. Watch. Interview. And then build.

As Copy Hackers and Airstory co-founder, Joanna Wiebe relates in this week’s episode of Profit. Power. Pursuit., these steps were foundational building blocks in the creation of the new business endeavor, Airstory, a drag-and-drop document builder. Think: Google docs and Evernote had a baby and let Trello raise it.

The more we listened to more and more people and how they wrote. . .they were all kind of clunkily putting stuff together. So, all of this stuff was happening, and we’re like, OK, well, maybe we can solve this. That’s where the basic idea of Airstory was born.

– Joanna Wiebe

Jobs-to-Be-Done Approach to Innovation

When the Copy Hackers team attended the Business of Software conference 2 ½ years ago, they knew they wanted to build something for the same audience they served with Copy Hackers and to solve some of the problems they kept seeing over and over again. Joanna attended a session at the conference led by Bob Moesta of The Rewired Group where she was introduced to the jobs-to-be-done approach to innovation. The jobs-to-be-done approach essentially tasks the innovator with figuring out what job consumers want to hire a product to do. When consumers buy a product, they “hire” it to get the job done. If a product doesn’t perform, it gets “fired” and there’s opportunity to build something to take its place.

The Copy Hackers team followed the jobs-to-be-done approach and set out to uncover what specific job needed to be done that a software could solve for a content team. Although they started the process by talking to writers, novelists, editors and literary agents, they ultimately determined large content teams with demanding deadlines such as Moz and Hubspot would be the target audience for their new product, in part because they had money to pay for a solution.

“We went through two years of iterating on it to make sure that it had stronger value that it could provide for people. We’re really only now getting to the point where we have a good structure in place, we have a solution here. Do we have something that’s enough to make someone switch?”

– Joanna Wiebe

Joanna describes how they uncovered the “secret sauce” to Airstory when they watched and listened to how these content teams were creating content. Hint: It had nothing to do with their age, gender or socioeconomic status as traditional persona work might make you think.

Effective Customer Interviews

“Interviewing people. Putting something together. Watch beta users. And then get to this place now that we’re onto something; maybe not 100%, but we’re onto something.”

– Joanna Wiebe

Soliciting customer feedback was crucial in the development of Airstory. As Joanna said, it’s essential to get inside the heads of your customers to determine what problem you can solve.

Listen to the full podcast to learn Joanna’s approach to customer interviews, how reverse engineering someone else’s solution to identify building blocks and create something unique is part of innovation, and how to apply lessons you learned on past projects to enhance your current and future work.

To get your weekly Profit. Power. Pursuit. podcast fix, where we dig into the nitty-gritty details of marketing, management, business development and more with some of today’s most inspiring entrepreneurs, subscribe on iTunes.

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Using a Video Series to Scratch Your Creative Itch with Jennifer Dopazo

Using a Video Series to Scratch Your Creative Itch with Jennifer Dopazo

The Nitty Gritty:

  • How Jenny realized her business was running on “autopilot” (not in a good way) and decided to do something that would surround her with the people who inspire her
  • Why you need to get clear on what seat you want to sit in–and then determine what other chairs you need to fill in around you to make that happen
  • How Jenny used her focus on community to build the vision for the series–and how that’s helped her tie the video series back to her agency and bring in clients

Where do many small businesses drop the ball? They make something good, but never achieve greatness because they fail to be intentional about every aspect of a project.

But Jennifer Dopazo, owner and creative mastermind behind design and digital strategy firm Candelita, and my guest on this week’s episode of Profit. Power. Pursuit., isn’t like most business owners.

Every day her inbox filled up with projects that she completed on autopilot with no real excitement. She dabbled in all the tactics that the books and gurus said she should to build her business—blogs, social media, and more—but these efforts didn’t feel authentic or aligned with her company’s mission or vision. Although she got clients from these with efforts, they were clients that weren’t a good fit. Something was missing.

That’s when I realized that it was not only about the type of work, or industry or market or you name it, but it also had to do with the person behind the project and how I could connect with them.

— Jennifer Dopazo

At this point, her client list included mostly big brands and corporations. Although corporations and independent business owners share many of the same struggles, Jennifer was intrigued by small business owners and their freedom to chart their own course without board approval and multiple meetings to get stakeholder buy-in.

I’m more compelled to work with people who want to build a business because they want a better life for their family.

— Jennifer Dopazo

She decided to step out of her creative comfort zone to find the connection she craved and to create something that would support the independent business owner. The idea for a video series started to form. She researched, developed a strategy, and reached out to other professionals who could make her vision come true. The result: The video web series The Fabricant Way.  

Not only does The Fabricant Way support the independent business owner and highlights them in their natural settings, this project allowed Jennifer to reconnect with her community and satisfied a creative itch that wasn’t being met.

With the End Goal in Mind: “It’s not about me. It’s about them.”

Jennifer was very intentional about the role she wanted to play in the video series.

The one thing that was certain was that I wasn’t going to put myself in a position where I needed to learn how to do this. Me becoming a film person was not part of the vision.

I decided to look around to find someone whose superpower was video.

— Jennifer Dopazo

She considered the needs of all stakeholders in the series. It started with her, but quickly she considered the needs of the entrepreneurs she interviewed, what the viewer would prefer, and how to offer different ways to use and consume the content she created. Her vision was focused.

Her focus reminded me of something Brian P. Moran said in his book, the 12 Week Year—vision is how you decide that what you want is a given and is in no way “fluffy.” There was no fluff about Jennifer’s end goal either: She had a very clear vision of what she wanted the web series to be. To achieve her vision, she got the “right people in the right seats to make it the best” it could be.

Take a listen to the full podcast where Jennifer and I explore her journey, how her thought process evolved, the similarities between independent business owners and the much larger corporate clients she’s worked for, how this new creative outlet supports her design business, and her continued commitment to her community.

Don’t miss an episode! Subscribe on iTunes to access all the Profit. Power. Pursuit. podcast episodes and learn from ambitious small business owners like you.

Building Relationships & Communities to Fuel Your Business with Justin Shiels

Building Relationships and Communities to Fuel Your Business with Justin Shiels on Profit. Power. Pursuit. with Tara Gentile

When it comes to networking, I’m a little intense. I’ve actually reserved every Wednesday at 3pm for a meeting with a close friend or a new stranger who I’m interested in meeting. So I literally email, Facebook, or Instagram someone who I think is doing something interesting.

— Justin Shiels, marketer, speaker, and community builder

This week’s Profit. Power. Pursuit. guest is Justin Shiels the founder of This Creative Lab and Curious Tribe. Justin has over 9 years experience in communications, marketing, and graphic design. He uses his passion for community and his hometown of New Orleans to fuel his work. In 2014 Justin cofounded Venture Pop, a conference for creative entrepreneurs.

Justin and I talk about the power of nurturing relationships, the specific tactics he uses to connect with new people, and his value of diversity in building creative communities.

A Simple Networking Tactic Even You Can Use Every Day

Aside from his weekly standing meetings to get to know new people, Justin also recommends a networking tactic (oy, that sounds so cold and impersonal for such a friendly thing) for staying in touch with the people he meets. I’ve been trying to implement this networking tactic myself all year–and it’s panned out beautifully.

The process is simple: 

If you read something, see something, hear something, or think something that reminds you of someone you know, let them know. Don’t let the thought pass and wonder why you haven’t talked to them in forever.

Drop them an email, text them, post on their Facebook wall…

…heck, pick up the phone and call them!

Share the thought, article, or video that made you think of them and tell them why. That’s it!

These small gestures–whether you actually reconnect with the person or not–puts you (and your business, mission, movement, ideas, etc…) back on the top-of-mind for the person you just thought of.

It’s a little thing that can have big results.

Take Action Now

In fact, why not give it a try right now.

Who do you know who is a natural relationship-builder? An authentic networker? A consummate community-wrangler? 

Let them know what Justin’s interview made you think of them. Tell them how much you appreciate their curiosity, friendliness, and openness.

Love this episode? Subscribe on iTunes and while you’re there, leave us a review, too! It helps us reach more smart & ambitious small business owners like you.

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Growing an Agency with Aeolidia Founder Arianne Foulks

Growing an Agency with Aeolidia Founder Arianne Foulks on Profit. Power. Pursuit. with Tara Gentile

When I first started thinking about adding more people to the team, I was totally resistant to it, because I would not call myself a perfectionist, but I have a very high standard for the work that I’m doing, and people need so much stuff when they want to put together an ecommerce site.

— Arianne Foulks, Founder of Aeolidia

Tara:  We’re working on a few special episodes featuring you, our listeners.  Have a question on time management, business and revenue models, expanding your audience, marketing your business, or building your team?  Here’s what you need to do:  Use your phone or computer to make a short audio recording of your question.  Include who you are, what you do, and where we can find you online.  Then attach the recording to an email, and send it to podcast@taragentile.com.  I’ll be answering your questions between November 29th and December 20th, and the deadline for submission is November 20th.  We’d also love to hear your success stories implementing lessons you learned from our guests, so send those along, too.  If we choose your question, we’ll give you a free CreativeLive class of your choice.

Tara:  Welcome to Profit. Power. Pursuit.  I’m your host, Tara Gentile, and together with my friends at CreativeLive, we talk to powerhouse small business owners about the nitty gritty details of running their businesses, making money, and pursuing what’s most important to them.  Each week, I deep dive with a thriving entrepreneur on topics like time management, team building, marketing, business models, and mindset.  Our goal each week is to expose you to something new that you can immediately apply to growing your own business.

This week, I sit down with Arianne Foulks, the captain and founder of Aeolidia, a web and graphic design studio that’s been working with creative, design-oriented shops since 2004.  Aeolidia serves those at early stages on their path with an informative blog and supportive community, and her agency builds fully custom ecommerce sites for established business at that tipping point where strategic design can be transformative and cause exponential growth.  Learn how Arianne decided to build an agency instead of going it alone at web design.  We talk about who she hired first, how her team works together, and both the first and last steps of any client project.

Arianne Foulks, welcome to Profit. Power. Pursuit.  Thank you so much for joining me today.

Arianne:  Thank you for having me, Tara.

Tara:  Absolutely.  So I’ve always looked to your agency as sort of a leader in web design for creative business.  You guys have been around for a long time, but everyone starts somewhere, right?  So how did Aeolidia get started?

Arianne:  Thank you.  We definitely did start somewhere.  We started very small and humble, and in fact, like, I’m always so busy keeping my nose in my own textbook, that I don’t even really notice how much word about us has spread, and I always get kind of surprised when people have heard of me.  But yeah, we started as just me sitting on my couch with my laptop.  I didn’t have a computer when I was growing up, so when I went away to college, and I had unlimited access to the computer lab, I found myself spending a ton of time in there, and I figured out how to make a website on GeoCities.

Tara:  Nice.

Arianne:  Which will be hilarious to anybody as old as I am.  And I spent a lot of time designing a website for my zine and redesigning it and redesigning and redesigning it, because it was fun, and eventually, my friends noticed that I had a skill there, and they wanted websites for their band or their record label.  Most of the people that I helped out at the start were in the music business somehow, and of course, they were not loaded with riches or anything like that, so I ended up doing a lot of websites as favors, or just for fun, or maybe as a trade or something like that.  And then eventually, I had a friend who had an ecommerce shop, which I had no experience with ecommerce, yet, but she wanted me to help her make it look better.  So I came in and helped her figure out this new ecommerce software, which I’d never heard of, and I was like, oh, look at all this, it’s HTML, which I know, but there’s also this PHP and all this crazy stuff, but I figured it out and we made her website, and it looked pretty darn good, and from that one project, I got introduced to kind of this world of pre-Etsy handcrafters.  They had a little community going, and I think it was the year before Etsy began that I really started working on projects with crafters.  And so before Etsy, there was no easy way to get a website up online.  You had to actually get web hosting and know how to use ftp and upload all these files to your server, and you had to, if you wanted to change anything, you had to know HTML or CSS or PHP, so you know, they couldn’t really just pop up a website like you can nowadays.  They needed somebody technical to be able to help them, so I was quite busy for quite a while in this little niche that, you know, had a need that wasn’t really being served.  So yeah, I was super busy with a bunch of crafters, and it was all word of mouth.  I wasn’t trying to advertise or find new clients or anything like that.  In fact, I was often turning away people when they asked me, because I was just too darn busy, because it was just me.

Tara:  Yeah.  And were you operating under the Aeolidia brand then?  Or was that something that kind of came along later?

Arianne:  I was.  I think I had a couple different names as I was transitioning from hobby to more of a business, but when we, when I started doing sites for crafters, we were … I was Aeolidia back then, yeah.

Tara:  Got ya.  All right, well, that’s a really good segue into my next question, then, which is about, you know, how lots of web designers really, they choose to go it on their own, or they think that that’s kind of their only option.  Either they’re working with, you know, a developer, or they’re doing even everything, you know, development-wise themselves.  How did you make the decision to build out an agency and start working with more and more people to produce the sites that you wanted to produce?

Arianne:  Right.  Well, that’s very complimentary that you called it decision.  I was not making any strategic decisions back then.  It’s something that just kind of happened.  So, in fact, when I first started thinking about adding more people to the team, I was totally resistant to it, because I knew I didn’t want to become just like the boss, and I wasn’t doing any creative fun work anymore, and I was like, nope, nope, that’s never going to happen, I don’t want to do anything like that.  But at the same time, I would not call myself a perfectionist, but I have a very high standard for the work that I’m doing, and people need so much stuff when they want to put together an ecommerce site.  So, you know, I would just dig in there and get going, but they would come to me and they wouldn’t have a logo, and so I’d have to like try and just type their name in a nice font, and I eventually ended up learning how to design logos myself, because people needed them so often.  People needed product photography, and I’m not a photographer, but I didn’t know any photographers to refer them to, and I didn’t really like the idea of referring people to a third party, because it was totally out of my control.  I didn’t know if the quality was going to be high.  I didn’t know if the product they brought back to me was going to work for the website.  The whole thing just felt very uncomfortable. 

So I ended up actually bringing on people to do all these different services that it turns out my clients just kept needing that would pop up as a surprise.  Eventually, we ended up adding people to do all of those things in house, so we could, you know, be in charge of the whole project, and know what was going to happen with all the parts and know we were going to get something that was up to our standards.  So you know, it all ended up being in house, and I was so worried about losing the work that I had to do sitting there and designing websites, but let me tell you right now, I am thankful every day that I don’t need to sit down at Photoshop looking at that blank white screen and try to figure out what to make for somebody.  I don’t regret it at all, now that I see how it worked out.

Tara:  Yeah.  And I love that you talk about the reason that you brought people in house, the reason you, you know, wanted to bring other people in period is because you had this need, you know, you’re a bit of a perfectionist, maybe even a bit of a control freak, and so I love thinking about going the agency route as being a way to appease your perfectionism and control freakness, because I think a lot of times, perfectionists kind of isolate themselves, and I love your solution much better.

Arianne:  Well, the best part is, it turns out everybody I’ve hired along the way has ended up being much better than I ever was at all the things I was trying to do by myself, which I love and is the best thing about running Aeolidia.

Tara:  Yes.  Amen to that.  Okay, so who was your first hire?

Arianne:  So I was thinking about this.  My first hire was actually a small troop of illustrators, because I just loved illustration so much, personally, and when I was sitting there with that blank, white Photoshop page, I really wanted to have something awesome to start with, and I hated having to have a very text-heavy site or just sticking with my clients’ awful photography or going to some terrible clip art or stock photography site, which back then, there were not a lot of options, and it was really kind of terrible.  So I just reached out to a few illustrators.  They weren’t, some of them weren’t even doing client work.  Some of them were just illustrators that were doing it as a creative hobby, and I asked them if they would like to be paid to make illustrations for my clients, and that worked out really nicely.  And even though I was working with maybe, I don’t know, at some point, we had … we had a lot of illustrators at one point, and things have gotten a lot more sleek and clean and modern lately, but you know, I would have maybe five different illustrators and me, but people would tell me back then that they knew it was an Aeolidia site before they even scrolled to the bottom and saw our credit, just because I think we were doing something there that you didn’t see a lot on the internet at that time, and our sites looked a lot more creative and illustrated and arty and interesting than people were used to seeing, so that was really awesome.

Tara:  Yes.

Arianne:  But, you know, that didn’t feel like, I didn’t feel like a studio at that point.  I felt like I was just making websites and I had a couple helpers.  I did bring my friend, and my best friend from college had been doing web design and development, and when she moved up to Seattle, I was like, you know, I’m turning away clients left and right.  I think it would make a lot of sense if we just worked together on this, and then you could do some and I could do some, and maybe I wouldn’t have to say no so often.  And so we both ended up working together.  She managed her own projects.  I mostly just kind of got people started and took care of the money part of it, but we were basically two freelancers who happened to be working together.  And then I also brought my husband in.  He had been doing this really boring cubicle-style office job, and I think I just wanted to save him from the cube.  I was like hey, you know, you could learn MySQL and PHP and help us with these databases and we can all work together. 

So that still didn’t feel like I was building an agency.  That felt like we were maybe like a mom and pop shop kind of thing, like a little family business.  I think the big change happened when a designer who I admired reach out to me to ask if she could work with us.  And this seemed, I mean, already, I had hired some people, but this seemed super foreign to me when she said this, and I was like what?  Hire somebody?  That’s crazy.  I don’t know if we should do that.  I mean, how would we keep control of what’s going on?  Will it still look like an Aeolidia site?  Like it all just seemed fraught with peril, but I was pregnant with my first child, and I knew that I had no idea what was going to happen to my schedule after he was born.  So it seemed like a really good time to just go for it and see how it worked out.  So we hired her, and it was awesome.  It was the best.  I was able to just like fade into the background with a baby for a while.  She was designing sites, my husband was developing them, my friend, Shoshanna, who’d been working with me all along was taking care of her own clients, and it was really a great way for the business to keep afloat while I basically could hardly do anything.  So I think that was our big tipping point where it began to be more of an agency.

Tara:  Yeah, I love that.  And so now, is … are … are … is the group that you have, are they a mix of, like, W2 employees and contractors?  Or is it one way or the other?

Arianne:  So all of our workers that provide a service are contract workers, so they’re all either freelancers or they have their own small studio.  My only employee is my project manager, Sam, and she takes care of all the project management stuff that I started having to do when we brought more people onto the team.  Other than that, everybody who works for me, you know, we all live in different places.  We have a designer in Australia, we’ve got a developer in Canada, we have people all over the United States.  My one employee, Sam, is actually in San Jose while I’m in Seattle, so we all work remotely as a, just kind of a magical team.

Tara:  Nice.  I love that.  I love that.  Sounds like you’re super-flexible.  Is flexibility important to you?

Arianne:  Yeah, it totally is.  I … I always think if I had to go back to like a regular job and lose my flexibility, I don’t even know if I’m employable anymore.

Tara:  That’s great.  That’s great.  So you mentioned earlier that you’re really glad you don’t have to stare at the white, scary Photoshop screen anymore, and so that makes me curious how you’re actually spending your time in your business.  What role are you personally, or have you personally taken on with the agency?

Arianne:  So it’s super-interesting to me, because when I was resisting the role that I have now, I was not fully imagining what I would actually be doing.  I just pictured myself bossing people around all day long, which I totally don’t do.  I hardly ever boss anybody around.  I spend most of my day doing content creation and marketing type stuff, because finding work for 19 people is a lot more work than finding work for yourself or maybe three people.  So I write for the blog a lot, I do our social media.  I’m the mastermind of thinking of what new things we need to be doing or how we need to change our process or what we should be working on next or what our clients need, all that kind of thing.  I’m the tricky situation smoother-outer.  Whenever anything weird comes up, I get to pop in there and unruffle everybody’s feathers and figure out good solutions.  And all that kind of problem-solving stuff is what I love doing, and I’m way better at problem-solving than I ever was at designing a website, so I’m really glad I’m doing what I do now.  And I do still have the blank page problem, because I write for the blog a lot, so I sit there in front of the blank WordPress screen, but that is a lot less intimidating to me.

Tara:  That’s awesome.  So it sounds like it’s sort of a, like, dual CEO/CMO role.

Arianne:  Yeah, I guess so.  I would eventually like some help with the marketing, because a lot of it is a drag to me.  Like, I love doing the blogging, and I love talking one-on-one with business owners and solving people’s problems.  In fact, I spent a lot of time kind of doing free consulting work for people, just because if somebody puts a really interesting question in my inbox, I cannot resist getting in there and figuring out how to crack that nut.

Tara:  Yup.

Arianne:  So sometimes, I’ll just go and I’ll help people out, but then what I do is I turn it into a blog post that is super helpful for other people in the business.  So it all works out, but yeah, it’s all fun for me to just sort of figure out how to make things better for Aeolidia and for our clients and other small business owners.

Tara:  Perfect.  Cool.  So you’ve started talking about this a little bit, but I want to drill down into it a little bit more, too, and that is how have you decided to add people to your team?  It sounds like some of them have presented themselves to you, some of it’s been by need.  When you’re looking at your business right now and thinking about those new directions, or you know, maybe new services that you want to add for clients, how are you thinking about who you’re going to bring into the business, too?

Arianne:  Right.  So I have become a lot more strategic about this in recent years, but in the olden days, I used to just kind of add people if somebody asked and I thought that they would be an amazing fit or if I saw somebody online where I just loved their design work and I thought they’d be perfect, and we also spent some time trying to figure out to balance our team, because for a website project, you need a web designer and a web developer, and we didn’t want one group of people being super busy while the other was kind of sitting around twiddling their thumbs looking for work. 

So we would do that kind of thing or maybe replace people as they left, but now we have a more businessy type way of figuring this out.  So we have a certain amount of projects that we would like to be working on each month, and we’ve actually finally gone through the numbers and figured out how we stay profitable, and so we’ve just figured out how many projects each person can do, and that tends to be different for each different worker, and then we plan our team based on that.  So if we know that want to be doing 12 or 14 projects in one of our two-month blocks, we look at who we’re going to have then and how many they can do, and if it looks like we don’t have enough manpower, then I can go out and try to find somebody else to add to the team, and that is what we have been doing recently.  And right now, we, it feels like we’re at just the perfect size, because we’ve recently added a couple designers to the team to replace some designers who are out on maternity leave, and I think we should be set for a while.

Tara:  Nice.  Awesome.  How do your team members work together?  Are they talking to each other?  Does everything go through the project manager?  How does that work?

Arianne:  So we have used Basecamp ever since it existed, I think, to talk to our clients.  I was thinking the other day, I was doing something before Basecamp where I just had like a bunch of tasks written out into a text document, and I seriously have no idea how I used to ever get any work done.  But now we have wonderful tools, so we use Basecamp with our clients, but the thing that’s been huge for us internally is we started using Slack when Slack started existing, and that is a tool that lets us all chat with each other with no clients ever involved.  Like we definitely had a couple of mistakes in the early years where we think we were sending a private message on Basecamp and the client would get it, so now, you know, we’ve got our internal team on the internal software with no clients on it and we can all just sit there and chat with each other, and that has been huge not only for just organizing projects, but it has really made our team feel like a cohesive team of people that all actually work together, whereas I think before everybody kind of felt like freelancer that was just doing their own job, and the project manager would be popping in to ask them about it, and you know, we would be emailing back and forth on Basecamp to ask each other questions, but now with Slack, we have a way to all, you know, make jokes and share random stuff we like on the internet and figure out ways to do stuff better and have little chats where we improve things, which has been so awesome, and I feel like we’re much more of a team now.

Tara:  I love it.  I love Slack for all the same reasons.  It brings … it brings people together.  It brings the team together.  It creates a culture, and it’s, obviously, it’s just great for communicating, too.  So that’s …

Arianne:  Totally.

Tara:  Yeah, so that’s super helpful.  Okay, so can you walk us through what happens internally after you’ve signed a new client?  What are the … what are the first steps there?  How do you get started working on that new project?

Arianne:  Yes.  And I am very happy with what we’re doing now.  We spent the last year kind of building this out, and it’s all working so well.  So we used to just take on a project willy-nilly whenever the client was ready.  We’re like, okay, here we go, let’s get started.  And it was chaos.  And now we have kind of switched to a block system.  So in the block system, we have two-month blocks throughout the year.  We have five this year.  I think next we’re going to try to make it six.  And each client project is going to take at least one block, or maybe two, possibly three.  So if you’re doing a logo and a website, that ends up being three blocks, because we do two months on the logo, two on the website design, and two on the website development.  So before the block starts, we have a phase that we call Phase 0, and we like that to be about a month long, although we can get away with less, sometimes, but a month gives us lots of time to get everything done.  So what we have been doing, we used to just kind of collect content from clients as we worked, and if they didn’t have photos, for instance, we would use placeholders, and it was hard to do our best work. 

Now, we insist on having everything totally ready for us before design begins.  So Sam works with our client to gather content, so that would be like product descriptions, whatever they want to write on the home page, what the about page is going to say, all their photography, their preferences, feature requests, that all happens during Phase 0, and that is also when we bring in our copywriter to create content for them or edit what they’ve got, and our product photographer to take their beautiful hero shots for the front page of their website and all their product shots, and so all that time is mostly, you know, the designer and developer relaxing and Sam is in there with the client digging everything together.  At the end of Phase 0, when we have everything ready, we all get together in Slack for an internal project planning meeting, and this has been wonderful.  We used to just kind of go by whatever the proposal said and then work out any kinks as they happened.  Now, we try to work out all the kinds before they happen, which is a much better way of doing it.  So now, we look at both what the client has given us and all the content, and we check out their goals and their objectives and first, we look through the proposal and make sure that we didn’t put in anything that was unnecessary or didn’t leave out anything that is going to be really helpful.  So sometimes, we make some adjustments to scope right there at the start with the client’s agreement, and then we spend some time just kind of making our rough plan for how we’re going to do things, and we try to pinpoint any possible problems that might come up or like unusual requests or things that we don’t often do, and we try to make a plan for how that’s going to work and what’s going to happen, and during this time, we also tend to show the client either a wireframe of what we’re planning for their site, or we will give them some information, like for example, we often end up editing and adjusting a client’s category list.  So they’ll give us this list of like maybe 18 product categories, and we help them whittle it down and reorganize it and make it make sense to their customer.

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Tara:  Is the average project that you’re doing average?  Like, do the projects look very similar or is there a lot of disparity between the different types of projects that you’re taking on? 

Arianne:  They do look very similar, and the reason is because we only do ecommerce projects right now, so we don’t do informational sites or service-based businesses, we only do product-based businesses, and if you want somebody to shop online, there are a certain about of expectations that your customer has from shopping on Amazon and other big sites.  They’re expecting the cart to be in a certain place, they’re expecting the login link to be in a certain place, they know kind of what an add-to-cart button looks like.  So you have a lot of constraints when you’re designing for ecommerce, which actually turns out to be wonderful, because you’re not reinventing the wheel each time.  So most of our client projects are very similar.  Like, they’re so similar, in fact, that we just kind of go through a checklist when we’re making a proposal of which things to include and not include.  We don’t have to come up with new crazy things very often.  We usually have a flat rate or a set price for each type of feature we’re adding.  Yeah, so things, you know, we get to put our own spin on it and our own details, and there’s usually not a lot of wild variation going on.

Tara:  Got you.  That’s … that’s really interesting, and I love the … I love the hyperfocus that you have on who your target client is, and how that not only makes it probably easier to find new clients, but also has streamlined your process so that it’s as efficient as possible for you, and I think that should be a huge takeaway for anybody, whether they’re running a web design agency, or you know, any kind of business that they’re doing, I think that kind of hyperfocus on who you’re selling to really has ripple effects through your entire business strategy, so that’s awesome.  Do you mind if I ask you what your average project fee is?

Arianne:  So we have kind of a minimum and maximum right now.

Tara:  Okay.

Arianne:  So most of our clients that come in … So we have a starting at price and then we just add on features that they need to it.  So some clients want a blog and some don’t.  Some clients have a bunch of informational pages.  Some need to add things like downloadable products and stuff like that.  So our starting at price for a custom Shopify site is $14,000, and we have had projects go up to $25,000 and $30,000, but that’s usually when we’re adding in completely separate services like marketing and SEO and stuff like that on top of what we normally do.

Tara:  Great.  Awesome.  That’s super helpful.  I think fees for web design, well, one, are all over the place, and two, people never know what to expect, and I just, I love hearing, you know, what people are charging.  I think that’s really helpful.

Arianne:  Right.  And they’re totally all over the place, because there’s so many different things you can get.

Tara:  Right.

Arianne:  Because if you want to set up a shop on Shopify, you could do it over the weekend for $0 by getting a theme from the theme store, and that is probably going to work for you, though it might not be the best.  The clients we work with have been in business for a while, and they have seen success and things are working for them, but they feel like it could be working better, so when we come in, we are not starting with any kind of framework or theme or anything.  We are starting from scratch based on their goals, based on their objectives.  We’ve been huge on return on investment lately, and figuring out what’s actually going to help the client make money, not just make a pretty website.  So yeah, there’s a big difference in services there.

Tara:  Perfect.  Absolutely perfect.  Okay.  So we’ve talked about the beginning of the process.  Now, can you walk us through what happens when you’re completing with a client?  What are … what are those last few steps where someone’s working with you, you’re finishing up this site, what does that look like?

Arianne:  So the last thing we do is testing.  We have a browser tester on staff who goes through and looks at each website we’ve designed on every reasonable platform.  So she’s in there looking on the iPad and the iPhone and on Android and different browsers and Macs and PCs, and she sends this whole crazy report back to the developer to get everything fixed up, and then when we like it on our end, we send it to the client to do their user testing, because we found over the years when you don’t have the website owner go through the entire checkout process, they come back two months later surprised by something that they’ve never seen before, or they didn’t realize their shipping was working that way or something like that, so we have our clients go through the site as a customer, and we have them complete checkout and use the different payment methods, try the different shipping methods, make sure the order emails they get all make sense.  You know, we want them to see everything their customer’s going to see, so they have a chance to customize it if needed and change it if they don’t think it’s going to work and all that good stuff.  And then we are ready to launch their site, and then after launch, we spent some time to prepare them and our team for their six-month checkup, which is something we started doing this last year, where we launch them on their way and they get to set sail, and then we meet back up with them after six months to see if they’re on the path to achieving their goal and how it’s going, what’s working, what hasn’t been working, and we’re available at that point to do some updates or changes to the site if needed, and we try to make that very stats and sales-based, so we’re not just, you know, changing the blue to a lighter blue for fun, but doing something that’s actually going to be effective for them.  And then it’s just we have a week in between ending a block and starting a new block, and during that week, we do a lot of internal marketing type stuff, like the designer makes some graphics for the portfolio and blog posts, and I plan out what we’re going to blog about for each client, and we get their testimonial, and we see if they’ll send us the print work we designed for them so we can take photos and all that good stuff.

Tara:  Cool.  Very, very cool.  Are there any trends that you see coming in web design or in ecommerce?

Arianne:  Oh my goodness.  It’s so hard to know, like, what is going to be an important thing to do and what is going to be a silly trend that nobody’s going to care about in a little while.  But you know, we keep our eye out, and it’s actually really good, Shopify has got a really good blog for following along and seeing what is happening with ecommerce, because they really are trying to stay ahead of the curve.  In fact, we went to the Shopify partner conference just for their developers and designers and experts, and they were demonstrating virtual reality shopping, where you put on like the headgear and the gloves and you’re walking around in a store and grabbing things off the shelves, and I have no plans to start doing anything like that for Aeolidia clients yet, but it’s definitely interesting to look at.  We, personally, have been seeing a lot more video on websites, which is nice.  Like you can do video on product pages to just make people really understand what it’s going to be like to have the product, or like a video of your brick and mortar shop, or whatever your process, whatever’s special on the home page to get people interested, so that is something we’ve been looking at.  Mostly, we try to stick to what we know works and not get too wild, because if you get super experimental with somebody’s product-based business, you could be costing them money, so we try to stick to what we know is working at the time.

Tara:  Cool.  Awesome.  All right, last question for today.  What’s next for you and Aeolidia?

Arianne:  What’s next?  So I am working with one of my developers on building kind of a members area on the Aeolidia site, which is just something for our newsletter subscribers.  It’s free.  It’s something that exists right now, but it’s a total mess, because it … it made sense when I had three things for them, but now that I have tons of things for them, it’s just getting confusing.  So I’ve been making a lot of content upgrades for my blog posts where there’s maybe some more information or like a guide you could use or a workbook or a video to watch and all that kind of good stuff.  So I’ve been saving that stuff in a members area for people who subscribe to my newsletter.  It doesn’t cost anything, just your email address, but that is kind of just, I just keep adding to it, and it’s been going totally crazy, so I’m trying to turn it into an actual nice resource area for somebody who is either starting or growing a small creative business can use all the info we’ve put together over the years to really make some good next steps for themselves.  So we’re working at that, tapping away at it.  I am also speaking at the State of Making summit, which is something the Academy of Handmade is putting on, and we’re going to be talking about what changes we have seen in the industry over the last year, and I am pretty excited about that, and other than that, I’m just kind of sitting back hear and any time I see things that are not perfect in our process, I am sneaking in there and improving them, and making it better for everybody.

Tara:  Awesome, awesome, awesome.  Well, that’s a perfect place to leave it.  Arianne Foulks, thank you so much for talking with me today.

Arianne:  Thank you, it’s been fun.

Tara:  Find out more about Arianne Foulks and Aeolidia at Aeolidia.com

Next week, I talk with Jill Knouse, who gave up a lucrative career in the financial field to become a certified yoga instructor and massage therapist.  Jill and I talk about creating an innovative business model in a saturated field, and we jam about collaboration, creating events people love, and testing new ideas.

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That’s it for this week’s episode of Profit. Power. Pursuit.  You can download other episodes of this podcast and subscribe in the iTunes store.  If you enjoy what you heard, we appreciate your reviews and recommendations, because they help us reach as many emerging entrepreneurs as possible.

This episode was produced by Michael Karsh at CreativeLive.  Our audio engineer was Chris Stow.  Daniel Peterson wrote our theme song and also edited this episode.  Tune in every week for new interviews that give you the inside scoop on how successful small businesses run and grow.

Use Your Finances to Make Better Business Decisions with Evolved Finance

Analyzing Your Business Finances with Corey Whitaker & Parker Stevenson from Evolved Finance on Profit. Power. Pursuit. with Tara Gentile

I think in order to run a stable business is you just have to be ready to make sometimes sacrifices on your own payroll if you need to build that buffer or if you need to cover maybe a larger expense one month versus another.

— Parker Stevenson, Evolved Finance

Tara:  Welcome to Profit. Power. Pursuit.  I’m your host, Tara Gentile, and together with my friends at CreativeLive, we talk to powerhouse small business owners about the nitty gritty details of running their business, making money, and pursuing what’s most important to them.  Each week, I deep dive with a thriving entrepreneur on topics like time management, team building, marketing, business models, and mindset.  Our goal each week is to expose you to something new that you can immediately apply to growing your own business.

My guests this week are Corey Whitaker and Parker Stevenson from Evolved Finance.  Evolved Finance is a bookkeeping firm and small business consultancy that specializes in online businesses, ranging from personal coaches and affiliate marketers to lawyers and bloggers.  These are actually the guys I trust with my own business’s finances.  Instead of asking for financial advice, I wanted to turn the tables and find out how they use financial reports and tracking in their own business to project cash flow, make hiring decisions, and plan for the future.  I talk with Corey and Parker about the schedule they use to review their own books, the exact reports they use to track the numbers, and how they set financial goals.

Corey Whitaker and Parker Stevenson, welcome to Profit. Power. Pursuit.  Thank you so much for joining me.

Corey Whitaker:  Yeah, thanks for having us.

Parker Stevenson:  Yeah, thank you.

Tara:  Absolutely.  So you guys run a bookkeeping and small business consultancy that specializes in online businesses, like many of our listeners own.  Kind of an unusual specialty, which I love, and as I mentioned to you earlier, I’d really like to take this discussion kind of meta, and find out how you guys track your own finances, and how that really affects the decisions that you make in your business.  But before we get into that, can you guys tell me how you got into bookkeeping and consulting to begin with?

Corey:  Yeah, sure, so this is … this is Corey, so you guys don’t confuse our voices.  About ten years ago, I started working for a successful lawyer, Alexis Neeley.  Tara, you actually know her.

Tara:  Mmhmm.

Corey:  And I was working as her personal assistant, or that’s what I was hired to do.  During that time that I was working for her, I was attending college, and as a requirement for my degree, I had to … I had to take a few accounting courses, and I realized during that time that I loved numbers, but actually, quite frankly, I hated accounting.  I loved learning about how businesses made money and how they spent them and everything that goes along with that, but I definitely was not interested in accounting.  So around that time, the crash of 2007-2008 happened, and my boss, Alexis, she needed to consolidate her payroll.  She was looking to cut expenses.  And I had already expressed to her some interest in working with her in the numbers area of her business, and getting to know that a little bit more intimately, and so she decided that I was going to be her bookkeeper.  Which is crazy, because I had … I had no experience bookkeeping when she decided that at all.  She actually, I guess she just believed in me, I don’t know, and she paid her then current bookkeeper to train me to do bookkeeping, and then she let her old bookkeeper go.  And then I also befriended in the process her accountant.  So I sort of just got thrown into the fire and started just trying to learn everything I could about bookkeeping, even about accounting, talking to her accountant quite a bit, spending tons of time with Alexis herself, and learning everything that she knew about her numbers. 

And then about, I don’t know, maybe six months later, seven months later, she started getting involved more in the entrepreneur world.  Things like digital marketing and affiliate marketing and all that kind of stuff, and she realized, I think she … I guess … I think she realized my potential, and she started to meet people in the entrepreneur world, and then started to refer them to me to work with me.  So flash forward about eight years, and here we are now.  It obviously has been quite an evolution since I started eight years ago, but it really is pretty remarkable.  Ten years ago, if you’d asked me that I … if you told me that I would be working as a bookkeeper and own a big business as big as Evolved Finance is, I would tell you you were crazy and that I couldn’t do that, but here we are.  So that’s sort of in a nutshell how things kind of got started.

Tara:  I love that.  I feel the same way, too.  If you told me eight years ago what I’d be doing now, and besides my business, I would be shocked and dismayed.  So can you guys …

Corey:  Yeah.

Tara:  Can you guys both kind of talk about what roles you each play in the business?

Corey:  Yeah, yeah, for sure.  I’ll start.  I … I am like the operations guy.  I know everything about how to do bookkeeping.  I know everything about how the business runs, and Parker is really, really good at sales and marketing.  I am not so great at that.  So Parker can … Parker can talk a little bit about that if he wants to, I don’t know.

Parker:  Well, no, yeah, I think that’s … I mean, Corey’s been doing this so long, he knows the bookkeeping side of things and the operations side, and that’s really where he … we have two other bookkeepers.  Corey is working closely with them, because they work out of the same office together.  I work remotely in San Diego, so I’m not part of the party every day in the office, but when Corey and I were talking about bringing me in the business, and he was telling me about the business, I was just kind of blown away by the niche he’s kind of developed and how appreciative his clients were of what he did, so I felt like there was an opportunity to grow the business and take on more clients and potentially create some digital products and grow the revenue streams, so that’s where I got involved.  I’ve learned how to do the bookkeeping side of things.  Corey’s taught me way more about finance than I ever thought I’d know, and it allows me to support our clients in a really great way as well, but while Corey is managing the business and using all his extra time to make sure the business is running well, I’m using all the extra time when I’m not with … talking with our clients or servicing our clients, we’re working on our new online course that we’re launching in October, and working on developing our website and just overall developing our brand and developing our sales and marketing strategies overall.

Tara:  All right.  Fantastic.  And Parker, I’m not actually sure that I know the answer to this question, even though I feel like I know you guys pretty well, but how exactly did you get started with Evolved Finance in the first place?

Parker:  Well, it’s interesting, because I think, you know, with Corey’s story, he kind of had an opportunity in front of him, and so he jumped on it, and that’s Evolved Finance, and I think for me, you know, Corey is actually known, Corey and his wife have known my wife for years.  They grew up together in L.A., essentially, and so Corey has kind of been a part of my life for a long time, and I was in the corporate world and Corey was, you know, running his own business, and Corey, I think, at one point was going, “Man, maybe it would be fun to go work at a company, and not run, you know, my own business,” and I was like Corey, are you crazy?  You’re insane.  Like, stay with the business, man, you can control, you know, your schedule, you can control how much money you make, blah, blah, blah, and so we just got to talking.  So that’s kind of how I got involved in the business.  It’s just we were friends, we were hanging out, we both loved business.  I was interested in what Corey was doing and where the business was going, and again, it’s one of those things where if you had told me three years ago that Corey and I would be running a business together, I would not have believed that myself.

Tara:  Awesome.  And I love that you guys shared that you have such complimentary skills.  You don’t have matching skills, you have complimentary skills, and I think a lot of people when they think about business relationships are not necessarily taking that into account, and I think it’s really, really important.

Parker:  It is.  It is really important, and just to touch on that is I think that’s one of the reasons why Corey and I wanted to work together, is we had spent so much time together, and I was actually a musician when I was younger, and I was in a band, and I was playing in a band with the same guys for, gosh, seven, eight years, so I know how difficult it can be to work with somebody even if you are friends, and I think that’s the one thing Corey and I realized is that because we had complimentary skillsets, it’s made working together like almost scary easy.  Sometimes, it’s almost too good to be true.

Tara:  Oh, that’s so good to hear.

Parker:  Yeah.

Tara:  Yeah, so let’s get into that, the nitty gritty of how you guys handle your finances.  So first, let’s talk about schedule.  What kind of schedule do you have in place for reviewing your finances, the business’s finances, internally?

Corey:  Yeah, so Parker and I, we review our financial reports once a month at the minimum, and if something comes up that needs both of our attention, I’ll ping Parker, or you know, we’ll get on the phone and talk.  But I’m pretty proactive without Parker.  I’m constantly looking at our numbers and thinking about our goals, and what sort of … what we want, where we want to be kind of stuff, and Parker’s a really good … He helps me.  Since we’re obviously consistent with that monthly call, but I obviously, throughout the month, I have random thoughts that come across my mind that I’m like, “Hey, Parker, what do you think about this?  What do you think about that?”  So I think the schedule is pretty, you know, it’s once a month, but it really is we talk all the time.

Parker:  And we do … we do schedule it for the first week of the month.  Corey will typically make sure the books are done the first week of the month so that way, we can take a look.  Now, with our business, because we are a service-based business right now, a big part of that, you know, is just, you know, making sure the clients have all paid.  They’re, like Corey said, he’s proactive with a lot of stuff, so there isn’t … there’s not a lot of, like, sales revenue conversation or anything like do we have to have a new promotion or anything like that, because, you know, it’s a fairly steady business, but it is, regardless, still a really good opportunity for us to see what’s actually going on, and see if there’s anything we need to do to change the numbers we’re seeing on the P&L.

Tara:  Fantastic.  Okay.  So you mentioned the P&L.  That’s what the next question is.  Can you tell me what reports you’re actually looking at?  Because you know, my clients hear from me, well, track your numbers, look at your numbers, watch your numbers, use your numbers, and we rarely talk about what that actually means.  So can you talk about the different reports that you guys are looking at, how you kind of parse them out, and yeah, just how you start using those reports in your business?

Corey:  Yeah, yeah, for sure.  So we … I review every month with Parker the … sort of the foundation of our call that we have is to go over the profit and loss statement, and actually, in fact, all of our clients, that’s the foundation of our call, and then conversations come from that.  That, you know, kind of sort of brings up other things that happen in the business and all that jazz, and then we also … we have … a lot of our income is reoccurring, and so we have to talk about accounts receivable, so we review the accounts receivable report.  We also have a cash projection spreadsheet, which goes out for 60 days, and it basically shows us the ins and outs of our cash on a daily basis to see, you know, if we’re ever going to have a cash crunch.  And then we’re also looking at our budget.  We’ve built a budget that we basically use to do … to incorporate our projections and then we look at it for variance purposes.

Parker:  And to set goals, too.

Corey:  Yeah, and to set goals.  Exactly.  And I … sometimes, I randomly will create reports from these conversations that we have on a monthly basis that sort of help us, guide us, and things like looking at our client attrition, how efficient is our labor, how profitable is Parker, how profitable am I, how profitable is my wife, who is also an account manager.  So that’s really … the core, though, is really the monthly P&L, accounts receivable, and then the cash projections.  So that’s … that’s more or less what we’re looking at.

Tara:  Perfect.

Parker:  And what I will … what I will say is Corey is an advanced report creator.  He’s kind of … he has a … just because of the nature of what we do, he has more skillsets than I’d say probably most of the people who are listening would have in the financial realm, but the P&L is a really, really easy report to put together if you are doing your bookkeeping, and we could still have really, really good conversations every month just with the P&L, but because we’re both numbers nerds, we do get into it a little deeper probably than most businesses do.

Tara:  Yeah.

Corey:  Yeah.

Tara:  Totally.  So let’s actually go a little deeper on the P&L specifically, because I think people hear it, maybe they hear, ah, corporate job, maybe they hear, ooh, scary.  Can you tell me exactly what a profit and loss report is and what you’re looking for when you’re looking at it?

Corey:  Yeah, profit and loss statement really is … it’s really quite simple.  It shows your income, how much money you made, and shows your expenses, how much money you spent, and then at the end, it shows you how much profit you made, after expenses.  So income minus expenses equals profit, and when we … when we look at our P&L, the number one thing I think we’re looking at is really the profitability.  I like to look at it on a, like a monthly basis for however long we’re into the year.  So we might look at six months of profit by month, and just see how things are fluctuating, and the things that we look for as well are like expenses that might be more than normal, although our business, like Parker said earlier, it’s really quite structured.  There’s not a whole lot of fluctuation in our spending.  Our main expense is payroll, so we don’t have huge fluctuations in marketing, for example, but that might be something you want to look at is, you know, why is marketing so much higher this month?  What’s going on there?  You know, is there some ROI that we need to be looking at.  Return on Investment.  So that’s more or less what we’re looking for on our specific P&L, though.  And Parker, is there anything else that … anything else you think …

Parker:  Yeah, I mean, the P&L side of things for us, even though our revenue should be really consistent because we have X amount of clients, those clients pay us on a monthly basis, but anyone who invoices their clients for a living knows that it’s not always that simple, so a big part of it is for us to see was one month did we have less revenue because a couple clients paid us late and it went into the next month?  And then did that next month end up being a lot higher from a revenue standpoint just because of the way people were paying us?  Or sometimes, we might have a new client that comes on, and we have to do some back work for them, we have to catch them up for the year, so that’s an influx of cash for us that we also try to take into consideration and try to track on our P&L so we can see, all right, how much money are we making from reoccurring revenue from just building our regular clients versus where are we getting opportunities to get some influxes of cash because of back work projects, which again, it’s just catching up people who are getting started with us in the middle or at the end of the year, and they need to get all, you know, their books caught up. 

So that’s really what we’re looking at from a revenue standpoint, and then when it comes to expenses like Corey said, our expenses are fairly consistent, because it’s our labor and it’s our software, but you know, there’s inevitably things that are going to pop up.  You know, sometimes we, like microphones for this podcast, or you know, getting, like recently, we just purchased stand up desks for two of our employees.  So there’s things like that that we’re also kind of talking about, going all right, we have money, you know, in the bank, you know, can we cover a cost if we need to, and it’s just these little conversations that sound totally boring as I explain it to you, Tara, but you know, when you’re running your own business, these things are important, and I think for a lot of businesses, it’s just too easy to just see money in the bank account, and just kind of spend it, because it’s just easier to do that, but I will say is I think the reason the business has stayed so stable for so long is because Corey has paid attention to this far before I ever got involved in the business, so there’s very rarely any surprises.  As with any business, sometimes, you lose clients, sometimes you have unexpected expenses.  That’s just the nature of the game, but because we’re looking every month and we’re doing some forecasting ahead, there’s never really any situation that’s going to come across … come across as that we’re not going to be prepared for or aren’t going to be able to handle.

Corey:  Yeah.

Parker:  Aside from all of our clients leaving us at the same time, which is everybody’s nightmare, but we don’t really plan on that happening.

Corey:  We don’t think about that.

Tara:  No, no, no, no.

Corey:  And then one thing I forgot to add that’s really actually quite important that we do is every month we look at the P&L, look at the profit, and then we set aside a certain amount of money for taxes.  We take basically a percentage of our profit, and that gets pushed into our tax savings account for when we go to pay our quarterlies, and so that’s sitting there, ready to go, stipend set aside and not even worrying about it.

Tara:  Perfect.  I’m glad you mentioned that, because that is something that we sometimes all forget to do.

Corey:  Yeah.

Tara:  Or forget the importance of, and that creates problems later on down the line.  All right, I’d also love to hear about how you guys do your cash projections as well, because I think while it might be something that is perhaps a little bit more advanced or takes a little bit more of a financial skillset, I think it’s probably something our listeners are going to be really intrigued by.  How do you know, or how do you have an idea of how much cash you can expect to be coming in at any given time?

Corey:  Yeah, so again, with our business, it’s pretty straightforward, because we have a set amount of billing every month that we can rely on, for businesses that have huge influxes of cash, it’s a little bit more difficult, but definitely still possible, so we use a … I mentioned it earlier, we use a 60-day cash projection that basically shows the ins and outs of all the cash in the business on a daily basis, and you can … we typically, in my business, we use it to … we use it to just make sure we don’t run out of cash, but if you wanted to, it’s something that you could very easily experiment with and say, hey, I think I’m going to do this much, I’m going to make this much money in the next 30 days, if I do hit that goal, how is that going to change things for me for this month?  And then what expenses are associated with generating that extra revenue?  So we’re obviously using Excel, that is all formulated, and it’s actually not that fancy, to be honest.  It’s actually pretty straightforward, and really, I think anyone could use it.

Parker:  Well, it’s straightforward to you, Corey.

Corey:  Yeah, I know.

Parker:  Because you’re a spreadsheet guy, but what I will say is the concept behind it isn’t super difficult.  It’s essentially, you know, a spreadsheet where you plug in when you think you’re going to get your money on which days, and you plug in when you think you’re going to have to pay bills on specific days, and so it’s something if you did a little research, you could put together.  What I will say is our course that we’re launching in October, part of the course that we’re launching is going to have this spreadsheet in it, and we actually will teach our students how to utilize this spreadsheet in their own business, because the concept in general isn’t difficult, but it’s … it’s just you need to take the time to do it, because you do have to go through and see when you’re invoicing people or when you’re expecting to get revenue, and then you also need to, you know, actually go and dive into your expenses, and see when you’re planning on paying people, and I think if you’re willing to go in and do that, especially if cash flow is an issue for you, it’s definitely worth it, because it’s been really valuable for us, and once you kind of set it up, it becomes easy to maintain.

Tara:  Yeah.  That sounds like an amazing tool, and I’m … So I know you said that you’re going to have resources where this is better explained, but just so I’m making sure I’m wrapping my head around it right now, I’m assuming you could go into your bank statements, your credit card statements, your PayPal account, your Stripe account, wherever the money’s coming in or going out, and actually look and see historically over say the last month or the last 60 days when the money’s come in, when it’s gone out, and whether that’s going to reoccur in the future.

Corey:  Yeah.

Tara:  Am I on the right track?

Corey:  Yeah.

Parker:  Yeah, exactly.

Tara:  Okay, perfect.

Parker:  And if you do have your bookkeeping up to date, it can make that a heck of a lot easier, because then you’re just going into your QuickBooks account or whatever and looking at, you know, you can generate a report, and it’s a lot easier to click and find transactions, versus trying to just go through your bank statements and your credit card statements.  It’s still possible, but I know it would make things a heck of a lot more difficult for us if we had to do it that way.

Tara:  Yes, exactly, that’s what I was thinking to myself is like I have all of this information readily available to me, I really should have this report, you know, sitting on my desktop.  That’s kind of brilliant.  And then you’re also … are you balancing that against, then, cash in the bank?

Corey:  Yeah, exactly.

Tara:  Okay.

Parker:  So the first transaction that we have our clients, and the product we have that we … in the tutorial, is we … you enter the bank balance.  Whatever bank, whatever your checking account balance has in it, that’s the first thing you do, and then you go through the income, then you go through the expenses, and then make decisions based on the data that’s showing up.

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Tara:  I think Parker mentioned QuickBooks, which is what you guys have me using and I absolutely adore it, is that what you guys use internally as well.

Corey:  Yeah, we use QuickBooks exclusively with all of our clients, including internally.

Tara:  Awesome.

Corey:  Yeah.

Tara:  Is there, are there any other tools that we should be looking at?  Or just, you know, stick with QuickBooks?

Corey:  QuickBooks is really great.  Their customer service is terrible.  Intuit is a very, very large corporation, and nobody, nobody knows what they’re doing whenever you call, so if you don’t have a whole lot of experience with QuickBooks, you either have to get, like, formally trained by someone, maybe take a class or something, or there’s a really great software out there, it’s called Xero, X-E-R-O, and that is really something that a lot of bookkeepers are moving toward, but it’s obviously, it’s a whole new process.  It’s a whole different interface.  So it’s quite a big investment of time, energy, money, all of the above to make the shift, but it’s something that we’ve actually considered, just haven’t executed on, yet.

Tara:  Huh.

Parker: Well, and this is what I’ll say, QuickBooks is the standard.

Corey:  Yup.

Parker:  So if you’re trying to get set up for your business and you want to maximize your ability to transition over to a bookkeeper, or to have your accountant be able to access your information, QuickBooks is it, because it can do everything, and we actually use QuickBooks online for both our own business and our clients, and it’s something that they’re improving much more regularly versus the desktop version, but if we weren’t bookkeepers, we would hire someone to do our bookkeeping for us, because a lot of the times, it’s a very specific skillset, knowing how to do your bookkeeping, and obviously, we are extremely biased, because we have a bookkeeping business, but every new client we’ve brought on who was doing their own bookkeeping, it ends up them doing a lot of work that doesn’t really provide a whole lot of value or make things easier for anybody.  So if you are going to get QuickBooks online or get set up with something like that, either do some research, take a course, take a class, do something if you’re committed to doing your own books, but otherwise, again, maybe we’re just supporting our industry and you think we’re full of crap here.  As soon as you can afford to get a bookkeeper involved in your business that knows what they’re doing, it’s going to … your accountant’s going to thank you, and you’re going to be so much happier knowing someone who actually does this for a living is managing your finances for you.

Tara:  Yeah, I couldn’t agree more.  I wish I would have done it sooner.  So let’s talk about decision-making now.  What are you looking at in your financial information with your, you know, financial knowledge, when you’re say, looking, thinking about hiring someone new or when you want to go buy, you know, standing desks for the office, or maybe you want to attend a big conference, how do you decide whether you can afford it or not?  Whether that’s a good business decision or not?

Corey:  Yeah, this is something that I think Parker and I have different views on.  It’s actually, I think, one of the things we struggle with most as a partnership.  I am much more willing and quick to invest in things, like standing desks.  Not to throw you under the bus there, Parker.

Parker:  That’s okay.  I can be … I can be a cheap ass sometimes.

Corey:  Yeah, yeah, and Parker is much more analytical.  You know, he thinks things through, and it’s a really good balance.  Luckily, I don’t have to think about things, I just tell Parker, “Hey Parker, can we do this?”  And then he’ll interject and say yes or no, or he’ll say no, and we’ll have a discussion about it and go from there, but generally speaking, we don’t really have an issue of should we invest in this, should we invest in that.  We pretty much most of the time, we just do it.  We don’t really have to … we have the luxury of not having to think about it.  Now, I will say with this product, that was a lot more difficult, that was a tough call, and obviously, hiring people, it’s a tough call.  We, with hiring, with regard to hiring, specifically, we typically, we like to have a huge, a very large amount of prospects in the pipeline that we could potentially execute on if we hired someone.  So that’s how … that’s more or less how we decide to hire more people, and then with regard to the product, that one was, you know, it’s basically a year of investment and time and money, again, and energy, and so we also had to slow down our engagement pretty dramatically to take on that level of work.  In the meantime, my wife also had twins, so we had a lot going on when we were trying to make the decision about creating the product, but ultimately, I think it’s going to … it’s going to pay off.  It’s a huge gamble, though, no doubt.

Parker:  Well, and the one thing I’ll say is, you know, again, because we are a very steady revenue type business, we only have a certain amount of leftover money every month, unless, you know, because our … our revenue is definitely, like since I came on in the business, our revenue has increased dramatically, but we’ve also taken on my salary, we’ve taken on another bookkeeper’s salary, so it kind of balances out all the extra money that comes into the business.  So for us, we have … it’s not like someone who’s launching products who all of a sudden has an influx of cash and goes, “Oh, I have all this extra money, so I’m going to go spend 10 grand and go work with this coach I’ve wanted to work with,” or buy, you know, new equipment and new computers for everybody or something.  It … again, because it’s so steady that, you know, when we do make an investment, it’s typically not going to be a massive investment. 

If we need to get a new computer for somebody, we can cover that.  If we need to get the desks, we can cover that, because as much as Corey is making everyone think that he just spends money whenever he needs it, we also … He’s also done a good job of making sure there’s always kind of a buffer in the business to cover that, because to us, a buffer is really important.  Having some extra cash every month that sits there and builds up in a reserve, and it’s something that we’re … we want to build to be even bigger, because it allows … that buffer allows us to make these investments when we need to, and it also allows us to not stress out if one of our clients has to leave because their business is struggling or something along those lines, then we’re not stressed out about having to replace that revenue so quickly. 

So that’s the one thing that is very important to me, and I think Corey feels it’s really important, too, is just trying not to spend all the money in your business every month, because especially, I know a big struggle when you’re starting a business is making sure you can pay yourself, and that’s something Corey and I, you know, we have set amounts that we know we want to be making every month, but you have to … I think in order to run a stable business, and at least this is the way we’ve been doing it, is you just have to be ready to make sometimes sacrifices on your own payroll if you need to build that buffer or if you need to cover maybe a larger expense one month versus another.

Tara:  Yes, awesome, thank you for sharing that, and you … I forget which one of you said, you know, you have the luxury of being able to cover these different expenses.  You know, maybe not that giant $10,000 coaching package or whatever it might be, but these things that come up on a regular basis that you just want to be able to pay for, you have the luxury of being able to do that, and I think I want to make the point to people listening that it’s less that you have the luxury to be able to do that because your business is so successful, and more that you have the luxury to be able to do that because of everything you’ve described to this point.  The fact that you are checking your numbers, the fact that you know what your cash projections are, the fact that you know how much cash is going to be in the bank from day-to-day.  I think that’s where the real luxury is, right? 

Corey:  Yeah, yeah.  That’s a really good point.  Excellent point.  Yeah.

Parker:  Yeah, and that’s … and that’s where I think Corey and I definitely both agree.  As much as I think Corey doesn’t worry about spending as much as we do, we both feel very strongly that planning and forecasting and looking ahead and trying to stay ahead of our business is really, really important.

Tara:  Amen.  All right.  Let’s talk … so I want to talk more about the impact that developing this program has had on your business, but there’s one more question I have just sort of on the general financials that I want to get to, which is how do you guys set goals for sales or for new clients?  What are you looking at?  What are you basing those kind of goals on?  Because this is a question that I get asked all the time, and I want to have a better answer for it.

Corey:  Yeah, yeah, so we have, Parker and I have an agreed upon goal, a monthly goal, for client attraction or engagement, really, and that’s 2.  So we try and engage two clients a month, and if we have a client leave, we just simply add that to our goal.  We don’t meet it every month, and that’s fine.  We do our best to meet that goal, though.  So that’s … that’s … that’s our main goal, and then obviously, we have … we have other … other goals in the business, like I just had one top of my head, what was it?  I can’t remember.

Parker:  Well, in general, and you know, one thing I want to add, Corey, is the fact that we’re wanting these two clients a month because we do have a monthly target that we’re working towards getting, because when I started in the business, we had a much smaller goal, and as I got more skilled and we were taking on more clients, and we had a better idea of what both Corey and I want to be making and what we want to be paying our employees.  That’s a goal that we’ve essentially hit, but now, we’re looking to get a goal that is going to make sure that everybody on the team has plenty of work to do and is fully maximized, and then also making sure that we have the target amount we want to have extra every month, because we have some months where we will have some extra money we put in the bank just because of, again, those back work projects where we might get an influx of cash outside of what our clients are paying us on a monthly basis, and some months, because a client’s paid late, we might get an influx of revenue that gives us a little extra profit at the end of that month, but we want to work towards getting our monthly revenue to a place where Corey and I are making what we want to make, our employees are making what we want them to make, and we have a certain amount of extra, again, savings. 

I always call it buffer, it’s kind … just because it’s that extra money that just you can put into your savings and just know that you’re building a buffer or cushion for the business every month, and we do have an ultimate goal of what we want to build our savings up to, just to … to make the business even more stable, but you have to start somewhere, and the best way to start is to get your monthly target, hit that monthly target, and then stick with it every month, and just try to maintain it.  Which, you know, there’s ups and downs of every business, but I’d say so far, I think we’ve been, you know, we’ve been working towards that target pretty successfully.

Corey:  And then if I could just add one more thing, Tara.

Tara:  Yeah.

Corey:  Real quick.  I just remembered what it was.  Another really big aspect, I know you asked about specifically sales or new clients, but a big aspect of sort of our goal setting is surrounding customer service.  We … we … I think there’s an untold truth between me and Parker that our clients take priority above all, and so obviously, it’s very expensive to lose a client, and it’s also very expensive to acquire a client, so keeping our clients happy and doing everything we can to support them really is our number one goal, because once they’re in the door, then you know, we want them for life.  We don’t want them to leave.  And that’s actually, I pride myself about that.  We don’t lose clients.  It’s very rare.

Tara:  Kind of go back to what Parker was saying, too, it sounds like your sales goals are based on sort of an almost like an ideal P&L that you kind of have set in terms of targets.  Like this is the profit you want to have, this is how much of that profit.

Corey:  Yeah.

Tara:  Yeah, and then that I think is …

Parker:  That’s perfect.

Tara:  I think that’s like a gamechanger for a lot of people, because I think the first place we go is how much of this do I want to sell, whereas if we’re focused on the sort of the supporting financials of that, how much do I want to have in the bank, how much do I want to pay myself this month.  That helps us create much more informed goals that have meaning to them.  It’s not just a sales goal that’s out there sitting and doing, you know, that means nothing to us.  It has real substance in our businesses.

Corey:  Our budget … our budget, actually, that’s exactly what we do.  That’s how we know what our targets are, because we have an ideal P&L that we were sort of working toward, and that’s … so that’s how we know that we need two clients a month.  So that’s what we’re working toward.

Parker:  And that’s not something we’re necessarily looking at every month on our call, but we do look at it fairly regularly, just because again, we … because we’ve been doing the bookkeeping for so long and we have lots of historical data, it’s really easy for us to pull up an average P&L of what our business looks like every month.  So for us, it’s very easy to just go, okay, let’s change that revenue target, let’s change any expenses that might go up with that revenue target.  For instance, if your revenue goes up, your merchant fees are probably going to go up, but just make some little adjustments there, and then it becomes very clear what we need to work towards, and it’s very difficult to do that if you don’t have any financial organization set up in your business whatsoever.

Corey:  Yeah, and Parker and I have a sticky pad on our desks that’s a goal, it’s a number, and that’s what we’re working toward, and there’s actual hard data behind that number, it’s not just some … something we’ve pulled out of thin air and decided okay, this is a goal.  There’s actual … there’s actually a path that we’re trying to … that we’re on to try and hit that goal by a certain day.

Tara:  Love it.  Love it, love it, love it.  Love goals, especially sales goals.  All right.  So you guys have talked about the kind of do it yourself program that you’ve created, and you’ve also talked about how that really required investing basically a year’s worth of time and energy.

Corey:  Yeah.

Tara:  And you know, maybe hiring some additional contractors, hiring some help.  Can you talk about both the impact that’s had on your financials so far, and the impact that you expect to have on your financials in the future?

Parker:  Yeah, so this has been, this is going to be a gamechanger for us, because as we’ve just talked about, we have a steady business, and I think, Tara, you’ve probably been in this situation yourself, where you have a steady client base, and that helps to create a somewhat steady revenue stream, but to us, a stable business is a business that has multiple revenue streams.  It just helps to protect the business if, you know, some clients leave, well, you know, we’re doing well with the product, so that’s building up our savings.  So for us, it was a no-brainer, and it’s a big reason why I, you know, Corey and I decided to work together, because … because of my background, the product creation was right up my alley, because I have experience with video and video editing and audio and audio editing and I’ve done a lot of presentations and put together PowerPoints and so, and that’s something Corey just didn’t have as much experience in, but as Corey eluded to earlier, you know, in doing so, we … we kind of slowed down.  Like, you can only focus on so much in your business. 

I think it’s something everybody experiences, and we definitely experienced it this year, is you can’t … you can’t do everything.  You have to figure out what’s the most important thing to your business, believe in that, and then take action towards it, and we knew we could continue to grow our client base, but there just gets to be a certain point where we’re going to max out, and you know, we’re going to have to hire somebody else, and it’s just a slower process.  It’s something we don’t mind doing, but we felt like if we could say, hey, we’ll slow down taking on some clients right now, so it would free me up to have a little extra time to work on the product every week, and even though we did sacrifice some potential revenue during that time, we feel like it’s going to be so much more worthwhile, because we can get back to growing our client base, and when we launch our course in October, it’s going to not only be a promotional tool for us, but it’s also going to be an extra revenue stream, and that’s going to open up so many more doors for our business, because now we’ll have the consistent revenue from our clients every month.  We’re still going to be focusing on servicing our clients every month, but now we’ll have this … this product that’s going to generate revenue that doesn’t demand our individual time.  Like I think, Tara, you call it, like, hours for money, or however …

Tara:  Yeah, time for money, yup.

Parker:  Time for money.  That’s going to kind of be working for us.  Now, obviously, I still will need to be, you know, working on it and supporting the customers that are happening there.  Like, there’s no question that’s going to happen, but it’s just going to … it’s going to generate revenue for us that we just couldn’t generate by just taking on clients every month, so that’s going to allow us to build up our savings a lot more and stabilize the business, and it’s going to allow us to invest in our business in new and different ways that we just wouldn’t have been able to do so before.  So we’re really excited about it, but for us, either way, however successful the launch is and however successful this product is for us, it’s still just icing on the cake for us, and that’s where we feel very lucky that we do have a stable revenue stream right now, and whatever we do with the product is just going to add on top of that steady revenue stream and make the business more stable.  It’s not something where we’re going to have to rely on the revenue from the product to cover certain expenses or pay ourselves from.

Tara:  Brilliant.  Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.  Thank you so much for sharing that with everyone, because you know, everyone out … not everyone, but a lot of people out there are, you know, trying to build a business based off of a passive income product like that when there is a clear path to profitability with a service or with something that’s more hands on, something that’s done for you, and what you guys have just demonstrated with that is that there is this huge, potentially a much bigger opportunity to create an income stream in your business that is icing on the cake, and that is, I think that’s great.  I wish that for everybody.  I want to see more businesses built with that kind of model in mind, because I think it’s just so smart.

Corey:  Thank you.

Tara:  Yeah. 

Parker:  Well, and I think, and I just one thing I wanted to add on that is I think there’s a little bit of so many business owners go I don’t want to have to, I want that passive income, because I … I don’t know if it’s just a matter of not wanting to work so much or if there’s just the time for money scenario just isn’t as appealing, but I know for us, stability is really important.  We’re both married, Corey has a family, we have mortgages, so for us, that stability means the world to us.  So even if we might, if we may have sacrificed some opportunities in the past to generate some influx of … influxes of cash, and as nice as that would have been, we would never sacrifice a launch or an influx of cash, we would never sacrifice that for the stability we have in our business right now, and that’s just the way we look at it.

Tara:  Awesome, awesome.  So real quick, can you tell us what the product, what the program actually is?

Parker:  Yeah, so because we work every day with … with entrepreneurs and primarily online entrepreneurs, that’s our niche, we just have, we realized a long time ago that there’s just not enough information about what do you do with your money in your business?  How do you create stability in your business?  How do you create systems in your business that just make sure you’re doing everything you can to protect and grow and nurture your business?  And I think, for us, we always felt like what we do isn’t particularly sexy, but as soon as we bring on a new client and they see what we do and they start to learn really what it takes to stabilize your business and put good financial practices in their businesses, it demystifies things, and I know, like, with you Tara, when we first started, you didn’t feel like you were that numbers, finance person, and now, it’s like you’re a P&L pro, and that’s the stuff that we … we love to see, because we know the difference it makes in our business, we know the difference it makes in our client’s business, but you know, not everyone can work with us.  There’s only, you know, Corey and I can only take on so many clients. 

So that’s, I think it’s a typical story when it comes to the reasons behind wanting to develop a course, but we felt like we just got so much feedback from people saying, “I just wish I understood this part of my business more,” that we just said there’s a huge opportunity for us to educate the online entrepreneur community, and do so in a way that’s not intimidating, and gives every entrepreneur the opportunity to learn the basics that every business owner just should know about their business, you know, why they should have a business entity and the relationship they should have with their bookkeeper and what their accountant should be doing for them and how they can set up their own budget and how they can set up their P&L the way we set up the P&L for our business and for our client’s businesses.  It’s again, kind of these tactical things that are really second nature to Corey and I now, and I think fairly second nature to most of our clients, just because most of our clients have been working with us for at least a year, two, three years, but for so many entrepreneurs who aren’t exposed to this, it’s … it’s game changing.  So that’s where this course that we’re launching in October is just going to allow us to give every entrepreneur the opportunity to learn the basics of what they should be doing in their business to set themselves up for success and to manage their finances in a way that other successful businesses are managing them.

Tara:  Awesome.  I love it.  Guys, thank you so much for joining me.  This has been absolutely fascinating to me.  I hope it’s fascinating to our audience, and we’ve said game changing a couple times, but I know that this interview’s going to be a gamechanger for a lot of people out there.

Parker:  No, thank you for having us.

Corey:  Awesome.

Parker:  We just love the opportunity to talk about our nerdy numbers stuff.

Corey:  Thanks, Tara.

Tara:  Thank you. 

Find out more about Corey, Parker, and Evolved Finance at EvolvedFinance.com.

Next week, I talk with Nicole Stevenson, cofounder of popular maker conference, Craftcation.  Nicole and I talk about how she works with event sponsors, how she prices the event, and the unexpected challenges that ultimately arise producing an event of Craftcations magnitude.

CreativeLive is highly-curated classes from the world’s top experts.  Watch free, live video classes every day from acclaimed instructors in photography, design, audio, craft, business, and personal development.  Stream it now at CreativeLive.com.

This has been Tara Gentile.  Discover how to accelerate your earning as a small business owner with my free class, Revenue Catalyst, at QuietPowerStrategy.com/PPP.

That’s a wrap for this week’s episode of Profit. Power. Pursuit., a CreativeLive podcast.  Download more episodes of this podcast and subscribe on iTunes.  If you appreciate this kind of in-depth content, please leave us a review or share this podcast with a friend.  It means the world to us.

Our theme song was written by Daniel Peterson, who also edited this episode.  Our audio engineer was Kellen Shimizu.  This episode was produced by Michael Karsh.  We add a new episode of Profit. Power. Pursuit. every week.  Subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you love to listen to podcasts so you never miss an episode.