A dear friend of ours visited from overseas this past week.
He was there when Drew and I first met at a coaching conference nearly 20 years ago, he came to our wedding and gave a memorable toast, and we even named our son after him.
We were catching up, and he was telling me about his business.
He's a totally self-made dude and has a successful cabinetry design business.
I told him about what I was up to in my coaching biz these days, and how I was putting together a program about "the stuff behind the stuff" that we all need to get handled to succeed in a service-based business.
You know, things like healthy boundaries, policies, procedures, using your time wisely, organizing yourself and your office, hiring people and having your money receiving systems in order.
He said he knew exactly what I was talking about, and went on to tell us a story that I bet you can probably relate to...
In the early days of his business and doing it all himself, he knew he had to get his accounting, billing and payment systems more organized.
So he bought a DIY accounting software program.
He was dismayed at how hard it seemed to understand. (Did I mention this guy has a PhD? He's no dummy.)
So he tried another one, and well, he couldn't figure that out either.
To be honest, it just wasn't his forte. He wasn't particularly good at it, and he wasn't that interested in it either.
He's brilliant at designing kitchens and custom cabinetry, but not bookkeeping.
But he thought that's what you're supposed to do as a biz owner.
Uh, by the way, I will confess that not only did I buy Quickbooks TWICE, I also bought Microsoft Money, signed up for Mint online money management, tried working with Excel, and sure enough I also couldn't figure out how to use any of them with any kind of consistency.
In fact, this made me feel pretty bad about myself for quite a long time and led to so much tax time stress because I never had my stuff together, no matter how much I tried.
Next he attended a fancy money management course for small businesses (the kind advertised in the business magazines) and he was overwhelmed with all the highfalutin advice that seemed "just too much."
As a last resort, and because he kept feeling he should get this handled, he hired the best, most prominent accounting firm he could find in town and handed his books to them.
He said they would charge him an "arm and a leg" and constantly tell him how he "should be doing more "XYZ" for "ABC" reasons. He couldn't stand these guys! It felt like he was being constantly admonished. Yuck.
He tried another firm, but they were only slightly better.
Finally, he found a little mom and pop place, that charges a fraction of the amount and saves him even more in taxes.
And they are now working happily ever after together. :)
Drew laughed when he heard this, because he could relate too in his own coaching business.
When we first started living together, every month, usually the first Friday of the month, I would hear all kinds of F-bombs flying out of his office.
Naturally, I would go see what was the matter and sure enough, he was balancing his books.
And when I gently suggested that he shouldn't be doing this himself, and that it's very affordable to hire a bookkeeper and accountant, all I got was a series of dirty looks.
It was a few months later (yeah, it takes time for people to change their minds) when he finally decided to hire the same people I was working with.
Now he says it's the best $50 he spends each month. (I agree! No more F-bombs! And tax time is a breeze around here.)
I've heard the same stories from so many well-intentioned service professionals.
They're either trying to do their books on their own (spending hours on it because they think that's what's you're supposed to do) instead of doing the things they're best at.
Or they're waiting to "make more money" before they hire help.
Another confession: when I hired my accounting team, I was certain they would laugh at the pitifully small numbers in my bank account.
In fact, I secretly feared they would turn me away because I was too "small potatoes" for them. And because I was always close to running out of money.
But I had a KNOWING that in order to let more money come into my practice, I had to create peace of mind that "things were in order".
Deep in my bones, I knew that if I didn't find an easier way to manage the little money I had, I was never going to let myself make more than the scraps I was making.
So when I hired my accounting team, I handed them my big piles of messy papers (I was embarrassed, for sure!), confessed my worries and then held my breath.
This was of course, after spending a week trying to "clean things up" for them, and making very little progress, I might add.
As it turns out, they don't care how much money is in my account.
Get this: They just like doing this work!
Yes! They actually LIKE doing this work. (This confounds me to this day!)
God bless accountants and bookkeepers!
Because this Mama does not understand the language of the IRS, at all. (When I meet with my accountant each quarter, she has to explain things to me like, 10 times, no joke.)
And the greater truth is, accounting, bookkeeping and getting your stuff together for the IRS is it's own language.
People go through lots of training to understand this stuff!
These days, I really appreciate that they keep an eye on things, each and every month, so my biz is always on the "up and up" and I'm ready for tax season and I'm not hit with any surprises.
It was only a few short months after hiring them, and outsourcing this royal pain, that I was able to finally break through this self-imposed money barrier and hit the 6-figure mark.
I could go on about about the power of setting this up in your practice! :)
And I will in my new 10-day, "Get In, Get It Done and Get Out There" program called The Happy Practice Rules to Live By.
It's all about setting yourself up with some simple rules, policies and procedures, including simple money systems like the one me, my husband and our friend set up in our respective businesses - an affordable, professional accounting team we really like.
In fact I'll be talking about 6 different areas to pay attention to in your biz and lesson 5 of the 6 will go deep in all the money systems to set up that help you attract only ideal clients.
Please come take a look at the info page, and see if it's for you. I'd to have you join us.
Here's the link: http://wellpronet.com/rulestoliveby
If you have questions, post them in the comments of that page and I'll jump right in to help.
All the best to you in 2015 and hope this was helpful!