I’m a firm believer in what you put out there will come back to you. You might not see the direct correlation. But giving to other people by giving up my time, giving up my energy has always come back.
– Melissa Laverty
Anyone can start a business; running a successful business is a whole different story.
Meet Melissa Laverty
Melissa Laverty is an accountant and owner at AccountAbility Tax and Bookkeeping. Over her 20 plus years on the job, she has helped hundreds if not thousands of solopreneurs and family-run businesses navigate the financial aspects of their business. Her goal has always been to keep as much money as possible in her client’s pockets.
Tell us this story about Melissa. How did you get to be an expert in the finance area?
I often joke that there are two types of people in the world that are self-employed, ones that have planned it out, sought it out, had a business plan, and then there are others that woke up one day being self-employed and saying, how the heck did this happen to me? I would certainly be one of the latter.
I found myself in a situation I had been working for a bank for several years. I was very disappointed with an annual review that I had and I was promised the world and disappointed. So I left that job not knowing what I was going to do next. I was lucky enough to get a receptionist position, working for my current business partner in a small bookkeeping and tax firm that he had just started. He and I have been working together for over 20 years now. It was a couple of years into that relationship that we decided to take the leap and venture out on our own.
Share a little bit about what your role looks like now.
It has absolutely morphed over the years. We’re 20 years into it now. We have a team of both bookkeepers and accountants that do a lot of the dirty work. So my role right is amazing. I love my role. Now I run the business and am responsible for managing, hiring, and all those kinds of things. But I get to work directly with the clients, whether that’s a strategy role, or if they’re new to us and sort of triage their situation and get them on board. I get them to the right people on the team, and I have overall oversight of the whole business.
We are sort of a family here. Family comes first. We make sure that everyone is taken care of and we have a different culture than I would have if I was working for anybody else. I think that’s probably my favorite thing about being the boss.
I mentioned earlier that it was about four or five years before I even took ownership of my business. It took a few more years to wrap my head around, what should I be doing? What should I be doing differently? What should I be doing next? And so in sharing these five tips with you, I’m hoping that you get to your goal faster and that it doesn’t take you 20 years to have a scalable business that gives you the freedom that you want to enjoy in your personal life.
Tip #1 – Be honest. Be honest with yourself. Be honest with your clients. Do good work. Do what you say you’re gonna do. If someone hires you to do a job, do a good job, just be honest with yourself. I’m a firm believer in what you put out there will come back to you as that has been proven to me again and again over the years.
Tip #2 – Figure out your special sauce. What are you, really, really good at? What are your talents? And then what areas do you struggle with? What areas of your business or even of your life are such a chore for you that you put them off and never get around to them? Be honest, figure out what works, and then build a team to fill the holes in.
Tip #3 – Setting goals. I’m a big analogy person. Imagine that I am feeling a little bit chubby, and I want to lose some weight. If I set a goal to lose weight, that doesn’t mean anything. And a couple of months from now, I’m probably still going to be chubby. No change, maybe I gained five pounds. If I were to apply my SMART, which is an acronym, my SMART goal recipe to that same situation, it would look a little different. So smart stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant or Realistic, and Time-bound. Let’s take that same initiative. I’m chubby, and I don’t like it. And let’s reword the goal and say something to the effect of, I have a vacation coming up in June, I have three months to lose 20 pounds. My goal is to lose 20 pounds in three months, by a specific date. When we are clear on what we want, and when we want it, magic happens.
Tip #4 – Know your numbers. Numbers do not lie. They’re telling you a story. If you look back at the last month or the last year and you read these nerdy reports that come out of your bookkeeping system, you’re going to discover some hidden secrets in there. Where are you making money? Where are you bleeding money, where are your expenses going at the end of the day or the end of the year? You want to know what you’ve got.
Tip #5 – Imagine. I’ll leave you with the thought that everything exists now, was first imagined. Right? So imagine a better place, imagine a better system? Why are you self-employed? Is it that you were doing this job in a different capacity and decided you could do it better? If you went out on your own? What else could you be doing better? What is that next step for you? And to be constantly on a track of improvement.
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