People always assume I am so deeply passionate and stoked about finance. Like I jump out of bed and get excited about interest rates. That's not exactly true. I am super stoked and passionate about helping people, feeling like my work matters and having autonomy over it. So when people ask me why I started The Hell Yeah Group, the answer is often that, " I looked inside of my tool box of skills and realized I had some sharp tools that all pertained to bookkeeping, running a small business and personal financial planning.” As much as I wanted to create a cool company that had nothing to do with finance, I had constraints: I needed to earn money and there was no denying the skills I had, no matter how uncool I thought it was. Not exactly visions of grandeur, more like shining a turd.
But I’ve really grown to love how my work makes me feel, regardless of it’s non-passion status. I want to share the industry-specific things I’ve learned and observed over the years that I think everyone should know.
We live in a world saturated in instant gratification. We can contact our friends through multiple channels at any time of day, from anywhere in the world. We can have the city’s best sushi or a even just single lime delivered to our front door. The amount of entertainment we have access to at our fingertips is a number that my brain cannot actually comprehend. And we can generate a rush of dopamine in the time it takes to write a caption for a photo.
It’s no wonder why we give up on the things that require more than a few minutes of focus. We have so many other ways to feel instantly good and to distract us from the real work we could be doing. But real work takes, well - real work.
I’m just going to come out of the closet and say this: I actually hate budgeting. And I think so many of us have sucked at it because it actually inherently sucks. A budget is the harsh fluorescent light the morning after, revealing all of our past personal mistakes. Not being able to stick to a budget highlights just how out of control we are in our daily lives, like how we are powerless to marketing that connects with us emotionally or how the market or an employer dictates what we can afford and ultimately, how we live our lives. On the surface, a budget is a bunch of numbers, but at it’s core, it forces us to confront ourselves.
No one taught me how to budget. Not my parents, not my undergrad financial planning professor or any of the professors who were teaching the personal financial planning courses that went towards a personal financial planning certificate. In my memory, there was at most, a short chapter on it, with a fugly, useless template and advice that was certainly a total unrealisitic crap pile.
When I got a job assisting a financial planner, my boss, who had been a financial planner for 7 years, asked me - a zygote in the professional world - what I thought is the best method was for budgeting. And that’s when all the failing started.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this fundamentally human thing: negative feelings like fear, worry, stress, overwhelm and how it relates to our financial lives.
Financial progress is often analogous to weight loss because it takes time for a true transformation to take place. You make a plan, work away it, live life, reflect on your progress, maybe stray from the course and then get back on track. Rinse. Repeat.
Sometimes, even when you have a plan in place, your amygdala won’t shut up. Your fears hijack your brain and take you out of the present moment. Doubt creeps in. Progress feels far. There’s so much to do, how could you waste time doing anything else?
Okay, this is going to sound extremely biased... but, as an accountant, I strongly recommend hiring a professional to file your business’s tax returns.
Sure, you’ll have to part with some of your hard earned cash in the short term. But I guarantee it will save you time and headaches. And if it helps you avoid making costly errors on your tax return (y’know, the ones that result in IRS fines), it’ll also save you money in the long run.
That said, I’m aware that it’s not always possible to hire a pro. So, if you’re doing your own tax return this year, here are some common mistakes to avoid.
Can you save money setting up your business as an LLC? Should you elect to be treated as an S-Corp?
I get asked these questions a lot by clients who want to maximize their tax savings. I wish there was a one-size-fits-all answer. But the honest the answer is: it depends on a bunch of different factors.
Before you set up shop as an LLC or an S-Corp, here’s a quick rundown of how these two business structures can benefit you and your business.
Accountants are smart, hard working, and they basically do everything for you, right?
Well, yes and no.
Typically your tax accountant (maybe you call them an EA or a CPA) is focused solely on filing your federal and state income taxes. This means there’s still a lot of “financial admin” you’ll have to take care of on your own to keep your business running.
Here are five financial tasks you’ll need to get done to keep your business running smoothly.
You’ll need to take care of these yourself or commission your accountant to do in addition to tax filing.
It’s been over 4 years since I’ve gone off my own and I’ve learned more about the world and myself in this short amount of time than I think I’ve learned in my whole life - at least it feels that way. Now that my business is no longer a sketchy house of cards that could fall down at any moment, it’s a lot of fun making things exist in the world to help people.
Here are twelve small truths that I’ve learned while forging my own path.
When you’re at a bar at 1am; you’re not drunk, but not not sober, surrounded by a bunch of friends, the last thing you want to do is load several heavy, oddly shaped items into a car only to have to unload them shortly after. This is the worst part about playing in a local band; you have to do everything yourself… but it’s just part of it. It comes with the territory.
To my freelancer friends and small business buddies who hate selling or pitching or talking about the money part of things. I get it, it sucks, but too bad. It’s the trade off for being able to spend your working life building something you believe in. It’s the cost of mostly being in charge of your life. Talking about money doesn’t have to suck. You can stop hating it, but you have to do some work to change your own perspective on it.
Here are some ways I think about selling. I hope some of it will light up your brain and help you power past some of your limiting beliefs around selling and talking to customers about money.
People talk about opportunities like they’re a nebulous, disembodied thing. Like they’re floating around and will land on your shoulder and boom, your life is changed forever. Let’s say they are. Imagine opportunities are all floating around in form of balloons. Every balloon is connected to a string. And at the end of the string, even though you might not be able to see it, there is a person holding the string.
You see, opportunities are not standalone. They’re always connected to a person.
This article is all about understanding who you serve. Who is your ideal customer, target market and what’s your niche?