Running a small business is not for the faint at heart. Who can agree with me that running a small business is like being on a never-ending rollercoaster ride? One minute you’re cruising at a level pace, the next you’re at the highest of highs and then all of a sudden something happens and you feel like you are falling fast. Please tell me that it’s not just me that feels that way. Now, I know some times are better than others and it’s great when we get to a point where we are cruising at that level pace for a long time but even if your business is doing great you know that at any time things could change and even the little hiccups sometimes feel like you are crashing to the bottom. The thing is though, we stick with it, right? There has to be a reason behind the long hours, the stress, the decisions, the learning curve, the growing pains, and all the other craziness that small business owners endure. If it was just all about the money, it wouldn’t be worth it – we could go work for someone else and make a decent living, right? So, what is it? What’s your biz story? What is your why?
I thought it would be fun to share my “why” as well as a few other awesome small business owners that have an amazing “why” as well. Below is my story, but I’d love to hear yours as well.
Feel free to comment here or share your story on social media, tag us and use the hashtag #whatsyourbizstory
What do you do?
“I am the founder and CEO of Steadfast Bookkeeping Company, which is a full-service bookkeeping and cloud accounting firm offering bookkeeping and tax services to small businesses all across the U.S.”
What motivated you to start your business?
“What motivated me to start my business is probably a few things. One of those things I definitely think is that I just have entrepreneurial blood in my body. I come from a family of entrepreneurs from my parents, siblings, grandparents, and my aunts and uncles. We’re just really a big huge family of entrepreneurs and small businesses and I’ve always loved that! And I was never really 100 percent content with just having a job. I always wanted to do something different or better, at least in my opinion, and so what really motivated me to start it was my passion for small business and entrepreneurship. And then realizing that there was really a need, and there still is a need, for small businesses to have somebody that they can trust and somebody to assist them with their finances when it comes to bookkeeping and taxes. And a lot of small businesses don’t need somebody full-time, or even part-time, to come into their office. When I realized that that need was there, it’s something I enjoy doing, I was helping family and friends anyways, and I had been working in the corporate world for a few years, I just knew that it was time. And so, that’s really what motivated me was that entrepreneur passion that I have mixed with the need for small businesses to have somebody that they know and trust and can help them with their finances.”
How does your business look different today than when it first started?
“My business looks so different today than it did when I first started it! When I first started it, it was just me all by myself. I literally started the business with one client and I built it up from there. And really for a few years, I was still by myself, but today we have a team here at Steadfast and so that’s one thing that looks completely different from day one. It was just me and a laptop and a passion to help people, and now we have an entire team of people that are passionate about helping small businesses. So that’s definitely something that looks a lot different. Another thing that looks different is the clients that we’re working with! So, I told you that on day one, I started with one client. And when I started Steadfast, cloud accounting was a thing but it was really just becoming to the point where people could actually have a bookkeeper or an accountant that was not in their local city. Softwares had been out there. They were just starting to release softwares that people knew and trusted and felt good about using for their business finances without having to have somebody on a computer in their office. So, when I started day one, that one client that I had was a local client. I would go into that businesses’ office usually about once a week. When I started building the business, I kind of continued to build it that way at first where I was working with local businesses and I was able to go into their office and meet with them face-to-face. But as time progressed, and as time is still progressing, there’s really not a need for that anymore. So, when I first started I was working with local companies, and now today it looks a lot different because we are working with clients and businesses all over the U.S. and that is something that’s really cool and for sure looks a lot different than day one.”
What is the hardest part of running your small business?
“I think the hardest part of running my small business for me personally is just not letting it consume my life. Which might sound crazy, but I’m a little bit of a workaholic. I love what I do, I love working, I love just getting things done, scratching things off my list, I love coming up with new ideas, I love collaborating with other business owners, I just love working. Something that I’ve realized over the years and probably is one of the hardest things about running a small business for me, is just remembering that this is not my only thing. I have tried for years to really think about balance and how can I do this and that, and I’ve really come to the conclusion that I don’t really think it’s a thing about balance, at least for me, because it looks a little bit different every day. For me, it’s really about priorities and remembering that I’m not just a business owner, not just a bookkeeper, not just an accountant, not just a boss. But I am a mom, I am a wife, I’m a daughter, I’m a sister, I am a friend and so many other things. And those are all things that I love as well! I love my daughter, I love my husband, I love my family, I love my friends, I love serving in our local church. I love all of those things but sometimes I have to remind myself and really be sure that I am taking time to prioritize those things into my life. I could easily get caught up in sitting 12 or more hours a day behind my desk just getting work done and kind of let the other things fall to the wayside a little bit. So, for me, the hardest part is really remembering that I have to prioritize things. That might look a little different every single day. I might be at my desk 12 hours one day but the next day I might be spending time with my family or I might be going to a doctor’s appointment with a friend or a family member. I might be taking a vacation, I might be taking a half-day or a whole day off. Whatever that looks like, it might look a little different every day but it is something that I really do have to work hard at and I would say for me personally is the hardest part of running my small business.”
What motivates you to keep your business going even when it gets tough?
“What motivates me to keep going when the going gets tough is really people. I love our clients, I love every client that we work with. I love seeing the passion that other small business owners have, I love seeing them get through the hard times, I love seeing them have those times of, ‘Man, you know right now, the goings getting tough,’ but they make it through. So seeing that and working with hundreds of businesses over the years is so motivating. And it’s really cool because what makes it a little bit more motivating is that by offering the services that we do and partnering with small businesses, we are just a little part of their small business. But it’s really neat to know that we are able to assist with something that is then enabling that business owner to go on and do more of what they’re called to do in their business. Another thing that is motivating and still falls along the line of people, but it’s kind of the other end of the spectrum, is my team! So, I mentioned that my business looks a lot different than it did on day one, and so it’s not just me anymore. I have a whole team, so every decision that I make is going to impact my team, it’s not just me anymore. So, when the going gets tough, and it might seem like, ‘Well, we just won’t do this anymore, or I’m just going to do it this way, or I’ll just do this,’ I have to really think about the team and how this is going to impact them. I have an amazing team of women that love what they do, they take their clients on as their own, and they’re really good at what they do. So, seeing them also motivates me to keep going because they love this job, they love the clients that they get to work with, they love what they do every day, and so that part is really motivating as well.”
What is one piece of advice you’d give a new business owner?
“One piece of advice that I would give a business owner, a new business owner, is to not go it alone. But I’m going to throw a disclaimer on that and say at the same time, be sure to quiet out the noise. And what I mean by that is you don’t want to go it alone even if you are like me, starting your business by yourself, where you’re wearing all of the hats from day one. There are still people that you can collaborate with, you can go to conferences and meet with people, you can be in a Mastermind. Whatever that looks like, it will be very beneficial for your business to kind of gather people who will just be in your corner. And when you have a question, when the going does get tough, you will have somebody to go to that can help brainstorm with you or share an experience that they’ve had that will help you. That’s going to be huge because as you start your business, and if it is just you, you might be sitting in an office by yourself all day every day and that is going to, at some point, possibly paralyze you, maybe even stunt the growth of your business if you don’t have others that you can bounce things off of, brainstorm and talk things through with. So definitely don’t go it alone. However, in this day and age that we live in, there is so much information at our fingertips. There are blogs and videos and podcasts and courses and all kinds of things that are so great! They’re good. They have good information in them. But a lot of it comes to us business owners as, ‘You have to do this and do it this way, and now there’s this new product so you need that and you need this, you need that, do this, okay nope-scratch that off, now do this.’ I don’t know if that’s how you feel but I know that there’s just so much stuff that comes my way. I really have to make sure that I am quieting that noise knowing that I can save it, I can take it, I can read it but know that I don’t have to do everything at once and I don’t have to listen to everything that comes my way. I might have the same topic coming my way in three different forms, maybe 3 different opinions, 3 things that work, but maybe one of those things is going to be the thing that works for my business. So, I really have to figure that out. Something that’s really helped me is having those people, other small business owners, that I can go to and say, ‘Hey who did you use for this?’ Or, ‘Do you have a good blog that you read for this topic?’ Things like that are really going to be beneficial for your business. Maybe you are going to read a blog post that’s going to help you. Maybe you are going to purchase a course. Maybe you will hire a firm or an individual to assist you with something. But you’ll have it being backed by somebody that you know and trust and who can say, ‘Oh you know, this is what I did and so I recommend this.’ Or get an opinion from two or three different people who can really help you so that it’s not just so much noise. Because when you have all of that noise it’s hard to make a decision, sometimes that can even paralyze you where you’re just not sure how to move on with all of that information. So, don’t go it alone but also know when to quiet the noise and shut some things out!”
If you would like to learn more about Stephanie and our business, check out our website here!