Ok, maybe HATE is a super strong word here but bear with me as I put my “what to do” into perspective for you.
The quick answer might be? “Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming.” in my most beautiful Dorie voice from Finding Nemo. (don't judge me) 🙂
So my business partners and I attended Jeff Walker’s PLF Live! conference back in October of this year. It was “AWESOMENESS” and “MORE AWESOMENESS”, a first of its kind for me, and if you don't know who Jeff Walker is then go check him out… AFTER you read my good stuff here. 😉
At the conference my partners and I networked, once again finding that many business owners shy away from CPAs and accountants because they feel that they can’t relate. Now, don't get it twisted, we couldn't have met a more engaging, giving, connected and supportive tribe of people when we attended Jeff's event…. it.was.an.experience! But, we already knew the disconnect deal existed and began to share our challenges about that with others.
TRUE STORY ALERT! While sharing, one of the people we met told us that she had an aunt with the same problem, but it wasn't exactly the problem we had after we heard it.
You see, she was a doctor, and whenever people found that out it was as if the script had already been written that they would begin to overshare or have her look at something. (you just said to yourself, “oh my gosh… I might kinda do that”, didn't you?)
So, her solution to this “disconnect” issue? When asked what she does for a living she simply says, “I'm an architect.” And in response they say, “Oh, cool!” or something of the like and life moves on. (yes, we giggled too)
In OUR case, people are like — “yeah, everybody needs accounting,” or “I have an accountant and we don't talk much,” or often they share just how much they “HATE” the thing I've personally spent more than 19 years doing…. and life moves on… where I'm HATED. (not really me, but you get it…right?)
One might think it's easy to break through this kind of wall, but it's been a real challenge to work through the balance of helping people come to love the very thing they love to hate (accounting) as we shift to an online business model ourselves.
I mean, to overcome stigma like that in a 30-second pitch? Almost impossible!
But, try I must. 🙂
Thanks, Jeff Walker and tribe. Thanks, Anthony Lee! 🙂 And so, my mission to connect with people in a new and original way by just being who I really am started to take shape so my team and I could… LLLAAUUUNNCCHH! 🙂
The goal behind our online launch? IMPACT.
Going through this process wasn't natural or easy for me to do. It has been an uphill climb along the way and we're all still climbing. Luckily, I have AMAZING people in my corner who easily see the things I don't. As a business we've made investments in mentors who see what we don't and pour into us every single day too. It's what the beauty a culture of partnership can bring into your life. This is where I might ask, “who's in your corner?”
This journey that continues to take shape also taught me 7 things I believe anyone can do to move people from hate to L-O-V-E when considering who you are or what you do.
#1: Be Relatable
On some level we all have something we share, a common thread. I am a CPA. Not everyone is a CPA. Often, that's all people see when they find out what I do. There is so much more to me than being a CPA. Once I let them know how we relate in my first conversation, the wall starts to fall just a little.
The Bottom Line? It's not just an accounting firm with a bunch of “accountants” no one can relate to. We understand and can empathize with the business owner’s problems because my partners and I are small business owners too.
My team? They all have entrepreneurial spirits and when we connected that was intentional and by design. I know what the day-to-day struggles of a small or online business owner looks like because I am one. And, in that first 30 seconds, we found common ground.
#2: Be A Giver
You might think this is an easy “serve” when I say “Be A Giver”, but we'd probably all be surprised how unnatural giving is for some people…. even from people you perceive as givers. I don't personally believe it's an intentional resistance to giving, it's just kinda that way underneath for people to show restraint for whatever reason when it comes to giving.
And, yes, I believe selling is giving too. If you didn't create things so people could do something better or just BE better then what would the world look like? Probably a lot like school glue sticking to a white sterile wall going nowhere. #fun But, I digress.
Now for all that “selling is giving” talk, DO recognize you probably shouldn't hold all you've been gifted hostage for a dollar either.
It's been well studied that people who give routinely prosper and create real wealth for themselves in the process because life is about something bigger than who they are. Their style isn't to “spend”, it's to “steward”. And on that note, so I'm clear on this point, giving is also about more than money.
People flock to givers because genuine givers serve from a deep place of care and purpose. In my experience, givers who care…. share… alot! My team and I, we believe in the call to and power of giving too so that's exactly who we attract, which has made the wall of disconnect…. come.on.down.
#3: Be Results Driven
This is just a dressed up way to say, “do what you said you were going to do when you said you were going to do it.” I'm not talking about setting goals, forecasting models or sales projections that aren't worth much more than the paper they are written on most of the time…. right now in this instance. You must always pay attention and measure results with whatever you are trying to do as a business owner. I am saying, be that person who can be relied upon and trusted.
When you get the honor of creating a relationship out of thin air, let what you do after the first impression stand for something better than what you gave in the beginning as time moves forward.
And, guess what? Even if you messed up along the way (but that never happens because we're a big wide world of perfect people… um, no).
But if something were to happen because the life you were leading decided to dance on the stage of compromise and caused the trust in the relationship to suffer, show that you can “own your own stuff” when bad things happen and then commit to serve in a way to make things right so healing can happen. Because it can happen… it's a promise I believe in!
Bottom line here? Everything you say or do has a value attached to it. You are making investments all the time… trading all day! When you make the right ones, those are the investments that compound. (and, compounding is where it's at!) When people check out your portfolio, be the stock with crazy good returns.
#4: Be A Good Listener
There's a reason why the wisdom I tuck away in my heart is “be quick to listen, slow to anger.” It's truth that NEVER changes. One definition of listening tells me that I give attention to and attend closely for the purpose of hearing. When you've put yourself in a mission-state to hear then you are essentially creating an atmosphere where seeking to understand is the goal. And, I have been taught that understanding is the beginning of all wisdom.
So, listening with the intent of creating a perception that you are listening has a pretty.short.shelf.life. You'll be found out quickly that you are somewhere else or that you care more about being heard than hearing, which isn't a great way to connect, now is it?
This is why it's especially important in business to listen to your clients or potential clients well. They are telling you everything you need to hear and you'll create a much happier client who trusts you have their best interests at heart because you focused on what they wanted instead of what you wanted. If you're listening… say “amen.” 🙂 (she stops to listen)
#5: Be Authentic
Authenticity is a real “buzz” word these days, but for the first time in my career I believe people are starting to gain the inner courage needed to be brave and fearless about all they are, and frankly, everything they are not. Have you ever heard someone tell you that you will never have the desires you hold in your being by serving in such a way where you are trying to be all things to all people? If not, take note.
When you are trying to be everything, you're not really being anything. It's like pulling all those big, beautiful pieces of who you are as a whole person apart and setting up a maze of .50 cent tables on your very own episode of “Clean House”.
I think we do that to protect ourselves because if people don't like what they see at this .50 cent table then that's ok because they'll probably like what I got to sell over here at this other .50 cent table. You just diluted yourself without even realizing it because you failed to fearlessly live in your whole being just as you are right in that very moment you were given with that brand new person you were meant to meet. (and… she takes a breath)
So, here's me saying to you, oh fearless one, it's time to earn your true worth and claim the pain that's holding you back as your prize. I'm learning that as I allow my true self to shine, as the girl who is so much more than a CPA, that my life is filled with so much more…. even a growing base of clients we like to call ROCKSTARS around here at The Bottom Line. 😉
#6: Be Creative
For the record, I don't mean to say we are “creative accountants”, but we are in fact creative! Lol. Then I think… Me? Creative? Never thought I'd see the day. I may not be as creative as others I roll with on my team, but I'm learning and the day to see is here!
It's amazing how you really start to thrive when you wrap yourself up in a culture of creativity. #geniushappens 🙂 A creative spirit craves and attracts connection even more and so I think that has been where the real breakthroughs have started to happen so the walls… they are no more.
I mean, there's been a natural shift just in working with my clients as a result of me tapping into my creative being because we have conversations about their small business, not just another financial meeting reviewing the dollars and cents of it all. Everyone here at The Bottom Line is encouraged to bring who they are to the table, not just what they know or can do.
If you're not a naturally creative person, I want to encourage you to surround yourself with people who are creative and just BE with them. Soak up their energy and step out of your own way to see what might be waiting for you on the other side of that door.
#7: Be About Community
Partnership. It IS why we were born and how we were built to live. We value the power community. We will seek to connect you and your business with others in our sphere of influence to make you more efficient and prosperous. We have lots of resources in our rockstar client community, as well as our own coaches, mentors and support team. We are happy to introduce you to the person you need to know. We won’t turn our back on your situation. We probably know just the person you need solve those “stuck” circumstances you may find yourself in.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to running the numbers, we can compete with the best, but it's important to remember that you get so much more than a CPA or accounting firm when you choose to become a part of our family. We are relatable, giving, results oriented, attentive, authentic, creative, and focused on community. Give us a try. You won’t be disappointed.
What are the primary qualities you look for in an accounting firm?