Turning Passion Into Profits: Success Stories of 8 Female Entrepreneurs Who Are Doing It Right is a blog series featuring eight amazing female business owners who have successfully turned their greatest talents and gifts into a profitable business. These SUPER women show us how incredibly powerful it is to wake up to work that we love, each-and-every day.
MEET: KATHERINE POMERANTZ!
Katherine is the original Bookkeeping Artist who helps her clients transition from six-figure solopreneurs into money-savvy, seven-figure CEOs of their own online empire. She offers accounting services, consults, and profit strategy to these ambitious business owners to demystify makin' money and make tax time stress free. You can check her out here: www.bookkeepingartist.com
This sounds so interesting! What is the passion you possess that led you to this work?
I was an actress and theatrical director for many years and was constantly shocked and saddened by how much my community struggled with money. People seemed to struggle not because it was difficult to make money as an artist (a popular misconception), but rather because they didn't understand how their money works. I started my first business because I wanted to change the way artists think and feel about money.
I discovered that artists and entrepreneurs were very similar. Both groups are unbelievably hardworking and passionate. Both are determined to forge their own path and secretly believe they can change the world. I also discovered that even "successful" brands continue to struggle building a sustainable and growing business. Even business owners did not know how to get their money working for them.
So, I upped my credentials and set out to get the certifications I needed to be a full-service accountant and financial expert for growing businesses. I specialize in online and creative businesses, from solopreneurs to seven-figure corporations, because I still love to empower the free-spirits and stunning personalities that are changing the world.
How long have you been in business?
The Bookkeeping Artist has been in operation for nine months. I have bookkeeping experience going back much farther, but I did not own my own firm then.
You seem to have had some deep realizations about the “artist” world. But it’s not everyday that someone takes those epiphanies, gets new degrees or certifications, and runs with them. What’s your WHY?
I started my first business because I wanted the financial security and freedom to have babies and make more art. I firmly believe that owning your own business is the best way to find that kind of freedom. Now, I get to support the very brands that inspired me to seek entrepreneurship in the first place with money management and financial strategies. In turn, these brands can continue to grow and inspire others. With such an awesome mission, being an accountant can never be boring!
How did you monetize your passion?
I started by offering bookkeeping services. This is still the primary core of my business because I firmly believe that good bookkeeping is the backbone of a good business. Bookkeeping gets you the information you need to make sound financial decisions. Once that information has been processed and organized within a bookkeeping system, I then teach my clients to analyze that information. What are the financial statements telling you? Will you be able to reach your profit goals? What areas are under-performing? etc. I also offer clean-up work, software set up, and can even help with benchmarking, budgeting, and strategies to reach long-term financial goals.
My highest tier package now includes tax work, but I consider this a secondary service. Taxes happen once a year. As a business owner, you need up-to-date and accurate financial info year-round to make effective decisions. You need a partner that can help you act fast and decisively, not someone you barely know and who charges by the hour. That's why I focus on bookkeeping first. No business can run well without good bookkeeping. I had happy clients, though, who asked if I could take on more. Taxes are a big headache and now I'm happy that my firm can help with that too.
What strategies are you using to grow your business?
My business grows primarily through referrals. That's why my firm set up a tiered partner program. When a partner sends us a referral, we thank that partner with a percentage of the referral's monthly bookkeeping package. This means partners earn passive income every month for the life of that client. The new tiers also allow partners to double and eventually triple the percentage they make as they bring in more referrals. I'm very excited about this new program as my business would not exist today without some awesome partners. I have a lot of people to thank!
I also started a blog this year. That has been uniquely challenging for me because I'm a numbers gal, not a wordsmith. Despite these challenges, I wanted to make sure there was a credible (and free!) money resource for online entrepreneurs. It was heartbreaking for me to see business owners getting into trouble because they find finances boring or confusing. I want to change that and so my blog seeks to make business accounting fun. People may think my goal is kind of crazy. I don't know about you, but I find making money kind of fun and I wanted to share that feeling with more entrepreneurs.
Finally, I have begun speaking and hosting workshops on money outside the realm of business and taxes. I've come to realize, partially from my time as a freelance artist and partially from own clients, that changing the way you think and feel about money is the first step to finding freedom both personally and professionally. I already help people with the practical side of money management through my firm and I'm now excited to start tackling the personal side as well.
OMG. I’m loving your mission and growth strategies. They seem innovative within the financial world. Did everyone just eat them up?
When I first opened my own firm, I had a really hard time finding clients. Like, a really, really hard time. This was probably due to the fact that bookkeeping is a very traditional job for very traditional businesses and I sometimes start my sentences with the word ‘like.’ I don't really thrive in a "traditional" business setting.
So when I started, it didn't matter that I knew accounting forwards and backwards. I'm just not fashioned to attract a typical bookkeeper's clientele. Doctors, lawyers, and businessmen could take one look at me and know I was "faking it." And they were right! I was faking it at first! I was faking a kind of professionalism and trying to act the way I thought bookkeepers were "supposed" to act. No wonder I could hardly find any clients! I am sure I came across very unnaturally. Worse still, I wasn't interacting with the kinds of businesses I was excited to help.
It took months of soul searching but I finally figured out an industry that pays well AND that I was excited about. From there, I was then able to launch a massive rebrand and figured out how to put MY best foot forward in my marketing. This has the added benefit of making my business more fun. The difference a few short months can make is staggering!
This is a really powerful lesson – BEING YOU. What is another piece of advice you would give to someone just starting out?
Start a business! Do it! Jump right in from day one, proclaim you’re in business, and start making sales!
But don't worry about the actual "business" at first. I know that seems backwards, but you do not need a product or service to start interacting with your potential market. In fact, I think you should start building an audience before you even know what you're going to sell. I'm serious and this was lesson I learned the hard way. I wasted almost an entire year and all my start-up costs on a market that I ultimately abandoned. Make friends, make sales, and build a raving audience before you build your business.
In big business, this is called the research and development phase. This step is so crucial in the development of business that is has its own tax write-offs! So spend at least six months to find out what your audience wants and needs. Become as passionate about those needs as they are. Let people know that you are here to help. If you are genuine, pretty soon those people you will straight up tell you what they need. You'll start to notice the same thing missing in your community over and over again. THAT's when you start making sales and developing your product. Your next year in business should be relatively easy if you put sales before product. You'll never make the mistake of developing something people don't want and you'll already have a thriving community to sell to. Community is what helps and supports and spreads business after all, so make sure you develop that before anything else.
You are full of wisdom, woman!
How has your life changed since starting your business?
I get a lot of self-worth from my firm. My clients are my motivation! I mean it. I am excited to wake up everyday because I believe in what my clients do and I can't believe I get to help them do it!
I'm also not all that worried about the future. When my husband and I are ready to have kids, it will be easy make time for them because I'm my own boss. When we need to move across the country again for my husband's job, my bookkeeping firm travels with me. It's like I tell my clients, money really does equal freedom. So, I'm ready to take on the next step any time.
You’ve been so insightful and inspiring. Thank you so much for taking some time to be here. Is there anything else you wish to share with us?
Nothing says you believe in the future like opening your own business. So whatever you choose to call yourself - artist, entrepreneur, coach, or consultant - hold onto the belief that you can change the world. Even when times are hard, you'll be able to find plenty of resources like those at the Bookkeeping Artist to help you make your dreams come true.