Interested in learning how to become the CFO of your own business? This week’s guest, Stephanie Skyrowzski, founder of 100 Degrees Consulting, is here to help! Stephanie shares insightful tips and advice on how to confidently manage your business financially, how to make financial forecasts and predict debt when starting your business. She also has an inspirational entrepreneurial journey of her own from working at a law firm, to a non-profit, to starting her own successful business, Stephanie is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to finances and entrepreneurship.
Tune in to hear:
- The mindset shift that Stephanie made that allowed her to gain financial abundance.
- Why consistently bookkeeping can grant you financial growth and freedom.
- Where you can find Stephanie’s template that will help you map out your revenue, cash flow, expenses and more!
Transcript of Episode
Leah Gervais: Hey visionaries. Welcome back to the Your Biggest Vision show. My name is Leah Gervais. I am your host, and today I’m really excited to share our guests with you. Her name is Stephanie Skyrowzski and she is the founder and CEO of 100 Degrees Consulting. So thanks so much for being here, Stephanie. Thanks.
Stephanie Skyrowzski: Thanks for having me, Leah, excited to chat.
Leah Gervais: Yeah, me too. So just for everyone listening, a little bit of background, Stephanie and I met here in New York city over a year ago and she is just like the most genuinely sweet person. Um, and she really cares about what she does and I think, and we’ve just kind of kept in touch, which I love and what she’s here to talk to us about today is kind of her work and helping entrepreneurs, um, with, with the finance side of their businesses and, um, the work that she does in house for them as well as some ways that she’s able to kind of teach them. And, uh, there really could be no more fitting time to hear about this then in the middle of what is such a crazy time. So I’m really grateful for you to be here, Stephanie.
Stephanie Skyrowzski: Yeah. Thank you.
Leah Gervais: Awesome. All right. So why don’t you take us back a little bit and tell me a bit about when and why you started your own business.
Stephanie Skyrowzski: Yeah. So if we kind of back it up to the beginning, I feel like you and I have slightly similar journeys in the beginning because I wanted to be a lawyer, um, from, you know, the age of like 12 years old. So I structured my college education around becoming a lawyer. Um, while I was in school, I found, you know, I was at this internship and Googling like best law firms in the world. And I had decided to apply as a legal assistant to, um, a huge law firm, um, at Four times square in Manhattan and I got the job. And so, you know, right after I graduated college and moved down to New York city, I started this job in the law firm as a legal assistant and thinking like, okay, this is my path. I’m, you know, 20 years old, I graduated college early and I’m like, I’m ready to go.
It was not very long. It was about 10 months in that I was like, I hate this. I hate everything about this job and about the legal field and this law firm. And I’ve got to get out. Um, because what I saw was I just thought, you know, attorneys from associates all the way up to partners, just being like slaves to their desks basically. And, um, you know, money wasn’t everything to me. And I, you know, I wasn’t really making very much as the legal assistant, but, um, but this was not the path I wanted to take and I needed to find some more meaning in what, what I was doing. And so while I was at the law firm, I actually started working with a partner there who had founded a nonprofit and this nonprofit worked in Afghanistan to help, um, people’s specifically widows, um, build agricultural and farm based businesses so that they could earn a living for their family.
Um, and you know, just a little bit of history, Afghanistan had gone through 30 years of war. This is like, you know, a generation of war, basically between the Taliban and the Russians and civil war. And it was just like, it was a mess over there. So a lot of people did not have a way to earn money for, um, for their family. So anyway, I started working with this nonprofit and that really, it just clicked. I was like, okay, being able to, um, use the skills that I had to help this organization, um, was kind of the turning point in my career. So I ended up leaving the law firm. Um, I had actually gone so far as to take the LSAT and start applying to law school. And, and then it was there that I was like, okay, I’m done. So I started working for this nonprofit and that really set my career on this trajectory of finance specifically because at nonprofits, if any of your listeners have ever worked with a nonprofit organization, I mean, I guess this is similar to entrepreneurship as well.
You wear all the hats. You are doing all of the things. Um, so I was doing finance and fundraising and administration and everything in between. Um, but it was the finance piece that really clicked for me. Um, and it was just something I loved. And so that’s kind of that started my trajectory in working in finance and spent the next almost decade traveling the world from Afghanistan to Haiti’s to Nepal, to a whole bunch of countries in Africa, um, working with different nonprofit organizations in finance roles. So then we get to the point where, um, I was married. Um, we wanted to have a baby and so traveling the world, uh, wasn’t really conducive to that. So I said, you know what? I think there’s a model here where nonprofits and small businesses really need a CFO. They need a chief financial officer, somebody who is overseeing the financials and helping provide that strategy piece related to the numbers, but maybe they can’t afford somebody full time.
So I’m going to jump out on my own and, and be a fractional CFO. And so that’s exactly what I did. Um, and it was about five years ago that I just started Googling at night after work. Um, you know, looking for organizations and companies that might need a CFO and started just sending cold emails like, Hey, this is what I do. I’m super passionate about your work. Do you think that this might be a fit? And to my surprise, people wrote back and started saying yes, like, yeah, okay, I’m interested. What’s a fractional CFO? Let’s talk. And that’s how I got my first four clients, which were able to replace my full time income. And so I was like, okay, the model is proven itself. Let’s take the leap. And so I left my job and, um, really the business just started growing from there. And I started working with nonprofits because that’s really what I knew at that time. Um, but very quickly realized that entrepreneurs and small businesses needed exactly the same support. They had exactly the same problems as nonprofits. And so now our client roster is actually about 60% small businesses and 40% nonprofits in our one-on-one work. Um, so that’s kind of how the business has morphed, but yeah, it started with a couple of cold emails and now, you know, we have several CFO’s on our team that are serving our clients too.
Leah Gervais: Wow. Amazing. Okay. I have a few questions and we do have such strikingly similar stories, as you know, I went from, as you probably know, I went also from the legal field to nonprofit work. And, um, I really do think that they’re so different. Like they’re so dramatically different because like you said, the legal field is so sort of matter of fact, in some pretty antiquated frankly, and, um, nonprofits are sort of, they’re fun because they’re like every, day’s a new adventure, but, you know, it’s, it’s definitely like, we’re all doing all the things. And I think the combination of the two very, very much helped me to where I am today. So, um, when did you have to go back to school at all?
Stephanie Skyrowzski: So I did, I chose to, I chose to get my masters. I went to NYU while I was working at a nonprofit and I ended up getting my master’s in nonprofit finance and management. So because I was in the nonprofit world at that time, I really wanted to build up those management and finance skills to, yeah. I went to the Wagner school at NYU.
Leah Gervais: Oh, awesome. And as you probably know, I also went to NYU, we have so much in common. Okay, cool. So tell me a little bit about like, let’s kind of zoom in here when you were sending those cold emails and thinking about doing this on your own, you know, it sounds like you had kind of found your groove in nonprofit work and, and being a financial, um, key player within that. But it doesn’t sound like you were really planning on owning your own business or being an entrepreneur. So what was that like? Was it scary at all? What was kind of what was kind of going through your head when you’re like, Holy cow, I might actually just be on my own.
Stephanie Skyrowzski: Yeah. So I feel like most, I feel like every time I listen to a podcast interview with an entrepreneur, the entrepreneur always says, well, I’ve kind of been an entrepreneur since childhood. And I’m no different, I will say, you know, ever since I was a kid, I was always creating different businesses and, you know, finding ways to make money. And, um, so I’ve always kind of had that in me, but I never ever once set out in the beginning after college. And since then, really just to be like, I want to own my own business. I was never a thought because I enjoyed what I was doing. I was making good enough money that I never really thought of it as a possibility. Um, until I realized that I needed some flexibility in my life and my job was on giving that to me. And so it was, that was really the catalyst for becoming an entrepreneur.
And it was terrifying because it’s so unknown, right? Like you don’t know what if all my clients decided, okay, we’re done, you know, we don’t need you anymore. Um, and w would I ever find new ones? And it was a lot of battling net scarcity mindset. Like there’s no more where that came from. And it was like, you know, it felt like every week of sort of battling the same demons. Like there’s no more where that came from. There’s no more where that came from. And I really had to shift my mindset to, of course, there’s plenty more where that came from. If one client leaves there’s plenty more. Um, and I think the other piece that was scary for me was the income side of things, because I definitely did not want to leave my job until I had matched my income. Um, and that just felt, you know, that felt like a comfortable place for me once that happens. But the, the money piece was scary because it’s like, I got student loan debt here. I’ve got things to pay for it, and I can’t not have money. Fortunately, you know, my husband had a job and health insurance and all those good things, but, um, yeah, that the money piece was definitely very scary for me.
Leah Gervais: Yeah, absolutely. And I’m sure, especially as a financial advisor, you know, I think that there can be an element to taking a risk if you, um, I don’t want to say if you like, don’t know better because I do think a lot of entrepreneurs know better, but they might just not be it like the financial, the numbers might not be in their face every day. And so they might, you know, be able to just sort of be like, Oh, well that is kind of scary, but it’s going to be okay. Um, and when it’s like your job to be on top of those and make sure that companies aren’t in a risky situation, I’m sure that that was hard to wrestle with.
Stephanie Skyrowzski: Yeah. It’s almost like one of those situations where you know, too much. Right?
Leah Gervais: Yeah, exactly, exactly, exactly. Amazing. And, um, so what did you do to sort of shift that mindset? And I, you know, I love what you said. It’s so interesting because I love that you shared that you were, you were ready for the security and the flexibility. And I know that that was a huge part of my why too. And it is still a huge part. And I hear that from a lot of entrepreneurs, but owning your own business by definition doesn’t always mean that you have more flexibility because if you’re not careful, you can end up spending way more time working on your business then than you did at a nine to five job. I feel like I did when I first quit now I didn’t have kids and it was kind of like my choice because I just really wanted to get it off the ground. But it was, it was very demanding. And so how did you make sure that, I guess that didn’t happen to you?
Stephanie Skyrowzski: Yeah. So I think that with a one-on-one model where you are serving clients directly, and the work that we do is like, you know, it’s not just coaching. It’s like we are responsible for producing financial statements to them every single month. They’re very tactical things that we have to do. It almost feels like you have 10 bosses instead of one, it can feel like literally the opposite of flexibility and freedom if you’re not careful. So I learned that very quickly because I wanted to be. I’m an Enneagram freak. So I’m the achiever. I want to do the things I want to be the best at all the things. And so I, you know, in the beginning definitely was trying to, um, to basically be like a full time employee, but for, you know, five, six, seven clients. And that’s, you know, that’s impossible. There’s literally not enough hours in the day.
And so what I had to really do was sort of temper my own expectations that, you know, and, and continue telling myself, like I don’t need to be everything to every person and to put in 40 hours for all of each of my clients. That’s not what they hired me to do. But also then, um, setting expectations very clearly up front with the clients, um, that like, okay, this is what you’re going to get from me. And this is, this is what, um, this is what we’re going to deliver and being okay with delivering just that and not, you know, doing a million extra things. And I think it’s really hard because a lot of times as entrepreneurs, like we’re all super ambitious and driven and we just want to do all the things, but that’s gonna, that’s not gonna end well that’s to lead, to burn out very quickly.
And so I think that that was definitely a piece of it managing expectations and then, um, realizing as well, what I’m good at and what I need to hire for. Um, and so I realized, you know, very quickly, these are the things that I love. Like I love the CFO, like the analysis piece of things. I do not love bookkeeping. Um, it has to be done. It’s part of what we, what we offer in the way that we serve our clients. But there are people out there that love bookkeeping. And so learning to, um, learning, to be okay with spending some money, to hire somebody, to do those things was a huge lesson as well.
Leah Gervais: Yeah. I think that those are both such great lessons in both things I’ve had to learn, and they’re not the most comfortable to learn because you almost for, for, in my experience, anyway, you almost have to give yourself permission to learn both of them, you know, and let you like have yourself basically tell yourself it’s okay not to work all the time. And it’s okay to not be on call for this client. And if you’re waiting for your clients to tell you that they’re not, you have to do it. And same with the team. It’s not always the easiest to know when to hire out when you’re ready to be responsible for someone else’s paycheck, but it you’ll set your own growth if you don’t do those things. So now I’m really interested- Oh, sorry. Was there something else you wanna say?
Stephanie Skyrowzski: Well, I was just gonna say too, um, in terms of like bringing people on board, it’s so hard to be okay with spending money in the beginning as well, because like you just, you know, you’re just building your revenue stream and to think of letting go of even like a tiny percent of your profit margin feels very scary if you’re sitting in that scarcity mindset, if you’re like, there’s no more where that came from, you’re clutching onto like every dollar of revenue instead of investing in your business in the ways that are going to help you grow.
Leah Gervais: Yes. So I love to hear, like, what, when do you advise your, or I’m sure you work with people who have already hired out, but do you have recommendations for people to know, like what questions to be asking yourself about your income to start hiring out?
Stephanie Skyrowzski: Yeah. So, I mean, I think that, you know, as sort of like fledgling entrepreneurs in the beginning stages, you want to make sure that you have enough money to pay yourself first and you’ve got some, you’ve got some money leftover at the end of every month, if you’re not paying yourself, um, let’s not pay somebody else. We want to make sure you’re taking care of first, because what I have seen is entrepreneurs that, that grows their business maybe to a hundred or $200,000. And they’re still paying themselves like a thousand bucks a month or like $500 a month. And so that’s like a $12,000 salary. You would never work for somebody else for $12,000 a year. And so they become bitter and resentful against their business. Like they’re working so hard and they’re only making $12 grand a year. Well, pay yourself more, start there.
Um, but you know, in terms of, um, you know, in terms of thinking about bringing other people on board, I always think about, um, you know, in terms of ROI. So if we bring somebody on and you know, we’re paying them a thousand dollars a month, what are they going to give us in return? And maybe it’s not a revenue generating position. Maybe it’s a VA and they’re not going to bring in new revenue into the business, but maybe they’re going to free up like 15 hours a week of your time to then invest into revenue generating activities. Um, and so I think that that’s one thing that’s really important to think about is to really be sort of critical about what’s the ROI that this person’s going to bring. I feel like, you know, for beginning entrepreneurs, that’s, everybody’s telling you to hire a VA, hire a bookkeeper, hire this person, hire that person and you do it because it feels like the right thing to do. And that’s what you feel like you should do. But, um, but I think it’s important to think about what’s the ROI that this person has been to bring in. It doesn’t have to be necessarily monetary. It could be, you know, on time as well.
Leah Gervais: Yeah. I think that’s great advice. So you don’t look at it in terms of like once you’re at a certain revenue amount or income amount, it’s really just like, when can you, you know, when will, when is it clear that this will actually help your revenue go up? One thing I always do before I hire a new position is I keep track of my time for two weeks beforehand. Like part of the 15 minute increment, it is totally insane. Like it’s not my favorite activity to do, but it’s so eye opening because I can literally just look at it and be like, wow, I spent, you know, two hours this day and another hour this day doing Facebook ads. And if I could just have that off my plate, that would allow me to take on a new client. And it’s as easy as that for me to see. But if we don’t like, actually know what the, what we’re doing and what would come off our plate, then it’s really hard to see that.
Stephanie Skyrowzski: Yes, I love that. And I feel like that’s something that we don’t often do. We don’t do enough of time-tracking because let’s just be honest. Like, it kind of sucks. Like nobody wants to do it. Nobody wants to track their time, but I’ve done it as well. Whenever I’m thinking about a new position, I do the exact same thing. And I’ve been recently actually, even as my business is at the level it is now, um, I’ve been in between assistance for about two months now. And I was intentionally slow to bring somebody new on when my other assistant left, because I was like, okay, I’m going to time track over the next month or so, and see what I’m spending my time on and see what tasks could be delegated. And I think it also allows you to bring the right person on board because maybe you think you need one person or you with one set of expertise, but then after you do your time tracking, you realize, Oh, actually these are the tasks that I really need support with. And it could be a totally different person with a different skill set. So I think it’s important to, um, to really do the analysis and think about that before you just jump to like, you know, bring a general VA on board. Maybe that’s not really the person that you need.
Leah Gervais: Right. Right. Right. So what are some common mistakes that you see when people come? Do you have any, you start onboarding them, maybe people who have businesses, um, what’s kind of the, are, are there common themes or just first pieces of advice, you’d give people that you wish they would do on their own?
Stephanie Skyrowzski: Yeah. So often people will come to us and their bookkeeping will not be updated. So like their numbers are just a hot mess and we can’t really do anything from an analysis perspective or like the forecasting and the fun stuff, kind of helping them see into the future and build the vision for the business. We can’t do any of that until their numbers are caught up. And I understand this is not like the most fun thing for a lot of people to do. And if you know, numbers are not your skillset, if they’re not something that interests you, it’s going to take you a little bit longer and it’s not going to be fun. And it’s going to go to the bottom of your list. But that I would say is kind of the number one thing that if you’re not caught up on your bookkeeping, um, that I would encourage you to get there because it’s, it’s, it’s a mental block that is going to prevent you from financial growth. If you feel like you can’t even really see what your numbers have been, um, that’s to prevent you from that growth in the future. So that’s, I would say the number one piece of advice that if your numbers are not in a good place right now, schedule some time to get them there. And then we can cast that vision for the future.
Leah Gervais: Do you recommend people use QuickBooks or do you have a particular software that you recommend?
Stephanie Skyrowzski: We do recommend QuickBooks. Yeah. I like, um, I like QuickBooks online. For us, I would say all of our clients except maybe one or two, um, use QuickBooks and it’s, you know, as accountants as your bookkeepers and your CFO, it’s, it’s very easy for us to use it. But, um, but I think from a user perspective, from the entrepreneur’s perspective, it’s very, very simple to set up, to manage. Um, and there’s not really a whole lot. I think it’s, you know, a little bit deceiving how like how little bookkeeping work actually is like, it’s really, really easy, um, in QuickBooks to like go in and code your transactions every month or reconcile your couple bank accounts and run a PL a profit and loss statement. It’s very simple to do that. And like, literally should not take you, even if you hate math, even if you hate numbers should not take you more than an hour or so if that, um, so yeah, we, we definitely recommend QuickBooks, but there are other things as well that if you’re using zero or if you’re using something else, that’s fine. Um, but yeah, the important piece is just to make sure that things aren’t caught up.
Leah Gervais: Yeah. I agree with you. I’ve got, I’ve gone through every I’m like nodding very, very aggressively at everything you’re saying. I don’t, I feel like I don’t hate bookkeeping as much as I’ve heard a lot of other people do it, but it was one of the first things I outsourced, just because, yeah. It, like you said, would go to the bottom of my, to do list, but there’s something very empowering about just understanding where your money is and where everything is. And I feel like sometimes, especially in the early days when you’re like, I know what I went through and I hear is very frequent when you first start making real money, you know, like as much money, if not more than you were at your nine to five job, it’s very exciting, but you often are spending almost all of it because you’re reinvesting back into your business. You don’t want to stop your momentum.
And so it can almost be a fear tactic or an internal fear coming up where you just, you don’t even want to look because you know, that it might not be what you want it to be, or you’re kind of scared of what you look like. And it’s, it’s just like any other fear once you actually look it in the face, it’s never as scary as you think it’s going to be.
Stephanie Skyrowzski: Yes. Yes. That’s so true. That’s right. And I find that, um, when looking at your bank balance too, right? Like whenever I do a workshop or, you know, do a talk or something, I’m always asking the group like, okay, how do you manage your cash flow? And I always ask the group, okay, do you do it by, you know, like looking at, you’re looking at your bank balance or, you know, not looking at anything and just like crossing your fingers, hoping the money is going to be there when you write a check or swipe your card.
And everybody always says the ladder. It’s like, nobody likes looking at their bank balance, but what you focus on expands, right? Like where we put our attention is what’s going to grow. And so I always tried to get, um, you know, our clients that we do coaching with and our membership into the habit of like, just log into your bank balance once a week, just like, check it out. It’s fine. You don’t have to do anything. Just look at it. That’s all you have to do. Cause you’re right. The fear is so much greater than the actual thing. How do you get your clients to not like, I totally agree. I’m all about, like, I try to look at my bank account. I’d probably look almost once a day just because it, I totally agree that your energy is powerful. And if you want your energy to be where money is, then you need to put your energy toward where money is.
Leah Gervais: How do you, uh, help your clients not make overly reactive decisions from their bank account and make decisions on behalf of the business? Because I’ve heard sometimes from my clients, they’ll say, you know, I really know I need to hire X, Y, and Z, or I really know that I need to spend money on advertising, or I really know that like my business needs this in order for this launch to work. And then they’ll look at their bank account. And if their bank account is exactly where they want to be, then, then they’ll stop themselves. And, and again, it’s not the easiest decision. You don’t want to do something financially irresponsible, but on the flip side, you’re going to do something that is a bigger irresponsibility if you stunt your launch and then you don’t have the money coming in that you are planning on. So how do you, I guess, how do you, and how do you recommend people not be reactive to their bank account, if that makes sense?
Stephanie Skyrowzski: Yeah. And I think that’s a great, um, I think that’s a great point of like, not investing. I think the flip side too, if we see a lot of money in our bank account, then we’re like, Ooh, let’s buy the new one. And, you know, invest in this big mastermind, let’s do all these things. And then they don’t realize like, you know, maybe the revenue is drying up in three months and that was not a good decision. So what we do is we set all of our clients up with a forecast. So basically what, what we do when we initially jump on as a client with a client is we map out your revenue, your expenses, your net income, so that, you know, what’s leftover your profit every single month.
We map it out by month for the next six to 12, to sometimes 18 months. And so we put it all in a spreadsheet. So you can see like today, you know, we’re in June, we can see what our projected revenue and expenses are going to be in December and next February so that we can, um, we can see into the future basically. And you know, at this point, of course, it’s our, it’s our best estimate, but we can use a lot of data to predict as best we can. Um, what’s going to happen in the future. And that forecast is tied to a cash flow. So we can say, okay, you know, now we’ve got our revenue mapped out from the next six months, we’ve got our expenses mapped out, and this is, this will show us then how much money, how much cash are we going to have in the bank at the end of December?
So we can see into the future. And that way we can say, okay, let’s, you know, let’s plug some numbers in here, let’s say, all right, we’re going to invest in, you know, we really need a coach. We need a coach to help us up level our mindset and really grow this business. We need some strategy here. So let’s put in, you know, a thousand dollars a month starting in, starting in July, and let’s see what that does. And because you’ve got this tool, you have this roadmap, all, you know, all mapped out, you can see like, okay, if we do that, not only is our, you know, our cash balance is actually going to increase because our revenue is going to increase accordingly. Um, so we can kind of play around with the numbers there and having that tool, um, really allows our clients to be able to make super informed decisions because you’re not guessing anymore. Like you’ve got it mapped out. You can plug numbers in and see what’s going to happen.
Leah Gervais: Right. Oh, amazing. I love this. Oh, well, I obviously could talk to you about this kind of stuff forever, because it’s just so, um, it’s so exciting. I guess I have one more kind of financial question that I think will help some of our listeners. So, um, I guess I just want to hear your opinion. I know a lot of people go into debt to start their businesses and especially online businesses, small businesses, people take out personal debt, you know, they don’t just necessarily do a business loan, but they’ll put money on their credit cards, although, or they’ll borrow money from someone else. Um, and I know I did that when my very first investment that I put that on a personal credit card because I didn’t have any money coming in from my business.
And, I feel really grateful that that happened to me because my business wouldn’t have started in that case. But I know that that’s a very hard decision for some people and they’re afraid that if they get down that path, they’ll never get out of it. And some people do take a long time to get out of it. So do you have any advice on what to ask yourself if that is the situation you’re in? So you would have to do something personal and what to ask yourself about it’s if it’s the right decision or not. And then if you do it, just making sure that you got that, you know, that it’s what helps you in the beginning, but it doesn’t become the norm.
Stephanie Skyrowzski: Yeah, I think that’s, um, I think that’s really interesting and I was trying to think about myself as well, as you were sharing that you, um, you put some expenses on your credit card in the beginning. I don’t think- I’m trying to think as well if I did that and I did, I invested in a coach. That was the very, very first thing that I invested in before I had any bit of revenue. And it is a very hard decision to make because you’re sort of wondering like, is this coil, like, am I going to be able to pay this back? Um, but I think the important piece is understanding your business model from day one. So I would not recommend if you’re like, Oh, I have this business idea. Maybe a coach might help me. Let’s just pay five grand on my personal credit card and see what happens. Like, no, that is not the way to go about this. I would say like, let’s figure out what our business model is, what we think we’re going to offer.
And of course that might pivot that might change, but like you have an idea of what you want to do for your business. So let’s figure that out. Let’s figure out all right, if we’re going to offer, you know, X service for a thousand dollars and you know, we need to generate five of them, then we need to bring in five clients to then pay off this debt and, you know, continue moving forward. I think that important piece is knowing your numbers, um, and, and figuring out how many of whatever you’re selling a service or a product you would need to pay that off and what that timeframe looks like. Because we, I would never want to go into a brand new business with debt with no real plan on the timeframe of how that’s going to get paid off and what that might look like because I feel like, you know, going into a business sort of say negative negative $5,000 without knowing how many units you need to sell in order to pay that back, that feels very overwhelming. And now you’ve just saddled yourself with another burden.
So I think that, um, yeah, understanding your business model and having a plan mapped out with a forecast, just like I’m talking about, um, is the key to, um, you know, if you’re going to take on debt to start your business, I think a lot of service businesses don’t necessarily need it. And I think that one thing that I know I fell into the trap in the beginning and I continue to do every now and then it’s like, you know, we consume so much content and the content is telling us we need this and we need that and we need this and we need that. And all these things that you probably don’t actually need to start your business for me. Yes, I hired the coach, but I started my business through cold emails and that’s how it grew to where it is today. Um, so I think oftentimes we just have to remember, we don’t need all the things. It’s probably a lot simpler than, um, than we think it is. So I think that that’s another piece to remember before you started investing.
Leah Gervais: Yeah. I think that’s such great advice. I know I went through the same thing. Like when I look back, I spent thousands of dollars on e-courses just thinking that every e-Course like would get me to where I needed to go. And it’s not that, you know, it’s nothing against these. E-courses, I’m sure they were good at their purpose and the problem they were solving. But I was so just lost and I had such shiny objects syndrome that I just was kind of willing to try anything. And if I could do it all over again, I would have just invested in a coach, which I didn’t at first, because it was way more money, but I would have saved a lot of money just by having kind of that be my main investment and not have those courses until you actually know enough about your business to need them.
You know, so many of them are so specific things like growing with SEO or Facebook ads or Pinterest, and those things are all nice tools for business growth, but they are not the end all be all and you don’t need them in the beginning. And so I wish I, well, I don’t regret anything because they all taught me what I taught, but like, I can do it over again. It would’ve just been like, say focus, hire someone who knows what you need to do. And you can do those things when they actually matter. And they don’t right now.
Stephanie Skyrowzski: Yes. Yeah. It’s almost like you need to get to know your business first. Like you, you kind of need to, yeah. You just need to start to get to know it and solidify your business model before you just start investing all over the place.
Leah Gervais: Right. Totally. Oh my gosh. Well, you are just a wealth of information and I really appreciate you sharing your story and all these takeaways with us. I have a few, your biggest vision, lightening questions for you. Are you ready? Yeah, I’m ready. Okay. So what’s your go to when you just have a bad day?
Stephanie Skyrowzski: I got to get outside. I need to get outside with my kids and get some fresh air.
Leah Gervais: How many kids do you have?
Stephanie Skyrowzski: I have two. I have a three year old daughter and I have an almost eight month old daughter.
Leah Gervais: Oh my gosh. Congratulations. I didn’t know that you just had it, had it have one. So that’s so exciting. Um, okay. And yeah, you live upstate. So you have outside air for ya?
Stephanie Skyrowzski:I do. Yes. I am so great. Especially during this warranty and I am so grateful for a grassy yard.
Leah Gervais: I’m sure, I love it. What would you say is your most proud business moment thus far?
Stephanie Skyrowzski: I think that, um, that hiring my first employee, not as subcontractor, but an employee, um, taking that leap and transitioning her into a w two employee felt like huge to me. It just felt like I am a real company. That was a very proud moment.
Leah Gervais: I love it. Do you have a business building book or podcast that really was a staple for you or maybe still is?
Stephanie Skyrowzski: Oh, that’s such a good question. Um, I have a couple, um, from a practical point of view, um, I really love Profit First. Um, and a lot of our clients subscribed to the profit first method. That’s by Mike Michalowicz. I really like Profit First because I think it breaks down financial management in a very easy to understand way for entrepreneurs and gives you a framework for managing your numbers on your own. So I love Profit First. And then from a mindset perspective, I really love You are a Badass at Making Money by Jen Sincero. Um, it’s just a good, a good mindset book to help you sort of ditch the scarcity mindset and focus on abundance.
Leah Gervais: Amazing, well where can people find out more about you?
Leah Gervais: Amazing. And I’d love if you would just share. I know that we have something really special to share with everyone listening so that if you are not ready to have a full on CFO in your company, but you are looking for support from people like Stephanie who really have no more than one on number on their own [inaudible] you have a new membership site? Is that right?
Stephanie Skyrowzski: I do. That’s right. Yes. It’s the entrepreneurs, the CFO corner. And it’s, it basically helps you create your monthly finance routine. We give the tools and the resources, um, to, to be your own CFO really. And I know it sounds scary. Um, but the, the great part about this membership is that you have accountability and support from a CFO. And so in addition to the tools and resources to manage your numbers, um, you also have us in your corner that you could reach out to anytime. So we’re, um, yeah, we’ll be launching again in the next month or so. And if you’re sort of itching to get started, now, we actually do have a free, um, profit playbook. It’s a template to really help you map out your numbers, your revenue and your expenses and your cash flow exactly like we were talking about today and that’s at 100degrees consulting.com/profit/.
Leah Gervais: Excellent. And is that where they can find out about the membership site as well? Yeah. Yeah. It’s all there. It’s all there. Okay, great. Well, congratulations on launching that. I know that that’s going to help so many, um, and thank you so, so much for sharing your story with us. This was so, so fun and accessible and, um, actionable. So I’m really grateful. Thanks, Stephanie.
Stephanie Skyrowzski: Thanks for having me, Leah.
Leah Gervais: All right, visionaries, go and check out 100 Degrees Consulting. And here is your biggest vision.
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