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A podcast where you join me (Colie) as I chat about what it takes to grow a sustainable + profitable business.
CRM Guru, Family Filmmaker, and Host of the Business-First Creatives podcast. I help creative service providers grow and streamline their businesses using Dubsado.
Running our numbers likely isn’t your favorite part of the job, but understanding the financial health of your business can sometimes be what helps your business succeed. In this conversation, Val Duvick joins us to share about managing your numbers, spending healthy money in your business, and financially preparing for the future. Plus, she even dives into how you can determine the best approach to raising your prices based on the numbers in your business!
The Business-First Creatives Podcast is brought to you by CRM and Dubsado expert Colie James. Join Colie each week as she discuss how to build a business that brings you joy and a paycheck! From business advice with fellow entrepreneurs to sharing automation tips and tricks, Colie and her guests are sharing industry trends and resources, along with a little bit of sarcasm.
Val is a wedding photographer-turned business coach for female creatives with some hot takes and unconventional, but life-centered and life-giving business strategies. She speaks your creative language and is passionate about proving that your creative brain is capable of managing your money, giving yourself a raise and profiting every time! Val is married to her best friend of 11+ years (Mark), she has two sweet daughters (Alea + Ivy) and they live a modest, but intentional and faith-filled life doing their best to love and serve the people around them.
Here are the highlights…
[1:57] Meet Val
[4:25] Defining Success
[7:23] Managing Your Business Numbers & Finances
[8:52] Are you spending more than you’re making?
[11:07] Fears in Saving vs. Spending Money
[14:07] Profit First
[17:17] Separating Bank Accounts
[20:12] Raising Your Prices
[25:31] Planning for One-Time Purchases vs. Overhead
[26:55] Building a Routine
[29:20] Savings & Retirement
[34:50] Biggest Fuck Up
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Review the Transcript:
Colie: Hello everyone and welcome back to the Business First Creatives podcast. This episode is very special, and I know I say that every single week, and it’s because I love my guests more than anything. However, this is a special week on the podcast because we are doing a two-part series with Sabrina Gbb, part of the shoot at Straight podcast. If you have not listened to Val’s episode on Sabrina’s podcast, I am gonna ask you to pause. I’m gonna ask you to go to the show notes, and I’m gonna a ask you to listen to Val’s episode on Sabrina’s podcast. First, it is really gonna put you in the right money mindset for this episode. And with that, welcome to my podcast, Val.
How are you? This.
Val: Good. It’s so good to see you.
Colie: It’s so good to see you. So guys, this is where Colie just puts in her little boost for going to in-person conferences, education, learning, all of that jazz. Because I have been with Val not once. But twice in the last 90 days, we attended the Spark Conference put on by Showit in November in Phoenix, and then she and I were at the Creative Educators Conference in Dallas, hosted by Laylee Emadi this past January.
So Val, it is fabulous to see you, even though it’s not in person and we’re not sharing a cocktail
Val: Right. Or sharing a golf cart down to our rooms. I think that’s how we met, right?
Colie: Yes, in Phoenix. I mean, that hotel was so big, guys, they put us on a golf cart to take us to our rooms. I did not expect that it was a very, very long walk every morning to the lobby where the coffee was and, you know, I guess important where the classes were. But you guys know I’m more about the coffee than the classes.
Val: Yes. Love it.
Colie: So, Val, why don’t you tell my audience who you are? who you service and where you’re located.
Val: Yeah. So I’m Val. I am a wedding photographer, turned business coach. I actually started my business in college. My. Actually the end of my freshman year of college and did photography for a while and then ended up really loving the education side and did a lot of things the wrong way. And so I wanted to help people avoid that.
So I transitioned after about, um, eight years as a photographer into fully being a business coach and haven’t looked back since. Truly my sweet spot, and I really love what I do. I am in the Midwest, I’m in Iowa. That is the corn state, not Idaho, the potato state . Nobody comes to Iowa for anything unless you have family or people, but the people are great.
Colie: you drive through Iowa, guys. So if anybody ever wants to hear about my 22 hour drive where I did not stop except for gas between Detroit and Denver when I moved, I did stop in Iowa for gas. So people stop in Iowa for gas
Val: It’s true. It’s true.
Colie: All right, Val, so you labeled yourself as a business coach, but more specifically, you help people with their financial health in their business, which is one reason. I mean, you’re fabulous. But that is the reason that I invited you on the podcast because as you know, as a former wedding photographer, photographers do not plan. Their finances in their business very well as like a very broad statement. Guys, if you manage your finances well, that is awesome for you. But that is not the typical trend in our space. And so I brought Val on here so that we could talk about how to ensure that your business grows and that you have a business that serves you.
But more specifically, we’re gonna be talking about financial health of your. And how that affects how your business can grow and you know, just the longevity of your business. Because most businesses fail. I mean, I know we’ve all heard the statistics, right? Guys, most businesses fail within two to three years, and most of the time it is related to
Val: Yep. It’s scary.
Colie: It’s scary. So Val, when you work with a new client, and let’s just use photographer cuz we know that there are lots of photographers that listen to my podcast guys. If a photographer comes to you for financial coaching, what is the first thing that you guys look at together?
Val: So it’s actually not what you would expect, , but the very first thing we do is actually talk about your definition of success. because so much of the time we are just like striving and hustling to just do more. We just want more, more, more, more because we haven’t actually defined what we’re going for.
And that affects your money because you need to know when enough is enough and you need to know how much you’re actually needing to make to hit certain goals or to have whatever lifestyle you want and it. takes Goals and dreams from being this elusive. Unmeasurable thing to, oh, I can take very specific steps to help me to actually reach that goal.
So you have to start by defining success for you. And I’m talking specific, I’m saying like, what are you doing every week? What are you doing with your time? What is your money going toward? Are you hiring? Like all of those details. And then we start to actually look at the numbers. So step one is success.
and then we have the scary moment of looking at all the numbers for the first time. For a lot of people, honestly, a lot of people have never done that work and it’s, it’s a kind of a scary moment.
Colie: Okay, so first thing is defining success. And I mean, for myself, success for, I mean, I’m a, I’m, you know, I’m over 10 years in, for myself, initially my success had nothing to do with money. I mean, it still doesn’t, it’s only in the last few years that I’ve really tried to focus more on money, those first 5, 6, 7 years success to.
Was being able to stay home with my kid and be PTA president and volunteer in her school two to three days a week, like that was success for me. I wanted to make sure that like on an hourly rate that I made as much as my husband, but of course I was working nowhere near as much as my husband. So I mean, my actual money coming in was very different than his, but at least on an hourly basis, I was making sure that we were equal, which was important to me.
Like that was my definition of success. So, I think that the moment that you said, and then we look at your numbers, some of the listeners’ ears probably just closed,
Val: Oh yeah, for sure.
Colie: How do you make it to where the numbers are not scary, when you’ve never looked at your numbers before? Like what’s the first step in gathering your numbers?
Well, actually, let me ask you a backwards question. Do most people coming to you, are they. , are they currently doing their bookkeeping like inside of a financial software or are they like me, ? Before I had QuickBooks and like every year for tax season, you lock yourself in your office for like two solid weeks so that you can get all your stuff together.
Val: That’s, that’s where most people are. And you know, there’s a huge range of detail, , you know, that you could be at that point. Some people have a spreadsheet, some people are literally going through receipts and writing them down. Some people actually have something like QuickBooks but have no idea how to use it.
you know, a lot of things that we’ve paid for and then we’re not getting our use out of. But yeah. . I think it really comes down to the first step is actually just listing out everything you’ve been spending money on and it. I mean, I’ll be honest, it’s not always a fun moment, , but it’s actually really empowering because you then have the knowledge of what you’re currently doing and it makes you realize things so, Very often people are like, oh, wow, I didn’t realize I was spending that much on that.
Or, wow, I have this subscription that I’m not even using. And there’s so many things that you discover when you actually list out every expense that empowers you to make changes. And that’s, it’s a very small first step, you know? a lot that you can do after that to, you know, manage your money. But that really is the first thing.
You just gotta know what you’re spending and what changes you wanna make.
Colie: And I am a little curious because you’re starting with the expenses and not the income. What’s the rationale for starting for where you’re spending your money instead of how you’re making your money?
Val: So most of the time people are spending more than they’re making, and that’s usually where the issue lies. So I, I want to understand what you’re already doing, and then once we have that full picture, it makes it a lot easier to make intentional decisions about your pricing or, you know, how many clients you wanna work with what your needs are.
And so the process actually sometimes feels a little bit frustrating for people because you have to go through that hard thing first. And you, you do, you just wanna raise your prices, right? You want me to tell you, give you permission to raise your prices ,
Colie: I don’t need anyone’s permission to raise my prices. I tell everyone to raise their prices, but I do totally get where you’re coming from. Val.
Val: Oh yeah. Well, yes, I know you don’t , but there are a lot of people who really struggle with that. Like want the affirmation for that. So I wanna take it down to just like the hard numbers, know where you’re at, and then you can actually build out your pricing structure, your offerings, all of your spending to turn it into something intentional that supports that definition of success.
See how it all like ties together.
Colie: do. I see it. And the most fascinating part about the expenses is like you said, after you’ve, after you see how you’re actually spending your money. . It’s one thing if everything, if you happen to be one of those people who are not overspending, bravo, and for those people, if they’re still not making enough to cover their expenses, then raising your prices is a must have because you are not needlessly overspending on stuff that you don’t need.
You need to create a profitable business that covers all of those expenses and then.
Colie: but then there’s the people who are spending the money on the things that they shouldn’t be spending. And so we’ve got to cut the fat first, and then you can see how much money you truly need to make before you can make pricing decisions.
Val: Oh yeah. And I think there are people who are making a lot more than they’re spending, and they actually should be doing more spending. , like more outsourcing or, you know, even, yes, I know
Colie: you said my
Val: hiring, hiring people like Colie to, you know, give you better systems. But there’s this fear, so there’s, there’s people who just spend, and then there’s people who don’t spend because they’re afraid.
and both are holding themselves back in their business in different ways. But if you have all this money that’s just sitting there and you’re not using it, your business actually could be growing a lot more if you were to use it wisely. Keyword
Colie: Wisely. No, and I get it and it’s funny, Val just put in a pitch for my Dubsado services guys. But no, really like that is not even where I’m going. I am one of those people. , if you haven’t heard the story. I was forced into outsourcing because I lost my vision. Like I literally could not see my computer to do editing.
And so that was like the first baby step that I took to like give control of a part of my business to someone else. And then I was like, oh my God, this is amazing. , what else can I pay someone to do? And back in episode 10 of this podcast, I did talk about whether or not you are still in the d IY stage of your business.
And that is when you decide to take something new on in your business, like offer a new service, create a podcast, start blogging for the first time, whatever that is. . I feel like there’s a certain point to where when you try to introduce something new in your business, you try to figure out how to do it yourself.
Like, well, you know, who can teach me how to do this, or what YouTube videos are available, or those kinds of things. . And then I feel like in every entrepreneur’s journey, or maybe it’s just mine and the people that I know, I’m not sure, but there becomes a time when like there’s a switch that literally flips.
And now when I bring something new into my business, my first thought is not, how can I learn to do this? It’s who can I pay to do this for me?
Colie: I am at that stage where I am trying to outsource as much as possible because I have learned that that is the way that I am going to actually make more money in my business, is to get more things off my plate, to make more time for me to actually do client services.
So I guys wasn’t just talking about outsourcing your systems, although that’s a really good step,
Val: Yes, it totally is.
Colie: So Val, the next thing that I wanna ask you about is you. , you’ve already said. We have to ask you what your success is. We have to take a hard look at your expenses, and then I’m sure that we’re gonna start talking about your pricing. . But the one thing that I wanna ask you, because I’ve actually had several people on this podcast, and I’m gonna admit this publicly, guys, I have never read it, but I know that you are a big prophet first fan, and I’ve had Sabrina Gebhardt on the podcast who loves Profit First.
I’ve also had, Dan on the podcast who loves it as well, but I have still not read the book. I do know what it’s about. But so before we get into the pricing and then thinking about profit, can you just give. Brief breakdown of what Profit First is and why you are such a.
Val: Yeah, so basically it’s a way to manage your money and percentages. So you separate out all of your income. Usually into four primary buckets. You’ve got your salary or owner’s compensation, you have taxes, you have your business expenses, and then you have profit. So profit is probably not what you think , it actually ends up being a bonus to you for owning the business.
So if you owned stock in Apple, you would. distributions as an owner, that’s basically from their profit. So in your own business, your owner’s compensation or your salary, that’s what you’re getting paid to do the work. You’re getting paid for the hours you’re putting in doing the actual work, but you should also be benefiting as an owner and like Coley, as you keep growing in your business and you do more outsourcing and maybe you bring on people who do more like associate type of work where you’re maybe not doing as much of the work yourself, you can actually increase your profit to pay yourself more from that category than just for doing the work.
So you’re getting paid in two different ways, but you’re also always allocating a percentage for the things your business needs and for taxes. And the reason this is so monumental is that your business fluctuates, right? Like you may have a year, like a covid year where things go way down , or you may have a year.
What was it? 2021 where there was a million weddings and you may have a really big year that year. If you only were to save for taxes based on the prior year’s estimates, then you are actually saving, not based on what’s happening in the moment. And so you may be saving too much or not enough, and that can get you in a pickle.
So this process makes sure that that money is fluctuating with the business. You’re actually. that I could talk for a really long time about profit first, but that’s like super quick, basic
Colie: Well, and I just wanted to give everyone that, that base knowledge, because I feel like you were gonna talk about Profit First and the previous people that I’ve had on the podcast that have mentioned the book, I’ve, although I’ve known what they meant, I realize that I’ve never actually asked someone to like make it that plain For the listening audience.
Guys, I am gonna have that book linked inside of the show notes. You can. or you can do an audiobook, which guys, I did finally buy it as an audiobook, so I am gonna get through it. You guys, most of you guys know, I, I don’t read books anymore. I have to save my eyes for the editing and the other stuff. Okay, so now we’ve got a base knowledge of how you see profit and then how people are distributing that money inside their business.
So let me ask you just a personal question, Val, do you have one of those fancy bank accounts that has the different envelopes or. do you bring it all into one account and you are doing the distributing yourself
Val: So I do have a lot of bank accounts. , it’s kind of an addiction. , I have more bank accounts than the book initially tells you. Um, because the clarity that comes with it actually being separated is just so helpful. Um, there are, there are different banks or I guess it’s usually a bank. Sometimes there’s like online systems apps that.
Pretend to separate it for you. So it might still be in one account, but you can see it in separate accounts. I don’t really care which way you do it, as long as you’re actually seeing it separated. But I will say there’s a big mental block for people about setting up different bank accounts and there’s like no backing for it.
It’s like maybe an hour of your life to set them up for years of clarity. So I’ll just
Colie: Well, as someone who’s recently had to switch her bank accounts, not once but twice. , I had B B V A, and then they became P and c and I, like some people like hyperventilate when I think about the bank accounts, so all of my B B V A accounts transferred to B PNCs. , and that was when I was just Coley James Photography.
And then as of the first of this year, I became an L L C, which meant all new bank accounts. So right now I’m straddling six different bank accounts, three from Colie James Photography, and three from Colie James LLC I do not intend to keep all six, or maybe I will , but in general I do intend to stick with the LLC bank accounts.
Colie: I don’t quite do profit first, but I’ve always been someone who distributes money so that I can see how much is in the slush fund and how much is in the profit account and how much, I mean, so I, I don’t exactly do profit first, but I feel like I have the base mentality of making sure that I can see the different buckets so that I don’t see an account that has a bunch of money and just like, oh my gosh, what can I do with all this money?
Cuz guys, um, you know, I love. And we’re on all of the bank accounts together, but one time my husband saw that our main account had a lot of money in it, and so he’s like, oh, I’m just gonna make this huge payment to a credit card. , my husband forgot. We have two mortgages now. That was not fun, . So I do highly recommend separating your business, your business money, and maybe your personal, uh, but that’s just a little, a little hit for me.
So, Val, we’ve talked about profit first. We’ve talked about all the things that come from talking about your expenses. How is it that you approach the conversation of pricing? Because like you. and I know that you talked about this on the episode on shooting straight this week as well, but like it’s a mindset when it comes to raising your prices.
So how do you start that conversation and what is the biggest mindset block that most people have that you work with surrounding raising their prices?
Val: Yeah, so I actually think that it’s more, it’s more important to see the data laid out before you make pricing decisions. So a lot of people are basing in on what other people are doing or what they feel comfortable with, like a gut feeling. I’m serious.
Colie: Oh, I know you’re serious cuz that one thing that everyone says is, oh, but I wouldn’t pay that much money.
Colie: I, I mean, people say that all the time, and I’m someone that firmly believes that even if you’re not your ideal client, like if you can’t see paying that much money for anything, you have mindset work to do.
Like that’s the starter. I mean, even if you don’t value wedding photography enough to pay six or $7,000, if there’s not so. That you would see paying six or thousand, six or $7,000 for. I think that you are always going to have trouble selling your services. So I mean, that’s where I come at it from, but continue.
Val: Yeah. Yeah, so I think really taking it down to the data gives us a lot more courage to raise our prices, and especially so in one of my spreadsheets, you, you put in your price, you put in the expenses you have related to it, and then it separates it out into those four main percentages so that you can see, okay, this is what I personally am making from this.
This is what my business is making from this. after those expenses that are related to the service. And then at the bottom of that spreadsheet, you have to put in an estimated number of hours that it takes you to complete the work. And so you see an hourly rate. And I will tell you, I have seen some really low numbers come out in that spot because we’re not thi, we’re thinking, okay, if I’m charging a thousand dollars for this, then I.
and let’s say I work 10 hours, then I’m making a hundred dollars an hour, right? No no. That is not what you’re making. And because we’re looking at it that way, we are assuming that that’s how our clients are looking at it and we’re thinking, I’m not worth a hundred dollars an hour and. , like, who would pay someone a hundred dollars an hour to do X, Y, Z?
And so we just like get into this negative spiral and it’s because we’re not even looking at the numbers accurately. So I am very passionate about bringing it back, honestly, in every part of business. Back to the data, which I also know that you’re, you’re a fan of, so
Colie: fan Val. You may, you may or may not know that
Val: Yeah. Yeah. So I think you really need to see how your pricing is breaking down.
But then the other missing piece that a lot of people have is the overhead. So you might look at your pricing. , and you may look at the expenses that you have specific to that offering, but are you thinking about how many of those you have to do in order for the money your business is making from it to cover your overhead?
So for anyone who maybe doesn’t know what overhead is, it’s gonna be things like your website. You pay for it regardless of how many clients you have. So apps like Canva, you’re not, you know, only using, like paying for Canva when you have a certain number of clients. So, , all of those expenses need to be covered in your pricing.
You have to be taking that into account. So when people do the overhead and then they do the pricing calculator, I actually bring it all together in what I call an annual estimator so that you can see a full year. Because we need to say, I wanna make this much in a year. I have this much for business expenses in a year, and I have this many hours that I wanna devote to my.
So how does that play out ? And is my pricing actually supportive of that? Can I actually do that with these prices? And that’s where the magic is. Like once you realize I cannot live my life the way I want to, I can’t have that definition of success with this pricing. It’s impossible. And that kind of lights the fire, I think.
Colie: And then, I mean, it’s in a spreadsheet, Val, so you can just enter in, okay, but if I raise my prices by a thousand dollars, this is how much I’m getting. And you know, this is also why you’re covering the expenses. I’ve got just a general question though. So you tackle the expenses first. Does anyone like reevaluate those expenses after they get that final spreadsheet and they’re like, oh gosh, my overhead is like 20 K a year.
Because guys, I mean, Val was, was being very timid when she was talking about your expenses. She didn’t talk about some of the big ones, like your computer expenses, your cameras, your lenses. Like to me those are huge expenses plus the website plus ddo or whatever CRM you’re using. Like just those kinds of things.
And like I know for. I don’t even pay for Doto guys. I still pay $2,000 a year just for software. Like that’s a high overhead. But unlike people who produce like physical goods, as photographers, products aside, we don’t actually have a lot of cost of goods sold related to the actual service that we are producing.
So the per service actually tends to be very low for most of us, unless you’re outsourcing and hiring. , you know, second shooters and those kinds of things.
Val: Mm-hmm. . Oh, yeah. And truly, I think we think about one time purchases as not being overhead. And so something that I’ve started encouraging people to do is plan ahead as far as you can for things like replacing your camera body or lenses or any upgrades you wanna do. Even a rebrand, like start planning now for your next rebrand.
And that should be a part of your overhead cuz that truly is what it costs for you to run your business. But we’re just like sitting around hoping we’re gonna have enough extra money laying around. To do those things,
Colie: and I would say for equipment, like it’s really funny, I used to be really conservative guys. Oh no. Like I’m gonna replace my camera every five years, guys. I was buying new gear every year and every other year. And so when I got realistic about putting those numbers into my spreadsheet, I was like, oh, wow, my overhead’s a little higher than I thought it was.
Val: Oh yeah. I think that’s that’s the norm. Most people are like, oh my, I have to spend a lot more than I thought I did.
Colie: Mm-hmm. So you present the spreadsheet and then what happens next? Like, like what’s the final outcome? I mean, not that we’re ever n not that things are ever final, but like at the end of working with you in an initial period, let’s say, what does someone come out with on the other side? Like what’s the end goal?
Val: Yeah, so essentially a routine. So you come out with a document that outlines what you’re doing on a regular basis with very clear instructions that I help you write , because it has to make sense to you, but you need to know what do I need to be doing weekly? What do I need to be doing monthly? What do I need to be doing annually to actually continue managing my money?
Well, and everybody’s a little bit different on exactly what they need there, but the point is you need to know what your routine is. So whether or not you have a bookkeeper, you need to figure out how are you going to track your expenses. and every year or every time you’re thinking about raising your prices, what do you need to do?
Well, you need to look at this spreadsheet, this spreadsheet, you need to test this. You know, there’s, it’s essentially a checklist, a glorified checklist, but specific to your finances. And so that’s something you would put into like Asana or click up, you know, depending on whatever you use. And that would become something that you’re just regularly keeping up with.
And then you’re like, you’re like actually a cfo. , you know
Colie: I mean Val, I do wanna say I do really appreciate that you added on that last bit cuz you know that I am all about guys, your business changes with your season of life and so nothing that you do in your business is ever going to be a set it and forget it. And I just really hope that. Not only do you leave that mentality behind for the rest of your business, but specifically for your finances.
Because what you need in years one, two, and three are definitely not gonna be the same thing that you need in years. 9, 10, 11. Uh, Val, we’ve missed like a big part of this conversation. Can we talk about savings?
Colie: This is like the one thing that I feel like, not just photographers, I feel like entrepreneurs put savings last, like things like saving for retirement.
Cause I know everyone on the podcast is really tired of hearing about how old I am. But guys, I’m 43, like I can’t do photography forever. I have to have an exit strategy. I have to have a retirement plan just like I did when I was a professor, just like my husband does in his job. Like we need a plan. So in the grand scheme of things, how do you approach savings with your clients?
Val: Yeah, so I kind of would see multiple types of savings. So I would say there’s the category that we talked about, which is saving for upgrades or replacements, like equipment and that sort of thing. And so I think we need to be building that into the overhead. But then, yeah, when we’re talking about things like retirement, We should be thinking about that as soon as we start our business.
Really? Because if you were to have any other job where they give you a paycheck, it’s already a part of the conversation. It’s already happening for you. But a lot of times, and fortunately or unfortunately now that so many people are starting their businesses in college or right outta college, they don’t even like get a chance to set that up and someone to tell them essentially.
And so we need to pursue. An expert. That’s step one, . Find somebody that can help you get those things set up. And I always like to say it’s important to know that you can fire people like if it’s not a, if it’s not a good fit. There’s some weird financial planner like companies out there that I don’t love the way they do things, but find somebody who’s gonna be honest with you and at minimum just at least help you set up an account and.
The other decision you have to make is if that retirement savings is gonna come from your business or from what you pay yourself and your salary, or both, cuz you can do both. And I think a lot of that does come back to that overall picture of, well, what can I even afford? To put in, taking into account the needs for my overhead.
So there’s, there’s parts of overhead that are not needs. . They’re the things that make our life a little bit easier. But usually we’re waiting to save for retirement until we just have excess. But
Colie: And you shouldn’t take it from me. You shouldn’t.
Val: when do we ever have excess like.
Colie: I will say like, you know, in the beginning I probably didn’t have any money, legitimately didn’t have any money in the first few years to like set aside. , but like once Chloe went to school and I started doing this not quite on a full-time because I feel like I’ve been purposefully part-time for a really long time, and I still think in some ways I still am because, hello.
My kid is currently downstairs homeschooling herself while we’re doing this podcast interview, so I legitimately have not really had like an empty house where I can legitimately say that I work on my business full-time, like the entire time that I’ve owned a business. But when I did make significant jumps in. I feel like I should have had someone to tap me on the shoulder and be like, Hey, Coley, now’s when you should really think about, you know, adding more money to your IRA and maybe maybe creating one of those start 401ks and like all of these things that I have no idea what they actually mean. But I, I had a pretty firm.
you know, standing when I was still in a, in a regular nine to five job. Actually, I’ve never had a regular nine to five job, you guys know what I mean? When I was still teaching. Cuz every once in a while I still get statements from my old 401ks and I’m like, yeah, I, I should do a better job as an entrepreneur to like put money into those things.
Cuz I just kept thinking to myself, oh well when I make more money I’ll start dumping money in there. And then that just never happens. And. putting it as a checklist. Val, I love that. I love making this part of like a quarterly review because guys, there are so many things in your business that you should be reviewing on a quarterly basis.
Your financial stability is just one of them. Like again, we do not live in a set it and forget it world when it comes to our businesses.
Val: right. And I said this on Sabrina’s podcast as well, but I think it’s just good to reinforce that your impact is going to be limited by your money. if you, if you don’t manage it well. And so this isn’t just something that sounds nice to do, to be a real business owner, like this is a necessity for you to make the most impact for you to have a sustainable business.
You have to get this figured out. And again, listen to her, listen to Sabrina’s episode because it’s so important that you choose to believe that you’re capable. I don’t care what left or right brain you have or what your, you know, natural feeling is toward numbers. I am not a numbers person and none of this came easy to me, but it’s a necessity and you’re capable.
It’s, it’s just something you have to learn, and that’s why we have the checklist. You don’t need to keep it all up here, You know, it’s important.
Colie: Now, Val, I know that you, I know that you sell a spreadsheet. Do you sell a checklist? Because if so, I think I need that checklist.
Val: Um, I haven’t yet, but
Colie: uh, listen, I have so many people who come on my podcast where I give them ideas for new things to sell. Can you please put this checklist together? If she puts a checklist together, guys, for sale? I am gonna link it in the show notes, even if it happens after this podcast airs, because, I mean, I feel like.
Just like I want some kind of Airtable hub to tell me how to manage my podcast. I would love a checklist from like someone who coaches people on money. They’d be like, these are the things that you should be looking at when you look at the financial health of your business. That would be fabulous.
Val: Yeah. It’s, it’s in the works.
Colie: All right, Val, and I am gonna ask you the last question that I ask every single one of my guests. I want you to tell the listening audience what the biggest fuck up in your business was, what you learned from it, and how it changed your business.
Val: Well, it is very relevant to our conversation, . I would say the biggest problem that ever happened in my business was I was just not saving for taxes. And as a part of that, I didn’t realize I needed to be charging sales tax, and so I got the dreaded letter in the mail from the irs, or maybe it was the State Department of Revenue, whatever it was, money related, and I owed, are you ready for this
Colie: Oh my God.
Val: $7,000 in back sales taxes that I didn’t even know I was supposed to be charging sales.
Val: So that was really fun. Not, so really that was one of the triggers to me really getting finances figured out. It was like, okay, I, I, I have to do something. I have to be on top of this. I have to get it figured out, even if it doesn’t come naturally to me. And so, to be honest, that kind of like changed the trajectory of my whole business.
Val: you know, so is honestly, I guess maybe a blessing in disguise.
Colie: I mean, those letters are. I may or may not have received one of those in the lifetime of my business when my husband sees them, he like freaks out and I’m like, oh, don’t worry. I don’t actually owe that much
Colie: because I mean, here in Colorado, they assume that I make a certain amount of money.
They as. Assume that it all had to be taxed and for the majority of it it didn’t. So like it would say that I own this ungodly amount and I really didn’t. But yeah, those letters can be scary. Val, I’m so happy that you’re on the other side of that. I got a question. Is sales tax on your checklist,
Colie: that you tell everybody to check?
Because I mean, and not to really place the blame elsewhere because we’re all entrepreneurs and we should all know what’s going on, you know, what the requirements are in our state. Some states do not make it easy, and I happen to live in one of those. Uh, as of July of 2022, we now have to charge sales. Or actually maybe it was 2021, we now have to charge sales tax based on where the client lives and not where our business is located.
So it went from being mildly complicated to like super complicated, all in one fail swoop and. Even when we trust things like pick time to calculate our taxes, turns out they’re maybe not being done correctly. And so, I mean, I feel for everyone cuz it’s really hard to understand and keep up with all of the regulations and making sure that you’re doing what you’re supposed to do.
Val: right. And honestly, sometimes you even get bad advice on that. I had a client whose tax accountant told her she didn’t need to be charging sales tax and she did. So make sure you hire the right people.
Colie: Yeah, mom. I mean, I hate to end on such a, such a sad note. I
Val: But if you just save in percentages, you’re good.
Colie: You’re good. okay Val, so I know that you have the Creative Income Cure program and if people wanna learn more about that, your fabulous spreadsheets, where can they find you on the internet?
Val: Yes, my website is val marlene.com and that’s where you’ll find my shop with the spreadsheets. You actually won’t find a link there to Creative Income Cure because it’s just, it’s seasonal, so when it pops up, That’s when you’ll find it, but you can find the link to get on the wait list to that from Instagram.
So my Instagram is val underscore Marlene underscore creative. So if you’re interested in that program where I will literally walk you through every step of this process, we will make sure that you don’t get a $7,000 back tax check, not check Bill
Colie: Bill in the mail.
Val: Yeah, so that’s probably your best bet to like really get these things figured out.
But the spreadsheets come with, videos and PDFs to help you through it too.
Colie: Amazing. Val, it was a pleasure having you on the podcast. I feel so bad that I don’t know the next time that I’m gonna see you and hug you
Colie: I know we’re gonna have to, we’re gonna have to coordinate, figure out what conferences we’re gonna go to this year. All right guys. That’s it for this episode.
Thanks for tuning in. See you next time.