At Singletrack Accounting, we love hearing from happy small business owners that our team has saved time, headaches, and the stress of the dreaded tax filing season. In addition, as entrepreneurs ourselves, we enjoy connecting with our customers and learning their struggles as well as what makes them tick. We sat down with one of our customers, Alley Rubadeau, from Chair 9 Marketing and did a Q&A with Kim Hornsby, Singletrack’s founder.
Kim: What inspired you to go off on your own and start your own business?
Alley: Freedom. I dreaded the idea of living somewhere that did not fit my lifestyle and I feared not being able to spend my time the way I wanted to. I’ve always had somewhat of an issue of sitting in a cubicle and being “just a number.” Becoming the boss of myself seemed logical. Yes, I technically have multiple “bosses” since I work for clients but I can choose which projects excite me and craft a schedule that fits my lifestyle. I schedule meetings around the things I enjoy doing such as taking a hike in the middle of the day or taking off a Friday to head to the mountains. This may mean I sometimes work longer nights or weekends but the freedom of being the boss of my schedule was my main motivator. Once I started running towards entrepreneurship life 6 years ago, I never looked back.
Kim: When you first started your business, was accounting on your mind?
Alley: Not exactly. When I first took the leap to go off on my own, I knew I had to manage my books and stay compliant but I was naive to the time commitment and the complexity of accounting. Yes, I was concerned with how much revenue was coming in but I wasn’t concerned with the specifics such as what type of business to form, how to categorize my expenses, and how to correctly run payroll. I was determined to do everything myself and I was in the dark on how much my expenses were compared to my revenue. I was only looking at the number at the end of the month of how much profit I retained in my bank account.
Kim: What was the turning point in your business where you thought “Hey, maybe it’s a good idea to hire an accountant?”
Alley: In 2016, I specifically remember being on vacation in New York City, having to sit out of sightseeing for the day to file taxes. I was sulking in my AirBnb pressing submit before midnight on April 15th. While this was poor planning on my part, I didn’t anticipate the complexity of filing business returns. The next year, the week before taxes were due, it was like a big cloud hanging over my head. I would then take that day at the very last minute and go through all my bookkeeping. Full transparency – it was a big, giant mess! I did my business taxes myself for 2 years and each year, I swore I would hire an accountant the next year. The time, uncertainty, and stress it added to me was unnecessary.
It’s common for entrepreneurs to think they can do everything themselves and the moment I realized that was not the case, my life changed. The same year I took the leap to hire an accountant, it motivated me to ask for help from other experts to take on aspects of my business that I am not an expert in such as hiring my first social media manager.
Kim: What scared you the most about hiring others?
Alley: Control and cost. Besides wanting to be in control, the cost scared me. Running a contract marketing company, my business income in the first few years of business looked like a rollercoaster. Some months, I was booking trips to Hawaii and other months I was trying to go 5 days without spending any money. Being a contractor can be unpredictable and I was worried that outsourcing work would be financial suicide. Boy was I wrong! In fact, after I was able to admit that I could not do everything myself, all of a sudden I was excelling at everything else that was being put on the backburner. I was able to focus on my strengths in my business such as project management, I had more time to acquire business instead of doing all the work, and the best of all, I gained more time for myself and my family. Also, I no longer loath the month of April. And did I mention, I saved thousands of dollars on my tax bill?
Kim: Bringing time back to our customers is one of our biggest goals. Speaking of having more time, how much time do you think you have saved by hiring our team?
Alley: Endless hours. While I can’t give a specific amount of time, to me it’s more about redirecting that time into something I enjoy. I value looking at my bookkeeping numbers at the end of the month but the road to get there is not one I have the time, motivation or expertise to take. I remember the first time I filed my personal taxes in 2018 after hiring Singletrack and I was ecstatic about how little time it took because my business taxes were done. I also had the peace of mind that they were done right which to me is invaluable.
Kim: What advice do you have for other small business owners when it comes to outsourcing accounting?
Alley: Don’t wait to start. If I had started even a year earlier, I would have saved thousands of dollars in taxes. I thought by doing it myself, I would be saving money. That was not the case at all. In fact, not only was I paying unnecessary money to the tax man but I was losing precious time I could have been doing things I love. Before Singletrack, I felt this sense of anxiety around tax time. Even after I filed, I never knew if I had done it quite right. I think as entrepreneurs we can all relate to this feeling when it comes to making business decisions. It took me multiple years to realize that I cannot wear all the hats and I don’t want to wear all the hats. By letting go of some control, I not only hired an amazing team but I’m more successful and organized because of it. They say that your productivity goes down 50% if you have a cluttered, disorganized desk. I would say the same may hold true if you have messy books.
At Singletrack Accounting, we have countless customers with similar stories. Hearing stories like Alley’s is why we love what we do. We understand that no one can go at it alone and asking for help is not only smart but can be invaluable for your business. Take the leap! Reach out today for a free consultation.