Connie Vanderzanden knows first-hand how tough it actually is to make your business sustainably profitable. After working as an accountant, she decided to start her own firm, following all the standard steps to become a successful business owner.
So, Connie Vanderzanden pooled her savings and leased a commercial space, which she transformed “into the most gorgeous accounting office you’ve ever seen.” Her office was so beautiful that all of her clients noted that they felt at peace whenever they consulted with her. After that, she hired more bookkeepers so that she could expand her clientele. Connie also spent money to avail of coaching services and business training, which would help her become a “better leader, a better entrepreneur, a better accounting professional.”
However, Connie Vanderzanden soon realized: she wasn’t paying herself. She wasn’t seeing returns. According to Connie, she “failed to plan” for growing her business the way she wanted. She felt she had to make sure that her accounting office functioned like other accounting offices. She felt she had to follow all the steps they said would make her a successful entrepreneur.
Most of all, Connie Vanderzanden did not understand where to get the money to pay for all the coaching sessions and training, among others. She’d gotten so lost in the hustle of growing her business that she ended up ignoring her numbers, and digging herself into a $50k debt.
Connie Vanderzanden knew she had to make a change. She knew that business owners don’t understand numbers the same way she does, so she created the Going Beyond Revenue cash-handling system. Her system uses numbers to explain a business’ health in a manner that business owners could readily understand. Finally, Connie Vanderzanden found lasting success.
Seek out Connie Vanderzanden and Profit with Connie, and you may find your own success, too.
Jerome Knyszewski: What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Connie Vanderzanden: I approach working with the numbers differently. I talk about the numbers differently than other people in my field, and I openly share my struggles and lessons learned to connect with business owners at a level that they feel seen and heard.
For a long time, clients have said working with me is often like a mini therapy session. Sure, I want to know how the money was spent and love a beautiful reconciled bank account — that’s what business should expect from a bookkeeper. But what I really want to know is what the owner’s big vision is for the business and their lifestyle. How do they want to contribute to their community? What are they working for? Then I show them how money supports that, and I remind them throughout the process of that why. Sometimes, during our businesses’ growth, we can get stuck in the doing, but having someone shine a light to remind us of where we are going helps re-energize us.
Jerome Knyszewski: Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Connie Vanderzanden: The key to avoiding burnout is to recognize your bandwidth. You can do that annually by planning ahead. Take a yearly calendar and first block out all the holidays and vacations that you will enjoy with your friends and family. Everyone needs to take at least five, if not ten or more days off per year. Now, go back in and plan out significant due dates, product launches, conferences, training, etc. This will give you an accurate picture of how many days you truly have to get work done. Now use that data to understand what your capacity is. How many clients can you work with? At what point will you need to hire new team members? How does that factor into your pricing? Your business requires that you take care of yourself. If you don’t, there may not be a business.
Jerome Knyszewski: None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Connie Vanderzanden: At every pivot of my business, there has been someone there to open my eyes to see a new possibility, to believe in me, and to encourage me to dream bigger. If I had never met that life coach — the recovering CPA — I would not be here today. I am very grateful to Carol McKeag for teaching me about values and how to prioritize joy in my life and my business. She was vital in mentoring me during those early stages of growing my business and continued to be one of my biggest fans years after our coaching relationship ended.
Jerome Knyszewski: Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. Delegating effectively is a challenge for many leaders. Let’s put first things first. Can you help articulate to our readers a few reasons why delegating is such an important skill for a leader or a business owner to develop?
Connie Vanderzanden: Delegation is critical because many tasks in our day take time from our most important responsibility of moving our organization’s mission and vision forward. We can’t focus on what’s most critical when trying to wear all of the hats. On top of that, we can end up with significant work/life issues and potential burnout when trying to get it all done ourselves.
Jerome Knyszewski: Can you help articulate a few of the reasons why delegating is such a challenge for so many people?
Connie Vanderzanden: One of the major reasons we struggle with delegation is perfectionism. We often focus more on the way the task gets done instead of the results. Our inner three-year-old comes out and demands that we get want we want, when we want it, how we want it. But we soon get the wake-up call that when other people are involved, that doesn’t always happen.
Another reason we struggle to delegate is that our tender egos can keep us from hiring people who are smarter than us. If we did, we would be able to trust delegating responsibilities to them easily.
Jerome Knyszewski: In your opinion, what pivots need to be made, either in perspective or in work habits, to help alleviate some of the challenges you mentioned?
Connie Vanderzanden: We have to make that mindset shift away from perfectionism by recognizing that done is better than perfect. Most mistakes won’t sink your business and can be corrected.
But we also need to make time to develop the people we’re delegating to. Instead of dropping tasks in someone’s lap between meetings or in rushed emails, we need to create specific time blocks to devote to the process. Over time, you’ll be able to move faster together.
Jerome Knyszewski: How can our readers further follow you online?
Jerome Knyszewski: This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!