CPA turned Entrepreneur. Amanda talks about what she’s learned during the transition, corporate habits that crossover, and keeping distractions at bay
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Surprise when leaving Corporate America
“I left my job at accounting firm McGladrey the beginning of September 2014. When I left I didn’t know what I was doing, where I was going or what was going to happen. So I started reading to figure out what’s going on in the world. I stumbled across an article from LinkedIn influencer James Altucher. I was making the switch from the corporate world to being an entrepreneur so decided to write 10 things about that. My husband loved the article and it blew up on LinkedIn.”
On being your own boss
“Time management is tough for me. It’s like you’ve had glasses on your whole life that are tinted a certain color. Now those glasses are off so it just becomes very different. For 25 years I’ve been told what to do and when. Now I have all this freedom. What do I do?”
“When you put something out there that’s so explosive, you get nervous about ever posting again. I’ve written a couple things since but have been nervous about posting again. I’ve given myself excuses as to why I shouldn’t. My husband just looks at me and shakes his head. He encourages me to put it out there but do so when I’m comfortable.”
Entrepreneur is a lifelong dream?
“Me and my husband had this idea I want to try. If it doesn’t work out I’ll move onto another adventure in entrepreneurship or I’ll jump back into the corporate world and maybe do marketing or writing. The biggest piece was I knew what I didn’t want. Because of that I was able to take steps towards something that could potentially get to what I do want.”
’10 Things’ Writing Exercise
“Write 10 things about a topic. It could be anything. It could be 10 things about trees. James Altucher says you can normally come up with 5 things pretty easily but 6 through 10 is quite difficult. This is a great exercise to get your mind and creative juices flowing.”
This Episode is a Special Segment
Today’s episode is a special segment called “Transitioning from a corporate America job to an entrepreneur”.
Why Listen to Amanda:
How she was inspired by a sign hanging in a clients office that said ‘who is John Galt?’ She had the client take a photo of her in front of this sign. This picture came to symbolize her transition to being an entrepreneur.
2. Just spent last 2 public accounting firm, McGladrey
3. Before that I went to School at the University of South Florida
4. I left my job to start a SaaS business geared towards the Test Prep Industry which is my current focus.
Stats on her LinkedIn article (at time episode was recorded)
1,994 ‘thumbs up’
Amanda is just starting her entrepreneurial transition. At the time of recording the episode she was about 30 days in. At the time of publishing she is about 5 more weeks in for a total of two months and one week since splitting from top 10 accounting firm McGladrey.
She started out with a huge win when she published her first article to LinkedIn. It’s how I found out about her journey and transition.
She gives wonderful insights, energy, spirit and creativity.
Even if you’re a longtime entrepreneur, she still has some valuable insights for you. If you were to go back to your origin you likely had bigger ideas and bigger dreams because you didn’t know any better.
Amanda has these and more.
If you’ve been entrepreneur for a long time I hope this episode will infuse you with a renewed vigor and supercharged energy and outlook for where your business can go over the next 90 days, one year, and beyond.
If you’re just starting out as an entrepreneur then Amanda’s journey, experience, and struggles will resonate with you. I hope you agree and use Warren Buffett’s advice to, “I’d rather learn from the mistakes of others than to make my own.” Learn from her mistakes so you can grow your business faster.
Now let’s get into this special segment of making the transition to being an entrepreneur.
The John Galt sign in her client’s office is a reference to Ayn Rand’s work ‘Atlas Shrugged’. Rand was a libertarian and Amanda’s husband is a huge libertarian so it clicked in Amanda’s mind to snap a photo.
Some Shareables from Amanda in this episode…
Biggest lesson from the corporate world that applies to the entrepreneurial world
“Almost every single night since I was born we’d talk about what was going on in my father’s business. A lot of the problems and drama dealt with communication. People weren’t communicating or telling my dad what was really going on. He wasn’t figuring out what really motivated somebody. He thought just giving them more money would motivate them. I saw this lack of communication in my accounting job. I started asking my team what motivates them.”
Self-confidence in the mind versus the real world
“I’ve always had this idea that I have this self-confidence and I’m just gonna push through. Nothing is gonna hit me. Nothing is gonna get me down. That’s all BS. I don’t have an answer for this yet.”
The power of true listening
“A lot of times you can learn more about someone in the first 5 minutes just by the words and the way they say them than most people do ever. They might tell you 1 thing on the surface but if you really listen to them there are probably a lot more things going on underneath that. Getting them in an environment where they feel comfortable talking to you is just huge.”
Dealing with the ‘always on’ world of entrepreneurs
“Always On — me and my husband now both work from home. We’re in the same office always going back and forth about work. We both recognize how important it is to stop. We’re trying to figure out the best time to shut off technology and go for a walk. We leave our phones and just go have a conversation.”
LinkedIn — Big Win
Her article had 341,210 readers at the time the episode was recorded. It had 1,994 ‘thumbs up’ and 1,070 comments. That is massive reach. Most writers or bloggers have never had that many readers combined to all of their articles even over a 3 to 5 year period.
She’s had hundreds of people reach out to her and request to be connected to her inside of LinkedIn. Many are struggling with this same transition right now and getting command of themselves and investing more time in profit producing activities.
She published Thursday morning and it was picking up almost immediately to 2,000 to 4,000 to 10,000 views within the first hour. By that evening it had 40,000 views.
The next morning she woke up and people in different time zones were starting to see it. She got e-mails from people in India and China.
Her phone was blowing up getting all of these messages and people wanting to connect with her. This is still the morning after. She checked after seeing her article in the LinkedIn Pulse e-mail and it was over 100,000 views. The evening of day two it was up to 200,000 views. Day two was Friday and through the weekend it surged to 300,000 views.
Host’s side note:
This is why I knew this was a hot topic and Amanda’s serious win and bubbly, fun personality would make for my ideal interview… entertaining and educational, the dynamic duo.
“It was pretty, pretty crazy that LinkedIn article. Very shocking to see some of those numbers. Now, I’ve got to go through all those comments to see if they’re all good or not.”
“I wrote 10 differences from being in the corporate world versus being in entrepreneurship. I jotted them down on a piece of paper then got really nervous. My husband loved the article and said, ‘You have to post this on LinkedIn.’ I said, ‘I don’t think so. There’s no way.’ He insisted this was going on LinkedIn and sent me an OkDork article on what makes articles published to LinkedIn go viral. I followed the article’s recommendations about pictures and posting on Thursday. I watched the numbers go from 50, 90 then over 100. I got really excited when over 100 people read it.”
“I just published the article to LinkedIn without any promotion. The only person I asked to ‘thumbs up’ was my husband. I was the most nervous about having him read it and having all these other people read it. I put the pictures in and had him take a 2nd look. Then I hit ‘publish’ and watched the reader numbers crawl ever higher. My husband posted to his Facebook account that I had 40,000 views. The next day LinkedIn decided it was noteworthy and I had over 200,000 views. The LinkedIn editors promoted it and I saw it in their pulse e-mail.”
“As an accountant I rarely publish stuff online. What I’ve learned about myself is there’s a lot going on for me emotionally that I can put down on paper. Normally, when you put together a financial report you document what’s going on, you don’t put how you felt about those numbers because it’s completely irrelevant. Through writing, I’m playing around with my other side that I haven’t experienced before.”
“I have a time management problem. For 25 years I’ve been told what I should and shouldn’t do and when. Now I have all this freedom. What do I do? That’s one of the biggest things I’ve gotta overcome.”
Entrepreneur is a lifelong dream?
“Prior to 2012 I had no idea what an entrepreneur was. I never really thought about it nor asked myself the question ‘What do I want to be when I grow up?’ I always saw myself being in the corporate world going up the corporate ladder, being successful.
In 2012 I met my husband who always had a dream of becoming an entrepreneur. About a year ago he quit his job at Price Waterhouse and Coopers and Lybrand to start his business.
I found the ups and downs of his day much more fascinating than my own day. We went on a trip to Costa Rica. We spent a week and a half figuring out what I wanted to do. I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I knew what I didn’t want to do which was rise through the accounting ranks. Me and him came up with a new idea and I said I’m just going to go ahead and try it.”
Exercise your mind
“I wasn’t really exercising my mind in the corporate world. I wasn’t learning anything that I wanted to learn. Auditing jobs from year one to year two aren’t that different because many clients are recurring. It wasn’t that engaging nor that wow factor. I’m not against going back to the corporate world because there were a lot of things I liked about it.”
Blessing and curse of being your own boss
“Time management is the absolute hardest thing I’m facing right now. For 25 years school and my parents told me what to do. I wanted to please my parents so I did that. I never really processed what it was like to just be me and what I wanted. The job told me what time to be there and what to wear. It’s such a big shift because I don’t really know what I’m doing. I don’t know how I should manage my time.”
Time management resource and mentor
“I watched a video with Stefan Molyneux about procrastination. He talked about why we procrastinate. You can do whatever you want and there are consequences. So I’m figuring out what I want and how I’ll spend my day.”
“There’s a great Saas Mentor name Stelly FT. His company is close.I0 and they offer a great sales management system which kind of competes with Salesforce but it’s wonderful. Stelly offers free coaching calls and I did one. In about 2 minutes he picked up on some of my biggest fears. He called me out on it. I was very impressed. I’m implementing his advice into my life.”
“What happened for me with Salesforce was just so complicated there were so many things going on with it. I’m just starting out, I need something more simple. I don’t know as much. I don’t need as many bells and whistles. Close.io was the simple solution I needed.”
Reaching out to successful entrepreneurs
“Just the fact you can talk to and reach out to somebody you’re following who is a successful entrepreneur and I was able to talk to Stelly FT was very cool.”
Sales — first and foremost
“Sales should be the first thing you think about before you even create your product. Find out if people will actually put in a credit card and pay for it BEFORE you start developing it. People will say they’re interested and, ‘Oh that’s so cool’ but until they put in their credit card you don’t have validation.”
“Sales is the biggest thing. You need to constantly hustle for sales. It’s very scary to sell. How do I sell something that’s new and unproven? My advisor told me right there potential customers were sensing I didn’t know what I was doing. So of course they’re not going to buy. You need to have confidence.”
“Gary Vaynerchuk is all about hustle and go after sales. Stop giving yourself excuses. He’s a little more in your face but he’s hilarious. He curses on stage. He’s one of those guys that will pump you up. I’d listen to him right before I have to go onto any sales call.”
Dealing with the ‘always on’ world of entrepreneurs
living a balanced life, finding harmony
“I know some people even have a TV in their bedroom. You can easily be distracted by that instead of what’s really going on in front of and around you. Sitting with yourself is something I’ve not had a lot of experience with. Stop trying to distract yourself.”
Biggest or most surprising challenge as an entrepreneur
“I’ve learned more about myself in the past month than in the first 25 years of my life. Even if I go back into the corporate world I’ve already gotten so much out of this, I’m happy I even made the transition. I’ve learned if I hit a roadblock, I’ll stop and walk away not wanting to deal with. Water flows around a rock and keeps going. I found myself just hanging on the rock. That’s fascinating to me because I’ve never really experienced that before. There is no boss telling me how to get past this. This is the biggest thing I’ve realized I need to start facing. I don’t have an answer for it yet.”
On keeping distractions at bay
“One of the biggest distractions — social media, LinkedIn, Facebook even YouTube. I’ll even give myself excuses as to why I should be on the sites. I’ll be writing something and say to myself, ‘Oh I need a catchy headline’. Then I’ll spend the rest of the day researching, reading articles and being on social sites. Have I actually put anything in place? No. I’m recognizing how much time I’m wasting. For me right now it’s more about being self-aware.”
Easy Organization Tip
“When I was an auditor you would carry around a notebook because you need to write down your time, your notes, what you talked about with the client. So I’ve kept that Notepad process because I want to get away from technology because I get so distracted. I’ll jot down my notes on this pad. Sometimes I do open up a Microsoft Word document and just start typing even if I have no clue what I want to write about. Then I can look back and see how I’ve changed.”
To learn more about Amanda go to:
Resources from this episode:
Tangible and Measurable Career Benefits from Writing a Mega Hit Article on LinkedIn
Melonie Dodaro Infographic to go viral on LinkedIn
Viveka Von Rosen – Social Media Examiner
Wolf of Wall Street, Jordan Belfort
You can model my articles’ style and visuals:
6 Simple Hacks to Improve Productivity and Writing – Behind the Scenes
Anti-Customer Service from eBay: The Lost Decade
(author’s note eBay has since remedied this. Thanks Sully Connor from eBay’s Executive office)