The Ambitious Bookkeeper Podcast

How To Run Your Business in 10 Hours Per Week with Neill Williams

February 09, 2022 Season 1 Episode 35
The Ambitious Bookkeeper Podcast
How To Run Your Business in 10 Hours Per Week with Neill Williams
Show Notes Transcript

In this interview episode, I am talking with Neill Williams, a Master Certified Life Coach through The Life Coach School, specializing in Time, $$, and Business. She is the host of The Unbusy Your Life podcast and creator of the $10K in 10 Hours Mastermind.

Only after ditching her own belief that success was measured by the number of hours worked was Neill able to achieve true lifestyle freedom while juggling her roles as a mom, wife, Master Certified Coach, entrepreneur and employee. Now she helps coaches build their side hustle coaching businesses in 10 hours a week.

We talk about:

  1. How you can cut your hours back in corporate by delivering a result in less time
  2. The two things you must understand in order to be able to build and run a business in 10 hours a week
  3. When perfectionism is okay
  4. and of course, a lot more to help you in your journey of business and transitioning out of corporate culture!

Connect with Neill:



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35 - How To Run Your Business in 10 Hours Per Week with Neill Williams

[00:00:00] Neill: And I know you can be super successful and make multiple six figures in 10 hours a week. It doesn't require a ton of time when you know what it is that you should be doing in your hours, you know how to structure them and you're very focused on using those hours for getting the most out of them. And so what I would say is number one, People need to understand, which is different when your employee, you don't understand this because you haven't had this in your role necessarily, but you have two buckets of your time.

[00:00:28] Serena: Welcome to episode 35 of the ambitious bookkeeper podcast. Thank you so much for tuning in each week. I truly, truly appreciate it. I am enjoying all of the feedback that we're getting in the podcast reviews and on Instagram. So I would love it if you just keep those coming. No, but seriously. If you ever have a huge takeaway from an episode, which today I'm guessing you will, I would love it. If you took a screenshot of the episode and let us know what your biggest takeaway is and share the episode with someone you think it might help this week. 

[00:01:06] I am interviewing Neil Williams who is a master certified life coach through the Life Coach School. She specializes in time, money and business, and she's the host of the Unbusy your Life Podcast and the creator of the 10 K in 10 Hours Mastermind.

[00:01:25] So just a little bit of a side note. I found Neil on another podcast that I listened to. And then I started listening to her podcast and I implemented a lot of stuff from the things that I learned on her podcast. So I highly recommend you go and listen to her podcast as well and subscribe. And The way that I've run my business has completely changed the way that I look at time and productivity has completely changed since I found her podcast. I teach my team and my students how to set up their weeks kind of the same way that I learned from her podcast. So. I encourage you to definitely listen in this week. And if you like her message, and if she resonates with you, go subscribe to her podcast. 

[00:02:12] But a little bit about Neil she only after ditching her own belief, that success was measured by the number of hours worked, was she able to achieve a true lifestyle freedom while juggling her roles as a mom, wife, master certified coach. Entrepreneur and an employee. And as you'll hear in the podcast episode, Neil actually built her business while she was in corporate. And she also cut back her corporate hours. So we're going to talk about that as well. And now she helps coaches build their side hustle, coaching businesses in 10 hours a week. She also works with other businesses that are not coaches like other one-on-one consultants and things like that. 

[00:02:53] So In this episode, we talk about how you can cut your hours back in corporate by delivering a result in less time. The two things you must understand in order to be able to build and run a business in 10 hours a week when perfectionism is okay. And of course, a lot more to help you in your journey of business and transitioning out of corporate culture. I really hope you enjoy this episode. I enjoyed having Neil on the podcast so much, and I can't wait for you to hear everything that we talk about.


[00:03:57] Serena: Welcome Neil to the ambitious bookkeeper podcast. I'm super excited to have you here. And like I said, before, we hit record, I'm an avid listener of your podcast. So we definitely will have to talk about that. But why don't you go ahead and introduce yourself to my audience. 

[00:04:14] Neill: Yeah, thank you so much. Serena for having me like, it's so fun to be here. I love talking about this topic that we're going to be diving into. Of course, it's my jam. I am a master certified deep dive certified life coach and came from the corporate worlds. Like many of your listeners was in that corporate hustle. I figured out how to scale back my work week from the crazy 60 to 80 hours down to 30. And then I decided I needed to help other people do this too. So I built my own business on the side and about 10 hours per week and was very successful. So now I teach other people how to do that same thing. 

[00:04:52] Serena: This is exactly why I wanted to have you on the podcast, because I feel like if someone can build a business in the cracks of the day, right aside from their corporate job or motherhood or whatever it is that you have going on full-time then you should be able to maintain that.

[00:05:09] And maybe add hours if you want to, when you go full-time. But can you speak to that process of like figuring out how to get this done? 

[00:05:18] Neill: Yeah. So the way that I teach it is building your business in 10 hours a week. Cause that's the way that I did it. And I know you can be super successful and make multiple six figures in 10 hours a week.

[00:05:29] It doesn't require a ton of time when you know what it is that you should be doing in your hours, you know how to structure them and you're very Focused on using those hours for getting the most out of them. And so what I would say is number one, People need to understand, which is different when your employee, you don't understand this because you haven't had this in your role necessarily, but you need, you have two buckets of your time.

[00:05:54] So in your 10 hours, you would have a bucket of time where you're being the employee in your. And you're going to have a bucket of time where you're being the CEO and the business owner, the entrepreneur. And I think what happens is people get this all muddled in there minds. And if you're an employee, you don't even know what it means to be a business or an entrepreneur. You don't know what it is you should be doing in those hours and so we typically tend to just not do that. And just do the thing that we're really good at, which is in your case, like the bookkeeping and that kind of thing. We'll spend all of our time doing that instead of spending the time building the money-making machine of the business, which is really what's important and what will determine the overall long-term success of the business.

[00:06:38] Serena: I love that. And also when you start to get into this world, people are, people do tell you this. They're like you need to spend CEO time. And so it's like, well, what the heck does that even mean? And how much time do I need to spend doing that? So I love that you broke it down into two buckets. Do you suggest doing that in even number of hours or what is your take on that?

[00:07:01] Neill: It depends on your business model. So I've worked with a lot of coaches. Or course creators online consultants, that kind of thing. So it depends on your business model. If you're doing a one-on-one business model, that ratio is going to look one way. If you're doing like a small group business model, it will look at different way.

[00:07:16] So for instance, if you're doing, one-on-one like I have one, one client that I'm servicing one-on-one in that kind of business model, your ratio is going to be more employee and more like delivering services, then it is CEO and business time. So it might look like 70 to 80% employee. So let's say seven hours as the employee working directly with your clients. And then you're going to have about three hours per week where you're going to be doing. The business building and the CEO-ing and all of that. And it doesn't sound like that much time, but when you know exactly what to do, three hours is plenty of time to be able to build your business and be able to fulfill and help your clients with the other seven hours.

[00:07:56] So it depends. If you're like, I have a small group business model, those ratios are going to change. So it's going to be more 50 50. So you're going to spend less time delivering, fulfilling. And you're going to spend more time doing the CEO business, building things, which are like offers and marketing and sales and that kind of thing. So the ratios change. 

[00:08:16] Serena: Yeah. And podcast interviews.

[00:08:18] Neill: Podcast interviews that's right. 

[00:08:20] Serena: Things like this. It's like. 

[00:08:21] Neill: Right, marketing! 

[00:08:23] Serena: Yeah. Visibility and stuff. 

[00:08:25] Neill: Yes, exactly. 

[00:08:26] Serena: Oh yeah. Thank you for breaking that down because I feel like. There's. Yeah, it's just very vague the messaging out there. It's like, We all know we need to be spending time doing this, but there's not always a right answer for everybody, but some guidelines like that are super helpful.

[00:08:42] Neill: Yeah. And I think the biggest thing to remember is the time that you're spending as a CEO and business owner, the purpose behind it is to create results. That's the only job of an entrepreneur is to create results inside of a business. So that might be creating leads. It might be creating sales calls. It might be creating clients, but overall that time, the reason that we use it is to create results inside of our business. 

[00:09:09] Serena: Oh, that's amazing to like put it in that perspective because I think we can all get a little distracted and be like, well, this is my CEO time. I'm just gonna like, it'll piddle around on Instagram yeah. And it's like, we make the excuse that we're doing business building activities, but we're not actually like moving towards that "results purpose". So that's something that I've been working on lately is when I see an opportunity come up or I'm approached for something, before I answer and say yes, whereas before I would be like, yes, because it's an opportunity. I don't want to miss out on an opportunity now I'm like, is this. In alignment with where I expect to be at the end of this year. Like, is this going to help me get there? Or is this a shiny object or me trying to appease other people and be like, do you know what I mean? 

[00:10:00] Neill: Yes, totally. 

[00:10:02] Serena: Yeah. 

[00:10:02] Neill: I love that question because then you're really like, okay if I do this, what is the purpose of this? What result am I expecting to be creating in my business by saying yes to that? And that's a really great way to filter things and know if it's a yes or if it's a no. 

[00:10:16] Serena: Yeah. And then the flip side too, is what are you going to be giving up? If you do have this small container of time to work in, like, I try to do everything. For both of my businesses in 20 hours a week. 

[00:10:28] Neill: Yeah. 

[00:10:29] Serena: So my time is very limited and it is really easy to get shiny object syndrome and think, well, this could create results, but if I really don't have any idea if it will, I'm less inclined to take the opportunity now. Whereas before I would just say yes. 

[00:10:45] Neill: And I love that you have two businesses and you're doing it in 20 hours because this is kind of what I believe is: if you can build one offer and fulfill on it in 10 hours, you've kind of like hit the jackpot in terms of a business, because that means the business has to be simple. There's probably systems it's probably very like in your mind, you know exactly how you create clients and how you create money and you can deliver on it all inside of that 10 hours. And then if you can do that, then you just say to yourself, do I want to work more? And if I do then, okay, maybe I'm going to add on another offer, knowing that I'm going to be probably requiring 10 hours of my time in order to fulfill on the offer and market and sell the offer.

[00:11:29] Serena: Yeah, that is definitely, and I don't do it alone. So that's part of why I can't do 20 hours and I have a team of other bookkeepers helping, and I have a team on the side of this business with Ambitious Bookkeeper, making things happen in the backend. And those people are, are more full time. Right? That's the luxury that I get to have as the CEO. 

[00:11:54] Neill: Right. 

[00:11:55] Serena: Which definitely has some mindset stuff, but nonetheless.

[00:12:00] Neill: We're either going to invest our time or we're going to invest our money. And when we're starting out, it's usually a combination of both. And that combination usually kind of like changes as the business grows and scales.

[00:12:10] So I think that's also another great question to ask yourself, do I want to invest one of my limited hours here or do I want to invest time and save this hour for this other thing? Really being clear on what I want to invest my time versus my money in. 

[00:12:24] Yeah. Yeah. 

[00:12:26] Serena: So your number one tip was understanding your time buckets. So I'm guessing your number two has to do with managing those. That time. Am I correct? Or?

[00:12:39] Neill: Yeah, I think, yes, it is being really intentional with that time and understanding results are what's important. That's how you get away from that corporate idea of like time spent. I don't know if your listeners had this idea. Pop up in their corporate lives, but I did. It was like, "butt time". Like how much time you're sitting in the chair, like being the first one in and being visible as being the first one in and being the last one out. So you're like such a hard worker and like, you get a lot of validation from that and the way to do something in a very small amount of time is to get rid of the idea of spending time and instead adopt the idea that the only thing that matters is the results that I produce. And I get to decide how much time I want to spend producing that result. That's on me, but at the end of the day, nobody cares if I spend an hour on this, but what they care about is what did I create? What did I produce in that hour? 

[00:13:35] Serena: And that is so tied to, I mean, there's a lot of people that start out their accounting business charging hourly because of that whole mindset. And so go back and listen to what Neil just said about disconnecting that and making it results driven. And that will also help you price. On a package basis or a flat fee basis, a lot easier when you realize the results that you're committing to creating for the client. 

[00:14:06] Neill: Yeah. And I love that. I think that I'm just going to piggyback on that because I think that's so important when you're making that shift from spending time. And like somebody gets an hour of my time to know they're investing in a result, thinking about what it is that they want. Like, I promise you, I'm guessing like 99% of people. I don't want to spend time for bookkeeping hours. What they really want is some result, like you do my P and L for me, you tell me where I need to be doing or making changes here. Like they want the result. They want the effect of that. They don't want to be on the phone with you doing bookkeeping. 

[00:14:40] Serena: Yeah. 

[00:14:40] Neill: Nobody wants to do that. 

[00:14:42] Serena: Yeah. It's nice to hear that from a business owner perspective too, because you're not a bookkeeper. 

[00:14:47] Neill: I don't like my bookkeeping meetings. I'm like, do we have to do these? 

[00:14:52] Serena: And it's usually like, we do have meetings with our clients monthly too, but I'll have like a couple of questions of like, okay, this thing, like, let's ask this to get it out of the way, but like, how do we categorize this? Cause we had no clue, but the majority of the meeting it's usually like, I'm just creating space for my clients to like bounce ideas and I will point out areas where I'm like, I think you could probably cut back here. Or if we just increased your price a few dollars here, you would increase your revenue and your bottom line and things like that. So hopefully my clients don't dread their monthly meetings. 

[00:15:26] Neill: Well, when you're talking about that wit what came to me is like, oh, you're showing me how to make money easier or how to keep more of my money. That's really the result that I have. Right. That's why I pay you way with higher. You not necessarily for the hour of time, but like the effect that I'm going to get from that hour.

[00:15:44] Serena: That's really good perspective to hear for all of our listeners too. So they can hear from a business owner's perspective, what they actually value because that's one of our big questions is like, how do I present my value, and how do I put that in the terms of the business owner? Because we're so close to what we do and like the number crunching and it's quote unquote, easy for us. And so we don't realize how much harder it is for the business owner and why they are willing to invest in the result of the financial statements. 

[00:16:16] Neill: Yeah, so I think that's a really good point and that's. One of those things like spending the time, really thinking about what your client wants and, and crafting your offer to them. Talking to them about what they want and what they're going to get like as business owners at the end of the day, the only thing that we care about is making money, be able to pay our bills and then having some profit.

[00:16:39] Serena: Yeah. And time freedom I think for a lot of, yeah. 

[00:16:42] Neill: Totally. So if you're like, listen, I'm going to show you how to like double your profit in three. I'm for sure. Going to take you up on that offer because it's so concrete and it's like, I it's exactly what I want. Right. Oh, you're going to show me how, like, how I can change some things in what I'm doing to be like double my profit? Of course, I'm going to pay for that versus you're going to get six months worth of bookkeeping calls.

[00:17:04] It's going to be a lot harder to sell that because people don't want to get on a call and talk about their numbers for many business owners, right? Like there's a lot of anxiety behind that. And so asking someone to show up for a call is like, oftentimes even just a big ask in itself. So if you instead change the conversation to: but here's what you're going to get as a result. Way more effective, easier to sell. 

[00:17:28] Serena: Yeah. Oh, thank you for that. 

[00:17:31] Neill: Little business tidbit. 

[00:17:33] Serena: Yes! So good for people to hear from the other side, the other perspective of it. So results are very important and communicating and also for figuring out how to spend your time. Yes. It's a double You know, double benefit there. 

[00:17:51] Neill: Totally. Yeah. And really understanding like, okay, if I'm spending my time, being able to trace that to the result that I'm trying to produce. So is it that I'm trying to generate leads? Is it bringing people into my business, getting them to know me? Is it me nurturing them warming them up, getting them on a sales call? Like what is the specific result? Because businesses just all about numbers, you know that and your, your audience knows that too.

[00:18:16] So it's the same for every business owner is about creating results, whether that's number of people coming in, number of sales calls dollars made it's some sort of number related results. 

[00:18:29] Serena: Yeah. Awesome. So can you walk us through kind of your journey of doing what you do on the side of your corporate job and the things, whether you want to take it down the route of like the deconditioning you had to go through or whatever, walk us through that.

[00:18:49] Neill: Yeah. So my first thing, I never even thought that I would be a business owner honestly. I just knew that I didn't want to work so much. But I still wanted my really fun corporate salary. So what I needed to figure out like how to scale back my work week, but still make the same amount of money. And that's where that shift changed for me was like, oh, actually they don't care about how many hours that I worked necessarily. They care about is when I'm producing inside of those hours. So once I made that shift, it was easier for me to figure out the path and the plan to really scale back my time.

[00:19:21] So that was number one. And then I realized other people are really struggling with this too. And I got certified as a coach and I was like, okay, I can help other people do this too. And so that's when I was like, okay, I'm going to take 10 hours a week. That's what I'm willing to spend of my time with this already full life, that I have, to be able to create this business where I help other people also learn how to get more done in less time.

[00:19:46] And so I was able to do that in such a small amount of time. It took me a while to figure that out. But the thing that changed everything for me and being able to do it really effectively in a small amount of time, was understanding about my offer. So like kind of the conversation that we just had before. It's so often this happens in the coaching world too. We want to sell like, you're going to get a six month coaching package. Nobody wants that. Nobody's like, I don't want coaching. 

[00:20:13] Serena: Nobody wants to commit to that much time. 

[00:20:16] Neill: No! Right. And, and so it took me a long time to figure out, oh no, that's not what they. What they want is the effect that they think that they will get because of the coaching. So I need to be selling that. 

[00:20:27] So once I understood like how to create an offer and make it so good, it was hard for people to say no, that's when everything kind of clicked. And what I realized also, because I had already kind of started to see the idea that it wasn't necessarily hours spent that created money.

[00:20:42] Like that's one way, that's one model of creating money, but as an entrepreneur, that isn't the model that is most effective. It is really understanding how to create value and exchanging value. For money, which is really results, right? Like, you pay me and you're going to get this and that exchange. That relieves any time requirements kind of burden because now you're just figuring out, okay, how do I get deliver on these results faster? How do I tell more people about it within my 10 hour time block that I have. 

[00:21:18] Serena: Yeah. 

[00:21:18] Neill: So it's really starting with like the foundation is the offer and quite honestly. 

[00:21:23] Serena: Yeah, it is. So I'm going to go back to what you said. You figured out how to scale back your time working in your corporate job. Like you basically realize that my boss doesn't care how many hours I work, as long as I produce this result. And so you actually cut your corporate hours back and kept your full-time salary. You still had your full-time. 

[00:21:44] Neill: Yes. 

[00:21:44] Serena: I just want to make that clear to our listeners. I knew this because I listened to your podcast, but I want people to understand that they could probably do that too in their corporate jobs, especially if you're in a management role or most accounting roles are salary exempt positions. And so it really does not matter how many hours you work, you could work 60, you could work 15, as long as you produce the results that you were hired for. You could probably have that conversation with your boss and say, Hey, I know I can do this in 30 hours a week, and I'm going to prove it to you so that I can also have a life.

[00:22:25] Neill: Right. Right. Cause at the end of the day, what you're really saying is I'm still gonna deliver on the same value. Like I'm still producing. And quite honestly, in my 30 hours, I got so good at what I was doing. And I figured out how to be so efficient at what I was doing. I was still out producing everybody who was working those excessive hour workweeks. And it was always like mind blowing to them. Like that I don't understand like what it is that you do, that's different and how you're able to produce at the level that you are. But I had figured that out. I figured out like how to simplify, how to get things done faster, how to batch, how to like, not be in my email all day long. How to really structure my time so that I had client calls strategically placed where it was like one day a week, I'm doing calls like two days a week, I'm doing a review. And I would really like batch my time and figure out how to consolidate, get the most out of it that I could. 

[00:23:17] And so that is something that is not unique to me. That's something that's available to everyone. Especially in the accounting world where you are producing and you have clients and all of that, I had the same exact situation and we can totally do it. 

[00:23:29] Serena: Yeah. I love that because when I was a staff accountant, hopefully no one from my old company is listening. Just kidding. I don't care if they are really, because I want them to hear that this is possible because people don't realize how much that they can do if they create a little bit of boundaries with their coworkers and do what you said, like batch things and just be highly productive instead of wandering around the office and hanging out at the water cooler and stuff like that.

[00:23:59] Yeah. You might be seen as like a super stickler and like a worker bee, but if it means getting other things done in your life or having the space and the time to do it, I think it's totally worth it. 

[00:24:09] But when I was a staff accountant, I was hired to do the month end close the Sox compliance, and this might go way over your head, but my, my listeners will be able to totally understand.

[00:24:20] Neill: I know that cause-- I, my world intersected with the accounting world. Okay. So yeah, I get it. 

[00:24:24] Serena: So I did all the Sox testing because we were a public company. I did the month end, close journal entries and all that stuff. And I was able to, we had a three-day close because we were a public company. So the rest of the month, I would work on special projects and just make my systems work more smoothly and work ahead of ball so that at month end I could quickly close, but that also created space for me during the rest of the month and every week to literally study and pass my CPA exam. On the clock. 

[00:25:01] So, yeah, and I studied like 20 hours a week. A lot of it was still at home, but I still got probably an hour a day of studying in. While I was working because I had created that space because I was so efficient in my job. So as much as sometimes I go back and I'm like, I wish I would have quit that job and just done this like I had wanted to way back then. But if I had done that, I probably wouldn't have had the time to get my CPA because I would have been so focused on building my business. You know what I mean? So it's like, everything happens for a reason. If you're in that season of like, you need the benefits, you want to keep your job, but you also want to do something else. This is an option. 

[00:25:40] Neill: Yeah. Yeah. One thing I wanna say, I have a private one-on-one client who is a CPA firm and their entire goal is to figure this out because they feel like this is what is required in order to attract and keep talent inside of this industry because it has gotten way out of control. And I love working with them so much because they're so committed to this and they're committed to really like changing the industry and the way that we're doing things. They see that it's possible and they're going to work, they're willing to invest their time and their money and figuring out how to make it work. There are other people in that industry that are doing that work so it, really doesn't have to be that way just because it has been in the past, there are so many opportunities to make changes. 

[00:26:26] Serena: Yeah, that's so awesome to hear. I listen to some other accounting podcasts that are very like firm, like traditional firm focused and the same topic that keeps coming up everywhere is the whole Great Resignation. How do we retain employees? Nobody wants to work. And it's like, I had no problem finding a rockstar staff accountant because I was willing to offer the flexibility, the investment in their continuing education, just different opportunities and a different culture. It really comes down to the culture. So it's like, it's funny because I'm like, if I could just show you how to recruit and like, change what you're offering. But if you, if people know that going into your firm is going to require working weekends and doing crazy audits and not having a life outside of the firm. Yeah. No, you're not going to get anyone. 

[00:27:21] Neill: Right. 

[00:27:21] Serena: In this day and age. 

[00:27:22] Neill: Yeah. Your, your recruitment is really an offer just like inside your business. Right? It's like, if you tell someone, okay, you have to work 80 hours, they're like, no. There's too much out in the world. That's now showing as an example of how that doesn't need to be their life. And they don't want that. So as a company in order to attract really high quality talent and to keep them, I think as business owners, we also have to think about what you're doing, which is creating the offer to make it irresistible, to work inside your organization. 

[00:27:56] Serena: Yeah, because that's the, that's the generation that we're trying to attract. I'm part of that generation too, And I know I can produce what you're hiring me to produce in 30 hours or less a week. Right. If I were working at a traditional corporate job, because there's so much wasted time in meetings, there's wasted time just hanging out in the hallway. I could go on and on. And I was the type of person now. I would rather not take a lunch if I could leave early, because I have kids.

[00:28:25] Neill: Same. 

[00:28:29] Serena: It's like, especially when you have children, you realize how much time your quote unquote wasting in meetings and like hour long lunches because people are just hanging out. And you're like, I could literally not be paying a babysitter to pick up my kid from school. If I didn't go to this lunch and be a team player. Right. But there is a delicate balance there. Like, I'm not saying you know, you can't be a team player and have whatever, but yeah, you start to realize especially when you have children at home, how much you could probably cut out of your day. 

[00:29:05] Neill: Totally. And there was a study. I think it was through Harvard-- I'm kind of like a nerd, so I read all the like studies, but I don't remember exactly-- but it came out and they studied a group of corporate employees. And they were looking at how much time are they actually spending getting work done versus just time spent. And what was really shocking about that study, it was on average 12 hours out of the 40 was being used for production, like getting stuff done. The rest of it was producing nothing. It was the lunches. It was the conversations. It was the, all the other, 

[00:29:43] Serena: Yeah, absolutely. I can attest to that. I could. And a lot of times too, because the day was so filled up with unnecessary meetings or conversations or waiting around for people that didn't respect your time.

[00:29:59] I would take work home and do my deep work at home at night or on the weekends, because I was a salaried employee. So it was like, well, I have to be in the office to be at those meetings and stuff, but the actual work that I got done was at home at night. Yeah. It's crazy. 

[00:30:16] Neill: I know. It's so ridiculous the systems that we have set up and it just can be so much better for everybody. I really feel like if anybody is listening to this and you have. My ple--. My plea to you is to really think about how you're setting up that business, what kind of work environment you're setting up and the expectations, and really maybe like relaxing the idea of number of hours that someone should be working and really focusing on the results that they're creating. And then let them figure out how many hours it's going to take them to get those done.

[00:30:51] Serena: Yeah, that is part of the reason why I. Prefer the salary. I mean, it's the same with pricing, our clients. Our clients prefer to know exactly how much they're going to pay every month. Yeah. And I prefer to know exactly how much I'm going to pay my team every month for a result. Like it's all the same. It's psychology. So, yeah, I do have some people initially starting off as hourly and then converting to a salary model when we kind of figure out like how much they are producing and all that kind of stuff. So there's, there's definitely options there. But this is where-- We're definitely getting off on some tangents.

[00:31:32] But since you said you were kind of close to the accounting function, what did you do in corporate? So people know. 

[00:31:39] Neill: So I was an actuary and specifically a retirement actuary. So all of the numbers that you all needed on tax returns and like, you know, for PNLs and that kind of thing, like we had to produce those first. So it was very accelerated deadlines inside of that industry. And you know, that was where I started my career and then I ended up managing a whole team doing that kind of work. So I had conversations with CPAs every week. 

[00:32:13] Serena: Did you work with an insurance company or benefits insurance? 

[00:32:17] Neill: We didn't necessarily get into insurance so much, a little bit, not a lot. We primarily worked with financial advisors and CPA's who are like, how much can we get as a deductible expense in this plan? Right? Like trying to save the tax dollars or on the other side, like, okay, the business didn't do as well. What can we do here in order to save the person from having this big expense that they know they didn't have the money to be able to pay for this year. So those kinds of conversations, a lot of like planning and how to save taxes and that kind of thing. 

[00:32:51] Serena: Okay. Awesome. 

[00:32:52] Neill: With the CPA's Yeah. 

[00:32:54] Serena: I remember one of my accounting courses, we talked about actuary stuff and I was like, I have no desire to ever go down that path, even though accounting is sort of math. Like I am not a math nerd. It's really funny. And I know there's some listeners that relate to me, but whenever somebody calls us numbers nerds, I don't identify with that at all. I don't think accounting is really, I mean, it's kind of a numbers thing, but it's not like you have to be a really crazy smart mathematician. It's very simple math. 

[00:33:25] Neill: Right. It's like adding and subtracting. 

[00:33:28] Serena: Sometimes dividing to get a set of percentages. Right? Yeah. It's really, really basic. So it's always funny when people are like, oh, you must be like a super numbers nerd. And I'm like, I don't, I don't identify with that at all, but that's okay. Others do. Yeah. So this has been really awesome to get your take on building a business basically in the cracks of time.

[00:33:55] And it's really, really important for people to hear to understand that it is, it can be done. It has been done by other people because everyone, especially in our field, they're so logical and have to plan things out and goals have to be achievable, quote unquote. And so I like to bring in different perspectives of what is achievable, just because you don't see a path there yet, doesn't mean it can't be done, especially, you know, bringing people like you and to show what is possible. I'm not saying that everybody can do something that someone else can do, but just the fact that it's out in our world, that it has been done. 

[00:34:38] Neill: It makes it a possibility. 

[00:34:41] Serena: Yeah. So I think that's really important. And then just understanding the ways that you can get there, like, you may not have all the answers right away, but your number one thing is to just figure out your offer. 

[00:34:55] Neill: I would say anything else. Yeah. Like even if you have an offer, you, you think is working pretty well regularly going back and looking at that and seeing how you can make it even more attractive. Like make it be something that someone just cannot say no to. 

[00:35:13] Serena: Yeah. That's so important to continue to go back and refine. We're constantly, that's another thing that I think accountants and a lot of my students get hung up on is they want everything to be perfect right away. And I'm like the poster child of like my onboarding process. For my clients changes almost every time we onboard a new client because I find something that we could be doing better. 

[00:35:38] Neill: Totally. 

[00:35:40] Serena: And I think a lot of people have a hard time with accepting that it's going to change and they want everything to be exactly the way it's going to be forever right away and you have to be flexible, especially when you start a business.

[00:35:52] Neill: I love the way that you're doing that. I like to talk about for my students. I just say like, let's get the offer to 50% and then we're going to go test it. And that's going to create the other 50% for us. So to try and avoid the perfection because when we're in perfection, we're not getting out and creating results because we're still in like the I'm going to make it better and change this and all that. And that will come as you're going through the process of testing it and getting results. 

[00:36:21] Serena: There's definitely a lot of stuff to unravel there with the perfectionism. I know there's a lot of people-- 

[00:36:26] Neill: It's a whole other podcast.

[00:36:28] Serena: It is, there's a lot of people in my audience that are perfectionists and even a new team member that we're onboarding. I'm like, I am going to undo this for you. I'm going to help you through this. It'll be so much better when you're past the point of not being a perfectionist and being okay with changing things. And I know some people have a different school of thought on this. I do think done is better than perfect. I don't think that you should put out crappy results and you know what I mean? There's a balance there, but done is definitely better than perfect. And it's not something that will happen overnight either. Like, yeah. 

[00:37:04] Neill: And I think the profession that you all are in, it makes sense why perfection is such a big thing, because there's a lot of liability associated with the work that you do. And I mean, at least for the CPAs and accountants that I've worked with, the whole idea is like, we gotta mitigate the risks. We gotta make sure like 15 times check this to make sure that these numbers are right. 

[00:37:27] So maybe even thinking about where does perfection makes sense inside of my business and where does it not? And I will tell you the place that it does not make sense is in your offer and getting your offer out into the world and testing it and letting it be this messy process where you create it along the way through the mess and through the failure. Maybe on the backend, perfection is a more important thing, but on the front end, it is not.

[00:37:51] Serena: I love that you brought this up because it is so important that that is such a good question to ask yourself, if you're like, okay, I'm being a perfectionist, is this a good place for it or a not so great place. So I love that you've lined out. When it makes sense is when you are actually, and I would even argue for small business bookkeeping. I know I'm probably going to get, I'm going to get tomatoes thrown at me for this one. 

[00:38:19] Neill: That's alright. Do it! 

[00:38:20] Serena: You do not need to balance to the penny. Your client does not care. If the bank reconciliation balances to the penny, they don't want you spending your time on that. That is not results for them. Right. But when it makes-- 

[00:38:33] Neill: As a business that I would a hundred percent agree with that.

[00:38:36] Serena: And I'm like, I'm going to get some shade over that one because a lot of people have a hard time with it, but you have to get good at figuring out and asking yourself the question, if you see yourself, like, am I really spending an hour of my time figuring out where this penny is? Or could I be actually giving the financial statements to my client and talking about what the numbers mean?

[00:38:57] Neill: Yeah. And it kind of comes back to the value in thinking about your client. Like when you're thinking about B minus work or, you know, not perfect work, is it good enough so that my client is getting what they need? Thinking about it that way and, and balancing to the penny, what is the extra value that is added to that. I'm not sure I don't see it as a business owner. I would not care at all. 

[00:39:22] Serena: I don't either and I'm a, recovering perfectionist, and that's probably part of it. But the amount of time that I spent in corporate trying to make spreadsheets be perfect and things balanced to the penny because I was paid to do that. Like, you know what I mean? But at the end of the day also, my boss probably didn't want me spending two hours trying to figure out where a penny was if we're honest. 

[00:39:46] Neill: Yeah. So like, what's the margin here. Maybe thinking about that. 

[00:39:50] Serena: And materiality, like a lot of, you know, if you come from an audit background, you know what materiality is and it's like, is this a material issue? If it's literally a rounding issue. Then that's not even going to show up on your tax return because you don't put decimal numbers on it. 

[00:40:08] Neill: But who cares? 

[00:40:10] Serena: Yeah, perfectionism does not belong in your marketing or your onboarding process, or even in your pricing or any of those things that are not like, is the client going to fail an audit because of it? If no, then let's not worry. 

[00:40:27] Neill: Right. Right. And I think that's such a brilliant point that you made. In your CEO business owner in that when you're creating results there, perfection has no place in that land. Really thinking about what level of perfection makes sense and really thinking about it from your client's perspective, because that is really all that matters. 

[00:40:49] Serena: For anyone listening, I'm not saying to be sloppy and to have lots of transactions that haven't cleared or whatever, like definitely do your due date. Do what you were hired to do to how to produce clean books, but you just have to be okay with evaluating certain situations with that lens. 

[00:41:07] Neill: Yeah, I love that. 

[00:41:08] Serena: Well, awesome. So if someone is listening and they're like, Neill is awesome, where can I learn more about maybe working with her? Like I need to really figure out my, you know, productivity, my mindset around time management and all those kinds of things. Where's the best place for them to learn more about you reach out to you, and what do you have going on in your world right now? 

[00:41:34] Neill: Yeah. So I think going to my website, Neill is N E I L L. You'll see, kind of what we have going on right now. I am primarily just selling my 10K in 10 hours mastermind. Which is designed to help new business owners, primarily like coaches, consultants, online business owners. Create their money making offer and be able to deliver on it in 10 hours a week. So really creating the money machine for that one offer and being able to fulfill on it in 10 hours so you can create the business that you want and you only needed to work 10 hours or less. 

[00:42:10] So that is where my focus is primarily right now. I do have a few one-on-one spots. Limited availability there, but you can check it all out on that. 

[00:42:19] Serena: Awesome. Thank you. And what's your podcast called? 

[00:42:22] Neill: My podcast is Unbusy Your Life. 

[00:42:24] Serena: Yes. I love the name of that because I mean, a lot of us accountants our worth, is tied to like how busy we are. We're like, you know, when someone's like, Hey, how are you doing? Oh, I'm so busy, blah, blah, blah. Like it's a badge of honor. And it's--

[00:42:37] Neill: Totally.

[00:42:38] Serena: When you like detach yourself from that, eventually you look back and you're like, that is honestly ridiculous. I'm sure there's people here listening that are like, what's wrong with that?

[00:42:48] So definitely go listen to Neil's podcast. Not that they're. Anything wrong with you, if you are constantly busy, but if that's something you want to change, there are resources for sure. So thank you so much for coming on the podcast and I super appreciate it. 

[00:43:05] Neill: It's so fun to talk with you, Serena. Thank you so much. 

[00:43:09] Serena: Thank you. We'll talk to you soon. 

[00:43:11] Neill: Bye.

[00:43:11] Serena: Bye.