Jessica Wilson from Ohana Bookkeeping was featured on LawprenuerRadio.com in May 2014. They talked about Jessica’s experience as an accountant, what made her want to start Ohana Bookkeeping, and some lessons she learned along the way. The twenty minute interview is posted on Ohana’s website in an audio format, and it is also transcribed below:
Miranda McCroskey (Host): Hi, welcome to Lawpreneur Radio. This is your host, Miranda McCroskey, at McCroskey Legal. I am a practicing criminal defense attorney in Orange County, California. I’ve been a Lawpreneur for the past ten years, and I’m the host of Lawpreneur Radio. Today, our guest is Jessica Wilson of Ohana Bookkeeping. Hi, Jessica.
Jessica Wilson (Guest): Hi, Miranda. Thanks so much for having me.
Miranda: Yeah, you’re welcome. It’s a pleasure to have you. Jessica Wilson of Ohana Bookkeeping fell in love with accounting at a young age. And when she decided to open her own firm, it was so she could be a bookkeeper and support small businesses. Jessica, that is a very simplistic and short overview of who you are, so take some time now and tell us your journey; tell us how you became the owner of Ohana Bookkeeping, and um specifically how you had the courage to make that leap to go out on your own.
Jessica: Okay, well I started when I was nineteen. I was the accountant for my dad’s little itty bitty company, DME company (Durable Medical Equipment), and um, I actually fell in love with it. It was the first time it was introduced to me, but it just came very easy to me. And I really liked working for him and supporting his small business. Unfortunately, due to the recession, his business closed, so I went onto work for other companies, um, bigger companies in the accounting industry. And I worked for corporate America for probably about nine, no, thirteen years. And I actually gave birth to my daughter almost two years ago, and um, I just couldn’t do it anymore. I did not want to work forty hours a week, and be away from my baby, especially with all the drive time and the lunch hours, I just didn’t get to see her grow up, and it just broke my heart too much. So I felt like I really needed to go out on my own. And I thought about it for a long time, I just had it written down as one of my goals, ‘find a way to quit my job; how can I make money staying at home’? So I thought about it, and I finally came up with the idea of just being a bookkeeper for small businesses. A good friend of mine who is an owner of a restaurant told me; he implanted that idea in my brain about two years ago saying that he hires a bookkeeper that comes in once a week for a few hours, and he charges him X amount of money, and he told me to do it. And I did not have the confidence then, but now I did. So I looked into it and got my CPB license, it’s like a CPA, but it’s a CPB license for Bookkeeper, while I was still working for my corporate company, and um, I just kind of did all the research that I needed to, and I was waiting for a good time to quit my job and take that leap. For some reason it just wasn’t coming. I wasn’t, I didn’t know a good time to quit until one day I was driving to work, and I was thinking, I was actually just counting…not counting my blessings…but just listing all of the things I was grateful for. And one thing that I was grateful for was that my husband and I have a lot of money saved. And that was, you know, just a good thing. And then I realized that we do have enough money for me to quit my full time job, and actually pursue this. Once I came to that “a-ha” moment, I called my husband on my lunch break that day, and told him about that and asked for his blessing. He was extremely supportive, and so, um, I think a week later I put in my four week notice and decided my last day would be May 31st. And so June 1st I started my company. It was very exciting and very nerve wracking at the same time, but absolutely and completely worth it.
Miranda: That is a great story! It’s very moving to me. What I heard you say is that you were dissatisfied with your home-life work balance.
Jessica: Exactly, yeah, because there is so much more to life than just working. Working’s great, and I love making money, and I love contributing to the community, but I also want to be a wife and a mother. And there’s just so much to enjoy out there. And I just did want to spend it all behind a desk in a cubical anymore.
Miranda: Well, there’s a lot of Lawpreneur Radio listeners out there who are going to really relate to what you are saying, myself for one. And I also liked that you have the impetus to move, and you had inspiration provided to you through the conversation with the restaurant owner, and then you took action. That’s how we have transitions in life.
Another thing I know, entrepreneurs know how to fail fast so they can succeed faster. So would you share with us one of the so-called failures, I call them “oh man” moments that you have been through along your way to be the successful entrepreneur that you are?
Jessica: Yes. I was thinking about this, and I haven’t had too many mishaps…big mishaps…but one thing I was able to think of was I took on a client in the very beginning because he was only my second client. I needed money, and I needed the experience, so I took him on. And he, uh, was not that nice of a man. He was kind of a bully. He reminded me of a bully. He liked to put people down. He was mean to me and his other contractors. And I put up with it for about five weeks until I realized that I didn’t have to put up with him. And if it’s okay, he actually reminded me of a bad boyfriend. When you have such a low confidence in yourself that you just put up with whatever comes along because you think that’s all you can get. I realized that I can do better than that. Just because I’m new, I don’t have to put up with bad people. So it actually ended pretty well. I sent him an email, and I told him (because he wanted someone to do the things that I was doing for much cheaper which is totally understandable because I was only paying his bills, and you can pay someone $10 or $15 an hour to do that) so I sent him an email saying, ‘you know what? It would be much easier and give you less stress if you just hired someone at a cheaper rate, and we can both go on our ways.’ He never emailed me back, but he did send me a check in the mail in the next couple of weeks. It made me realize that just because I need business doesn’t mean I need all kinds of business. And there are people out there that if you don’t want to do business with, it’s okay because there are good people out there who you will enjoy being around, and will make you feel good and make you feel happy that you did this choice. Because I didn’t leave my corporate job just to work for somebody that was mean. This is my baby; this is my life; I get to choose, and it’s very refreshing. So that is something that I have learned along the way, and I actually did come across another lady who hired me over the phone surprisingly, and when I met her the first time, within about 20 minutes I could tell she was not, um, somebody I wanted to do business with. And so I told her that our personalities weren’t meshing well, and that we should not be business partners. And she didn’t quite get that, but it’s okay. You chose your battles. So it’s just a very good lesson. You do business with the people that feel good to you in your heart.
Miranda: I agree, and I love that you shared that story. That is a really good “oh man” moment, and actually I hear some “oh yeah” in that too. Once you have the maturity to see that, you set yourself free. That’s really good. We’re going to go to some commercials now. When we get back, we’re going to get to another “oh yeah” story. But first, I would like to share a little about you.
Jessica Wilson of Ohana Bookkeeping fell in love with accounting when she was nineteen and worked for her father as his bookkeeper. The numbers came easily to her and she loved being able to discover those details that otherwise would have dropped through the cracks. For the next ten years, she worked for other companies as an accountant, and earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Accounting. After getting married, and starting a family, she decided to go into business for herself, and opened Ohana Bookkeeping. Jessica Wilson loves supporting small businesses like her father’s. She also values a balanced lifestyle. Creating Ohana Bookkeeping allows her both. Ohana Bookkeeping provides full-charge bookkeeping, QuickBooks, and payroll services to small businesses of any industry. Jessica is committed to Ohana’s growth and to providing excellent bookkeeping services to small businesses of any industry including Lawpreneurs. You can visit Jessica at her website, www.ohanaCPB.com , that’s www.ohanaCPB.com, or call her at (714) 317-3603. That’s (714) 317-3603.
Miranda: Welcome back to Lawpreneur Radio. We’re on with Jessica Wilson. Before the break, Jessica shared her “oh man” moment, and now she’s going to share her “oh yeah” moment. Tell us something good.
Jessica: One of the lessons, well not lessons, but one of the things I really love about being an entrepreneur was networking. I came across this great network called, NAWBO, or the National Association of Women Business Owners. They have just been a God-send to me, because they are a large organization of professional business owners. Probably about 50% of the reason why I joined in the first place was just for referrals, but I have to say that that has gone down to about 20% just because I love the support that I get from everybody. I love being around like-minded people. I love being able to bounce ideas off people, and just absorbing all of their experiences, and information, and ideas. It’s just been priceless to me? Yes that was the word I was looking for. I love it very much. Actually, NAWBO is what made me or introduced me to Miranda. There are just a lot of different programs they offer. And it’s just great because it teaches you that you’re not alone. Because one of the things I learned, it’s scary going into business for yourself because it’s all brand new. You don’t know exactly what you’re doing. You have your head focused. You know what your desires are and your goals are, but to actually get there is… you don’t know, it’s a first. You just, you do the best you can, and this organization has just been great because you get to meet wonderful people who are in the same boat as I am. Some of them have a lot of experience, and some of them are newbies like me so it works out really well.
Miranda: Yeah, any time you can be in some kind of organization where there’s people of all different experience levels, it’s very beneficial. I understand. I enjoy NAWBO a lot. It’s a great organization.
So tell us about your current business. Tell us what’s on your desk and specifically tell us how you support lawpreneurs by being a bookkeeper.
Jessica: Well, what’s currently on my desk is actually, I have a client who literally gave me her laptop the other day and a bunch of receipts and bank statements and asked me just to update her books. So what I provide to companies or small businesses is an organization of their financials. I also provide them their Profit and Loss Statement and Balance Sheet Statements, and any other financial reports that are beneficial to them. And it’s just great, they, um I also provide reconciliations, bank reconciliations so you know exactly what’s coming in and what’s coming out. Everything is categorized to an expense, or a revenue, or a balance sheet account, but it allows you to see what is going on in your company, financially. So you have some direction, you’re not blind. Because a lot of people, they just make money and spend money, but they don’t know exactly how much they’re making. They don’t know the backbone of their, what’s really going on, how profitable they are. So it’s great to be able to provide that to them so they can use that as a tool to learn what they can better invest in or what expenses they should not be investing in. And it’s just very beneficial to any small company to have a bookkeeper or somebody maintaining your own books.
Miranda: And I was really intrigued about what you just said right now about the not being blind. That can be a different insight to it like a bird’s eye view can see the entire financial relationship set up on paper. I haven’t thought of it that way.
Um, I do my own books and I bet a lot of lawpreneurs do because it’s one of the hallmarks that I found as I’ve been interviewing people of being a Lawpreneur is wearing all the hats ourselves and not doling out what needs to be doled out. Tell us the benefits of hiring someone like you at a reasonably hourly rate to take care of this for us.
Jessica: Well, the benefits are it just takes time of your shoulders. You can better invest the time into the success of your company. But honestly, I have to say that sometimes if you do like numbers and if you’re good at it, you can definitely do your own books. Hire someone to train you, to get you set up on QuickBooks and train you on how to use the software, if you can do it by yourself, and if it saves you money, that’s a great way to go to. You don’t always have to have an expert. And then if you do have any questions, you can call an expert, but if you just don’t like numbers like most of my clients would rather not deal with it, they would rather send me a bucket of receipts and say, you deal with that. It just depends on the person. If you can actually do it by yourself, that would be great too. It saves you money and keeps your expenses down.
Miranda: So are you able, are you available for hire on a consultancy basis to train these people like you just described?
Jessica: I am, yes. I can train people on QuickBooks, and get the QuickBooks software for them, and set it up for them, and then get their company set up because that does take a little bit of time too. We would actually need to build their Chart of Accounts, it’s the skeleton and the backbone of QuickBooks and financial programs. It tells you what are all your expense accounts and revenue accounts are like that. So I can get people set up on QuickBooks, and then train them and show them how to do it and maintain it on their own. But again, yeah, if you don’t like numbers, you’re more than welcome to hire someone to do that for you.
Miranda: Attorneys generally don’t like numbers. That’s the stereotype out there. Another guest that I had on here, Joe Dain, he is an attorney. There are three types of attorneys. There are finders, minders, and grinders. The finders are the marketing people, the minders take care of the office and do the kind of work that you’re talking about, and the grinders are the one’s I’m assuming do the law. And he suggested it’s important to determine who you are, and probably being all three wasn’t the way to go. So to all of you people out there who are finders and grinders, calling Jessica to do the minding part of your office bookkeeping would be the way to go.
Jessica: Thank you. Yeah, I definitely wear the hats in my company. But hopefully soon, I can start outsourcing. I would really love to do that.
Miranda: It’s a sign of growth to get there.
Jessica: Yes, it is.
Miranda: Tell me and tell the listeners of Lawpreneur Radio one of your favorite resources. This is where we give a pragmatic tip, something they may want to take on themselves.
Jessica: My favorite resource is actually an app called Cozi. COZI. It’s absolutely fantastic because you can put it on your smart phone. What I love about it is it integrates with your family. So both me and my husband, we all have the same family account. So my husband’s on it, I’m on it, and we even have a little spot for my daughter on it, but she doesn’t have her own phone because she’s two, but it actually allows you to have a schedule, family schedule. So I’m able to schedule all my Ohana Bookkeeping on this, this app and my husband is able to read it. Or if my husband and I have a date night, we can put both of that, put it on, and if we have a family date we can put that on so we can all view the same thing. It really keeps me organized, and my family organized so I really appreciate that.
Miranda: Great. I can totally see the benefit of that. I am the cruise director in my home. When my husband wants to know when we’re free, he has to call and ask me, so having cozi set up would be a real benefit.
I always like to ask my guests about their best read. I think what we read really plays a big part of who we are in life, and what’s one of your favorite books?
Jessica: Right now, I’m reading a book called ‘Big Life Small Business for Women” by Louis Barajas. He was a speaker actually at one of the NAWBO dinner meetings whom I was very inspired by because he teaches men and women to specifically build a company that doesn’t drain your life. He says “build a business, not a job”. A lot of us as entrepreneurs, we just make a job that just brings income, it doesn’t allow us to build a business. It doesn’t allow us to take time off because we don’t get paid for that. When I’m not working, I’m not getting paid. So I really appreciate his book and his findings, and he tells you just to have a more balanced life. And when you’re building your business you have to build it with your life and your passions in mind so you have a more balanced life.
Miranda: Awesome, thank you. Big Life Small Business for Women, I’m going to check that out. And all of the resources and books that you suggested on your show notes page and our resource page on LawpreneurRadio.com so the listeners can check it out there.
Jessica, I really appreciate you being here. Tell the listeners again how they can get in contact with you.
Jessica: Oh, you can visit my website at www.ohanaCPB.com or feel free to call me at (714) 317-3603.
Miranda: Thank you. I’m Miranda McCroskey from McCroskey Legal. You can visit me at McCroskyLegal.com or through LawpreneurRadio.com, and I really appreciate having you here today. Thanks a lot.
Jessica: Thanks so much.