Hello, everybody! Welcome back to the Wonder Creative Blog. I recently sat down with my sweet friend, Jenna. She’s not just a friend but also my bookkeeper and client! She’s absolutely amazing.
You can listen to the entire TWO episodes above, watch on YouTube, or read on for some amazing business bookkeeping chat!
CHLOE: Today, I want to discuss money, bookkeeping, and some other unique aspects of her entrepreneurial journey and family life, as we like to do on this show. Jenna, don’t be nervous. Before we dive in, let’s take a moment to remember the last episode, “The Money Maker,” which nicely leads into this one. So, why don’t you introduce yourself to our listeners and tell us more about you?
JENNA: Sure! I’m Jenna Sippy, and I own Ever Leslie Bookkeeping, which I started back in 2021. The reason I started this business was because I noticed a significant need for excellent organization in business finances. Many smaller businesses couldn’t afford a full-time, in-office bookkeeper, especially with the trend of remote work. So, I saw a gap between accountants handling taxes and what businesses need to function and grow. My aim is to bridge that gap and provide the necessary support for businesses to thrive.
My husband, Wyatt, is more of a content creator. He started as a reseller, selling items he found at thrift stores and yard sales for a profit. What began as a hobby has now become a full-blown reselling business with a large following on platforms like YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok. He’s passionate about business and enjoys teaching others about the potential of side hustles and generating multiple passive income streams.
CHLOE: You have mentioned before about how you have so many clients and the whole journey of not having enough systems in place to manage all of them. Can you elaborate on that?
JENNA: I always think of the word ‘lucky’ first, but it’s not really luck. I feel like it’s just what I was born to do – help people with this. We got connected again early because Wyatt was friends with a content creator. He wanted me to do his books, so we started working together. Content creators don’t usually expect to make hundreds of thousands of dollars within a year. Often, they go from making only a small amount every couple of months to significant earnings, but they don’t know how to handle it as a business. That’s where I come in.
My clients are mainly content creators, so my following on social media is unique. When they tag me, it automatically brings more people who follow them and trust their recommendation. It has been a huge blessing. However, it made me realize that I needed to prepare and get my systems in order before growing further. I’ve been in the business for about a year and a half now, and I’m thinking about getting some marketing and branding help. Wyatt suggested waiting and making sure I had everything in place before expanding rapidly, which turned out to be excellent advice. Something similar happened to me in 2020 when my income doubled. It was unexpected, and I didn’t have the proper systems in place. That’s when I realized the importance of having a solid framework and client portal to streamline onboarding and avoid reinventing the wheel every time.
CHLOE: So, how do you feel now, being an entrepreneur and seeing your business grow?
JENNA: Starting out, I knew it was going to grow, but I underestimated how quickly it would happen. I initially thought I’d have just a few long-term clients, but then I started getting clients from different states. It’s been quite a journey, and I now have clients in 19 states, including Alaska! I’ve been amazed at the impact I’ve had and the places my business has reached. It’s been incredible!
For me, being in a service industry means I can’t scale my services like a product. However, I can scale by teaching people how to do bookkeeping and manage their clients. When my business rapidly grew to 11 clients overnight, I realized I needed to build a team to support the expansion. I wanted to maintain the time I spend with my daughter, Everly, so creating a team was crucial.
We found Morgan, my amazing bookkeeper, who started part-time and eventually became full-time. As the number of clients continued to grow, we added another part-time team member, Maddie. We also have a contracted bookkeeper in Georgia who helps a few hours a week. It’s amazing to see our capacity expand, and I’m especially proud that our team includes new moms like Morgan and Maddie. Providing the opportunity for moms or anyone to stay home with their families and do what they love is my passion.
CHLOE: What is something that you feel people misunderstand about you or about bookkeeping in your business?
JENNA: Many people associate bookkeepers with doing taxes, which is a huge misunderstanding. Bookkeepers like me do not handle taxes; I’m not certified for that. Instead, we are the middle part between the business owner and the accountant or CPA. We work with the business owner and communicate with the tax professionals to ensure everything runs smoothly. Our main role is recording all the financial data for the business.
As a bookkeeper, I can also offer consulting services, where I help clients analyze their financial data and make decisions about their business’s future. It’s exciting for me to assist with brainstorming ideas and guiding businesses in the right direction.
Regarding when to hire a bookkeeper, I believe it should be done immediately, even if you’re just starting. Having proper bookkeeping from the beginning helps set you up for success. I often encounter clients with messy or neglected books, but it’s never too late to improve the situation. However, I find that the most well-structured businesses I work with are those that sought help with their bookkeeping before even starting their ventures.
Another important aspect is having a separate tax savings account or a savings account for big purchases. When you have a main checking account for all business transactions and a secondary account specifically for tax savings, it eases the stress during tax time and when making significant business expenses. I put a portion of what I know I’ll need to pay in taxes into that separate account each month. Having that money set aside makes it easier to handle tax payments without worry. It even feels like a reward when I have saved more than I expected, like getting a bonus.
As business owners, we often invest more money into the business without immediately seeing the rewards. So having a tax savings account is like giving yourself a reward for being financially responsible. It’s incredibly beneficial and helps maintain peace of mind when it comes to financial planning.
CHLOE: You brought up an essential point about hiring a bookkeeper being a vulnerable process. It involves letting someone into your financial world, which can feel very personal. Trust is a crucial aspect of this relationship. When I started, I had to overcome my initial reservations as well. I had to trust that you would do your job well and support me without judging my business decisions. It’s essential to let go of pride and ego and focus on what’s best for the business.
JENNA: Confidentiality, integrity, and honesty are fundamental principles in this line of work. I take these values seriously, and I’ve carried them from my background in Psychology and counseling. It’s a big deal for me that my clients’ information is held in strict confidence. Finance is such a sensitive area, and we handle it with utmost care.
When a client brings their financial information to us, we see it as holding their ‘business baby.’ We care about their business as if it were our own, and we want to help them nurture and grow it. It’s crucial to build a trusting relationship where clients know that their financial matters are secure and well-managed.
I’ve encountered various situations while working with clients, and it’s interesting how each person and their business are unique. No matter what challenges arise, my focus is always on the person behind the numbers. I believe that helps me find the best ways to support their goals and dreams, and we work together to achieve them.
My approach is always flexible and tailored to the specific needs of each client. It’s about meeting clients where they are and helping them make informed decisions. I genuinely enjoy what I do and take pride in the posture I maintain while serving my clients. It’s fulfilling to see my clients’ businesses thrive and to be part of their journey.
Trusting your bookkeeper is essential. Sometimes, during consultations, I tell potential clients that they may not need my services right away. I’ve had to learn to have honest conversations and help them find better solutions for their current situation. If someone can’t afford my services yet, I suggest working on what they can manage and revisiting later. It’s tempting for business owners to push for more income and growth, but it’s crucial to avoid running the business into the ground just for short-term gains. Dissatisfied clients won’t refer others, which can harm the business in the long run.
Your creative audience might find these specific deductions helpful:
1. Anything directly used for your business is deductible. This includes both product and service-based businesses. For example, the items used to create or deliver the service are deductible.
2. Supplies like paper, paper clips, and computers are deductible.
3. Assets, typically over $2,500, are deductible but spread out over time.
4. Some expenses may be deducted at a 50% rate, depending on your CPA and tax regulations.”
Staying organized is vital, and it helps when working with a bookkeeper. Being proactive about keeping financial records organized can save you time and money. Having a reliable bookkeeping system in place will make the tax season and financial management much smoother.
Remember, it’s never too late to start organizing your finances properly. I’ve seen clients who needed help cleaning up their records, and while it’s possible, it can be a costly and time-consuming process. So, it’s best to establish good practices from the beginning.
It’s also essential to acknowledge that mistakes happen, and that’s okay. If you’ve made financial missteps in the past, don’t feel overwhelmed. A skilled bookkeeper can help you recover from these mistakes and get your finances back on track. Take the pressure off yourself and trust that you can overcome any obstacles with the right guidance.
CHLOE: I mean, here’s the biggest thing to me: I wish that they would teach more of these things in school. Everly is going to be so awesome; she already has so much wisdom being passed down to her from both of you.
Okay, so let’s pull back the curtain a little bit and talk about Wonder Creative. What did we learn this year? What was it like? What did I ask you? Oh, what did you learn from doing my books this year?
JENNA: I think one of the things I learned is that maybe, in the early stages, you were nervous to write things off. I see a lot of business people who are like that; they’re nervous to write certain things off because they don’t want to get in trouble. But remember, every legitimate business expense can be written off to reduce taxable income.
Looking at your reports, I noticed that last year, you hardly spent as much on expenses or deductions, but this year, you started adding more. That’s good because it shows that you’re getting more comfortable with writing things off that are directly related to your business. Don’t be afraid to claim deductions for expenses that will help you grow your business.
One thing to improve this year is to continue to track and compare your numbers regularly. Analyze your financial data each quarter, compare it to previous periods, and use it to make informed decisions for your business. It’s not just about vanity metrics or social media likes; it’s about looking at the actual numbers to see what’s moving the needle in your business.
As a creative business owner, you have the opportunity to explore multiple streams of income. Passive income streams, like launching a shop with templates or merchandise, can help your business grow in new ways. Having a solid financial structure allows you to allocate funds strategically to support these new ventures.
And yes, one of the great reasons to hire a bookkeeper is that they can provide valuable insights and answer your financial questions. They help you take the emotion out of it and focus on data-driven decisions. Utilize your bookkeeper’s expertise to make informed choices and plan for your business’s future.
CHLOE: I love it! So, a lot of those who read or listen to my content are Christians in business, referred to as Kingdom entrepreneurs. For anyone new here, I have a big heart for people wanting to run impactful businesses with the Lord. It’s natural to infuse faith into your business. I believe God has a heart for business too; this is like my ministry in a sense, how I shine my light to the world. I would love to hear your thoughts on being a kingdom entrepreneur and how we honor the Lord with our money and in business.
JENNA: Of course, this is my bread and butter. My husband, Wyatt, is also an entrepreneur, and we’re constantly talking about business ideas and dreaming together. From my perspective as a business owner, I feel a strong connection to this topic. For us, it’s about more than just making money; it’s about being generous and investing in others’ dreams and businesses.
I see two common money mindsets in my daily work. The first is a poverty mindset, which is rooted in scarcity and fear. The second, which I find more fascinating, is the generosity mindset. It’s about being a lender, not just financially but also lending wisdom and support to others. When we find fulfillment in giving to others and investing in their success, we experience a unique sense of purpose and joy.
CHLOE: I agree; money can be a hot topic, especially for Christians in business. However, money is a tool, and how you use it matters more than just the amount you have. There’s no need to demonize wealth or view poverty as noble. Charging what you’re worth and recognizing your value is essential to thriving in business.
I used to have a strong poverty mindset, being overly frugal and not feeling worthy of charging higher prices. Now, I understand the importance of balancing generosity and healthy financial practices. It’s about trusting that we have enough and that there will be more to give when the time is right.
As Kingdom entrepreneurs, it’s vital to remember that we can honor the Lord with our money by being good stewards of our resources. Generosity isn’t just about giving money away; it’s also about investing in others and seeing their dreams come alive.
JENNA: You’re absolutely right; it’s a beautiful picture of marriage and business when both partners are entrepreneurs. Sacrificing for each other’s dreams and investing in one another’s businesses creates a strong sense of support and growth.
CHLOE: I’m excited to see what Wyatt’s project is; the way you describe it sounds like it will be a significant investment in his business. It’s incredible to see how you both sacrifice for each other’s growth and dreams. This is what true partnership in business and life is all about.
So, as a business owner, there are a lot of highs and lows, but what inspires and motivates you every day?
JENNA: First, as we just talked about, my husband is also an entrepreneur, and we are both dreamers. We love sitting and dreaming together, and he’s a huge inspiration and supporter of what I’m doing. I’m also inspired by content creators and seeing people work in their own creative niches, like what you’re doing with your branding. It’s a reminder that I can be myself and not just conform to what others in my industry do. But what really inspires me is working with 40+ different companies as my clients. I get to witness their little successes and wins, and it fuels my inspiration to see their dreams come true.
CHLOE: You have a unique situation as a stay-at-home mom and work-from-home mom, and Wyatt being a stay-at-home dad and work-from-home dad. It’s a beautiful setup, but I can imagine how challenging it must be to find that balance and rhythm in your daily lives.
JENNA: Yes, exactly. We have to constantly communicate and find ways to balance taking care of our daughter while also managing our businesses. It’s not always easy, but it’s worth it.
Owning a business also makes it hard to clock out sometimes. The freedom to work anytime can make it challenging to set boundaries, but it’s essential to find that balance between work and personal life.
CHLOE: If anyone wants to connect with you or learn more about your bookkeeping services, where can they find you?”