00:00:00 – Glenn
Hello, everyone. Glenn Harper here for another Empowering Entrepreneurs podcast. With me again in the studio, we’ve got.
00:00:06 – Julie
00:00:06 – Glenn
Who’s the rock behind everything. We have a special two special guest, one, we’ve got Janel Sykora.
00:00:13 – Janel
So excited to be here, you guys. This is fun.
00:00:15 – Glenn
Yeah, she was a guest a while back, and she helps us with a lot of marketing things, and she’s a borderline genius. And then our special guest today is Will Hill, fellow entrepreneur, a guy we known forever. He’s the brains behind Will Hill Consults. He loved his big corporate gig, but he felt he wanted to do something different. He could have dyed his hair and got a convertible, but instead he changed his careers and joined the rebel rebels as an entrepreneur and escaped the galactic corporate empire. So we are here and we’re happy to have him as a whole purpose. This podcast is to empower entrepreneurs and help them figure out their why and how and shortcuts and achieve the goals that they want and will spare. Time. It can be found on the basketball court, pretending that he’s a baller, shown off and, you know, slamming the ball into this wife and kids face while he’s playing. And it’s a wonderful thing that he does. We do have one problem with Will. He is a U of M fan, and that doesn’t go well for us in Ohio. But he’s a very gracious loser and a gracious winner. We’ve been fortunate enough over the years that we still have, I think, what, 4 to 1, which is pretty good for us.
00:01:28 – Will
Yeah, I think that’s about right.
00:01:30 – Glenn
Yeah, we know exactly what it is. And just a couple of more cool things to chat about before we get into it. We’re trying to figure out, you know, you have this affinity for CPAs and accountants world like this is where you’ve been for many, many years. And then again, I think is it possible that your closet being counter and you just love us that much or are you the anti being countered? Do you know?
00:01:56 – Will
So I think I think that I wish I was smart enough to be a CPA. I think that’s what’s really going on. And I know I’m not. So I don’t really pretend to be, but I just hang out with them. So I’m kind of like a CPA groupie. If you can if you can put it that way.
00:02:12 – Julie
Will, welcome to my life.
00:02:14 – Glenn
It’s so wrong on so many levels.
00:02:18 – Will
No. Well, Glenn, it’s good to be here. That is the most adjective laden introduction I’ve ever had. First of all. And second of all, thank goodness for adjustable basketball hoops so that I can dunk the ball with great regularity. Let me tell you, when you put the hoop down to nine and a half feet instead of ten, the cars driving by are still impressed that like a 40 year old is out there dunking, but it’s close enough to ten. They don’t quite notice the difference, but you’re kind of cheating. So that’s that’s my pro tip of the day.
00:02:49 – Glenn
Are you doing a 360 dunk out there or are you just doing traditional Jordan from the free throw line?
00:02:55 – Will
No, just just normal stuff. Happy to still be able to jump. Although I did get my workout in this morning, so I’m working out a few days a week and trying to keep up with the kids.
00:03:04 – Glenn
So good luck with that.
00:03:06 – Will
00:03:08 – Julie
I assume you have coffee then too.
00:03:11 – Will
Yeah. Although it’s empty. I drank it all before this, and I’m planning on Glenn providing some natural conversational caffeine, so.
00:03:20 – Glenn
Well, I’m actually got a half regular half decaf today, so I don’t know what’s going to happen, so just be ready. So we always have this part of the show. We kind of say, well, well, you know, tell us what it is that you do. What is your entrepreneur dream? What are you trying to accomplish? What is it you do? A shameless profit plug that you’d want to put in here?
00:03:38 – Will
Yeah. So I look to help firms. I’ve kind of been toying with a new tagline, right? My. My journey is about two months old at the time of this recording, but of just where people meet process in terms of accounting firms mostly and then for, for some firms helping them out with their clients as they say, hey, I want to do some consulting and coaching with our clients, but I don’t have bandwidth or the expertise. I can come in and help with them in that area as well. So for any firm I’m able to help with working through their processes and being kind of technology independent in that regard, but really saying what do we need to do to fix that process? A lot of it around things that touch both the staff and the clients. So we have kind of that three way intersection of ownership, the team and the clients, and how do we make all of that? Hum. So a lot of conversations work on that and then a number of smaller firms just helping firm owners have some accountability to get the right things off their plate, the right things onto their plate, and get some serious traction towards the goals that they’re chasing after.
00:04:53 – Glenn
I mean, do you think accounts need that?
00:04:57 – Will
00:04:58 – Glenn
I think, you know, you got the right answer. Again, it’s a it’s an amazing thing. Accountants are such a bizarre beast from a compliance work to advisory work and trying to figure out what they want to do. And again, to know that you work with them for, what, 20 years in your past life and now you want to continue to do that again. There is some sort of love hate relationship that you have with them because you understand them, you know how to communicate with them. But gosh darn it, it’s hard for them to get out of their way.
00:05:26 – Will
You know, I think a lot of that comes from some very consistent characteristics and traits of firm owners. And I would like to say that by and large, they have hearts of teachers and they actually care about their clients and the welfare of their clients. And that’s why I enjoy working with them and knowing that if I can help them, they’re going to truly turn that into the benefit of their customer. And it’s it manifests itself also onto the bottom line, but that’s not the main driver for most of these folks. And most of them are say, hey, I got into this to help people, to put them in a better position for their businesses to thrive and to do well. And I just I like that that passion and that heart so.
00:06:15 – Julie
Well, don’t you think that what that statement that you just said, you know, if you walk into a firm and you do a SWOT analysis, don’t you think what you said about their their hearts and their teachers and all those things, it’s their strength, weakness, opportunity and threat all wrapped up into one which is different in each, you know, industry, I think. And for this one, I think it’s very industry specific.
00:06:35 – Will
Yeah, it totally is. I have you know, I haven’t really done a whole lot of thinking about that in terms of weakness, more in terms of threat. Right. And how how they they threaten themselves with and the growth of the firm with how they approach things. But certainly it fits into all four of those buckets and not many things do so certainly makes it stand out.
00:07:01 – Glenn
I feel like you guys are stereotyping. I’m sitting right here like I’ve got my pocket protector on my tank. I don’t understand what this joke is all about. I’m. I’m, like, shocked at all this. I’m kidding.
00:07:12 – Will
Of course, soon Julie will explain a SWOT analysis and.
00:07:16 – Glenn
Just why does that like special forces on the.
00:07:18 – Julie
He’s really worried there’s going to be like this big group of people come in after him right.
00:07:22 – Glenn
I don’t want to take a test but know it’s funny. Will, you know, talk a little bit about your background again because ultimately, again, I was making alluding a little bit of a tongue in cheek here. But again, you you took the corporate route out of college. You again, you went to a you went to Alma College and then you got went to Baker College. You get your MBA and you’re like, you know what? I want to do this corporate route and and that’s what you did. And then all of a sudden something happened where you’re like, You know what? I want to do something different. Tell us a little bit about, you know, what made you make that decision to leave the corporate environment.
00:08:01 – Will
Yeah. So like you said, right out of school, the priority was I was engaged and needed money to be able to like pay for stuff. So I just
needed. A job. That was all he really cared about. And so I started at Thomson Reuters. Back then it was called Creative Solutions right out of the gate. Take your phone calls, product support on a variety of different products. And it didn’t take me long to realize a couple of things. One, I did some software testing temporarily in the development function, and that was not for me. I’m just going to leave it there. That was just not for me. It wasn’t my environment. I wasn’t the greatest at it. I got too easily bored with all of this small detail testing of of technology, things that were going on. And I wasn’t sure I wanted to be in full time sales. You can joke about that with me later being an entrepreneur now where I better well be at least a little bit good at sales. So I just I just said, what can I do? I’m not a CPA. And funny story in college double major and business administration economics everyone there was a small school, everyone there had to for the business program had to take both accounting and financial and managerial accounting. And then I was in managerial accounting and one of the professors came up to me and he said, Well, you got the third highest grade, if anybody, and you’re not on our list of accounting majors.
00:09:32 – Will
And I looked at him and he was a short guy not to stereotype accountants and and it’s just the thing I don’t know. And so anyways, I just looked at him and I thought, yeah, you’re right, it’s never crossed my mind. No, thank you. So. Yep, you’re correct. I’m go to our mat and moved on. So here I am. After all that time of trying to run away, it still catches me. But I decided that I had to have a skill if I was going to grow in this company. And that was that was definitely my mentality was how do I grow in the company? And I, I knew how to communicate and I knew I loved talking and working with people. It’s part of what I enjoy and product support. So I decided that my skill was going to be to understand this customer and their mindset inside out no matter what size they were. And I was just going to own it and I was going to be unafraid of asking a lot of dumb questions. Something I’m very skilled at is asking them questions. We can bring my wife in for verification if we need to, but I just came to make that my thing is to know the customer and then, I don’t know, halfway into my 20 years or so there I started scratching my head and going, Part of what I like about these accountants is they’re kind of running their own business, kind of.
00:10:58 – Will
Some of you are. Some of you are not, but that’s different conversation. And I kind of think that’s an interesting idea. I wonder if I could run my own business. I started toying with ideas of How do I do this? And I’ve developed some consulting and training skills and how could I work through with the consulting and training angle? And it took a few years to kind of work through and realize that more almost as important as the skill is, I needed that target audience and it became clear that accounting firms are going to be that target audience. And that was just a matter of saying, okay, how do you monetize that? And, you know, first of three kids is already here. When I started scratching my head on how do you monetize that? So you start having you’ve got some other constraints that certainly present themselves. And it took two or three different fits and starts to various levels before I was able to finally have it figured out enough to to pull the cord and and jump and see what we found out. So.
00:12:03 – Julie
So, Will, do you think leaving corporate America, there’s just this team environment and you’re kind of surrounded with peers and colleagues throughout as you’ve went on your own, do you feel you miss that or do you feel that you’re thriving in an environment that you know you can control essentially?
00:12:21 – Will
You know, I think that’s a good question, Julie. One of the things when I was in a management role there at the corporate job, there was one point where I had I think 16 people were reporting to me and one of them was in the office. The other 15 were dispersed across the country. And so I had already been used to very much remote interactions now that were still the team that I worked with in the office and some other peers that were there. But I’ve been quite used to forming and building relationships when you’re not sitting right next to each other for quite a while. And so that that to me was not as big of a step. And I have enough strong connections in the. Fashion that I feel like, hey, we can go out and have an online conversation. If I’m going to be passing through a city, I’m going to hit somebody up, say, Hey, I’m coming through, let’s meet up and get some of that face to face time. But you just have to be intentional. This is true even if you’re in the office, right? I saw with a number of folks that would sit in the office and they would never leave their cubicle until it was time to leave the office. And they didn’t really socialize with anybody there. So what good was it from that perspective either? Right. Does it matter where you are? You have to be intentional to build those relationships in the network.
00:13:49 – Julie
And I think some of that, too, comes from that collaborative work and being able to do that. So I think for you, maybe that transition was a little bit easier because you can manage that. But I often think when we talk to entrepreneurs who go from corporate to, you know, being on their own, there’s a little piece of you that misses a little bit of that collaborative culture that sometimes corporate breeds, whether it be in person or not in person. I just, you know.
00:14:12 – Will
Yeah, yeah. You know, that’s that’s very true. But again, collaboration is up to you, right? So if if you thought it was collaborative because everyone always reached out to you and you were never initiating the collaboration, you weren’t actually part of collaboration. You don’t have that right experience.
00:14:32 – Glenn
I think you’re probably saying you’re like a one wolf wolf pack and you’re okay with that because you work with other multi wolf packs. And then there’s.
00:14:43 – Will
Yeah, absolutely. You know, I talked to one of one of my now peers, I guess, in this consulting with accounting firm section. And he asked me, he said, What’s what’s your dream? You want to be by yourself? Do you want to work with other people? And and we just had some conversations, very frankly, around I want to be able to control some things with my own business. That’s part of why I got into this. But I don’t want to be on my own, so I want to have partners that I work with on a regular basis, people that I connect with and that understand that life, if you will. So those those things can still happen even if they’re outside of the business construct.
00:15:23 – Glenn
Do you feel like when you decided to ultimately make the jump and and go full entrepreneur do you have any thoughts of like, Oh man, I wish I’d have done it earlier. I wish I’d known what I know now. Then, you know, the timing is everything, you know, wherever you’re at is where you’re at. And you never want to dwell on that past. But do you think often think, wow, if I should have did this six months ago, I should do this six years ago. I should do this ten years ago. Do you have any thoughts of that or is it the timing just happened to be right? Because everybody listening to this are probably wondering, like, when should I do it? Like, if you want to do it, when is the right time? And there really is no answer to that. Right. But when did when did you think about that?
00:16:08 – Will
Yeah, there’s there’s not. And that’s something that my wife and I talked about a lot. Right. So and I would definitely say that if if you are married and you’re going to you’re going to pull this trigger, the spouse has to be in agreement that the time is the time is right enough that that it’s time to go and do it. As I look back, there are certain things where I wish I say I wish I would have done this two years ago. But then there’s something that happens where you go, Huh? Two years ago I didn’t have that particular contact or this particular experience, and now it’s coming into play. So I don’t think you can perfect the timing. And I think that if I would have gone sooner, it would have been just fine if I would have waited. Yeah, I don’t know. One of my favorite quotes by Leonard Ravenhill is that the opportunity of a lifetime must be seized within the lifetime of the opportunity. And I think that’s really what you have to think about, is at some point this won’t be a good choice. You know, there may be a time where it gets to be a better choice as you look uphill. But at some point, it’s not going to be a great choice.
00:17:24 – Will
And you’ve got to jump before it’s no longer a great choice and you’ve just got to feel comfortable with the downside. So I looked at it and this is this is me. As my corporate role grew, shifted and moved, I started becoming a little bit more internal, strategic facing, which was valued, needed. I think I was good at it. My boss said I was pretty good at it, so we’ll go with that. But man, I just missed the firm interaction directly and I also had that entrepreneur itch and that’s where I kind of brought those two things together. And as my wife and I talked leading into this, it was, all right, what’s the worst that happens? And we were we had gotten some things in order. From a financial perspective, we have some really good clarity on what we need, how we get to things. And frankly, with the job market, I felt like, you know what, if this thing all falls apart and it turns out that I really can’t sell, there’s there are lots of opportunities to go pick up and go somewhere and that’s in the back of your mind. But you don’t want to have it in the front of your mind because I don’t plan on failing. Quite frankly, there.
00:18:40 – Glenn
Is no failing. We don’t use that word. Never use the word fail. Never.
00:18:43 – Julie
You can pivot, but you can’t.
00:18:44 – Speaker1
00:18:45 – Speaker3
I failed to get that memo.
00:18:48 – Speaker2
00:18:49 – Will
Yeah. Yeah. So I think that’s just one of the questions you’ve got to ask is what’s the worst that happens? You know? And for us it was, well, my wife has a flexible job. You know, she’s working part time. She can go pick up more hours, the kids can eat out less, and they might not like it. But that’s the thing. And if I’ve got to go get a corporate job again, well, I know a lot of people, and I think I did a pretty good job of leaving my old place well and in good standing. So, you know, those are the the safety nets. And around the rest of it, it’s here we go. I don’t have to look at those all the time. I know they’re there now. I can charge forward.
00:19:37 – Glenn
It seems like this holds true that if you. Like Wait until you can afford to buy a house. Wait to afford you can have kids way too. Can afford to be an entrepreneur, wait to do everything. You can spend a lot of time waiting and a lot of not inaction. And again, the best, worst case scenario. Everything’s going to work out. It always does. It may not be what you wanted, but it’s going to work out and you will be fine. So as an entrepreneur listening again, it’s the timing again. What’s the worst that can happen? The longer you wait, the the less confident. Perhaps the less fire you’ll have, the more doubt will show up. And those things are not conducive to a healthy entrepreneur relationship with yourself. I mean, you have to be mentally in a place where you have the eye of the tiger and you’re ready to roll.
00:20:26 – Will
Yeah. And there was something else. Another business owner, he happened to own an accounting firm, probably out of shock, but said to me was, you’re going to get into conversations that you didn’t even see coming because the people you’re talking with when you’re in your corporate role, they filter their thoughts and concerns based on you and your role. Even if you were to say, Hey, I’m going to go start my own thing, would you consider they’re not going to bring those things up? And so, you know, and it certainly has held true now that I’m out, I’m on my own and it’s a fully committed thing. I’m getting into conversations I did not see coming. So for those that are trying to kind of straddle that line and say, I’m going to do this, this side hustle thing, sounds like it’s just the easiest thing ever to do. No, it’s not. No one’s getting 100%. And unless it’s a pure online side hustle activity, only that you’re just doing it night. People that you want to do business with want to see that you’re committed to it. And until you step away and actually dive in, they’re not really sure if you’re truly committed and you’re not going to get their best needs and desires that you could fulfill from them until you make that leap.
00:21:44 – Julie
And Will you talk a lot about relationships and the importance of those relationships and how they’ve evolved and how you’ve been able to kind of cultivate those throughout your career? Is there someone that stands out that really just helped push you towards the, you know, hey, take the leap of faith, take the jump, you know, whether that was someone internal or external, whatever that looked like, is there someone that just really stands out to you? And then how did that ultimately affect you?
00:22:09 – Will
Yeah. So. I think it’s important that you look at your relationships as. What is what what are the things from that individual that I can pull and be inspired by and not try to replicate the whole of an individual? Right. So one of my old bosses, Gene Rakeysh, at when I was at Thomson Reuters, she was huge on building your network and building relationships and maintaining relationships, right? And so that was someone that really pounded that into my mind, not just with the word she spoke in or manager meetings, but you saw that walked out as well with how she carried herself, both with the clients as well as internally in the organization. So that was that was a big influence for me from the relational side of things. And then just, just talking with others that, that are in the position, owning their own business and. Those. Those are the things that gave me a lot of courage and not as much the accounting firm owners, but I think of Megan Torrance, who owns a Learning and E Learning and Development Corporation. I was in charge of E learning for a little while and so I introduced myself to her and ended up asking her to mentor me with some things that I was doing.
00:23:49 – Will
And that became much more of a business mentorship than just an E learning where I was, I was initially focused or my friend Adam that quit his corporate job, that went and started a his own his own business in financial services area and just seeing what he did. And since I had a personal relationship with him outside of any kind of corporate thing and knew him personally, that was a different kind of conversation around, Hey, can you do this and succeed? What did what did your wife say when when you presented this? How did you go around those conversations? How long did it take you to get some traction? Even though we’re doing different things, there’s still that that commonality that’s there. And so I think those are three that kind of stand out to me right off the rip in terms of the relationships, the business ownership and the taking the leap, if I can separate it that way.
00:24:47 – Glenn
Julie You know, it’s, it’s funny the perception of what entrepreneurs do and how hard they work and what they make and all the perks and bennies and all that comes along with those that type of lifestyle versus the reality. Right? And it’s one thing to be a owner investor and it’s another thing to be an owner operator. Right. And when you start off your own firm, generally, you’re going to be an owner operator and you’re going to have to do things right to generate revenue. And you kind of have to do them all. And the misconception is that anybody does an entrepreneur are going to be owner investors and they don’t do anything, get paid a lot of money. Well, that’s just not the case. It takes a lot of effort to convert yourself from an operator to an investor. Right. And, you know, as you do this thing, do you know if you’re going to be an owner operator and live that particular lifestyle that would support that effort and commitment and time and revenue and to do what you want to do on the side with obviously with your family and keep developing you personally or are you going to be like, you know what, I want to build something. I want to build a business and be like an owner investor. Do you have you decided on that just yet? There’s no right, right answer. Right. It’s just it’s okay.
00:26:08 – Will
Sure. Sure. So good question, Glenn. And one of the things coming coming from the corporate space to owning your own business in the same industry, I had obviously or maybe not obviously given some people are cheating on the ethics exam on these days, but.
00:26:30 – Glenn
That’s a vicious rumor. That is not true.
00:26:32 – Will
Yeah. Glenn did not that rumor that it’s true story but not about Glenn’s firm. You know, I was not able to go out and try to solicit any kind of business ahead of time. Right. That would be a conflict of interest. So this was two feet off the high dive into the shallow end. That’s whatever the metaphor. You guys get it. Thank you. That would hurt. But right now, it’s really about these kids like to eat food, right? That’s that’s my mentality right now is Feed the Children. Right. And then I’ve got I’ve got three stages past that that I’m shooting at Glenn Stage. Stage one is post-tax income replacement. From my old job, which when you’re an entrepreneur, doesn’t mean you automatically make the same amount of money you did when you were in corporate. Right.
00:27:30 – Glenn
So who told you that?
00:27:32 – Will
And then there’s this. These taxes are pesky. I don’t know if you’ve heard about those, Glenn. No, I don’t.
00:27:37 – Glenn
I don’t know what you’re talking about.
00:27:38 – Will
Yeah. Yeah. So stage one is post-tax income replacement. Stage two is trying to be in a position to double where that was. And then that’s the choice point for me. That’s the inflection point of, hey, do do I want to just maintain? And hang here? Or do I want to really grow this? Interestingly enough, I think that I’ve got some folks that have approached me about, Hey, can we go with you? Like, do you have any room for us? So that, you know, right now the answer is no. But that was good to kind of hear and just go, you know what? It doesn’t have to be just me. As things move, right? Like the reality is, like you mentioned, it is just me and it will never all be done. That’s what I used to hear from owners telling me all the time. My list, my to do list is never finished. And that would nod like I understood because I heard them. But like I tell my kids, You don’t understand something until you do it right. And so it’s it’s good to know that there’s option coming out there, even though that list right now is, is, is long and never ending.
00:28:55 – Glenn
Yeah, entrepreneurs and farmers, it’s just you’re never going to get it done, right? That’s just the way it is. Right. And that’s and that’s okay. I’d be curious to when you go through option one and option two or stage one and stage two and you’re ready to decide on stage three, I would love to get back in on this podcast perhaps, and see what that decision looks like and to see what that thought process was to make that decision. Because an entrepreneurial world, it’s really hard if you’re not growing, you’re dying generally, and if you’re not staying relevant and in front, you’re falling behind. It’s kind of like being an athlete. Either you’re out there giving it your best or you’re in retirement. And it’s it’s a really tough pickle to be in as an entrepreneur because what is the end game like? You know, where are you going to end up? Well well, you don’t know. Everybody thinks there’s an end game. But but there isn’t. And you’re going to figure it out as you go. And that’s half the fun, right? It’s I think to your analogy, when you went off the high dive into the shallow end, you didn’t really dive. You did a belly smacker. And, you know, now after you pick yourself up, after getting smacked in the face and figure it out, now you’re going to do a nice swan dive off the high dive and it’s going to be beautiful. You might have a good entrance into the water. The little bubbles come up and everything’s perfect. You’re going to come out refreshed like the next commercial. It’ll be great. But right now you’re in there with the sharks and it’s going to be it’s invigorating, is it not?
00:30:18 – Will
It is. And I think that one of the bigger challenges is focus. Right. And so a lot of I kind of had two early steps in my first couple of months that I really focused on. One is being indoors of firm owners that I knew to see if they would pay me some money for services so I could feed the kids. Right. That’s that’s job one. Got to get a little bit of revenue flowing. But the other one was to kind of reintroduce myself to industry contacts, contacts into a new context and say, hey, now I’m not Will from Corp, I’m Will on my own, here’s what I’m doing and just sharing. And I love the collaborative nature of this profession. And so those have been easy conversations, but many of them have been, well, who’s your target firm? Is it 5 to 15 staff? Is it 15 to 25? Is it 50 to 70? Is it 75 to 200? Is it the top 100 firms? And to me, that’s a fun focus area, just because I’ve had very interesting opportunities come up in the 100 to 300 person firm space, and I’m doing a lot of work in the 1 to 6 person space as well, and those are not the same. But I’ve got a lot of experience in both of those. And right now what I’m doing is saying, well, I’m able to use the same skill set but use it in a different directed manner toward a very small firm or very large firm. And so the service that you that I present is different. So part of that part of that decision later on, I think, becomes which one of those kind of areas take off the most, or do I like that they’re both going strong and if I like them, I like them both, then I’m probably going to bring some people along with me and build it that way. If I want to be more narrow, it might be more appealing to have less overhead. So.
00:32:12 – Julie
You know, will it just occurred to me that you and Janelle have a lot in common. So you both were in the accounting industry and separate, separate corporations and both.
00:32:21 – Will
With the other one, I believe.
00:32:23 – Julie
But both took the leap of faith, you know, to be an entrepreneur. But yet you stayed in the same industry and just from the two of you, like I just would love some a little bit of perspective as like you didn’t go running the other way, which, you know, half the time I think I should I’m.
00:32:37 – Glenn
Questioning your judgment really, both of you. But, hey, that’s just me over here.
00:32:41 – Janel
Well, I think we’ll set it best. I think that the collaborative nature I think that we’ll set up best the collaborative nature of the accountants is really rewarding. And I also think that you hit on it when you said accountants have the heart of a teacher. They just want to help people, but sometimes they need a little bit of help focusing and framing up those advisory services that are going to help them help people more. And I think I really enjoy that. And I would be curious. Well, to know, too, how do you you know now that you are completely out of that corporate world, are you in order to focus are you working with a coach? Are you involved in a peer group? Because when you are out on your own as an entrepreneur and you are that, you know, lone wolf of one, who do you have surrounding you that kind of keeps you between those navigational beacons and help helps you grow and get to that next level?
00:33:40 – Will
Yeah, great question. So I think one of the first things is family is a huge thing for me. So I’ve made sure to have some good communication with my wife about where things are and where things sit. Now, she’s nurse has no idea about any of the things that I do, but it’s it’s important to create some accountability, even even even though there’s a financial accountability that’s already inherently there to create some other activity, accountability that’s there. Now, she’s very type-A and and driven and is not going to sugarcoat things. So that’s good for me and gives that to me straight. And then I’ve got to filter by does that make sense in this profession, in this industry and this action or not? As I mentioned, there’s a couple others that I’m starting to build relationship with and build my network around, so I’m spreading down that way. I have not yet hired a coach. I haven’t necessarily joined a group quite yet. I think some of that comes down to the focus question and. There are several different groups I could go hitch my wagon to, but I feel like it might be a little bit early at two months in and I might feel a bit locked in. And I wanted some of that kind of freedom of where I went and and the way in which I was helping clients. So I’m exploring a lot of those areas, but nothing firm yet. Janelle.
00:35:23 – Glenn
Look at you, lone wolf wolfpack. Still, I like that. Again, there is something satisfying about doing it on your own. You have to challenge yourself, right? And I and I get that. And that might be where you end up. And there’s nothing wrong with that. There might be a time when you’re like, I just can’t do it all. I need to expand my pack a little bit and my team, and that’s okay too. So if you’re an entrepreneur listening, either one is okay, I think in your instance. Well, if I could just sit as a, you know, listening to you talk is that you are trying to figure some things out and you don’t have a bandwidth problem yet to do everything you’re able to do everything. At some point you will have a bandwidth problem and you’ll have to make some of those decisions. And but it’s not right now. And that’s okay. Yep.
00:36:12 – Will
And, but I’ve already started making my list of hey, when, when I reach a certain threshold, here are the things that I hate doing. So if you’re in corporate America and you think that going to your own business, you will no longer have to do things you hate doing. You are wrong, right again. Megan, my mentor who owned a business, had. The difference is that you fight the battles you choose instead of the ones that are placed upon you. It’s not like there’s an absence of battles. So I’ve already looked at that and said, Hey, as soon as I can, I know I’m getting someone in to help with administrative stuff, scheduling and some of those functions. Now, whether that someone becomes my wife or someone else, different options are out there. There’s a lot of interesting virtual assistant type opportunities as well that can scale with your needs. So that’s that’s something I’m doing already is when I’m ready. What are the things that I want to get off my plate? Because again, the to do list is never done. And I’ve got like 12 things that I’m not going to do this weekend that I think I’m going to do and I’m going to tell myself I’m going to do, but we won’t actually do them. But the list is important to know, Hey, these are the things that I want to be working towards and let me hit on that. Do it all yourself point for a moment. Glenn I think two, two things are important with that. One is to stay in your stay in your lane of area of expertise, right? So as I work with firms and when we do some work, they say, hey, I want to get better with social media or marketing.
00:37:46 – Will
I’m going to say, That’s great. I think you should go call Janel because that’s not me or whoever, whoever it is. Someone says, I want someone to get super technical with our client accounting systems that we put in place at our clients and how they’re going to use bill.com and and divvy and how we install, practice, protect and get that moving free name drops for all these products. That’s not me. I’m going to help you identify where you’ve got a gap in an issue, but there are several that help out there already with some of those areas of technology. I’m going to push that their way. So I’m going to stay focused in my lane so I don’t have to do it all. And but I’m going to watch those. I’m going to watch how people who are on the technology side communicate their value. I’m going to watch how they manage multiple products, how they handle themselves, and an online presence and form. Just because I’m doing things a little bit differently than them doesn’t mean I can’t say, Hey, I know how to translate what they’re doing into the things that I need. So while I’m doing it all myself, I don’t have to think of it all myself. I don’t have to be a blank sheet of paper original with every little thing.
00:39:00 – Glenn
I think the takeaway on that is that when you first start out, always, always say yes and then you’ll figure it out later. And if you’re not able to do it, you still solve somebody’s problem by kicking it to somebody else. So you’re still the hero and you’ve just solidified that relationship even though you didn’t help them today. You personally, you help solve their problem. They’ll remember that. And that’s where that relationship comes into play, I think. And so you’re just in that unique stage of your entrepreneurial journey where you kind of got to if you don’t say yes and you don’t solve problems with it, you are you’re offer a solution to somebody else to solve the problem. They won’t ask you and you need to be a depositor of you’ve got a lot of credit because you’re extending out solutions to people may not be yours, but you’re solving the problem.
00:39:51 – Will
And I think the counter to that is you have to not do that when you initially present what you’re. Doing right. So I need to say yes to things after we’re deep into conversation. But I need to consistently represent where my strong core value is that I’m bringing to my target customers and and not try to guess at to what their needs are and shift how I portray my value. I want to come in consistently and let them interpret how that extends out to their needs. Because if I try to guess how my skill extends to their needs and I get way over to the side, I’m going to I’m going to swing and miss. And later, when they say, well, that’s not really our need, our needs over here, I’m going, well, I can do that too. Now, I don’t sound like an expert. Now I sound desperate. So you’ve got to be consistent in that messaging, even though you’re going to say yes to a lot of stuff, whether you can outsource it or not, you have to stay really consistent with that initial messaging.
00:40:54 – Glenn
I guess on that to clarify, it’s like you want to do what you do, but you’re in the business right now of getting relationships and when you have a relationship, you get to hear you get to communicate with that person or that client to they’re going to probably confide in you what they need. Now, if you can’t deliver what they need you personally. When I say yes, meaning I can help you solve that. I’ve got a guy, I got a gal, I can hook this up. And that’s what I mean is like all of a sudden you’re a you’re a resource. You may not be their client yet, right? They may not be your client, but you are a resource to help them solve problems. And that’s what I mean is you are big on you have to in an entrepreneur to build relationships and that facilitates that. You don’t say, oh, I don’t know anybody that does. I don’t do that. I’m good luck. You would say, you know, I don’t do that, but I got a guy and that will be very well received.
00:41:48 – Will
00:41:50 – Glenn
Do you as an entrepreneur, you know, Janel kind of coined this. I’ll throw a shameless plug to Janel here is is we we stole this from her, by the way, but it was genius. But we’re trying to figure out, you know, as an entrepreneur, borrowing. We’re borrowing it. Yes. We’re we don’t steal. We’re sequestering it for a little bit, just temporarily is as an entrepreneur where you’re trying to figure out what is your superpower like? What is it that you are just like? You look it up and you look in the mirror and you smack yourself on the shoulder as you hit yourself in the chest. And I am going to be this and I can do that. What do you think your superpower is that sets you apart from somebody else in this role that you’re your new business? What is it that says, Hey, I’m the man when it comes to this? What is your superpower that you think you have?
00:42:35 – Will
00:42:37 – Glenn
And you can’t say because you’re tall. That doesn’t that doesn’t work.
00:42:41 – Will
Yeah. So this reminds me of when I was driving somewhere with a family and stopped to see somebody’s work related. And we’re just saying it. Kids get got to be good, dads got to go in and meet this person. And one of my kids said, Why does anyone want to meet with dad? Right. So I should have answered that because I have superpowers and I didn’t. And that was probably a missed opportunity there. But I think that. I don’t know how to label. I don’t know how to label it really precisely. Glenn But I would say that it’s around seeing where the changes in the moment direct the result for the future. And so, you know, if someone is is knee deep in what they have going on in their business and they’ve got a lot of pressure from the staff and team members that they’ve got clients regulatory change. These are things you know about, Glenn, and and they want to make change. But we’re wrestling with what’s what’s the priority here and how do we how do we keep things moving? How do we make enough change to where it’s impactful? And yet we don’t completely throw off kilter and destroy the momentum we’ve got as a business right now. And it’s it’s finding those opportunities and looking at ways to capture things that are happening and redirect the energy from that. I’m working on some material, so you can’t steal it. Well, maybe you can, because I’m not finished yet. We’ll just borrow it.
00:44:37 – Julie
00:44:38 – Will
Yeah. Just around Newton’s laws of physics and how laws of motion pardon me. And how they’re the same for running an accounting firm and how you’re going to have to use those laws of motion to your benefit when it comes to change. And the reality is that change used to be boxed into certain parts of the year and the tax accounting space, right. July and August were the months where we changed things and then we did a little bit more change in November and December. But that was all like if something needed to be changed, it was going to have to wait for one of those four months.
00:45:16 – Julie
Wait, Will, you’re telling me that you’ve met accounts that just don’t do what they’ve always done? Like, Oh, we did that last year. That’s how we’re doing it this year. But you’ve met someone different.
00:45:25 – Glenn
What? This is so.
00:45:26 – Will
Weird. But the reality is that change is now constant. And you. You cannot wait to go solve the problem until just those four months of the year. You’ve got to find a way to continue to solve it. Now, you know, if the accounting firm has a staffing issue and you discover that in February, you can’t wait until June or July to go solve that, you’ve got to attack it. Now, if you’ve got issues with client expectations and that comes up, you know, in August, you can’t say, well, let’s let’s get through the fall deadline. Well, no, this is an issue with client expectations. We need to address this now. So I think seeing how we make motion to to create impact, that’s that’s one of those superpowers, Glenn. And. Yeah, I’ll leave it at that.
00:46:24 – Glenn
So but you’re basically saying, as you have this particular lens that you can look through and identify some things to facilitate that change where other people might not have that same lens to see that as quickly and have a solution as readily as you do. Is that a fair statement?
00:46:41 – Will
Yeah, I think I think that’s very fair. And lots of people have ideas. My question for those people with ideas is how are we going to make them happen? And so how do you really say, well, I know what’s going to fix your problem in your accounting firm? Great. That sounds great in the laboratory. But our firm is not a laboratory. It’s a real live thing. Clients stuff is at stake. Team member satisfaction is at stake. We we got to do this right. And so being able to really move just beyond the idea and say, hey, here are the steps we’re going to take. We’re going to find existing motion and redirect it. We’re going to capture the human element of what’s going on and be able to use that to our advantage instead of being frustrated by it. Those are the things that that I work on doing.
00:47:30 – Glenn
So it sounds like you miss looking at doing the TPS reports. I think you’re probably missed doing that in the corporate world. So and that’s why you are doing this. But you still miss the miss those meetings on Friday afternoon at 5:00, probably in Monday morning at 7 a.m.. Believe it or not.
00:47:50 – Will
I don’t even have my own stapler.
00:47:52 – Glenn
Outstanding. So, Switek, so will appreciate your time today. And if you would mind giving like a little bit of, like, how somebody could get a hold of you, that would be cool. Website, phone number, etc..
00:48:05 – Will
Yeah, email is always a great way. Will at will hill consults dotcom we’ll he’ll consults dot coms website. I’m also pretty active on LinkedIn look me up there Will Hill. I don’t really look tall in the picture because it’s hard to do that with just a headshot. But you’ll see me out there and I love connecting with people. Even if you’re outside of the accounting space and you want to connect, let’s do it.
00:48:32 – Glenn
Great. Well, I appreciate you spending some time with us. And I hope any entrepreneur listening to this will give you the confidence and the just the ability to make the change to be better at what you do or to make the jump to do that. And if, you know, if this terrifies you to do this, then you probably should stay at whatever job you have. And you don’t want to do this, but that’s great. Well, this is Glen Harper signing off.
00:48:56 – Julie
And Julie Smith.
00:48:57 – Speaker1
00:48:58 – Janel
And Janel Sykora.
00:49:00 – Glenn
Thanks again. Talk to everybody soon. Bye bye.
Episode Show Notes
Will Hill Consults was started from a passion for seeing firms and firm leaders make positive change come to life.
Will has spent over 20 years working with firms to operate more efficiently, and in ways that drive value to their customers. This experience combined with a passion for truly seeing change take place led Will to launch Will Hill Consults in 2022.
As Will explains in this episode, the coaching and consulting services from Will Hill Consults are separated into 2 categories: What they can do for your firm, and what they can do with your firm.
So for any firm I’m able to help with working through their processes and being kind of technology independent in that regard, but really saying what do we need to do to fix that process? A lot of it around things that touch both the staff and the clients.
Here is what Will sees in his clients…
They have hearts of teachers and they actually care about their clients and the welfare of their clients. And that’s why I enjoy working with them and knowing that if I can help them, they’re going to truly turn that into the benefit of their customer.
When we talk to entrepreneurs who go from corporate to being on their own, there’s a little piece of you that misses a little bit of that collaborative culture that sometimes corporate breeds.
I had already been used to very much remote interactions now that were still the team that I worked with in the office and some other peers that were there. But I’ve been quite used to forming and building relationships when you’re not sitting right next to each other for quite a while. And so that that to me was not as big of a step.
Do you feel like when you decided to ultimately make the jump and go full entrepreneur, do you have any thoughts like, “Oh man, I wish I’d have done it earlier”?
I would say, if you are married and you’re going to pull this trigger, the spouse has to be in agreement that the time is right enough that it’s time to go and do it. And you’ve got to jump before it’s no longer a great choice and you’ve just got to feel comfortable with the downside.
As Glenn states about making the jump into entrepreneurship…
It seems like this holds true. That if you wait until you can afford to buy a house. Wait to afford you can have kids. Wait to afford to be an entrepreneur, wait to do everything. You can spend a lot of time waiting and a lot of inaction. And again, the best, worst case scenario. Everything’s going to work out. It always does. It may not be what you wanted, but it’s going to work out and you will be fine.
What’s the worst that can happen? The longer you wait, the less confident, perhaps the less fire you’ll have, the more doubt will show up. And those things are not conducive to a healthy entrepreneur relationship with yourself. I mean, you have to be mentally in a place where you have the eye of the tiger and you’re ready to roll.
There’s a huge difference between “owner-operator” and “owner-investor” as an entrepreneur. Will explains the steps he sees that get you from operator to investor in your business.
As an entrepreneur starting out, we tend to say yes to almost everything. But Will has some great advice on that challenge.
So I need to say yes to things after we’re deep into conversation. But I need to consistently represent where my strong core value is that I’m bringing to my target customers and not try to guess at to what their needs are and shift how I portray my value. I want to come in consistently and let them interpret how that extends out to their needs. Because if I try to guess how my skill extends to their needs and I get way over to the side, I’m going to swing and miss. And later, when they say, well, that’s not really our need, our needs over here, I’m going, well, I can do that too. At that point, I don’t sound like an expert. Now I sound desperate. So you’ve got to be consistent in that messaging, even though you’re going to say yes to a lot of stuff, whether you can outsource it or not, you have to stay really consistent with that initial messaging.
Learn more about Will on his website. All his contact information is there at your fingertips.
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