Block Out The Noise

The Inventive Journey
Episode #336
Block Out The Noise
w/ Dave Ashworth

What This Episode Talks About:

How To Manage Business & Self

"One thing as a business owner, as a entrepreneur, that your going to run into is your going to find people that are going to tell you that you can't do something. That you can't make it. That your doing it wrong. What you will find a lot times is the people who are telling you those things are actually a bit envious of the direction your going. So they want to sit on the outside and tell you don't do this, don't do this when they haven't even had the courage to take the leap themselves. While it can be really difficult, especially if it's people that you're close to telling you that you can't do something or you shouldn't do something, if it's something that you feel like is part of you and you're passionate about you have to just do your best to block out that noise. Go your direction and go take what's yours, because you're always going to have people that are telling you that you can't do it."


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What Is The Inventive Journey?

Starting and growing a business is a journey. On The Inventive Journey, your host, Devin Miller walks with startups along their different journeys startups take to success (or failure). You also get to hear from featured guests, such as venture firms and angel investors, that provide insight on the paths to a successful inventive journey.

ai generated transcription

one thing that as a business owner as an entrepreneur that you're gonna run into is you're gonna find you're gonna find people that are gonna tell you that you can't do something that they're gonna tell you that you can't make it that you're doing it wrong um what you will find is a lot of times the people that are actually telling you those things are actually a bit envious of the direction that you're going and so they want to sit on the outside and tell you don't do this don't do this when they haven't even had the courage to take a leap themselves and so while it can be really difficult especially if it's people that you're close to telling you that you can't do something or you shouldn't do something if it's something that you feel like is part of you and you're passionate about you have to just do your best to block out that noise go your direction and go take what's yours because you're always going to have people that are telling you that you can't do it [Music] hey everyone this is devin miller here with another episode of the inventive journey i'm your host devin miller the serial entrepreneur has grown several startups into seven and eight figure businesses as well as the founder and ceo of miller ip law we're held startups and small businesses with their patents and trademarks you ever need help with yours just go to grab some time with us to chat we're always here to help now today we have another great guest on the podcast dave ashworth um and uh growing up in high school in high school with cousins and others in college and uh or went to high school and then with cousins and others went to college and got an accounting degree got interested in how businesses worked and operated and had a desire to run his own business so um after getting there when uh after getting the college their accounting degree if i don't get too tongue tied um also is doing an internship with an accounting firm and after graduation worked with the accounting firm for about three years got a cpa our cpa license decided to leave went out on his own didn't have many clients and kind of started from scratch but was uh after about eight months brought on a partner into the business capability the business iterated a few times and then over the past five years has focused on a bit of an outsourcing accounting model and has continued to grow and bring on staff so with that much is introduction welcome on the podcast dave thanks for having me absolutely so i just took a much longer journey and condensed in the 30-second version so let's unpack that a bit until uh tell us how your journey gets started in the the in high school and college with your cousins and others and getting the accounting degree yeah for sure i um early on i i've just always had this fast fascination with business and entrepreneurship and people starting businesses uh you know when i looked at a business i always thought like well who started that what was their journey how did they get here that was kind of where my mind always went um when i was in high school i i had a couple cousins and friends who were in college at the time they were going through accounting and it seemed to just mesh pretty well with what i was already good at and what i enjoyed doing and understanding businesses from a financial standpoint was really interesting to me and i also saw a path of going to school for accounting working in a large firm and then going out on my own and starting this business and so i had a lot of conversations with people at that time with like i said uh you know particularly one of my cousins and a couple other friends about what that could look like and so we started planning some of that and didn't necessarily work out with all of those people but that kind of planted the seed to where i went to school for accounting did an internship at a pretty large regional firm and then ended up working at a large firm right out of school which which kind of kicked off my journey so now you're coming out of school and say okay you know i've got the accounting degree makes sense i'll go work for a another firm or a company and and get some experience there and they did that for about three years and then i think over the the course of doing um that you also got your cpa unlicensed so you got a bit of experience you also got the license now as you're going through that what you know at what point or what made you decide that you're going to go out on your own or explore something and and kind of make a shift or uh you know make that change yeah i mean again like i i i kind of always had that desire to do that i didn't know exactly what that would look like or what the timing of that would look like um because i just i needed to get a little bit of experience and and kind of hone my skills a little bit to figure out first of all what i enjoyed and then also what i what i felt like i could build and so that was kind of my route was to go into public accounting and i probably went into it with a little different viewpoint than a lot of people so when i went into it i was obviously trying to learn things technical skills in accounting but i was also looking at a lot of the ways that they ran the business as well looking at the administrative side and the operational side trying to just gather as much information as i could now obviously there they were a huge firm and there was a lot of things that that they would do that i wouldn't need to do or i would be doing different but i could at least start to see something okay this this system really worked or this one doesn't work and how can i design mine to build it out and then you know as i was going through it um you know public accounting is a really good experience you learn a lot of skills both technical skills and people skills but it just wasn't for me and as i kind of kept going further and further year after year the more i realized that this just wasn't going to be for me long term and the the quicker that i could make a jump out on my own the better because i felt i felt like the timing was never going to be perfect because as you go further you're making more money you have more responsibility you know maybe you get married have kids there's more on your plate and i just felt like the further i went the harder it was going to be to start so i just decided that once i got my cpa which was about three three and a half years in that that was that was time to make a move so no and i think that makes sense so you're saying okay always have this desire want to do it don't know exactly what's going to look like but now that i've got the cpa degree and it's you know the timing's right and can make that leap and so you decide to go on your own now one of the things we chatted about before the cop podcast a bit and you know what i have the questions is you know different ways to go out on your own sometimes you'll go out on your own hang your shingle hope and pray that people are going to give you they're going to give you a business and that you can there generate it other times you're going to be having relationships or people or clients that you know are going to follow you and it makes it a bit easier of a landing pad and sometimes it's you know somewhere in between where you have some idea or some business that you have lined up that you may be able to dive in i believe when we talked before you mentioned you basically went out didn't have any clients started from scratch and i got or had to start building from day one is that right that is that is yeah i um i wish i had started with a couple clients would have probably made it a little bit easier but i was still pretty young i didn't have a ton of client interaction at the firm i was at so i didn't really have and and i also had to non-compete with that firm that i wasn't even if i could have i wouldn't have i wouldn't have done anything and taking clients from them i just i that that wouldn't have sat right with me um and so i just literally started from scratch i i kind of one thing that i did do that i that i think helped was leading up to leaving the firm i started to build out some of the other things in the background so i started to figure out some of the software i was going to use got the entity set up spilled out some branding logo business cards like a lot of that stuff so that day one i didn't have to kind of start from there i had something built and then i could kind of start developing relationships meeting people marketing all of that good stuff right off the bat but as far as bringing clients you know starting with some sort of a base i i didn't have any of that i just kind of kind of went for it got it now that that makes it makes perfect sense so so now as you're doing that and you're saying okay um starting from scratch whether you wish you or would have had the clients to come along but also you know didn't want to take them from the other previous employer and had a good relationship there had the non-compete so you're saying buy you know bid choice by necessity or buy whatever you want to call it you start from scratch now as you're doing that how did you go about building the business or building those relationships or bringing them on or figuring out who to fi or who who wants to hire you and where they're at and making those connections a couple different things uh the first thing that i started with was just the people that knew me the most and cared about me the most which was just my friends and family and so it was talking to them seeing if i could you know do some work for them to start but then also asking them who they knew and i so i just started to kind of build a list of people that i could just call on or email and say hey you know i talked to my uncle and he said i should reach out to you i talked to my sister and she said and just starting to build a list of people that i either knew from from past from high school or from college or from whatever reaching out to them letting them know what i was doing using friends and family i did get involved in some networking groups so like a bni group and a couple other groups to meet some people in the community and then you know those two things in addition to starting to kind of build out my own um my own network by just calling banks and investment advisors and people that i felt like we're working with potential clients of mine that i could start to build a relationship with so i just started meeting with as many people as i could letting them know who i was what i was doing um and i still have some of those relationships today actually which is which is pretty cool but that was kind of my approach is was just to utilize who i already knew and and start to build a network of other people in my community that i could work alongside definitely makes sense and so you know sometimes it is you start with the the network the people you know you start to build out the network and you get those figured out as you're going along so now as you're starting to get yourself established getting a few clients figuring out where you might find those where the networking is and then getting that going along one of the other things i think that we chatted about or you mentioned is you also uh you know started to i believe um you shifted the the model uh the a bit in the sense that you um when you brought on a partner after i think about eight months and then you kept building and then over the past about five years or so you've also gone to a bit of an outsourcing accounting model as that writer kind of give us an idea of how that evolution has taken place over the the course of the business yeah for sure so um bringing on my partner was was huge for us he had more experience than i had uh he just had more technical skills than i had and so that took us from just one level to kind of the next level of legitimacy because he just had that experience some you know people knew who he was he could speak to a lot more things than i could so that was a huge stepping stone for us in addition to that we um you know when we started the business we were really focused on the tax prep side of things you know for for anyone uh and then as as we kind of were in business over time we had some different iterations we had had some wealth management piece and some different pieces in our business but we started to figure out that we enjoyed working with other business owners and entrepreneurs and we also saw a really big need in that space so given those two things we just felt like it was it was time to pivot to something that we really would enjoy doing but also that there was a huge need and that was in the small to medium-sized business community to have kind of the next level up from a bookkeeper um that could maybe you know maybe handle some of the bookkeeping work which we do but kind of that next level that controller level where these businesses need that next level of expertise as they're growing and doing different things and need better information to make good decisions but they don't need to hire like a full-time controller or cfo just yet so we felt like we could fill that gap for uh quite frankly a lot of businesses out there that that have that need and so that's what that's what we kind of switched to doing and uh we've been building out that model like i said for the past five years or so and uh it's still a work in progress we're still always looking for ways to do things better but we feel really dialed into who we're working for you know the clients that we're serving how we serve them how we bring a ton of value to them and so now there's little tweaks along the way to make it even better uh internally but also externally for our clients no definitely makes sense and it's kind of you know as it seems like in a lot of the different industries you're getting to where it's almost kind of the fractional work right the fractional cfo or the fractional cto or some of those others which definitely makes sense especially for your smaller business you're saying hey we don't have the full time me more the full-time budget to do that and yet we need some assistance so let's take someone that has a bandwidth to do this for a few different businesses do it for a period of time and it may definitely make sense i think you know different industries are heading that direction to better cater to some of the smaller businesses and startups and other clients that are still having those needs and yet are kind of stuck with either we don't have anybody or we have to hire someone that we can't really afford or don't have to work for yet so certainly makes sense was that kind of now you know brings it a bit up to uh where you're at today and kind of a bit of what you have going on and you know sit here as i understand the past five years you continue to grow the bit staff continue to go to business head in that direction but if now you were to kind of look out for the next you know six to 12 months kind of is where you see things or things headed for you guys what directions or new endeavors or anything of that nature kind of what does that path look like for you yeah i mean we want to we want to continue to grow and build out our team i think um [Music] it's a for two two reasons one is um there's a lot of different paths that you can go in accounting uh that aren't just public accounting and i feel like a lot of people just think if i go into accounting i have to go into public accounting and it's not true we really want to create a different path for people and a really good and enjoyable work environment which i which i believe that we're doing so that's a big thing for us but then also just continuing to serve the the business community you know i i forget the statistic but the amount of businesses that fail each year is is a lot it's astounding that number and we feel like with what we're providing that we can help prevent businesses from failing by just giving them good financial information so that they can make more informed decisions on their business so those are kind of like our big goals um but for this year's is to continue to build out our team to bring on more clients to grow and just have a positive impact on the this you know small small business community oh that definitely makes that makes perfect sense so was now we've kind of reached a bit of where your journey's at today and even looking a bit into the future it's a great time to transition to the two questions i always ask at the end of each journey so the first question i always ask is along your uh along your journey what was the worst business decision you ever made and what'd you learn from it worst business decision um i would say one is jumping into relationships too quickly and and um what i mean by that is um early on we had a couple opportunities to work with some other people that we didn't really know they were just kind of introduced to us by someone else and we just went from not knowing them to like a full-blown like partnership basically and that was a risky move for us at that time and unfortunately um nothing that we did wrong but they both ended up not working out and kind of taking a pretty bad turn and so something i remember working with a coach shortly thereafter and he had this saying that he he talked about dating before you marry and that's something that we've carried with us for a long time is you know if if you want to get into like a big relationship with someone like that make sure that you know them and what you're getting into start a little bit smaller you know maybe instead of you know combining your companies maybe work on one client together see how it goes and you'll know pretty quickly if that bigger you know partnership is going to work or not but if you dive into that partnership and that that big you know combination and that doesn't end up working trying to unwind all of that can get really messy and set everybody back so we had a couple of those early on that i don't think were great decisions in hindsight but it did teach us how to approach relationships and take it take it slow now some are going to be slower than others some are going to be quicker you kind of have to use your use your intuition on those a little bit um but uh but that is definitely something that we've put into practice as we've continued to build our business and i think it's it's you know kept us out of some some riskier situations probably no and i think that makes sense and you know finding those right teammates hiring and firing and working through that and i think it's always one of those for as much as you've done it before in other situations seen others do it and think you have it all figured out and what the team members should be in that it's just one of those where until you get into it and you have to learn some of the lessons the hard way and you know hopefully learn from lessons from others but it's just one where you have to figure it out to a degree and so it makes sense that that was an area of growth and to learn from and area that mistakes were made and certainly plain and learn from second question i always ask is if you're talking to someone that's just getting into a startup or a small business what would be the one piece of advice you'd give them yeah i think i think one thing that as a business owner as an entrepreneur that you're gonna run into is you're gonna find you're going to find people that are going to tell you that you can't do something that they're going to tell you that you can't make it that you're doing it wrong what you will find is a lot of times the people that are actually telling you those things are actually a bit envious of the direction that you're going and so they want to sit on the outside and tell you don't do this don't do this when they haven't even had the courage to take a leap themself and so while it can be really difficult especially if it's people that you're close to telling you that you can't do something or you shouldn't do something if it's something that you feel like is part of you and you're passionate about you have to just do your best to block out that noise go your direction and go take what's yours um because you're always gonna have people that are telling you that you can't do it um again easier said than done but anybody that would be starting a business or they feel like this is the direction that they need to go i would encourage you just to follow that wholeheartedly and when people tell you that you can't just understand that a lot of times they're going to be telling you that for reasons deeper than just telling you that you shouldn't be doing it no i think there's a lot of truth i mean my experience has been one of two and depending on both my experience as well as looking at a lot of others is when you ask people that are friends or family that know you they're either going to be very harsh very critical and dissuading you or they're going to be overly supportive and telling you that it's a great idea no matter whether or not it's a good idea and neither of them are overly helpful because either if they're always trying to dissuade you they're probably not giving you some very good critiques or very good encouragement on the other hand you also don't want someone that just tells you to shoot for the moon when you're making a bad idea or making a bad decision so i think it's definitely one where as you're using them maybe you ask someone that's a trusted family member or friend but you've got to weigh it with that grain of salt and also decide what makes sense and what's best for you for sure for sure i agree so well with that in mind and now as we wrap a wrap towards the end of the episode that people want to reach out to they want to be a customer they want to be a client they want to be an employee they want to be an investor they want to be your next best friend any or all of the above what's the best way to reach out to you contact you find out more for sure yeah and our website is uh the uh or you could just find me on linkedin i spent a lot of time on there so if you you know you want to connect on there just shoot me a message on linkedin and i will uh get back to you pretty quick so either one of those would be great awesome my dad should definitely encourage people to reach out if you're needing that fractional health with your business certainly is a great resource and definitely a lot of other knowledge to be gained from that or from from you as well so with that thank you again for coming on the podcast it's been a fun it's been a pleasure now for all of you that are listeners if you have your own journey to tell you'd like to be guests on the podcast feel free to go to apply to be on the show a couple more things as listeners make sure to click share subscribe leave us a review because we want to make sure that everyone finds out about all these awesome episodes and the great journeys that people have taken last but not least you ever need help with your patents your trademarks or anything else with your startup or your small business just go to grab some time with us to chat thank you again dave and wish the next leg of your journey even better than the last thanks for having me

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