In episode 296, Megan chats with Danielle Hayden, host of the Entrepreneur Money Stories podcast, a reformed corporate CFO, and co-owner of Kickstart Accounting, Inc. about helping female entrepreneurs increase their profitability and take-home pay.
We cover information about how to dig into your expenses so you know what your revenue needs to be, focusing on staying profitable by not being intimidated and how to rate your emotions regarding necessary work in your business to know when to outsource.
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Bio Danielle is host of the Entrepreneur Money Stories podcast, a reformed corporate CFO, and co-owner of Kickstart Accounting, Inc. She helps female entrepreneurs increase their profitability and take-home pay. She’s passionate about helping business owners to not think about accounting as the evil tool needed to file taxes but the best tool in your tool belt to help you build the business of your dreams.
- Our expenses tell us what our revenue needs to be rather than our revenue dictating where we’re going.
- It’s important to put a focus on where our expenses are.
- Know your numbers so you can do calculations like financial goal setting.
- Place all your numbers into a system, then pull them back out so goals can be made, financial decisions based on the numbers. This will help determine your average operating expenses.
- Your business and your personal finances have to work together.
- Shiny hat sydrome and All the hats syndrome are difficult for food bloggers.
- Know your energy bucket levels.
- Ask yourself, are you going to become an expert in this area or should you contract it out?
- Consider the consequences of you doing a job that an expert will do more efficiently and accurately.
- Best practice is to evaluate your finances monthly.
- What gets measured gets managed.
- It’s okay to not feel confident when it comes to numbers.
Click for full script.
Danielle Hayden: This is Danielle Hayden from Kickstart Accounting, Inc. and you are listening to the Eat Blog Talk podcast.
Sponsor: Hey, awesome food bloggers. Before we dig into this episode, I have a really quick favor to ask you. Go to your favorite podcast player. Go to Eat Blog Talk, scroll down to the bottom where you see the ratings and review section. Leave Eat Blog Talk a five star rating if you love this podcast and leave a great review. This will only benefit this podcast. It adds value. I so very much appreciate your efforts with this. Thank you so much for doing this. Okay. Now onto the episode.
Megan Porta: What’s up, food bloggers. Welcome to Eat Blog Talk, the podcast for food bloggers looking for the value and confidence that will move the needle forward in your business. This episode is sponsored by RankIQ. I am your host, Megan Porta. Today, Danielle Hayden and I are going to have a conversation about profitable blogging. Danielle is the host of the entrepreneur Money Stories podcast, a reformed corporate CFO, and a co-owner of Kickstart Accounting, Inc. She helps female entrepreneurs increase their profitability and take home pay.
She’s passionate about helping business owners to not think about accounting as the evil tool needed to file taxes, but the best tool in your tool belt to help you build a business of your dreams. Love that bio and I’m so excited to have this chat with you today, Danielle. But first we all want to hear your fun fact.
Danielle Hayden: Yeah. Fun fact. Gosh. Life has been In the weeds of going through the motions lately that I’ve had to tell myself a lot lately about enjoying the discomfort of the journey rather than focusing on the destination of our goals. So I know we’ll talk a little bit about financial goal setting and stuff.
Just speaking of my own process of building my own business and raising kids and doing all the things is really just learning how to enjoy the process of getting to our destination and the journey behind that.
Megan Porta: Oh, I love that. I feel like this is a common theme right now. 2022 seems to have just started with a bang for a lot of people with COVID running rampant and we can all learn from that. Just going through the motions and taking a moment to just look around, even if it is not comfortable to do that. I think it’s really important. So thank you for that reminder, a great way to start. So you’re here today to talk about profitable blogging. In a little bit after we talked through your points, you can tell us about Kickstart Accounting. I’m curious to hear about that too, but why don’t we start off by just having you talk us through how to define what a blog’s financial goals are. How do we get there? I feel like that is such a big thing to digest. So maybe you can just break that down for us a little bit.
Danielle Hayden: Yeah. So I believe in taking the bottom up approach, so this is a little bit different from what you’ll hear from a lot of gurus out there. I believe that our expenses tell us what our revenue needs to be rather than our revenue dictating where we’re going. A lot of times you’ll hear from people all the time, get to six figures or hitting half a million, or I finally hit my first million. I want us to stop focusing so much on what our gross revenue is and put more focus on what our expenses are, right? So staying profitable. What are expenses that are needed, including our time, ladies and gentlemen. Our time as business owners, as bloggers. It includes our time in order for us to be able to hit those revenue goals. You’ll hear me say all the time, I want you to know your numbers. The reason I want you to know your numbers is so that you can do calculations like financial goal setting.
So people say that to me all the time. What the hell does your numbers mean? I can hear you rolling your eyes. But knowing your numbers is the process of putting all the information into a system such as QuickBooks, or having your bookkeeper or your money team put that information into QuickBooks and then pulling it back out. So it’s the process of pulling the information back out of the system. So then take a step back as the CEO and say, what does this mean? Where am I spending money? So in order to be able to set financial goals, that means you’ve entered the information into a system. Now you’re able to export that back out.
From doing that exercise, you’re able to find, what are my average monthly operating expenses. A lot of people say to me, I do online work, I don’t have a lot of expenses. But there are more than you think about. All of the active subscriptions and tools that you need in order to be able to perform your job and perform your job think about everything that you need for advertising and marketing and emails. Think about how you’re paying your people. Who do you need to pay? I want you to have a really beautiful average of how much money needs to go out the door every month in order to be able to keep your business afloat. Just to continue to say, my doors are still open, right? That’s what that amount says.
Now, in order to set your financial goals, we need to add a few more numbers to that. I won’t get too nitty-gritty here, but what we’re going to add on top is, what do I need to make on a monthly basis in order to support my personal goals. So how much do I need to be able to bring home, to support my personal life. Because let’s face it. That’s why we’re all in business. So how much do we need from there? Then let’s say we have any debt that we need to pay back. Then we’ll add in our debt payments on average, what we need to pay to our debt in order to maintain a cash liquidity. Now that’s your financial goal, right? Because business isn’t just business siloed from your personal, your business and your personal have to work together. So we need to know what those goals are together. Now we can set a beautiful monthly financial goal.
Megan Porta: Oh, you’d laid that out so well, and you’re right. I have never quite heard anyone break it down like that before, but I love that you do a little bit of an opposite approach. That’s really unique, but I think in the blogging business, I think that will resonate with a lot of people. So I just wrote mad notes and I thought that was brilliant.
So what are your thoughts about how we evaluate when new things pop up? Because as a food blogger, we’re constantly being faced with oh, you need to hire a coach or you need to get this course on SEO. Now there’s a course on photography and there’s so many things that we can invest in. So what is your approach for that? How do we make those decisions smartly?
Danielle Hayden: Yeah. Some of what you described is shiny object syndrome. And then some of what you described is the wearing all the hats syndrome. They’re both really real in entrepreneurship, right? I think I read somewhere that we are the most advertised demographic out there, right? If you’re going to run an ad to entrepreneurs, it is the most expensive ad that you can run because we’re so heavily advertised to. Now, what does that mean for us as entrepreneurs? That means we have to really get good at deciding where we want to spend our time, money and energy.
So what courses do we want to buy? What masterminds do we want to belong to? What investments into our business do we need to make? So there’s that shiny object piece. Then there is. I think I can do everything myself. For some reason, also as entrepreneurs, we think we can do everything on our own. Although we want to write a blog, we’ve now become the CEO, the CFO, financial officer, the chief marketing officer, the head of sales, head of investor relationships.
Megan Porta: So many.
Danielle Hayden: I’m a manager of all my contractors, of the advertisers, right? I’m a manager of everything. So why do we think that we need to wear all the hats the minute we become an entrepreneur? I like to think of everything as an energy bucket, right? So is this the best use of my time? Is there somebody who can do this better, more efficiently? Or more accurate, honestly. Because just because we can do it doesn’t mean we’re doing it well. So those are the three questions to ask yourself every time you decide, should I buy this course and learn how to do this myself? Or should I partner with an expert who can do this better than I can? I can have this off my plate. I can strip off a hat.
Then in terms of shiny object syndrome, you could use the same question. Is that really the best use of your energy and your time? Is it going to help make a process more efficient or better your customer experience or better your backend operations? I think that as entrepreneurs, we like to make decisions with our heart, with our gut, that’s like what made us become entrepreneurs in the first place. So how can we temper that with is this worth the money, right? What is the trade-off between time and money?
Megan Porta: You brought up something that you posed in a way that I’ve really never thought about before. So I’ve never considered this. If I’m looking at a course, for example, that’s maybe a high ticket course, $2,000, let’s say. If I want to invest in that course, maybe I should also consider taking that $2,000 and outsourcing for a year or six months to get the job done itself, from somewhere else. So that’s really interesting. Do you invest the money or do you invest in someone else doing this job potentially better than I can. So how do we sort through that? How do we figure out where to put our energy and our time?
Danielle Hayden: Yeah. There is a cost analysis to this, right? So how much would it cost me to buy this course? Plus how much time do I need to spend going through the course and then learning to be an expert. Then multiply that by what your hourly rate is. You can find out your hourly rate by calculating what is the annual rate that you want to be making or the monthly rate that you want to be making? What do you want to take home for your family? We talked about that in the last scenario. So what do we want to be taking home to our family or what’s average for this industry? I just, I hate using that one. You don’t have to go by what’s average. I want you to all be superior to average. What do you need for your family to hit your life dreams? Then divide that by, let’s say you work 40 hours a week.
So take your annual rate, divide that by 2088. That is your rate of pay. So it’s the time spent in the course. Time becoming an expert. Then, because you haven’t done this over and over again, it’s time for learning and fumbling and figuring out how to do it the right way. So I want you to calculate all of that time and energy, plus the course. This is an Excel spreadsheet document, right? I want you to have course costs, time for a course, time for implementation. I want you to have each one of those listed out so you can have a total. Then I want you to find three vendors, this is back from my corporate days. Everything was, you had to at least check the cost of three different places. You wanted to make sure you were doing your due diligence. I want you to contact three different vendors and come up with the cost of each of those vendors. Then multiply that for maybe, let’s say going back to your example for a year. So multiply that by 12. People are surprised, right? I can’t tell you how often we do this with clients and they’re like wow. I should have just hired somebody else to do my SEO.
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Megan Porta: Absolutely. Yeah. When you break it down like that, it seems so smart to go through some of that to think through some of it in advance, because like you mentioned, shiny objects. That phrase, we get so just swayed with ,you need this, you need to learn SEO. So here’s a great course. It’s going to teach it to you, but do I need to learn SEO or can I hire someone else? So this is a really great way to just go about thinking through it differently and maybe not doing all of the things. Taking some of those hats off so that somebody else can do it more efficiently.
Danielle Hayden: Yeah. Are you really going to be an expert in that? Are you ever going to use it again? I know I’ve invested in things over time where I’m like, I invested so much time, money and energy. I’m not an expert. So I ended up hiring somebody else anyway, I recently had somebody say to me I’m deciding between hiring your firm for bookkeeping or taking this QuickBooks online course. She ended up taking the QuickBooks online course, and I support that. I support learning how to do it. She came to us a year later and she’s Hey, I really don’t feel like this is making sense. I am not sure that this is accurate. Here, the poor thing overpaid on taxes. All of her sales were duplicated. She didn’t have all of her expenses included and she overpaid on taxes and she wasn’t set up correctly and she wasn’t able to use the numbers. Yes, she took the course and yes, she gave it a lot. She gave it so much time and energy and effort for it to not be accurate in the end.
There’s consequences for it not being accurate. I’m using the example of bookkeeping, but there are consequences of things not being accurate or done correctly. This is your brand, this is your livelihood. So I also want maybe part of this analysis to be, if it goes wrong. What are some of the other consequences of me doing this on my own and not being the expert?
Megan Porta: There’s the question right there. If this goes wrong, what are the implications going to be then? There’s so much though, like there are so many different pieces. How do you recommend creating those buckets where we want to keep our energy and how do we know what we want to get rid of?
Danielle Hayden: I’m a list builder. When we set budgets with clients, we need to energy check our budgets, right? So it’s not just, here’s the dollar and cents for hiring somebody or investing in a software subscription. There’s an energy evaluation as well. So if I don’t hire this contractor or I don’t invest in this product solution, how much energy is going to be drained on me personally, as the business owner. You can rate that. Sometimes with clients we do red, yellow, green. So some people like to see the color version of this Yeah, quantitative. I like to rate it like one through 10. If I really want to do this activity and it gives me a ton of energy, then I’m going to rate it a 10. If it gives me no energy and I do not want to do it, I know that the task is just going to follow on my to-do list, then I give it a one.
You can decide where to put your time, energy and money based on really evaluating, look at all the places that you’re spending your money now and in the future. Color-code that or give a rating and then that’s going to give you something real to go by. It’s not a feeling. Oh, I just don’t feel like doing that. Well, I didn’t feel like running this morning either. So is it I really, genuinely don’t feel like it or I don’t feel like it, but it’s going to give me energy in the long run. So you really have to map that out for yourself and then make decisions.
Megan Porta: I almost feel like we as food bloggers could just take an Excel spreadsheet and just write out all of the things that we do and do that. Go through and rate each one so that it’s like you said, it’s not just a feeling. It also has a number to it because numbers speak to us, I think a little bit more. Oh, that is significant. I really don’t want to do that. That gets a one. Just doing that with everything and maybe prioritizing that way, as far as where to put our energy and where to take it from. So what do you think about instead of determining where to put our energy on a project basis or a case by case basis? How do we do that more ongoing, like from now until the end of the year and beyond?
Danielle Hayden: Yeah. So I recommend that every business owner looks at their metrics on a monthly basis. Some people do it more often, on a weekly basis. Other people do it on a quarterly basis. I think for me, best practice is that we’re looking at this on a monthly basis. So I want you to be pulling your numbers each month. So make a date with the CEO. By looking at your metrics. So what gets measured gets managed. So by looking at the metrics of, all right this month, where did I spend my time? Where did I spend my money? You could code that by month, right? Wow. I spent a lot of money on contractors. However, I got to spend a lot more time with my family this month. Do I want to continue that? It could be a hellish year. It depends on how much you like your family. But it is saying, all right, this is where the money is going. Does that align with my goals? Now, if my contractor expense was really high and I spent a lot of time in the business, we need to evaluate why. So what went wrong. Why did I need to continue to spend so much time in the business while investing in other people who were supposed to be helping me. It might be that they’re still getting onboarded or we’re not fully into the system yet. We can reevaluate it again in 30 days. But by having this 30 day evaluation, you’re not forgetting about it. You have a checkpoint to say, okay, that’s still working. I want to continue to do that. I want to continue to invest my time, money and energy there.
Megan Porta: That’s really wise too. Do you have a platform? You mentioned QuickBooks a few times. Is that a recommended tool for you? Do you have any other tools you recommend for managing all of this?
Danielle Hayden: Yeah, I love QuickBooks and Excel. When we work with our clients, we put all their accounting records into QuickBooks, and then we pool all the information from QuickBooks into Excel documents. Then we use the Excel documents to To kind of pivot and you can’t color code in QuickBooks for your emotions and energy. So we’ll pull that into QuickBooks and then map it out for whatever the analysis might be with that client.
Megan Porta: Yep. I use just a simple Google sheet, and I can get so much done there. You can do functions and sums, and like you mentioned, the color coding is so helpful for me. So I feel like you can do a lot there. But obviously QuickBooks is more catered to numbers and getting those things on paper. Is there anything we’ve missed, Danielle? I feel like you’ve delivered a ton of information in just a few minutes here, but let me know if we’ve missed anything that you feel is really important to touch on.
Danielle Hayden: I think the biggest thing for bloggers to remember is that It’s okay to not feel really confident when it comes to your numbers or not really feel warm and fuzzy about what we talked about today. Money conversations can be difficult. They can bring up a lot of emotions. It’s a topic that isn’t taught very well in school, if at all. So most of us don’t have the right skillset. But we became a food blogger and all of a sudden, now we’re supposed to have QuickBooks knowledge and understand how to read financial statements. So just give yourself a break, right? No shame. I think that the worst part for entrepreneurs is having shame around, like, why can’t I figure this part of my business out? I just want you to know you’re not alone. It’s not just you. Release the shame because if you’re just shaming yourself into it, you’re never going to get better. Look for help. You’re not alone. Don’t feel like you’re just spinning your wheels. You can’t ignore the numbers in your business. You have to look at them, right? You have a responsibility to look at them. So whatever you need to do to release the shame around that and get yourself the help that you need so you’ll look at those numbers, make sure you’re doing that.
Megan Porta: I needed to hear this message a couple of years ago, Danielle. Because I was there, I was in a spot where I was ignoring my numbers. I thought it was okay. I knew I was spending on the wrong things, a lot of money on the wrong things. I don’t know, I got to that point where I did feel like I just can’t go there because I will be too ashamed. But once I started to dig in, oh my gosh, it pays off just to know what’s coming in and what’s going out. Being intentional and just like your message today, going in monthly and just making sure that you’re focusing on the right things every single month will put you so far ahead that you will be blown away. So I love that message. Thank you for all of this. Thank you for sharing everything you have and for being here today, we appreciate you so much.
Danielle Hayden: Of course, happy to be here.
Megan Porta: I ask all my guests, if they have either a favorite quote or words of inspiration in addition to all the amazing stuff you’ve already shared, do you have something additional to share with us?
Danielle Hayden: Mind over matter. So if you ask my kids, anybody around me that knows me. I always believe in mind over matter. We can control our mind. So if you can tell yourself I can do this, right? I can look at my numbers this month. Your mind is going to be able to control your actions. Just remind yourself, you have the power to control that narrative that you’re telling yourself. So start working on your money mindset journey and again, get comfortable with the uncomfortable.
Megan Porta: So many good messages today. We’ll put together a show notes page for you, Danielle. So if anyone wants to go look at those, you can go to eatblogtalk.com/kickstartaccounting. So go look at those. Then Danielle, tell everyone where they can find you online and on social media.
Danielle Hayden: Yeah, come check out. Our website, kickstartaccountingInc.Com. If any of this resonated with you and you need help with your bookkeeping or your analysis, anything like that, you could come book a call and do a strategy session with a team member from Kickstart. Come hang out with us on kickstart accounting on Instagram. The team is doing these really funny reels. If you’re like, now Danielle, accounting is not funny, I promise you go check them out. They’re doing such an amazing job. So it’s just kickstart accounting on Instagram. Really funny.
Megan Porta: Okay. Now you’ve intrigued me after our call. I’m definitely going to look – funny accounting. I have to see it. Oh, I love it. Okay. Thank you so much again, Danielle for being here and thank you for listening today, food bloggers. I will see you in the next episode.
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