Bookkeeping Basics for E-Commerce Entrepreneurs with Anna Hill, CPA

Episode 33

Anna Hill, CPA is an accountant for creators and online sellers. She is the founder of Accounting We Will Go.  After spending years working in the corporate sector Anna realized she had a passion for working with entrepreneurs, specifically, creators and those who sell online via platforms such as Etsy, Amazon, Shopify, etc.

On this episode we dive into why bookkeeping is important, how to use your financial statements to make wise business decisions, and answer a lot of the questions that entrepreneurs have about the role of accounting in business. 

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Anna 0:00
It’s great to increase sales. That’s one of the buttons and levers to increase the bottom line. But that is not the only one. So don’t pay attention to that as a vanity metric. I caution anyone and this is just a little side soapbox. If you’re getting training from someone, and you’re buying an online program from someone who’s helping you, you know, the whole point of their course is to increase sales. That’s great, but make sure that there’s a little bit more to it than just increasing sales because I promise you guys that is not the number one way to make money.

Intro 0:28
Welcome, everyone to the firing the man podcast show for anyone who wants to be their own boss. If you sit in a cubicle every day and know you were capable of more than join us, this show will help you build a business and grow your passive income streams in just a few short hours per day. And now your host serial entrepreneurs David Schomer and Ken Wilson.

Anna 0:52
Welcome everyone to the firing demand podcast. We just got done with an interview with Anna Hill, who’s a CPA at accounting. We will Go, Ken. That was an awesome interview. What do you think?

Ken 1:03
Yeah, I totally agree. You know, I’ve been working with that and now for almost two years, and it was a game changer when I when I actually had my books done from a professional, someone who works in the you know, in the e commerce space herself, and yeah, she she dropped lots of knowledge bombs. Yeah, absolutely great show.

David 1:26
Yeah, one thing that and we’ll talk about more about this in the episode, but Anna also sells on Amazon. And that’s one thing that I think sets her apart from a lot of other bookkeepers. It she’s very familiar with this niche space. And we had an awesome conversation. She touched on vanity metrics, which I think was huge. She touched on things you can do when you’re starting your business to help with your books. Even if you don’t get an accountant right away. Even if you wait a year or two, a couple things that you can do to make that process easier. And overall, this was just an awesome, awesome episode. I’m really excited for our listeners to listen to it. All right. Welcome, everyone to the firing demand podcast. Today we’re joined by Anna hill from Accounting We Will Go you know, welcome. Thank you. I appreciate you guys inviting me to the conversation today. Yeah, absolutely. So starting out, tell us a little bit about yourself and how he got to where you are today.

Anna 2:26
Well, I appreciate that. I’m a Virginia girl, but I live in Atlanta. Now. I grew up outside of Washington, DC and I have been a CPA for over 20 years. So yes, I just turned 50 I’m old. I love what I do. I worked in the sort of the consultation world of accounting for a long time white collar crime, forensic accounting investigations, and I loved it so much. Unfortunately, the hours are brutal and unforgiving. And so I took a little break and started selling things online. A friend of mine was doing that and I’m like, just is fun. And it got a little out of hand because now I’m providing accounting services for online sellers. But it was a natural progression. Because a lot of people said, Hey, I see you’re selling things online, what can you tell me about accounting for it? So I saw I started a free Facebook group thinking, you know what, I’m just going to tell people in a group, so I don’t have to continue to repeat myself. And I thought maybe I’d get 100 people and the fact that I have over 11,000 hours, absolutely amazing. I’m very proud of it. It’s my way of giving back to the community. So it’s a lot of fun labor of love sometimes, but

a lot of fun. Very nice. What’s the name of that? Facebook group will be sure to put a link in the show notes.

Thank you. It’s on Facebook. It’s accounting, we will go and it is free. It’s always been free, even though people said you can charge for this. But I just think it’s important to give back to the community. And I really love this community and I’ve made friends with people in it and I’ve built a business in it. So I

David 3:54
think it’s important to give back. Awesome, very nice, very nice. So So Ken and I were talking before the episode, and when it comes to people in the online selling community, it is so common to hear somebody say, I think business is going well, but I’m not sure if I’m even making money. I’m not sure. I don’t have a good handle on my expenses. I don’t there’s just so many question marks for these business owners. So can you talk about why bookkeeping is important?

Anna 4:27
Well, I have heard that too. And it makes me very, very sad. Part of the reason it’s so important is exactly what you said. People need to understand whether or not they’re making money. We all know you can’t manage what you don’t measure. And the way that you measure the success of your business is by having proper accounting.

Intro 4:45
Absolutely. Absolutely. Now, Ken, I’m interested from you, when you first got into e commerce. How long did you try keeping your own books?

Ken 4:55
Yes, so I’ll share a little bit of my story. So I’ve been working with Anna and her team now for I think 20 up on two years. And, you know, one of the questions that I have rhinos is, you know, sharing with the listeners, hey, when should you start keeping, you know, books and getting a bookkeeper and, and I’ll share my story. So I called Anna and said, Hey, I have these spreadsheets all over, you know, I was probably 12 months into my business, you know, as entrepreneur, I started a business and I’m like, Hey, can I go sell these widgets? And they start selling and then all of a sudden, next, what’s next? Right? So I call them on Hey, I have these spreadsheets. What do I do? Can you help me out? So you know, yeah, and I can, when should an entrepreneur come to you is it should it be, hey, when I have this idea of starting a business, or like me, you know, 12 months, 18 months in so what are your thoughts on that?

Anna 5:48
Oh, gosh, that’s a tough one. Because the problem is is accounting isn’t free. But there is a cost and you know, Ken, how much time you spent You did a great job tracking everything yourself. But at a certain point in time, I think that you would probably agree at least I hope you do, that it still involves some care and feeding to work with a CPA to do your books, but it’s a little bit different in that you’re providing more of like high level management type analytical things instead of doing the debits and credits. In an ideal world, everyone would start like day one. But that’s just not realistic. I will say, for anyone who’s listening and wanting to start, please get a separate checking account for your business activities. Even if it’s a personal account that is only for business stuff, that’s fine. But at least do that. There are you know, I’ve got free guides on my website to help you understand what chart of accounts you need. And what that is, is that tells you the list of accounts that I recommend that you use for the e commerce business. It’s it’s a really kind of a niche specific thing. It’s not just a traditional inventory based business it is but it’s that there’s some nuances to it so I know exactly what accounts need to be used. So at the very least start with that. A lot of people try to do it themselves. And then they get frustrated, and then it gets behind and then they contact me in a panic. Right? What are you laughing? no judgment here. This is happens all the time to people

David 7:13
that that panic feeling that you’re talking about, I think my call to you was about a year ago when I called you in a panic and and one thing that I found a little frustrating is I am a CPA and I do I work for a forensic accounting company. And so my day to day jobs don’t involve bookkeeping at all and, and I had my QuickBooks account. I didn’t enjoy doing it, and therefore I didn’t do a very good job at it. And so my books were a mess when I initially came to you, and, and one thing I want to talk about is if you’re in the e commerce space, why is it important to have a bookkeeper that understands e commerce because it is a totally different world. And it was so helpful for you to say, All right, go on to your Amazon account, pull this report this report this report. And just your familiarity with it was so helpful.

Anna 8:10
Well, thank you, it is really important. And I will tell you that I’ve changed my tune about this over time. At first I thought, you know, any CPAs should be able to figure this out and do it. But what I’ve learned over time is exactly what you said. It’s really about the efficiency. I know exactly what reports to run, I tell people how to get them I give you guys a handout and say, click this, this and this. So my job is to make people’s life easier. I can also get limited access to certain things, but the reason that it’s important to work with someone that understands ecommerce accounting specifically is really just as simple as knowing where to get the reports. I know exactly which PayPal reports to run. I know when there’s a problem with PayPal, I still do sell things online. I’m very transparent about it. I sell home textiles from India, actually go to India and buy these myself. It’s tablecloths Table runners, I literally have about 10 things for sale. This is something I do for fun. But I also do it because I want to know when reports change, remember, the settlement statement, all of a sudden overnight is this colorful thing and it looks totally different. I knew at the same time my clients knew. So something like that, I think is very valuable because I know when things change, I know what the reports look like, I know where to get them. But I also understand, you know, the pitfalls and traps PPC is a way that a lot of people can get in over their head and not realize that they pay per click advertising for those listening and aren’t familiar with what that is. So this is my world in my home. And I think that it really helps my clients and even people in my group who are just getting free information, save time because I know where to find the information needed to keep up with the book.

David 9:45
Very nice, very nice. So So Ken called you two years ago in a panic. I called you one year ago in a panic. So my next question is, what mistakes Do you see a lot of entrepreneurs making when they first get started in this journey as it relates to their books. They’re accounting.

Anna 10:01
Oh gosh, well, I think it is, you know, I, the panic. And I jokingly say I’m actually practicing as an unlicensed therapist. Because there’s a lot of shame people have are like, Oh, I should have done this sooner I should have, gosh, it’s a mess. I let it get behind. And I always tell people, there’s no shame you’re building a business accounting is not fun for everyone. And even like you, David, you’re a CPA also. But it’s nuanced and specific. And so there’s really no reason to try to need to understand all of it. I wish people would reach out for help sooner. It’s a great way to buy time. But the biggest mistake I see people make beyond not having a separate bank account for business. And that’s kind of a one on one mistake that people eventually age out of. But the biggest mistake I see that can have damaging effects on a person’s personal finances is getting too much in debt, buying too much inventory that’s not selling and they have too much debt and they don’t realize it and that is a really scary pattern and Which is why it’s so important to have monthly financials because you can look at the balance sheet you can say, wow, this is my debt. This is how much debt I have compared to unsold inventory. Do I feel comfortable with that relationship?

Ken 11:11
Yeah, that’s, that’s a that was really enlightening for me whenever I started getting my books monthly. And, you know, you and I would have these conversations, and you would say, Hey, you know, this is something you should watch out for. This is something that I’ve seen, you know, historically go bad for other businesses. So that was that was huge getting that that feedback that’s been super valuable for my business, just just, you know, reviewing those books and being able to see that whereas before when I had spreadsheets that was not available, you know, that was not popping out, like, Hey, you have these massive loans here and your sales are here. So yeah, that’s awesome.

David 11:51
You would mention debt, and I’d like to kind of explore that a little bit more. Obviously debt can be a bad thing, right. If you are unable to To pay it back or using it unwisely. On the flip side, it can be a multiplier in your business and allow you to leverage other people’s money to increase the value of your company. So do you have any rules of thumb that you’d like to share with our audience on the use of debt?

Anna 12:18
I love this question that comes up a lot. And this is really, really important. First of all, I’m gonna put a blanket, it depends on the whole thing. Everyone’s different. Some people have a higher risk tolerance. Some people have a lower risk tolerance. Other people have a lot of seasonality to their business. So let’s say they do, I don’t know the bulk of their sales is Valentine’s they’re going to have a lot more debt prior to Valentine’s than they are in other times of the year whenever they’re doing the stock up their seasonal purchases for the inventory for a long time, banks would the underwriters of banks for brick and mortar stores wanted to see a 30% ratio. So what that means is of the unsold inventory, they only wanted to see On 30% of that, that is a brick and mortar rule. That was a rule of thumb for a long time. However, my clients have told me that the bankers that they work with when they’re trying to get traditional lending often fall back on that, that doesn’t mean that that’s necessarily what all of us as business owners need to do to build our business. But if you’re thinking about traditional lending, you might want to ask the lender, hey, what is what is the ratio and just to go over that, again, this is really important. The ratio is the relationship between the unsold inventory in the business and the debt on the inventory. So if you had, let’s keep the numbers really simple $10,000 in inventory, and you’re going to a traditional lender that use that rule of thumb, they would only want to see $3,000 in debt on that $10,000 worth of inventory. The tricky part of that is you may also have a lot of cash. So if you had $3,000 in debt and you had $10,000 in inventory, an unsold inventory, but you had 20,000 in cash, they’re not going to care how much debt you have, because they know you could write a check and pay it all off. So you have to look at the big picture. It’s not just how much debt you have on the inventory, but how much cash Do you also have? And that’s really important. And one thing that helps people understand the relationship is thinking about it a little bit like a mortgage, you have a home that has a certain value, what is the mortgage on the home. So if anyone listening to this is in a situation where they actually owe more than they are holding an unsold inventory, I want you to really pay attention to net because that is the number one thing I see. That is a big red flag for me of concern that a business is going in the wrong direction. So I said it depends but in general, you never want to have more than you have an unsold inventory unless you have a very large cash account at your bank that you could just write all the inventory off. So keep an eye on those relationships and if you want to get an SBA loan The Small Business Association asked the lenders there What relationship they like to see it varies based on the type of lending you’re getting, and also who you’re working with. But in general, it’s been about 30% is what I’ve been told for my clients.

David 15:15
Very nice. So, you know, you talked about an SBA loan, you talked about traditional bank financing in some of my masterminds and just people that I’ve met in the industry. I’ve heard people using credit cards to fund inventory. I’ve heard people use payday loans or other like Amazon funding, can you speak to what you’ve seen from your clients and in terms of access to capital, what what seems to be the best method that you’ve seen?

Anna 15:45
The best method that I’ve seen has been a combination of either traditional lending. A lot of times the Amazon lending interest rates are lower than a credit card. You can even have a range of credit cards for some have lower rates, especially if they’re paid off, you know, Within 30 days, and there’s a zero balance carry, I encourage people to be really careful when they’re getting financing, because you’re right, it can be a great way to grow a business, but you also have to be aware of the cost of the financing. And in general, traditional lenders might have a little bit better interest rate, but what they’re gonna want to see is a longer history, you know, usually the lower interest rate means that there is stricter underwriting, then you also have lending programs which tend to be available to everyone, no matter what some people call it, like same day lending where they get an amount prior to receiving the funds from Amazon. And it’s a temporary loan on the funds to be received and they will get deposit sometimes every day. And there are several lenders that do it and I will tell you, if you’re considering doing that, please be mindful that that can be a more expensive way to finance your business and again, I’m not judging everyone makes their decision. Also a lot of people decisions based on your are based on your personal financial situation and other issues that aren’t obvious in the business. But if you are getting the same day lending, be sure you’re really careful to understand that the fees are also an interest expense or financing expense to getting the actual money at a time.

Ken 17:20
I’m the only one that’s not a CPA here. So whenever I called in and said, hey, let’s, I need I need books done What’s going on here? And, and that was the first time that I had ever heard of cash and accrual. I’m like, what, what is that? So, you know, for four new sellers that are not CPAs. Whenever they hear that, can you give a I guess a quick description of what that is and simplify it for people like me.

Anna 17:48
I can do that as simply as possible. The way that I like to describe it as cash is when you purchase inventory at that moment in time. It’s an expense crewel is purchasing inventory and you do not take the expense until the inventory is sold. A lot of people have heard the term cost of goods sold. What that means is you wait. So if you have $20,000 in sales, there’s a cost of inventory to get those sales. And that $20,000 is reduced by whatever the inventory cost is sold. That is the accrual basis. And so what happens is a lot of people say, Well, this is hard for me to do the accounting on the accrual basis, I’m just gonna say, Hey, I’m selling, you know, this product here, and it cost me $5, I’m just going to immediately expensive is immediately $5 from my profit and loss. I don’t care if I sell it one year from now, or 10 years from now, the next question is going to be well, which method is better? And in general, there’s an accounting principle, the matching principle, David knows this where you want to match the revenue with the expenses. And I think it’s really helpful to know of the $20,000 that I made in revenue, which is inventory cost me to make that that’s the matching principle where you have the matching of the revenue and the cost of the inventory in the same period. If you say I earned $20,000, but it cost me 10,000 over a two year time period, it’s really tough to tell whether or not you’re actually making profits or not in a healthy matching manner. So my personal preference is the entire world would be in the accrual method, but I know that’s not realistic.

David 19:27
One thing that whether someone has a bookkeeper through accounting we will go or or another bookkeeper, one thing that generally happens every month is they get their financial statements. Generally, that’s going to be a balance sheet and an income statement. So are responsible business owners going to sit down once a month and look at that income statement and look at that balance sheet and then make some decisions on what they want to do in the next month, two months, three months. So as a business owner, and because because you do sell online when someone sits down and looks at their balance sheet And looks at their income statement, what things should they be looking at? And what decisions can they plan for based on that information?

Anna 20:09
I recommend that people start with the profit and loss. Everyone loves that everyone loves to see what the bottom line is. But don’t neglect the balance sheet. It’s not as exciting, but I think it actually tells the big picture picture a lot better. So the profit and loss or the income statement is just like what we’ve been talking about. It’s all of your sales minus your expenses. When you’re looking at the profit and loss. Don’t just look at the bottom line, because that’s going to be different depending on the season, the month, what you’ve got going on. You know, some people have much lower sales over the summertime, other people have higher sales, it really depends on the type of inventory you’re selling. But what I recommend that you do is look at the operating expenses and the operating expenses are everything except for the cost of inventory. And this is kind of a general description, but the operating expenses are things you can control. Advertising PPC Rent if you have a facility, you know, contractors, that type of thing, those in general are the same about every month, I recommend that you know, your average operating expense. So let’s say your operating expense is about 3000 a month, that tells you that in the slower month, you need to be sure you have at least $3,000 to pay all of these monthly bills. And then in the months where you maybe have higher net income, then you want to maybe squirrel a little bit of that away and you know, maybe even want to say look, I’m gonna always have an extra $3,000 in my bank account in case I have a really slow month. So when you look at the profit and loss, don’t just look at the bottom line. That’s important and that’s fun. But also look at these averages and look to see, you know, in general, I need to have $3,000 a month just to operate. That’s really important. Then when you look at the balance sheet, we already touched on this, but look at how much you have in cash. Always know how much you have an unsold inventory, even beyond comparing it to how much debt you have on that. unsold inventory is the number that gets out of hand really quickly. And people lose track of that. Because what happens is they say, Oh, I got, you know, 100% ROI on something. And it’s a lot of fun to talk about what sells. That’s why we’re doing this. But don’t forget, there’s going to be stuff sitting there that’s not going to sell. And you want to know what that number is. And a lot of people say, Well, what is a good number to have? And again, it depends. Some people only feel comfortable with $10,000 in unsold inventory. I have some clients who have over a million and unsold inventory, and they do really well. So it depends on your business, the season of it, and also what your personal financial goals are with your business.

David 22:38
So one thing he talked about was was emphasis on on inventory and I’d like to go a little deeper on this. One thing that I definitely run into in my own business is I’m selling at a positive profit margin. I’m constantly adding products and I know that the business is making money, but from a cash flow standpoint, boy do I feel the squeeze I think that’s something that a lot of people, especially if you’re successful in a product launch, where you’re, you buy inventory, you sell about half of it, and it’s already time to order new inventory. And you can get in to a cash flow crunch that can feel crippling at times. I know I’ve definitely felt that in can. We’ve had many conversations about cash flow crunch. So can you give some guidance on inventory management, funding expansion? And what are some practical thoughts on avoiding a cash flow crunch?

Anna 23:38
That is really, really important thing to consider. And I’m glad that you guys are having the conversations because that can get out of hand. Also, I think having a and I’m not a big fan of a business plan, because it’s kind of garbage in, garbage out, but do have some kind of strategy and think about your business in a year cycle. Do you want to be the kind of business who’s always kind of selling throughout the year? Do you want to focus On a certain season back school, the holidays, whatever it is, and then once you decide how you want to earn your revenue, then you need to build from that. We talked about the operating expenses in general, they’re about the same every month, make sure you know that. That’s one of the cash flow elements decide how much you want to have have that extra set aside. And then from that, start analyzing and determining how much inventory you need in order to be prepared. So let’s just use back to school. Let’s say that you’re a big back to school seller. For a long time people sold backpacks, that was a really big thing. Especially jansport before they started getting strict about everyone running out to the outlets and reselling their backpacks. That was a big one. So people would start going out literally in May and buying backpacks buying backpacks. At that point in time. You need to already have the financing in place. So you need to have started thinking about that really, in January and February and say, You know what, I generally make a I don’t know 30% margin on backpacks. I want to buy $10,000 worth of backpacks so that I can get this margin. Do I have that available? And start thinking about that? And if you don’t say, all right, I maybe need three months to $10,000 of, you know, influx and credit and cash to do this. So, really just sit down, don’t overcomplicate it, don’t put a lot of pressure on yourself to have this giant spreadsheet. But it can be as simple as I want to make this much money. I have $3,000 I need an operating expenses, how much inventory Do I need to purchase to make this much money plus pay my operating expenses, it’s really just that simple. You can get more complicated and more sophisticated over time. But if you start having these conversations with business colleagues, or mastermind or even business partner, spouse, whatever and start doing a little planning, you’re gonna at least feel more comfortable that you’re getting that you’re purchasing inventory either with using cash reserves or debt with intention and that’s what it’s all about dude, intentionally. Don’t Do it just willy nilly hoping that it’s gonna work out?

David 26:04
Absolutely. It can. I think you could probably speak to this, but but one thing that I really liked about having solid books is I can do a post mortem. For instance, when I do a product launch, I can go back and see how much did it cost me? Did it, you know, generally when I go into a product launch, I’m very optimistic. And things always turn out to be half as profitable and take twice as long. And so having really solid books and being able to go back and see Alright, realistically, what has been my performance in the past one product launch, I think is really helpful for for feature launches.

Ken 26:41
Yeah, absolutely, you know, having accurate books that are, you know, up to date every month every month, you know, reviewing them looking back, evaluating, if our plan was successful, or if we had a plan, hopefully you have a plan, right? It’s huge. You just, it’s like that feedback loop. Right? You You try something, then you evaluate whether it was successful or not. So, yeah, that the cash flow and so now I have a question for you in terms of you weren’t getting to work with a lot of creators and a lot of other entrepreneurs in the online space. Is there, you know, one top item that you see successful entrepreneurs focusing on? And then is there one item that some of the businesses that are not doing well are not focusing on? Is there anything over the years of your experience that kind of pop out to help our audience

Anna 27:39
I love this is my favorite question of all let’s talk about vanity metrics. A vanity metric is something that feels really good, and that you think is exactly what you need to be doing. But it’s not really an indicator of success, and that is sales. Do not try to think you’re going to grow your business by increasing sales. That’s a part of it. But what ends up happening is at a certain point, it cost a lot more money incrementally to increase sales than people think. You’ve got to have a warehouse, you’ve got to have people, you need to buy more inventory to pay these bills. And now your operating expenses aren’t 3000. They’re 6000. You can get in over your head with PPC, you know, the pay per click advertising that we’ve talked about. I have seen so many people increase sales, double triple sales, but the PPC is so expensive, they would have been better off to just sit on their sofa and do nothing. And I’m really not kidding. out of hand quickly. So yes, keep an eye on sales. But that is not the thing that you need to look at as a standalone item. To determine whether or not you have a successful business and I love to share this story. I have a client, he’s also friend and he ended up getting out of selling online before he was doing that he was all over Facebook and social media talking about his million dollar business. He had over a million dollars in sales. The problem was is he had a lot of operating expenses, he spent a ton on PPC, in order to make that million dollars in sales, he was actually losing money. At the same time, I have a client and she had about $600,000 in sales. She wasn’t doing all of this, you know, expensive PPC, she was doing a lot of herself kind of bootstrapping, she didn’t have a huge team didn’t have a warehouse. She was killing it was making way more money, then the other client who was making about a million in sales. So I say that it’s great to increase sales. That’s one of the buttons and levers to increase the bottom line, but that is not the only one. So don’t pay attention to that is a vanity metric. I caution anyone and this is just a little side soapbox. If you’re getting training from someone, and you’re buying an online program from someone who’s helping you, you know, the whole point of their course is to increase sales. That’s great, but make sure that there’s a little bit more to it than just increasing sales because I promise you guys, that is not the number one way To make money, it’s a vanity metric. It’s important and it’s fun to talk about. But you can end up wanting to exceed a million dollars. And so you have an aggressive reprice, err. So your margins get smaller and smaller. And the next thing you know, you’ve made a million dollars in sales, but your bottom line isn’t what you thought it would be.

David 30:19
I’m really glad you’re talking about PPC and the downsides of it, because it is something that you can flip the button on and watch your sales go up. And when you turn on your Amazon seller app on your phone and see, you know, a new time high for sales. It is exciting, but but calling it a vanity metric is absolutely appropriate. I know I can speak to my own business. And I think in general PPC is a perfect example of the free markets at work. And there’s one particular category I sell in and on average, it’s about a 30% profit margin and what you see is average a costs average cost sale also tends to be right around 30%. And so the free markets are at work. It’s a function of supply and demand. And it leads you to selling at breakeven, which is, it’s a real bummer. And I’ve had plenty of months where I’ve had good top line sales growth, but with the increase in advertising expenses, it ends up being a wash. And I feel like I’ve kind of a hamster running in a hamster wheel going nowhere. So I’m glad you spoke to that.

Anna 31:32
I know Debbie Downer, Debbie Downer. It’s a good tool too. But just be aware, everyone listening that it’s not just about sales, otherwise it is. It is hard to get a million dollars in sales, but it is not hard in a way you can throw money at PPC and increase the sales and then next thing you know you haven’t really made what you think and I hate to see people be disappointed in that.

David 31:54
Have you seen any alternatives to PPC that you think may be a better place To put your advertising dollars,

Anna 32:03
honestly, I have not with the exception of one client and he is 100%. Shopify. This little This is be depressing for everyone, myself included. He’s 23. And he had probably about $10 million in net income last year, selling apparel on Shopify, and his sales were through the roof, but he would spend about $2 million a month on Facebook ads. That is so much money. And I think because he’s young, he’s like, Whoa, I don’t care. You know, he’s a single guy, and he has, you know, some financing from his parents. But he did incredibly because he spent a lot of money on Facebook ads, but that’s kind of his superpower. That’s how he got into this because he really enjoyed doing Facebook ads. So I’ve seen people be successful. With that, in particular, I think advertising is great. I think PPC is great, but it’s not the silver bullet that people think it is and it can get out of hands so quickly. And that is why it’s really important to look at your financials monthly, because you can see, oh my gosh, I spent way more than I realized because it’s just a little of time and you don’t realize how it’s adding up, especially when you see sales go up. But it’s really the relationship between those two that you need to see on one report at month end to understand if it’s been effective or not.

Ken 33:20
Okay, yeah, so we have a lightning round for all of our guests. Are you ready?

Anna 33:25
I’m ready.

Ken 33:27
All right. What is your favorite book?

Anna 33:29
Oh my gosh, I love a gentleman and Moscow by a more tolls. It is about a rich count in Russia who was sentenced to the Metropole hotel, which is a luxury hotel in Moscow. He spends his last years out in that hotel, and I read this before Coronavirus, but he had to make a life sort of trapped in quarantine. And it’s very insightful. He meets his cast of characters. The writing is very flowery and it’s one of those books after I read it actually missed the count. So I love that It was great.

Ken 34:01
Nice. I have not heard of that one. I’ll have to add it to my list. Awesome. What are a couple of your hobbies outside of work?

Anna 34:09
Well, I love to crochet it’s an old lady hobby. I love to read I love to work in my garden. My number one hobby though is travel. I love to travel. I’ve been to four continents and like to before Coronavirus, leaves the country at least twice a year. My husband I enjoy visiting different places India is my absolute favorite. I’ve been there many times I love it. I’ve been studying Hindi to become conversationally fluent, and it’s a special place it’s not for everyone, but I love it.

Ken 34:42
Nice That’s awesome. Okay, last one. What What do you think sets apart successful ecommerce entrepreneurs from those who give up fail or never get started?

Anna 34:52
Well, this bias but successful entrepreneurs are aware of their numbers. We started off saying this you can’t manage what you don’t want. Measure. It’s just like the human body, you know, you, you don’t know if you’re healthy unless you know your blood pressure and your weight and, you know, are you sleeping? Well, all of these things, you don’t have to micromanage. But having just a general understanding of what the numbers are is really important. My most successful clients are looking at their numbers on a monthly basis. They may not even go over in detail with me, but they’re at least eyeballing the balance sheet. They’re looking at the profit and loss. They know their average operating expense. They know how much they have in unsold inventory. Related to that is money mindset is really important. I’m a huge believer in this, I think that there’s enough for everyone to go around. And it’s the whole idea of the mindset of Are you the kind of person where you think there’s only one pie and if someone gets more, you’re gonna have less, or do you think that there’s an exponentially available pie and there’s enough for everyone? And I think that healthy money mindset, the one of abundance instead of scarcity is something I consistently see with my successful clients. Nice. Yeah,

Ken 35:59
I I love that response. That’s awesome. All right,

David 36:03
David, you want to wrap up? Yeah. Leslie, Anna, where can people get ahold of you?

Anna 36:09
People can go to my website And if you’re interested in learning more about me, you can go to the work with us page. If you would like a free, no obligation proposal, there’s a little questionnaire you fill out, it comes to me, and then I send you a response back. A lot of people do this just to get an idea of what accounting would cost. In general, it starts at $400 a month. The driver, believe it or not, isn’t actually the volume and revenue. It’s the number of accounts that you have. It’s the number of bank accounts, credit cards, loans, because I have to reconcile those every month I have to make sure that whatever the statement says is what’s in QuickBooks. So those are the drivers of the fee. And I mentioned that because a lot of people if they know well it starts at 400. I have a client who literally has 256 credit cards and obviously his fees pretty high He’s not the most profitable client, but he now knows his numbers. And he’s working towards getting those not just paid off, but also extending credit on the lower interest rate cards. So he and I’ve worked together on that. And the cool thing is eventually he ended up saving enough money that it covered my feet and some so I say that to tell you that accounting and bookkeeping isn’t just about the numbers, but it’s also about how you can run your business in order to be more profitable with the same amount of effort. And I think, David, you said sometimes, can can, you know, this is a common observation where someone feels like they’re a hamster on a hamster wheel. I love to see people get away from that what I want is them to give me their statements. review a report to make sure we have everything categorized properly, look at their numbers, and then they can work on their business, not in their business. So if you’re curious about what a fee might cost, go ahead and fill out the questionnaire I’ll send it to you. There’s no obligation. I do this all the time and people will pop up a year two years later. So you can reach out that way, you can also send me a message through Facebook. And I’m happy just to do a phone call with anyone if they want to just chat a little bit about what’s involved.

David 38:08
Absolutely. Well, Anna, thank you for joining us on the firing demand podcast. Really appreciate it.

Anna 38:14
Thank you for having me. This was a lot of fun. I’m glad I got to get on my soapbox a little bit, but also encourage everyone. I have seen this business change lives in very positive ways. And I’m a huge fan of this entire opportunity we have so stay positive, keep an eye on the numbers and you know, join my free Facebook group if you just want a little bit of free help and support. And I appreciate the time today. Thanks, guys. Thank you.

David 38:40
Thank you everyone for tuning in to today’s Podcast. If you liked this episode, head on over to and check out our resource library for exclusive firing the man discounts on popular e-commerce subscription services that is You can also find a comprehensive library of over 50 books that Ken and I have read in the last few years that have made a meaningful impact on our business or that head on over to lastly, check us out on social media at Firing The Man on YouTube at Firing The Man for exclusive content. This is David Schomer and Ken Wilson. We’re out

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