Building A Six-Figure Advisory Business (Working 15 Hours A Week) with Erica Goode

Can you build a six-figure advisory business working only 15 hours a week? CPA Erica Goode has—and she describes exactly how she did it (think serious boundaries):

The lessons corporate burn-out can teach you about how to construct your own business.

How setting rigid boundaries on her time allows her to meet all her work + life commitments.

The value of time blocking (and another way to look at productivity).

Why defining her version of “enough” allows her to stay focused and avoid chasing shiny objects.

Introducing a potential new KPI for soloists—and why it needs your “happiness” factor to be complete.



Erica Goode | LinkedIn

Rochelle Moulton Email ListLinkedIn Twitter | Instagram


Erica Goode has been a Certified Public Accountant for 15 years. She runs a virtual accounting firm supporting coaches and consultants with bookkeeping, accounting, and CFO services and also hosts the Coaches, Consultants, and Money podcast.

She’s a former Director of Finance at a Fortune 50 company and started her career as an auditor at a Big 4 public accounting firm. Erica is also the mom of 2 and the wife of a fellow CPA. She lives with her family in the mountains of Idaho.



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00:00 – 00:26
Erica Goode: We fall back into this idea of like always being disappointed. Like we didn’t set an expectation for ourselves, so we don’t know if we hit it, so we kind of feel melancholy about it. But when you set an expectation and you can kind of see if you were close or if you exceeded it, well, then you get to give yourself a pat on the back and acknowledge that what you’re doing is a good thing. And I think we tend to be pretty hard on ourselves. There’s more often than not, there’s time to give ourselves a pat

00:26 – 00:27
Erica Goode: on the back.

00:32 – 01:12
Rochelle Moulton: Hello, hello. Welcome to the Soloist Life podcast, formerly known as Soloist Women, where we’re all about turning your expertise into wealth and impact. I’m Rochelle Moulton, and today I’m here with Erica Goode, who’s been a CPA for 15 years. She runs a virtual accounting firm supporting coaches and consultants with bookkeeping, accounting, and CFO services, and also hosts the Coaches Consultants and Money podcast, which is terrific. If you’re not already a listener, sign up. She’s a former director of finance at a Fortune 50 company and started her career as an auditor at a big 4 public accounting

01:12 – 01:41
Rochelle Moulton: firm. Erika is also the mom of 2 and the wife of a fellow CPA. She lives with her family in the mountains of Idaho. Erica, welcome. Hey, thanks so much for having me. Well, you are our first guest repeat, which I honestly didn’t think we’d do until at least 50 or so episodes. But after reading the LinkedIn conversation about your work schedule and all those really interesting responses, I just had to have you back on to talk about this.

01:41 – 01:49
Erica Goode: Oh, thanks so much. Yeah, I’ve been interested in that as well. The reactions are not necessarily what I’ve expected.

01:50 – 02:11
Rochelle Moulton: Yeah. So the post that I’m talking about was when you explained how you put in the 15 hours a week that you usually spend on your business. And by the way, That’s a 6 figure CFO business. And some of the comments were so illuminating, but let’s start with what your typical work week looks like. Yeah. So like

02:11 – 02:47
Erica Goode: you said, I work a 15 hour a week schedule on average, and I stick to that pretty well every week on Friday or on Mondays I work 9 to 3, Tuesdays 9 to 3, I don’t work at all on Wednesdays, Thursdays are 9 to 3 again and then Fridays I’m off with the rest of my family who also does four-day school and work weeks in our town. So that totals up to 15 hours when you consider a one-hour lunch in there which I forced myself to take away from my desk. But I, that is all I

02:47 – 03:00
Erica Goode: work. I have a 3 day weekend every week and I have time off for myself on Wednesdays as a buffer day or as an alone day or whatever needs to be done that day.

03:00 – 03:19
Rochelle Moulton: Yeah, I really, I like that concept too of the flux day and when I looked at your schedule the first time I thought well That’s what allows you to really stick with your 15 is to know that you have this day That’s not Friday when everybody else is with you if you need to flex to work more or to do something personally more?

03:20 – 03:56
Erica Goode: Yeah, absolutely. Especially my kids are 12 and 8 and you cannot predict when somebody is gonna get sick or have to stay home from school. And so when I have that day, that keeps me within the whole week whole. Because if somebody shows up sick on Tuesday or Thursday, I know that I have a day to make it up, either this week or the following week, and it allows me to be present in the moment for whoever needs me in that moment that I can focus on them and without in the back of my mind worrying

03:56 – 04:03
Erica Goode: about gosh I was supposed to do this today and when will I get this done I know exactly well I’ll get it done It’ll be on that flex today.

04:03 – 04:31
Rochelle Moulton: Yeah, that’s the insanity that comes when we’re in these kinds of professions where we do our best to create boundaries, but there are things beyond our control that we just have to flex with from time to time. And so I think the way you’ve done it is really interesting. It’s kind of, it’s in a little bit, in 1 sense, it’s like saying in order to work 15 hours a week, I have to create the conditions that I have more hours available if I need them. And then most of the time I don’t need them, because you’re

04:31 – 04:37
Rochelle Moulton: not going into that time. You’re not burrowing in to do more work presumably on Wednesdays if you don’t need to.

04:38 – 05:08
Erica Goode: Yeah, absolutely. I’m very good at time blocking my schedule, so I know what I’m going to do on every day that I’m working, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday. And so if something comes up, I just know what I need to shift. And then I always, it’s like I’m being true to myself. I’m not always feeling like I’m behind. I also don’t feel like I’m ahead a lot of the time because I just have expectations of what’s going to happen that week. And I so rarely need that flex day. I need it when I need it. I can’t not

05:08 – 05:45
Erica Goode: schedule it. But what that allows for is, the world is my oyster at that point. For me, that looks like I love grocery shopping by myself at 7 a.m. When nobody else is in the store. So I do grocery shopping on Wednesday. I volunteer on Wednesdays. I might go for a hike. I might just get things done around the house that make our weekends better. We don’t ever do laundry or grocery shopping on the weekends because it gets done outside of that time. So really on the weekends is true family fun time where we could go

05:45 – 05:47
Erica Goode: out and adventure in the mountains of Idaho.

05:48 – 05:52
Rochelle Moulton: And you’re not wondering how the toilets are going to get cleaned. Absolutely not.

05:52 – 05:57
Erica Goode: Well, the kids get to do some chores too. So that’s who cleans the toilets in our house. All

05:57 – 06:30
Rochelle Moulton: right. Well, they’re the right ages to be doing chores. I love that. They are. So Erica, I know that you’ve been a hundred percent committed to working this kind of flex schedule at least as long as I’ve known you and I can almost hear the sighs as other consultants and especially CPAs during tax season, right? Imagine that schedule. Like talk to us about how you got to where you are now. How deliberate were your choices? I mean, obviously they’re very deliberate right now, but did you start out that way or was this like a path of

06:30 – 06:32
Rochelle Moulton: experimentation? Yeah, that’s

06:32 – 07:04
Erica Goode: a good question. I think a lot of people assume when you build a business that you work your tail off 60-hour weeks to build a business. And then if you’re lucky and you do it right, you can take your foot off the gas and relax in a hammock and work 15-hour weeks after that, or the four-hour work week, as we all know it. And mine was actually, that’s actually not true at all of what happened to me. I did it the opposite, where I grew into 15 hours. I had come from a background personally where I

07:04 – 07:41
Erica Goode: was in corporate finance. I had hit a season of burnout in my life and it was very traumatizing and it was very telling. And it actually, I’m so grateful for it because it forced me to have a reckoning with myself and what I wanted my life and my career and everything to become. What was I really going after? And because I had that experience, I wound up leaving my corporate career and staying home, quote, just to be a stay at home mom, which is a job in itself, but I wasn’t working for a couple years. And

07:41 – 08:21
Erica Goode: I just so desperately missed finance work. I so desperately missed accounting that I wanted to come back and do something, but I was so truly traumatized from this burnout experience that I put up the fiercest boundaries that wouldn’t allow me to go back to that place because if you’ve ever been in a terrible place and you don’t want to go back, you do everything in your life to not get back to that place. And so I had honestly accidentally created a business, accidentally picked up a client number 1. And at that point, our kids were 6

08:21 – 08:56
Erica Goode: and 2. And I was committed to only work when they were not around when they were at school. They must have been 3 because a three-year-old went to three-year-old preschool. If you ever had a three-year-old in preschool, they’re barely out of the house. Three-year-old preschool is a cute stepping stone into other things. Our little guy was out of the house max 3 to 4 hours a week. Between drive time, that only allowed me to really work for 2 hours a week max. And I didn’t tell anybody that I had started a business except for this 1

08:56 – 09:29
Erica Goode: client. I didn’t market, I didn’t have a website, I had nothing. So there was no fear of picking up another client because nobody knew about me. And I just committed to this 1 client for 2 hours a week. And I did my work and I told myself that as the kids grew, my business would grow. And it could only grow as fast as the kids grew because that would allow more time to open up for myself and so it started off at 2 hours a week eventually it went to 6 hours a week then it went

09:29 – 09:59
Erica Goode: to 10 hours a week and here I am at 15 hours a week. I actually thought that eventually I’d keep going into 20 hours a week, but it kind of fit it. Found a happy medium at 15 hours where the profit is good, The work schedule is good. It’s very holistically healthy. And I don’t feel a need to add on more hours at this point, though I could probably carve some out of that flex day if I really wanted to.

10:00 – 10:04
Rochelle Moulton: Yeah, it’s kind of like you find that sweet spot and you don’t want to mess with it.

10:04 – 10:30
Erica Goode: Definitely. Yeah, what more would I be going for if I wanted to do that? And I got to be careful what I’m chasing. And I’ve chased the wrong things in the past. I’ve been in places where I’ve chased salary and I chase title and I’m very good at chasing things and getting them. It doesn’t always feel good when you get them. And so I’m very conscious of what future Erica will feel like if we chase the wrong thing.

10:30 – 11:01
Rochelle Moulton: Well, the other thing I love about this is some moms have told me that they actually scaled back when their kids were teenagers because they felt like the kids needed them more in the teenage years than they had when they were younger, which is the opposite of what most people would expect. But the other thing is that then you’ve got the ability to flex back up once they’re off to college or living their lives or keep it the same and just take on a hobby or work for a cause you care about. I mean, the flexibility

11:01 – 11:04
Rochelle Moulton: of what you’ve created is really the bomb.

11:05 – 11:20
Erica Goode: It’s the benefit of being a solopreneur. You’re accountable to yourself and your clients, and you get to create what you’d like to create. And there are not many people in professions that allow you to do that. It’s a blessing for sure.

11:20 – 11:37
Rochelle Moulton: Well, you’ve worked hard to do it. So how important are automation and people leverage with sustaining both your schedule and your revenue? I mean, how much of either of those 2 are you using?

11:37 – 12:14
Erica Goode: Yeah, that’s a really great question. And I find that because I haven’t historically spent time growing very fast, I’ve grown very thoughtfully. So as my business has grown, albeit slowly, it’s given me the extra time to think through the automations and to think through what’s the tech stack in my business and in my industry that if it’s just going to be me and if it has to be 15 hours, because in my mind, everything I do has to fit in 15 hours. So if I can’t fit it in in the way I’m doing it now, there

12:14 – 12:53
Erica Goode: is not an option to add hours in my mind. I have to find a system to help me do it faster. And so that’s been really, really instrumental in making sure that I’m not being inefficient as I grow because I can only grow through efficiencies if I’m forcing my time to be capped. Now, and in my industry, there is no limit to tech stack options out there along every step of the way. For me, that looks like I use 1 bookkeeping system. I am 00I always say a one-trick pony I don’t want to learn multiple systems

12:53 – 13:20
Erica Goode: I want to live in 1 system and know it really well And if you want to be a client of mine, I’m gonna be the best person to work in For me, it’s QuickBooks Online. I’m gonna be the best person who does QuickBooks Online for you. But if you’re on 0, then I’m not the right person for you because it won’t fit in my system to learn a new system to help 1 client in a different tech stack app.

13:20 – 13:44
Rochelle Moulton: Oh, I mean, I could tell you so many stories about consultants who have veered out of what has been working for them with the idea that, Oh, I’ll just do it this 1 time for this client, only to be really surprised by what a challenge it can be to learn a new system. And it’s not that learning is hard, it’s how it impacts everything else that you do. Yeah, absolutely.

13:45 – 14:19
Erica Goode: I actually just in the past few months, let go of a beloved client of mine because they were outside of the niche that I had committed to and I had built all of our systems and processes around coaches and consultants and small agencies and everything I do works really well in that. And I had a client who I loved and I’m still friends with outside of work who didn’t fit into that system well. And I actually let them go kindly with lots of notice and I sent them off well, but they didn’t fit in my system,

14:19 – 14:22
Erica Goode: and that was gonna really start to impact my efficiencies.

14:24 – 15:02
Rochelle Moulton: Yeah, I mean, there’s a, and I mean this in the best way, there’s a rigidity about the way you’re describing these boundaries, right? There’s a boundary around how many hours, there’s a boundary around efficiency, around tech efficiency, on streamlining processes in your day that is, I think a lot of people when they go hang out their own shingle, don’t realize that they have the ability to create these kinds of boundaries. Yeah. Right? Because we think, oh yeah, I’m on my own, so I have to do whatever the client wants versus really understanding yourself, understanding your offerings,

15:02 – 15:08
Rochelle Moulton: and how you want to live the soloist life, to coin a phrase, right?

15:09 – 15:38
Erica Goode: Absolutely. Somebody listening to this, lots of people listening to this are going to roll their eyes when I say it like this, but it’s actually very hard to work 15 hours a week because you have to create these boundaries and you have to say no and it’s actually extremely difficult to stick to what you committed to because I wanna help everybody and sometimes a lot of weeks I wanna work more but if I work more than it means I’m pulling away from something else, and that’s going to feel an impact too. And so it’s actually really,

15:38 – 16:05
Erica Goode: you’re kind of holding yourself back in a lot of ways. You’re not able to help everybody you would if you had a 50-hour week ahead of you. You’re not able to, I don’t know, to just to reach out to people or to do a project that’s on your list. I know I could get this project done if I had an extra 10 hours, but I know that it’s not going to feel good in the long run. So I’m going to commit to that 15 hours. And that’s, it’s hard work limiting yourself almost.

16:06 – 16:42
Rochelle Moulton: Yeah. Well, you’re choosing. You’re making choices. It’s like you’re a concentrated version. That’s how I’m thinking about it, right? Because it’s so down to the essence that there’s no extra, there’s no fluff, it’s the essence. Yeah. So I want to go back to the LinkedIn post for a second because there was an observation by someone on there and he was just starting out and he said, I couldn’t possibly work so few hours because there was so much to do starting a business. Do you remember what you told him?

16:42 – 16:44
Erica Goode: No, I don’t. Will you remind me?

16:45 – 17:14
Rochelle Moulton: Well, you started with, I’ve always done it this way, and you can do it that way too. Does that ring a bell? Yes. Yeah. So maybe just talk a little bit about that because I think about the people who are just starting this. And again, I’m not trying to quash anyone’s entrepreneurial ambitions. There is this thing when you first start your business, you are so excited. You wanna do all the things, you wanna have all the feels, but you don’t have to do it that way. There is another way.

17:14 – 17:49
Erica Goode: Yeah, I think that’s interesting that you remind me that that comment. I remember that very well now because I think the implication of that comment is I have so much to do. You, Erica, who works 15 hours a week must not have a lot to do. That’s why you get to work 15 hours a week. Out. Which I will show you my laundry list of projects that I want to get done and books 1 day I want to write and new clients I could take on. Like you said before, you’re choosing. Like you can choose to

17:49 – 18:01
Erica Goode: get all those things done now, or you can choose to limit yourself and work at a different pace that might be more holistically better for your life.

18:02 – 18:38
Rochelle Moulton: Yes, yes. I mean, clearly this is a mindset that 1 has to adopt to keep to a consistent schedule successfully. And, you know, I found it’s often parents who draw such great clear boundaries because somebody has to take care of the kids. I mean, you can’t just leave them to fend for themselves, right? But I also love how you flip this equation like it doesn’t feel like you’re suffering in time or in revenue by being a present parent. I mean, that’s the thing that corporate America just isn’t set up to do. So do you have any

18:38 – 18:46
Rochelle Moulton: kind of tactical advice for people new to this idea of managing their time within specific constraints as a soloist?

18:47 – 19:21
Erica Goode: I think 1 thing I have always struggled with, and I hear a lot of people say, I feel like I didn’t get anything done this week, or what progress did I make this week? And when we look ahead, or maybe even look behind at the week behind us, and we see all that we got done, we don’t have usually anything to compare it to what we wanted to get done, or maybe what we wanted to get done was literally unrealistic in the amount of time given in a week. And we set up ourselves for disappointment in

19:21 – 19:53
Erica Goode: that. What I’ve found, flipping it ahead, and now I’m a planner by nature, both financially and on a calendar, I love to know what’s going to happen. And so that comes very naturally to me. Every Thursday, because I don’t work on Friday, every Thursday, the very last thing I do before I leave my desk is I time block my week for the next week. And even before I time block the week, I write down everything I want to get done and how long I think it might take, and then I slot it in those days, in

19:53 – 20:27
Erica Goode: those hours that I know I’m going to work. Because I’m committed to that, and this is extremely practical and I know time blocking isn’t for everybody, but when I time slot those things actually into my calendar, they may or may not all fit. Going back to committed to your boundaries, if they don’t fit, then I have to figure out what I’m not planning on getting done next week and I’m planning I’m pushing it to a next week. That 1 sets me up for a really easy week. I don’t have to think on Monday morning what I’m

20:27 – 20:57
Erica Goode: going to do. I have a calendar bossing me around And I also have a calendar to be the bad guy if somebody wants a quick meeting I say oh, I’m sorry I don’t have any free time this week because I don’t there’s my time is blocked on my calendar but secondly what that allows me is I get to go back at the end of the next week and say look how much I wanted to accomplish and I accomplished it all Like how often do we get to pat on our ourselves on the back to say I

20:57 – 21:28
Erica Goode: got everything I wanted to get done this week and That comes from a I kept to my calendar I did everything I wanted to do. But also I didn’t set myself up for failure because I didn’t put more on my calendar for that week that I literally didn’t have time to get done. But it leads me down this path. I’ve been doing this for years now. And it leads me down this path that I feel great about the work I did. I don’t have Sunday scaries. I go to sleep great on Sunday night and wake up

21:28 – 21:38
Erica Goode: excited to get in my office on Monday. And at the end of the week, I feel really great about what I did during that week. And I feel proud and like I am moving forward at the pace that I’ve set for myself.

21:39 – 22:12
Rochelle Moulton: I mean, just like mic drop. I mean, I feel like it’s 1 of the things that a lot of productivity writers get wrong. It’s just, oh, if I could just squeeze 1 more thing in, if we do it this way. But really what true productivity is about is deciding what matters the most, because there will always be more things wanting to get on your plate. But by doing this the way you’re doing, you’re prioritizing what matters most. You’re actually time blocking to make sure you have the time to do it. And I agree that isn’t for

22:12 – 22:44
Rochelle Moulton: everybody, but if you have some bad habits, it sure is a great way to keep yourself honest. And how many people listening to this at the end of your week sit back and go, yep, I accomplished everything I wanted to do this week. Good week. I mean, it sounds like a small thing, but we don’t have bosses to pat us on the back. We are doing the patting ourselves. And so I just love the way that you’ve set yourself up for success. I think there’s a lot of lessons in here for people.

22:44 – 23:16
Erica Goode: Oh, Thank you. And you know what? I will. You mentioned productivity writers. I’m going to drop a reference here. It just came out, but if anybody’s read slow productivity by Cal Newport, it literally just came out 2 weeks ago, but it is exactly what we’re talking about here. And I was doing this well before the book came out, but in reading the book, I couldn’t help but just keep nodding my head like, yes, yes, this is how it works, because he even talks about really practical things like you have to schedule how much time you think

23:16 – 23:33
Erica Goode: something is going to require on your calendar. Don’t schedule more than that. Also double the amount of time you think it’s going to take. You won’t be stressed then. And some really practical tips. So if anybody’s just enjoying this conversation, I would refer you to that’s a good read.

23:33 – 23:53
Rochelle Moulton: I love it I haven’t picked it up yet but I’m going to now. It’s a good 1. So before I want to pivot slightly and and talk about a little bit about wealth but is there anything else you want to say about this this topic of actually working 15 hours a week and having a very financially successful and personally successful business.

23:54 – 24:19
Erica Goode: I think the only thing I would remind people is that the 40 hour work week was invented almost a hundred years ago to protect blue collar workers in factories from harsh, potentially inhumane conditions. And it was a really, really good law. We need that. We still need that. But it was an invention for somebody who is not us listening to this podcast.

24:20 – 24:59
Rochelle Moulton: Love it. Love it. Well Erica, we are both money nerds, I’m not sorry to say, and we’ve traded plenty of money book recommendations back and forth. So I kind of wanted to talk about how you see wealth. And, you know, let me just say that I’ve been talking a little bit in the last year about this, what I keep calling the new definition of wealth, which is money, flexibility, and free time. And so I’d like to know how does the amount of free time that you have play into how wealthy you feel in any given moment?

24:59 – 25:01
Rochelle Moulton: Like, are they linked for you?

25:01 – 25:39
Erica Goode: Yeah, I don’t even know how to put that into words. Gosh, I honestly have not thought about that about myself. I’ve heard you say this before and I completely agree with you, but how wealthy do I feel like life couldn’t get better for me. That feels very grand to say and I don’t say that lightly but I feel like I don’t know what could be going better. Everybody’s healthy, we’re all happy, We have enough money. When I say we have enough money, we’re not sitting on millions, right? Like we spend well, we have enough money, like

25:39 – 26:14
Erica Goode: everything is good. And I think I used to be in a place in my career and in my life that I was always chasing for more and I was surrounded by people chasing for more. More money, more title, more, I don’t know, sometimes even just more work. And when you’re able to pull that back and and now for my situation I kind of had to burn it all down to rebuild it. What I feel the richest person I could ever be right now and and I drive a 10 year old car and live in a modest

26:14 – 26:20
Erica Goode: home and all the things that you would expect from, you know, maybe slightly upper middle class, middle America.

26:21 – 26:53
Rochelle Moulton: Well, you know, I guess let me pull out a couple of things there. 1 is that you worked for a big 4 and I sold my first company to a big 4 firm. So I had the delight of a couple of years in that environment, and in corporate America. And those are both places where everybody’s chasing. Yeah. It’s really hard, especially in the hierarchical up or out environment of a Big 4, to not look around you and say, oh, I need this assignment or I need this car or this piece of jewelry or this bonus. It’s

26:53 – 27:28
Rochelle Moulton: hard. It’s kind of like you almost have to take yourself out of the environment to really feel it. But The other part of what you said, and I just want to put it in quotes, is the word enough. You were very quick to qualify what that meant. It didn’t mean you were a gazillionaire living on the top of a mountain, but that you had enough for the life that you are creating. It’s like, I think that’s a word that we need to use more in soloist businesses, because it’s a unique definition. I mean, my definition of

27:28 – 27:44
Rochelle Moulton: enough might look very different from yours, but it’s a goal. And it implies that there is an end point, right, where you’re not always lusting after or chasing after the next big thing, whatever that is.

27:45 – 27:55
Erica Goode: Yeah. Chasing is tiring. If you can get to a place where you’re not running for something or away from something, it feels real good.

27:56 – 28:38
Rochelle Moulton: Yeah. Well, I guess the other thing is, so you are a financial professional, clearly. I am not. And I kind of started to think about this definition of wealth a while back because I’ve worked with people who make a ton And they’re very happy and continue to strive for more because they have a vision of what that will do for them. And usually, they’ve already met their enough number and they do this for something else. And it’s often some kind of a big idea or a charitable endeavor. And then I’ve worked with people on the other

28:38 – 29:11
Rochelle Moulton: end of the spectrum where enough is a much more modest number, but they’re still really happy and feel really good. And it’s like that’s that that’s when I think of the word wealthy that’s how I like to think of it. That it’s like you said your your family’s healthy, everybody’s doing well, you’re in the place you want to be And who cares if your car is 10 years old, you love that car and it fits in with your lifestyle and you don’t have to work 16 hours a week or 17 to buy a new 1, right?

29:11 – 29:25
Rochelle Moulton: Right. Like when you work with your client, I mean, because you’re focused on their business, Do you ever notice that people give different definitions to how they think about wealth or how their business is doing?

29:25 – 30:00
Erica Goode: Yeah. So really interesting. This is interesting timing because 2 weeks ago, I sent out an email to my email list and I sent out a first of the month email just with some thoughts. They’re always money thoughts and maybe some book recommendations to whoever’s on my list. I sent out this idea of a new KPI or a new financial metric that we would consider in our businesses. Because normally, everybody talks about profit, the IRS cares about profit, that’s how much you’re going to pay tax on. And profit, profit, profit is always what we talk about, which

30:00 – 30:37
Erica Goode: I don’t disagree with until we get to the point of the small business owner. And I won’t go into the nerdy details, but the way that the tax code has just been complicated over the past decades is that profit isn’t necessarily the end all be all KPI of what your business is doing for you. There’s a lot of nuances in there, whether it be profit or salary if you’re an S Corp or if your business is paying your health insurance premiums or contributing to your retirement. And so you have all these, this kind of like muddied

30:37 – 31:05
Erica Goode: area of what financial benefit your business is doing for you. And so I sent out this idea to my mailing list and I told everybody on there, I said, hey, I’m calling this new metric total owner benefit. And I broke it down, I talked the profit thing, and I broke out this new equation for how we would look at profit and it would give you this quote total owner benefit. And I sent it out and I said hit reply and let me know what you think if you agree with me if you disagree with me I

31:05 – 31:43
Erica Goode: would love to hear your feedback. I got a handful of responses back and they almost all said the same thing which was along the lines of Erica this is total financial benefit This is not total owner benefit because you’re not taking into account the fact that I don’t have to sit in corporate meetings that I don’t need to be in, that I can decide on a Tuesday to go to a theme park with my kids and that I can sleep through the night without worrying about a crappy boss and they listed all these things about all

31:43 – 32:18
Erica Goode: these other benefits of owning your own consulting practice or agency that they were getting out of being a solopreneur, basically. And I thought it was such an honest response. And it just made my heart light up that they were completely right. I had given them financial benefit and there is so much more in being a solopreneur and being able to control your flexibility and how you dedicate your time each day. It was the best response I could have gotten from an email.

32:18 – 32:51
Rochelle Moulton: You know, it just reminded me, when I had my first company, I had employees, and we did a monthly scorecard. And there were only like 5 or 6 things on the scorecard. We wanted to keep it simple. And they were mostly financially oriented. But we had 1 that we called the happiness factor. And everybody, including the office admin staff, everybody got to vote and have a number. And I can’t remember the index we used, but 1 to 5 or 1 to 10. And it just didn’t matter. Like, just, are you happy? Like, was this a happy

32:51 – 33:26
Rochelle Moulton: month or wasn’t it? And I loved getting that number because when, when the, or that information, because when our numbers would get up too high, and I’m putting that in quotes, too high, and people weren’t happy, that was a signal, right, that we were out of balance, that there had to be kind of the right balance. If I was growing revenue at the same time I was growing people, then I could keep the happiness factor about right. But if I tried to burn out anybody, the happiness factor would show. I love those comments because I liked

33:27 – 33:55
Rochelle Moulton: the owner benefit. I liked the things that were in it. I liked the way that you looked at it, but this other piece, this sort of ethereal piece, for some, it’s why they did the business in the first place. They didn’t do it to make more money. They did it to have more control and more flexibility and more freedom. So I love that. In fact, I think we should add that to the show notes. I think it’s a really interesting concept. Oh, great. Are you going to use it going forward, do

33:55 – 34:25
Erica Goode: you think? So I’ve already implemented it with some clients from a pure, their profit didn’t tell the whole story. And that is what caused me to kind of invent something new for them, was because as we were looking at their year in review, I was like, this story is not what happened in your business if we look solely at profit. This is telling a sad story, and I know there’s a happy story here because I know how much money we stashed away in retirement And all that your business did for you And so for that we’ve

34:25 – 35:01
Erica Goode: already implemented that but those responses from the email made me really consider And I don’t think any accountant is doing this, nor I’m not sure we should be, maybe we should be, but if there are KPI metrics that are outside of financial that solopreneurs would measure in terms of non-financial benefits, like I don’t know the answer to this yet. How do you measure that you’re less stressed than you used to be? This sounds silly, but this is true to me. My blood pressure used to be so high when I worked at corporate, and I was a

35:01 – 35:21
Erica Goode: late 20-something very healthy female who looked like she needed to be on blood pressure medicine. But when I look at how I feel on Monday mornings now, it’s so different. And I think it’s an interesting idea to think if we can quantify something that’s not financial,

35:22 – 36:02
Rochelle Moulton: like you were saying, like a happiness factor or a healthy factor that tells us what our business is giving us more so than cash flow. I mean, honestly, I feel like it could change the conversation between accountants and bookkeepers and their their soloist clients. I mean, I’m thinking about it’s ironic. I just got the numbers from my bookkeeper this morning And it was like, here’s this, here’s this, here’s this. And I’m listening to what you’re saying. And I’m like, I had a really good month by objective measures, but I had an even better month by subjective

36:02 – 36:32
Rochelle Moulton: measures. And if they had just said when I passed my data over, oh, can you give me a rating from 1 to 10 about how fun this month was, right? And I just think that would be helpful. And I don’t think you can measure it in any objective way. It’s subjective. It’s like, am I happy or am I not? Am I satisfied or am I not? And of course, if I’m the owner, I’m going to be asking myself, okay, if 10 is fantastic and I gave myself a 10, I’m going to be going, what made it

36:32 – 36:52
Rochelle Moulton: a 10? Why was this month a 10? Or conversely, why was it a 1? And what do I need to change? Whether that’s a specific client or an area of expertise that’s no longer interesting, It just gives you this subjective information that we don’t ask ourselves often enough. Yeah.

36:53 – 37:28
Erica Goode: And I would even push back that maybe it can be quantified. That probably not the same quantification across everybody by any means, but my guess is that there is something important to you or something that you could measure in your own life that would tell you something that’s a lever on your happiness. Maybe I have some clients who they want to spend 4 weeks in Europe every year doing their business whether they’re working or not they just want to be in Europe for an amount of time. Well what if we tracked how many weeks you were

37:28 – 37:50
Erica Goode: in Europe? You’d keep yourself accountable to that because that’s an important lever of your happiness. And be similar to planning out your week. You can look back and be like, hey, look, my business allowed me to be in Europe for 5 weeks this year and I was shooting for 4. I’m pretty lucky. That was a pretty good year for me. Oh, and I made some money too.

37:50 – 38:08
Rochelle Moulton: That is a great example. That’s the kind of things that forward-looking accountants, CPAs, bookkeepers can really help their clients with. It isn’t just about the numbers, but I like quantifying happiness and success. Because if we don’t, it’s really hard to know how to get it.

38:09 – 38:38
Erica Goode: Yeah. Then I think we fall back into this idea of always being disappointed. We didn’t set an expectation for ourselves, so we don’t know if we hit it, so we kind of feel melancholy about it. But when you set an expectation and you can kind of see if you are close or if you exceeded it, well, then you get to give yourself a pat on the back and acknowledge that what you’re doing is a good thing. And I think we tend to be pretty hard on ourselves. And I think there’s more often than not, there’s time

38:39 – 38:40
Erica Goode: to give ourselves a

38:40 – 39:01
Rochelle Moulton: pat on the back. Amen. So Erica, you’ve been on the show before. You know the question. I love to ask everybody at the end. So if you could go back to who you were when you first started your business, although given how you accidentally started it, I’m not sure what timeframe you want to choose, but what’s the 1 thing that you would advise her to do?

39:02 – 39:31
Erica Goode: Don’t be so scared. I think when we’re doing something new, maybe, I wonder, I’ll have to go back and see if I said the same thing last time, if you’re going to keep me honest. But I think for me, doing something new is so scary and feeling like you’re doing it wrong and that you might not do it perfect the first time. The anticipation of that is really scary and can really have your hackles up as you’re trying to build this new thing. But giving myself some grace and saying, you’re not going to get it right

39:31 – 39:41
Erica Goode: every time, you got a lot to learn, there’s nothing wrong with that. You’re doing it right if you’re learning a lot. And that just 1 step at a time and move forward, you’re going to be okay.

39:41 – 40:09
Rochelle Moulton: Oh yeah, and when you use the word perfect, like that just so hit me. We were having a green room conversation before about how we do like to hold ourselves to this perfection standard, but none of us can meet that. It’s just not, it’s not doable in the real world, much as we would like it to be. Absolutely. Okay, well, we’ll be putting all sorts of links to you and your content in the show notes, but where’s the best place for people to learn more about you?

40:09 – 40:20
Erica Goode: Well you can definitely hit me up on LinkedIn. I like to say things over there and they generally have a little bit of humor behind them. So hit me up on LinkedIn, or you can visit me at

40:21 – 40:49
Rochelle Moulton: Awesome. Erica, thank you so much for being willing to come back. Let me pick your brain yet again. And please do connect with her on LinkedIn. There is some really interesting conversations that that she’s having there that I think will be of interest to soloists, especially coaches and consultants. So that’s it for today. I hope you’ll join us next time for the soloist life. Bye bye.



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