Episode 68: Connie Vanderzanden
Entrepreneur Conundrum Podcast
Connie Vanderzanden shares how she helps entrepreneurs create and save money.
EC 01 | 4min
About The Guest
Connie Vanderzanden is on a mission to help female entrepreneurs live the lifestyles they desire by learning the simple steps, structure, and discipline to create and save money. With 34 years of accounting and bookkeeping experience, a variety of industry knowledge, and her own real-life business growth journey since 2001, Connie developed the Going Beyond Revenue Cash Handling System, focusing on cash flow planning that creates profitable and sustainable businesses.
Connie is a true Oregonian, born and raised in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, where she spends time with her husband of 34 years and their “fur kid”.
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/connie.vanderzanden/
YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZ0XcjtRZgw41nBk6dxS90w
[00:00:00] VIRGINIA: [00:00:00] Welcome to entrepreneur conundrum with Virginia Pernell where growing entrepreneurs share how they get visible online. Hi everyone. Today I’m talking with Connie Vander Zanden about how she helps entrepreneurs create and save money in their businesses. Connie is on a mission to help female entrepreneurs live the lifestyle they desire by learning this simple step.
[00:00:22] Structure and discipline to create and save money. 34 years of accounting and bookkeeping experience a variety of industry knowledge and her own real life business growth journey since 2001 Connie developed the going beyond revenue, cash handling system, focusing on the cashflow planning that creates profitable and sustainable business.
[00:00:43] Connie is a true Orgonian born and raised in the beautiful Pacific Northwest where she spends her time with her husband of 34 years. And there first kid welcome Connie!
[00:00:54] Thank you
[00:00:55] CONNIE: [00:00:55] happy to be here and you’ve got Oregonian just right.
[00:01:01] [00:01:00] VIRGINIA: [00:01:01] I was trying to like practice it quickly before I actually said it. So how did you start on this journey and working for yourself and putting together? This wonderful product for female entrepreneurs.
[00:01:18] CONNIE: [00:01:18] Well I was in public accounting and I realized I needed a little bit more flexibility. I think that’s one of the things entrepreneurs usually leave corporate for is that flexibility or their ability to manage their time a little bit more.
[00:01:33] And so, but it took me three years to make the jump. I will say that it wasn’t a quick jump but I really enjoyed the time. Spending with entrepreneurs, I would go out and this was a time with bookkeepers would go out to your place. And I would sit across the table from them and help them understand their numbers a lot more.
[00:01:53] And I really, that really filled me up. Unfortunately, building a bookkeeping business where you didn’t go see [00:02:00] somebody all the time. I got it. Just sucked all the creativity and energy out of me, but I continued it. I grew a business with it. I built another business bookkeepers network of networking with bookkeepers because people really needed to find good quality financial team.
[00:02:16] And so I really put my all into it, but then I realized when I was 50, that I didn’t really like it. So I needed to make a change and realize that the whole journey of it, the whole journey of starting a business and. Doing something and failing and getting back up and doing it again. That was all essential for the next phase of the pivot of business, which is now cashflow and business mentoring.
[00:02:41] Again, I’m back to the original start of what the business was sitting with entrepreneurs, usually on zoom TA helping them understand their numbers, making the numbers easy for them to understand and use and now with the calf channeling system, it helps give a more of an attentional use behind how money is there.
[00:02:58] And so it’s a lot [00:03:00] about what I learned in business and it, and of course the 34 years of learning, what other entrepreneurs and business owners have been doing as well.
[00:03:07] VIRGINIA: [00:03:07] Do you feel like being an accountant kind of helped you on the entrepreneurial journey?
[00:03:13] CONNIE: [00:03:13] I don’t think so. I mean, it helped a little bit with that. There was some knowledge there.
[00:03:19] And when I went to grow my business, I didn’t lean into that at all. So many business owners I’ve worked with, they went to go start their business or grow their business. Without a budget without a plan, they just have a passion of what they want to do. And that’s exactly what happened when I went to grow my business.
[00:03:37] And then what ends up happening is we get stuck in that hustle phase and hustle will work for the first couple of years, but when hustle. Spans out five years, six years. That’s when burnout can happen. And that’s when businesses will fail, because now we don’t like our businesses anymore and we’re not willing to put our all in there and we can’t, it’s not sustainable.
[00:03:58] So what I learned in [00:04:00] my book, knowledge of accounting, what I learned doing taxes, I, the piece that was missing was that sustainable business model that long-term. Keeping money in the business, making sure I pay myself model because what I was hearing from tax pros was quite the opposite. Like I remember being in tax and a tax meeting with the CPA and the client and the CPA is like, I want you to spend all the money that you can by the end of the year to reduce your tax liability.
[00:04:30] Well, that’s great. And that did help the tax liability for that business. And I saw the other side of it too, is I saw the entrepreneur. Not be able to pay himself for almost three months because he had to rebuild his cash reserves and that’s not a sustainable business.
[00:04:47] VIRGINIA: [00:04:47] So is that kind of like the most common mistake that you see your clients making is not making it sustainable?
[00:04:57] CONNIE: [00:04:57] That’s one of the most common [00:05:00] issues for small businesses, the other issues, I mean, I’ve made all the same issues that they did. One was not having a plan or intentionally used around how they were going to use debt. I think that’s another crucial one is that we jumped into debt because we think we have to create a business that.
[00:05:17] Matches what others aesthetics think it should be, or, you know, having the website before we really have a service that we’re offering. And so the debts there, and then as business starts pouring in, or we’re getting clients were being found, we’re getting sales. We don’t have a plan on how to repay that debt so it can stick around.
[00:05:37] And then we go into this cash handling. Issue of like, do we pay the tax or do we pay the debt? And so it’s a cycle that we can get into that can be very destructive on our our psyche place. So it’s about being intentional with how we’re going to use money and how we grow as probably one of the things I find.
[00:05:57] That most business, even myself did do [00:06:00] not think about before we get started
[00:06:02] VIRGINIA: [00:06:02] the ideal client is female entrepreneurs. Is there kind of like a niche within that or is it kind of broad with that?
[00:06:11] CONNIE: [00:06:11] It’s a little bit more broad. What I want to say is that the reason it’s female entrepreneurs and it can be anyone that like needs to verbally process a lot of the, the more male entrepreneurs that have a little bit more D or dominance in them that can make decisions quickly that like to look at numbers, they don’t necessarily need me to be there and partner with them and collaborate with them on how to make numbers easy.
[00:06:36] So my clients usually are people that use their voice. So that could be speakers or consultants, but they’re also therapists, professional people and optometrists that have like clinics and things that they need to have these numbers generated so they can see what’s going on in both businesses, but they want somebody to chat with.
[00:06:57] Like in my own business as well, is that I didn’t [00:07:00] have anybody to talk to about the numbers. I didn’t have anybody to talk to about any roadblocks or issues I might be having with team members or my landlord or anything else. And so this is my, I feel that spot of having somebody to chat with and help to pull the numbers together, to help support whatever they want, whatever they’re doing for their growth.
[00:07:20] VIRGINIA: [00:07:20] That’s fun. So do you offer like group coaching then so that they can like lean in and chat with others as well.
[00:07:27] CONNIE: [00:07:27] We are going to be offering that in 2022. I’ve been really resistant to it because I found a lot of people. I, I think that was my own resistance. Like to really pull back the curtain and share my money.
[00:07:41] Secrets with somebody with more than one person in a room. I wasn’t comfortable with that, but the more that I do this, the more I have conversations with it’s going to depend an entrepreneur. That’s already got two clinic therapy clinics or two optometry clinics. Probably aren’t good. Isn’t going to have time for a group or want to be in that type of a [00:08:00] group, but a lot of the startup businesses that I’m still talking to, that I spend a lot of time supporting they, they are going to be interested in that group dynamics. And so, yeah, I do think we’re going to start one even to the fact that just to help create a ritual or habit around how they look at their money. So I did a beta.
[00:08:19] For the group program. And the one thing that came out of it was that simply that having the space like we did money Mondays, it was a co-working session. They had the space to show up and pay attention to their numbers and work on their business was life-changing for these smaller businesses, because if they didn’t have that.
[00:08:38] They wouldn’t be doing it. They wouldn’t be looking at it and they wouldn’t tab their budget and they wouldn’t have sales generation and they still do it today because it built that habit over the 90 days that they did it. So just that piece I think, is going to be for beneficial
[00:08:52] VIRGINIA: [00:08:52] So how do you go about getting in front of potential customers and clients??
[00:08:56] CONNIE: [00:08:56] Yeah. Well,
[00:08:57] it’s co you know, be pre COVID. You [00:09:00] would go to networking events, right? I try to view online and there are some that. I have done it successfully and some haven’t. And now that they’re pivoting back to in-person, I’m noticing it’s getting really lost when they’re trying to do the virtual and in-person at the same time.
[00:09:17] So my best bet is strategic partners. You learn this in like business networking, international or BNI. They do a really good job teaching. This concept is that you find partners that have a similar ideal client issue and you get to know each other really well as referral partners. Or in my case, business coaches do really well referring to me once they know what I do, because that’s not necessarily what they’re doing in their business.
[00:09:44] They’re working mostly with clients about talk line or sales or packaging or, or hiring their team or that type of level. They’re not working with them on how are, how much are they keeping? Are they paying themselves? And how are they creating debt reduction? [00:10:00] So it’s finding a strategic partner and creating that relationship based for referrals is probably the best way I can get in front of a client because normally they come from one of my strategic partners.
[00:10:11] They’re already ready to say. Yeah.
[00:10:14] VIRGINIA: [00:10:14] And they’re either warm or hot, like they basically have that in the light can trust you pretty much already.
[00:10:20] CONNIE: [00:10:20] Yeah. It’s again, that’s not going to be for all businesses because some businesses do better by, you know, the amount of people they meet. But I only work with a very small handful of people.
[00:10:30] So I do need a more warmer referrals. So that they can get the test. We’re talking money to not a lot of people are interested in immediately lifting their skirts and showing me what’s what’s underneath. So we need to hike, have a first date chat about before we get in a serious relationship. So when you get that warmer referral, that’s a really great thing.
[00:10:54] And it takes a little time to build those strategic partners. It is about more relationship building than it is passing [00:11:00] business cards.
[00:11:00] VIRGINIA: [00:11:00] For sure so you touched on Like next year, having group coaching and stuff. Do you have any other like big goals in the next couple years that you hoping to achieve?
[00:11:11] CONNIE: [00:11:11] I would really like to find two really good strategic collaborations.
[00:11:17] So at the group coaching will is going to be great. I think that’s going to get, give me some time. Way of leveraging my time and helping me to reach more people because that’s one of my big dreams is to reach over a hundred people in the next five years. And so that there’ll be a great way to do that, but I think finding two strategic collaborators that I can refer to and that we can refer back and forth and that we build this team style concept
[00:11:43] I think it’s going to be really awesome, whether that’s going to be a business coach or some type of coach or a Mike, a money coach or a CFO type of thing, there’s going to be some type of great collaboration. That’ll help me reach more people as well.
[00:12:00] [00:12:00] VIRGINIA: [00:12:00] So how will that affect your business? Being able to get the referals.
[00:12:04] CONNIE: [00:12:04] Well, not
[00:12:05] only am I going to be able to touch more people and share that cash handling strategy with them and just help the big, I really like to work with people that have. A big dream of about culture change. And so as they’re going out and building their Bill’s business, they’re, you know, impacting more and more people.
[00:12:24] So it’s like that domino effect, but it also allows me to increase what I’m giving back to my community. So right now I give 3% of my gross sales to my community or local community organizations. And by building it to more and serving more businesses, I can increase that to five to 10%. And I’m really excited about that.
[00:12:46] VIRGINIA: [00:12:46] That’s fun. It’s fun. How you’re paying it forward. Do you feel like you need, if there’s any roadblocks. Kind of stopping you from getting there?
[00:12:55] CONNIE: [00:12:55] Well, I think the biggest thing is I’m still in burnout recovery. [00:13:00] So I, after I grew the business for six years and had that roadblock moments of like, what am I doing?
[00:13:07] This is sustainable. I still hustle for a long time. And so burnout happens when we’re not being fully supported by our business and learning how to read. Engage with our business without having to be constantly busy. That seems to be the roadblock right now, learning new behaviors and learning new ways of prioritizing my health and myself first and my family.
[00:13:32] And then, you know, creating a more sustainable long-term business plan. that’s been the one roadblock that I’ve had.
[00:13:39]VIRGINIA: [00:13:39] And I think that’s a key one that you said too, like with busy, like we need to change our perception of busy, right? Busy being busy isn’t necessarily, it’s smart, busy that we need to focus on.
[00:13:52] CONNIE: [00:13:52] It’s a smart, busy for it.
[00:13:54] If you plan on having, you know, along business. So some entrepreneurs are very quick starters. They like [00:14:00] to get in, start the business and then sell it and move on to another great new idea. And that energizes them. And, but if you are the kind that wants entrepreneur that wants to have a business and that you have a, you see that you want to create a legacy with it, like you want to do this for 20 years, 25 years.
[00:14:18] It’s for the long we’re in it for the long game. So you’ve got to find a way to create sustainability that help fills you back up and keeps your energy up and adds to your house. And a business structure that pays for itself and that it can keep going. Long-term like having that profit reserve when COVID hit the clients that had that little cash reserve, we’re able to respond a lot better than those that hadn’t had any reserves at all.
[00:14:46] So. We got to create some sustainability for our business and our lifestyle. So true.
[00:14:51] VIRGINIA: [00:14:51] I totally think that like last year definitely was a reminder to everybody that we need to have like a sustainability aspect and reserves [00:15:00] and all that stuff that sometimes we forget about when things are going really well.
[00:15:05] CONNIE: [00:15:05] Yes.
[00:15:06] VIRGINIA: [00:15:06] So what’s the best advice that you have ever received?
[00:15:12] CONNIE: [00:15:12] I’m glad you gave me a little note on that first because I have three, but I focused on one. I think the one that was the biggest impact was learning that you have choice. So that’s my big impact. When is that? And it’s really sad to say that. 30 or 40 something.
[00:15:30] I didn’t realize I had choice in everything I could do, but we do. We have choices and we can change our decision every 30 seconds if we need to. But choice is a big thing, but the big one was money follows joy, not the other way around, or sometimes people hear it as do what you love and the money will follow.
[00:15:48] And that’s so true because building a business of something, I really didn’t enjoy money. Money was there, but it wasn’t plentiful to be there. But when you can lead with [00:16:00] joy in what you’re doing and really be out there in the world, like excited to do what you do, money really enjoys coming and spending time.
[00:16:10] That type of energy and you can make a big impact. And of course, people want to work with that energy too. So if you can like create a business that, or a business that supports something that makes you really joyful every day, that is the best advice I’ve ever been given.
[00:16:29] VIRGINIA: [00:16:29] I like that one. Thanks for sharing.
[00:16:33] More than one. What’s the best advice you’ve ever given.
[00:16:39]CONNIE: [00:16:39] Yeah, the best advice I’ve given. And after hitting that rock bottom moment and learning the cash handling system is findthe way, to create a pause in the flow of money in your business. And that could be paying vendors only twice a month. So letting money rest and sit in your bank accounts and like you control when your team and your [00:17:00] vendors get paid, they do not.
[00:17:02] And so creating a pause in the system and like really celebrating that money when it comes in is makes a huge different, I can see an entirely like new appreciation of how many supports everything when people create the pause and really lean into that. And don’t let that way, they’re not letting other people run the business or run how the money is flowing.
[00:17:25] They’re taking more leadership and more in control of what that looks.
[00:17:30]VIRGINIA: [00:17:30] That. And they’re not getting rid of it as soon as it comes in.
[00:17:32] CONNIE: [00:17:32] Yes. Money does money really like to stick around. If when I was in the hustle phase, money was really spinning. Before it even came in. And so, you know, you had, I had commercial occupancy, so I had rent, I had payroll, I had all of these things that I was always constantly hustling to find the sale, to pay for the things that were already spent.
[00:17:54] And so money never really sat around very long and it didn’t really understand what it was there for. [00:18:00] And so it didn’t, it wasn’t joyful at all.
[00:18:05] VIRGINIA: [00:18:05] Well, I’m glad you found the joy in it.
[00:18:07] CONNIE: [00:18:07] Yes. You have to find the joy in it. Yeah.
[00:18:09] VIRGINIA: [00:18:09] So what’s something that you love doing in your business right now?
[00:18:12] CONNIE: [00:18:12] I am really excited to get on a call and mentor with my clients.
[00:18:18] And it’s a little hard to explain. There’s a little bit of therapy involved, and again. What I do is because I didn’t see it. I didn’t get it myself. Like you could, I couldn’t go home to my partner and talk about my business as an employee. He just doesn’t understand what it’s like to be an entrepreneur. And then I also, my business coach didn’t ask me about it.
[00:18:39] And a lot of people don’t want to talk about money. They’re really. Shameful and they don’t, that’s just not something you talk about in public. And so there was nobody there to share that information with and have those conversations. And so I really enjoy breaking that mold and having that type of conversation.
[00:18:57] So we’re doing therapy. [00:19:00] Sometimes we’re doing some mindset resets or, and just seeing how busy people are taking their big visions. And going out there and doing big culture changes is just eye-opening to me, it’s so exciting to talk to an entrepreneur that has a big vision. It’s very energizing so.
[00:19:16] VIRGINIA: [00:19:16] And it’s
[00:19:17] nice too, that you’ve created like a safe place for someone to ask because otherwise they would worry that they ask for questions,
[00:19:23] yeah, right?
[00:19:23] CONNIE: [00:19:23] Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. It’s a soft, it’s a soft space, so you like it’s, you know, like the kids and going to the park, they are trying to make the ground softer. So if they fall, you know, cause their kids are going to fall that they want it to be not as hard concrete all the time. And so it’s the same thing with money and numbers.
[00:19:43] We have to have a soft place that we can go to, to fall and skin our knees a little bit, but we can get back up and get going. And so how can you create that? There’s a lot of people have this more father figure, principal figure idea of like when they go to their tax pros or to their, to [00:20:00] the bank, that they have to be professional and perfect.
[00:20:03] And you have to know all these things and in actuality, most businesses don’t. And so how do they get the education to support them so that they have more. Knowledge and competence of what they’re presenting numbers to, or, or asking for when they go to a bank or ask what questions to ask when they go to their tax, pro they need a little bit of softness to create that.
[00:20:27] VIRGINIA: [00:20:27] So true. Is there anything that you want to share with us that I haven’t asked you yet.
[00:20:33] CONNIE: [00:20:33] this might be odd for people, but I’d like to encourage people to celebrate their money more. And I’ve done a couple of things. I’ve loved your money. And a lot of things come up around that about if there’s a biblical reference of it being good or bad, but money really isn’t good or bad.
[00:20:50] It’s just how we are currently exchanging our goods and services. That’s how somebody can pay us for our talents or whatever product that we have. And so [00:21:00] how can we change? Our mindset and relationship with money. And one of the things you can do is either a gratitude practice, like include it in your gratitude list or find ways that money is adding to your life.
[00:21:14] And thank it or celebrate it when it comes in, you know, do a dance, sing a song. I have a bell, I rang really amp up the joy when it comes to money. You’ll probably see more of that. Not going to guarantee it, but I’m gonna think that you’re going to be looking and being able to see more opportunities. If you do
[00:21:34] VIRGINIA: [00:21:34] celebrate it, not spend it or not celebrate it by spending it.
[00:21:37] I guess if
[00:21:40]CONNIE: [00:21:40] I’m a spender, I’m a natural spender at heart. So I do get this mad money type of thing, and those endorphins that I get from spending. And so I’ve had to create some guidelines or habits around for me. So I still get to spend it. But you have to have a plan on what money is going to do before you spend it so that it it’ll make a bigger [00:22:00] impact on your life and business.
[00:22:02] VIRGINIA: [00:22:02] Totally true. Well, Connie, I really appreciate you being here with us today.
[00:22:09] CONNIE: [00:22:09] Thank you. It was a lot of fun.
[00:22:13] VIRGINIA: [00:22:13] Where can we find out more about you and what you do?
[00:22:16] Well, it
[00:22:16] CONNIE: [00:22:16] seems super easy. You can go to www money, action, tips.com and that’s tips with an S and as an educator, my job is to make sure, if this triggered any questions or concerns that we get those taken care of.
[00:22:31] So, you know what your next steps are. So there’s a way to schedule sales free complimentary conversation. If you’d rather date me a little bit first, there’s a free report on there as well.
[00:22:44] VIRGINIA: [00:22:44] Awesome. I use my husband’s. Okay. Thank you so much, Connie.
[00:22:49] CONNIE: [00:22:49] Thank you.
[00:22:50] VIRGINIA: [00:22:50] You’re awesome. Have a great day.
[00:22:51] CONNIE: [00:22:51] Bye
[00:22:55] VIRGINIA: [00:22:55] thank you so much for joining us today. Be sure to subscribe and leave some love through a review and [00:23:00] I’ll catch you on the next episode.
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