Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in financial services but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jazmin Cicotti, Owner of Avid Accounting and Tax LLC., located in Eastsound, WA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Avid Accounting and Tax LLC is a tax preparation, business consultation, and accounting firm on Orcas Island. We handle the monthly, quarterly, and annual accounting needs for our small business clients, but we specialize in going beyond the day-to-day service by creating an atmosphere where our clients feel like they can reach out to us for those day-to-day financial management questions. Cash flow, tax savings, tax planning, payroll overhead, and more.
We give all of our clients the option to have at least two annual consultations to dive into a deep review of their financial situation in order to assess if the business is bleeding money or making a higher profit margin and therefore needing some in-depth tax planning. Our passion is to help empower business owners to make a successful business and keep more of the funds for themselves and their families.
Tell us about yourself
I grew up in a small town and fell in love with preparing tax returns when I interned at an office and overheard conversations. It’s not just about taxes, it’s about your divorce, your kids, your financial and personal life struggles and successes, and how those taxes directly impact what’s going on. Once I realized that most hard-working families were unaware of just how much their life decisions would impact them at the end of the year, I knew I wanted to find a way to learn the legal loopholes and ways to educate and empower hard-working people to be successful while keeping the money for their families and community. What motivates me to keep going is when I work alongside a company, and I see them again a year later, having hit six figures while still paying less in taxes than the year before. When I see our plans actually working and the smile on their face knowing they can afford a well-deserved vacation or fund a retirement account, that makes me incredibly happy.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment is to have started this accounting and tax firm while pregnant, with a newborn and now a toddler. There were a lot of ups and downs to navigate with starting a new business, but adding in those personal life factors definitely made it more challenging. I’m so thankful to have overcome the hurdles. I’ve grown so much personally and within my business. In a year and a half, I went from a one-woman show to having 5 employees and a 6 figure business. There’s still a lot of work to put into my business to ensure it runs smoothly and I don’t have to work 90-hour weeks, but it’s almost there, and I’m happy to finally have reached a place where I can work more normal hours, spend more time with my family and focus on my passions: consultations and tax preparation.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
I think the hardest thing that comes with being a business owner is not being able to clock out. If you hire employees and they make mistakes, you have to put out the fires, navigate through client relations, etc. When you grow your business, you have to put in the funds, work long hours to build up the business with marketing, etc. It takes a lot of discipline and focus. There have been quite a few times when I went through some rough patches due to growing too quickly or making naïve choices in the beginning days. My husband and I have a long-standing joke to just quit and move to another state and start over if it runs into the ground, but once we make it past those days, we realize that all that work pays off and actually builds up the reputation more because outsiders see me trying to fix things, no matter what.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Hire an accountant/tax professional. This is because if you hire the right person, they shouldn’t just be doing your books (and honestly, you can do that yourself the first year), but they should be walking you through the different entity options, how to ensure you’re charging a base rate that will create a profit and help with your receipt and bookkeeping.
- Find at least one person to talk to who is also an entrepreneur. No one else will truly understand like a fellow business owner, and as your business goes through its many changes in those first few years, it’s really helpful to have someone to bounce ideas off of.
- Know when it’s time to invest in yourself. Hire a mentor or coach, take a few classes, and read a few books. You will reap the rewards tenfold. And don’t dive into paying someone $10k right away. There are a lot of experienced entrepreneurs and business owners out there in your field who are closer to retirement and happy to pay it forward for their hourly rate.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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