Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Laura Olsen, Founder of CenterFocus, located in Vancouver, WA, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

I'm a CPA providing humanized accounting services to small businesses in the Pacific Northwest. Humanized accounting means taking time to build relationships based on respect and trust so that our clients gain more financial clarity in a safe and supportive environment.

Tell us about yourself

I founded CenterFocus because I believe there is a deep emotional connection between people and their finances that often goes unrecognized by accounting professionals. As an accountant, I need to be objective and rational in my work, but staying connected to the people behind the numbers is equally important. I love helping business owners release financial anxiety and empowering them to grow their dream businesses.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest feeling of accomplishment came a few days ago when I was speaking to a client whose business has changed significantly in the current economy. They are considering several options, including a move out of state. I told them that when they move, I understand if they prefer to work with a local accountant but that I'd be happy to continue working with them long-distance.

They responded that they were so relieved that I would still work with them long-distance. They let me know how much less stressed they've felt having me as their accountant, and they were really worried that I wouldn't be able to work with them anymore. Knowing that I'm living my mission to help people feel less stressed and more at peace in their business is what keeps me going when times are hard.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

I think many of us start businesses looking for the freedom that we couldn't find in traditional employment. I have definitely found that freedom, but it comes at the price of being in charge of EVERYTHING. I don't think you can fully understand what that's like until you experience it yourself.

I love that my business gives me the opportunity to get out of my comfort zone. It's helped me grow in ways I never expected. However, living too much outside of your zone of genius is exhausting and overwhelming. Finding the right balance and staying centered in an ever-changing world is an art form that I practice every day.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

First, be clear about why you're starting your business and what you want from it. I think it's so easy to get lost in the busyness of business that we forget why we started out in the first place. Know your why. Take time to think about your ideal life - and write it down! Revisit this often and let it guide you in your decision-making.

Second, stop waiting for perfection. The perfect name, logo, mission statement, slogan, Instagram post, or whatever else you're obsessing over doesn't exist. The perfect time to start your business will never happen. Start with where you're at and keep going, learning, and evolving.

Third, you're not in this alone. Running a business can get really lonely if you let it. Get help from professionals in areas where you aren't an expert. Take time to build relationships with other small business owners. Ask for help when you need it. Don't get stuck in the feeling that you have to do it all yourself.

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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