Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Denise Peloquin, Owner of My Studio Desk LLC, located in Gilbert, AZ, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I am the founding solutionist of My Studio Desk LLC and am a CPA (Certified Public Accountant) and also a CDA (Certified Design Accountant). I run a small accounting business that provides accounting and business consulting services to the interior design community. I am also an industry partner of the local Arizona chapter of ASID (American Society of Interior Designers).
Tell us about yourself
I am a CPA who stumbled into the wonderful world of interior design. It all began when I decided to leave "corporate" America after 9/11 drastically changed my situation. I always had an entrepreneurial bug, so I decided it was time to fly solo. I have worked for various corporations doing financial accounting for about 16 years. I wanted to keep doing accounting, just for small business owners rather than corporations. So I decided to obtain my CPA license and went to work for a small CPA firm where I was sent out on an assignment to do accounting for one of his clients.
That client turned out to be a top award-winning designer in Scottsdale, and something just clicked for me. After obtaining enough work experience for my CPA license, I launched my own business. The designer I was working with asked about hiring me directly, and thus began my journey into the world of design. I have never looked back and never enjoyed my work more. The year was 2004, and since then, I have built a niche by helping interior designers with the intense levels of paperwork required to see a design concept become a reality.
My motivation comes from a desire to help others and to know that, as entrepreneurs, we all struggle to juggle a million hats, and finding a team, even if it's outside our own company, is the key to success for us all. There are so many things I need the talent of someone else to help me, and knowing my talent will help someone else's dreams come true is the best reward.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I reflect back over the 20 years I have been in business and know that God has led each step and opened doors I could never have imagined walking through. The greatest of those was making it through the 2008 housing crash, which took away 80% of my revenue almost overnight (I was also single at the time with no other household income source) since all my clients were tied to the housing market. I wanted to give up my niche market and expand into other areas I could serve small businesses as a CPA, but I decided to instead re-focus my endeavors and was helped by the fact the software I partner with for my clients went cloud-based. I found myself being able to not just serve my local community but now am working with designers coast-to-coast and border-to-border.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
For me, my greatest challenge is delegating. I am a "do-er," not a delegator, so when I had to decide to either stop taking on more clients or expand, that was the hardest thing. Finding the right people for your team is another challenge. It is necessary sometimes to stop or pause long enough to revamp your systems to make them grow. When you are solo and 100% reliant on your business as your income source, that can be scary because you don't get paid for working on your own internal systems, but the payoff is worth it.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Follow your dreams! As a CPA, my innate nature says to be financially savvy. No CPA would ever start a business instead of taking a well-paying job with only $400 in the bank and having lost their home after 911 trashed me financially. But, I followed my dreams and took the risk to walk through doors I saw God opening for me. Yes, I ate a lot of rice and beans in that first year, but it was worth it.
- Don't be afraid to ask for help! I am your standard type A, DIY personality, yet we all need help. That help might be someone else in your industry to bounce questions off of or someone with skills you don't have; either way, be sure to admit when you need help because we all need help.
- Hug your success... and yourself too! Each day, take time to acknowledge a success you have made along the way. It might be something so small you wouldn't think about it, such as getting up and making a tough phone call or getting a stake of paperwork filed away or scanned, so the corner of your desk is cleaned off. We tend to sometimes be our own worst critics. There are so many challenges and failures as we journey our entrepreneurial road that it's important to remember to hug our successes because very few people even try to walk this path, and that alone makes each entrepreneur a hero in my eyes.
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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