Show cover of Financial Clarity

Financial Clarity

This is Financial Clarity, the podcast dedicated to helping service-based small business owners achieve financial success. Join us as we demystify financial concepts, get practical tips from seasoned entrepreneurs, and discover strategies to increase profit and value.


Mastering Productivity to Maximize Small Business Profits With Amber De La Garza
Amber De La Garza is a coach, trainer, speaker, and writer renowned for her work as The Productivity Specialist. Through her role as the host of the Small Business Straight Talk Podcast and creator of Leverage Lab®, Amber dedicates her expertise to assisting entrepreneurs in enhancing their productivity, helping them to maximize their profits and minimize stress. With a career foundation as a licensed real estate agent and a bachelor's degree in real estate and business management, she brings over 20 years of experience in real estate management, training, and business coaching to the table. Amber's approach is focused on empowering small business owners to improve their time management and productivity skills, leading to increased business success without compromising personal life and relationships. She achieves this by offering a range of services including one-on-one coaching, group coaching, and workshops, all designed to help clients master their mindset, expand their skill set, and build efficient business systems. In this episode… Is it possible to find success and profitability in your small business without sacrificing all your time and energy? Can a strategic approach to time management and productivity make a significant difference in how you run your business and enjoy life? According to Amber De La Garza, a highly acclaimed productivity specialist, the answer is a resounding yes. Amber brings over a decade of experience in transforming the operational efficiency of small businesses. By moving from a reactive to a proactive mindset, business owners can steer their daily schedules toward high-value activities that directly impact their bottom line. Amber emphasizes the importance of planning every day with a structured yet flexible approach, allowing for a balance between strategic growth activities and immediate operational demands. Her method is not about rigid schedules but about aligning daily actions with long-term goals, ensuring a business serves both its clients and its owner's personal life. In this episode of the Financial Clarity podcast, host Hannah Smolinski sits down with Amber De La Garza to delve into mastering productivity for small business success. They discuss the transformative power of effective time management, strategies for transitioning from reactive to proactive work habits, and the importance of aligning business operations with personal goals for sustainability and profitability.
47:30 3/19/24
Rethinking the American Dream With Sara Kappler
Sara Kappler is the CEO of Centric Squared, a CRM-driven agency specializing in email and SMS marketing. Having pivoted to CRM consulting and email marketing after over a decade in digital consulting, Sara specializes in high-performing marketing campaigns for clients in the finance, e-commerce, and online business niches. A mom of three with a recent international move from Seattle to Germany, she started her company to challenge the 9-5 norm and create flexibility for herself. As a business growth partner, Sara is committed to her clients' success and protecting her remote team's flexibility while fostering a high-caliber, professional, and innovative team. In this episode… Remote work has redefined the traditional concept of the American dream, allowing individuals to pursue their career goals outside of the US. With many professionals following this trend, how can remote-first companies foster business growth while transitioning to a new normal in different cultures? For email marketing expert Sara Kappler, the pandemic acted as a catalyst, prompting her family to take the leap and explore new opportunities abroad. While her husband’s German heritage and the prospect of exploring a new country seemed exciting, Sara dreaded her clients’ reactions to her relocation. Reflecting on the challenges she encountered maintaining client relationships and scheduling overlaps after moving to Germany, she emphasizes being upfront. Sara stresses communicating changes to your customers and being sincere by considering their concerns and the timing of the transition. In addition, she emphasizes flexibility and autonomy in remote teams while leveraging systems and strong training to facilitate seamless collaboration. Her approach has not only enhanced customer loyalty but also ensured the successful execution of clients’ campaigns. Tune in to this latest installment of the Financial Clarity podcast as host Hannah Smolinski chats with Sara Kappler, the CEO of Centric Squared, about her experience relocating her company to another country. Sara shares her transition from digital consultancy to running an email marketing agency, the curiosity that fueled her decision to move to Germany, her experience managing a team and client relationships across different time zones, and personal finance tips for expats.
49:41 3/12/24
Scaling Services Through Training With Adam Lean
Adam Lean is the CEO and Co-Founder of The CFO Project, a company dedicated to training financial professionals on how to offer outsourced Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and business advisory services. With an accounting background and years of experience in the corporate world, Adam transitioned into entrepreneurship, successfully launching, growing, and eventually selling two businesses. His journey in assisting other business owners led to the discovery of his true passion: educating and equipping entrepreneurs with the tools necessary to enhance their profitability and achieve financial peace of mind. In this episode… In the fast-paced world of small businesses, how can accountants and financial professionals do more for their clients and grow their own businesses at the same time? Is there a way to offer more value without getting overwhelmed by more work? According to Adam Lean, a seasoned entrepreneur, the key is to focus on training and develop a system that allows for scaling services. He emphasizes the importance of having an entrepreneurial mindset and the courage to step beyond traditional accounting roles to become a trusted business advisor. This approach not only enhances the value provided to clients but also opens up new avenues for professional growth and business development. In this episode of the Financial Clarity podcast, host Hannah Smolinski talks with Adam Lean, CEO and Co-founder of The CFO Project, about how financial professionals can expand their impact through training. They discuss the significance of understanding business numbers, the critical role of cash flow management, and the necessity of overcoming imposter syndrome to succeed in offering outsourced CFO services.
47:02 3/5/24
Empowering Women in Business Through Abundance and Resilience With Andrea Heuston
Andrea Heuston is the CEO and Founder of Artitudes Design, an award-winning creative agency. She has over 20 years of experience in the design industry and has won several awards such as the Puget Sound Business Journal’s 40 under 40, the Annual Enterprising Women of the Year Awards for Enterprising Women Magazine, Cambridge Who’s Who, and the Key4Women Achieve Award. Andrea holds a degree in communications and design from the University of Washington. She is a speaker, author, and host of the Lead Like a Woman Show, where she features top women leaders to share their inspirational stories on life and leadership. In this episode… How can adopting an abundance mindset and demonstrating resilience lead to empowerment and success for women in the business world? According to Andrea Heuston, a seasoned entrepreneur and advocate for female leadership, the foundation of success lies in fostering an environment of abundance and resilience. Having overcome significant personal and professional challenges, she emphasizes the importance of abundant thinking not only for personal growth but as a strategy for building a thriving business. Andrea's approach underscores the power of resilience, the value of empathetic leadership, and the impact of supporting women in their entrepreneurial journeys. By leading with empathy and focusing on the collective success of her team and clients, Andrea models how women in business can achieve remarkable outcomes. In this episode of the Financial Clarity podcast, Hannah Smolinski welcomes Andrea Heuston, CEO and Founder of Artitudes Design, to explore empowering women in business through abundance and resilience. They discuss Andrea's entrepreneurial journey, her strategies for overcoming adversity, and her commitment to fostering female leadership.
43:02 2/27/24
Creating a Productized Service With Mallory Ulaszek
Mallory Ulaszek is the Co-founder of Week of the Website, a web design agency that simplifies the process of creating websites for small businesses, agencies, and large enterprises. With a rich background in leading various marketing, finance, sales, and operations teams, Mallory leverages her extensive experience to create an intuitive web design process for firms. Prior to her current ventures, she was deeply involved in event production, fundraising strategies for nonprofits, and entrepreneurship through owning and operating multiple retail stores in the Chicagoland area. In this episode… How does transforming a traditional service into a productized offering revolutionize the way small businesses approach web design? According to Mallory Ulaszek, a pioneering entrepreneur in web services, the key lies in streamlining and structuring the design process to make it as efficient and transparent as possible. She highlights the significance of condensing the development timeline and simplifying client involvement, which directly tackles the industry's notorious opacity and project drag. By introducing a structured, week-long development sprint, Mallory's method significantly enhances efficiency, ensuring clients are actively engaged and informed throughout the creation process. This approach not only accelerates delivery but also fosters a more collaborative and stress-free experience for clients, setting a new standard for service delivery in the digital realm. In this episode of the Financial Clarity podcast, host Hannah Smolinski sits down with Mallory Ulaszek, Co-founder of Week of the Website, to talk about creating a productized service. They discuss the inspiration behind Week of the Website, the importance of strategic partnerships, and tips for maintaining a consistent project pipeline. This conversation sheds light on how to efficiently package and sell a service, ensuring quality, transparency, and client satisfaction.
45:47 2/20/24
Grow Your Team With A-Players Using Topgrading With Chris Mursau
Chris Mursau is the President of Topgrading, a proven system that helps organizations build and maintain high-performing teams through hiring, development, and promotion strategies. Since 2001, Chris has been consulting and teaching organizations and individual managers how to pack their teams with A-Players. Chris has conducted over 2,500 in-depth Topgrading assessments for internal and external candidates, helped hundreds of people achieve their A potential, and trained thousands in the guaranteed methods for improving their success. His client list is broad and diverse, including Fortune 500 companies, small to medium-sized businesses, and nonprofit organizations. In April, Chris co-authored his first book, Foolproof Hiring, along with Brad Smart. The book reveals an easy-to-follow instruction course in Topgrading, a time-tested hiring methodology for recruiting A-Players. In this episode… In the competitive landscape of small businesses, assembling a high-performing team is not just an advantage; it's a necessity. But how can service-based businesses ensure they're attracting and hiring the A-Players who will drive their success forward? According to Chris Mursau, an expert in strategic hiring practices, the secret lies in the Topgrading methodology—a comprehensive approach designed to maximize your team's potential by ensuring each new hire is an A-Player. This methodology emphasizes the importance of a rigorous hiring process, including a detailed job scorecard, to clearly define the role and expectations, ensuring a fit not just in skills but in culture and values. By adopting Topgrading, businesses can significantly improve their chances of attracting and retaining top talent, transforming their teams into a competitive edge. In this episode of the Financial Clarity podcast, Hannah Smolinski talks with Chris Mursau, President of Topgrading, Inc., about how to grow your team with A-Players using Topgrading. They discuss creating a compelling job posting as a marketing tool, the significance of having a sufficient candidate pool, and the financial impact of mis-hiring, offering actionable advice for service-based business owners aiming to optimize their team's performance and drive their company's success.
42:45 2/13/24
Growing Pains of Building a Profitable Agency With Casey Gromer
Casey Gromer is the Founder and Fractional Integrator at C-Suite Boutique, a firm dedicated to operational leadership and business strategy for female founders. With a focus on enabling CEOs to concentrate more on their passion and purpose, C-Suite Boutique excels in creating and executing business plans that incorporate successful delegation and accountability systems. Casey leverages her 20-year background in business and marketing to foster a more equitable business environment for women entrepreneurs, moms, caregivers, philanthropists, and visionaries, offering executive operational leadership at a fraction of the cost of a full-time executive. Through her leadership, C-Suite Boutique supports a variety of industries, including health and wellness, by designing operations that alleviate day-to-day task burdens, enabling clients to scale their businesses effectively. In this episode… Navigating the transition from a solo entrepreneur to the head of a profitable agency is fraught with hurdles. How does one manage this growth while ensuring the business remains profitable and true to its founding principles? According to Casey Gromer, the journey involves meticulous planning, strategic financial management, and a willingness to adapt to the evolving needs of both the business and its clientele. She highlights the importance of compensating team members fairly, managing operational costs, and setting clear financial goals that align with personal aspirations. Casey's approach to building a profitable agency emphasizes the balance between growth, profitability, and personal fulfillment, offering valuable insights for entrepreneurs facing similar challenges. In this episode of the Financial Clarity podcast, host Hannah Smolinski chats with Casey Gromer, Founder and Fractional Integrator at C-Suite Boutique, about overcoming the challenges of growing a profitable agency. They explore Casey's strategies for financial planning, the importance of paying oneself first, and the balance of professional success with personal satisfaction.
48:44 2/6/24
Keeping It Simple With Greg Crabtree
Greg Crabtree is a Partner at CRI Simple Numbers, a firm dedicated to assisting entrepreneurs in optimizing business performance through proven financial strategies and quarterly tax planning. An accomplished speaker, author, entrepreneur, and financial expert with over 40 years of in-depth experience, Greg pioneered a metric for measuring labor efficiency and benchmarks for company and individual performance. He is the author of Simple Numbers, Straight Talk, Big Profits and its sequel, Simple Numbers 2.0, which extend his principles for turning businesses into wealth-building engines. In addition to his publications, Greg has contributed to Verne Harnish's Scaling Up and chairs the EO Wharton Executive Education Program. In this episode… Navigating the complexities of financial management in a rapidly changing economy can be daunting. How can small business owners simplify their approach to ensure sustainability and growth in such a dynamic environment? According to Greg Crabtree, a seasoned financial expert and author, the key lies in focusing on one's own business economy rather than getting lost in the broader economic trends. Greg emphasizes the importance of understanding and adapting to the changing labor market, advocating for a straightforward approach to finances. His philosophy is grounded in practicality, stripping away unnecessary complexities to reveal the core elements that truly drive business success. This approach not only simplifies financial management for entrepreneurs but also enhances their ability to make informed, strategic decisions in an ever-evolving marketplace. entrepreneurs. In this episode of the Financial Clarity podcast, Hannah Smolinski sits down with Greg Crabtree, Partner at CRI Simple Numbers. They explore the concept of 'keeping it simple' in business finances, discussing the importance of gross margin, challenges in scaling a business, and the impact of labor costs on economic trends. Greg's pragmatic advice provides listeners with valuable strategies for thriving in today's competitive market.
55:39 1/30/24
Pioneering a New Approach to Crisis Management With Vanessa Laughlin
Vanessa Laughlin is the Principal and Founder of Banister Advisors, a firm dedicated to assisting individuals and families through complex health crises, elder care, end-of-life bereavement, and estate settlement challenges. With nearly two decades of experience in strategy development, business process improvement, and change management, Vanessa's expertise spans a broad spectrum of professional arenas. She holds an MBA with distinction from the Foster School of Business at the University of Washington and a BA in Economics from Tufts University. Vanessa’s leadership and dedication have been recognized, notably as a member of the 2015 Class of Leadership Tomorrow Seattle and as a 2019 Puget Sound Business Journal 40 Under 40 Finalist. In this episode… When faced with a crisis, whether on a personal or business level, the traditional solutions don't always cut it. How can we rethink crisis management to offer more effective support and guidance during these challenging times? According to Vanessa Laughlin, a seasoned expert in crisis management, the key lies in proactive support and a personalized approach. She emphasizes the importance of having a dedicated team of advisors who can step in during these difficult times, offering guidance, resources, and emotional support. Vanessa believes that crisis management should not be a one-size-fits-all solution but rather a customized experience that empowers individuals and organizations to overcome adversity. In this episode of the Financial Clarity podcast, host Hannah Smolinski sits down with Vanessa Laughlin, Principal and Founder of Banister Advisors, to talk about pioneering a new approach to crisis management. They discuss the importance of having a support system in place during crises, the role of empathy and emotional intelligence in Banister Advisor’s work, and the significant impact their services have on individuals and businesses.
45:07 1/23/24
Designing Tailored Marketing Services for Law Firms With Karin Conroy
Karin Conroy is the Founder and Creative Director at Conroy Creative Counsel, a marketing agency specializing in the legal industry. With a focus on strategic and sophisticated marketing, Karin has established herself as a leader in redefining how law firms approach marketing. Her firm’s signature program, Marketing Co-Counsel™ is rooted in the belief that a cohesive and customized marketing plan is crucial for law firms aiming to enhance their online presence, reputation, and reach. Karin also hosts Counsel Cast, a podcast clarifying marketing questions for law firms. In this episode… Designing tailored marketing services that resonate with a specific industry like law requires both creativity and strategic insight. But what does it take to create marketing services that not only attract law firms but also cater to their unique needs and challenges? According to marketing expert Karin Conroy, success in this niche comes down to understanding the specific marketing needs of law firms and offering customized, strategic solutions. Karin emphasizes the importance of building long-term client relationships, adapting services to meet evolving market demands, and leveraging the power of a well-designed marketing funnel. This blends creative design with practical outcomes, ensuring that each marketing plan aligns with the unique ethos and objectives of law firm clients. In this episode of the Financial Clarity podcast, Hannah Smolinski speaks with Karin Conroy, Founder and Creative Director at Conroy Creative Counsel, about her journey in designing specialized marketing services for law firms. They discuss the intricacies of service design, the evolution of Karin's business model, and the key strategies for maintaining successful client relationships. This insightful discussion sheds light on the unique challenges and opportunities in legal marketing.
45:23 1/16/24
Behavioral Economics and the Truth About Pricing With Melina Palmer
Melina Palmer is the Founder and CEO of The Brainy Business, a firm specializing in behavioral economics training and consulting. A globally recognized keynote speaker, educator, and expert in sales conversion, Melina's work centers on helping businesses understand and leverage the principles of behavioral economics to improve customer engagement and employee participation. She hosts the award-winning podcast, The Brainy Business, which has a global listenership across 170 countries. She is an accomplished author of three books, including her latest, The Truth About Pricing. In this episode… In the intriguing world of behavioral economics, pricing isn't merely a figure on a label; it's a sophisticated interplay of psychology and strategy. How can understanding the human brain aid in navigating this complex area and enhance business success? According to Melina Palmer, a respected authority in applied behavioral economics, the key lies in grasping how the brain processes decisions. She emphasizes the importance of aligning pricing strategies to a business's identity, distinguishing between quality and value positions. Understanding how factors like context, perception, and psychological influences can significantly influence pricing decisions is also crucial. Melina’s insights challenge traditional pricing notions, revealing that it's less about the actual cost and more about the perceived value and overall experience. In this episode of the Financial Clarity podcast, Hannah Smolinski welcomes Melina Palmer, Founder and CEO of The Brainy Business. They discuss how behavioral economics influences pricing strategies, strategies for overcoming personal biases in setting prices, and how to refine your pricing approach in a market driven by complex human behaviors.
42:13 1/9/24
Creating a Curated Customer Experience With Samantha Irwin
Samantha Irwin is a public speaker, small business coach, and consultant. She brings 25 years of leadership experience, having taught middle school for over 12 years. In June 2006, Samantha pivoted from educator to entrepreneur, purchasing a 21-room historic boutique hotel. As a business owner, Samantha developed top-notch marketing skills and enhanced her people skills, which emerged into new business ventures — the Power of People Academy and Creating A Culture Deck. While the academy is an on-demand training program supporting and empowering teams to create first-rate customer experiences, the culture deck is a leadership tool designed to boost customer and staff retention. In this episode… Customer experience encompasses a customer's feelings and perceptions after interacting with a brand's services and products. CX begins before a purchase and continues throughout the customer's relationship with the brand. What are some steps to ensure your customers have enjoyable encounters? Samantha Irwin, an expert in consumer relations, recognizes that the customer experience begins with the staff. One way to ensure that your customers are well-cared for is to first attend to the needs of your employees through effective training, support, and empowerment. To guarantee memorable customer experiences, implement a customer journey map, which visualizes a customer’s experience with a brand. This process begins when a customer initially engages with your brand and includes anticipating their questions and concerns and addressing their emotions. Furthermore, the customer experience continues after leaving your establishment, leading to repeat business. On today’s episode of the Financial Clarity podcast, Hannah Smolinski welcomes Samantha Irwin, public speaker, small business coach, and consultant, to explore customer service. Samantha shares her entrepreneurial journey, explains the customer journey map and how it converts prospects to customers, and discusses the Power of People Academy, a platform educating and empowering frontline staff to deliver excellent customer service.
51:29 1/2/24
Creating Bestsellers: Strategies for Success in Book Publishing and Marketing With Sarah Russo
Sarah Russo is the Founder of Page One Media, a boutique literary publicity and marketing firm. With over 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, she has demonstrated expertise in a broad spectrum of areas, including communications, traditional marketing, social media marketing, branding, and business development. Her career includes significant roles at major publishing imprints and as Global Head of Audience Engagement at Oxford University Press. Sarah has been instrumental in promoting major literary events, tours, partnerships, and series, and is known for her work in launching individual projects and literary start-ups. In addition to her professional accomplishments, Sarah is a recognized speaker at conferences and book festivals. In this episode… The journey to publishing a bestseller is filled with challenges and nuances that many aspiring authors and entrepreneurs struggle to navigate. What does it take to not only publish a book but also ensure it reaches a wide audience and achieves commercial success? According to Sarah Russo, a seasoned expert in the literary public relations industry, success in book publishing and marketing hinges on a strategic approach that combines savvy marketing techniques with an in-depth understanding of the literary landscape. Sarah emphasizes the importance of understanding your target audience, the timing of a book launch, and the significant role of social media in amplifying a book's reach. Her insights are grounded in over two decades of experience, offering a rare glimpse into the mechanics behind turning a manuscript into a bestseller. In this episode of the Financial Clarity podcast, Hannah Smolinski hosts Sarah Russo, the Founder of Page One Media, to discuss the intricate world of book publishing and marketing. They explore the essential strategies for making a book a bestseller, the impact of social media in the literary world, practical tips for authors navigating the publishing industry, and key factors that influence a book’s market success.
50:52 12/26/23
You Only Live Once – Why Not Grow a Business? With Caity Cronkhite
Caity (Caitlin) Cronkhite is the Founder and CEO of Good Words, a technical writing and documentation consulting firm. Good Words provides strategic, management, and implementation support to companies across different industries, ranging from Fortune 500 companies to small five-person startups. Caity grew up on a farm in Indiana and majored in technical writing at Carnegie Mellon University. In this episode… Embracing risk and seizing opportunities are vital in the entrepreneurial journey, but how does one turn these concepts into a thriving business? In a world where the only constant is change, can a YOLO (You Only Live Once) attitude be the key to business success? According to Caity Cronkhite, a freelancer turned entrepreneur, it certainly is. Her approach, which entails blending a willingness to take calculated risks with a deep commitment to learning and growth, has been pivotal. She emphasizes the importance of staying agile, adapting to market changes, and consistently seeking new opportunities for expansion and improvement. Caity's story is not just about growing a business, but also about the personal development that comes with embracing uncertainties in entrepreneurship. In this episode of the Financial Clarity podcast, Hannah Smolinski talks with Caity Cronkhite, Founder and CEO of Good Words, about transforming a YOLO mentality into a business growth strategy. They discuss Caity's unique journey, the challenges and triumphs of running Good Words, and the importance of financial metrics and payment terms in managing a business. This episode offers invaluable insights into the entrepreneurial mindset, financial management, and the power of seizing opportunities in business.
48:55 12/19/23
Enhancing Education Through Community-Centric Research With Monica Martinez
Monica Martinez is the Co-founder of EduDream, a Latina-founded women-owned research consulting firm dedicated to transforming education by integrating community insights with rigorous research. With over 15 years of experience in applied research, Monica specializes in partnering with foundations, nonprofits, and educational institutions to offer community-centered research, evaluation, and strategy. Her work primarily involves overseeing EduDream's quantitative research portfolio, leading the analysis of complex datasets, and examining the impact of programs and policies. Monica's journey as a daughter of immigrants and her educational experiences have fueled her commitment to improving educational access and opportunities for all students. In this episode… Transforming education through research requires more than just academic expertise; it involves a deep understanding of community needs and values. But how can rigorous research methodology truly align with and enhance the educational experiences of diverse communities? According to Monica Martinez, a seasoned expert in applied research, the secret lies in integrating community voices with thorough research methodologies. With over 15 years of experience in applied research, Monica highlights the importance of this integration. It's not just about gathering data; it's about ensuring educational strategies are effectively tailored and resonate with the communities they're meant to serve. Her approach emphasizes the need for thorough and empathetic research, capable of driving meaningful change in the education sector. In this episode of the Financial Clarity podcast, Hannah Smolinski is joined by Monica Martinez, Co-founder of EduDream, to explore the role of community-centric research in education. They discuss EduDream's mission-driven approach, the benefits of being a certified minority and women-owned business, and practical strategies for responding to Requests for Proposals (RFPs) in the educational sector.
44:22 12/12/23
A Year-Round Approach to Strategic Financial Planning With Laura Shiel
Laura Shiel is the Virtual CFO at Clara CFO Group, a firm that specializes in offering strategic financial guidance and support to small businesses. With a diverse background in accounting and finance, Laura's experience spans various sectors, including public accounting, financial services, and corporate finance in a Fortune 500 company. She holds two esteemed credentials in the finance world: she is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA). As a fractional CFO, Laura is dedicated to helping small business owners achieve their personal and professional aspirations. In this episode… Strategic financial planning isn't just an annual task—it's a year-round endeavor. For small business owners, navigating financial challenges and opportunities throughout the year can be daunting. How can they maintain consistent financial health and growth? What strategies can make this ongoing process both manageable and effective? Laura Shiel, a seasoned accounting and finance expert, highlights the importance of continuous financial planning. She advises that regularly setting and revisiting financial goals is essential. This practice not only aligns with the company's evolving vision but also keeps pace with market changes. Laura emphasizes integrating financial planning with sales and marketing strategies, ensuring all business activities drive toward common objectives. Most importantly, she advocates for adaptability, highlighting that a flexible approach can significantly bolster a company's financial resilience and growth prospects. In this episode of the Financial Clarity podcast, Hannah Smolinski and Laura Shiel, Virtual CFO at Clara CFO Group, dive into the nuances of year-round strategic financial planning. They discuss critical aspects like setting dynamic financial goals, aligning these with broader business strategies, and the importance of flexibility in financial planning. This episode is packed with valuable insights for small business owners aiming to steer their financial journey with clarity and foresight all year long.
48:23 12/5/23
Achieving Long-Term Success With a Fully Remote Marketing Team With Tracy Marlowe
Tracy Marlowe is the CEO of Creative Noggin, a branding, marketing, and communications firm renowned for its expertise in humanizing marketing messages and developing authentic, evocative brands. Under her leadership, Creative Noggin has been recognized with numerous awards and media accolades, a testament to its success and innovation in the industry. Tracy's career is distinguished by her commitment to fostering a flexible, inclusive work environment, particularly for women. She established Creative Noggin in 2008 as a fully remote agency, a pioneering move at the time, with a mission to empower talented women to excel in their careers while balancing family life. Tracy's philosophy revolves around the idea that personal well-being and career excellence are not mutually exclusive but rather complementary. In this episode… In a business landscape where remote work is becoming the norm, maintaining a fully remote marketing agency successfully for over a decade is a testament to exceptional leadership and adaptability. What key strategies and insights are essential for sustaining such a business model in the long term, especially in a dynamic and ever-changing industry? Sustaining a fully remote agency since 2008, Tracy Marlowe attributes her success to a blend of strong financial management, a deep understanding of her team's needs, and the ability to adapt to changing market conditions. She emphasizes the importance of balancing employee well-being with client satisfaction and the critical role of financial understanding in guiding business decisions. Tracy's approach involves seeing her business as a growing entity, focusing on reinvestment and strategic growth rather than merely as a source of personal income. In this episode of the Financial Clarity podcast, Hannah Smolinski is joined by Tracy Marlowe, CEO of Creative Noggin, to talk about the longevity and success of her remote marketing agency. They discuss the intricacies of managing a remote workforce, the evolution of remote work dynamics, and the significance of financial literacy in nurturing a business. Tracy also provides tips on maintaining a healthy work-life balance in a virtual setting and financial management strategies for long-term success.
49:22 11/28/23
Leveraging Social Media for Growth in the Design Industry With Darla Powell
Darla Powell is the Founder and CEO of Wingnut Social, a digital marketing agency specializing in services for interior design and luxury brands. Her professional background includes work as an interior decorator and as the owner of Darla Powell Interiors, a direct foundation for her transition into marketing. Under her leadership, Wingnut Social has developed into an agency with a specific focus on the interior design industry, offering services in strategic planning, social media management, and SEO. In this episode… In the design world, where aesthetics and presentation reign supreme, mastering social media is more than just a trend — it's a necessity. But how does one translate the visual appeal of design into effective social media strategies that foster growth and brand recognition? Darla Powell, a seasoned expert in digital marketing for the design sector, emphasizes the critical role of nuanced, platform-specific content in engaging with diverse audiences. By understanding the unique demands of each social media platform, design professionals can amplify their reach and connect authentically with their target market. In this episode of the Financial Clarity podcast, Hannah Smolinski is joined by Darla Powell, Founder and CEO of Wingnut Social, to talk about leveraging social media in the design industry. They explore the pivotal role of Instagram in driving business growth, the long-term benefits of organic social media engagement, and strategies for balancing content across platforms. Darla also shares how she built a successful marketing agency and the importance of pricing and team structure for sustainable growth.
42:53 11/21/23
How To Do More With Less by Being Strategic With Melissa Jacobs
Melissa Jacobs is the CEO and Lead Strategist at Crow & Pitcher, a company specializing in guiding mid-sized businesses through innovation, growth, and strategic reinvention without expanding their team or marketing budget. With over two decades of expertise in marketing, strategy, and innovation roles, she has a well-documented history of steering revenue enhancement for various brands. Her strategic approach has made her a vital partner for companies aiming to achieve transformational growth. Before establishing Crow & Pitcher LLC, Melissa held strategic and execution roles at Kimberly-Clark Corporation, a Fortune 500 consumer goods company. Notably, as the Brand Strategy and Innovation Leader for the Kleenex® brand, she was instrumental in developing a long-term strategy and innovation plan that resulted in a significant $400M sustainable category growth. In this episode… How does one harness the power of strategic focus to grow a business without adding more to their plate? Can the secret to doing more with less be as simple as a change in mindset and method? Melissa Jacobs, a seasoned strategist and entrepreneur, believes that the key to expansive growth in mid-sized businesses doesn't necessarily come from doing more, but rather from strategic prioritization and the disciplined elimination of the non-essential. Her transition from a structured corporate world to the helm of a growth-centric business hinged on leveraging these principles, turning challenges into opportunities for advancement. In this episode of the Financial Clarity podcast, host Hannah Smolinski and Melissa Jacobs, CEO and Lead Strategist at Crow & Pitcher, delve into the art of strategic growth. They unpack the essentials of doing more with less by focusing on key growth accelerators, utilizing the power of external consultants in objective analysis, and embracing the personal development journey that entrepreneurship entails.
46:38 11/14/23
Scaling a Niche Recruiting Firm in the Gaming Industry With Lizzie Mintus
Lizzie Mintus is the Founder and CEO of Here's Waldo Recruiting, a specialized recruiting firm that concentrates on the video game industry. With a commitment to quality over quantity, Here's Waldo prioritizes transparency, communication, and diversity in its recruitment process. Alongside her role at Here's Waldo, Lizzie serves as an ambassador for Women in Games, a globally recognized organization that aims to uplift and empower women within the gaming sphere. Lizzie's goal is to create a transformative recruitment experience where both clients and candidates feel authentically valued and understood. In this episode… Growing a niche recruiting firm in a rapidly evolving industry like gaming requires unique insights and a bold approach. But how does one navigate the complexities and harness the opportunities in this dynamic field? According to Lizzie Mintus, a seasoned recruiter and successful entrepreneur, the key lies in understanding the target market, leveraging pre-existing networks, and asking the right questions. These strategies help to navigate the complex gaming field and highlight potential opportunities, turning challenges into catalysts for growth. In this episode of the Financial Clarity podcast, host Hannah Smolinski speaks with Lizzie Mintus, Founder and CEO of Here's Waldo Recruiting, about her incredible journey of scaling a niche recruiting firm in the gaming industry. They discuss the financial challenges of rapid business growth, the impact of industry layoffs on her business, and the vital role of financial forecasting. Lizzie also shares valuable advice on managing personal finances and tech industry salary trends.
41:57 11/7/23
Understanding Different Accounting Roles for Small Businesses
Hannah Smolinski, a Certified Public Accountant, is the Founder and CEO of Clara CFO Group. Operating on a virtual CFO model, this agency is dedicated to offering small businesses financial clarity along with strategies for profit maximization. Having worked for one of the largest accounting firms in the world, Hannah developed this service to make sure small businesses benefit from top-level financial advice. In addition to running Clara CFO Group, Hannah has a YouTube channel with over 55,000 subscribers. On her channel, she shares practical advice on finance and valuable resources for businesses. Her goal is to help organizations understand their financial situation better and work towards commercial success. In this episode… Ever felt uncertain about the various accounting roles in your small business? Do you ask yourself when it's the right time to hire an accountant and what tasks they should handle? According to Hannah Smolinski, understanding the differences between roles such as bookkeepers, financial accountants, controllers, and CFOs is key for small business owners. She emphasizes that recognizing these roles, knowing what they do, and understanding their impact can significantly influence your business's financial health and success. In this episode of the Financial Clarity podcast, host Hannah Smolinski discusses the differences between the different accounting roles in a business and when you should hire one versus the other. She also gives a practical guide to working with tax preparers, Enrolled Agents (EAs), and CPAs. You’ll gain insights into hiring the right person for your unique accounting needs and clear up common misconceptions about CPA services.
28:08 10/31/23
Building Value-Driven and Sustainable Service-Based Businesses With Jason Swenk
Jason Swenk is the Founder of Agency Mastery 360, a consultancy designed to help marketing agency owners achieve and sustain accelerated growth. He is the resource he wished he had when he started his agency. Jason hosts two podcasts: The Smart Agency Master Class Podcast, which focuses on strategies and stories from real agency owners, and SwenkToday, a show that documents how you can grow your digital agency. Early on, Jason decided to quit his day job and launch a digital marketing agency that grew to a multi-million dollar operation and 100 staff, collaborating with brands like AT&T, Hitachi, and Lotus Cars. After 12 years of growth, he sold the agency in 2012. In this episode… Creating sustainable, value-driven, service-based businesses can be a complex endeavor. With the myriad of challenges that come with running service-based businesses, how can entrepreneurs develop sustainable models that offer value to their clients? Jason Swenk, a renowned consultant for digital agency owners, suggests that the secret lies in focusing on outcomes rather than tasks and streamlining processes. By delegating effectively and developing strategic systems, businesses can truly thrive. Jason's approach goes beyond running a business; he champions the creation of a community that learns, evolves, and succeeds together. In this episode of the Financial Clarity podcast, host Hannah Smolinski is joined by Jason Swenk, Founder of Agency Mastery 360, to talk about his journey towards building value-driven and sustainable service-based businesses. They delve into Jason’s strategies for delegation, hiring and outsourcing, sales process optimization, and overcoming financial challenges.
51:31 10/24/23
Nurturing a Strong Company Culture Across Borders With Steve Kwan
Steve Kwan is the CEO of OpsWerks, a company that specializes in propelling data center and cloud operation teams to thrive. A Silicon Valley native, Steve's roots are deeply entrenched in the world of technology, from his early studies in electrical engineering to his active involvement across the startup landscape. His rich career path, which includes founding companies, leading startups through various stages, and participating in four acquisitions, has informed his passion for enhancing people's lives through technology. He's been a part of eight startups, with half of them being acquired and the other half serving as valuable learning experiences. Today, Steve is on a mission to transform the work experience through OpsWerks. In this episode… Building a strong company culture across geographical borders is no small feat. How does one nurture a cohesive, productive, and engaging team despite the challenges of remote collaboration? According to Steve Kwan, the secret is a blend of clear communication, mutual respect, and shared objectives. His philosophy is about fostering a sense of belonging and engagement across distances, which he achieves by maintaining open lines of communication and ensuring that everybody's contribution is valued and recognized. This approach has not only built a strong remote company culture but also fueled his personal growth and leadership effectiveness. In this episode of the Financial Clarity podcast, host Hannah Smolinski talks with Steve Kwan, CEO of OpsWerks, about the art and practice of cultivating a vibrant company culture across borders. They dive into Steve's method of balancing personal development with successful remote team management, his insights on building strong relationships with his team despite geographical distance, and the unique challenges and rewards of leading a diverse, international workforce.
50:18 10/17/23
Building a Client-Focused and Business-Smart Law Firm With Michelle Bomberger
Michelle Bomberger is the Founder, CEO, and Managing Attorney at Equinox Business Law Group. As a small business founder and entrepreneur, Michelle understands the emotional and practical aspects of owning and scaling a business, which makes her an effective guide for business leaders in evaluating risk and opportunity in their decision-making. She received her MBA and law degrees from Northwestern University and undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame.  Michelle serves on the Board of Directors for Bellevue LifeSpring and Youth Theatre Northwest, catering to youths and families in the community. She was honored by the Puget Sound Business Journal as one of its “40 Under 40” in 2012. In addition, she and Equinox Business Law Group were awarded the King County Executive’s Woman-Owned Small Business of the Year Award in 2013, along with being listed as one of Puget Sound’s 100 Fastest-Growing Private Companies in 2020. In this episode… Balancing a successful legal firm and mastering smart business strategies isn’t always straightforward. How does one find the sweet spot between client-focused services and business success? Michelle Bomberger believes it's all about integrating thoughtful legal practice with straightforward, sound business strategies. Her approach isn't just about guiding clients through legal mazes, but also making sure her law firm stands as a model of strategic, effective business management that ensures stability and client satisfaction. In this episode of the Financial Clarity podcast, host Hannah Smolinski sits down with Michelle Bomberger, CEO of Equinox Business Law Group, to unpack the strategies behind building a client-focused legal firm that also runs effectively as a business. They discuss Michelle’s approach to client relations, how to build a business-minded law firm, and ways to ensure sustainable growth through intelligent business practices.
51:09 10/10/23
Mastering Process Documentation for Business Success With Adi Klevit
Adi Klevit is the Founder and CEO of Business Success Consulting Group, an organization that provides businesses with the infrastructure, processes, and systems they need to thrive. Adi and her team help companies scale, transfer knowledge, and prepare for succession. Adi has over 25 years of experience as a trained industrial engineer, management consultant, and business executive. In this episode… Every entrepreneur dreams of business success, and while there's no one-size-fits-all approach, some practices clearly make a big difference. Could process documentation be that game-changer? Adi Klevit thinks so. Drawing from her extensive experience in business operations, Adi emphasizes the undeniable benefits of thorough and actionable process documentation. With the right documentation, you can foster effective team collaboration and consistent actualization of goals while ensuring the entire operation runs like a well-oiled machine. In this episode of the Financial Clarity podcast, host Hannah Smolinski sits down with Adi Klevit, Founder and CEO of Business Success Consulting Group, to talk about the pivotal role of process documentation in business success. They discuss its significance in refining business operations, share tips for crafting effective documentation, and explore the advantages of having a team synchronized by clear processes. Tune in to learn strategies that can elevate your business' performance and outcomes.
43:41 10/3/23
The Art and Process of Niching Down With Natalie Eckdahl
Natalie Eckdahl is the Founder of Biz Chix, a company dedicated to training, mentoring, and coaching professionals in marketing, consulting, and finance. With over 25 years of business experience complemented by an MBA, Natalie has made it her mission to guide women entrepreneurs in crafting businesses that are profitable, sustainable, and tailored to their lifestyles and priorities. Through Biz Chix, she has coached countless women, hosted The BizChix Podcast since 2014, and earned accolades from notable platforms, including Entrepreneur, Inc. Magazine, and Apple Podcasts. Her contributions to the entrepreneurial world extend beyond coaching, as evidenced by her book R.E.S.E.T. Your Mindset: Silence Your Inner Mean Girl, which offers insights into conquering mindset challenges. In this episode… Ever felt overwhelmed trying to appeal to a broad audience or spread too thin managing a wide range of products? The power of 'niching down' might be the solution you've been seeking. Natalie Eckdahl, a seasoned business strategist and niching expert, emphasizes the transformative effects of narrowing your business focus. According to Natalie, aligning with a specific audience or product range not only leads to more profound connections but also streamlines business operations. This concentrated approach offers clarity, simplifies marketing efforts, and enhances overall business efficiency. In this episode of the Financial Clarity podcast, host Hannah Smolinski sits down with Natalie Eckdahl, Founder of Biz Chix, to break down the art and process of niching down. They discuss the key benefits of choosing a niche, the challenges entrepreneurs face when diversifying too broadly, and actionable strategies to find your ideal niche. Tune in to discover how narrowing your focus can pave the way for profound business growth and clarity.
51:52 9/26/23
Making 10-Hour Work Weeks Possible With Executive Virtual Assistants With Gina Cotner
Gina Cotner is the CEO and Founder of Athena Executive Services, a company that specializes in pairing high-caliber, part-time virtual executive assistants with busy entrepreneurs, business owners, and executives across the United States. With over 15 years of remote work experience on both national and international teams, Gina has honed her company's focus on relieving clients of administrative tasks and projects, enabling them to focus on more critical aspects of their businesses and personal lives. Over the last five years, Gina has specifically tailored Athena Executive Services to prioritize work-life balance, wellness, and overall satisfaction for business owners. In addition to her leadership role, she offers coaching on time management and calendar utilization. Her guidance often leaves people with a renewed sense of agency over their time, transforming their calendars into strategic tools for life management. In this episode… Ever wondered how some entrepreneurs manage to run a successful business while enjoying an enviable work-life balance? Imagine working just 10 hours a week while maintaining a profitable operation. It's not a pipe dream; it's entirely possible. According to Gina Cotner, a seasoned authority in leveraging executive virtual assistants for business efficiency, strategic incorporation of virtual assistants and a focus on key performance metrics can lead to a dramatically reduced workload and a thriving business. This approach allows you to delegate effectively, streamline operations, and achieve more by doing less. In this episode of the Financial Clarity podcast, host Hannah Smolinski sits down with Gina Cotner to explore the transformative power of leveraging executive virtual assistants to achieve a 10-hour work week. They delve into Gina's "10-hour work week" model, the importance of deciding what to delegate, and how specialized virtual executive assistants can help you achieve work-life balance. Learn actionable strategies for reclaiming your time without sacrificing business success.
51:11 9/19/23
From Fractional CFO to Online Educator With Jamie Trull
Jamie Trull is a financial literacy coach and profit strategist who focuses on helping business owners understand the financial side of their business so that they can make and keep more money. Jamie began her career at Ernst & Young before spending a decade at Coca-Cola, rising to a leadership role in finance. In 2018, she founded Balance CFO, leveraging her background as a CPA and significant experience in financial leadership to serve as a virtual CFO for women-owned businesses. Seeking to address the gap in accessible financial education for small business owners, she shifted her business to create valuable resources in this area. Jamie offers online courses designed to empower small business owners and self-employed individuals to take control of their finances and enhance both their professional and personal lives. Armed with a Bachelor's in Analytical Finance and a Master’s in Accountancy from Wake Forest University, she’s a self-described numbers nerd. In this episode… Embarking on an entrepreneurial journey often involves twists and turns, with no one-size-fits-all blueprint for success. How does one transition from offering one-to-one CFO services to an educational business model? According to Jamie Trull, a seasoned financial expert turned online educator, this transition can be both challenging and rewarding. The allure of passive income often masks the extensive work required behind the scenes, while the absence of recurring revenue introduces a level of unpredictability. In this episode of the Financial Clarity podcast, host Hannah Smolinski sits down with Jamie Trull, a financial literacy coach and profit strategist, to discuss her journey from being a CFO to becoming a leading financial management online educator. They talk about the challenges of changing business models, the importance of mindset and celebrating achievements in an entrepreneurial journey, and the role of mentors in inspiring business choices.
49:04 9/12/23
Forging Your Own Path to Success as an Entrepreneur With Madeline Reeves
Madeline Reeves is the Founder and CEO of Fearless Foundry, a creative consultancy focused on aiding ambitious entrepreneurs in the areas of branding, marketing, and business development. The firm offers a suite of services, from go-to-market strategy and content marketing to design work, aiming to help businesses make a meaningful impact in their respective fields. Before launching Fearless Foundry in 2017, Madeline had an extensive career in business development, working with technology companies of varying sizes—from small startups to large, publicly traded corporations. In addition to her role at Fearless Foundry, she also hosts two podcasts: Finding Fearless and Creative Friction, where she explores themes of innovation, leadership, and community engagement. In this episode… Ever feel stuck on the traditional path to entrepreneurial success? Like you're running a race you never signed up for? Perhaps it's time to forge your own path. Navigating the entrepreneurial journey is no small feat, but when you're clear on your vision and values, the path becomes a lot less daunting. Madeline Reeves, Founder and CEO of Fearless Foundry, shares her insights on how to do just that. She built Fearless Foundry on the idea that there's no one-size-fits-all approach to business. By melding branding, marketing, and an authentic business model that aligns with one's personal ethos, Madeline has redefined what it means to be a successful entrepreneur. In this episode of the Financial Clarity podcast, host Hannah Smolinski sits down with Madeline Reeves to explore the art of charting your own course in the entrepreneurial world. Together, they delve into the importance of defining your unique version of success, the role of branding and marketing in amplifying your business, and how to make informed choices about your business model that align with your personal values.
46:16 9/5/23
How To Use Podcast Guesting as a Successful Marketing Strategy With Julie Fry
Julie Fry is the CEO and Founder at Your Expert Guest, a podcast guest booking agency specializing in connecting service providers and impact-driven leaders with top-ranked podcast shows. With a focus on enabling clients to reach their ideal audience without the hassle of social media marketing, she and her team have successfully booked over 1,500 interviews. This has led to significant business growth for their clients, with hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue attributed to podcast appearances. Passionate about the power of meaningful conversations, Julie aims to help experts and business owners leverage podcast guesting as a tool for increasing visibility, brand awareness, and lead generation. In this episode… Podcasting is more than a trend; it's a powerful medium for storytelling, information sharing, and yes, even marketing. But have you ever thought about flipping the script and using podcasts not as a host but as a guest to elevate your business? Julie Fry, podcast guest booking expert, is an authority on maximizing the impact of podcast guesting for marketing purposes. With years of experience helping business leaders land valuable podcast guest spots, Julie brings a treasure trove of insider knowledge on making the most of this underrated marketing tool. In this episode of the Financial Clarity podcast, host Hannah Smolinski sits down with Julie Fry, Founder and CEO of Your Expert Guest, to delve into the art and strategy of podcast guesting as a potent marketing avenue. Together, they discuss the effectiveness of a long-term commitment to podcast guesting, how to choose the right podcasts for your marketing goals, and the financial implications of scaling this kind of marketing strategy, including team expenses and profitability.
49:41 8/29/23

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