Ep. 59: Danetha Doe - Entrepreneurial Mindset with Accounting Skills

April 14, 2020 | 17 Minutes

Danetha Doe, entrepreneur, journalist, economist, manifestation teacher and the creator of Money & Mimosas, joins Count Me In to talk about how her knowledge of accounting enabled her to transition her career and shift her mindset to get to where she is today. Money & Mimosas is a financial well-being resource enjoyed by readers in over fifty countries. Danetha was named a personal finance expert by Fast Company and the Wall Street Journal. She was recognized as a millennial thought leader by the Hong Kong Institute of CPAs and a millennial entrepreneur to watch by the office of Congresswoman Barbara Lee. Danetha is the star financial expert in the TV series, Going From Broke, produced by Ashton Kutcher, which garnered over 12 million views in its first season. Her work has been featured in Entrepreneur, Elle, The Chicago Tribune, Cosmopolitan, NBC and more. Through all her endeavors and experiences, Danetha came to understand being a business owner is about a professional journey that requires you to evolve so your business can evolve. Download and listen to all the details now!

Contact Danetha:
Money & Mimosas: https://www.moneyandmimosas.com/

: (00:00)
Welcome back to Count Me In, IMA's podcast about all things affecting the accounting and finance world. I'm your host Mitch Roshong. In this episode we will hear from the creator of Money and Mimosas Danetha Doe. Danetha is also a freelance writer for financial institutions, a consultant and a former accountant who now strives to help clients elevate their self-worth and their net worth. Keep listening to hear how this entrepreneur has excelled by taking leaps and maintaining a business savvy mindset. 
Adam: (00:33)
Danetha, I know you have a very interesting and wide-ranging background and I know some of that background includes accounting. Can you just give us an overview? 
Danetha: (00:47)
Absolutely. Well, thanks so much, Adam, for having me on. I do have a varied background and I think that that's becoming more and more common in all industries and also in the accounting space. My accounting background, it started in undergrad. I studied economics with a concentration in accounting. We didn't have a formal degree in accounting, so I just took all the classes I could within accounting and made it my informal concentration. After I graduated from undergrad, I went on to work for a home health care company and I worked in the accounts receivables department. Their accounts receivables, this was prior to companies moving to the cloud, so our accounting systems were all desktop legacy system and we had a lot of paper, a lot of invoices that were mailed out, invoices of checks that were mailed in for payments. And so my job was a lot of data entry and a lot of um, keeping track of all the paper. We had files upon files of papers. After that position that was in Indiana, I moved to California where I got another job working in the accounting department for a ski resort. And I started off being a billing coordinator. My background, well my previous job was in accounts receivable. So the role was similar in that I was managing the invoices for the catering and conference services department. And from being a billing coordinator, I moved up to being more of a staff accountants, helping them with cashflow and forecasting and other things that went along with making sure that their accounts receivables processes were in place. When I got into the role, we were about 180 days in aging accounts receivables and my job was to reduce that and I got that down to 30 days and that was my entire focus. After that role, I moved from the ski resort to the San Francisco Bay area where I am now. And my first position here was as a controller slash CFO for a small creative agency. And it was a really small company. So I wore both hats of being a controller and CFO. And a lot of my role was very much focused on accounts receivables. We had a lot of business, which was great, but our processes were not streamlined. And so we had cashflow challenges that were related to, you're not invoicing accurately on time. And so that was really my focus was to help that agency get that under wraps so that the cash was, we were in a healthier cast position. From there I was bit by the entrepreneurial bug. I was bit by the entrepreneurial bug then, but I knew from a young age that I always wants to run a business. So after that role, I just I had to start my own business doing bookkeeping for other small businesses. I focus in the beauty and fashion space and, and that's where my careers as an entrepreneur started. 
Adam: (03:45)
So, you know, being an entrepreneur, obviously you need to have a wide variety of expertise and knowledge to run your own business. So how did your background in accounting and the things that you were doing help you get into that entrepreneurial space? 
Danetha: (04:00)
It helped me tremendously. A lot of business owners do not have an accounting background. Certainly if you start a business as an accountant or a bookkeeper, you have that background. But the people that we serve don't necessarily have that background. And so my expertise in that space really helped me be able to build a business because I had a service that business owners needed. My skillsets outside of understanding different systems, doing the actual accounting work. Some of the skills that I picked up along the way of being an accountant were things like organization keeping on top of financial transactions. The paper, thankfully we're now evolved to using less paper and more cloud-base, but there's still some paper that goes back and forth. So being able to have a system in place to be able to keep track of all that information helped myself as a business owner and also helped my clients organization. As I mentioned, project management's huge. Also having an understanding of how cashflow works. I think as accountants we take that for granted. That's, for a lot of us it comes naturally to think about things in terms of net 30 net, net 60, how to balance the expenses with the cash going out. Something that I would do immediately with all my clients was to get them on a single day payout. Meaning one day out of the month was the only day that we sent payments out. So if they had recurring bills every month we would choose a date where those bills were paid. Usually it was the 18th or the 15th because of how their income would float in. It made sense from a cash perspective to do it usually the latter half of the month. So something like that as a really simple implementation. But for a lot of business owners, it's not something that even their mind, and here they are wondering why they're struggling with their cash, when it's a simple a process that can be implemented, in this case, just a single payout date to help them manage their cash flow and overall business operations. And so my background in accounting has helped me tremendously. 
Adam: (06:20)
That's just great to hear. Now, outside of the accounting, what was it like going from being in the corporate world, you know, doing all these different things to taking that leap of faith to be an entrepreneur? I can imagine that would probably be scary. Just, you know, going from a regular paycheck to your being the one running everything. 
Danetha: (06:37)
There was definitely, it was a mixed bag. I always wants to be an entrepreneur. I asked my parents for business cards for my eighth birthday. At the time I wanted to be a nail artist and so I've always wanted to be a business owner, so that leap from me was more of a homecoming, if you will. It was coming back to my, my true nature of being a creative and being a risk taker and carving out my own journey. With that said though, I do have my accounting side, which is very methodical and pragmatic and to your point about receiving a paycheck on a consistent basis to now I'm figuring out how that paycheck is going to come in and oftentimes it's not consistent, so that was, that's definitely a big part of the challenge with being an entrepreneur is realizing, Oh my gosh, the buck really does stop with me. What helps me with that transition was applying some of the things that I've learned in accounting. One of the things that I learned, that we all learn in this space, is you have to know your numbers. You have to know how much it costs you to live your life, so one of the first things I did was calculate my personal expenses, what do I need in order to feel comfortable, maybe not thriving, but at least comfortable financially, and that baseline helped me figure out, okay, I need to sign clients, recurring clients that will match this baseline. For some people it's 2000 a month. Some people it's 5,000 some people it's 10,000 whatever it is. Knowing that number and then setting up my business so that my recurring clients match that baseline, help me to then feel more comfortable as if I was receiving a paycheck on a regular basis. I created that for myself and then the income above and beyond that still, it's so flexible. It's still not necessarily guaranteed, but as long as I know that my baseline is covered, that really helps and that's a take a few years to figure out that process for myself. I'm not suggesting that that happened overnight, but, knowing information is really helpful. 
Adam: (08:57)
Definitely. That's great that you were able to take what you learned and that kind of was your almost you're level setting. You're like, I'm happy to be here. Yay. I've always wanted to do this. But then your accounting experience help you kind of focus in and say, okay, this is what I need to do to survive and to make this work. 
Danetha: (09:13)
Yes, absolutely. And sometimes for me I felt a little crazy at times because those are two opposites. They compliment each other. They certainly help balance each other out. But yeah, at times, you know, my creative side will want to take charge and then my more pragmatic accountant side would try to hold me back, you know, think things through. So yes, the both sides of did help balance me out and I think, I think a lot of accounts since, would probably attest to that as well. 
Adam: (09:43)
So what advice would you give to somebody who is looking to take that leap? You know, you just gave some overview of kind of what your experience was, but what if somebody is looking to kind of take that route. So, you know what, I've always wanted to be an entrepreneur but I'm not sure where to start. 
Danetha: (09:58)
Great question. And that is one of, it's a beautiful time in the entrepreneurial journey, the beginning, it's so pure and you have high hopes and dreams and it's a great time. But there's also some trepidation involved with when it comes to accountants. My advice for starting a business does differ depending upon who the audiences. So when I speak to creatives, writers, designers, they're typically, they're typically open to taking more risk. I find when I speak to accountants or bookkeepers, they are a little bit more hesitant because we're pragmatic. And so if I were to answer that question for a bookkeeper and accountant, I actually just received an email from someone who is a controller full time and has started building a bookkeeping business on the side. She has four clients and she's wondering, she emailed me asking when's the right time for me to go full time with this? And she was concerned because she wasn't sure. She'll be able to, you continue to pay her bills, all the normal things that we think about when it comes to going out on your own. And so when I answered her and when I speak to other accountants, my suggestion is, so really ask yourself, what would you think if would you regret anything 10 years from now if you don't take that leap of faith? Because there's never a right time to start a business. I'm not a mom, but I imagine it's almost, it's like having children. There's never the perfect time to have kids. You try your best to be as prepared as possible. But you know, kids don't come with a blueprint. Businesses don't either. And so I'm really thinking about what does success mean for me? What makes me happy? And going along with that feeling and knowing that trusting yourself that things are going to work out. Then you know, the first practical step is to start looking for clients. And that from me was about finding an industry that I was passionate about. I love beauty and fashion. So that's where I started when I looked for clients and really building a business around my passions. That's, that would be my recommendation for anyone that's thinking about starting their own business. 
Adam: (12:17)
So how has your mindset changed, uh, over the years? You know, you've, your path has kind of gone all the places you've kind of covered as we've been talking today, but how has your mindset changed over the years? We've, you know, the changing of technology that's all around us, but also the industries and just how the world is changing. How has your mindset changed toward your business and how you look at things? 
Danetha: (12:38)
Oh, my mindset has evolved in incredibly over this time period. I would say it's interesting. One of the first books I read about money was thinking, grow rich. This was in high school. I read it when I was 16 and I remember thinking, wow, that's amazing. Like I can create a rich life based upon my thoughts if I can get my mindset correct. And that stuck with me at that age. But as I've gotten older, it's been several years since I graduated from high school. As I've gotten older, the lessons from that book has deepened and enriched in different ways. And one of the things that I've found from me where I've always been a flexible person, I've always been someone that that's more or less gone with the flow and I'm an open to that. But as an entrepreneur, I've truly had to learn how to be flexible. And you mentioned technology that within my accounting career, which for some people that are listening may seem short because I am still a younger person, a younger professional. For others it may be, you know, I've been in this for a while, but regardless, um, it's changed a lot within just my career span. I, I learned accounting on peach tree software and now it's completely different. It's completely cloud based and you can completely do it on your mobile phone. And so the flexibility has come in that regard, come with understanding that my clients are expecting that I am ahead of the curve technology wise, that I am introducing them to new products, new ways of running their business. And it's up to me to not just be a good accountant. And then on top of that, be a good business owner, which means I've got to learn sales, like I learned marketing or my own operations. But then I also have to be technology technologically savvy. So I've got to do my own research and stay on top of the trends. And so that, that's been the biggest shift from me is continuing to be open to evolving. 
Adam: (14:48)
That's huge because if you get stuck with the same mindset and you don't allow yourself to evolve, then how can you grow as a business? Because your business as an entrepreneur is a reflection of you, right? And so if you're not evolving, then how can your business evolve? 
Danetha: (15:03)
Oh my gosh, I am so glad you put it that way, Adam. I really believe that being a business owner is more about a personal development journey then then being a business owner, they really just go hand in hand and you're right. For me, in my experience, the more I've evolved as a person and been open to my own seasons, shifting in my life and allowing my perspective to shift, not holding fast to any truth and being open to the truth, evolving with time, I've seen that, I've seen abundance reflect back to me because of that. So yes, you're absolutely right. It is about a personal development. It's about evolving personally as a person and let it, allowing that to reflect back to you in your business. 
Announcer: (15:57)
This has been Count Me In, IMA's podcast providing you with the latest perspectives of thought leaders from the accounting and finance profession. If you like what you heard and you'd like to be counted in for more relevant accounting and finance education, visit IMA's website at www.imanet.org.