The story of Robin Gordon is an American Dream. I’m fortunate to know Robin through Awesome Women Entrepreneurs. We became better acquainted on a retreat in Montana a couple of years ago and it brings me so much happiness to be able to share my interview with her.
How would you describe your company and what you do?
I have two companies, one is a CPA practice and the other is a financial planning practice. This is required by investment regulators. What I do is also the title of my book Living the Best Life You Can with the Money You Have. I’m all about financial education and empowerment.
What part of your job might surprise people?
How much psychology is involved. Because we do a poor job of educating people about money there is a lot of emotion around it.
Why did you choose to start this type of company?
I grew up poor and saw straight away how important money was to having a good life. Money is not the end, it is the means to an end. I help people clarify their life goals and then we work on creating a financial plan that supports those goals.
Who are your customers?
My clients are people who realize they only have one life to live and they want to live it the way they want to live it.
What is an initial start up cost for a company like yours? Millennial audiences are always asking this question.
My companies are professional services which require licenses, a computer and wiliness to provide the best service ever.
Who funded your company when it was a start-up? Did you use your own money? Did you have an investor? Did you do a crowdfunding campaign like Kickstarter? Did you have to take out a loan?
My start up costs were very low, so I funded it
What are your top 3 qualities you look for when hiring someone?
I do not have any employees because it interferes with retirement savings. I deliberately set my practice that way. I use contractors when needed and I look for experience, niceness and responsiveness in contractors.
What do you wear to work to feel like your most powerful self?
I hired a stylist, cleaned out my closet and wear only clothes that I love. How I dress for work depends on who I’m seeing. I once had to deal with a very snarky dishonest finance guy. I pulled every high end item I had in the closet out, every diamond I had and my most expensive purse and shoes as my intent was to intimidate, which worked nicely. But what I prefer is to dress so that whoever I’m dealing with is comfortable with me.
What do you do when you’re feeling uninspired?
Honestly doing tax returns can get boring. I eat well, exercise daily and scan facebook when needing a break. I set goals for myself the night before. Once I achieve them I go play. If I don’t achieve them I keep working or I put it there to do again when I do my nightly goals for the next day
What are your top 3 entrepreneurial tips?
1. Read good books-the best book I read was The Intentional Entrepreneur by Jen Dalton, be intentional about what you want.
2. Hire a business coach or join a group that holds you accountable so you are constantly moving forward, keeping up to date and staying inspired
3. Pay attention to the money and use it to advance your company and save for your retirement
How did you get the idea or concept for your business?
I have been a CPA for a long time, the financial planning piece I added in 2012 after getting certified. I did this because I wanted to give more holistic advice about money and not just focus on tax savings. Also I think one of the biggest waste of money is paying a financial advisor to manage your money. I believe you can do just as well with low cost index funds.
What was your mission at the outset?
My mission when I started back in the day was to make money and provide for my family. My mission now is to work with people who appreciate my advice and want to live the best life they can
How many employees?
How do you advertise your business?
I’m a referral based business only.
To what do you attribute your success?
My approach of explaining things to people in a manner they can understand and act on. My extensive network of other strongly vetted professionals who I can refer clients to. My empathy and the cheerleader in me that wants my clients to succeed and enjoy life.
What made you choose your current location?
I work from home now. Two years ago it took me four hours to walk to work in a snowstorm and I said, why am I doing this? So now I work from home and it works very well
Name 3 apps you use in your daily life.
Facebook, gym app, google maps
Number of unread emails?
What do you wish you knew before you started your first business?
How hard it was until it wasn’t and then it became the best life style choice ever. Having your own business gives you so much control and flexibility
Most listened to musical artist when you’re working?
People find it incredulous but I don’t listen to music. I prefer to work in complete silence
What’s your best hiring tip/secret?
Hire “hungry” (ambition) employees, they are the ones that will go the distance
How do you use social media?
Not well, it is on my to do list to improve that
How do you find inspiration in your professional and personal life?
Wow great question. I think having a hearing loss at a young age (I had the measles and mumps when I was three) helped me become a focused and determined person. It also did not help that a high school counselor told me he thought I could get a job in the mail room somewhere. I have always set goals, both fun and work. I hang out with people who are motivated and like-minded. We just want to live life to the fullest, help others when we can and leave the world a better place. I went to an entrepreneurs conference earlier this year and the woman speaking said to ask yourself every day, How do I want to feel today. I thought that was great and it is now typed and on my wall. I see it everyday and ask myself that very question. And the answer is always, I want to feel great.
What is your favorite podcast?
Diane Rehm-now there is an amazing lady
What are your favorite places to take family & friends when they’re visiting from out of town?
Bike riding through the monuments
Wineries-all and any
What’s the one question you get asked the most about your job/company?
Isn’t doing tax returns boring? And my answer is yes and no. Punching numbers can be boring, helping my clients pay the least amount in taxes and also using the return information to help my clients save money through retirement or deducting more expenses or whatever it is – is rewarding
When people hear the name of your company, what do you hope comes to mind?
That this woman heard what I needed and helped me out
You’re part of Awesome Women Entrepreneurs, are you part of any other local organizations?
I belong to the DC Cal Alumni group (I’m their treasurer), I belong to a women’s CPA study group of over 100 women CPAs so I keep up to date on taxes and accounting and have a readymade group who can provide help to my clients. I belong to the Northern Virginia Chapter of Virginia Society of CPAs and head up the financial planning special interest group. And in my spare time I belong to hiking and running clubs…
You have a new book that just came out las month. What can you tell us about it?
“Living the Best Life You Can with the Money You Have” is all about creating the life you want for yourself and then marshalling the financial resources to do it. It provides a broad brush on all the things you should know for financial well being. It is currently available on Amazon.