2020 Year In Review

My word for 2020 was expansion. I planned to expand our client portfolio, expand our network through speaking engagements around the country, and expand my family’s adventures by taking our new family of four to Switzerland.

Then the world shut down and life was canceled. 

But I didn’t cancel my word of the year.

What you focus on expands is written on the white board in my office and I’m reminded of my word of the year daily.

And despite the pandemic, it actually shaped up into a great year. 


100 Degrees Consulting is represented across the globe! We have clients all over the United States, Canada, Haiti, Iraq, Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Ecuador, Panama, the Dominican Republic, and Nicaragua! 

Their missions are what keep us coming back to the laptop and the spreadsheets every single day. Knowing that our work to help keep these companies and nonprofits financially sustainable will impact the lives of probably millions of people around the world is all I need to get up every day!


We were so privileged to share our message far and wide. Our mission is to help leaders better understand and use their numbers to help them increase their impact and income, so these webinars, presentations, and talks are our main way of doing that. I spoke about:

Storytelling with Financials
Budgeting: How to Build Your Roadmap to Growth
Strategic Planning: Building Your 2021 Strategic Roadmap
How to Create a Monthly Finance Routine

And sent dozens of emails, partnered with many companies and other entrepreneurs, and wrote dozens of blog posts. There was no shortage of information coming from my brain into the hands of purpose-driven leaders!

Resources for Our Community

In early 2020, I was working with my speaking coach and developing a talk that I was slated to give at a conference for mom entrepreneurs and influencers. In the midst of our brainstorming session, she asked what type of services I have to offer the business owner who isn’t ready to bring a CFO on board but desperately needs financial advice, accountability, and templates to help them manage their numbers. I told her we had a free template, but that was it, and she immediately suggested that we create a membership.

And thus, The Entrepreneur’s CFO Corner was born! We launched this membership in May and 20 amazing purpose-driven leaders joined us. Inside the membership, we help leaders go from scared and confused to energized and confident in their numbers through CFO support and accountability, training, and templates. It has been a huge resource to many entrepreneurs and a fun experience for us too!


While 2019 was a year of internal capacity building, 2020 was truly a year of expansion. 

Team. I invested heavily into our team and client success by adding 3 new CFOs, an Operations Director, and a Marketing Director. We’ve built incredibly strong project management systems, client onboarding systems, and improved our infamous finance workbook that we use to help our clients see into the future of their businesses. 

Website. While our old website made me nostalgic for the humble beginnings of 100 Degrees Consulting, I knew it was time for an upgrade. We hired a top notch branding firm to make my vision for this company come to life and then had our brand new website built. It was a massive undertaking but we love the end result!

Treadmill. I talked a lot this year about removing all barriers to success and for me, that meant having a treadmill in my home so I could exercise regardless of schedule, pandemic, or time of day. It arrived in October and I am literally excited for my 5am run every day!


Time. Like everyone else in the world, 2020 was a sweet time for our family. We watched my baby grow from a newborn into a toddler, got creative with activities for our preschooler, and completed more puzzles than we had in our entire lives (no joke). We baked a lot, spent every minute of our summer outdoors, and planned pandemic birthday celebrations. Nothing was as I had envisioned it, but I’m grateful to have spent every single minute of my two little girls’ lives with them this year.

Home. We’ve done a ton of small and medium-sized home improvement projects to make this home exactly how we want it, and have plans for a big kitchen renovation in 2021. We made a decision that we will be staying in Buffalo for the next 10 years or so – if you know our moving history, this is a huge deal for us! – so making our house the dreamy, inspiring place where we spend our time is a major priority.

Legacy. We finally invested in a financial planner for our family. Although I’m a CFO, I believe it’s always wise to bring in external, expert eyes, to help you see what you may have overlooked and bring a new perspective. Our financial planners have helped with risk management, insurance, contingency plans, as well as the fun stuff – creating a plan to help us invest in real estate in the next year!

What’s Coming in 2021

It’s probably safer not to plan too much of 2021 if we’ve learned anything from 2020, but I can safely say that improving the services we deliver to clients is on the top of the list. And hey, that’s totally pandemic-proof!

I’d also kind of like to start a podcast…I have lots of ideas and even sometimes pretend to do my podcast intro when I’m alone in the car! Stay tuned…

Wrapping Up

If you’ve been following along with our journey, or are a part of our journey (hello clients, members, partners, and friends!), THANK YOU. I am so incredibly grateful for the community that we’ve built over the last five years, the knowledge that’s been shared, and the lives that have been changed, and can only imagine what the next five will bring.

What’s coming up for you in 2021? Leave a comment below – I’d love to hear!


You can see our past Year in Review posts here! 2015, 2016, 2017 (Must have skipped this one! I blame it on moving from Ohio to New York in November), 2018, and 2019.


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How to Set Goals for Your Nonprofit Organization

As originally posted on

Many nonprofit leaders are hesitant to create major goals this year, given the instability and uncertainty across the country and in our industry. The fundraising landscape has changed drastically in the last year as donors are reconsidering priorities, so nonprofit leaders are being forced to pivot and adapt constantly.

It may seem easier to stay the course, aim low, and hope for the best in terms of fundraising and programmatic objectives. However, it is vitally important, now more than ever, to create goals for your organization.

What you focus on expands.

Goals help us give regular focus to the end result we want to achieve. When we institute goals, we naturally steer focus there, which drives success.

A big goal without a tactical action plan is not likely to be successful. We need to understand the smaller steps that lead to a larger goal. So the process and plan we discuss below gives you a roadmap to get from where you are now to where you want to be and create the impact you want to achieve.

Goals may look different in each season, but the process of setting goals in your organization remains the same. Here are the five steps your organization should consider to set a strategic plan for the year that you will actually follow and achieve.

  • Shift your goal-setting mindset. Rather than thinking of your goals, strategic plan, or budget as rules that you must live by, think of them as a flexible roadmap to help you carve a path to your mission and vision. Instead of creating goals rooted in scarcity (e.g. We can only raise $100k this year so let’s see how much we can cram into that budget), create goals rooted in abundance (e.g. We need about $250k to operate the organization effectively and run our programs, so let’s figure out how to raise $250k). Remember, your goals should be a flexible roadmap to abundance!
  • Format your goals for success. A goal without a plan is just a wish, and a list of wishes won’t get your organization very far. I recommend using a template that breaks down your biggest vision into achievable tactics so you can look back on the year knowing you’ve accomplished it all.
    1. This starts with your big picture vision – in three years, where do you want your organization to be? 
    2. Then comes 3-5 strategies to help you achieve that vision  – what are the major initiatives you’ll need to accomplish to get you closer to the vision:
    3. Finally are 3-5 tactics under each strategy to actually get things done. These are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-Bound) and will comprise your to-do list throughout the year.
  • Align your goals and your budget. Your budget and goals must work together. You don’t want to set out to achieve some lofty goals then realize you didn’t budget for any of the resources you’ll need to actually achieve those goals. Review your goals, determine exactly what resources you’ll need to accomplish them, and include those in the budget.
  • Involve the team in goal-setting. When nonprofit leaders involve their teams in goal-setting and are transparent about the direction the organization is going, the team gains a greater sense of ownership for the success of these goals. When your team has a greater sense of ownership, they will be more engaged and committed to accomplishing the goals. But how do you actually involve your staff?
    1. Create teams either by department or cross-department, depending on the size of your organization
    2. Set parameters for the team so the goal-setting process doesn’t become a wishlist exercise. An example is: What are our three most important strategies for next. year?
    3. Bring the team’s work back to discuss as a larger group and incorporate suggestions into the organizational goals.
  • Roll out your goals. Many organizations fall into the habit of setting ambitious goals, getting the team fired up about them, then promptly forgetting about them until it’s time to set goals once again. This is a surefire way to not accomplish the impact you want to have. Here’s what to do instead.
    1. Share your goals with the entire team. Even if they didn’t participate in the goal-setting process, share your vision, strategies, and tactics with the entire organization (board too!) so you can get excited together about where you’re headed and hold each other accountable.
    2. Make your goals visible. Instead of printing them out, putting in a binder, and filing that binder away for the year, hang your goals on the wall! Give each team member a laminated copy to hang at their desk. Put them in the office break room. 
    3. Hold everyone accountable. Report on your goals at your staff meetings at least quarterly, so everyone understands the progress and how they can contribute to the organization’s success.

Now that you know the five steps to creating goals for your nonprofit organization that will actually help you make the impact you want to have this year, it’s time to implement. The beginning of a new year, when you’re also creating your budget, is perfect timing to set these goals, but starting fresh anytime is okay.

Stephanie Skryzowski is a Chief Financial Officer that helps purpose-driven leaders better understand and use their numbers to make smart decisions and grow their impact. She is the Founder and CEO of 100 Degrees Consulting which provides CFO and bookkeeping services to nonprofits and purpose-driven businesses around the globe. When she is not crunching the numbers in Excel, Stephanie is hiking and exploring with her husband and young daughters.


Behind-the-scenes of our virtual team retreat

It’s funny looking back on our 2020 goals because the world was so incredibly different just 11 short months ago.

Travel was a big priority for my family and me, I had at least half a dozen conferences in cities around the country planned, plus exciting trips to work in-person with clients. I also wanted to grow my team and bring them together at a beautiful AirBnb overlooking the ocean somewhere.

None of that happened in exactly the way I’d planned, but in some ways, it was better. I haven’t been on an airplane in over a year but our family discovered our new favorite road trip destination – coastal Maine. I presented at virtual conferences in front of thousands more people than would’ve been there in person. I grew my team beyond my wildest dreams and brought them together for a virtual retreat instead.

I shared the live updates on social media during our team retreat week but wanted to share more behind the scenes in a full blog post. So here’s how we planned our virtual team retreat. 

  • Determine goals. The very first thing that my Operations Director and I did was figure out what we actually wanted to get out of our time together. We’re all incredibly busy, so the top priority for me was to make our time worthwhile. My goals (incorporating ideas from the team) were:
  • Build relationships and establish norms for future collaboration
  • Begin putting together a 2021 plan for all facets of the business – client-facing and internal
  • Provide professional development for the whole team
  • Map out an agenda. Once we had our rough goals in place, we mapped them out on the calendar. Since we were virtual, I didn’t want everyone to get Zoom burnout, so we determined that five 2-hour sessions would comprise our entire retreat; three morning sessions and two afternoon sessions, from Wednesday through Friday. Here’s what our agenda looked like:
      1. Wednesday AM: Discuss 2020 wins and challenges, discuss 2021 goals
      2. Wednesday PM: Strengths Finder coaching session
      3. Thursday AM: Productivity expert presentation, mindset expert presentation
      4. Thursday PM: Team breakouts to plan 2021
      5. Friday AM: Team presentations and wrap-up with action items
  • Hire experts. One of our goals was to provide professional development for the whole team and since I’m not an expert on everything (shocker, I know!), we decided to bring in paid experts to teach our team. Here are the experts we decided on:
      1. I love personality tests and have recently been incredibly enlightened by Strengths Finder, so I paid for each team member to take the full assessment, then brought in an expert to analyze them and teach us how we can use that knowledge in our work and lives. 
      2. Productivity was one of the things our team expressed interest in, so our Operations Director did a great presentation with several dozen productivity hacks, from software tricks to ideas on setting boundaries. The team LOVED this session – we’re all busy women, so this was exciting.
      3. Self-care was another topic that our team expressed interest in (many of us are mamas, so self-care tends to be put aside often!), so I hired a mindset coach to help us examine how we can incorporate more self-care into our lives. It was incredibly enlightening!
  • Ask the team. Our team’s input both before and during the retreat was crucial. Our business is no longer The Stephanie Show, so it was important to me to make sure all voices were heard. We sent them a pre-retreat questionnaire, asking questions about both their wins and challenges, their personal and professional goals, and how we can grow and better support our clients. Our Operations Director compiled the results and this was the basis of our first session’s discussion. It gave us a great jumping off point for the week.
  • Make it special. My team knows I’m obsessed with curating and sending gifts and the retreat was the perfect opportunity to send each woman a little care package so our time together felt special and out of the ordinary. I put together gift boxes with cozy socks, an inspirational mug, a coaster from Nepal, a notebook, a handwritten note, and a Starbucks gift card so that everyone felt special and cozy!
  • Remove yourself. As the CEO of the organization, I wanted to give authority and ownership to the team and step out of their way, empowering them to brainstorm and come up with ideas without me. I’ve found that when the CEO is always in the room, people consciously and unconsciously tend to lean in their direction and I want to hear from others! So we had a breakout session where our CFO team and Marketing/Ops team brainstormed and began to build their 2021 plans, then they presented them to the whole team the next day. I loved seeing what they came up with!
  • Make it actionable. One of my pet peeves is walking away from a conference overwhelmed with information, but no clear action items. If we didn’t actually implement anything we learned, then what was the point?! So we spent our Friday session going around and sharing one thing we planned to incorporate into our daily lives and work now, and one goal we have for 2021. We are going to follow-up on these in future team meetings too.
  • Have fun! This was probably the toughest for me, as I’m not a dance party on Zoom kinda gal. But we kept it light, chatted before each session, and showed up to contribute and support. Here’s hoping an in-person experience, at a beautiful oceanfront home complete with dinners out and champagne toasts, is in our future!


What questions do you have? Have you ever hosted a virtual team retreat?



The One Thing You Need to Change the World

There is this feeling or attitude I’ve seen in the nonprofit world that it’s a badge of honor to work for little money because you’ve dedicated your life to a cause greater than yourself. Beginning then building my career there, I started to take on the approach of seeing how much I could do with the least amount of money possible, because after all, money wasn’t the why behind what I did for a living.

That attitude is rooted solidly in scarcity mindset and the belief that it’s one or the other: make money OR change the world.

But the truth is, in order to create change and make this world a better place, you need money. No one knows this better than nonprofit leaders. One of the main jobs of nonprofit leaders is to ask others who have built wealth for money (often older white men).

So we know that money is essential to the systemic change we want to achieve.

But if we’re not making any money ourselves, we are entirely reliant upon other people to create the change we want in the world. We are not empowered to actually make a difference because we’re relying on other people to fund it.

There’s something off about this approach, right?

We need to flip this script!

For a long time I felt ashamed making a decent amount of money to help nonprofits do their work. I never wanted to talk about making money in my business because if my mission is to help these organizations make an impact, and their staff were operating on pennies, why in the world should I make a decent buck?!

If I’m being honest, I actually am motivated by money. I want to make more money so I can share with others how I’ve built my business to make money and therefore empower others to make more money and create impact in ways that feel good to them. 

I’ve never felt comfortable sharing about my business growth because it feels in direct opposition to the nonprofit culture that we should be martyrs to the impact we’re making. 

But lately, my perspective has completely shifted.

I have been learning from women who are unapologetic about building wealth. There’s no shrugging off or sweeping under the rug the fact that their businesses are generating millions in revenue. They’re not plastering photos of their designer shoe collection or sports cars all over social media, but they are direct in sharing the fact that they make very good money. 

Why? Why share your business revenue with the world? Isn’t that a little braggy?

No way.

They share because it inspires others to see what’s possible.

They share because they are helping thousands of women with their work and they are 100% confident in the value they provide.

They share because it empowers others to go out and do the same thing. They believe in radical abundance and know that there’s more than enough to go around.

These women know that if they build wealth, they can create a greater impact on the world for their families, future generations, and their community. 

Rachel Rodgers, Allie Casazza, and Luvvie are beautiful examples of women who are unapologetic about building wealth to secure a better future for their families and their communities.

I too want to build a million-dollar business by providing exceptional CFO and bookkeeping services to nonprofits and purpose-driven businesses to help them grow too. 

It’s a beautiful chain reaction.

We help leaders better understand their numbers to make smart decisions for growth 

They can grow and change the lives of those they serve

Then those people grow, change, build, and serve

It’s an endless cycle and I certainly don’t want to be the one to break the cycle by playing small and being a martyr. 

I am so grateful to have examples of brilliant strong women who are building big businesses, talking about it publicly, and empowering me to do the same. 

Making money allows us to create, give, serve, and change in a much bigger way.


This is a great conversation to have as you begin to plan revenue for Q4 and 2021. How have you been playing small? Are there ways you can expand your reach to grow your business, those you serve, and your impact?

Our Profit Playbook is a great resource to help you create a revenue roadmap. You’ll build out monthly revenue, expense, profit, and cash goals (yes, those things are all different!) to create a step-by-step guide to accomplish your goals.

Way too often we unintentionally play small, limiting ourselves to the status quo, when really we’re just limiting our impact.

Let’s begin 2021 empowered to change the world!

If you’re ready to expand your impact, grab our free Profit Playbook to help you chart the course to changing the world!

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Are you guilty of saying this?

“My business [or nonprofit] is my baby.”

Ever said that before? I have.

We love our work! We take pride in the change we’re making in the world and take things personally because we’ve poured so much heart and soul into what we do.

I also have a real life human baby. Noelle is 9 months old now and she is super amazing and fun. She’s starting to talk and when she says Mamamamama, my heart just explodes. She’s crawling everywhere, trying to stand by herself, and I’m constantly chasing after her. Her half gummy/half toothy grin could melt even the coldest of hearts.

But she’s still a baby.

As her mama, I meet her needs and am at her beck and call 24/7. I love her so much that helping her grow and supporting her brings me so much joy, and I wouldn’t trade that responsibility for the world.

Now, thinking back to my business…do I really want my BUSINESS to be my baby too?

Demanding. Needy. Full of responsibilities that ONLY I can fulfill.

That’s a hard NO.

So if our work isn’t our baby, what SHOULD it be?

How about a race car!

You learn how it works, what buttons to push, what features to add to make it go further and faster, and the right mechanics to make it all run smoothly. Then those people (your team) can operate the race car to help it cross the finish line.

It’s a team effort and you’re all in alignment towards the same goal, but you don’t do everything.

So, how do we shift our work from being a baby to a race car?

  1. Automate. Take stock of all of your software and make sure it talks to each other, and there are no redundancies or gaps. For example, are you invoicing clients or donors in Quickbooks AND Dubsado? Choose one and stick with it. Is your CRM like Salesforce talking to your project management system like Asana? Link those babies up!
  2. Hire the right people. Figure out what roles you need on your team and hire for the roles, not the people. Maybe you need financial analysis and strategy and are trying to force a square peg into a round hole by asking your bookkeeper to do that work. They’re different skill sets, so get the right people into the right seats.
  3. Create a routine. Surely there are tasks in your organization that need to happen weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annually. Take an hour and write it all down, then map it out on your calendar, spreadsheet, or project management system. Consistency is the only way to make progress on any of your goals, and getting it all in one place will help you stick to the routine.

What do you think? Is your business your (demanding, needy, yet lovable) baby? Or is it a well-oiled machine ready to cross the finish line to your world-changing goals?

PS – Did you see my Instagram post this week? Check it out and let me know what you think!


The Best Investment I’ve Made in My Business

In the past four years, I’ve built a business from absolutely nothing to serving dozens of clients around the globe every month and creating a sustainable lifestyle and income for my growing family.

It hasn’t always been easy and I haven’t done it alone. As a Type A, Enneagram 3 (“The Achiever”) it’s hard for me to ask for or accept any type of help. I’m fiercely independent and my natural instinct is to go it alone (true story: I asked multiple college professors to do group projects by myself, citing a myriad of reasons but mostly just preferring to work alone).

When my daughter was a newborn, I hated accepting meals from family and friends (like, I can’t handle feeding myself?) but learned that I needed the help and couldn’t have been more grateful to have hot, homemade meals available when I was so exhausted. I felt weird about hiring a biweekly cleaning service for my home because I physically CAN clean my own house, but the relief I felt at not seeing my dog’s hair tumbleweed-ing across my kitchen floor every day and not spending my precious limited hours doing it myself are invaluable.

I cannot run a balanced life or business alone.

But the absolute biggest game-changer for me has been hiring a coach.

Four years ago, I had never built a business before and had absolutely no clue what I was doing. I wanted someone to help me get on the fast track – to have a full client roster and a full pipeline at all times. My coach has provided practical, strategic advice on business stuff and has helped me get past mental roadblocks too.

Our relationship has been so much more than a one-and-done course or conference where I forget everything once I get back to real life.

Coaching has provided…

A community. A coach becomes a tribe to reach out to, no matter how challenging my day, and seek advice, support, or encouragement. She’s been there and done that in a way that my team hasn’t. I’ve been given the confidence and clarity to make the toughest and most important decisions for my business and life with this tribe behind me. My coach has built an intentional network for herself and has generously shared not only her skills but her contacts to help my own business grow. Community over competition.

Accountability. It’s so easy to toss ideas around in our heads while driving to the office or chatting with our spouse, then let the ideas disappear into the ether. My coach has helped me turn those ideas into reality. For example, I’d thought for months about adding to my team but my Type A, control freak nature held me back. Once I told my coach about this idea, she provided the push I needed to make it happen. And she was right there for the virtual high-fives when I reported back that my team had tripled.

Fresh perspective. My coach gave me the permission and ability to think bigger. Left to our own devices, we are all inclined to play small. We move slower than we could and think we can’t do as much as we truly can. Now, I’m not advocating for pushing yourself beyond your natural limits or breaking yourself in the process, but when I envisioned my business model looking the exact same in five years from now, I knew I was playing small. When I think about the value of my coaching investment, I used to try and come up with a dollar amount ROI. I took the amount of money I spent and then think about the value I received. Well, I got a couple clients so that’s X amount, and I was able to launch a course which will make Y amount, so I guess it was a good deal.

But I realized that my coach has given me something so, so, so invaluable.

I now have the confidence and skill to think bigger than I ever have, and I’m pretty sure you can’t place a price tag on that.

  1. Are you on the list? In our next email, I’m diving headfirst into the super awesome thing I’m launching starting early August 2019! You REALLY don’t want to miss this.
  2. Can’t wait until the next email? Find out more here!

How a sabbatical can make you more successful

Have you ever dreamed about leaving your 9-5 grind behind and embarking on an epic adventure? Where would you go?

I would head west to our national parks – Bryce Canyon and Zion and Yosemite and Yellowstone – then maybe pop over to Southeast Asia to explore the beaches of Thailand then Australia and Kilimanjaro and Morocco…and so on.

It’s fun to dream, right?

But Tim Ferriss and his 4 Hour Workweek don’t think this has to be a dream. I’m halfway through this book and feeling incredibly inspired to streamline my business and stop wasting time, so that my time is freed up to enjoy elsewhere.

Have you read the book? What do you think of a 4 Hour Workweek? Impossible?

I will admit I’m skeptical.

I took the leap into business ownership and while I definitely see room to increase productivity, I’m not sure that I could get my working hours down to only four. And convincing my husband to leave corporate America with its cushy and more importantly reliable salary and health insurance and 401(k) is a serious long shot.

What about a sabbatical?

For those who like traveling but don’t want to be a nomad, a sabbatical is a perfect option. Think: a three-month break from work to decompress, experience the world, and focus on living life (not just through someone else’s Instagram feed).

And, as it turns out, sabbaticals can benefit both you AND your company. I think we can all point to the obvious benefits of reducing stress and refreshing your brain with creative ideas so you come back to work energized.

But a recent study called Creative Disruption showed that your organization benefits too.

“Organizational capacity is increased as the second tier of leadership takes on new responsibilities.” And “governance is strengthened as a result of the planning and learning that goes with a sabbatical process.” Talk about testing the limits of your org chart!

I’d say that’s a win-win.

I’ve seen the benefits of being away from my routine for three days – mind space is freed up for more creative thinking and relaxation – so I can only imagine what three months would do for my business.

What do you think? Is a four-hour workweek or a sabbatical in your future?

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How to survive the rollercoaster of entrepreneurship

You know that feeling of anticipation and nervousness as you’re climbing the first big hill in a roller coaster? You’re excited but holding onto the handles tightly because you know the big drop is coming soon, then you crest the hill, barreling down at over sixty miles an hour and your stomach drops. Once you fly down that gigantic hill though, you loosen your grip a bit because the scariest part is over, and your teeth unclench and you relax and scream and enjoy the ride and the upside down loops and ridiculous speeds. Then when it’s over and little car stops, you breathlessly look at your friend next to you, grins plastered to both of your faces, with a look in your eyes that says “let’s do it again!”

That, my friends, is entrepreneurship.

This week marks one year of saying goodbye to the 9-5, working for myself, and seeing just what 100 Degrees Consulting could be.

To say the very least, it’s been better than expected. The highs are pretty darn high: no employee handbook dictating when I have to be in the office or what days I’m allowed to take vacation. Some days I’ve worked for a couple hours then spent the afternoon at Home Goods. The lows can be pretty trying too though: I am now my own payroll company and entirely responsible for making sure there’s money coming in. Some days I’ve worked until 2am to meet simultaneous client deadlines and I even took a client call at 6 days postpartum. With multiple clients, it’s almost like I have eight bosses instead of one.

While the past year hasn’t been perfect, I did have a pretty smooth transition from traditional employment to entrepreneurship so I’m going to share exactly how I made that happen.

I tested my idea in advance. About nine months prior to my departure from my job (October 2015), I created a website and started thinking about what it would look like to be a CFO consultant to nonprofits. I cold-emailed organizations I thought would be a good fit and they actually wrote back. (Check out my proven strategy for cold-emailing potential clients.) By February 2016 I had two active clients and another two by June 2016. Clearly, my idea had legs and I gained tons of confidence that this could work.

I saved money. I didn’t want to worry about paying the bills or making major sacrifices while I was building my business, so while I side-hustled and still worked my 9-5 I doubled down on paying off debt and socking away money in savings. I left my 9-5 with the equivalent of three months’ salary in the bank. (Full disclosure: I have a husband who covered health insurance!)

I hired a coach.  I’ve no shame in admitting that I’ve never built a business before and have no clue what I’m doing. Sure, some of it is intuition and just taking action but I wanted someone to help me get on the fast track – to have a full client roster and a full pipeline at all times. Enter: my coach. Working with her has been a huge investment that’s paid for itself time and again. Not only do I get practical, strategic advice on business stuff (should I hire more help?), but she helps me get past mental road blocks (I can’t let this client go because there are no more clients out there!)

A year in and I have no intention of going back to the 9-5 grind anytime soon. Now I just need to figure out how to celebrate my one year anniversary! Perhaps a daytime trip to the amusement park?


The best afternoon routine for a better tomorrow

It feels like every other blog post in my Feedly reader is about some famous entrepreneur’s morning routine. I know now that Elon Musk eats his Cheerios with almond milk at exactly 6:17am every day and Richard Branson meditates on one leg for eight minutes while thinking about palm trees, and their success is SOLELY attributable to this incredible morning routine.

I’m joking. Mr. Musk eats his Cheerios at 7:05am like a normal person.

Okay, okay, all joking aside, I’ve been thinking about morning routines and wonder if this is something that the entrepreneur community has just latched onto and now talks about ad nauseum, or if there’s something to a routine.

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have a solid morning routine. I wake up anywhere from 6:30 to 7:30am and sometimes check emails first thing and sometimes don’t. Sometimes I shower before getting the baby up, and sometimes I’m in my pajamas until the nanny comes at noon. The only constant in my morning routine is that I retrieve the baby from her room upon awakening and feed her and put her down for a nap at the right times, then typically start my work day at 12pm. The details change daily.

With a six month old in my sole care until midday, I’m pretty sure morning routines are not in the cards for at least another six months.

What I CAN get behind, though, is an afternoon routine. Unlike a morning wake-up routine which can be unpredictable with a baby, I know when exactly I will stop working every day and realized there are a few things I currently do without fail before I close out my day.

Do a final scan of the emails. File away what doesn’t require my attention and get the inbox as close to zero as possible.

Update my to-do list. I keep three running to-do lists:

1. My list for the next day in order of priority is Sharpie on paper because nothing is more satisfying than taking a big marker and crossing things off.

2. My list for that week is also on paper, a gigantic Post-It note that I keep stuck next to my computer to keep me focused on the week’s priorities.

3. My long term list is in a Word document that I have open at all times. This document includes strategic priorities for each client so I can always check-in to make sure the work I am doing is towards that greater purpose. It also includes my own business goals, blog post ideas, anything else that pops into my head for 100 Degrees Consulting.

Clean up my desk. Aside from my to-do lists, I’m not a paper person but occasionally I do print out bank statement or other document and I always make sure they’re filed or shredded before the end of the day. Starting the next work day in the midst of a sea of papers would give me major anxiety.

I found a few more great afternoon routine items in this infographic:

  • Sign out of your work email
  • Perform a brain dump
  • Reflect on your day

What does your routine look like? Do you slam the laptop screen shut at 5pm and beeline to the nearest bar? Or do you linger around and chat with colleagues until everyone else leaves? Or maybe you don’t have a stop time and pop in on your laptop until bedtime?


How to thrive as an entrepreneur and new mom

If you’re a highly ambitious, Type A, make-it-happen entrepreneur, who’s passionate about growing your business, AND you’re about to have a baby, you must read this.

You are excited for your little one to arrive. You’ve probably meticulously planned his or her nursery (and of course you know the gender, because TYPE A!) and have all the little clothes hung neatly in the closet, arranged by size. You know where you’ll deliver and maybe even have some meals socked away in the freezer for after his or her arrival.

You are also a busy entrepreneur. You’re hustling daily (and you love it) and your business is growing, maybe faster than you’d anticipated. Your days are filled with client work, potential client sales calls, and you’re being asked to speak at different events. When you left your 9-5, you didn’t imagine it would all work out so well and you are energized and on fire (as much as can be for a pregnant woman).

Does this sound like you?

Then keep reading and let’s talk about what it’s like to be a new mom and an entrepreneur. I’ll give you a hint: it’s not at all like what you think it will be.

If anyone could do it all, it was me. The Queen of Efficiency and Productivity, I remember my husband remarking at my Master’s degree graduation celebration that he couldn’t believe I was even in grad school plus working full time plus commuting four hours a day because I just had it all together.

So naturally, I thought that having a baby would be similar. I’d give birth and be able to keep all of my client work going, hopping on the computer after a feeding or when the baby was sleeping. I knew I’d be tired, but it wouldn’t be that bad. I could do it all.

Turns out, even the Queen of Efficiency and Productivity needs help.

I am sharing my Five Proven Tactics to help you be fully present as a mom, which is critical in those first few weeks and months, AND continue to help your business (your first baby!) thrive.

1. Prepare financially in advance. You are your own boss and nobody is handing you any paid maternity leave, right?! As an entrepreneur you should be accustomed to saving in advance for business investments like a conference or a new computer, and maternity leave is no different. Figure out what your monthly number is then begin setting aside funds in advance. I had set aside three months’ worth of income, just in case all of my clients disappeared while I had the baby (they didn’t!) and it gave me a huge peace of mind. Voila! Paid maternity leave!

2. Tell your clients. I was super nervous about telling my clients that I was pregnant and would likely need to step away for a little while. What if they all left me and I was left with no job, no money, and no prospects? Turns out, that was ridiculous thinking. My amazing clients were not only understanding, but incredibly supportive (they even sent me thoughtful baby gifts!) and they managed to keep the lights on without me. You will feel a huge sense of relief once you tell your clients and come up with an agreement as to how long you’ll be unavailable and when you’ll dive into work again.

3. Give yourself a maternity leave. I am serious about this. I know you love your business and will want to get back to feeling “normal”, and a true leave might feel hard. You don’t have to disconnect for three months but you must give yourself some space for a minimum of two weeks. I made the mistake of not putting an out of office message on so I felt obligated to answer emails. I even took a call at just 7 days postpartum, where my mind was so foggy, it was almost an out-of-body experience. I looked back at my notes several weeks later and they were completely unintelligible, so I wonder how I sounded to the client! Trust me that your clients will wait (remember how long they took to finally sign your contract?!) and that you will feel much better after a break.

4. Ease in slowly. So maybe after two weeks you start answering emails, then another couple weeks you take sales calls, then a few weeks later dig into the actual heavier client work. I thought I’d have no problem handling bigger, strategic thinking type projects but I truly needed that time to let my brain begin to function normally after the hormone surge/drop and sleep deprivation.

5. Enlist help. It’s okay if sometimes that help comes in the form of car seat naps and Starbucks. I can’t tell you how much work I got done in three hour increments while my daughter slept in her car seat. I felt like a normal human by getting dressed and out of the house, she got a solid nap (when she likely wouldn’t have slept at home), and my client work got done. In fact, there was a point in time where we were frequenting Starbucks so much that her car seat began to take on the aroma of coffee beans. And, are you part of any neighborhood or community organization that uses a meal train? Get humble and SIGN YOURSELF UP. I felt weird about it at first (like, I can’t handle taking care of my own meal?) but when that friendly woman showed up on my doorstep with a bag full of chili, artisan bread, and brownies, a smile, and then left, I couldn’t have been more grateful.

Being a mom and an entrepreneur isn’t easy. I landed myself back in the hospital at three days postpartum with an infection, and spending the night in the ER with your tiny newborn isn’t all that fun. But these tips will help you get through those first weeks, focusing on your baby and yourself, and give you the confidence that your business will be there as soon as you’re ready.

And I promise you that your clients won’t run away.

Happy Mom-ing, Boss Lady!

(Disclaimer: Every mom’s birth and postpartum experience is different. Major love and respect to all the new parents out there. This is based on my experience alone!)