This is a message for those of you desiring to do something different:
the tools exist, but are you willing to do the work? To do what others are not willing to do. To do what others may think is silly or a waste of time. Are you willing to do something because deep down you feel you must?
I started writing the LEVERAGE SALT blog on January 10, 2009, seven years ago. It's hard to believe it has been that long.
Back when I started, there were no state tax blogs. In fact, most accounting firms didn't have a blog. I remember searching the Internet and always reading blogs by law firms based on a variety of practice areas, but none of them were based on tax.
In 2009 I was working at a large corporation and was thinking of re-entering the world of public accounting. I thought I needed to increase my visibility and credibility to enable me to re-enter with some leverage, displaying my expertise and insights. Consequently, I spent nights and weekends writing blog posts. I would read state tax developments on a daily basis for my day job, highlight specific items I thought would have broad application or high impact, and then write posts. After a while it became second nature. I had developed a process, a routine that became part of my daily life. Sometimes I would write multiple blog posts on the weekend and schedule them to post throughout the week.
Today, the blog has over 800 posts on a variety of state tax topics, and I still enjoy having the outlet to communicate my thoughts on state tax developments and perspectives on the profession.
I could not have imagined that when I started my blog in 2009 that it would also serve as a catalyst to launching my successful solo practice in 2013. Since October 2013, I have been extremely blessed by the relationships I have developed, and clients I have worked with. They have allowed me to pursue and live a dream I had for several years.
'Accountant types' are naturally risk averse, so starting your own firm can seem scary. At first you are simply trying to pay the bills. Then you are trying to save for a rainy day. Then you are trying to save for retirement. And then one day, boom, you find yourself making more money than you originally planned. Surprisingly, from day one, I have made more money working on my own than I did working for other firms (even my first year). Last year (my second full year), I made even more money. I still can't believe it. Please know, I am not saying this to brag, I am sharing this as a word of encouragement to my fellow professionals that may be considering such a move.
I think a few things helped me achieve success so quickly. First, starting my blog back in 2009 helped me build a network of contacts across the U.S. The blog also showcased my strong interest in state tax and my writing capabilities. Consequently, the blog made it easier to obtain clients, resulting in the building of a practice based on research and writing. Third, during my career I have switched jobs many times (working in industry and various accounting firms). I know switching firms can often have a negative connotation, but I truly believe that switching jobs so many times actually helped me develop key characteristics that has led to my success. Characteristics such as being comfortable with new situations that lack clarity and certainty, and having the ability to adapt and improvise to create successful outcomes.
Throughout my 20+ year career, I have always had this desire to be different. To do something different in this profession. The Internet, blogging and social media has definitely enabled me to do so.
What are you thinking about doing? What is driving you? What have you been thinking about doing, but haven't started? I want to encourage you to do it. To start. You may not see the fruits of your labor today. This year or next. It may be several years down the road. but it will come.
I leave you with this quote:
"It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation." - Herman Melville
Also, here are few of my favorite books that may help you succeed:
- "The Compound Effect" by Darren Hardy
- "Essentialism" by Greg McKeown
- "Making Ideas Happen" by Scott Belsky
- "The One Thing" by Gary Keller
- "Tribes" by Seth Godin
- "Start with Why" by Simon Sinek,
- "Rework" by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson
- "The 10X Rule" by Grant Cardone
If you want to learn more about my perspective on blogging, check out my interview with Bloomberg BNA: Expert Insight: Brian Strahle on Blogging, Creativity, and Coping with SALT Celebrity