- Sarah Schmidt
A Note on Doing Hard Things
As I find myself on hold, yet again, with another customer service rep, trying to get someone – anyone to help me, I reflect back on the journey that has taken me here.
It all started when I opened a business with one of my favorite people. We dove in head first, learning on the fly all the ten thousand things that you need to know to successfully run a business. What’s the difference between a DBA and an LLC? How do we open a business bank account? What’s an EIN number and how do we get one? Step by step, we stumbled, googled, and asked for help and guidance until we got what we needed done. And now, we embark on our first business tax filing. Piece of cake right? Not exactly.
We knew that we needed a bookkeeper, so we started with a family friend. They answered some of our questions, while also confusing us further, and ultimately deciding our partnership tax return would be a little too “taxing” for them, as they were ready to retire. Since we pay for a subscription to accounting software, my next thought was to make an appointment with one of their bookkeepers. We scheduled two meetings with two different reps, both ghosted us. I am actually worried that two employees of this company might be being held hostage somewhere with no access to email. Try number four was someone we got off of a recommendation list. Five minutes before our meeting I googled their name, trying to check out their website, and instead I found they had been convicted of stealing large sums of money from their previous employer.
Rachel and I laughed hysterically of course, because what the actual heck, but we were also becoming mystified. Why did the universe not want us to have access to a bookkeeper? We clearly need help! Knowing that our income from our first partial year in business was minimal, and therefore I was unlikely to end up in jail if I made a mistake, I decided to push forward myself and give it a go. I know, bold move! First, I needed to connect our bank account to the accounting software. Easy right? Of course not. For that story, check out this behind the scenes audio clip of a voice note I sent to Rachel. Warning: contains salty language!
After much trial and error, I finally got our transactions into the software, categorized them, tagged them, and managed to generate the documents we would need to complete our taxes. I am beyond proud of myself. And I realized that because we did not hand off this work to professionals, we were forced to become intimately familiar with our finances, our systems, and how it all works together. Perhaps that was the gift of weathering all the fiascos.
Sometimes, doing hard things feels overwhelming. And like it will never end. And like you just want to cry and pound your fists on your desk, but then you accidentally scare your cat. When you feel like that, hit up this list:
Remember the hard things you’ve done before – If I figured out how to get our accounting system setup, I can figure this out too!
Take a break – I am about to have a cocktail with an old friend, and give my weary brain a rest
List the micro-steps – Next step is to determine the correct tax software product
Get support – I’m so lucky to have a dope business partner who will cheer me on and tell me I’m awesome
Celebrate the wins along the way – To celebrate my victory of creating a Profit & Loss statement (which really represented like a hundred hours of work), I am taking myself out to brunch tomorrow. You don’t have to wait until the whole project is over to celebrate!
Keep going – I’m going to revisit this tomorrow, and continue to chip away until it’s done!
In the meantime, if you need me, I’ll be waiting on the customer service chat.
Update: I finished our business taxes!! It was the most confusing thing I’ve done in ages, but wow does it feel satisfying. If you know anyone in the IRS, please tell them not to audit us, k thanks!