EP70: Sharon Francisco - How To Set Yourself Up To Win Every Day

It's all about your perspective.

If you think it's going to be a bad day, chances are it will.

You're in control of your attitude and mood.You set the tone.

Many of us forget that.

According to business mentor, Sharon Francisco, who used the Pure Bookkeeping System to skyrocket the success of her bookkeeping business, you have to start your day right.

Since many bookkeepers are operating solo, it's hard for them to be their own champions.

Negative thoughts and doubts always seem to find a way into their minds.

There are ways to break those mental cycles and become the confident and successful bookkeeper you are capable of being.

During this interview, you'll learn...

  • The importance of using your first hour of the day to be inspired & filled with positivity

  • Why it's okay to make mistakes and not beat yourself up over them

  • Why you should have a clear idea of what you do and don't want in 6 main life categories

To learn more about Sharon, visit this link.

To view Sharon's goal planning guide, sign up for our Free Resources below then look for the title of this podcast episode then click on it for access.

This episode was voted as one of the TOP 5 Interviews to Help You Get Freedom in your Bookkeeping Business


Michael Palmer: 01:09 Welcome back to The Successful Bookkeeper podcast. I am your host, Michael Palmer, and today we have a wonderful guest joining us all the way from Brisbane, Australia. She has over 25 years of experience with a small business specializing in both business development and sporting business owners to achieve their goals. Most recently she spent four years building a bookkeeping business from two bookkeepers to 12 using the pure bookkeeping system. Welcome to the podcast, Sharon Francisco. 

Sharon Francisco: 01:41 Thanks, Michael. It's great to be here to share some information. 

MP: 01:44 It's great to have you. And you know, when we were speaking, uh, a day or so ago, you told me your story and I absolutely loved it. So I'm really excited to have you share this past journey that you've been on growing a bookkeeping business and now working with bookkeepers for the listener. Can you share a little bit about how you got into working in small business and how you ended up developing and growing a bookkeeping business? 

SF: 02:12 Yeah, they sure look, um, I've been around small business all my life. I grew up in a, um, a small business. So, even as a youngster, I was, um, my weekends and holidays were working in our family business, my roles over the years ago in my own furniture business, but mainly as in the last 15 years prior to joining strictly bookkeeping and helping my sister in law grow that I was a franchise relationship manager. So worried around a lot of systems and processes. And the first question I used to ask whenever I went into our franchise was of the franchise or who's the best performing Franchisee and who's the worst-performing Franchisee? And I use, the first thing I do is ring them and find out why. I guess over the years what I realized was the ones that generally follow the system and just had an attitude of Nevis. 

SF: 03:03 I do follow the system and go until their business works were the ones that were successful. So they all had the same system, they all had the signed support. Some are successful in some way. And I found that fascinating. So the reason I go into keeping it, so not my world, I'm not a numbers person at all. I'm actually the opposite of that. But, um, my sister in law had a bookkeeping business. It was just tearing apart time bill came up and because I was doing a little travel with the franchises nationally and internationally, I needed to um, to make sure I stayed put for a while my kids were going through the teenage years. So, um, I came back to Brisbane and joined in partnership with my sister in law, in her business. I remember the first day I went there, I didn't know how I was going to grow up because I guess not being a bookkeeper, it's tricky to know how to do that. 

SF: 03:58 And I noticed the pure bookkeeping at that time, it was the folders. It wasn't online at that time. I noticed the folders on the, on the bookshelf and say, what are these? And cheeks sign it a, it's a system she bought a few years ago and she'd have implemented some of the stuff for her actual bookkeeping, but um, hadn't explored the HR side or the marketing style. I see the, do you mind take a look? So long story short, I took a look. Oh, it read the sales and marketing side and having to kind of chat with him. And she was really encouraging and said that she was there to help and yeah. So from there I just, I essentially just took, as I did with the franchise systems, I just took the system and just took massive action basically. So, and then I think the first 12 months were the hardest. 

SF: 04:49 Um, just getting my head around my main strategy was meeting with the accountants and the fear that I had around that local was massive. I, I'm not being a bookkeeper and accountant, having a discussion with an accountant is pretty tricky about bookkeeping. So I had to work out in my head how I'd approach that and to begin with, I think I kept it quiet that I wasn't a bookkeeper. I just tried to avoid any bookkeeping questions. But then, yeah, look, after a while I actually made the decision to say that, look, you know, I'm not here to talk about my skills, that I'm not a bookkeeper, but I am here to talk about fuel bookkeeping in the system that we follow, which engages the most amazing bookkeepers with the skills test and the orientation and such show. I made the discussion around pure bookkeeping and our systems and processes to give them the confidence that when they were food, they were referring to somebody that would be consistent and they would treat their beloved clients exactly the same every time, which was I guess, confidence building for them and reassure him.

MP: 05:57 Absolutely. I mean, it's such a great story on many levels. I mean, I want to talk about a few things, but your experience with the franchise, I mean the pure bookkeeping system is built off the premise of e myth. Well, the myth is the entrepreneurial myth, and it was written 30 years ago by Michael Gerber. As you, as you know, all of this, but for the listener, if they're not familiar with it, around building a system, dependent business, trust your systems, don't trust your staff. And what I love about your story is that you have, because of this previous career, working with franchisees and helping them develop their business, you really saw the power when someone went and figured out, okay, what's the best possible way to do something? And then let's document that, figure out, work out all the bugs and then uh, have everybody do it the same way so that we can ensure that there is a high, at the highest possible level of quality with the lowest possible amount of input. 

MP: 06:50 So we can increase our profitability and increase our customer satisfaction and real satisfaction for all that involved the staff. There are customers and the owner. So you've got this great experience from that. And then walking in and working with your, your sister in law and then sort of seeing really where she would have been that person at the, hadn't really taken it on the systems and process and kind of go sitting up there on the shelf where it's collecting dust and then you took that and said, Whoa, it's all in here. So you're not a bookkeeper. And yet you took these processes and you just started following the instructions and implementing the systems in a way it went, your business started to grow. So Ti for the listener, tell a little bit about what it was like those first, you know, first couple of months or, or even years as you were starting to grow this business because you've taken this in and talk a little bit about where you took, you know, we started with a bookkeeper and a part-time bookkeeper and went right up to 12 bookkeepers in when we spoke. I think it was over a span of four years, but really your focus was about two years, right? 

SF: 07:59 Yeah, that's right. I think it was about six months after I started my sister in law and brother, my brother got a job in um, west Africa and I moved over to Africa, which the Internet where they were in Deca was pretty tricky. So, um, there were some times weeks on end where I wouldn't have contact with Jenny. We tried to have weekly meetings, but um, essentially a lot of that building, I'm always by myself in Australia. So that's what he did was amazing because some of them, yeah, I had girls coming in doing the skills test and I just practice what the answers were. I wrote them down. So I wasn't really sure if they had any sort of curly questions. I didn't really know. And I, again, I just said to them, to the bookkeepers, look, I'm not a bookkeeper, but you know, obviously we've gotten a taste. 

SF: 08:46 Do these prices just work with me. And again, just being honest and telling them where I was at, obviously, I said to them, I'd be outlined in the answers to attending a mock. They knew that there'd be somebody that was a cross locating that knew that that would be checking their work. But essentially it is, I think coming into the business and with that background in Franchising, I think one thing that I've noticed over the years is that we think that we have to get it right. So when you come into a system, any rate. Yeah, there's you know, franchises and obviously pupil keeping this, the system there on the strategies around, you know, the six or seven or eight marketing strategies. And I think what a lot of people do with marketing is that they, they try one thing. They might have two or three accountants meetings and not get a referral to a letterbox drop and get one. 

MP: 09:34 Yeah. Referral. That's not that great.

SF: 09:36 It is heartening I think. And I think the key is, and this is what I learned from that whole process of talking to the best Franchisee they did, it was it's old, 20 years old, but like the attitude towards it. So I think it's really not about what it is, it's how you look at it. So my attitude was I just, I just didn't take no for an answer with any of it. I just kept going and going and going and going and some of it worked and a lot of it didn't work. And I think that the first 18 months I had a lot of appointments that didn't work. I walked into a lot of accountants. I was really frightened, to begin with, and I think I've got confidence around my, my people. But accountants were not my people. 

SF: 10:27 I just did not, I couldn't relate. I, the way I try to connect with people is through, you know, common stories and things and accountants that chatty and I found it quite overwhelming. So what I desired to do with the accountants' meetings was to try and mirror their behavior I suppose. So I calm myself down and, and generally just slowed down my conversations and I watched that video that Deb has is a video that Deb's got in the system that essentially just steps you through the accountant's meeting. I reckon I'll watch that about 20 times before I went there. And then after a while, like I would obviously just say exactly what she said to begin with. But then after a while, I just tailored that to my personality. Yeah. So I found that that started working and I started getting some great referrals from accountants and then the other strategies I'd slowly implement as well. 

SF: 11:18 But that first 18 months, a lot didn't work. Michael, I think, you know, you always hear people building businesses that you think, wow, you know, everything must've worked, to begin with, but it just doesn't, it just doesn't. I think the interesting thing was too, I was talking with my brother and sister in law and telling them how fearful I was about these accountings meetings and we decided it's just, it was such a good mindset for me to go into the, we decided that what I would do is actually burn the first 20 meetings, meaning I would really just go in without any expectations and actually almost allowing myself to stop. The meetings are so, it just kind to be the best mindset because we're already into the meetings. Ideas like this don't matter because I've got to tick off the 20 that I actually absolutely just kill him. Just have a terrible experience so they not can get onto the proper meetings. So just gave me the, I guess, confidence to just keep going and going and going and going and knowing that if I fail that's okay cause I've got 20 to get rid of and not get it right on the little treats replay. 

MP: 12:38 Well you, you said it right. It's all up between the ears and you know, there are some key messages there is that all of the stuff that we talk about, that we do that we recommend, all of it works. Somebody else has done it and it's worked. So it's not about the process, it's about the person that's doing it. And to think that you can do one something once and be a master at it is, is really, that might be part of the definition of insanity, right? It's like, oh I'm not good at that. You know, I'll never be good at, I'm not a master at that. I mean who, I mean, we all get that, but yet there are areas in all of our lives where we, we approach things like that. We think we gotta be good at it right away and we must not be good at it. Therefore we'll never be good at it. You're PR, you're proving that so many people prove that if you go at it with an attitude of I will get this done, this will work, and you use solid principles and do solid proven actions that produced results that others have produced and you just keep at it, get the help when you need to get it, you will be successful. 

SF: 13:41 Yeah, absolutely. And I think specifically for bookkeepers, Michael, what I find is that we're not generally part of the chain. So we sit in our office, in our house by ourselves, day in, day out. And it's tricky to motivate yourself when you're sitting there for eight, 10 hours a day doing bookkeeping. And then the part is if part of that is that you want to grow the business to, you know, two or three or five or 10 bookkeepers do some internal motivation. You have to give yourself because you have to be your own champion. And it's tricky. It's a unique environment because I think work environments genuinely, you know when you're part of a team and you've got a marketing team and you've got people surrounding you to lift you up and remind you that yeah, just keep going. Um, it's a, it's a lot easier. 

SF: 14:28 But when you're a bookkeeper alone in your office at home and you know, the internal dialogue is, are vague three calls to accounts and they've all said no. It's like, oh, you know what, I'll just go back to what, what I'm comfortable doing, which is bookkeeping. It's, this doesn't work anyway. Whereas I think it's a daily reminder for yourself to, to boost yourself up and you know, set the goals and them off. And how did I, I also had this thing called setting myself up to win every morning? I spend the first hour of my mornings and I have done for years doing exactly that to set myself up to it. And so I'll, I'll listen to anything that makes me feel motivated or positive. That might be something that Oprah Winfrey said or just to anything that gets me motivated and inspired or listened to an inspiring podcast. There are so many inspiring, um, podcasts that are out there. So just, just taking that first hour to set myself up to win for the day. 

MP: 15:26 Beautiful. You know, it's, it is, again, it comes back to that mindset and I think it's this concept of going out there, a having fun with something. Number two, expect to mess something up and, and really I think we could even add to that one, having fun means, you know, put good positive thoughts into your head. Start Your Day with a, I guess that's a ritual, a ritual to get you into a positive mindset, right? Where you're going to take the day. I mean, we've all had bad days, right? Called the Mondays or whatever. You know, sometimes every day seems like a Monday at times, but if you start with a positive and you work at having that positive frame, you're better off than starting with a negative frame. Have some fun, expect to mess it up a few times. If you're just getting started in number and number and number three, don't, don't do it alone. 

SF: 16:16 Yeah, absolutely. It reminds me of that saying Michael Mondays don't suck it to your life. Which iPod is interesting because I think it's again, setting yourself up to make sure that you enjoy every day. So when you, I mean, being a bookkeeper and working for yourself is a decision. You've made a decision to work for yourself. And the tricky thing is when you're working on a solo bookkeeping business or a solo business and you're trying to grow up, generally what happens is that you quit a job to do that and you, you do it for freedom and independence and flexibility and what you end up doing is generally working a bunch of hours more than what you would ordinarily, perhaps less than what you would if you're working for somebody else. I think, yeah, we get a couple of years down the track and we look back and go, what, what am I doing? 

SF: 17:06 What was the intention, to begin with? And I think, you know, you start photocopying year after year after year and before you know it, a lot of the times it's not what you wanted to do will you set out to do. But I think we've got to be willing to look ourselves in the mirror and say, is this the life that I intended for minding my own business? And be really honest with yourself with the answer. And if it's not Mike, the changes to Mike at work and he feeds support through pure bookkeeping. If it's reaching out to get a coach or somebody to help you get clear on what sort of day to day business or you do wake up on Monday morning and go, Yay, it's Monday is my life. You know? So I think it's important to really be clear on as a tiny way your app and if it's not where you want to be, change it. Life's short. And it's, if you've got the vehicle, and I see any sort of business is a vehicle to get you to where you want to go. And if you see that this vehicle is what you want to do to, to get your outcome structured in a way that you do get your outcome and you are having fun with it. 

MP: 18:17 I love that. I can't agree with you more. And so, you know, getting back to growing your business, you know, you, you obviously followed the steps in the pure bookkeeping system around the sales and marketing and you did a great job. I mean to have 12 bookkeepers working in the business, I mean you, that would have been a lot of attracting great clients into your business. Now the other side of it is the production of it, right? It's having great bookkeepers to do that work. Can you talk a little bit about what that journey looked like? 

SF: 18:48 I'm with recruiting, Michael. Do you mean like how to run yet again? You know, I just learned from those good franchisees that I rang the ones that were making the mice in every franchise company. I just followed the system. I just, I just went into the item annual in pure whole k being and followed every step that Deb has. So she's got a template, therefore advertising and sake. So we just copy and paste and advertising sake. I, my rotations was about once every three months to do the adverts. I'd get between 70 and 80 applicants. And again, you know, some people came beside me, Oh I like that because you get so many bad applicants and you know, I never, again, I never looked at it like that. I just got rid of the, I could say a lot of the times just by a quick scan, which ones I would not even put time into and dwindle it down to about probably 10 to 15 and then put them in a shortlist, print them out and use the templates that did develop to do the first interview over the phone and invite them in to do the skills test, which is part of the system. 

SF: 19:57 And then from the shortlist them see if they, you know how they went in the skills just I think it Deb suggest it or 85% pass rate. I think we were always between 90 and 95. We wanted them to pass by and yeah, and then from the, again, again we take them through the orientation, there's the contractor's agreement in the system, so we get them to sign that. Um, and the orientation, Michael is something that I spent a lot of time on. I did get an orientation booklet within the system and it's all written out in like a template that you can manipulate. So we certainly manipulated it to, to our world. And um, I would spend about four hours with the orientation meeting with the bookkeepers and you know, 10 news office was at the back of her house in the garage. She converted it and I'm part of the orientation. 

SF: 20:52 I would take the new bookkeeper, she's 10 years, got a pool and we'd sit by the pool and I'd go through the orientation booklet for four or five hours. So, and a lot of that, you know, obviously there was a lot of practical things about the pure bookkeeping system and how we, how we run the business. But also I talked a lot about it, I don't know if you're familiar with working above and below the line and the identity iceberg and what we see is really underneath. So we talked a lot about where they are at and how we wanted to portray our business to their, to the world, and that we're 100% accountable. So, so what we put out, so something happens that's not working. We don't, it's not a people problem, it's a systems problem. And we go back to the systems so we don't point the finger at the people. 

SF: 21:37 So basically, but it's then all of our responsibilities than to change the system and not, not just let that go onto the carpet. So we're con constantly just upgrading and working from things that we're working on, things that weren't, we were willing to look at that and change it and implement new things from things that weren't working. So that's really how we got it. Got Fantastic. Okay. There are three available keepers who are accountants and I've got the girls to send weekly emails by close of business on Monday just as a snapshot of their portfolios. So just a bullet point of an outline. So I could see if there were any red flags on Ada to contact the clients just to make sure that they were still sticky and happy with us and such. But any little sort of thing that I needed to know, I'd like to know within that snapshot of the portfolio. And then monthly or we, we had mandatory multiple meetings with the girls, whether they called in by Skype or um, we're on site. We did a lot of fun stuff for you. Look, we went on winery tours and things and we made it fun. Like it wasn't just, you know, just a boring day to day business. We did make it fun and we made to feeling in the business to be inclusive and, and fun. 

MP: 22:50 I just love it. 

MP: 22:57 You know, when we think of that story of the franchise, now Pure Bookkeeping is not a franchise, but it's similar to a franchise in that we provide the systems and process, on how to run the business. However, our members, they can run the business however they choose just using those systems. And so yet you've got this bad past career where you looked at the successful ones and the not so successful ones. Can the not so successful ones actually change their behavior and become successful? 

SF: 23:32 I believe, yes. But again, artists love Simon Sinek space-age about coming back to your why. And I think if you've got a big enough why, definitely, but if you've not got a big enough why there's got to be a catalyst for change. So yeah, if they've got a big enough why and they want to change to get the outcome, then you'll be open to, you know what's that saying? Yeah. The master will appear when the student's ready. So then you're going to be open to reading the book a week to learn about how to grow a business. You're going to be open to following a system or seeking a coach. I mean that's what did from the early days she, she got, she put herself into massive, a massive uncomfortable situation by getting somebody to coach her on an irregular basis to get her out of her comfort zone to do what I mean she grew her business I think to tall bookkeepers as well. 

SF: 24:25 And certainly what she's doing now, I mean, you know, she, she was willing to step into the fire. I'm like, oh, and that's, that's, that's a decision to do that because it's, it's uncomfortable. But she, we look at what she's done and half a feeling. Would that be just having somebody assigned what, what outcome do you want? Asking a quick cause I don't think we know what we want and that's the trouble. I think we get stuck in our little world because we don't know what we want. My strategy is always to write down. I've our plan every year in mid-January. And I actually wrote down what I don't want in each of the areas of my life because I think it's easy to say what you don't want. And then, um, I spend about three and four hours doing that. And then the opposite of that is always a, you look at the list and then the opposite of that is what you do want. And I think, um, if, if, if, if a licensee or a business owner ease and achieving what they want to do it, it's actually finding out what's going to make them poor debate, what's going to make them get to that point to, to make a decision to, you know, to change the mindset to do it, to achieve their goals. 

MP: 25:34 Yeah, I agree. And, and, uh, you know, building a business, preparing for the future, building a system-dependent business, you know, working out systems, training staff, none of these things are ever urgent. Uh, it's like something can always, always get in the way. And that comes back to that why and how bad somebody wants to achieve something and that, and that's for each of us to determine and to figure out. I think the other piece of that, I think you're providing today for some of our, our new licensees, perhaps are people that haven't fully implemented a, the system is that its belief. It's seeing others that have gone and done the work and have been successful, and, and to prove that it doesn't take a, a superhero. Now, I'm not saying that you're not a superhero because of course, you are, but you're a human being. You know, you put your pants on one leg at a time or however that saying goes.

SF: 26:33 uh, yeah, yeah. 

MP: 26:35 If you can do it, so can somebody else is, as long as they're willing to do the work, right? 

SF: 26:42 Yeah. Think what stops a lot of people from achieving, I mean, I always look at each of the areas in my life and I, and certainly I've always all my life, I've always looked at PayPal. It's like, if, if she can do that, I can do that. It's just, I'm just gonna find out the steps to do it. But I think what Stoltzes and certainly I've been stopped over the years with certain areas, is that you look at the work first. So you think that's a lot of work to do. So I'm a marathon runner. So the first time I decided to train for a marathon, I looked at one of the girls in the running group and I thought, well if she can do it, she'd done a few and she, she could do it all. I could do it. But you know the thing that I found, which sounds so obvious now, but it's the word to that, the marathons, nothing at the end because you've trained for it. 

SF: 27:30 You're ready. Do you step up at the start line? You are ready. I need to do that math because you could try it. But the hard work is getting up at right in the morning to, to run when it's cool cause it's so dark and wanting to do the two or three or four African to get it and that the hard stuff. So I think that's what in business as well, it's like implementing the pure bookkeeping system of following a system that seems quite laborious and boring and not exciting is actually what stocks are. You kind of look at it and go, I don't know. I just don't think that this is going to be fun for the day and I know if I sit down and I do the working in the business, the bookkeeping, I'm going to be making 50 60 80 bucks an hour and I know that and I'm comfortable with that. 

SF: 28:19 So that's where all goes. So that's put our diversion is to go back to our comfort zone and the other one stops us from doing what I guess is the stuff that I guess you look at as the barriers to get what your outcome is. And again, I'll come back to the why. You know, what do you, and it should be fun. The watch should be a fun thing. Again, this is a vehicle to get you to where you want to go on if, if, if you haven't got anything fun to achieve from Your Business, I think that's where the start line is. That's where you've got to figure out what's going to be fun from putting all the hog work in, setting up the systems, making the appointments with the accounts and doing what you need to do to get the outcome. 

MP: 29:00 Yeah, that and persistence and when I say persistence, I think when I'm a, I may be saying it's not even persistence, it really incremental, right? Is that every single piece that you improve actually ha makes a difference and it adds up over time. It's like savings, right? The compounding interest, I mean if we put a dollar in and have a little bit of interest, you know that dollar creates interest and the interest compounds on the interest and building a business and systems and process and training. It's all, every single one is like putting an extra dollar in that bank account. And I think I also identify with a, with some of our members that they're tough on themselves because they haven't gone as far as they may be though they wanted to in a particular timeframe. And I always say, look, you know, you go, you gotta look back and go, okay, where did you get to? 

MP: 29:55 And you're there, you did accomplish something. If you've done one thing, you are better off one thing, better off than you were if you had done nothing. So I think it's giving, giving all ourselves a bit of a break as well, not being too hard on ourselves and just knowing that, well, okay, if we want more, we'll do a little bit more and try and, and push that and, and, and get a little further each time, each year, each month, whatever it is that we're working on to build that, that business and to have things work better than they were yesterday. 

SF: 30:26 Yeah. It's human nature, isn't it, to be hard on ourselves when we don't, when we don't achieve. And sometimes you know what you signed before when you building on that knowledge you, you growing and you know, sometimes it's, you know, two steps forward, one step back. Sometimes it doesn't work and sometimes you have a rough week or month or two months and you think, gosh, I don't know, is this going to work? And I think the big thing why we don't sort of stretch ourselves or be prepared to sit down and plan annually is because we can tend to think if we don't achieve it, we're going to look like fools. Are we going to look like, yeah, faucets that were running down? Yeah. I want to, I want to increase my turnover too. 200,000 from a hundred this year or whatever, whatever the chunky goal is. 

SF: 31:12 And to actually physically write that down sometimes can be just daunting because it's like, yeah, your internal dialogue is, who do you think you are to achieve that? And then when you might, you first few phone calls for your accounts appointments or over Feral, getting your referral strategies going on, whatever that is. And you get confirmation that when they said no, and I've already got somebody or now or at night, you know, you get knocked back. It's like, okay, yeah, that's confirmation that I'm not gonna make this. So you get a little bit knocked back by that and then that's what keeps you in your box and then that's what keeps you in your books year after year after year. So I think, I think just the way through that is writing down what you want to achieve. If for 2018 and just taking massive action, just taking massive action, know that you're going to get a whole bunch of nos, you can a failure. 

SF: 32:04 You hear it from a lot of, a lot of people you listened to that, you know, they've had more failures than wins, but you know, some of the things even did you know, I think her goal was to allow her husband to retire. Is that right? Yeah, I think she fell short for like two or three years. I think it took her two or three years longer. And to me like, man, lucky did husband, you know, she wasn't bold enough to make that goal. You know, he'd still be working now, but you know, she fell a shorter two or three. So what she, she achieved it an amazing goal. So yeah, I think just being bold enough to write down your goals and just know that you're probably gonna file, you know, 30, 40% of it. At least if you're writing it out there, you've got a nap to work towards to get that outcome. 

MP: 33:04 This stuff works. It works. It works. It works. And, and you're right, it was, it was actually two years. I just had a conversation with Deb, actually a podcast interview with Deb. She was sharing, it was two years for him to go part-time and then I think another year or two for him to go fully retired. So she missed the mark. We could say that she failed, but, uh, you know, she, she ended up getting there and I mean, it was a really big, uh, bold, bold goal, uh, which I'm sure everyone that's listening right now can relate. Right? Think about a time where you, you wanted something in your life and at the time when you set it, it seemed, it seemed big, you know, and, and you, and probably you thought it was going to happen a lot faster than it actually took, but then it did actually happen and you stopped. 

SF: 33:53 You look back and you said, wow, that's, that's great. I mean, for myself personally, I can think of one specific goal where I wanted to be doing something specific in my life and I wanted it right then. I didn't want, I didn't want it to be like two or three years out. I wanted it right now. And yet I still said, okay, I know I want it right now, but yet I know it's not right now and I don't have what I want right now, but I'm willing to work for it. And it took me two or three times the amount of time I thought it would take or wanted it to take and it was like a decade, you know, I wanted it right then, but yet it took 10 years. But had I not had the courage to do the things that I had to do to put that ball in motion, it would have never happened. 

SF: 34:37 It would have never happened. And uh, and so there's, there are lots to what we're talking about. We could probably go on talking for four hours on the subject. As you said, a few things around, above and below the line and a whole bunch of cool things. And we're going to have you back to talk about mindset. I think some more. I'd love that. Yeah. Cause this is such a fantastic conversation now in your opinion, you know, we're going into, and we're late, we were trying not to date the podcast and somebody in terms of somebody who's maybe listening to this later on, but we're, we're having this conversation near the end of the year in 2017 so we'll do that. Shame on us for tea, for dating the podcast. But we get, we run the podcast so we can do what we like, but at what would, what would you recommend for people looking out into this next year? You said a few things, you write down your goals, get really clear. Anything else that you'd, you'd want to share with them on how they can have an awesome year in 2018 

SF: 35:31 Yeah, look, just quickly. Just what I do every year, mid-January, as I sort of said before, I take time to plan. So I give myself about three or four hours. That's usually on a weekend, a Saturday or a Sunday. I think with binding, you've got to go away from your normal area. So not sit in your office or your house or your backyards. I remove yourself in some way.

MP: 35:55 Beautiful.

SF: 35:56 So I go to somebody, look, I'm looking at Brisbane River. I take 50 bucks out of the bank account and I go to a beautiful, um, coffee shop or restaurant. I order the most expensive glass of wine or the least and ordered some tapper. And I sit down with a, uh, generally a blank pipe and not a rule page book that I've purchased, one for one of those crazy expensive stationary places. And I, I say I struggle to do that because it just seems like such a waste of money, but I think I value the book then and I value what then what I'm going to write in it. 

SF: 36:27 So the six areas that I cover local and it sets me up for the year. I work on relationships, my physical body, financial, spiritual, mental and Korea. And as I sort of said before, I actually put a rule, a law down the middle of the page. So I start with relationships and I write down everything I don't want my relationship to look like with my family and my partner and everyone around me for the next 12 months. So I just keep rotting and rotting. And that's why I don't like to have the rule page. So I'll just run and write. My goal is to fill that book up and then I go onto physical, financial, spiritual, mental career and do exactly the same thing. I'll just rod and rod and sometimes I'll just sit and think for 10 or 15 minutes about each of the areas. 

SF: 37:13 And sometimes the writing just comes, but it doesn't have, it doesn't always flow is what I'm saying. Then I go back and I got into the opposite of that. So I look at, okay, relationships, what I don't want. So what do I want? And it's easy to write down what you do want. So then from there I go through each of the areas and write down the opposite of what I've written. And then I finalize that with um, one page of action items from those six areas. So say for Korea, I might have two or three action items. So certainly a great action item from the career it would be to write a plan for 2018 so from that, which is a big chunky goal coming out of that one page. But you know, a business plan doesn't have to be massive. Um, it can be on one page and it says to stop because most people don't have a plan and they just keep photocopying year after year. So that's definitely one thing that I would want on the career section is to write a business plan of what you want to achieve and certainly two or three items from each of that. And then I'd put that one page, I try to copy it and put it up everywhere that can be seen. So when Marie Ramonda did that all year, it's beautiful.

MP: 38:22 You know our last episode that we did, we talked about it was Debbie, we were talking about setting goals and this is a, this is a, an interesting your, yours is an interesting take on it and I think a really great addition to what we talked about. And so I'm going to invite the listener if you'd like. What we're gonna do is we're going to put together a little planning guide for you to use. Go through this exercise. If you'd like that, you know, you can go to Thesuccessfulbookkeeper.com and sign up there if you haven't already signed up for the free resources section. Once you get into the free resources section, you go down, find the episode. This particular episode, we'll have it numbered inside our portal and we'll have that document that you can use and, and a little bit of the commentary that a Sharon is sharing with us today and that'll help you do some planning and 2018 so go and do that. Get signed up, spend the time. I think it's fantastic. Whatever you like to do, indulge yourself a little bit. Give yourself that gift of indulgent. You've worked hard, all of you have worked hard in 2017 so give yourself this gift of, of setting yourself up powerfully for 2018 Sharon, this is absolutely been fantastic. Uh, such a, a wonderful story that you have such an honor to hear your story and what you've done and how you've grown a bookkeeping business, I think is an inspiration for everyone listening. So thank you for, for joining us. 

SF: 39:46 Yeah, thanks Mike has been great having a chat. I've really enjoyed sharing it. 

MP: 39:49 Beautiful. Well, I definitely want to have you come back and share your, your knowledge and uh, what you've, what you're going to learn in 2018. So we'll do this again. 

SF: 39:59 Yeah, I'd love to. That'd be awesome. 

MP: 40:01 Well, that wraps up another episode of the successful bookkeeper podcast. To learn more about today's guests and to get access to all sorts of valuable free business-building resources, you can go to Thesuccessfulbookkeeper.com

MP: 40:12 Until next time, goodbye.