By: Matt Andersen, CPA, founder of MD Andersen, CPA, PA
In 2009, entrepreneur and author Simon Sinek delivered a brief address at a small, independent TEDx event in Washington state on the topics of business and leadership. His 10-minute presentation quickly went viral and has been viewed over 50 million times on the TED.com website. In his speech he offers a very simple piece of advice:
“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. …”
MD Andersen CPA, PA (MDA CPA) was founded in 2012 for the purpose of providing accounting and tax services to owners of privately-held businesses. Our firm appreciates the words of Simon Sinek. We even wrote a blog post about it earlier this year. Unfortunately, like many well-meaning but fledgling businesses, we struggled to put this idea into practice. In the beginning, our “why” was to help people track their finances, save a few extra dollars, and keep them out of trouble with the IRS. In what will come as a surprise to no one, this mission didn’t garner the attention of 50 million people. There are 50 million other CPAs that do exactly the same thing.
To set ourselves apart, we needed to find our “why”?
Over the next eight years, our team developed client relationships that allowed us to better understand the challenges of modern entrepreneurs. A completed tax return is important, but it was one of a long list of tasks most overworked, overstressed business owners struggled to stay on top of. The freedom and independence they hoped to gain owning a business often took a backseat to the short term goals of putting out fires and earning an extra dollar of revenue. Their lives were often solely focused on work and their constant state of panic made it difficult to consider much else.
So where do we come in? How does our role as CPAs help alleviate this pressure?
Our job has always been to give clients the facts about their money and help them financially support their goals. Unfortunately, most CPA’s and their clients miss the bigger picture. Maximizing the bottom line is an important goal, but what about goals such as flexibility, time with family, the pursuit of hobbies, and one’s physical and mental well-being? Behind every business, there is an individual who launched the endeavor for the purpose of leading a happier, more fulfilled life. That purpose is our “why”.
Our role as CPAs is to understand what makes our clients happy and help them achieve the lifestyle they work so hard for.
This is where our newest venture, the Lifestyle F.I.L.E.s, comes into play. In addition to our tax, accounting, consulting, and coaching services, MDA CPA is building a digital platform to offer a new perspective on business ownership.
You may be familiar with the F.I.R.E. movement, an acronym for Financial Independence, Retire Early. It’s a relatively new concept that has been particularly popular with a subset of disciplined individuals who reject the conventional career path. F.I.R.E. followers aggressively save, invest, and live extremely modestly at an early age for the purpose of living a carefree, work-free life by the time they enter their mid-forties. It is a fantastic idea in theory that promotes happiness and avoids long-term career dissatisfaction, but there are a couple of major flaws that prove difficult to overcome:
- Even extreme savers can’t earn enough money to last them 40-50 years
- Working only for money, even in the short term, lacks purpose and often becomes a miserable experience
The modern workplace has frustrated all of us at one point, but what if you took charge of your own destiny? The Lifestyle F.I.L.E.s (Financial Independence, Lifestyle Entrepreneurship) was created to encourage new and existing business owners, Lifestyle Entrepreneurs as we call them, to rethink their goals, build a successful business, do work they love, and support a lifestyle that works for them. We can provide the tools to support these endeavors on the tax and financial side, but we need a community of like-minded individuals to propel this movement forward.
Here’s Where You Come In
To further our mission, we are assembling a tribe of future entrepreneurs, experienced business owners, and other curious individuals interested in joining the F.I.L.E. movement. There is no monetary, geographic, or professional barrier to gaining membership. We only ask that you come with a genuine interest in learning and sharing with your fellow F.I.L.E. members. Our firm’s NEW Lifestyle F.I.L.E.s newsletter, revamped social media channels and other digital resources are designed to provide a supportive, engaging platform that dares participants to think differently about business ownership.
Are you ready to join us?
Subscribe directly to our Lifestyle F.I.L.E.s newsletter to receive monthly updates, education, and opportunities to connect to your peers.
Visit our website to learn more about our mission and how we are supporting Lifestyle Entrepreneurs via education and one-on-one coaching.