Rise and Shine: An Inspiring Conversation

Isn’t the mountain top amazing? You can see for miles, the view is absolutely breathtaking, and you feel empowered and ready for anything. These are the moments we live for as entrepreneurs, the times when we can celebrate and everyone can celebrate with us. But if we’re being honest, this is only part of the entrepreneurial journey. 

It would be disingenuous to pretend that all there is to owning a business, or even life in general, are the mountain top experiences. We recently had the opportunity to sit down and listen to some wisdom from a long time entrepreneur Phil Yaeger of Yaeger CPA Review. The lessons he shared from his journey are inspiring for entrepreneurs everywhere.

Becoming an entrepreneur

When Phil was growing up, there were 3 careers that were “desirable”: doctor, lawyer, or accountant. With no desire to go into medicine or law, Phil followed the path chosen by his family and became a CPA. He quickly realized that what he really wanted to do was interact with people, not numbers. For the next several years, through long commutes and working at a job he didn’t love, he discovered his passion: teaching. Phil was passionate about what he wanted to do, he had the necessary skills, and he had the knowledge to make it possible.

Business owners who have a passion for what they do set themselves apart from the competition. It’s not just about performing a service or selling a product, it’s about the difference you can make for your clients. 

Passion by itself isn’t enough though. A clear vision and mission help you communicate the unique value that you bring. It also clarifies your purpose which will sustain you when it feels that your dream is out of reach.

Follow your path

When Phil began his career in accounting, it was impossible for him to see the exact steps that led him to where he is today. From accounting, working for Columbia Pictures, obtaining his CPA, returning to school for a PhD, to teaching accounting in community college and eventually opening his own CPA review firm, there have been many opportunities for Phil to evaluate and pivot. Sometimes the adjustments were small, sometimes the path seemed to veer off course. But each move pushed him closer to following his dreams.

As an entrepreneur, it is critical to be open to opportunities. Operating with your head in the sand, just doing business day in and day out, can prevent you from seeing opportunities to reposition yourself. 

There is no cookie cutter formula to building a business. Returning often to your business plan, your goals for your company, and evaluating your progress toward them is what will guide you along the path that can be full of twists and turns.

Don’t go it alone

Even after decades of building a business, Phil recognizes that he doesn’t know it all. The landscape of business is changing. The way that people interact with each other through technology has required a shift from traditional models of business to new ways of communicating with clients and prospective clients. 

In order to keep growing, you can’t be a Lone Ranger. Not only can the entrepreneurial journey feel lonely, but you simply can’t do it all by yourself. You need to build a team of people as you grow, adding expertise where you need it. Building a team and empowering them in their roles creates a positive momentum and culture that will foster additional growth.

Mindset matters

Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.

–Henry Ford

Through the ups and downs of a career spanning more than 50 years, one thing has always set Phil Yaeger apart: his willingness to work. Instead of being stuck in a job that he disliked, Phil sought out opportunities to be in front of people. When a career in radio didn’t pan out, he furthered his education and began to teach the content he knew so well. At each point in his journey, Phil had the opportunity to settle. Instead, he pushed forward and built a business doing work he loves.

While the entrepreneurial journey carries its share of challenges, it can also be incredibly rewarding. Check your mindset. Do you see challenges as opportunities? Do you have a clear vision to meet your goals? Enlist help along the way from business experts, and build a team whose skill sets complement yours. Every entrepreneur has the opportunity to rise and shine.

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