Mastering Coaching Skills with Lindsay Dotzlaf | Adding Coaching to Your Services with Aimee LaLiberteIf there’s one thing every entrepreneur needs to consider as their business grows, it’s hiring a Chief Financial Officer or a bookkeeper. Besides being brilliant at crunching numbers, what if that CFO could help coach you and manage your mind around your money too? Well, my guest this week does exactly that in her business, and she’s created a truly incredible product and service for her clients.

I’m bringing you a conversation with my amazing client Aimee LaLiberte. Aimee is a money coach and a CFO for small businesses, and she joined my mastermind so she could figure out how to take her existing skills with money and combine those with coaching, and she’s here to share all of her expertise with you.

Tune in this week as I discuss with Aimee LaLiberte her process for adding coaching to the services she offers as a bookkeeper and CFO. If you want to introduce coaching in your business, this episode is offering you some valuable insights. And if you’re a coach who is considering hiring someone to help with the financial side of your business, we’re taking a deep dive into all of that too.

If you want to take the work we’re doing here on the podcast and go even deeper, you need to join my six-month mastermind! Coaching Masters is currently closed for enrollment, so click here to join the waitlist!

I am so excited to hear what you all think about the podcast – if you have any feedback, please let me know! You can leave me a rating and review in Apple Podcasts, which helps me create an excellent show and helps other coaches find it, too.

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • How Aimee decided that coaching was something she wanted to add to her services.
  • What the skill of coaching added to the work Aimee does around money with her clients.
  • Where Aimee struggled initially with stepping into her identity as a coach, and how she overcame that struggle.
  • Why you don’t need to change your business entirely to add something useful to the services you offer.
  • How working with a bookkeeper in my own business has taught me so much about my money and how I think about it.
  • What Aimee learned from her time in Coaching Masters about how she worked and why she needed to slow down.
  • Where Aimee’s love of money management came from and how she created an intentional relationship with it.
  • Aimee’s tips for integrating coaching into your business without any drama.
  • 3 thoughts that have transformed the way Aimee thinks about making money in her own business.
  • When Aimee thinks is the best time for you to hire a bookkeeper and how you should keep your own books in the meantime.

Listen to the Full Episode:

 

Featured on the Show:

  • Coaching Masters is an exclusive, intimate, and powerful Mastermind that will NEXT LEVEL your coaching skills. Learn more here and join us!
  • For even more resources on making your work as a coach and success for your clients easier, I’ve created a freebie just for you. All you have to do to get it is sign up to my email list at the bottom of the home page!
  • Amy LaLiberte: Website | Facebook | Instagram
  • The Life Coach School

Full Episode Transcript:

Hey, this is Lindsay Dotzlaf and you are listening to Mastering Coaching Skills episode 52.

To really compete in the coaching industry, you have to be great at coaching. That’s why every week, I will be answering your questions, sharing my stories, and offering tips and advice so you can be the best at what you do. Let’s get to work.

Hello coaches, I have a treat for you today, I am talking to-having a conversation with one of my amazing clients, Aimee LaLiberte. We talk about two really important things in this episode.

Aimee is a money coach, she is a CFO for small businesses. And so one thing that we talk about, and one of the reasons she came into my mastermind to work with me was she really wanted to figure out how to take this skill that she already had, that she was already amazing at, which is being a CFO for entrepreneurs, helping entrepreneurs manage the money in their businesses, and combine coaching with it.

So we really dive into what coaching adds kind of to the conversation, the money conversation and how she combines the two things and takes the skill that she had before and adds coaching to it. And then turns it into this amazing product. Which is not only can she help entrepreneurs with their money, managing their money, but she can also help them manage their minds around their money and their thoughts about their money. Which is so powerful.

The other thing we talked about that will be very useful for anyone listening, is I kind of ask her to tell you, just from her CFO position and having worked with many entrepreneurs, we dive into some questions about when is the best time to hire someone like a bookkeeper or a CFO. How to allocate some of your money to that, and just some other questions around money in your business.

I wanted to be able to give you a few things that you could just take away today from this episode. We also just talk a lot about money in general. And we have a lot of fun doing it. So I hope you enjoy, here is Aimee LaLiberte.

Lindsay: Hello, I am so excited to have you here today. Introduce yourself, tell them who you are and a little bit about what you do.

Aimee: Hello everyone, my name is Aimee LaLiberte. And I am a coach and a virtual CFO for six and seven figure businesses, largely service based providers. And I help business owners create a relationship with money that is largely based around fundamental things like bookkeeping, forecasting, CFO work, but then also blending in the mindset work that comes with having a business and being a business owner.

Lindsay: I love that. And I just have to say this, we’ve laughed about this before, but every time I try to pronounce your name, I’m glad you said it first because when I try to say it I always want to make it so fancy. It’s like you’re from France and it’s LaLiberte or something.

Aimee: Yes.

Lindsay: Something very fancy, that’s not. I mean, it’s still fancy.

Aimee: I mean, yeah, but I’m like a girl from upstate New York, like two and a half hours north of New York City. So when people are like, “Aimee LaLiberte” I’m like, “What? Stop, immediately.”

Lindsay: Yes, because even your first name, the way you spell Aimee, it just all looks very French.

Aimee: And I’m not even French, that’s the best part. It’s just my parents wanted a fancy spelling of my first name and I married somebody with a French name. So it’s all good.

Lindsay: They nailed it. Okay, so you have a background in finance. And tell me how you got into coaching. Not necessarily coaching yourself, but what was your first exposure to coaching? Take me down that path. What happened?

Aimee: Yeah, so I started a business in 2016, I’m five years into this. And I wanted to offer services to small businesses and it started out with just doing bookkeeping. I felt like that was something that I could talk about and sell, if you will. And people and business owners don’t really enjoy their bookkeeping, so I felt like this is something I can offer.

And then I started providing more of like forecasting, like higher level strategy and insight just based on my professional background. And then I’ve always been part of the Life Coach School Self-Coaching Scholars Program. So certification from the Life Coach School was always something that was like a maybe on it and I love collecting skill sets, if you will. So it was on the radar. And I kept putting off because I had so much growth in my business. That it was just I never felt like I had the time.

And then Covid happened and the Life Coach School offered this micro time frame to get started in like May. And so I jumped on that and I became certified. So coaching was something that I knew I wanted to have in my tool belt. And I thought, okay, the Life Coach School certification was sort of that thing that I was going to do. So that finished in September of 2020. And so now we’re a year later.

Lindsay: And what do you think, I love to dive into this– I know because you’ve been my client and we’ve talked about it. Your business hasn’t done a total 180 where it’s like you’ve changed everything you do. You just added in this skill that’s like, “Oh, this is really useful for my clients.”

What do you think is the difference between doing what you did, like the bookkeeping without the coaching, versus bookkeeping with you having that skill of being able to coach your clients?

Aimee: Honestly, I think it was the awareness that I was doing it all along. And I think that that was the part that really, I took away from my time in Coaching Masters. Because I can remember clear as day I did my certification with the Life Coach School. And even prior to that I would speak on panels for chambers and speak at events. Because I would always speak from like a bookkeeper, CFO perspective.

And other people on the panel would tell the audience like, “Listen, if you think that you’re going to hire a bookkeeper and they’re going to tell you the things that Aimee is telling you, that is not what’s happening. She’s doing something completely different than what you should expect from a bookkeeper.”

And so I had the awareness of they see something that I don’t. And I thought I’m going to add this certification, so then I’ll feel like I have that. And then I came to you because even though I had the certification, I thought I was just going to start a second offer within my business specifically for coaching.

And I came to you trying to figure out, and I remember on my application for your program, I think your question was, “Why do you think I’m your coach?” And I’m almost positive I said, “I don’t know if you’re my coach.”

Lindsay: Yeah, I think you’re right.

Aimee: Yeah, and I remember you writing back to me like, “I really appreciate your honesty.” And I was like, “Yeah.” Because I just didn’t know, but I knew I had to figure it out. And I just didn’t know where I could figure it out. And I’m sure I could have just done it independently. But I knew I didn’t want to, and I needed a place to do it.

And I think that’s what, for me, so much of what Coaching Masters offered over that six months.

Lindsay: And what do you think, so I know because you kind of told me this throughout the program where at one point you were like, “I realize why I’m here. My number one goal in this mastermind is to identify as a coach.” And I’m curious what the shift was, because at that point you said you’d kind of already been coaching, you didn’t really know it, that was part of what you were doing.

Then you got certified and you still did not have that identity of I am a coach. Why do you think that that was?

Aimee: I think it was because I feel like my brain has a default tendency to have all or nothing thinking, and it’s that you’re either a coach or you’re not. You’re a bookkeeper or you’re not. You’re a CFO or you’re not. And having that all or nothing thinking and either be in right or wrong in everything has been probably my work for like all of my adult life, is really trying to embrace the gradient in between the all or nothing.

And I think that’s really what it was. Was the fact of not or, like getting rid of the word or and replacing it with and. I can be a coach and a CFO and a bookkeeper. You can be a wife and a mother. And the word and, that was really what it was, it wasn’t the all or nothing.

Lindsay: Yeah. So when you think about yourself now with that identity, like having that thought, believing that you’re a coach, does it show up tangibly in your business? Are there actual changes or is it more of just like you believe it, you’re on board, and it just changes the way you feel about your business?

Aimee: So I think there’s a couple of answers. The first one is, I believe I show up more confidently to my clients as a result of the fact of if I’m hearing them say things like, “I don’t know why this isn’t working,” or, “Why is this?” Whatever the thoughts that they have, I know now to slow down and really start to poke holes into it.

And I think one of the other things too, is that I used to not want to call myself a coach out of fear of them saying, “Listen, I pay you to do my books, not to unpack my brain.”

And what I think the thing is, is that I’ve been doing the questions, like I ask a lot of questions. And not because I’m coaching but because I’m just in general a curious person. Because I think so much of what we think goes into how we behave in terms of making decisions as business owners and all of that.

So I just, by nature, will ask a lot of questions. But now it’s more of that intentionality of I’m going to ask these questions to try to get to help them realize what this is happening over here. But to help them guide them to that point.

And I think I’m more transparent about like there’s coaching that happens here. Because I used to just say like, “Oh, this is my secret sauce. This is my recipe.” And then I’m like, “Why? Why? This doesn’t have to be some big secret, this is what goes down. It’s fine.”

Lindsay: Yes, I remember you saying that at one point in the mastermind. You said something like, “Well, it’s kind of like I’m doing their books and I’m helping them with their money. But I’m secretly coaching them.” And I’m like, “Wait, what? Why is it a secret?” Why does it have to be a secret that you’re coaching them?

And one thing that I saw that was a huge shift in you, that came with the belief of I am a coach, is fully stepping into like and coaching is amazing, and people want it. And it’s like an asset of what I do instead of just this sneaky thing that I have to get in there when they’re not paying attention.

Aimee: Yeah, absolutely. And I also think it’s almost like elevating their awareness of the reason why you want to keep me on your team is because of this skill. Anyone can do your books and can send you reports and everything, but it’s this other stuff that’s happening up here that I’m sure you can get somewhere, but you’re not going to get it the way that I’m going to deliver it to you because I’ve got this whole collection of unique experiences and skills that I’ve combined together, unknowing.

I think that I didn’t realize I was doing it until, again, I came into your program. And it was largely because I run at a very fast pace and I have a tendency not to slow down. And I felt like I may not have slowed down in the six months, but I knew I had that time every single week to slow down. And that was the amount of time that I was able to use to really just say, “Okay, what is it that I’m doing and how do I articulate that?”

Lindsay: Yeah. So I attract a lot of clients who just are terrified of slowing down. And I actually talked about this in my mastermind today, it’s exactly what we went over. And I’m curious, first of all, in the beginning did you have some resistance to it?

And you can be really honest, I’m just curious. Because I do sometimes have clients that are like, “This is moving way too slow for me, I don’t know what’s happening.” And I’m like, “Just trust me, just let’s do the process.” Did you have that experience?

Aimee: Yes, and I chalked it more up to the fact that I don’t identify as someone– When someone says, “Wow, you’re really patient,” I’m like, “What are you talking about? Like no, clearly.” And it’s because I tend to move fast.

And I don’t want to call myself like a bull in a China shop, but I love experimenting and I love trying things. And I like being able to do that trial and error type process, so long as I’m not in like a spirit of like self-judgment.

Because if I have like the crown of self-judgment on, that is like the worst for me because I can be unkind to myself in that judgment. But if I’m just like, “Oh, I’m just going to see what happens,” And I’m in that space, I’m like, “Okay, let’s do it.”

Whereas in the program, initially when we got the workbook and the first one was all about awareness, I remember just jotting down all my notes.

Lindsay: You were like, “Oh no.”

Aimee: I was like, “I’m done. I’m good with this, I’m done.” And then it was like that, I have to tell you, is the power of awareness, I think is gold. It’s gold, because it’s so simple and yet it’s the thing that you’re just kind of like, “Oh, right, yeah, there’s awareness,” and then move on. But like no, there’s awareness. What? Yes.

Lindsay: I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately. And one of the ways that I think about awareness that I think is different than a lot of other coaches, I think so many coaches think of it as a way to like, let’s quickly get through this so we can figure out what we need to think on the other side. What we need to get to. This is the part that’s like blah, let’s just do it so that we can move on and decide what do I need to believe? How do I want to feel? It’s like getting to that future part where you’re creating the result.

But the way I think about it is it’s actually the most important part. And you’re not just doing it so that you can get to like what’s the sexy new thought I need to believe? One thing I’ve discovered in my own kind of self-coaching is a lot of times I don’t even–

This might really blow your mind. I don’t even move into the future thoughts, the what do I need to believe? Because when I have so much awareness in what’s happening right now and how it’s showing up, for me, it’s just like natural to move on. Which is very different than finding a new thought and trying to get there.

Aimee: Mm-hmm, absolutely. And I think the other thing too, is that, again, for me, if we go to the finance stuff that I do, I personally think that bookkeeping is the foundation of all the business financials. Because if your books aren’t good, I can run all the forecasting and all of that, and come up with all these different mathematical things for you. But if that’s not solid, we could be taking you on a different course that we have the wrong numbers to.

I think that’s what happens with awareness, is that for us to get to the future version, the intentional model, whatever we want to call that next level, if we don’t have a solid understanding of the awareness and even all of the sneaky things that happen within that, you can get to that side. But that thought that you thought you released, it will come back. It will just find its way back to you because it’s unresolved, because you’ve tried to speed to the other side.

Lindsay: Yeah, and the sneaky underlying ones, right? It’s like you might come up with the ones that are like, “Well, I just don’t believe it’s going to work.” Okay, well, that’s fine. I just need to believe it’s going to work, it’s totally possible. It is working, whatever. Finding those thoughts. But usually there’s some other sneaky beliefs under there that are just, like those are the ones that are really get you.

Aimee: Yeah, absolutely.

Lindsay: And keep you stuck.

Aimee: Yeah, for sure.

Lindsay: They just like drag you back, right? They’re like, “No, no, no, you’re not getting rid of me that easy. Get back here.”

Aimee: Right. And I don’t think there’s like thousands upon thousands of those sneaky ones, but they are the deep rooted ones. Like for me, I know the one thing about help, like asking for help, anything that has to do with asking for help. And I don’t mean that in a question, but more of a statement, like that’s the one that will find me no matter what situation.

Give me whatever circumstance, if I have resistance to asking for help, it’s more of like really continuing to work through the whole backstory of why that’s such a hard thought for me to kind of release, is always on there. But it’s the thing that I’m aware of. And I know that sometimes if I have to backpedal I’m like, “What is this really about?” And it’s like, “Oh, because I need help. That’s interesting.”

Lindsay: Yes. So how did you, let’s just like go all the way back to how did you get into finance? Did you have a job, were you working for a company? I’m pretty sure you were in the corporate world.

Aimee: Yeah, yeah. So, I mean, before we go even into the corporate world, I can recall as a child being in the attic of my childhood home and finding my parent’s blank checkbooks and writing pretend checks. Which they were very unhappy about. But I was so excited. I was like, “I’m going to write myself some money checks.”

Lindsay: That’s so great.

Aimee: Yes, and I can picture them being like, “Stop, stop.”

Lindsay: And then they had to call the bank and probably explain it. In those days I remember if you skipped a check number, the bank would be like, “Something has gone wrong.” And they probably had to call the bank and be like, “Listen, we have like eight voided checks, our daughter–”

Aimee: Right, “She likes money, it’s fine. She’ll be fine.”

Lindsay: So funny.

Aimee: And then I remember as a kid, you’d look through the catalog at the holiday time, and wanting a safe.

Lindsay: That is amazing. Not what I thought you were going to say.

Aimee: No, I was like, “Okay, I need a safe to put all my money in.”

Lindsay: Oh my gosh.

Aimee:  And so I’ve always had this attraction, and then just being really fascinated with how people transacted like at the department stores and all of that. And like the concept of layaway, that just blew my mind. And I was always just sort of observing how all of this commerce would happen.

And so I was like a poly sci major and my plan was to be a lawyer. I had all these grand plans, and then I did an internship in Washington DC and I realized that I had the most amazing time and I realized that did not want to practice law. So then it came like, “Okay, what am I going to do?”

At the same time my family ran into some financial issues. And so I ended up taking on the responsibility of paying for my own college education. So then I really started to understand like, I really need to not just admire this whole concept of money, but actually create a relationship with it. So I learned how to read like my student loan promissory notes. I got three jobs in order to pay my way through school.

And then when I got out of college, I just really decided I was going to have this super intentional relationship with money. And then I started professionally working in mostly colleges and universities, building out fundraising programs.

So what I would do is they would hire me and they’d say, “Okay, here’s our fundraising goal, figure out how you’re going to do it”. And so I would figure out the strategy behind it and how we were going to get all the money, and then I would execute on it. And then I just started getting recruited from one university to the other to the other. So I learned the front end of it, as well as the back end of it.

So by the time I left that whole world, I had done a $100 million campaign, I had done a $50 million campaign. So working with millions of dollars, working with people who were ultra-wealthy, and talking to them about transformation and philanthropy, as well as interfacing with the finance department to make sure that everything was booked from the accounting perspective.

I had this full perspective and I knew that small businesses, and for me the way that I define small businesses is any company that is doing under $10 million in revenue, I knew that this was a skill that they were not able to– I think some of them didn’t realize that they needed it. And I think that some of it, they realized it wasn’t available to them because there wasn’t a lot of people doing that kind of work and that’s where I started.

So it was more of like, “Okay, I’m going to leave all of this behind. And I’m going to start this business and we’re going to see how it all unfolds.” And then I grew from referrals. I mean that’s really the large base of how my business has grown. I don’t do paid advertising and it just organically has grown. And it’s really been from like a client working with me, being really excited, referring me, referring me. And as I told you very recently, I surpassed the $1 million mark in my revenue. It’s crazy.

Lindsay: Yes, so fun. It is crazy. And what I love about that is that you and I have talked about how we have kind of similar stories. Sometimes we’re like, “Oh, we relate to each other a lot.” But I went the opposite direction where I was like, “I am never going to think about money.”

So I paid for my own college as well. And I would literally show up to the, what is it, the bursar or whatever, with a stack of cash from waiting tables and just like give it to them. After, of course, I went out and spent it on cocktails and new clothes to wear, and all the things.

But the way I thought about it was like I never even thought about how much do I owe? How much whatever, it was just like I can always make more. And it was very helpful, but also the biggest thing I had to work on when I really started making money in my business was like, “Oh at some point I should probably start paying attention to the money.” Like understanding it, knowing where it goes. And my bookkeeper, which I will say I hired before I knew about you, so I’m sorry.

Aimee: Totally fine.

Lindsay: If anything ever happens, I’ll be there. But I always say she is, besides a coach, she is the one person that I would keep no matter what, for some reason if I stopped making money or if I didn’t have the money. She changed everything about my business and I highly recommend to anyone that’s listening that is at that– And maybe you have a different opinion, we can talk about this.

I don’t think I needed it from the start because I think that kind of not obsessing over the money was super helpful in the beginning of my business because I wasn’t freaking out about it. I wasn’t like, “Where’s the next money coming from? How many clients do I need to sign?”

But as my business grew and as there was money coming in, it was very like, “Okay, now.” It’s kind of the thought like the thoughts that got me here aren’t the ones that will keep me going to the next level. And that, I realized very quickly like, “Oh, this thought is not going to serve me.” Because I was just kind of spending it everywhere because I wasn’t sure where I was supposed to be spending.

Aimee: Yeah, and I think it’s funny because yeah, you’re right, we definitely have like two similar plot line stories. But for me, every time I got my award letter from the financial aid office, I would be like, “Not enough. Friends, we need to fix this, like I need this.” And I would like give them like context to what was happening in my personal life and how I was paying for it and I needed this resolved.

And I mean, I was president of the student body in my college.
So I was the student rep on the Finance Committee, so I saw the college’s budget. And so I was like the student vote against tuition increases and all that. So I was probably at like the furthest end.

And so for you, where you’re like, “I probably needed that.” I think there are some times where I didn’t need to be kind of gripped on tight to it, because I felt like it almost sometimes it would take me longer to do things out of like, “Okay, I don’t want to let go of this.”

And I don’t want to call it scarcity, because I don’t think it was about that. I think it was just the way that I related to money and just wanting to understand it. And almost borderline perfectionistic tendencies of needing to make sure that I had it.

Whereas now, I’m more open to taking risks with money and making more investments. But that’s largely because I’m further down in my business where I don’t worry about sales. Sales is not what I worry about anymore. And when it comes to the growth of my business, it’s more about really deciding what’s enough?

Lindsay: Yes, that’s so good. So what are your thoughts, so most people that are listening, obviously, are coaches. And most of them, not all of them, but a lot of them have their own businesses. What would you say, when do you recommend, when is the best time to hire a bookkeeper?

And maybe there’s a bunch of different answers to this, but I’m just curious what your opinion is or how you think about it.

Aimee: Yeah, so before I answer when to hire the bookkeeper, I would always recommend that when you’re just starting out, you are your best bookkeeper. And here’s why, I see more often than not business owners abdicating responsibility for their books. And they want to get rid of it immediately so that they don’t “mess it up.”

And so what I recommend is that you start out as being your own bookkeeper to the point of making sure you understand how the money’s coming in and how’s it going out. And really like self-coaching yourself from a money perspective on that.

And then once you have a handle on that, what I see tends to happen is at the six figure mark, that’s when the bookkeeping starts to get outsourced. And that’s when people are coming to me wondering about the CFO services and profit first implementation and all of that. And that’s usually the point because they know that they’ve established the business, they know that this is going to be the thing and that they’re not going to quit on it and that they’re all in. That’s when I start to see it. And then just going from there to scale from there. So that’s what I would recommend.

And I would say if you are someone who is like, “I have no idea what to even do when it comes to bookkeeping.” I think finding somebody who can help you set the system up, teach you how to use the system so that you can maintain it until you get to that point of the outsource, that is such a great investment to make and will serve you.

Because you will know, once you do the outsourcing, if something doesn’t look right, you’re going to know your number so well that you’re going to immediately pick up on if there’s an error or anything like that. And that’s what I would recommend.

Lindsay: Yes. Okay, I like that. I love that answer. I will say I was making around $300,000 when I hired my bookkeeper, a year. And I think I waited a little too long. Because what I did is I read profit first and tried to implement it myself, and kind of successfully. And I’m glad I did because then I understood all of the concepts of it.

And then someone said to me, just kind of offhanded said, “You make too much money, you’ve got to hire someone.” Because I was kind of complaining about it. Like I just don’t want to do this, like I just don’t have interest in–  I wasn’t you, right? I wasn’t like, “Oh, let me have fun looking through the checkbook.” I’m like, “Ugh.”

It wasn’t because there are negative thoughts about money or anything like that. It was like I just don’t have any interest in doing this. I would rather be out meeting the people, making more money that someone can handle.

And so I think that’s why it was so transformative for me. It was in that moment like, “Oh, I hadn’t even considered that. Like I just hire someone who’s going to take care of all of my money.” I thought I had to be making millions of dollars to do that. And so it was so fun for me.

And now I love thinking about it. And I love looking at my spreadsheet that’s so perfectly organized and I can see exactly where all the money goes. And I’m just giving you a huge plug because I think bookkeeping, like I immediately started making more money also, when I hired a bookkeeper because just all of that was off of my plate and like out of my mind, like taking up all the brain space.

Aimee: Yeah, I invested over the summer in having someone do interviews with a couple of my clients to do case studies. And they were three different types of clients. One just starting out, one scaling, one at multiple seven figures.

And they all say the same thing about how they feel they feel like their ability to create new money results were as a result of us working together. Largely because they had the space in their mind to do the things like think about building team, and think about process improvement and the client experience.

Because they weren’t like, “Oh, this transaction came in, where do I need–” Making decisions about where to categorize things, that was removed and then they had somebody watching over that. So yeah, for sure, I love all of that.

Lindsay: I think the other thing that it did for me and I’m curious if you see your clients do this, is it made me slow down just enough, when I was making decisions about business investments. It slowed me down just enough that I was more thoughtful about what I was investing my money in.

So not necessarily it didn’t necessarily stop me, my bookkeeper she’s like, “You spend money on whatever you want to spend money on.” So she doesn’t tell me no, but just the fact that I have a bookkeeper slows me down just enough to really think through, like, why do I want this thing? Why do I want to buy this program, hire this coach, spend money on this, hire an assistant? Whatever it is, like wherever the money is going.

It slows me down just enough that I think it also kind of saved me money in that way. Or saved me from making decisions that maybe I would have like, “Okay, this is too much at once. I should have picked one.” Or you know, “Did I really need this thing?” Like those types of things.

Aimee: Yeah, I think over the years that I’ve been doing this, I have clients who most certainly make decisions differently than I do. And I don’t mean that in like, “Oh my God, I can’t believe they make those decisions.” But more of like, their process is very different than mine.

And being able to see how their decision making happens and to help them facilitate that, not because I never want my client to think like, “Aimee knows better than I do,” because I don’t. I help you with your business, it is not my business. This is yours and it’s my intention to get you to where you want to be. And I will show you the math, but ultimately the decisions rest with you.

I will never tell my client, “Oh, I know better than you know.” And I don’t do that because of this. I just don’t think that it’s the best decision to tell someone, if we’re trying to create meaningful relationships with money that they can have, it is not appropriate for me to tell you what you can and cannot do.

I can show you the math and let you come up to your own conclusions. But I am never going to be the person that’s going to tell you. I don’t want to create codependent relationships with my clients because they have the power, they always have the power, they always have this knowledge to make the best decisions that serve them.

Lindsay: I love the parallel in that to coaching. I talk about that in the mastermind, where it’s like the goal of us coaching our clients isn’t because we know what’s best, it’s not because we tell them what to do, tell them what to think, what to believe. Like none of that, they get total free will always. And we can’t actually know what’s best for them.

But we do have a skill, which is we’re going to kind of show them their thoughts, help them process any emotions that come up, and they still get to choose at the end of the day, do I want to continue believing this? Or do I want to shift it?

Aimee: Yeah, and I want to say that I think that was probably the other thing in terms of the coaching and like finance, bookkeeping, CFO stuff. Is that with the model I saw all those things as A line things. And that was the thing I was always afraid of, is that I don’t want my clients to think I’m telling them what to do because I do these very obvious A line things.

And so I think that was the other thing that I felt like coaching really helped me delineate like, okay, bookkeeping, I-N-G is an A line item. Showing them, if they said they were going to allocate X number of dollars towards professional development, and they doubled that number, it is not for me to say like, “Why did you do that? And this is the plan.”

But more of like, “Tell me more about the decisions that you made to drive you to this point. Mathematically, that’s why this is happening, and it’s totally fine. But let’s have a conversation as to like this was a decision you made ahead of time. And this is what the result is. Let’s talk about how that happened.” And I value that and I feel like that’s what the coaching is really intended for.

Lindsay: Yeah, I think one thing that has been so valuable for me with working with a bookkeeper too, is seeing my thoughts about spending money on all of the things. And it’s so clear, my bookkeeper who is also a coach, she’s a certified coach, very similar to you. And she’s always like, “Your highest investment always is coaching.”

That’s where most of my money goes. And she’s like, “That’s right in line with all of your values, because it is what you teach.” It’s like the importance of coaching, the importance of having your mind coached. And it’s really comforting, I think, to me when I see that. When I see it all lined up of like, ‘Oh yeah, of course, that makes the most sense. That’s where I spend the most money, here’s where I spend the least money because that’s not something that I think about.” Right?

Aimee: Yeah.

Lindsay: And I think it is, like when I hired her I really thought it was more like just let’s just crunch the numbers and see how it’s going to go. And it really has created so much self-awareness for me around all of it. So if you can’t tell, I think what you do is pretty magic.

Aimee: Well, thank you. I love what I do. And I love that I have so many clients that I can really help get them to where they want to be, help them facilitate and guide them where they want to be in a way that serves them.

I love the fact when I have a client that’s like, “I really want to buy a house. I’m a single mom, I want to buy a house. I’ve never had a house before.” And being able to help them make that possible and create that reality, they always are like, “It’s because of you.” And it’s like, well, no. No, no, no, no, no, I did this stuff here. But it’s because I’ve been able to help them create the space, I’ve created space for them to allow themselves to step into that reality.

And I think that that’s sort of the power of the money relationship. Is that you see what’s possible, and I think that’s for coaching as well. It’s that when they say that these are their big goals. And I’m like, “Of course it is.” And I know that I believe it more than they do.

And I feel like this happens a lot with you, Lindsay, because I already know you’re a great coach. And I remember you saying that, I’m like, “She doesn’t even know me. What is she talking about? She doesn’t know me.” But I’m like, of course she does. Of course she does, she would not have me in her world if she didn’t hold that belief.

And it’s almost like I think that that’s like the amazingness of a coach, is that they see your potential and your ability, even before you do. And then they get to see the transformation of how you step into it. It’s like the most magical thing.

Lindsay: Yeah. Yeah, it’s so good, right? It’s like when I say to my clients, ‘Of course, what if you’re already a good coach? Or what if you’re already good at this thing?” And they’re like, “This doesn’t make any sense.” It like breaks their brain. And I always think about, well, wouldn’t it be terrible if I, as the coach, believed that they were a terrible coach, and couldn’t get better? That wouldn’t make any sense.

So it’s always funny to me, when people are so surprised that I have so much belief in them. It’s like, well, yeah, that’s what we’re doing here. Of course, you’re a good coach, you’re just going to get better. Let’s just keep going. Versus, “Yeah, you’re probably a really bad coach. Let me help you.” That’s just so different.

Aimee: No, absolutely. And I think that the other thing from the Coaching Masters thing that I found, and one of the other things that we connected on is that I was a competitive swimmer, you were a competitive swimmer. I was a distance freestyler and there was so much strategy in a long distance event. I’m sure there was strategy in any some event, but I always felt like there was a lot–

Lindsay: Yeah, it’s different. Yeah.

Aimee: Yeah. So it was like breathing, and there was like how many strokes you would take, and how you would kick your feet, and how you would structure a race and all of that. And what I found during Coaching Masters was, wow, my 12 year career as a swimmer, like the parallel between the two for actually being a coach and being a swimmer, how all of that stuff applies in terms of even–

I was a distance swimmer. I was not noted for being fast. Quick races, no, I did not shine. Long races, I would always out swim anyone because I had the endurance. But that’s because I trained for it. And so I think the same thing when it comes to having a business and everything. There are different points of your journey where you’re going to be sprinting.

Even though it’s a long distance event, you’re going to be practicing sprinting, because there will be points in the race of the business that you’re going to need to have that muscle, that sprinting muscle just to execute. You’re not going to use it for the duration, but you’re going to need it for these little pockets.

And I felt like, I don’t know how this happened, but like it was all of a sudden, this awareness over like, there’s a lot of like my time as an athlete that carried over, that I didn’t even realize I had. But again, I think that Coaching Masters was sort of that place where I was able to really just unload everything.

It’s like cleaning out your closet and finding the most amazing pair of pants that you’re like, “I loved these. What happened to them?” And being like, “Oh, right, I had them all here. I just forgot about them.”

Lindsay: Yes, that’s so good. I think at one point you had mentioned the analogy of like, “Oh, it’s kind of like when you’re swimming.” And then we started talking about swimming.

And I think what we’re talking about was something along the lines of, I talked about the difference between first teaching someone how to swim, versus you were a competitive swimmer. You still had a coach, and the coach was making the teensiest little adjustments, right? It’s like if you just take a breath every three strokes instead of every two. Or if you just turn your head slightly, like to this angle instead of this angle. Or see how your toes look when you’re kicking, they don’t quite line up, whatever it is.

It’s like the teensiest adjustments, obviously, I haven’t swam in a while, I just totally made those up. But the tiniest adjustments, instead of from the very beginning of like, “Okay, first you jump in the pool, and then you’re going to feel like you’re drowning. And then we’re going to just like start moving, flailing around and moving your arms.”

I think sometimes the power of coaching is those tiny little adjustments, and sometimes it’s the big ones. But I think the most powerful ones, the ones that make the biggest difference in the end are like the tiny little adjustments along the way.

Aimee: Yeah, absolutely. And to your point, I think maybe what we started with was I started swimming when I was nine years old. And I didn’t learn how to properly swim until I was eight. So I ended up in a pool at nine and I didn’t compete until I was 10. And I did all the events, all of them.

Lindsay: Yes.

Aimee: And it wasn’t until I was 13 that I decided to become a distance swimmer. So eight, stepped into a pool for competitive purposes and learning, 13. That’s five years of being a generalist. And so when we talk about having a niche and all of that, and it’s like it took five years for me to identify as a long distance swimmer. And so it’s okay that you don’t have a niche because there’s so much amazingness that happens during the general period of like, just figuring it all out.

Lindsay: Yeah.

Aimee: And then for me, like high school and then I got into college, and I started swimming in college. That was a whole different ballgame in terms of the way that they trained. I started lifting weights and doing a whole other practice regimen. And I got significantly faster. And it was just because it was a different strategy.

So I threw on strategy and I definitely saw improvement there in terms of time. It was like a folding in, if you will. I could not have been lifting weights and becoming a distance swimmer at eight years old. It took the first like 10 years of my swim career before that even happened.

Lindsay: Yes.

Aimee: And that was for like the last three years of the career, because then I stopped middle of college.

Lindsay: Yeah, there’s so many analogies, I feel like, with any sport really, not just swimming. But I always think of them with running as well. Okay, I want to circle back a little bit to something that you briefly touched on. And I think this will be so good for people to hear.

Aimee: Okay.

Lindsay: Something that because I do get coaches sometimes in the mastermind, where they have a previous thing that they do, and they’re adding coaching in. Just like you did, where it’s like you’re a bookkeeper and then you realized that coaching is a skill that’s so useful to kind of add in with this.

And I always hear the same thought, you had it and they always have it. Which is, you know, we briefly touched on the like, “Oh, I have to sneak it in,” like sneak in the coaching. But the reason that shows up is because one thought that often my clients have is because my clients don’t want to slow down. They don’t want the coaching, right? They’re not going to understand the value of the coaching and they’re all going to quit.

I remember you telling me those exact words, they’re all going to quit when they find out what I really do. So I’m curious, when you actually made that shift, when you were like, “Oh, turns out I’ve been a coach the whole time. I know what I’m doing, coaching is part of what I offer.” Did all of your clients quit?

Aimee: No. No, no, as a matter of fact, I remember you inviting me to consider pausing on taking new clients. Which I thought, “What?” And I did. And then wouldn’t you know, September came and I signed like three more clients and nobody has left.

So yeah, no, it was amazing. And it was like yeah– And I think that that’s sort of that muscle I needed, was that like everything isn’t going to fall apart. It’s totally fine. I’m exactly where I need to be. And if they decide not to continue working with me, it has nothing to do with the coaching. It has to do with our time has come to an end because that was how It was always going to be. It wasn’t because I was like, “Hey, I’m a coach now.”

Lindsay: Yes. Now, okay, I want to say something because when you said that it kind of made me laugh about when I told you to stop taking clients. And I just want people to know, I don’t often tell my clients like, “Listen, just stop signing all the clients.”

But the reason, there was a really specific reason I did that. And it was because your thought was, all of my clients hire me only for my CFO services. They only want this one specific thing from me and I’m not interested in offering that. I want to shift into being more of a coach, being more of this.

And I knew in the back of my mind, I was like, “This is not true. It doesn’t have to be either or.” But you’re so committed to it that I said, “Well, stop taking those clients. If those aren’t the clients you want, if you don’t want to work with CFO only clients, then just stop taking them. And be very clear that what you offer is coaching.”

And the whole purpose of that was to get you to really step into that identity of I’m a coach. And I think it worked.

Aimee: Yeah, I think it did too. Because I remember when I like really–

Lindsay: I remember your face, your exact face when I said that was like–   I actually in the back of my mind was like, “She might quit today. She might. It might be the last day she’s here.”

Aimee: Yeah, no, you know what it is though? Is that I’m definitely someone tenacious. And so it was almost like it felt like such a dare that I was like, “I don’t think she– Maybe she doesn’t think I have this in me to restrain myself. But I’m going to do this and I’m going to figure this out.”

But I love it because it’s really like, if I do that, it means like, okay, I think it’s like subconsciously I know that what I’m hearing is on the mark. And I don’t have the proof, I just need to trust and know that I’ll get to the other side. And I know what happened was I started going through the notebook. And I started taking my notebook and I started creating this coaching playbook.

And it was really the way that I realized. That was really the part where I pulled it all together, because I was like, “Wait a second, profit first is a strategy, which is a coaching thing.” And I’m like, “Wait, what? I’m a coach?”

It was really all about like, “Wow, I’m a coach. And this cohabitates, and it always has been.” And it’s kind of funny when you see things that you saw, I didn’t see. And then all of a sudden it was like, there it all is. I’m a coach, I’ve always been a coach. And I remember stepping into that and being like, “I can’t believe I didn’t think that.”

And then I felt like after that my one on one calls with my clients, I just felt different. Because when they were coming to me saying this, this, this, and this, and then really just coaching them and intentionally saying like, “I’m going to be a coach for them.” And not like, “I’m going to try to do the math and everything.” But like step forward with the coaching, it’s just like it changed everything.

And I remember that particular week, I tend to have calls the second week of the month just because of timing and everything. But it was one call after the other after the other like, “Wow, this was really great. Thank you so much.” And it was like what is happening?

Lindsay: So good. All you had to believe is that you were a coach and that your clients would love it, right? That they weren’t all going to quit. You didn’t have to sneak it in anymore.

Aimee: No, and I definitely don’t feel that I have to sneak it in anymore. And I feel like it’s front and center with what I do. And there are some clients that I have that are like, “Okay, let’s just do the bookkeeping stuff.” But then they come and they start asking questions that are very coaching related. I’m like, “They haven’t drank the Kool Aid yet, but I know what I’m doing. And so that’s fine.” Like that’s all good.

Lindsay: Yep, I love that. We never have to convince our clients, especially if we’re coaches that work with clients that aren’t coaches. We never have to convince them to just think that coaching is the most amazing thing on the entire planet. It could be like, “Nope, we just have these skills. We’re going to use them whether you know it or not, and it’s going to be great.”

Aimee: Yeah, and I think that for the most part they know that that’s what they want and what they desire. And it’s just like I’m okay with showing up and serving and doing that at the front, and not worrying about anything else.

And I think it’s just, again, the confidence. Like stepping into the confidence of it. And the other thing is just having fun. Having fun, because I think that there was a period of time where I was like, “Wow, I’m making more money now, I got to be serious.” And I’m like, “No, that’s just not who I am.”

Lindsay: That’s so funny, right? Like all the thoughts about money that we think we need to change. Positive or negative, right? Like, “Well, when I make them out of money, then all these thoughts will go away. It’ll just be like magic, I won’t have any of this drama anymore.” And then the opposite like, “And when I make more money I’m probably going to have to be more serious, and it’s going to have to be this and this.” And that’s just not true. “I’m going to have to work so much more.”

Aimee: Right, no, absolutely not. And I think, again, it’s really about coming home to who you are and what are your values? And I feel like that was like such a core takeaway of, I am not going to try to be something that I’m not. And I have fun, I don’t want to say I’m silly, but I think I am. But it’s like there’s just a lightheartedness when it comes to money.

I mean, we’ve gone through quite a journey these last two years with businesses pivoting, having to hibernate the businesses. And we’ve done all the things but we’ve done so at a place of from service, but as well as hope and just having fun. There are times things have not been fun in terms of making really tough decisions. But it always comes from a spirit of like, “This is fun. We choose to do this. We love our businesses, and we love what they create because we’re doing so from a place of intention.”

Lindsay: I love that. Okay, so to wrap up–

Aimee: Yes.

Lindsay: Can you share– I didn’t prep you for this, so if you need to take a second to think, that’s fine.

Aimee: Okay.

Lindsay: Because you coach on money, because you talk about money all day with your clients, what are your favorite thoughts about money?

Aimee: Okay, so my first thought is money is always coming.

Lindsay: Mm-hmm.

Aimee: My other one is I am capable of making any money goal I set. And there’s always enough for everyone. And that, I think–

Lindsay: I love that one.

Aimee: Really stems from the fact of there’s this fear of like, if I have more money than this person. But it’s like it’s abundant, if you will.

But yes, money is always coming is the one that I always go to for myself whenever I’m thinking about making any sort of pivots in my business. Because that’s where the invitation of my primitive brain shows up of like, “We’ve got this good thing going, we can’t change anything. Let’s leave it exactly the way that it is.” And it’s like, “Well, no, money’s always coming. We will always create that.” Because, I mean, I have proven to myself that I’ve done it here, I’ve done it here, I’ve done it here. And it’s always available.

Lindsay: I love that. I love the, I forget how you said it, but like there’s enough for everyone or there’s enough to go around or whatever it was. That was something I really had to work on because I had thoughts about that, or thoughts like that about money that were holding me back in my business, for sure.

And my other one that I really had to work through, which you probably see with some of your clients is more money equals more work, like harder work. Just more, and more, and more, and how can it exponentially increase the money? Because that’s going to mean I have to exponentially increase the amount of time I’m working, the amount of everything I’m thinking and feeling right now is going to be exponential and it’s going to be exhausting.

And yeah, I’ve just learned, not that I advocate for a four hour work week or anything like that. I still work hard, I work a lot, but it isn’t in a way that’s like I always have to give more, I always have to work 100 hours a week to make more money.

Aimee: Yeah, absolutely. And I do, I find that I think the common theme amongst my clients is they definitely have a like blue collar hustle mindset. They’re not afraid to roll up their sleeves and do the work.

And so it’s not about that, it’s really about really taking temperature of like, let’s try to create this without working 70 hours a week. And let’s do it without the weekends. Not because we’re doing that– We’re not using that against you, but we’re trying to show your brain that it’s not about the time put into it. It’s about the energy, the intention, the communication of how you deliver the service and the value that you create.

And it’s really about those sort of, I don’t want to call them soft skills, but it’s not about the time piece of it and like the badge of honor of working all the hours as much as it’s about the value. It’s really about the value that you create.

Lindsay: Yeah, I’ve talked about this a few times on the podcast where I have said things like, “I don’t usually start my day till 10am,” or whatever. And every time I say that I’m like, “People are not going to like that.” There’s just always this voice in the back of my head, so it signifies there’s so little work to be done there, right?

Because I still have this thought that like, “Okay, I can actually take care of myself and slow down a little bit, but people can’t know.”

Aimee: Yeah, absolutely.

Lindsay: It’s such a crazy just view of the world that we were taught, right? Probably you were, I know I was. Like money doesn’t grow on trees, the harder you work, you know, whatever. All of that.

Aimee: Yes. My father was born and raised in Brooklyn. So he had this very heavy like New York City accent and he would always say, “What do I look like the Bank of America?” And I’m like, “What are you talking about? What do you mean? Just give me some money, please.”

Lindsay: Yes.

Aimee: But yeah, no, absolutely. That and I think for me the other thing is, is that I have, you know, everyone has buffering, right? They have their own little vise of buffering. Whether it’s overeating, over drinking, overspending.

Lindsay: Not me, I don’t know what you’re talking about.

Aimee: No, but overworking is the thing I have to keep monitoring because I am someone who, like I will work till 2am. I will outwork everyone. And I’ve really been able to get that under control.

And yet, I find myself in judgment if I decide and I intentionally choose to work on the weekend for a few hours. There’s this like split in my head of like, we love all our reasons for it. And then the other ones like, “Wait a second. We weren’t supposed to do this anymore. What’s going on?” So it’s like that whole–  And again, I think it’s like intentional, unintentional, and like really trying to find that again this is not all or nothing.

Lindsay: Yes, I understand that completely. I know we coached through that a couple times in the mastermind. And I think I told you at that time, like, “Oh, I totally do that too.” It’s like the cognitive dissonance of because you unlearned it to some extent, and then you’re doing the thing, like the actions that you used to do from a different belief.

And it’s just like, wait a minute, something has gone wrong. I’m not supposed to be doing this. I’m supposed to be spending all this amazing time with my family. Instead of like, “No, I have this project I’m working on, I chose to work on a Saturday. That’s what’s happening. We’re good.”

Aimee: Yeah, absolutely. And nothing has gone wrong. What if nothing has gone wrong?

Lindsay: Where have you heard that question before?

Aimee: I know, I know. I don’t know, you tell me.

Lindsay: It’s one of my favorites. All right, thank you. Thank you. Thank you. This was so fun. And how do you work with your clients? Where can people find you? Tell me, and I’ll link it all in the show notes. But just do a pitch, how can they find you? How do they work with you?

Aimee: Okay, so my website is myvirtualcfo.co. And so all of the things that I do with my clients can be found there. But the one thing I wanted to mention is that I am creating a program/group coaching called The Finance Edit.

Lindsay: Love that name.

Aimee: And thank you. It is the perfect opportunity and invitation if you are a new business that aren’t quite ready to do the outsourcing. It’s a beautiful program where we have bookkeeping hours, so if you are like, “I don’t know where to put this thing,” it is like open hours and we’ll help you and we’ll coach you through all of that.

And we really create that money relationship with you. Not just from like a bookkeeping perspective, but from a healthy money mindset perspective. So there’s more to come on that. So if you go to my website, you’ll find the information on that as well.

Lindsay: I love that. So it’s a little in between, like it’s the structure, like you provide the structure of here’s how you do it. And then a little bit of help without you doing it completely for them.

Aimee: Exactly.

Lindsay: Love it, it’s like office hours. So good.

Aimee: Yes, perfect. That’s exactly what it is, bookkeeping hours.

Lindsay: Love it.

Aimee:  Thank You.

Lindsay: Thank you. Thank you so much for being here. This was fun seeing you as always. And hopefully I’ll see you again soon.

Aimee: Yes, I hope so. Bye.

Lindsay: Bye.

Thank you so, so, so much for listening today. I hope you loved this conversation and I’ll see you next week. Bye.

Thanks for listening to this episode of Mastering Coaching Skills. If you want to learn more about my work, come visit me at lindsaydotzlafcoaching.com. That’s Lindsay with an A, D-O-T-Z-L-A-F.com. see you next week.

 

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