Episode #009 Boundaries and Mindset with Cindy Taylor 

Cindy Taylor speaks to Amy about setting boundaries in your business and determining what is right for YOU. She also talks about mindset and challenging limiting beliefs. If you’ve ever doubted yourself, then this is definitely worth listening to.

The real message of this story is: “Don’t limit yourself, or let others limit you. Through boundaries and mindset, you can achieve big things!”

Podcast info

Episode: #009

Series: General

Host: Amy Hooke

Guest speaker: Cindy Taylor

Topic: Boundaries and Mindset with Cindy Taylor

Read transcript

Amy: Good morning everyone, welcome back. And today I have Cindy Taylor with me and so Cindy is a mindset coach and she works with bookkeepers and she’s got some things to share with us today. So welcome Cindy.

Cindy: Well thanks Amy. Thanks for talking with me today…to be here on your brand new podcast.

Amy: It’s exciting.

Cindy: Oh, congratulations. You’re doing great, I’m just loving it.

Amy: Thank you, aw I’m glad. Yeah so do you want to just give us a bit of a background about yourself and what you’ve been doing in the past and how you sort of got to where you’re at the moment. Not the whole story just the short version…. I was going to say that’s a long story.

Cindy: Well what I can do is give you the beginning of my elevator pitch which is a really great start. So I’m a money mentor and I work with women in business to help them feel great about making money.

Amy: Oh that’s good.

Cindy: So that’s the start of the pitch. I have a bookkeeping practice.

Amy: Yeah that’s right.

Cindy: So I ran a bookkeeping practice and as an adjunct to that I do the coaching with women in business and that include bookkeepers right. I got a Facebook group, bookkeeping Business Studio.

Amy: Yep.

Cindy: Okay, so in my Facebook group, you know we do lots of work in there, not so much around the technicalities of bookkeeping, but around the things I love like mindset and boundaries.

Amy: Yes, yes.

Cindy: The goal setting and where are we going in business and you know, we actually are entrepreneurs so let’s step up and you know work with that mindset rather than I’ve got to decide how… this is just a hobby, or only worth such time, it’s not really a business.

Amy: Yes, that’s right.

Cindy: And how I got into this of course is through experience, exactly the same as you.

Amy: Yeah, you just kind of start don’t you?

Cindy: So I started my bookkeeping business. I’m actually in Northern New South Wales and I’ve been here for 18 years and when I moved up I had a young daughter at school and I didn’t want to take on full-time work, single mom. So, and I’m an accountant and I didn’t want to go back into that full-time, you know, full-on career role.

Amy: Yes.

Cindy: So I started my bookkeeping practice, working from home that also you know, ducking out and spending a few hours with clients on the premise. And the bookkeeping, it just grew, and it just grew until it was completely out of control. And I was so proud, and I had four people in my house working. And you know…

Amy: Oh wow.

Cindy: …I had my own home to myself and I was running, here there, and everywhere, and I was working 24/7 and all that, you know, the whole on the dream. The career change and having time with my daughter just all went out the window. Because all I was doing was, you know, focusing and spending time on the business.

Amy: Yeah.

Cindy: You know that’s when I realized I needed to take stock of what was going on because I actually had lost my joy for bookkeeping.

Amy: Yes.

Cindy: And I was like this is not working and so I slowly started to working on the business in regards to finding my niche.

Amy: Yeah.

Cindy: I actually want to be working with businesses so I started, you know, weeding out the clients that I didn’t want to have. I put the business on to the cloud so that actually gave me space back in my home.

Amy: It would have, yep.

Cindy: And it also gave freedom to the people that were working with me because they were able to work from their homes and be more flexible around the hours that they worked. So you know it was a win-win for all of us. In fact, Tracey, my absolutely magnificent practice manager moves back to Sydney. And I thought now this is the end of the world. We had a bit of a spat when she told me she was leaving. And then I was like why does that have to happen? We’re all on the cloud anyway.

Amy: Yes.

Cindy: You know, Tracy…she’s been down there for 18 months and you know we haven’t looked back.

Amy: Aw, that’s really just fantastic

Cindy: You know the practice has just gone from strength to spirit. Strength: after I made some really strong boundaries and some really strong decisions around where I want to be and what I wanted in life.

Amy: It’s good. It’s quite important to connect, what you want in life with what you want in business part, isn’t it. Because it’s easy to forget, or think that they’re two separate things.

Cindy: Mm-hmm. That’s exactly right. And of course business does bleed over into our lives and in particular with my business, and especially now because my daughter’s grown up and left home, it’s not, my clients, I work with the most amazing kinds of clients. You know, I really want to be involved in what they’re doing and what their businesses are.

Cindy: And if I’d want to have a day off through the week, I can take the day off

Amy: Yes.

Cindy: And if I work on a weekend, I’ll do that. And often I choose to work a Sunday afternoon just for some reason that is a quiet time. And you know I just love to sit down and do my on the business work. You know working on my business, not for bookkeeping.

Amy: Yeah, yeah.

Cindy: So I do it on a Sunday, because it just works, and it works for you to maybe take the Wednesday, Tuesday, or Thursday morning off in the middle of the week and have a break there.

Amy: That’s great. Well I love it you’ve certainly got an inspiring story. Yeah for the listeners, and you mentioned your niche a couple of times. So I’m just wondering what, who is your niche and how did you come about figuring that out?

Cindy: I work, my niche is women in business, in online business.

Amy: Online business, yes.

Cindy: And I would say that makes up 50% of the practice though. So all my marketing and everything is pitched that women in online business.

Amy: Okay.

Cindy: But, I find that that men will find out and say I think that you say on your website with women only, but I’m hoping, you know, that we can have a chat. It was somehow my marketing also seems to attract, you know, the men that are wanting to do business in a different way.

Amy: Wow.

Cindy: I’m female and I know women. I’m a female business owner. I know all the tracks that go through and I need to unlock all of it. You know, I’ve experienced it all. So I teach what I know and then as the business grew, working specifically working with women and then sharing really personal stories because you know that’s what money does.

Amy: Yeah.

Cindy: You know money crosses all the boundaries of our lives.

Amy: Yes that’s right.

Cindy: Or I had clients that had dilemmas in a personal realm that I could see where they needed the help, but I didn’t have the tools, you know, what can I do to help them. So, last year I actually did a life coaching course.

Amy: Yes, okay.

Cindy: And became a certified life coach. so now when I sit with my clients, I can talk to them about business.

Cindy: Business strategies, you know all the money stuff, but then there’s something that comes up about overwhelm or, in particular, I’ve really find with women, it’s boundary or a mindset thing. I’ve got the tools, you know, I may as well just say, ‘you know I can really see from what you’re saying that this could be a bit of a block for you. What do you think about, you know, taking this path or how could we, how do you think we could get around this?’

Cindy: And so my impulse is to like mix the two now, and I feel really confident in doing it. Where part of that is, you know, accounting doesn’t talk to us. When we go and do our accounting degree we don’t, we’re not taught anything in regards to …

Amy: No.

Cindy: … how we. Being in business for me has been, is a complete journey of self-discovery.

Amy: Yup. Oh definitely, definitely. Yep.

Cindy: And I’ve shared your journey too. So I know …

Amy: Yep. It’s so true. I always say to people that being in business is like the best, one of the best self-development programs that you can do because what it does, unlike a self-development program, its real life. And it really presses right into all of your buttons and all the areas where you have struggles and it basically uncovers a lot of things in that process.

Amy: You can’t hide, you can’t hide.

Cindy: You cannot hide. And I think that also separates the successful people from the people that actually give up, because you know 80%, 85, maybe even 90% of success is all around mindset and whether you’re willing to take a look at yourself. And if you’re able to step up. If you’re not able to set those boundaries, why not? What’s going on for you that you can’t do that?

Amy: Yes, that’s right. Now I’m sure our listeners have heard people talking about mindset before. I know that that’s a word I’ve heard a lot in the coaching space. I’m not very heavily involved in the coaching side of things, so you know, I guess just to make that distinction for the listener.

Amy: Mentoring is like, it’s really where you’ve gone before the person and you step them through this is what I’ve done and leading them through those steps. Whereas coaching is different, isn’t it? It’s coming to the conversation with a clean slate and listening for what’s happening in the person, listening for possibilities, sort of like, would you say it’s like creating a space for that person to discover things about themselves? Or how you do describe coaching actually, just to side-track quickly.

Cindy: So, coaching is not counselling, so we don’t go back. We don’t look at what’s happening in years through your past, anything like that, what we do is we say where do we want to go.

Amy: Where do we want to go.

Cindy: Where do you want to be and whether that’s next week or next month, or whatever. Where in your life, where in your business do you want to be?

Amy: Yes.

Cindy: So I coach from both points, I do business coaching as well as the life coaching and I love to combine them because I think as you just said, you know, there’s no separation. And generally if someone is speaking of their systems, you know they are setting goals for their business, there needs to be some life goals in there as well. You know around health and self-care.

Cindy: So for me with the coaching, I’ll sit down with a client and we’ll say, okay where do you want to be. And what do your goals want to be. And I’ll do, you know, like a 4 week, 3 month series of coaching. Maybe once every fortnight we’ll set the long term goals and then we’ll set action steps every fortnight to move towards those goals. That’s where we help them.

Amy: Yeah okay. Just before, now I want to dive into this word mindset that I’ve seen around a lot. But I guess as a precursor to that, because there’s business coaches everywhere or coaches everywhere and mindset coaches everywhere, so what sets you apart from, I guess, maybe millions of other coaches around. What would you say is different about what you do, specifically about what you do and also obviously to our audience which is, tends to be more bookkeepers and mostly women.

Cindy: So, well what sets me apart first of all is that I run a bookkeeping practice, so I have…

Amy: Sorry my phone rang.

Cindy: I have that really specific experience personally within the bookkeeping area. I know, you know, what we come up against, particularly with the changes that are happening within the industry. Well first of all going to the cloud. So…

Amy: Yeah.

Cindy: First of all even with that. You know letting go of the fact that I don’t have everybody sitting in my office that I’m, you know, I need to speak with. And now I make sure the work’s getting done, all of that from the beginning. You know going to the cloud and having remote working is a whole change in mindset around how I ran my business right there and then.

Cindy: A lot of that comes with trusting the space. In my self…

Amy: Yes.

Cindy: You know that I’m as a leader and a manager in my business that, you know, that the people that are working for me, are trustworthy.

Amy: Yeah. That’s right.

Cindy: So you know, so there was going to the cloud. Then the changes in technology and the way we are now expected to be performing our duties and you know up levelling, our practices to the point where we’re offering services, advisory work.

Amy: Yeah.

Cindy: It’s fine to go into paid work and sit for, and come out to be a basket agent. But nobody along the way teaches anybody how to sit down with a client and maybe do an interview around the business and how they going within their business.

Amy: Mm-hmm.

Cindy: … things have just had to be one on one with a client. There’s, you know, can be really daunting for somebody. And in particular I feel for women, because we’re a bit more reticent to put ourselves out there and get ourselves out there.

Amy: Yeah.

Cindy: And talk about ourselves. So you know that’s, then again how do we market ourselves, for networking, getting out there and being public…

Amy: Mm-hmm.

Cindy: Getting up in front of people, so…

Amy: Yes.

Cindy: What sets me apart in that whole area is that I understand all of that because I’ve gone through it myself.

Amy: Yes.

Cindy: So, I’ve trodden the path and I feel as though to a certain extent. And it’s scary. It’s not like ‘oh that’s it, I’ve done it now’. But I understand what hurdles or what can get in the way as far as one day I’m really focused and I’m feeling confident and I’m out there and I’m raring to go. And the next day I’m like uh maybe I won’t find that person and see if they’re looking for book people or. Or you know that want to chat to me on the podcast or whatever it might be.

Amy: Yeah.

Cindy: I have that level of confidence, but now I recognize some of the things that get in the way of me.

Amy: I love it.

Cindy: So I’m feeling that confident.

Amy: I love it, I love it. So that’s the perfect segway into talking about mindset, so because you mentioned one thing that popped up. You said something about women, you said especially women, are you talking about perhaps held back in feeling confident to speak to people and then you talked about marketing. And I thought oh, I think that’s the first time I started, because I’ve never really understood the whole mindset thing myself.

Amy: But when you said that I thought, oh that’s true, because I think I can actually see, since you said that, women do seem to have, I guess this is a mindset, never thought of it before. That to talk about this, that it’s not right to talk about yourself. Like so marketing is perceived as promoting yourself and that may be something that women feel is inappropriate for a woman or whatever. So, yeah. Did you just want to just yeah?

Cindy: Absolutely, so I actually did 2 years ago, part of my path of getting myself out there. I did a course and I expect I might even have been 3 years ago, the Age of Disability with a woman in Camber named Samantha Nolan Smith and that’s her zone of genius.

Amy: Okay.

Cindy: It makes helping women become visible.

Amy: Wow.

Cindy: It just like blew me away. And we can go into the history of women, all the way back and how generations after generations were being told, were being quiet.

Cindy: Business meetings and it still goes on.

Amy: Yes.

Cindy: And that just calls to my whole feminist heart.

Amy: I was about to say.

Cindy: Absolutely. Everything on the planet should be equal.

Amy: Well yeah, that’s right. The correct definition of feminism.

Cindy: Exactly. So we already come born with this whole thing, and it’s female. Be quiet, sit down, be seen but not heard. To put ourselves out there now, social media especially, has even gone further than this what even the cosmetic marketing companies, and the fashion industry have done to us with our body image and our self-image. Because now with social media it’s even more difficult. We have to be looking perfect every day.

Amy: Yep.

Cindy: In the eyes of what the market is telling us is perfect, not in our own eyes. We’re perfect, completely as we are, right here, right now.

Amy: Well that’s right, even what we’re expected to post on our private page about, you know, even like, like obviously everyone is putting their best foot forward and sharing the highlights. So, yeah okay wow.

Cindy: Yeah, so we have all of those barriers to overcome before we even turn up to a networking meeting, let alone being out there.

Amy: Yep. So that makes sense why it’s so easy to procrastinate on those things because we have these boundaries, these blocks that now I’m understanding this whole block thing. It’s like yeah, you don’t see it, but you sort of have this feeling like uh I sort of just feel like I don’t want to go. But there’s not really clarity around the why.

Cindy: Exactly.

Amy: Wow. Amazing.

Cindy: And so, again I love that word, that procrastination, I mean, as soon as you start procrastinating you know that there’s something wrong.

Amy: It’s a sign. Red flag.

Cindy: I love that it’s procrastination. That means something I’m not doing that I’m meant to be doing. So…

Amy: Yeah.

Cindy: I protest cleaning. You know that’s my thing. If I’m in the middle of the day and I’m in the kitchen cleaning, you know the marks from the stainless steel back splash. Firstly, that because I don’t like cleaning that, I think okay what am I avoiding now.

Amy: Oh.

Cindy: I protest cleaning. I don’t stop doing the cleaning, I’ll keep going but while I’m doing it I’ll actually become very mindful and what am I avoiding. And initially, it’s some task that like either I have to learn something new and my brain is like I don’t want to learn another new thing.

Amy: It happens, but you hit a point. Like I used to love learning and love learning and I just more, more, more and then I hit that age that I had my kids. Sort of around, I think I had my son when I was 35 and then 37. Then my brain, I actually remember the day when my brain started going nah. Nah. And I was like ‘whoa’ I never even thought that would happen but it does.

Cindy: How important thank you very much. Yeah so then when I realized, and I know that, but I do know that I have to learn. I do know that I need to do be doing that.

Cindy: Yeah so then I prioritize the time, to do that thing.

Amy: Yep.

Cindy: So, I’ll be like okay, I’m going to do, and that might be my first day thing. For that afternoon, my weekends over, you know okay. I’m going to sit down and just dive into this little activity and figure out what I have to do. And normally I’ve made it bigger than Ben Hur.

Amy: Of course.

Cindy: The mindset right. That’s how you talk yourself out of things.

Amy: Mm-hmm. Yep.

Cindy: So, it’s just that day-to-day mindfulness and then recognizing what’s triggering you and what you know, over there or the other thing that lots of women do is ‘I don’t know enough,’ and ‘I don’t know if I’m up for another call’…

Amy: Ooh. That’s a form of procrastination isn’t it?

Cindy: … I need to learn more.

Amy: Yep. Yeah right. Laugh to recognition there. So okay mindset. We’ve talked a little bit about mindset. What it looks like, but what’s the actual, like what’s your definition of mindset? Like what is a mindset?

Cindy: Okay so I feel like for me, my mindset is all around where my focus and my clarity. So where is my mind today? For me mindset is around having some type of, I don’t like the word discipline as much, but you know that focus, really strong boundaries within my mind. It’s what my inner thoughts are. And then allowing those inner thoughts to be my motivation for the day or for whatever task or whatever I’m about to do.

Amy: Yeah, okay. That’s interesting and do people, I’m not really sure, so when people come to you, obviously you end up working on their mindset. But do people come to you and say, I need help with my mindset or is it more that they come for something else. Because I was thinking, that’s why when I see mindset coaches, I think, people don’t want to change their mindset, so why do people promote mindset stuff because people are ‘I don’t want to change my mindset, I like my mindset’. Like that’s the way my mind is.

Cindy: Yeah.

Amy: So people come for something else and then…

Cindy: Yeah they always come, you know it’s the same for any client that comes to us

Amy: Yep, yep.

Cindy: They come because they are overwhelmed…

Cindy: … or their basket is overdue. You know there is something immediate, but we always know there is a pain point behind that. There is the overwhelm.

Amy: Hand the basket overdue and what’s going on there?

Cindy: I haven’t actually sent my bills out for the month, you know there is always things behind so then, you take another step back and you just take a step back and so eventually you get back to the point where, for most self-employed people, there’s not enough time to do the work. Or their partner is doing the work and the partner is also working herself. Generally you have a partner.

Amy: Yeah.

Cindy: So I’ve got to say with several of my female clients, their partners, their male partners are now starting to work within their business with them, which is fabulous.

Amy: Alright.

Cindy: I’m referring mainly to tradies. I see this so often with tradies, when the band is overdue and the invoices haven’t been sent out, there hasn’t been a chance to do the invoices. Oh well. You know my partner was meant to do that, but you know the kids have got sick and she couldn’t take time off work and so my mother-in-law helped out.

Amy: And she’s secretly thinking I hate doing his bookkeeping, thinking that I don’t want to do it anymore. That can open a can of worms.

Cindy: The whole family is involved, and you know it’s, and also there’s the, you know, cash flow is bad because they haven’t collected any money for the last 2 or 3 months of work that been done so yeah. The band is overdue is why they come, but there’s a whole lot of other stuff why this happens.

Amy: So do you get to work. So when a tradie comes to you with an overdue basket, do you get to work with that tradie on his mindset?

Cindy: Subtlety, yes.

Amy: Yeah, you get it.

Cindy: So I manage the client.

Amy: Yeah, yeah.

Cindy: I manage all my clients and I think that’s where it comes down to my boundaries with the client as well. I don’t work with families continually overdue. So you know I’ve got really clear boundaries around how my bookkeeping service are framed.

Amy: Yeah.

Cindy: I’ve got really clear boundaries around time. The times that I’m available.

Amy: Yeah.

Cindy: You know that’s answering the phone or answering emails. I’m not available 24/7, that just doesn’t happen. It was when I first started, and I soon learned not to.

Amy: Yes.

Cindy: It did take several years actually for me to learn that. And also then this is the program I want you to be using for your oil bill…

Amy: Yep.

Cindy: … For your receipts banks and receipt.

Amy: That’s not optional.

Cindy: Exactly.

Amy: I’d be the same as well. Because if you give you them the option, people go like ‘uh do I want to spend the extra money, do I want the extra software to learn’. Whereas if you just give it to them, say this is how we do it. I think that gives people, I think that instils confidence in the client, I found that. Because the client, even a client who is very potentially strong willed or determined and they think they know what they want, even those types of clients appreciate it when you step in and say this is the way we’re doing it because it gives them a structure.

Amy: And I think it helps them to feel, because often especially when you’ve got strong willed entrepreneurs, a lot of business owners tend to be quite strong willed so they’re sort of running around and they are doing a million things at once, they’re kind of all over the place and when they meet one person. Because they probably run into a lot of people that never pull them up on anything as well.

Amy: Whereas when they come into the presence of a strong bookkeeper, whose got you know these principles and are able to guide them through set systems as well as you know the support that you give them. I think it makes them go, ‘huh what?’ People don’t tell me what to do, but they appreciate, like I remember having these very strong willed clients who would respond like ‘oh’.

Amy: It was like a relief for them that someone was finally saying ‘no, we’re not doing your way, this is the way that we’re going to do it’ because, you know, give them a better way. Because when you’re an entrepreneur and you’re trying all these different things, you just think, aw yeah I’ve come up with this way and this is the best way to do it and yeah.

Amy: It’s amazing. I think business owners put a lot of trust in bookkeepers. Like to come and open up your accounts and show people your bank account. Like that’s a huge step of trust. A lot of people don’t do it.

Cindy: I don’t do it.

Amy: Yeah that’s right. Okay great. Alright so, you know, we’ve just starting touching on the subject of boundaries which is your other zone of genius as you put it. So what is a boundary?

Cindy: Well I love the word you just used, it was probably the word I was looking for before, was structure.

Amy: Structure.

Cindy: You know boundaries help us place structure within our lives. It allows us to…

Amy: The thing that, the container that the structure goes in.

Cindy: Exactly, yeah.

Amy: I love it. What context.

Cindy: Yeah. So, it’s, we think often boundaries, you know people talk about how ‘aw she’s got no boundaries’ or you know there’s lots of terminology around that. I feel like we’ve got it all wrong in regard to that. Because it’s another thing that comes back also to us as being feminine. It’s really hard for us to say no. We want everybody to like us. We all want to be, ‘aw isn’t she so nice’. You know we want everybody to like us and so we fear that by saying no we’re actually, oh they are going to go ‘uhh’. But it’s not about saying no, it’s about learning how to structure things, so you’re actually making an offer, but its, here are the limits to that offer. Such as I’m available, I have a practice… Sending you clients to set them up with how my practice operates.

Cindy: And so straight away in that document, you know, you say I’m available for business hours 9-5, I’m available on my mobile or by email. But that’s what I tell my clients. What I tell myself is, I’ve rarely every answered my mobile. Rarely. Ever answer my mobile.

Amy: Yes.

Cindy: To anyone except my family.

Amy: I’ll admit, I’m the same.

Cindy: You know there is this whole thing around productivity too. If I’m working on something, I don’t want to be interrupting by somebody who is finding me. So, I don’t answer the phone and I will then look at time at a time when it’s, my brain is ready to stop what I’m doing and I’m going to have a break. Then I’ll go and listen to my voicemails and if there is something that needs to be dealt with straight away, I’ll deal with it straight away.

Amy: Yeah.

Cindy: Otherwise, end of the day is phone call times. So I phone people back. So, I get back to people within a working day but it’s not immediate.

Amy: That’s great. Yeah okay and so I’m just thinking about a listener here, I know there is at least one person listening, you know who you are, who has just completely had their mindset blown by the concept of not answering the phone when it rings.

Amy: Because I was thinking to myself, as soon as the phone rang I remember back in the day in the early days, that jumping on every phone call. And I remember that anxiety of like ‘ooh is it going to be this client or this client’. Like knowing there was specific clients who always had an issue with something.

Amy: And when you said ‘I don’t answer my phone’, I thought ‘oh yeah, me too’. And I thought ‘wow, I’ve come a long way’, but it’s the same kind of thing to be able to go, actually like I don’t need to respond to every notification that happens. And I love that. I love that.

Amy: So what would you say to that person, I know you’re there, you’re listening to this and responding to every notification, every phone call, and that nervousness. What would you say to that person?

Cindy: Well, what I would say is set aside time throughout the day. So don’t answer the phone unless you know it’s somebody that you immediately need to speak to or has information for you that needs to be dealt with in the moment, and there’s actually what you’re working on in that time. But if it’s not, if that person is a random phone call that happens to, the client decides to phone you up and ask for a report…

Amy: They’ve put their phone on private number. I had a client who used to do that so I never answered private numbers anymore.

Cindy: Yeah well, so set aside some time to actually get those phone calls and then maybe if there’s anxiety around leaving it until mid-day, before you check the phone calls, make it 10 o’clock. If you start at 8 o’clock, make it 10. You know, head to when I was in your office, or you’re just in the office. Getting dressed in the morning.

Cindy: Because I check my emails in the morning, and then I don’t read all my emails until mid-day either. I’ll go through, and I know straight away what needs to be dealt with by who it comes from and what the subject is. You know I can see the first line of the email. So I skim through the emails, I’ll deal with what needs to be dealt with then and there.

Amy: Yeah.

Cindy: And then everything else can wait. So, and then that way, if it’s somebody that’s requesting something, and they happen I might send it off. I might send it down to Sydney or it’s something I need to do, it can wait.

Amy: That’s right.

Cindy: In the first few hours in the day, it’s what sets you up for the rest of the day.

Amy: Yeah, that’s so true. And that’s really what a boundary looks like, and structure looks like in practice, isn’t it. Blocking out those times, I do a similar thing to you. So my 8:30-9, when I first sit at my desk, that half an hour is for combing through my emails, but I don’t respond to any.

Amy: So the habit, it takes a while to develop these habits. It takes a lot of practice and discipline of saying no I’m not going to do this now. So what I do is comb through all the junk and then I just go, I have this email app that I use that allows me to pin the email to a to-do list or snooze it until a particular time. And when you snooze it, it pops back up in the inbox as though it’s a brand new email, so I really like that.

Amy: I actually met someone a little while ago who they only read yesterday’s emails. Now obviously if you’ve got a ‘respond in the day’ policy then that won’t work. But what they do is they log in, they go through yesterday’s emails and then they come back to the ones of the previous day to give themselves a bit of a buffer time to kind of, like yourself, check the title of the email, know what’s going to be in there, but I’m not going to respond right now because I know there might be some kind, they’re not wanting to sort of react to things.

Amy: So I guess that’s just another…

Cindy: Yeah, exactly.

Amy: … way of doing it.

Cindy: Yeah because I totally agree with that, I’m not sure about the next day because most of mine, I like to have done.

Amy: I’m the same, yeah.

Cindy: So I can tie things up at the end of the day and I love ticking off my list.

Amy: Yes.

Cindy: So I know that about me. And I know that anxiety that you spoke of before, I know if I haven’t ticked off quite a few things off my list, I have anxiety during the day, and I don’t want that. So, by setting these guidelines and these structure and boundaries for me around keeping me and my self-care. Keeping me okay in the business…

Amy: You get through it.

Cindy: … And I know what to do. So you can do whatever works best for you.

Amy: Yeah, that’s right, exactly. So I combed through mine, half now in the morning, it usually doesn’t take half an hour, it usually takes 15 minutes and then my time straight after my lunch break, that’s when I actually reply.

Cindy: Okay. Well that’s …

Amy: Sort of a similar thing, yeah. I find it just really helps because I know, it can be so tempting as soon as you get, you read one thing, and what’s urgent to a client, is not necessarily… often it’s not actually urgent, like if you list out the things that are actually urgent like in a bookkeeping business, I would say, an employee’s pay gone wrong, something to do with a pay. Like that to me that’s like a urgent, act on it now, but most other things are usually a result of the client.

Amy: So they’ve been disorganized, done something at the last minute, it feels urgent so they’re kind of reacting in like a pain. But we don’t have to react to other people’s pain instantaneously, do we.

Cindy: No, no absolutely not and we are not there for that either. We’re running a business.

Amy: Yeah, that’s right. Okay, I can see you’re stressed about that, but this..

Cindy: That’s your stress. So there’s another boundary, don’t take on your client’s stress.

Amy: Yes.

Cindy: You know that’s another boundary. Like remain in your own and that was something that took me a long time to learn. I reacted to every single one of my clients, you know, when they were not trading very well, generally with money problems that people were having. You know I would take all that on personally.

Cindy: ‘Oh, you poor thing’ and I would be feeling bad for them and I’d be doing things as much as, I would discount because they couldn’t afford to pay. You know like I would do things for free. I would do things out of hours to help them out. No.

Amy: But the problem is that doing those things doesn’t actually solve their pain. Like it doesn’t deal with the underlying thing anyways. All it does is it just adds a bit of their pain onto you.

Cindy: Exactly.

Amy: And that’s boundaries.

Cindy: It is. That’s exactly right. You know we spoke at the beginning around that self-development journey and the more self-aware I became about me, I know ‘oh what a complete risk-doer you are’.

Amy: Yeah, yeah, yup.

Cindy: I used to be a volunteer firefighter, I was a risk-doer. You know like literally. And I loved it because it totally appealed. But that’s not my job now.

Amy: Say that to your clients, I’m no longer a firefighter.

Cindy: I can hose things down, but I’m not rescuing. So I know that about myself. I know that I can easily lead a team. And it’s not just big business…it’s the favour for friends or whatever. So I channel all of that energy towards saving the planet. I channel that part of me to somewhere else, but I’ve certainly channelled that out of my business. It hasn’t served me at all. The people that you do do that type of thing for, more often than not, take it for granted as well.

Amy: Oh yeah.

Cindy: So there’s another boundary. Don’t discount and don’t give yourself away for free.

Amy: Definitely.

Cindy: You know, have some really strong rules around your self-worth and your values. How you teach pricing and setting up packages or hour rates or whatever. And that’s fabulous but the other side of that is, I mean, I know so many people who don’t put rates up, and discount. It’s a disservice.

Amy: It’s so true and the thing that’s I’m always trying to drum into the bookkeepers when I’m doing the pricing is, if the client can’t afford the package that you’ve built, you can reduce the scope. So remove something from the package that brings the price down. Don’t take the price down and then do the work for free.

Amy: But even that’s a mindset thing. Even that’s a mindset thing to think ‘oh, I can reduce the scope, you mean I can actually do less? Like I could set the client up’, look if you, like I used to have a client who was obsessed with doing his own bank reconciliations, and he wanted to pay a little bit less. And so I said ‘okay, you can reconcile the inter-bank account transactions’, because he liked getting on his phone and reconciling something and he wanted to save a bit of money.

Amy: So I go okay, inter-bank transactions you can do them. Leave all the expenses to me and he could do the income. Something like that, so then that way it’s a win-win for both people. They can pay a little bit less and you still don’t have to deal with the fact that they’ve reconciled all the bank transactions, but you haven’t published the zero documents yet. So, you got to redo everything and then they have to pay for it so.

Cindy: Yeah.

Amy: So, there’s ways you can do that.

Cindy: Yeah, exactly and that comes down to, once again, just educating the client. The more we spend on educating our client, the more empowered they are going to feel around things. But also the easier our job is because I’ve educated everybody on the big bank, like all my clients know, use it, know how to do it.

Cindy: I have got clients the same as you, that want to do their own bank reconciliations and all that. So I have full-on procedures for them to be able to do it so that its done really thoroughly. Because I doubt when they come in at the end of the month and find it’s not been done properly, or they’ve reconciled for paying money instead of applying to a bill or whatever it is.

Cindy: It really is like educating our clients and, you know, they feel good then. Because they are saving money, they don’t want to spend money on [inaudible 00:39:45] but they also feel good because they are involved in the process. So it’s empowering for them.

Amy: That’s right, letting them try. Letting them know, I always say when I’m teaching about, because with pricing comes setting up an engagement letter and I always say let the client know what to expect, let the client know what to expect and let the client know what to expect. They are the top 3 priorities. And you can’t expect a busy business owner to remember something because you said it once.

Amy: So there’s certain things that I would say, so you say it in the initial phone call, the initial response email, the cover letter of your engagement letter, and your on-boarding email. You say the same thing, because they’re not going to go ‘oh this person is repeating themselves’. They might actually hear it the last time, because when people are busy, they’re not always going to hear. So to be able to have something in place to be able to even remind clients. And then I guess, as well, not to get annoyed if they don’t get it the first time, as well.

Amy: So great, well. So I guess just to finish off, is there, like how can our listeners get in touch with you? How can they find more about what you do?

Cindy: Well they can come to my website, which is cindyidataylor.com or I’d love everybody who’s not already in Bookkeeping Business Studio to come and join the Facebook group. I’m on Facebook under Cindy Taylor as well.

Amy: I will put the links as well. So I’ll put the links into the notes.

Cindy: Great.

Amy: So you’ll be able to find those. Well thank you everybody for listening and thank you so much Cindy for coming and sharing about your journey. I’m sure that everybody’s been very blessed by hearing about your story. I know I’m very inspired just from the little bit that I’ve heard. So, yeah. We’ll look forward to seeing you around the Facebook group or in your Facebook group. Feel free to connect with Cindy and for everybody else, I’ll see you next week. Thanks for listening.