Done is better than perfect. I can’t remember where I first heard of this, but I felt this quote in my soul. I’m definitely a detail-oriented person and a perfectionist — I’ve even argued that perfectionism can be a good thing, which really, it can — especially in my industry. However, I sometimes will spend way too long on an insignificant detail, particularly when I’m naming a program. When I was trying to name my business, for example, I spent weeks going through pretty much every word in the dictionary trying to come up with the perfect name. But then, I had to remind myself — done is better than perfect. It’s not about the name, it’s more about what I can offer.
As a part of our series about strong women leaders who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Alexis Krystina, CPA
Alexis is a CPA who has worked with small businesses for over a decade, creating effective money management procedures that provide immense value and help business owners understand the impact that their decisions have on their bottom line. She works with women in business and has helped modern day online entrepreneurs to understand just how powerful accounting can be. Using easy to understand methods, she takes these business owners from feeling unsure and overwhelmed with numbers and taxes to feeling confident and empowered in their procedures, business decisions, and long-term success.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?
I’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur, but after 6 years of trying and failing, I settled into my job as a Senior Accountant. I tried many things as an aspiring entrepreneur — I wrote an entire novel determined that I was going to be a fiction writer, I opened an Etsy shop, I was a part of several network marketing companies, but none of them panned out. At this point, I had one child and one on the way so I decided to give up my entrepreneur dreams. This is when my life changed. I got a job offer — mind you, I was not even looking — to be the financial controller for a website security company. This job was more pay and it was remote work. I couldn’t say no. One year later, the owner sold the company and I had a big decision to make: take a position at this new company which was essentially a demotion, or try once again to make it as a business owner. I decided to bet on me. Only this time, instead of trying to create a business in a different industry, I decided to stick with accounting. I opened up shop immediately and I finally became the entrepreneur I always wanted to be.
Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?
As a CPA, I’m disrupting the industry in more than one way. My branding, for example, is full of pink and glitter, which is drastically different from all accounting firms out there. You can basically refer to me as the Elle Woods of accounting. But it’s not just my branding that’s changing the game. Most accountants only offer outsourced services and, in most cases, they do not offer any actual consulting or explanations to their clients of what their numbers actually mean. What I’ve done is created a space where entrepreneurs can become financially literate and educate themselves on the one thing that could make or break their business — their numbers. Old-school accountants just hand over a document plastered with numbers that means nothing to the business owner, leaving the business owner dumbfounded and unable to use this as the powerful tool it’s supposed to be. The reason most accountants don’t provide explanations is because 1. they’re overworked with too many clients and are providing mediocre services, and 2. if the clients were to ever find out how easy bookkeeping can be, well, that’s lost sales for these accountants. For a lot of startups and solopreneurs in those early stages, it’s just not necessary to outsource their bookkeeping, and it’s expensive. To solve this issue for small business owners, I’ve created a business where I spill all the secrets and teach entrepreneurs how to manage their own books. I believe that at the end of the day, even if business owners outsource their bookkeeping, without an understanding how to use the numbers to make decisions, it’s pointless. When business owners are armed with the knowledge of how their decisions affect their profits and what their numbers actually mean, they start making confident investment decisions and intentional sales goals, thus creating massive sustainable success for their business.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
The biggest mistake I ever made was investing in a ‘grow your accounting firm’ course. It was so terrible. It was basically a course on how to be a sleazy salesman, which is definitely not my style. I pride myself on transparency and authenticity, and this course taught me the opposite. The funny part is that I actually tried to follow this weird super sleazy sales script more than a few times. Not my best moments, haha. This taught me to really do some research on someone before I invest in their program.
We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?
I don’t have a specific mentor who showed me the way when it came to owning an accounting firm. This is also probably why I do things so differently than most people in my industry. I really had to figure everything out myself. I invested in several business courses, like marketing, sales, and website design programs, and I eventually took what I learned from several different business owners and created my own methods. I can credit Jen Sincero as a major positive influence in how I operate my business. I read her book You Are A Badass At Making Money and I just loved it. If there’s anyone I want to be like, it’s her. I’d love to write a book teaching business owners about bookkeeping and taxes, but of course I’ll do it in a fun way and with a little edge, similar to Jen’s style. Additionally, plenty of successful people who inspire me are Daymond John, Joy Mangano, and Lady Gaga. The support from my mom and my husband are also essential to the success of my business. Without their guidance and support, I could never have created the business of my dreams.
In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?
I don’t think disrupting an industry is ever a bad thing. Everything is always evolving and I think it’s important to constantly be thinking outside of the box, innovating, and simply doing things differently than those around you. In the grand scheme of things, nothing withstands the test of time. The only constant is change and as our world changes, our processes will change and I think adaptability as well as having a disruptive mindset are the only concepts that truly withstand the test of time.
Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.
1. Done is better than perfect. I can’t remember where I first heard of this, but I felt this quote in my soul. I’m definitely a detail-oriented person and a perfectionist — I’ve even argued that perfectionism can be a good thing, which really, it can — especially in my industry. However, I sometimes will spend way too long on an insignificant detail, particularly when I’m naming a program. When I was trying to name my business, for example, I spent weeks going through pretty much every word in the dictionary trying to come up with the perfect name. But then, I had to remind myself — done is better than perfect. It’s not about the name, it’s more about what I can offer.
2. Be persistent. This piece of advice really sticks with me because at the end of the day, the only people who succeed are those who never gave up. If you look at the story of any successful business owner, they all had several rock-bottom points where they could have given up — the average person would have given up — but they persisted and finally succeeded. Being an entrepreneur is no easy feat. Success can come quick, but will it be sustainable? Success can also come slowly. Either way, there will absolutely be moments where you start thinking, can I even do this? Who am I to think I can “make it”? And it’s in those moments where you really have to dig deep and find the motivation to keep going.
3. Be yourself. This seems so simple, but realistically, for me it was a bit of a struggle early on in my business. Somewhere someone came up with the idea that accountants need to act a certain way — we need to be “professional”. For me, I questioned what that even meant. Most of the “professionals” were not even providing great service. When I first started my business, I felt like I had to hide my goofiness or that I couldn’t curse or that I couldn’t have pink branding. But when I decided to finally throw out all the rules, I started seeing massive success. Being authentic is exactly what society needs. It’s time to break these constructs and it’s time to really be fully authentic in the most unapologetic way so that we can find our people and help the people that we’re meant to help. If someone doesn’t like pink branding and curse words, well, there are plenty of other accountants.
We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?
2021will be here sooner than we think and right now I’m working on creating amazing new tools and programs for small business owners to get started on the right foot with their finances. I’m really excited for the new collection of programs. I’ve created programs for freelancers, network marketing professionals, and even S-Corps, plus I’m enhancing all of my current spreadsheets and tools. I can’t wait to reveal everything this fall.
In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by ‘women disruptors’ that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?
Being taken seriously is one of the challenges that I’ve personally faced which I don’t think male accountants have to deal with. I’ve seen several male-owned business owners cursing or making jokes, but it really never affects their credibility. The second I come out doing something funny or making a bold statement or even just having pink branding, some people tend to not take me seriously. Even when I was working in the traditional workspace, I’d markup invoices with pink pens, I’d have a planner with flowers and pretty stickers, and some of my peers would walk by giving me the side-eye like my entire existence was some sort of joke even though I had the same credentials that they had. Meanwhile, my male counterparts could sit there talking about how they got wasted last weekend in addition to other eye-rolling details that I won’t list here, and no one questions their credibility. What I’ve experienced is the expectation that I should be more poised and “professional” to be taken seriously while that’s definitely not the case for the men in business.
Do you have a book, podcast, or talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us? Can you explain why it was so resonant with you?
I absolutely love Jen Sincero’s books. Her book was the first personal development book that I read that had curse words and felt like a real person wrote it. She’s definitely not a “good girl” by society’s standards, and I certainly feel exactly the same. I love how edgy she is, I love how authentic she is, and I love her style. The fact that she can say 5 curse words and drop a life-changing idea in the same sentence aligns with my soul.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Learn the rules so you can break them.” I believe the full quote is “Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist” and it’s by Pablo Picasso. This has been relevant for me my entire life. I’m different. I pride myself on being different and having different ideas — it’s my entire way of life. I often feel like a rebel because I really just want to do things my way. Doing things my way has always worked, and the reason it has worked is because before I set out to make my own rules and create my own way of doing things, I first learned the “rules” and strategies.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I have big dreams of bringing financial literacy to high schools and empowering young entrepreneurs. I’d love to be a part of a movement that helps young ambitious teens to forge their own path through life and do things their way using smart strategies and knowledge.
How can our readers follow you online?
My website has everything you’ll ever need: alexiskrystina.com Readers can also follow me on Instagram for daily money tips at instagram.com/alexiskrystina I also have an amazing free Facebook community at facebook.com/groups/advanceaccountingllc