Get a no fluff, no BS type of accountability partner: I’m often known as the “Accountability Accountant” and in this role I talk to clients about the fact that to achieve massive success they need to be held responsible for their actions. Accountability keeps a business owner connected with goals, aspirations, and execution.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Folasade Ayegbusi. Currently the CEO of Suncrest Financials, Folasade was raised in Washington D.C. where she experienced eviction, hunger, and homelessness while growing up.
She came to her current position through the strength of will and resilience as she realized the importance of gaining financial freedom to be in control of her own life.
Thank you so much for doing this with us Folasade! Can you tell us a story about what events have drawn you to this specific career path?
After some of my earliest experiences of being raised in a family that didn’t have much, I can remember that even as a 14-year-old I knew I never wanted to be poor again. Because I grew up watching my father work for an accounting firm, I knew that I wanted to find my own financial security through the financial industry.
Can you share your story of Grit and Success? First can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey?
One of my earliest challenging experiences was the decision I needed to make to end a business relationship that I had with my father. At a certain point, I provided my father with the option to evolve our relationship into a full partnership and he turned me down. Even though I was pregnant at that time, I took his response as a sign that it was time for me to strike out on my own. That decision was one of the toughest I ever made, but my grit helped me make the decision and proceed with the resulting challenges that were inherent in starting any business.
I also use my grit when I find that things aren’t going as well as I’d like in terms of acting as my company’s salesperson. Grit pushes me to constantly challenge myself to sell more and establish relationships with new clients. It also helps me refresh my approach so that if there’s a temporary setback I can get past it and succeed.
Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?
I was born with the grit to continue through challenges and to turn things around. This is likely because, in all honesty, most of what I have known in my life are tough times including having to move 10 times in 12 years. What helps me to get through the difficulties? I work hard to develop a deep-seated clarity about what I want to do with my life and where I want to take my business. I’ve found that making this kind of clarity a priority sets the stage for success.
So how did Grit lead to your eventual success? How did Grit turn things around?
Firstly, my grit gave me the ability to never get comfortable. Regardless of how much I make in any given day I still approach my work as if I’m broke and hungry. In addition, there have been moments when I’ve looked into my children’s eyes and realized that I never want them to struggle like I have. I never want them to go hungry or to worry about housing. It is my grit that forces me to overcome obstacles so that I can keep my promise to my family about being financially stable.
So, how are things going today? 🙂
Things are going great. My client list is growing and I’m feeling fulfilled because I’m able to help the businesses I work with to stay financially strong. So far, in the last year alone I’ve helped other businesses save more than $25 million in lost revenue, penalties, tax assessments, and interest.
Based on your experience, can you share 5 pieces of advice about how one can develop Grit?
- Create your vision: I would advise people to work towards increased clarity during their journey as a business. In my case, ever since high school graduation I’ve nurtured the dream of having the largest African American accounting firm in the field and becoming the richest black woman outside of the entertainment industry. In undergraduate school I started to get very specific about my goals. I set income goals, lifestyle goals, and just dreamed of being able to design my own life. I gained a deep clarity that helped me see that I just didn’t want my own financial freedom, I wanted to help others in the world by working with them to improve their finances and their businesses.
- Write down your goals and aspirations: I began to write down my goals and aspirations before I started my company. It was my success blueprint and I found that it helped quite a bit because I was able to constructively map out my journey. One example of how this worked is how I determined what degrees I wanted to pursue. Since I knew I wasn’t going to work at a Big Four accounting firm I could focus on just the education I needed, not on chasing the kinds of degrees that everyone else had.
- Get a no fluff, no BS type of accountability partner: I’m often known as the “Accountability Accountant” and in this role I talk to clients about the fact that to achieve massive success they need to be held responsible for their actions. Accountability keeps a business owner connected with goals, aspirations, and execution.
- Take risks: Being a young African American entrepreneur, my opportunity to gain funding is slim to none so I’ve had to take massive financial risk to build and grow my company. I’ve almost lost my house, car and so much more to build my company. The risks are an unavoidable part of being an entrepreneur and they’re worth it.
- Go all in: I advise my clients to approach their business as if there isn’t another option. Honestly, most real entrepreneurs don’t have a plan B. Plan A is their end all. Anyone who was born to create a strong, successful business should leave it all on the field.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped you when things were tough? Can you share a story about that?
When I think of the help that I received along my journey I think of my family. My father strongly influenced my success because of his experience in the accounting industry. He exposed me to his business from a young age and showed me the power that comes with understanding how money works. He also instilled in me the importance of financial literacy and challenged me to rise above my surroundings. I remember sitting with him on our street as he pointed out drugs deals and criminal activity. He told me that would be my future if I didn’t find a way to get an education and take control of my financial independence.
My mother and sister also provided me with tremendous support. My mother reinforced the message that I could be anything I want in this world if I worked hard enough. My sister encouraged me to be myself and never follow the trends of what my friends or the people around me were doing. She always pushed me and told me to go full force in the direction of my dreams.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
Because of what I’ve gained by becoming financially strong and independent, one of the goals of my business is to help others to experience the same and to grow prosperous businesses. For example, I want to use my expertise in accounting to save businesses from massive tax debts that could have shattered their work and livelihood. For this reason, I’m as much of a coach for businesses owners with dreams as I am their accountant.
On a more concrete level, I’m a big believer in supporting charities to help others. I contribute financially to major causes I support and have participated in Christmas toy drives and other outreach activities for some of the underserved neighborhoods that I grew up in.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Yes, I’m working on the release of my upcoming book called The Entrepreneurs Guide to Using Accounting to Have an Amazing Business and a 15 day “Know Your Numbers” challenge. Both are designed to help entrepreneurs gain financial control over their business, which in turn brings personal financial freedom. You can follow the 15 day challenge on my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/fayegbusi .
What advice would you give to other executives or founders to help their employees to thrive?
I would say to other to observe your employees’ strengths and weaknesses and shift them to positions that would enhance what they do best. Many employees are operating in positions they aren’t necessarily fond of which in turn delivers poor customer service, high employee turnover, and dissatisfied customers.
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. 🙂
As an accountant, I can’t help but feel that success and happiness are the result of accountability. Right now, we live in an unaccountable society from starting from our politicians to our spouses. I feel if we all held one another accountable than there would be fewer failing businesses, marriages, and relationships.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
My sister always said to me, “Everything you do today reflects your tomorrow,” and that has stuck with me personally and professionally. I live by this quote and use it to guide my business. Earlier in life, her wisdom helped me see that if I made the choice to be unproductive and float along with the status quo, my future would reflect that, and I’d never be successful. Instead, I took actions that laid the foundation for my success today. And that’s the same advice I give my clients. I tell them that if they don’t take control of their accounting today, they won’t understand their bottom-line tomorrow.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
You can find me in the following places:
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.