E17 From Corporate CPA to Self-Made Entrepreneur with Candace Galiffa👩🏻💻💯
Updated: Aug 8, 2022
Starting your own business can be intimidating - especially as a woman. You need someone on your team whose zone of genius is business finance so you can stay in your lane and focus on your craft. Instead of burning your time, money, and energy doing it yourself, find someone with the expertise to do it for you!
In this episode of The Pollen Podcast, Candace joins us to share her entrepreneurial experience as she moved from corporate accounting to building her own business. She shares her struggles from being a one-woman show to hiring her first full-time employee to earning seven figures. Listen as she shares trade know-how about your business' finances.
Listen to this episode and be inspired to jump from corporate to self-made boss!
Create your own creative entrepreneurship story of clarity, professional confidence, and profit. Join Diana’s 90-day group course Camp Clarity and learn everything you wish you already knew, like how to land dream clients, harness the power of social media, and make the money you deserve. Learn more here.
🔥Here are three reasons why you should listen to this episode:
Learn how Candace jumped from corporate worker to a seven-figure female entrepreneurship finance expert.
Understand the financial aspects of your business from an accountant’s perspective.
Discover tips on how to build your brand and referral network.
Achieve the life, career, and clients you’ve always wanted (and fully deserve!). Sign up for Diana’s Camp Clarity Course now!
Take a week off and join the first Diana Davis Creative Retreat in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, from August 29 to September 1! 🎁 There will be tons of activities, plus you'll get a bonus one-on-one coaching session with Diana after the retreat.
Playing Big: Practical Wisdom for Women Who Want to Speak Up, Create, and Lead by Tara Mohr
Be inspired by Jenna Kutcher through her podcast, Goal Digger.
Save thousands in taxes through Candace’s S Corp Tax Savings Calculator and 72 Tax Deductions.
Learn more about Candace’s work with NewWay Accounting through their website or Instagram.
Listen to Pollen Episode 13: What They Don’t Always Tell You About Business and Money Wins 💰💯
Access other courses from the Diana Davis Creative
Connect with Candace through her LinkedIn.
[02:01] Getting to Know Candace
Candace lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two kids.
She is a Certified Public Accountant with over a decade of experience.
She began her career at PricewaterhouseCoopers and then moved to different companies — holding various leadership roles in corporate accounting, finance, and investments.
In 2018, Candace founded NewWay Accounting, an accounting firm dedicated to serving small business owners and entrepreneurs and providing modern accounting solutions.
She firmly believes that female entrepreneurs should be open about finances and taxes.
[06:46] Candace’s Female Entrepreneurship Journey
Candace started her firm as a one-woman show. As a stay-at-home mom, Candace did everything from home.
A year later, she made more than she did in her corporate job.
NewWay Accounting began to scale and hire full-time employees. Four years later, the company now has eight employees and serves over 100 clients monthly and over 300 clients annually.
The firm's clients are primarily female millennial entrepreneurs who need bookkeeping and proactive tax planning services.
NewWay also provides outsourced CFO services for small and scaling tech companies.
[14:40] Moving from Corporate to Independent Work
Candace initially found the transition from big corporations to independent female entrepreneurship intimidating — there was a lot to learn.
Her number one advice for women considering the big move is to read Tara Mohr’s Playing Big.
Candace: "You don't have to do some crazy launch. You don't have to create this brand and have this logo and business cards and all these things. Just try it out. We are so lucky to live in an age where if you want to be a meteorologist, you can be a meteorologist on YouTube. Just go do it." - Click Here To Tweet This
Take small leaps and learn from the experience. Know what works for you.
Learn and find out what your clients want.
Build your portfolio. Understand the power of energy exchange in getting exposure, referrals, and work.
[19:20] Understanding the Power of a Network
Candace recommends all first-time parents give themselves some grace. Do not try to build a business when you have your first newborn.
She also shares that listening to Jenna Kutcher gave her organic ways to gain traction in the female entrepreneur world.
Listen to trends and the people who pay you.
Around 65% of businesses come from word of mouth.
[25:50] How Hiring Full-Time Employees Helps Your Brand
Candace: “It is just a game changer when you have someone working 100% for your brand. Oh, magic happens because it’s not like they’re charging you hourly. They're not building their brands; they don’t have other clients; they are focused on your brand because that’s them now.” - Click Here To Tweet This
Candace shares that the scariest part about hiring a full-time person is the realization that that person is your responsibility now.
Know the current rates of full-time jobs. You can use Glassdoor as a reference.
Candace always tries to pay better than the industry average and provides other benefits, including health insurance.
If you're ready to make the leap and hire your first full-time employee, do not let the benefits side of it scare you.
[31:10] Embrace Your Achievements
Candace shares that she feels weird about sharing her achievements with people.
Learn to understand that you made your accomplishments happen.
Try all the things you want to do - nothing is stopping you from doing them!
[38:40] Breaking the Money Mindset
Listen to Episode 13 to learn more about business and money for entrepreneurs.
It is critical to have money knowledge available to the public.
For instance, ask your coach about their Profit & Loss Statement before you hire them. Are they actually making money?
Candace: “Why are we only ever defining success as money, right? Like, maybe your success is making net of $5,000 a year, every quarter, but you get to spend every afternoon at the park with your dog or every morning with your kids doing XYZ. That's also beautiful success.” - Click Here To Tweet This
[43:46] What’s The Deal With Write-Offs?
Candace believes that no one should lose sleep over someone’s books.
She also emphasizes that entertainment expenses are no longer tax deductions. For example, taking a client to talk business and play golf is no longer a tax deduction.
Candace shares that it is never okay to put more money in your pocket by writing off expenses that are not real. Female entrepreneurship should be ethical!
[49:55] Building Your Brand and Referral Network
Candace makes sure to listen to her clients’ needs.
Business owners often do not know how to read P&L financial reports. In response to this, Candace’s company develops client-friendly executive summaries.
Hire someone who is an advocate for you and your business.
Get someone on your team who can handle the fields outside your expertise. You'll feel more confident about those fields knowing an expert is handling them.
Candace Galiffa has been a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) for over a decade. After studying Accounting at the University of Pittsburgh, Candace traveled solo through much of Australia and Europe. She began her career in public accounting at PricewaterhouseCoopers, and then held various leadership roles in corporate accounting, finance, and investments.
After nearly a decade in Corporate America, she decided to focus on her entrepreneurship roots. She founded NewWay Accounting to serve small business owners and entrepreneurs, as well as provide modern accounting solutions and outsourced CFO services to corporations.
Candace lives in Chadds Ford, PA with her husband Phil and their daughters Giavana, Layla and Sasha.
Learn more about Candace’s work with NewWay Accounting through their website or Instagram. You can also connect with her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via LinkedIn.
Enjoyed this Podcast on Understanding Finances for Entrepreneurs?
Do not lose sleep over the finances of your business! Find someone who can do it for you and trust them to do it.
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Candace Galiffa: One of the biggest things I see when we bring new clients on, they're like, “Oh, well, my accountant told me to be on S Corp.” And I'm like, Oh, great, like, Do you know why?” And like no idea what he even means. So, it's like, well, I, always, on calls with folks. I'm always like, I want to just give you an S Corp one on one because even if we don't work with each other, I think it's important for you to understand why the hell you're even doing this thing that someone told you to do.
So yeah, I'm like female empowerment, female education, especially around finances is so important.
Diana Davis: Welcome to Pollen, the podcast for creative entrepreneurs. I'm your host, Diana Davis, multi passionate creative, business coach, Gemini, manifesting generator, macha drinker, and travel junkie. I'm also the founder of Diana Davis Creative, where I went from a six figure photography business to coaching creative entrepreneurs like you. If you want to have a career and a life you love, you're in the right place.
On this show, I'll be coaching on all things creative entrepreneurship, and you'll hear stories from fellow creative entrepreneurs that will show you it is possible to do life the way you want to. They'll share the nitty gritty of their journeys, like the real shit, and how they are doing it differently. I'm stoked to have you along on this journey. Let's go.
Hello, Pollen. I have a very special episode for you today. Candace is my accountant. She is incredible. She has saved me not only so much money, but made me feel empowered in taxes and finances and LLCs and S Corps and all of the things. Many of my clients work with her because I shout her name from the rooftops, and all I have to say is we have a really, really spicy episode for you today. We get spicy on a lot of stuff and her story is incredible.
So, Candace Galiffa has been a certified public accountant, CPA, for over a decade. After studying accounting at the University of Pittsburgh, Candace traveled solo through much of Australia and Europe, which we have recently talked about. She thinks I have to go scuba diving, which scares the shit out of me. She began her career in public accounting at PricewaterhouseCoopers and then held various leadership roles in corporate accounting, finance and investments.
After nearly a decade in corporate America, she decided to focus on her entrepreneurship roots. She founded NewWay Accounting to serve small business owners and entrepreneurs as well as provide modern accounting solutions and outsourced CFO services to corporations. Candace lives in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, with her husband Phil and their daughters Giavana, Leila and Sasha. She's the best. Enjoy this episode.
Hello, Pollen listeners. We have a guest episode for you. It's been a minute and I am so fucking excited to bring this guest on. I am having Candace, my accountant, come on and tell her story. We might ask her, like a little bit of tax tips. But otherwise, this is more about her success story than anything. So Candace, it's so amazing to have you. Hello.
Candace: Hi, Diana. I'm so excited to be here.
Diana: I love it. So, a big thing of why Candace and I even have a relationship is because probably four years ago or so, right after I started my business, I did my taxes for the first time as a full time entrepreneur, and it was a mess. I was desperately searching Facebook groups on who to bring on as my accountant. I had an accountant in Bozeman, Montana. They didn't really know a lot about New York City where I was living.
They didn't know a lot about entrepreneurship. I was recommended Candace. I got on a phone call with you, and you made me feel so seen and just not like an idiot.
Candace: I love that, but that like when you say that truly sparks so much joy for me. It's like why we do this and why we work specifically with female entrepreneurs because I think that's so common in my industry. It just burns me up because I think you've got a lot of old white guys in suits, who, number one, don't maybe even understand what a creative female entrepreneur does, doesn't understand our podcast, doesn't understand what an influencer is.
And then, they talk down to you, talk down to you like you're a kid. So yeah, I just love empowering and educating over just condescending tax jargon, you know?
Diana: Yeah, and I have worked with you for years now, I guess, four years, and you're also an advocate for your clients, in my opinion. I'm just gonna like buzz you up first, but it's true because you're proactive, and that's what I tell people who I recommend to you. You are the one to say, hey, Diana, like you're making a lot of money. You should think about this S Corp thing, and not just like this as an option, but actually saying, let me help you through this.
By the way, we're gonna save seven grand in one quarter for you because of this. It's like, wow, I would have never have known that without you keeping an eye on things and being proactive about it. Before I met you, I was asking, literally getting on the phone with lawyers going, should I be in LLC? Should I be an S Corp? What's the deal? They were like, well, you could, or you don't have to, and it was like, no one was just telling me an answer.
So, that's why I'm so passionate about bringing in people like you to Camp Clarity, to guest coach and all of these things, because we need to be literate in this. We don't need to be kept in the dark about finances and taxes. We should hire out, for sure, but also understand what's going on and not just like passing the ball.
Candace: Yeah, I love that you said that, because one of the biggest things I see when we bring new clients on, they're like, “Oh, well, my accountant told me to be on S Corp.” And I'm like, Oh, great, like, Do you know why?” And like no idea what he even means. So, it's like, well, I, always, on calls with folks. I'm always like, I want to just give you an S Corp one on one because even if we don't work with each other, I think it's important for you to understand why the hell you're even doing this thing that someone told you to do.
So yeah, I'm like female empowerment, female education, especially around finances is so important.
Diana: Yeah, absolutely. So, let's dig into your story, because your business alone is so inspiring. I think when I met you, you were a one woman show.
Candace: Yes. You know, Diana, you're an OG client. You were like, when you mentioned our first call, I remember it for sure, because those calls back in the day, I was stay at home mom-ing. So, my calls were scheduled around a baby monitor sleeping, and I was always like so anxious, because I'm like, Is the baby gonna wake up before the end of this call? It was always like that game. So yes, you were like an OG 2018 client.
Diana: Tell us just in a quick nutshell, and then we'll dig into like the nuances of it and tell everyone how you got there, because that's what this is all about, right? The bullshit, the success, the navigation, the winding road, the turns, the twists, all the things. Okay, so you are a one woman show in 2018, what would you define your business as now?
Candace: Oh, I mean, I think now we're a firm, definitely a firm. To kind of give you the quick journey, I started my career in public accounting, very traditional, right, corporate moved into Independence Blue Cross, worked in corporate accounting, worked my way up the corporate ladder, very traditional, right? So, a lot of success there, and then my husband and I got pregnant with our first baby girl, and I knew that I didn't want to do the corporate hours being a mom.
I knew I wanted the stay at home mom experience. I knew that, but I come from a family of entrepreneurs, and so I'd always been doing some bookkeeping and taxes on the side for business owners. So I was like, You know what I'm gonna do, I'll just see if I can kind of build this up as a cute little side hustle. Like, I was leaving a six figure salary, so I was a little nervous about that. I was like this will be great. I'll do this. I'll keep my mind sharp.
I'll see if I can find some clients. I'll do it nights, weekends during that, and it blew up. So a year after Giavana was born, I was making more than what I was making in my corporate job. My husband quit his job, and he was a stay at home dad. Then, we just continue to scale from there and to scale, we started hiring full time employees.
So now four years later, because Giavana is four she just turned four, so four years later, we have a team of eight and we serve over 100 monthly clients and well over 300 annual clients, and it's fucking crazy. I like pinch myself every day. It's like it's been a wild four years.
Diana: Literally, this is how I get with my clients, too. It's like happy tears are welling up and there's like a feeling in my throat. I'm just like, it's so cool like to have witnessed this and also just like, what a permission slip, such a permission slip that it is so possible and not just like scraping by possible but like from one woman show to a team and a firm of eight, let alone. Can you talk about just a little bit of the like CFO stuff that you do as well?
Candace: Sure, yeah. So, we're really built. We're kind of built into two shops, right? Shop numero uno is where we all started. It was like, the services I provide you, and a lot of the folks you recommend is, we work with female, generally millennial entrepreneurs. They're doing around six figures, right, and supporting them monthly with their bookkeeping, and super proactive tax planning.
Then, we also totally fell into like, totally fell into this other side of the business where we do outsource CFO services for basically small and scaling tech companies and then like mid sized corporations, where we are their CFO. We do it all like instead of hiring an in house CFO, because it's super expensive. They use our team to do all the outside CFO services, like paying bills, running payroll. We go to board meetings. We stay the board meetings.
We do presentations, projections, all the things. So, those are the two sides of the house, but then, we really also leverage that CFO mindset with our smaller clients as well, because they need that as well. So yeah, we're not paying their bills, and they don't have board meetings for us to attend, but we are trying to be as proactive and really answering any type of finance question they have, just to again, like I said, always trying to empower folks who are making the best decisions and feeling really comfortable and confident what they're doing.
Diana: Yeah, I mean, you have a log into my payroll. The official CFO of DDC, totally, absolutely you. Jen is amazing too who I work with on your team. Okay, so let's dig into this. Candace, little girl. Where was she? What was she doing? What was she like? And then like, let's hear your story.
Candace: I'm just like, it's so nerdy, so I knew. I was one of those people that just knew. I have always loved math in sixth grade that we did this like hotdog stand thing, and we learned about statistics. I told my mom, I wanted to be a statistician, but I couldn't even say the word, right? So, I always knew in high school. I took accounting classes. I knew I'm like that weird ass kid who just knew. Yeah, accounting was for me.
So, I went to University of Pittsburgh, majored in accounting, had the accounting internships went very traditional, got the big paying job and public accounting at PWC, and work the insane hours work till two o'clock in the morning during busy season and the rest of you're always working to seven, eight or nine. That's just what you do. I worked there for three or four years, got burned out, moved my way up.
Then, it was like, Alright, time to move over to corporate accounting, a little bit less hours. So, I went to Independence Blue Cross. I started my career in corporate accounting, started managing teams, managing larger teams, again, moving up the ranks there, and I really liked it. I mean, we did financial planning and analysis, treasury and investments, and I really did always like it. I gained so much from it.
Obviously, I had my CPA, so I got my CPA license. I think all those experiences are really great, but I have always been the like black sheep of my family. So, my parents are entrepreneurs. My brother's an entrepreneur. Like I have this funny story from the Christmas when I just got in my job at PWC, and my mom got me clothes for Christmas. I'm opening them up, and it's just like, leopard print sparkly, low cut top, and I'm like, “Oh, Mom, yeah, this is so cute.”
I'm like, 22 like, this is so cute. She's like, I just thought this would be great with a blazer for your new job. I'm like, “Yeah, so I don't work in a strip club.” So like, they just don't understand corporate America, right?
Diana: So, what did they do?
Candace: Great question. My maiden name’s Way. So, my dad's business called Way’s Greenhouses and he grew roses and it was a generation businesses.
His grandfather's started it and my mom also comes from a small business family and they are a florist Marcus’s Florists. So, my dad used to drive the truck of flowers to Marcus’s Florists, and they buy flowers. That's how my mom and my dad met. So then, I grew up in a flower business, right? We were like flower people, both sides of the family. Then later in life, my mom started her own flower design business for weddings, and so she built this business from nothing.
Then, my brother, he owns Harmony Inn and Watersports in the Poconos with his wife and has built this whole business. So, my family obviously always been very supportive like Candace, great, corporate America, but they didn't know what I was doing. They didn't get it, right? They've always been small business, which has been really beneficial to me in making this transition.
Because it's like, number one is a scary transition, working for big corporations and then doing something on your own, but also, it was really beneficial to know like, well, what the hell does a small business want? I know what multi billion dollar companies want, but what does the average small business want? So, that was really helpful with that transition. Like a leap and like if I can give, and I say leap because if I could give advice to someone who's like thinking, dabbling in the doing a side hustle or starting out, I would say, number one, read the book, Playing Big by Tara Mohr.
That changed my life. I wasn't even pregnant yet, but I'd always kind of had this thought in my head. She talks about in this book, like, you don't have to do some crazy launch. You don't have to create this brand and this website and have the logo and business cards and do all these things. Just like try it out. We're so lucky that we live in an age where if you want to be a meteorologist, you can be a meteorologist on YouTube. Just go do it.
Like, we can just go do these things right now. So, the book talks about just taking one small leap. So when I was still working in corporate America, I was working at Independence Blue Cross. I was like, Well, I'm just gonna see like what is it like to do bookkeeping and accounting for a small business and I went on indeed.com. I found this like, local in Philly, small business was hiring a bookkeeper, 20 bucks an hour.
I went on my lunch break at work in my suit, right? They're all in jeans. They're looking at me, like, what is it? They actually said to me in the nicest way possible, you're like, really overqualified for this position. Like, why are you doing this? I was just super honest. Like, I love my job, but I'm thinking about wanting to learn more about what small businesses need and doing this on the side.
They were like, yeah, so you're hired, and that was it. So, it wasn't about the money, but it was about learning the experience, seeing if you like it, as much as can work for you.
Diana: Yeah, without putting this massive pressure on it, has to replace it if I leap. I have to make the same amount of money to replace the thing, or it's my end all be all, like it's not written in stone. You can write it at any point. I love just the idea of trying some stuff on like, I call it playing in the sandbox. Even when I was a photographer, it's like, do you want to shoot bar mitzvahs? No. Okay, great. You get that done.
Do you want to shoot events? Okay, it brings in some money, but like, maybe not what I'm shooting for, no pun intended. Do you want to work with women and wellness? Oh, my God, that lights my soul on fire. So then, it's like, okay, how do we start to dabble in that and not make it so much, just this big pressury thing. So, I love that.
Candace: Yeah. Like I didn't have an LLC when I started that. I didn't have a name. It was just Candace, just Candace trying to being a bookkeeper. That's great. Then, you just kind of layer on top of that, because it's like hard. I find also just to jump in and create a business from nothing if you haven't been doing it a little bit to know even what to give your clients like what to give your customers.
Diana: Yeah, and just building also that word of mouth. Like that's where we talk about portfolio building, and it's the same in photography as it is accounting. You have to have a portfolio and to do that sometimes you have to maybe do a “free shoot”, but it's not free if there's an energy exchange of getting exposure, getting referrals, getting the work, and then you start to build momentum, right?
You just don't go like okay, here we go. I'm gonna launch this business and no one knows about me.
Candace: Yeah, you kind of gotta grow. I mean, my story sounds like super like, oh, it just happened, like it just happened, but like I grinded that first year. Like during those naps late at night on the weekends, and I was doing like all the things. I'm using the Jenna Kutcher. She's telling me to take pictures of myself and post them on me and I'm like what. No, no one cares about my face. I'm an accountant but I did it.
I remember like I asked my dad because my mom had a baby and my husband is working. I was like, Dad, can you take some pictures of me in the backyard? He’s like, what? I’m like, just take some pictures of me and that was it. That was like my first brand shot.
Diana: Are those the ones that we know you had like a professional shoot done eventually, right?
Candace: If you hopped on my Instagram and like went back, scroll down, you will see, they are quite obvious, the DIY photo shoot. You will see that, and that's what I did. I engaged. I engaged on Instagram. I was responding to comments in Facebook groups. I did all the things so, it takes it takes time to build that up.
Diana: Yeah. Okay, so you are side hustling for this small business and you were still doing your big corporate gig, correct? Was it when you got pregnant that you decided to take the leap or what was that change?
Candace: No, I totally was all about milk and maternity leave in my corporate job and I also wanted to. You don't know like when you have a baby you also just aren't sure. I definitely didn't want to make any decision on if I was or was not going back until this baby was here, because I have a ton of mom friends who are like they might just not be for you. Like you know parenting is a tough job. It is hard and it's mentally challenging.
So, everyone was like, don't ever make that decision to do it. So it's like, no worries. I continued working this time. I had one client, FarmSteady , like they’re still a client of ours, a couple hours a week, right, and work in corporate. Then, I had the baby and I was on maternity leave. I really gave myself some grace, and I recommend all first time parents to do is like, give yourself some grace.
You should not be trying to build a business when you have your first newborn. That's just crazy town. So, it gave myself some grace, and I kept my one client that I was doing, but then after a couple months, I was like, okay, let's give this a go. Let's try. This is so funny. Like, I didn't even think to promote on Instagram. Like, I wasn't thinking that way at all. I was thinking I was going to be more of the standard accountant and working with small local businesses, so I sent out flyers.
I literally Googled like 100 local businesses, like in my zip code, and I sent them flyers. Of those 100, 2 of them did become clients, and still our clients today, which is so funny. But, it wasn't until I actually met with another, he was a client at the time, his name was Mike. I remember because I honestly always think about this that I should really send him a thank you card.
Because he was who introduced me to the online female world, which is so funny, because he's this guy. But we actually met local, which I never do anymore, like everything is virtual. I met with him and he was like, you just must dominate in the like, female entrepreneur space. I'm like, you know, I would love to but it just hasn't happened. There doesn't seem to be many, like local female entrepreneurs around me blah, blah.
He was like, oh, you have to follow and listen to Jenna Kutcher, right? And I'm like, who? What? Can you spell that name for me? Seriously, and so that's what launched. So, I'm listening to Goal Digger podcast. Now, I'm in the groups and I'm like, oh, Instagram is like a the place to be right now. That's where I started gaining traction in the female entrepreneur world.
Yeah, it was like very organic, and I'm always think about this. Michael, I should really send this guy a thank you card because he is the reason why I pivoted into that direction.
Diana: Yeah, there's always a conduit, right? That leads you somewhere else. I love this so much. So, you went full time. Okay, so you had the baby.
Candace: I have the baby.
Diana: Gave yourself some grace.
Candace: I gave myself some grace. I remember it was September, I was like, well, this would be the end of my maternity leave. I'm going to start, want to start giving this a go. So, I did the marketing, but the flyers, and I picked them up that way. I just got really in and I was just listening and learning as much as I could. I literally was doing all like listening to the Jenna Kutcher podcast, but also just like listening to my current couple of clients constantly evolving.
What does the small business need? What more can I give them? Constantly listening not just to like how to grow your business, but like listening to the people who are actually paying you and constantly evolving. Because I was figuring it out like yeah, I know accounting, I know taxes, but I was still learning what does the small business owner want from me, and constantly evolving that.
I was just really engaged in the community, responding to the Facebook messages, and I was doing what they did serve, serve, serve, so on Instagram was tips, tips, tips, tips, never selling, just tips, tips, tips, and really engaging. Then, it just was happening and then, it was word of mouth. I mean, I do still track it today, and still similar, about 65% of our business comes from word of mouth.
Then, the rest comes from about Instagram and some like Facebook groups, and that just really spiraled out of control. You came on board, and you were like the network fucking queen. I mean, now, I have our largest presence in New York City because of you, 100%. I always like oh, yeah, oh, sure. Of course, you know Diana. Like you just sent so much business, and then it just kind of exploded from there.
Once we would have one business owner in like Minnesota or California, then you'd see that pocket grow because of the network they were in, and it was just wild. So, I did it all myself that year. It was all me. That winter, my cousin, who was like majoring in Accounting, I brought her on as like an intern contractor, so she was helping out in the back. My lifelong girlfriend, who I used to waitress with but she was an accountant, I had her come on do, again, part time contractor work because she also had a full time job.
That summer, we picked up our firm. So a year later, we picked up our first CFO clients, like this company who truly basically, I wasn't even going to do it. But, they like threw out so much money that I was like okay, we have to do this. I'm grateful now because this is a second half of the business. But, it was like oh my gosh, this is I'm now making more than I did in my corporate job.
I would really enjoy not working at two o'clock in the morning because I'm doing this baby. My husband doesn't love his job. He loves being a dad. I'm working from home. I can still do all the mom things I want to do during the day. All right, Phil, time to quit your job and he was more than pleased too, so it was at that point that he quit his job. Now, this business is really taking off and that's when we started hiring full time employees which is just a game changer.
When you have someone working 100% for your brand, oh man magic happens, because it's not like they're charging you hourly. They're not building their business. They don't have other clients. They are focused on your brand, because that's them now, and that's how they're promoted. Then, they get bonus. You just free up so much energy and space to do what you want to do, but also like scale this business, and then things just continue to just skyrocket from there.
Diana: Yeah, we still don't have full time employees at DDC, but we have two team members that are hourly. So, I think that's so interesting to think about of like, yeah, they are dedicated to you and your business and your growth, because your growth helps them. I'm curious what that looks like, as far as hiring a team for you, of course. Maybe, just people falling into your lap and knowing maybe you put job postings out there or whatever, but even just like knowing what their salary should be in a bonus structure, like, where did you source this information?
Candace: Oh, it was terrifying. So, my very first hire came right before COVID, and so at that time, it was really scary because we didn't know COVID was going to like wreck everything. Luckily, actually boom, the entrepreneur economy, so it worked out great for my business. At the time, it was really scary. I think, for me, the scariest part of hiring a full time person was all of a sudden the realization like this person is my responsibility now, not from a management perspective, but from a financial perspective.
This person is now relying on my business to succeed for their family, for their children. That was like a heavy. That was a heavy thing to take on. But from a salary perspective, it was easy in the beginning, because it was my girlfriend, like we literally waitress together growing up. She's an accountant. She'd been doing it as a contractor work for me. I was like I want you to quit your job and do this for me.
She basically told me like, well, to do that this is what you have to pay me, and I was like done and so that was easy. The other now future hires, it's been, again, easier for me because I'm hiring other accountants. I'm hiring tax repairs, and that's who I used to hire in corporate America. So, I have a decent idea of what going rates are, and there's also some great platforms out there that you can use, even like the Indies, the Glassdoor like those things are good reference points.
But for me, luckily, I used to hire all those roles, so it was like a little bit easier for me. I always just try to pay better than the industry average. I tried to be super competitive with that, and I do all the benefits and I health insurance. But, I always do tell small business owners if you're like ready to make the leap into hiring your first full time employee, don't let the benefit side of it scare you.
Just state you’re on salary, you don't have to offer benefits, offer benefits in a couple of months. Number one, it's not as scary as it is seems like offer health insurance, offer the 401k. It sounds really complex, but it really isn't. If you work with an accountant, they will be able to help you out with it, but just start with a salary, just start there. I really think it is obviously more expensive because you're paying payroll tax and a salary but I think it is worth every penny like my team is amazing.
That's what I get teary eyed over. Talking about my team is what I get chills over because they are amazing. My team is amazing. Here I am like tearing up because I just had a baby five months ago, baby number three. It was not my best path planning. I had a baby in February during tax season, and I was so worried about it ahead of time, like what am I going to do? I love being a pregnant mom. I want to be there. I don't want all the stress.
You're already anxious after you have a baby. My team killed it. I mean, there was just no issues. It was fine. I could step away. I think, as business owners, we don't take traditional maternity leave, and that's fine. I love my job, and I don't mind stepping into the office when Sasha sleeping on me for a few hours, like that never bothered me. But, I never felt the stress of it, and that was 100% my team just kicking ass. I'm like, so grateful. I'm so grateful for my team.
Diana: Yeah. Did you think four years ago this would look like this?
Candace: Diana, no. I was like really thinking this was going to be a cute side hustle that would like, it'd be really great. Like I'll pay for groceries and I'll help supplement because I was leaving a six figure job and I've always been like a doer and an action taker. So, I thought I'd get in to do something. I thought it would grow, right? But no, no, no, no, I was no.
I was not expecting four years later to like be in our dream home and we just bought a beach house and my husband’s a stay at home dad and I can work when I want. No, I would have never ever thought this was in the cards. No, it's wild.
Diana: I'm in Italy right now, and we had a conversation with two women who are Americans but married to Italians. We were talking about the difference of culture and how, for the most part, we can't blanket statement anything, but Italians do. They work really hard, but they also experience pleasure and know how to. Where even Americans, when we go on vacation, we have to learn to scuba dive and we have to read the book, and we have to do all the things and if we don't visit the museum and don't go on the hike, like, we failed that vacation.
I even said the other day, I was like, vacation is really hard for me. I almost feel worse on vacation because I'm not in my routine. I'm trying to think about my business but not think about it. So, are there feelings of guilt at all, that come up societally, as an American, as a daughter, I don't know, of like enjoying this and it being too easy? Like, obviously, it is so hard, but it's like, I would love to debunk that of like, how can we be like, yeah, I have a fucking beach house and I get joy it and I deserve it and don't need to feel apologetic for it, or you know.
Candace: Oh my gosh, Diana, you like have truly just hit the nail on the head on my entire summer. So, my girlfriend and her two boys are down for the night on our beach house. So, we got all five kiddos, because she has two boys, and I have three girls, will be at all five kiddos. We went out for a drink, and we had a couple and feeling great. Feeling great. She was saying that she was like, Candace, why are you so weird about the beach house?
Why haven't you told anyone? She was calling me out on it. She's like, you don't tell anyone. It's like you're like ashamed of it. I'm like, I'm not ashamed. I'm so proud of myself, but I also feel really weird telling people about it. Because we just bought this, our house at home in October, and then, May, you buy this beach house. We're here all summer. We're just like, living it up, and we go to the beach every morning, and I work in the afternoons.
I'm so grateful, and I feel so grateful, but I also feel so weird about it. I don't know how to change that. If you have advice, I'd love to take it. I have no idea. I have no idea. I don't know how to change it.
Diana: Yeah. I mean, even just living nomadically right now just like cancel culture, all this stuff comes up. We don't want to offend anybody, and it's like, we're very privileged, of course, however, we also like made this happen. Just to be able to enjoy it and not feel guilty about it, I think I'm still navigating that too. I think a big thing that I respond to specifically on Instagram when people are like, I'm so jealous. I'm like, no, be inspired instead.
Like, don't tell me you're jealous. I won’t accept that because jealousy just means I have something you can't have, and that's not true. If you want this, fucking go to Europe. I don't care what your circumstances. There are people out there who broke the six minute mile. It's like you can do it. Everything is possible, so don't give me your excuses that you're just jealous sitting there, like stewing in your living room.
Candace: I always say this. Yeah. Unlike just do it, you want to just do it. You can do, and again, it doesn't have to be this big, heavy thing like we talked about earlier. Take a leap. If you want to go make artwork, go make our work and sell it on Etsy. Keep your corporate job, that's fine. Try it out. Try these things out. There's like nothing stopping you from doing it. We are so lucky. We live in this world that we can do it.
So Molly, last night, my girlfriend, she's like calling me out on being so funny about things, not telling people about things. She was like, Candace, you know you deserve this. I remember coming to your house with a baby screaming and you have all this paperwork up on your kitchen island and you're at the computer and you're like trying to do all these things. You have a bit. You're literally nursing your baby with your left hand, trying to schedule calls with the right hand, this pile of paperwork, and you're chill about.
You're like, I'll just work at two o'clock this morning, like it's no problem at all. She's like, you deserve as you build this, but it's still. I think it's a female thing. I think it's like a mom thing. I feel so fortunate that I can do both. Like I'm doing both, although, like let's just be real here for a second. Just because I'm doing both, doesn't still mean I don't have mom guilt. I still have mom guilt about stupid shit.
I, then, have business guilt when I don't respond to my team fast enough. I mean, all the things. I was telling it to my husband because he really sees it because he's a stay at home dad. Then, he thinks like oh, all of a sudden, when you leave corporate life, all of your problems go away or like the anxiety stopped. No, or like all of a sudden your business becomes really successful, and like no problems. No, no, the anxiety is still there.
It just shifts the different ship. It is just shifting. It was a girlfriend that I used to work with in corporate America first opened my eyes to that. She was like, I was always so stressed out about work when I was a working mom, so stressed about it. I really thought it would all go away when I was just a stay at home mom, because she had five kids and she left. She was like, when I was working, the stress was like, am I seeing my kids enough?