Name: Lozelle Mathai
Location: Newberg, Oregon
Business Name: Closing Your Books and Body of Accounting
Established: Closing Your Books was started in 2014 and Body of Accounting started in 2018
WHAT IS YOUR BUSINESS?
I am an accountant and financial accountability partner for women business owners and business owners within the health and wellness industry. I provide accounting support, accounting education, and financial management services, so my clients can financially enjoy being business owners.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START YOUR OWN BUSINESS?
What inspired me to start my business, were my children. Before starting a business, I was working crazy hours. Between year-end close, budget season and month-end close, it was very common to put in over 45 hours a week.
There were periods of the year when taking a vacation was not feasible. Even though working remotely occasionally was an option, it still wasn’t enough flexibility for me. I never wanted to read bed-time stories to my children over the phone, nor miss a school play or school trip. I knew the only way to create the flexibility that I wanted was to start my own business.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE YOUR INDUSTRY OR NICHE?
I enjoy the field of accounting and finance. Numbers don't lie. You either have money, or you don't. In this industry, the numbers tell the story of your business.
My companies are both in different niches:
Closing Your Books focuses on women handling the financial aspect of a company. Women think differently about money. We either love handling it or we don't. We also don't want our business to become an expensive hobby, as we want to earn a continuous flow of positive income to support our family.
The body of Accounting focuses on the health and wellness industry. Whether it is a doctor, massage therapists or yoga studio, I appreciate them all. I not only want them to stay in business. I need them to stay in business; this industry holds a huge part in my life, as it helps keep my mind, body, and soul healthy and balanced.
DO YOU DO THIS FULL TIME? IF YES, WHAT DID YOU DO BEFORE THIS? IF NO, WHAT ELSE DO YOU DO?
Yes, I operate both businesses full time. Before becoming an entrepreneur, I held several financial positions with Fortune 500 companies, such as Financial Controller, Finance Manager, Financial Analyst, and Senior Accountant.
DID YOU GO TO COLLEGE? IF SO, WHAT DID YOU STUDY?
I received my Associate degree in Accounting from Berkeley College in New York, NY and a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Hunter College in New York, NY. I also received my Master of Business Administration in International Business from Long Island University in Brooklyn, NY.
HAVE YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO BE AN ENTREPRENEUR? WHY OR WHY NOT?
I never thought about being an entrepreneur. I didn't have a “why” to become an entrepreneur. I didn't have the courage or determination to make a business grow into a success. I wasn't ready. It wasn't until I begin to start a family and I realized that my children would only be children for a short period. I didn't want to miss a moment of the experience. For me, it is something magical about being home for dinner each night, volunteering at school and picking up my children up from school.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BIGGEST LESSONS YOU’VE LEARNED SINCE STARTING YOUR BUSINESS?
One of the biggest lessons that I learned was to trust my gut. Everyone has an opinion or believes they know what is best for you and your business. I believe that as an entrepreneur, you have to know what is best for you and base your decision on your “WHY” and “the vision” of your business. Everyone does not have your best interest at heart, so when they show you who they are, believe them.
WHAT HAS SURPRISED YOU THE MOST ABOUT ENTREPRENEURSHIP?
What surprised me the most about entrepreneurship is how much my businesses have become a part of me. I think of my businesses as my third child. I am always thinking of ways to nurture my businesses, so I can, in turn, nurture my clients.
WHAT IS ONE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU’D GIVE TO ASPIRING ENTREPRENEURS?
I would advise aspiring entrepreneurs to ensure that their personal finances are in order. Make sure you can afford to go into business. Your business financial goals are often entwined with your personal financial goals.
When you first start a business, you may not be able to pay yourself a salary right away. It is wise to save a least 3 -6 months for personal expenses before starting your business.
HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH SETBACKS AND IMPOSTER SYNDROME?
I deal with setbacks as a bump in the road in my journey of success. I believe everything happens for a reason. I believe setbacks give me a chance to take a step back and evaluate if this is the path that I should be taking. It doesn't mean that I stop moving, it means that I go down another road to get to my destination.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE THE MOST ABOUT BEING A CREATIVE ENTREPRENEUR AND DOING WHAT YOU DO?
What I love most is hearing and seeing my clients' happy expressions when I talk numbers in a way that they can understand. It brings tears to my eyes when they have their “Ah ha” moment. It always amazes them that I do the work that I was hired to do and I still educate them on their numbers. When my clients succeed, I succeed.
IF YOU WEREN’T A CREATIVE ENTREPRENEUR, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING?
If I wasn't a creative entrepreneur, I think I would be teaching business and accounting classes full-time. I enjoy educating people of business literacy and the importance of it.
WHAT DOES SUCCESS MEAN TO YOU?
Success for me is creating and implementing balance for myself, my businesses and my family.
WHAT IS YOUR WHY?
I became an accountant because I did not want any businesses to be left behind due to lack of financial awareness, education, and a financial sounding board. I want business owners to know how to manage, maintain and understand their business finances so they can succeed at their “WHY.”
IMAGINE IT’S A YEAR FROM NOW AND YOU’RE CELEBRATING WHAT A GREAT YEAR IT WAS FOR YOUR BUSINESS. WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE ACHIEVED?
A year from now, I would be celebrating passing the CPA (Certified Public Accountant) exam, while parenting two superheroes and growing two businesses and a podcast.
WHO IS YOUR ROLE MODEL/WHO DO YOU LOOK TO FOR INSPIRATION AND WHY?
My role model is Hope Beasley-Ware. She is a tax accountant with over 20 years of experience working with the IRS. She owns and operates C&H Ware Tax and Accounting Services. C&H Ware Tax and Accounting services is her 3rd career, as she is retired from the first 2 careers she had.
The greatest thing about her is that she is 72 years old and is still learning. Every time I speak with her, she is getting another certification, going to a conference, hosting a conference or telling me about the newest technology software that is helping the accounting industry. This woman is fierce. She is my inspiration to do more and be more. Anytime I have a question or have a setback, she asks “Did you pray about it?” What is your gut telling you”? What have you learned from this situation? When I told her that I wanted to study for the CPA exam, she answered by saying “So, how are we going to make that happen”. She is not only my mentor, but she is also my friend. She is family.
WHO HAVE BEEN THREE OF THE BIGGEST SUPPORTERS ON YOUR BUSINESS JOURNEY?
My three supporters are my husband and my two superheroes, aka my children.
WHEN YOU’RE NOT WORKING, WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO?
When I am not working, I love spending time with my family. We cook, we laugh, we tell funny stories, we act out plays, and we dance. This is why I do what I do, to support them and to let my superheroes know that they can do anything they put their mind to, as the world is their oyster.
WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF AS AN INTROVERT OR AN EXTROVERT? HOW DO YOU THINK THAT IMPACTS YOUR BUSINESS?
I considered myself an extrovert. I enjoy getting to know people and making them feel comfortable talking about stuff in their lives. Me being an extrovert is helpful, as I need my clients to be able to open up to me. They need to tell me what they don't understand. I need to be able to have an open and honest conversation with them about their business finances.
WHEN DO YOU FEEL THE MOST PRODUCTIVE? ARE YOU AN EARLY BIRD OR A NIGHT OWL?
I feel more productive at night, as I know that my entire family is home safe and sound. I am a night owl.
DO YOU HAVE TIPS FOR STAYING PRODUCTIVE WHILE WORKING FROM HOME?
My tip for staying productive while working from home is to have the same expectation as if you were working for someone else. No TV or No long personal calls while on the job.
A FEW OF YOUR FAVORITE THINGS
WHAT IS A BUSINESS TOOL YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?
I can't live without Grammarly. It is the best writing tool.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE OR AFFIRMATION?
“God helps those who help themselves.”
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE BUSINESS OR PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT BOOK?
Strategize to Win by Carla A Harris