Kaleigh is the lady in charge at Canavan, Syddall & Associates, They provide professional Accounting, Bookkeeping and Consulting Services for businesses large and small, as well as tax and other accounting services for individuals. When I met her I was immediately impressed. I could feel it in the air – that this was someone special. No matter why you find yourself in the same space as Kaleigh, you know that she is incredible. She is a great success story, and I am so pleased to share it.
When did you know you would be an entrepreneur?
I think I kind of always knew. When I was really young, all I ever wanted to be was “in charge”. I was 13 when I started my first company, which was a secret shopping service. It took way longer to figure out that Accounting would be such a significant facet of my entrepreneurial journey, which didn’t really click for me until my early 20s.
What was your ambition when you started?
When I first started my company I wanted to make accounting approachable and accessible to people who were disinclined to work with a “good ol’ boy” accountant but still had needs. I wanted to change the way that accountants treat their relationships with their clients. I wanted to empower people to feel like they could understand their financial picture as well as why that understanding is important.
How has it changed, and what is your ambition today?
A lot of what I was passionate about has remained true, but the scope of our services has expanded pretty significantly. When I started my company I only offered bookkeeping and payroll. Now we also offer services that include income tax prep and planning, business management and consulting.
What is the best advice you ever got about running a business?
There have been a few gems along the way that still resonates with me today. “You’re not in the everyone business” was pretty powerful, because when I first started my company I was willing to work with just about everyone in the interest of growing my firm (which lead to some pretty ugly and stressful client relationships). “Hire the right people and get out of their way” was also incredibly helpful advice because I have a tendency to want to be very controlling and micromanage, even when I know the team that I put in place is incredibly capable. I’m much happier when I step back and let them do their jobs, and nobody likes to be micromanaged.
What were some of the biggest challenges you faced as a business owner so far, and how did you overcome them?
Managing a growing team is really hard. I try to maintain a positive work environment, but there have been times when changes to our office have upset certain employees or made them feel insecure or frustrated. It’s tough to know how to mitigate that without caving to their desire for things to stay the same. It’s also a challenge to listen to everyone’s feedback and try to be accommodating to everyone’s needs without compromising anyone else.
Don’t forget that we get the honor of being trailblazers.
How do you define "success" for you?
Success can take a few different forms. Taking clients from a place of fear or anxiety about their taxes to a state of comfort and understanding is awesome. Putting my team in a position to feel proud of themselves is also great. The feeling of financial stability and freedom for my company and myself is amazing.
What is your "secret" to success?
A fantastic support network. There’s a lot of behind the scenes cheerleading that goes on, which helps to keep me motivated.
Now, tell us a fun "secret"!
I freakin LOOOOOOVE karaoke. I’ve been told I’m somewhat good.
What great advice would you give to other women entrepreneurs?
Be kind and gentle with yourself. I find that we have a tendency to be really hard on ourselves or push ourselves too hard or (insert unhealthy behavior here). Treat yourself the way you treat other people and go out of your way to make sure you’re being kind, generous and loving to yourself. You can’t be your best for others if you don’t take good care of yourself.
What is the best business or self-development book you recommend?
‘The Hard Thing About Hard Things’ was powerful for me, because sometimes running a business is gonna suck and you gotta learn how to deal with that. ‘Profit First’ is a game-changer and ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck’ is pretty important.
Anything else you would like to share to inspire and uplift other women entrepreneurs
Don’t forget that we get the honor of being trailblazers. Dudes have to live in a world where most things they would think about doing have already been done by other Dudes before them. We, as women entrepreneurs, get to change the game, flip the script and redefine normal. This is a big responsibility but is also a freakin’ bad-ass privilege! What a time to be alive.
What pumps you up?
Rhianna- Bitch Better Have My Money