Ramon Ray was joined by Rachel Michaelov, founder of Empire Tax Professionals to talk scaling, growth, and marketing. Rachel is an IRS-licensed enrolled agent who helps business owners making more than $10,000 with things such as monthly bookkeeping, payroll, sales tax, and corporate returns. Rachel got into the tax business because she knew there were people and business owners out there who didn’t know how to properly handle their taxes and are in need of guidance. In fact, she witnessed it firsthand when her father was deported for not paying his taxes. “There has to be someone out there helping business owners because taxes can be so confusing,” says Rachel. She went to school for accounting and taxes and absolutely loves what she does. She’s also a huge Tony Robbins fan.
It’s a Team Effort
Rachel has a solid team that’s been in place for several years, but she says that she’s always hiring and is on the lookout for expert talent. “I always hire someone that has the experience, but also will do everything they can to help us achieve this empire goal.” She looks for someone with the right attitude and motivation and follows this process:
- Posts on Indeed and Ziprecruiter
- Very long application form
- Reviews application
- Conducts phone Interview
- Conducts in-person interview
- 4-6 week trial period
Rachel has delegated all of the tax work to her accounting department. Right now, Rachel makes all of the hiring moves. But, she says her next step is to hire an HR person. She’d ultimately like to go through a recruiter where they do all of the leg work, and for a commission, Rachel can easily hire the right talent.
Keeping the Corporate Culture
When Rachel delegates hiring authority to her team, she’s confident that they will make the right choices on her behalf. She says Empire Tax Professionals has a mission, a vision, and a goal statement and she tells her team exactly the kind of hire she’s looking for. Rachel also explains that because her team has been with her for so many years, they know what Rachel’s is looking for and understand Rachel’s philosophy of, “I can always train for experience, but I can’t train for attitude.”
Rachel recounts that in the beginning, you’re desperate, and you’ll hire anyone who is breathing to get the job done. But, as you grow your business, you gain the freedom and flexibility to be more selective about who you bring into your business. One day, Rachel fired everybody and started from scratch. “I’m never going to hire somebody because I’m desperate, I’m going to hire the right quality people.” She says that the clients could see it as well. When they see that the employees are experts, then the clients are happier and it enabled Rachel to grow her business to the next level because she has a capable team that’s doing all of the service delivery for her.
“I make it rain,” laughs Rachel. She explained that she spends a lot of her time having strategy sessions with clients and loves working towards solutions to alleviate their pain points. In 2-3 years, Rachel hopes to be in more of a CEO role, but has reservations about hiring a sales team.
Building a Business
Rachel’s goal is to close 20-30 clients a month. Rachel used to pay $5,000 a month to Google adwords and $5,000 a month to Yelp during peak season. However, she felt that Google and Yelp were giving her leads that were looking for the cheapest possible accounting solutions. Rachel explains that she stopped using Google and Yelp completely because the types of leads she was getting were those who wanted shop around for the lowest price and those aren’t the kind of clients she is interested in servicing.
Social Media Marketing
Using social media, Rachel consistently posts stories of her firm helping clients and her prospective clients are able to see the value through those success stories. “I close almost every customer,” she said proudly. When she has in inquiry, Rachel says that those prospective clients are already sold, they’re just asking what the price or process is to work with her firm. She says she even has people who have never commented, liked, or otherwise engaged with her on social media, but have been following her for 2-3 years and all of a sudden contact her based on a recent post that really resonated with them.
It’s Not All About the Money
Last year, Rachel shares that her accounting firm was bringing in about $20,000 a month in sales and that nearly a year later, they are bringing in upwards of $70,000 a month. She credits the increase in sales mostly to the use of social media. The second part of their growth story Rachel attributes to a mindset coach who has helped her realize which kinds of clients they want to be targeting. Rachel even turns business away. For example, she redirects and advises smaller businesses to do their own accounting. She goes a step further and provides them with some tools and guidance to do it and then reminds them to come back to her when their growth exceeds their own tax accounting abilities. “It’s not about the money, it’s about us helping them,” explains Rachel.
Mindset and Masterminds
Rachel says that hiring a coach was one of the best things she ever did. She shares that she paid $6,000 up front and then $2,000 monthly after that and admits that initially she was really scared. But, she gave it a chance and saw her business grow. In fact, her business doubled within 2 years! Rachel also attends mastermind events which have been invaluable to her mindset shift and business growth.
“Connecting with other people that are on the same level…seeing what other people are struggling with and helping each other is amazing…[because] entrepreneurship is a lonely place.”
Pouring Into Yourself
Rachel travels monthly to her coach’s and mastermind events. She also listens to podcasts in the morning while she’s getting ready or on her way to work on things like marketing or sales. Rachel says that “Our brain is a mental factory and whatever you put into it comes out of it.” She believes that if you don’t feed your mind, you can’t grow in revenue. You also have to do more than just listen to or read the material, you have to act! Rachel was able to triple her sales by acting on that information.
Rachel’s top tips for growing yourself and your business:
- Consistently post on social media
- Read Ramon’s book, Celebrity CEO
- Read books on a weekly basis
- Connect with people- Tony Robbins says that “proximity is power”- surround yourself with high-level people
- Focus on sales
- File your taxes every single year
- Go to a Tony Robbins conference
- Never stop learning!
Katherine is a content writer and regular contributor to smallbiztechnology.com. She is a U.S. Air Force veteran who leverages her personnel, manpower, and professional writing experience to help small business owners succeed. Her passion for helping businesses be informed on the latest tech and trends shines through in the expert industry coverage she provides.