STRUT sat down with Octavia Conner, Founder and CEO of Say Yes to Profits, to learn about her successful business and receive inside tips and tools for how entrepreneurs can accurately plan to ensure the success of their businesses.
Octavia Conner’s Story
Conner served as an accountant for sixteen years before leaving the corporate world to pursue entrepreneurship. She was inspired to make this career change after Conner began feeling discouraged by her companies’ lack of creativity and room to share new ideas. After working as an accountant for almost twenty years, Conner knew that she had lots of valuable information to share with businesses and business owners; she wanted to create a place where she could express her voice fully and where she could put effort into developing her own ideas. After praying for guidance, Conner took a risk, quit her job, and began building Say Yes to Profits.
“As an accountant in the corporate space, you oftentimes do the same things over and over again. When you’re working in the corporate environment, making changes and implementing new ideas are often prohibited, or by the time you create something new to help the company and it gets to the people in charge, it’s completely different from your vision. I got tired of that. I wanted to be creative and I wanted to help, so I started to pray and seek guidance to see if branching out on my own would be a good idea. I started working with my sister who owned a company as her bookkeeper and I was bit by the entrepreneur bug.”Octavia Conner
Building Say Yes to Profits was not easy for Conner, but she remained dedicated because she knew that her efforts would pay off as long as she remained focused on her goals. Within fourteen months of quitting her corporate job, Conner was broke and close to foreclosing on her home. She rebuilt herself and her business up from scratch, and now Say Yes to Profits is a booming business with an 80%-90% client success rate.
Say Yes to Profits is a virtual CFO firm that combines financial management, like bookkeeping, accounting, payroll, and taxes, with financial consulting and accountability. Conner attributes Say Yes to Profits’ success to her company’s ability to teach its clients how to understand and leverage their numbers to grow their businesses. They hold their clients accountable to meet pre-set goals and support them throughout the entire process.
“Once business owners understand their numbers and understand exactly what they need to do to earn more money, keep more money, and reduce their spending, results happen. Our clients grow a lot faster because of the finical coaching and consulting work that we do.
We hold them accountable. So when we create a plan, like clients will come to me and say they want to cross the million-dollar mark and we’ll make a plan to get them there within twelve months to three years. In the midsts of that time, we’re holding them accountable and tracking their progress and coaching them so they have that support team from the financial side.”Octavia Conner
Conner is currently working on expanding her reach as a businesswoman. She is starting a non-profit in support of women who are living as single parents. Also, she hopes to provide these women with access to housing, shelter, and any resources which will make caring for their families easier. Additionally, Conner wants to grow Say Yes to Profits into one of the top financial and accounting firms in the U.S.
“There are not a lot of Black women in the accounting industry at the very top. I want to be one of the Black women who are representing us at the very top of this industry.”Octavia Conner
Interview Q & A with Octavia Connor
Read the rest of our interview with Octavia Conner to learn her exclusive tips on how you can manage your finances in your professional and personal life, how to best file your taxes independently in 2022, how to choose between an LLC, S-Corp, and Sole proprietorship, and also choose good bank accounts that will build revenue.
What is your biggest tip for managing your finances in your professional and personal life?
“Stay on track of the money. You should have a plan for every dollar that you make in your business and your personal life. If you don’t have a plan for every dollar that you make, the money will tell you what to do instead of you telling it what to do. Keep track of all the money that’s coming in, all the money that is going out, and why. If your spending is not benefiting you personally or business-wise, then it’s time for a change.”
Filing taxes independently in 2022: How do you pay yourself as an employee and save for taxes?
“You want to have an accounting system in place to keep track of your money throughout the year. You want to spend strategically and understand what tax deductions are great for your business so that you can spend in those areas. If you do that when it’s tax time, you may be able to reduce your taxes to the smallest legal amount possible which is the ultimate goal. Paying yourself will not benefit you greatly from a tax side if your business is an LLC because you cannot pay yourself as an employee of the company if you are an LLC. If your business is an S-Corp and you pay yourself a reasonable market salary, then it can be a write-off for your business.”
What is the difference between an LLC, S-Corp, and Sole proprietor?
“An LLC is a legal business structure. An S-Corporation is a tax classification. A Sole Proprietor is just a person who can be a freelancer. They may not have a business but they may do business-related activities. A company can be an LLC taxed as an S-Corp, or a company can be a sole proprietor, or a company can be just generally an LLC.”
How can parent’s identify the right bank account for their child to build the account’s revenue?
“If you’re selecting a bank account for your child, I would choose an account where there are no fees. It allows children to have a bank account and not have to pay 10 or 15 dollars if the bank account goes below a certain amount. It will also allow for you to monitor your child’s account, and you can also, with certain accounts, designate the purpose of the funds in your child’s account. For example, fifty dollars will sit in savings and the account will not allow them to spend any money that you designate for savings, but they can continue to spend out of the checking account.”
What is your advice for other Black women who are considering entrepreneurship?
“Go for it. Plan! Create a plan, and if you know that your cost of living is a thousand dollars a month, you want to save at least six months of cost of living before you jump into full-time entrepreneurship. That way, you can build your company during that beginning phase without having to worry about paying your bills. Statistically, it takes anywhere between 18-24 months to generate a profit. You want to make sure that while you’re building your business you aren’t worried about your finances so that you can be creative. Once you plan, save. After you save and get out there, you are still going to run into roadblocks and mistakes but if this is a real dream or goal or despite, do not stop.”
Connect with Octavia Conner and Say Yes to Profits
To learn more about Octavia and her company, Say Yes to Profits, visit the social media accounts and website below.