For this edition of FinanciElle “Statements” I had the opportunity to interview Emily Rose Antflick, Founder & Chief Community Cultivator of Shecosystem.
Shecosystem is a feminist co-working community where self-care is part of the business strategy.
Emily was a winner of the Startup Canada Women Founders Fund and has been profiled as a Woman of Influence and a local feminist to watch.
In June of this year, Emily decided to close a successful co-working space, in her blog post about the Shecompost of the Shecosystem, she talks about the factors that went into her decision and lessons learned in her journey. Her post has the same vulnerability and emotional authenticity that her responses to my questions to her had and they show the challenges of being an entrepreneur.
Paolina: What has been your hardest experience dealing with your business and finance and what did you learn?
One of the biggest finance-related challenges has been feeling like I’m in the dark when it comes to my cash-flow. I wish I had learned more basic bookkeeping as soon as I started.
I was quick to outsource this area, and unfortunately, things didn’t work out well with my first bookkeeper. After months of miscommunications, I wasn’t getting what I needed from her reporting. Things were miss-allocated and reported twice – it was a mess – but because I was so unfamiliar with the process, I couldn’t call her out. For months I was losing sleep because I didn’t trust my numbers and it held me back from applying for funding or engaging in conversations that asked me to give a financial overview of the business. It completely sapped my confidence.
I’ve learned how crucial this relationship is and how important it is to work closely with a bookkeeper to set up every detail of the system together so that the reports will produce the insight that I need from month to month. This part of the business is too important to not feel 100% confident about.
Paolina: What advice do you wish you had gotten about finance when you were first starting your business?
I wish I had had more conversations about managing my risk tolerance when it comes to finances. Renovating and operating a bricks and mortar business takes a lot of up-front investment and a high operating overhead.
Because I am so risk-averse, I’ve been trying to do everything myself to avoid paying for help, which has limited my capacity to grow the business. I am constantly trying to manage the fear and anxiety that comes with taking big financial risks.
It has been helpful to talk to more experienced business owners who can empathize and reassure me that it takes time to make a profit. I have learned that you really do need to spend money to make money, especially as a solo founder. You need to outsource in order to have the energy to focus on the parts of the business that you do well – and that you enjoy! This kind of support helps me be patient with slow, incremental growth.
Paolina: What topics would you want to learn more about when it comes to finance and your business and why?
I want to learn more about alternatives to the faster-higher-bigger growth mindset that has destroyed our planet and chained our minds. I want to hear more positive stories about sustainable micro-businesses. I am curious about impact investing, and want to learn how to celebrate and leverage the other kinds of “returns” when your business does not have – and isn’t aiming for – exponential revenue growth.
Call to Action:
Shecosystem is still open until end of August and offering a $100 monthly unlimited membership, become a Shecosister for the summer!