Sheneya Wilson

The People’s CPA, Sheneya Wilson, is a Serial Entrepreneur, Certified Public Accountant, Real Estate Investor, Ph.D. Student, and Professor. She is the Founder and CEO of Fola Financial LLC, a firm dedicated to assisting individuals and businesses with navigating their financial journeys by providing bookkeeping, tax planning, and tax preparation services. She is also the founder of the Tax Essentials Learning Program (T.E.L.P), where she educates aspiring tax professionals on the tax code and teaches them how to build their own tax practices. Committed to using her accumulated skills and knowledge to impact the lives of those who seek financial guidance, she truly believes that “Education is the most powerful tool which you could use to change the world” – Nelson Mandela.

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Sheneya Wilson Remarkable Underdog Story of Becoming a Tax Expert and Serial Entrepreneur

Pamela Bardhi
Hello, everyone, and welcome to another episode of Underdog. Today, I have an awesome guest here with me. Sheneya. Sheneya, how are you?

Sheneya Wilson
I’m doing well.

Pamela Bardhi
You are so amazing. You’re so amazing and you’ve accomplished quite a bit so far and you’re a young entrepreneur and I respect you too. My hat is off to you for all the work that you do. And I’m so excited to talk about your story on how you actually got there. So, what inspired you on your journey to own your own tax business and accounting and all of this, like. What sparked it?

Sheneya Wilson
Yes, so I was always a great student and particularly, I love mathematics. I love math and I thought that I wanted to be a mathematician. But I’m not that in love with math. I’m not trying to do any crazy physics or statistics. What I did fell in love with though, was the actual process of solving problems. So when I started my academic career, during my first college. I actually went in undecided, so I didn’t know that I did love math, so I took a couple accounting electives, I took Advanced Math. And when I took my accounting class, I fell in love with the fact that accounting wasn’t math. It is still problem-solving in nature, but it’s applicable to solving problems in business. Because as we know, they define accounting as being the Language of Business.

Accounting is how you understand how your business is performing and this is what you utilize, to make performance metrics. And really grow and scale a company and I fell in love with that. So I’m like. Okay, let me switch from being undeclared to being declared. And I did declare to be an accounting major. So I started off there and then, after doing my first two years and my first college. I transitioned over to another school for two plus one program. Where I was able to get a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in accounting. Specifically public accounting. While studying for my master’s degree, I did take the CPA exam and luckily finished right at the end of my MBA program. I Am a CPA currently in the state of New York, so I did work in public accounting right. After college.

I worked at a big four accounting firm and I did love what I was doing temporarily. But it started dawning on me that I had this great skill. And I was helping these companies grow, but I wasn’t impacting my community. The way that I would love to. So I’m like. Alright, well, how can I figure out a way to do what I love, which is accounting. Growing businesses, analyzing numbers, and translating that into a skill. Of which I can create a business and serve the people that I wanted to serve.

So after staying in public accounting for about a year. I transitioned out and started the company, FOLA Financial. This was three years ago, so we’re making our way downtown. And it’s been an amazing journey. Again, being able to be a young CPA. Who people can contact and rest assured knowing that they’re going to get expert advice. But being able to communicate with somebody of which they can relate to that’s very, very important to me.

Pamela Bardhi
I love it. You’re a total rockstar, so basically the Language of Business. And the way that you describe that is so amazing. Because the thing is like, I got into college, right? I was in undergrad and then, I had to take this applied calculus for business class and like anything, and then, some other accounting stuff. And I was just like, not there like I had like a 30 in my class, like halfway through this. Like, I dropped my calc and then, taking these accounting classes, I was like, Oh, hell. I am like the sales extroverted, like the media side, I am so bad at numbers. So when you mentioned that it’s the Language of Business, like it really is, so that’s like actually a weakness of mine. That I need to work on financially.

Basically keeping everything organized. Because like you said, the metrics of a business and you can only scale. If you know your metrics and if you don’t know your metrics without the proper accounting, you’re kind of screwed. I’m in the stage of my life in my career. Where I’m kind of scaling everything up and it’s like, I wasn’t doing proper bookkeeping. I wasn’t doing it properly and I’m now paying for it. So anybody out there who’s listening, if you don’t have the right CPA by your side. You need to contact the People CPA right here. Because it really is true, though. It really is true, because every successful entrepreneur that I know. I like them there with their numbers. And so now, I’m starting to kind of get in that wave of things.

Because I was so focused on growing and sales. If you don’t properly embed it and know your metrics, like. Where are you going? Like how can I predict growth? How can you do anything? So that was one of my lessons that I learned, like. Throughout my career in the last seven, eight years it was like knowing your metrics. Know, like. What’s your conversion rate, what are you closing? What are your deals this year, l pot the average deal size like all these things come from bookkeeping. So when you were saying that, I was like. She’s so right. CPA is like your sidekick, literally.

Sheneya Wilson
Think about it also as entrepreneurs. You shouldn’t get too caught up with wanting to be an expert of numbers. Or wanting to be an expert of law. This is why you hire professionals, right? You are taking on the responsibility of being a CEO in that middle acronym that E stands for executive. But let’s just shorten that out to me, execute, right. So your job is to deliver, it’s to sell, it’s to make sure your clients are happy and are delivered a good product or service. And that’s it.

Running your business executing on moves. To execute, you need to have people on your team. Who can give you a basis of how to execute. So that’s going to be your CPA, your lawyer, or other members of your team. And that’s how you grow, so don’t get too caught up with thinking that. You have to be an expert on everything. But know what you need in order for you to execute correctly.

Pamela Bardhi
Amen to that. So I know that you transition throughout your college career. But what did you actually want to be when you grew up?

Sheneya Wilson
When I was growing up. My mom loved telling the story that I used to want to be an astronaut. Like that was my goal. I want to be an astronaut. I’m gonna be a space. And yeah, here we are.

Pamela Bardhi
That’s so funny. You’re like an astronaut in the financial world. You got your own rocket ship, your business? You’re good. So you made it. What were some of the challenges along the way throughout your journey?

Sheneya Wilson
I think for sure, I’m just growing up. So just to give some background I grew up in the Bronx. Was raised by a mother, who was pretty much a single mother. None of my family was well versed on financial literacy or entrepreneurship. And having a drive and not having that environment to condition you. To be able to actually deliver from the drive that you have, can be a hindering thing. Like I know a bunch of people who grew up in the hood like myself and they’re still there. So, I think a big challenge was finding a way to surround myself with the people who I needed to surround myself. The good thing about going away to college. Is that it really gives you another chance to recreate your circle.

So when I was in college, I was super focused on being around. Those who can get me to where I want to be. I knew I wanted to be an accountant, not a business owner right away, but an accountant, yes. So while I was in school, I volunteered for a bunch of accounting organizations. I was president of NABA, which is the National Association of Black accountants, I volunteered for business, fraternities, sororities. And I was in five, eight lambda, I was in beta gamma sigma and surrounding myself, again, people who are in business and that helped a lot. Because now I’m shifting my mindset. It wasn’t just oh, no, I came from the Bronx and I’m trying to figure it out. No, I’m a new person. This is what I want.

And this time, I’m going to get there. Here are the people who can help me get there. So it was really that. But then after I graduated college and started my career in accounting. I started surrounding myself with people who are more entrepreneurial also. But my first client, I actually met him. Because we both work for the same company in different states. He was doing consulting, I was auditing and he wants to be an entrepreneur and he’s like. I need you to be my CPA and I’m like, Well, I can’t do that because I’m working here. And you know, when you work at a CPA firm. You do have to make sure you are monitoring. What can be a conflict of interest? I’m like, Alright, let me explore. What does an entrepreneur be like?

So just surrounding myself with people. Who can kind of give you a good vision is very important. Also,, finding good mentorship was very important to me. And it’s a little bit hard. Because I did have mentors who in the beginning encouraged me to stay in corporate for five or six years. I became a manager and transitioned out to be an entrepreneur. And I think back to myself all the time, I thought, right. I’m three years in business, three years post-corporate. I would have still been like a senior associate making, you know. A fraction of what I make now by myself.

So it’s not just about seeking the right mentorship. Another challenge is being able to decipher what knowledge is going on. To really allow you to grow. And what knowledge is being provided that you should ignore. Because every advice isn’t good advice, like. Yes, we have mentors, but it’s really up to you. And I know to myself that I was ready to get started. So just being able to challenge the status quo and do things on my own terms. It is a challenge on its own. But if you are determined. You can get there regardless.

Pamela Bardhi
I’m so inspired by you seriously. Because I mean, it takes a lot to come from a place where it’s like, all the unknown, right? So you and I share that similarity. That you know my parents came to us, didn’t know English, didn’t know a thing. So it’s like, I had to learn along the way. And like, defy the status quo, because I wanted more for myself and more for my family. It sounded like you were the same way.

And like, I know, what I faced in my world has always been like, oh, Pam, and this killed me. Because when it was people closest to me, that would say things like, I don’t know if that’s right for you. Like maybe you shouldn’t be on your own. You know, like doubting, like coming from the people closest to you. And I’m like, lucky sometimes. So I’m wondering, like, did you experience that throughout your journey of like, oh, should I like, no, like. I don’t think you’re gonna?

Sheneya Wilson
Yes.

Pamela Bardhi
It’s not a good idea. What was that like? And how did you break free from that? Because to me, that was a real challenge, and I just kind of had to say to myself, and like, listen to myself, and just be like, I’m gonna keep going. Yeah, hard-headed, thick-skulled. For as I was, like, I’m gonna get there.

Sheneya Wilson
So, it’s interesting. Because I’m very big on monitoring people and like what they do and how they think, as well. So whenever people around me were like, obviously, like, my friends were like, oh. Why are you starting a business? Like, say here? PwC? Why would you do that as risky? They’re the same friend, clients are full-on now. You know, I also found it very interesting that people would look down upon entrepreneurship and get a Meyer of these celebrities online.

So I’m looking at my friends like they’re talking about. I should not start a business or I shouldn’t do this right away. But you guys are aspiring to, have property like these celebrities do or have businesses like celebrities do. Well, how do you get there without starting? So I just saw how they, what they preach, was contradictory to what they aspire to achieve. And I’m the type of person where I don’t let those things differ, so if I am aspiring to achieve something. My actions will match that regardless of what you think he thinks.

And luckily for me, I wish that on my mother. But my mom was always that person. Even though she didn’t know what I was doing. She’s my biggest supporter. She didn’t know what a CPA was, she still really does, she kind of knows now what I do in my business. And She’s trying, but she is so supportive. Whatever she can help with, she’s gonna help and have her in my back pocket. Has for sure been my secret weapon. Because whenever the world’s against me, I know that I have my mom and that’s enough for me.

Pamela Bardhi
So that’s amazing. That reminds me of how I am with my dad and I explained things. So now I’m like, hey dad so I’m working on this, this. He’s like, what is that? Whatever it is, like, keep going like. It sounds like she was your major inspiration throughout the journey. Even when you were facing down sort of externally.

Sheneya Wilson
Oh, yeah, she is the bomb, like she’s willing to do whatever it takes to give me. Even if it’s her sacrificing a piece of what. She is going to assist me, she’s willing to do so. So she was blessed.

Pamela Bardhi
That’s amazing. And like for you, what’s been some like inspiration and some monsters that have helped you. Through your challenging times, you just know the process of coming to your journey.

And then, we can talk about the actual business part of it. That has its own set. I know, personally, until you got there. What were some of the inspirations that sort of helped you pull through?

Sheneya Wilson
So my first inspiration was definitely my mother. I watched her all my life take care of myself and my brothers. And even though we grew up, like in the hood. We never had a terrible life and we never had to struggle, we never had to be hungry. And she did that by ourselves. My mom had me when she was 17. You know, so I couldn’t. I couldn’t even imagine being a 17-year-old with no basically almost two kids. She had my brother two years later, I am the oldest and she gave us a really good life by herself. You know, and my goal was always to give her that life back to where we lived in apartments and she wanted to buy a house. So like, my goal was let me buy my house and I did 2018.

My goal was to make sure my mom knows that. If she wants to stop working, she can and she does know that whenever she wants to stop. You can take a seat because I got you, I got us, right. So that was my inspiration for a very long time and I’m super blessed. Even David to be at that point, where I can do those things now, like, that makes me happy. But I was talking to my partner a couple of months ago. Before I was in this space, where my inspiration was my mother for a very long time.

And as you always have to start like, what’s your why. Why was my mom but now… well. What’s driving me now? What’s inspiring me now? And honestly, it’s the people, which is why you know. I’m a CPA for a reason. But it really is, like, I see how impactful the work that I do, and it brings joy to my heart, it brings tears to my eyes. Some days, when my clients are writing to me like. Hey, I got this grant and I’m gonna do x y&z. Or, hey, I grew my business by 110% this year because of you.

Knowing myself, or, hey, I’m able to retire my mom. Because my business was so great because of your help, things like that. I like, all right, I want to keep experiencing that joy of being that person. Who can help people achieve their own goals. And that’s through again, just giving them really good advice and services when it comes to finance and accounting.

Pamela Bardhi
That’s amazing. And it’s amazing to be in that space, right? Where you can, you know. Through your business that you can impact that way and I always say like. If you can add value in a genuine way. You’re a winner, right? If you care about the relationship more than the money, you’re a winner and you’re gonna be unstoppable. Because right, most people are like. So salesy and so pushy, whereas you’re here like, No, I’m inspired by helping you, right. And that definitely hits differently.

When you speak to people, they can sense the energy and they can feel that from you. And now, you mentioned a lot of things that were really cool that you basically surrounded yourself with. With the people that you wanted to be like, which is so important. Because as you know, they say that you are the outcome of the five people that you surround yourself with most.

Sheneya Wilson
Yeah, Mm-hmm.

Pamela Bardhi
Right. You chose to be like, now I am going to keep elevating in your world and being so young, right, you were perfect. And you were in the Big Four accounting firm like you made it right. Like in everybody’s book you made it right. But what was that transition like. Because I know so many people right now that are at the threshold of like. I want to do my own thing, but they’ve got this amazing job that they can’t seem to let go of. So what was like that tipping point or aha moment, like throughout your transition that really made you be like. Alright, I’m out.

Sheneya Wilson
It was a number of factors. Number one, like corporate and in public accounting. Things are done traditionally, like, alright, here’s step, ABC. And this is how this is done. I’m the kind of person where I like to mess things up, I like to break them down, put them back together. Again, I fell in love with accounting. Because it’s a problem solving way of doing things and in corporate settings. They build these infrastructures to grow a company, so I get it.

But again, I’m the type of person who’s breaking infrastructure down. I can rebuild it in a way that’s more efficient and effective. So I didn’t feel as intellectually stimulated as I would have desired. And even though this entrepreneurship is risky, that thrills me, I’m alright, I want to take that risk. I want to see what that experience is going to feel like. So I guess, not like I experienced boredom. But I started getting like I was tired of the mundane tasks, I was tired of doing things the same way. And I wanted to just have a place to be more creative. Because people don’t think accountants are creatives and most of them are not. You know, they’re pretty just straightforward.

But like, I take my creativity and I give it to my business. While I’m speaking to my clients. I’m not just doing their books, their taxes, I’m strategically giving them advice on how to grow and expand. Based upon how we’re analyzing their numbers. So I get to not only practice my skill, but then practice my intellectual way of giving advice as well, so I love that, so I really. I got bored, long story short, I thought of getting bored. And I just wanted more, I wanted my time back and big for accounting. You’re working 70 hours a week on average for the first,three, four months of the year. And I’m like, even though I have my business now, Fola, it allows me to do other stuff. Because I actually have four other businesses that I run and I could not have done that and corporate.

Additionally, I had a friend who just told me the value of being a CPA and how people needed you. And this gave me an idea of how much I can make on my own. I’m like, Alright, well, I can never make that much in corporate. If you want to be a millionaire, you have a 1.5% chance of becoming a millionaire from just working a corporate job. I want it to be amazing. They’re a billionaire eventually. And I just know that I’m where I was. Wasn’t the right setting for me to really grow and attain the success of which I wanted to attain. So that’s kind of what it was.

Sheneya’s Challenges On The Startup World

Pamela Bardhi
That’s what’s up. And I mean, so you made that transition. You just went for it, which is amazing. So what have been the challenges of the startup world? Because I know the first three to five years are like, huh.

Sheneya Wilson
Yeah.

Pamela Bardhi
What were some of the challenges? Because I know, there’s definitely a lot of startup entrepreneurs that are listening in right now. Or in a space in their business where they’re kind of stuck. What would you recommend? Like, what was your experience? And how would you break through that?

Sheneya Wilson
Yep. So it is challenging again when you’re an entrepreneur. You are literally taking on the responsibility of being a risk-taker. It is expected that you’re going to take risks. Because that’s what you’re doing and that can be hard. And some people do not know how to cope with risk. But I’m an accountant, so I don’t just take blind risks. I’m taking calculated risks, so in the beginning, it was really just doing the research. And again, this is a very important part. Before I left my job, I took time to research. What it will look like to even build an accounting practice and what I will offer.

So you spend time you invest in the website, you invest in some coaching sessions. And then you realize that you have all this infrastructure in place and no clients. So how do you pitch to people who are used to dealing with CPAs that they’ve been waiting for 510 years. Or pitching to your friends and family. Who knows you as just the worker that you now have a business. And that you want to take them on as a client? That was very hard. It took me three months to get my first bookkeeping client and I got that from using Upwork. No, the website, it wasn’t even, like wanting to know organic reach. But from working with that one client, I realized that I wasn’t even ready to take on multiple clients. Because the questions he was asking me, I have no clue how to answer.

And I didn’t know how to deliver him what he expected, so in that moment, I’m like, Okay, well. Maybe this is a wake-up call for me to realize, what I thought was going to work. The thing about entrepreneurship is that you can have your idea in your head of what your business should look like. But again, it may not match what your client is in need of. So that one interaction allowed me to redo my business plan. And with that, I focused more on bookkeeping, tax strategy, tax preparation and was able to kick off the tax season in 2019 being my first with a good book of clients, so getting it for clients. Is for sure a barrier and I think you overcome that by exhibiting your knowledge.

So for me, it was posting on Instagram different tax tips, doing different tax talks, doing different podcast speaking engagements. Because people have to look at you as being an expert and what you’re doing. Especially if you are in a service-based business like myself. So my priority was tailoring my services to meet what my clients or my target audience wanted. Number one, making sure that I was intellectually prepared, so bombarding myself with different knowledge sources, irs.gov, ai, CPA. Whatever it has to be to make sure that I was knowledgeable and capable. But then obviously, delivery is very important. And I say that because in my first tax season I did about 30 returns and you know. Pretty intimate, but, because I did such a good job with those people.

My second tax season I did, I had around 300 clients and this past tax season just ended we did around 600. So the goal for this year has to do with 1000. And it’s been growing because again. People are coming to me for service and they’re not only saying, they’re telling their friends and family. Because they get service, they’re getting their tax returns done good. And I make sure Customer service is at the forefront of whatever service I provide as well.

Pamela Bardhi
That’s amazing. You’ve literally grown your business 100% then each year over 100%

Sheneya Wilson
Yes.

Pamela Bardhi
Wow. And so, the key to that is basically becoming the expert in your field and relationships.

Sheneya Wilson
Yes and just doing a good job. Like you can be an expert and have great relationships. Your work has to be that same type of caliber, you want to deliver excellent work as well.

Pamela Bardhi
Interesting. So I mean, I know that you’re not here doing 600 at once yourself, right? I pray to God that you’re not. So how are you? How are you handling that? Have you built out a team?

Sheneya Wilson
Yes, so we are currently a team of three CPAs Apple law. This is actually their first year like being official employees of the company last year. I brought them on around June and they were like just caught on the contract basis. To help close out last tax season due to the COVID PPP stuff. And they’ve been with me for six months now as contractors. But I extended the offers to them in December. So we are a team of three CPAs. I do have a full-time admin and Operations Manager and also have a customer service rep and a full-time bookkeeper.

Pamela Bardhi
Oh my god. So you’re an accountant and you have a bookkeeper?

Sheneya Wilson
Yes, so well. Because we do provide services to our clients, bookkeeping services. So we have a person who’s designated just to do the books for our clients. Oh, awesome.

Pamela Bardhi
I was like, oh, like you keep them for yourself, too, as an accountant. That’s so awesome. Because you know, the hardest part is, is scaling yourself. Yes. Like delegating, so what was that like? So you mentioned that you had pulled them in on a contract basis. And then kind of like shifted them into the work. When it’s pretty much secure, so you grew sort of organically, so that’s super cool. Because I know a lot of entrepreneurs struggle with this. I struggle with this and I’m working on it now is like. How do you replicate yourself? When it’s your baby? So what are some tips that you would mention regarding delegation and scaling?

Sheneya Wilson
Yes, so for delegation, the best thing to do is write down as crazy. I’m doing this right now, before we hopped on this podcast, I’m literally doing what I’m about. To tell you guys is how you replicate yourself. What I do is create different sop’s which stand for standard operating procedures. And it’s basically a brain dump. If you will given this task, how would you perform it and you want to have that detailed out. And I have different sop’s for different aspects of the business. I have sop’s, on how to communicate with the clients. Some on how we interact with them. Or how we wrap things up with the clients and whatever it may be.

But every process that you currently do, document that fully. The thing about if you think about corporations. When you are onboarding, they give you an employee handbook. That tells you how to do your job, who to contact, who you’re supposed to be in relation with. So as an entrepreneur when you are ready to scale, that’s the first thing you need to do. It’s important to do this also. Because this will show you if you need help or not, because some people may not be in that position. Where they need to get help right away. Having your procedures listed out allows you to see what things you can automate by using the system. Rather than having to bring in some personnel. So I did that first.

And then I did see the voids of where, I needed to get extra helping and then, I reached out to my admin. She you know, put out a bunch of job postings and did the interview process. And then, when they came on board, I already had documented what they needed to do. So it was an easy transition between you struggling to manage and here is my team and they have all the information needed for the blueprint for them to execute as I would.

Pamela Bardhi
Hmm, that’s amazing. SOP’S I know I’ve recently discovered those two and it is like, it is hell putting it together. But after that, you’re like, pass me my Margarita, my friend like I can. I can relax. Oh, that’s so awesome. So standard operating procedures. That’s amazing. And like, honestly, I just love how you’ve grown so organically. Like you first just put up a posting on Upwork. Right, just like a freelancing site. Which is amazing and then, like you landed this client and then, it turned into 300 and 100 then 100, then 300, then 600.

So it’s like that goes to show you like you just need to start with one. Yep. And people think you have to have like this crazy setup. No, you start with one and you just keep it grooving. Which is so, so amazing and like, wow. And like what have been some of your, like, biggest moments. I think you already kind of mentioned that when your clients contact you and say. Hey, I was able to retire my mom. Because of your advice and stuff like that. So what would be that for you isn’t primarily what you mentioned.

Sheneya Wilson
So for sure. Those are like the biggest things again, just seeing the results of the clients. But I have some pretty cool moments where I’m like, Alright, this is great. I don’t think I’m pretty cool with that experience. One of my clients was actually a speaker after the Forbes under 30 conference last year 2019 and I attended the conference. And I got to watch her speak, but then she also shouted at me in front of the audience. I hit my CPAs actually in the audience and I stood up everybody that I had on.

Pamela Bardhi
That’s amazing.

Sheneya Wilson
Another one of my clients took us on a team retreat to New Orleans and he kind of again highlighted the importance of my role. And just things that kind of like, keep me assured that what I’m doing is beneficial to the client. That makes me feel really good. Also, I will say I started getting contacted by CNBC and your time to be featured in these articles as a tax expert and I’m sorry, they want me. And it’s like, it’s interesting. Because I always told myself that I wouldn’t like to pay for any advanced marketing. I’m not gonna pay somebody to put me an article. I rather them reach out to me and have it be organic.

That was always my goal. So when I started getting calls from CNBC, from Forbes, from Business Insider from black enterprise, I’m like, okay. They’re noticing my work without me having to do the outreach. And a lot of it is, because if you focus on doing the work. Your clients will talk for you, your work will talk for you. So having that outreach, for sure, makes me feel assured that I’m on the right path, I’m doing the right thing. And not only that, but people are watching and noticing and notice what I do.

Pamela Bardhi
That’s amazing. You mentioned this earlier, now you have your business, which is flourishing. So the punctuation in it, like seriously, it’s so amazing. But you mentioned you have four others. Elaborate on how one becomes a serial entrepreneur. Because I am on the same wavelength as you with that, but everyone’s always just like. How the hell do you have. You know, so in your experience. How did you build? Those out in tandem while building your business basically.

Sheneya Wilson
So the thing is, I wasn’t able to like to start exploring other options. Until I got my structure in place, so again, having my sops, done, being able to hire help. That gave me some of my time back. So I wouldn’t say your goal should be to start off being a serial entrepreneur. I do think you should have a solid base for at least one thing. You need to have proof of concept that you can work number one. Once you have that proof of concept that you can actually execute and work. You can now again for your time and begin to explore other options. And my philosophy through entrepreneurship is that everything that I do. Every business that I create is still in line with my main goal, and ultimately my purpose.

So the other businesses that I started have to all do with, I want to say finance, more so wealth creation, wealth accumulation. And so full off financial provides tax services, bookkeeping consulting and then, I have telc. Which stands for the tax essential learning program and that is a business created to train individuals. Who may not have an accounting background. But want to learn how to earn some extra income throughout the year by doing taxes.

So I created that platform for those people and that has. I didn’t think it will give them attraction, as it has been. But from the inception of TELUS and 2019, I trained over 65 tax professionals already that are gonna, either have started their businesses and tax prep or are about to. And again, so it’s not hard to do that. Because it’s in line with what I do. I prepare taxes, I’m a CPA, so educating them on what I already do. It not only helps me stay sharp with my skills, but you know, it’s a seamless process. So it doesn’t feel like I’m doing something completely extra.

Pamela Bardhi
Yep. So basically creating supplemental business and offerings throughout your expertise already. Which I think is absolutely brilliant.

Sheneya Wilson
You don’t feel like you’re overstretching yourself, you don’t feel like you have to you know. Keep swapping your brand on and off for different industries. It’s alright, I’m a CPA, what can I do? And it’s crazy because I had a meeting with my financial planner last night and after I gave him an update of the things that I started last year, he’s like. I didn’t realize a CPA can make money from all these different revenue streams and I’m like. You know what it is? I just don’t think that CPAs think about how they can do that. And how they can execute each individually rather than housing everything all in one bubble?

Pamela Bardhi
Hmm, yes, no, I think it’s absolutely brilliant that you’ve got the entrepreneurial mindset that you’re like. I’m going to create different revenue streams off, of what I do, because it’s absolutely brilliant. Why would you, would you not

Sheneya Wilson
Exactly. So business three is actually going to launch this year. And this is my entity filing business, so we do prepare LLC S corp. That’s going to have its own legs this year and aside from that, I do have my real estate holdings. You know, that’s like business number four and I also have a not-for-profit. So that’s technically business number five. Just trying out here trying to be an example for people who came from nothing. Or who wants to be able to understand that you can start from nothing and create whatever you want.

Pamela Bardhi
You’re an underdog, your whole life trajectory was like, I’m just gonna keep going. And I love how humble you are about this business. Number five, I’m like, I love you. You’re so amazing and it’s like you’re giving practical advice that people can actually take and like to scale their businesses out and change their lives, right? Because it is yours by one Upwork listing.

Sheneya Wilson
Exactly, exactly. So.

Pamela Bardhi
I’m just so inspired by you. It’s amazing and I always ask this question, because I love it so much. What would be the biggest piece of advice that your older self? Would tell your younger self based on what you know, Now.

Sheneya Wilson
Listen to the voice inside of you. At a louder volume, do you listen to others? And I say that because it’s not Oh, block everybody out, hear them, but hear yourself even more. But I think that’s for sure. The biggest advice that I would give my younger self. I think it would have gotten me to where I am a little bit quicker. And there’s no rush life if you pace yourself here, but that just gives you more encouragement.

You know, I think a big part of being successful is owning up to your powers and not seeking any acknowledgment from outside people, right? The only person that you should be seeking acknowledgment from is yourself. Am I good enough? And that’s a question for me, question. I’m not going to ask anybody else like, Am I good enough? Or can I do this? No. If I’m telling myself that I can do it and I’m going to see the edit. I’m gonna hear myself at a lot of volume and take my own advice.

Pamela Bardhi
Amen to that. And so what’s coming up for you in 2021? Like, What’s the news? What are you up to in this after this crazy COVID year?

Sheneya Wilson
So it’s January as we know, two seasons about to come, so we are going to gear up for tax season. That’s been my priority since the end of December up until now, making sure my systems and processes are in place with the team. So for sure tax season is like priority. I want to make sure I give all the clients a great experience. Then Aside from that, again, launching the new business.

I have that schedule for q2, and q2, hopefully. If COVID decides to just go to sleep, I do want to start using Taurus again. So like before, COVID, I used to like to fly to California, fly to Atlanta. And do workshops for companies that have employees that can use my knowledge. Or do my own private workshops with entrepreneurs who need this advice that I can provide to them. And that’s pretty much what my goals are for this year.

Pamela Bardhi
That’s amazing. And what would be sort of your number one tax tip for anybody out there are counting tip.

Sheneya Wilson
Number one tax tip would be to hire an expert If you are unsure. And I say that not to promote myself, but because I’ve experienced clients who came from doing it on their own via TurboTax. Or hiring a CPA who didn’t know what they were doing. And when I review their prior returns, they left $1,000- $10,000 on the table or overpaid taxes by a lot. Because they weren’t aware of what deductions or credits were eligible for them. You shouldn’t have to go to irs.gov website to review the IRS code.

People like me do it on a daily basis. So again, hire an expert where you need to. Because you don’t want to overpay the IRS if you don’t need to, well get built from two angles. It’s not just about how much we make, it is how much we save. So let’s make sure we’re not overpaying taxes, so you can save a lot more and get you to that path of building wealth a lot quicker.

Pamela Bardhi
Amen. And if the IRS is listening, we never said anything. Oh, we’re so amazing. Now you got to let everyone know where to find you and your awesomeness.

Sheneya Wilson
Yes, yes. Yeah, so, um, feel free to follow me on Instagram at the people CPA. So that’s the people’s with an s CPA. I’m also on Twitter. And you can visit our website at folafinancial.com.

 

Tune in to the episode to hear the rest of my incredible interview with the amazing Sheneya Wilson.