The first time I met Lisa I knew instantly we were going to hit it off. It might have had a little to do with her fabulously colorful hair, but I think it was more about the way she sees the world through multiple lenses. Lisa is not just a bookkeeper, she’s a talented body worker and a keen listener. Her ability to draw out the essence of what’s important is in some ways uncanny, though never off putting. In short, in her gentle manner Lisa is a subtle knife clearing away the ties that hold us to unneeded and outdated ideas, actions and things. Thus allowing us to find the clarity we need to maintain healthy bodies and healthy businesses. If you are looking for a bookkeeper I have a few recommendations. If you are looking for someone to point out the clear path to running your business most successfully, Lisa is your gal.
Ik: So, tell me about your business, what do you do?
LB: The Laughing Phoenix helps to grow businesses and balance lives. I provide bookkeeping and business consulting services with the aim of reclaiming equilibrium between work and life.
Ik: Tell me about the significance of your business name – The Laughing Pheonix?
LB: My work with clients centers around change, so I use the mythical phoenix who is reborn and rises up from the ashes to represent my work. The laughter comes in because I think humor is the my way to deal with change. You have to recognize the irony that for the phoenix to rise up out of the ashes something had to burn down first!
Ik: And what is your role in the company?
LB: A most humble, laughing, kick ass, Zen Master. I try to embody the company philosophy borrowed from Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching, “Act without Doing.”
Ik: What, if any is your favorite recent project a client has given you?
LB: If I told you I’d have to kill you… Oh wait as a Zen Master I don’t believe in violence. Suffice it to say as a bookkeeper I have to maintain client confidentiality.
Ik: What criteria do you use when deciding whether to take on a new bookkeeping client?
LB: When I meet with potential clients I am looking to see if they are interested in finding clarity and ease in their business as well as their life. My newest client arrived directly from Hawaii with a 66 pound suitcase full of paperwork ….. I start from what appears to be chaos and move clients into a space where they know what is going on with their business.
Ik: What location do you work out of?
LB: The Unique and Original NextSpace – Santa Cruz.
Ik: So, there must be tons of lucrative small businesses over the hill who require the skills of a bookkeeping ninja, why did you start your business here in Santa Cruz?
LB: My business found me, not the other way around…..I just like Santa Cruz.
Ik: Your business “found you”. I assume you are referring to the fact that you were really pushing for more body work and less bookkeeping. How and why did that shift for you?
LB: When I say that my work found me I mean that in the beginning I had very definitive ideas about what I was going to do – Feng Shui consultant, life coach, body work, etc. And instead clients started recognizing my ability to bring clarity to their business and finances. So I have learned to be flexible and respond to what is showing up rather than have a rigid business model.
Ik: Many people have struggled during the economic downturn. How has the current economy affected your business?
LB: Apparently bookkeeping is a great business to be in during an economic downturn. People have gotten tired of worrying about money and their business by themselves. They no longer want to go it alone, so that is where I come in. I step in and help alleviate the pervasive fear that watching the nightly news along with your bank account can cause. Working out of NextSpace makes it easier to help my clients. There is no way you can walk in here and not notice the people around you who are working to make things happen for themselves and each other. Most of my clients have gone from treading water to actively growing their businesses because they no longer feel alone while they are doing it.
Ik: If you had one piece of advice for someone who is handling their own finances what would it be?
LB: This may sound obvious but my best advice for someone handling their own finances is to make a weekly date with yourself to look at your whole money picture. If you find the time to do the simple act of looking you can make wiser, less scattered, decisions about how to use your money. I often get handed unopened stacks of bank statements, etc. and the client is terrified of what may or may not be happening in their world of money. It is rarely as bad as they think. A free tool that puts all the data in one place is mint.com and you can still avoid opening the mail!
Ik: I know you had a home office and still maintain a space at a body working office. So why did you decide to join NextSpace?
LB: I wanted to be some place where I could have my clients come to me. I was tired of driving around the county, being inefficient and wasting gas. The moment I walked up the stairs I knew I had found my second home – the people here are like minded, creative, passionate, business owners.
Ik: Is NextSpace your first experience with coworking?
Ik: What benefits or challenges have you experienced as a result of coworking?
LB: There is a saying that the solution to each problem you face can be found in your immediate circle of friends and colleagues. NextSpace proves that axiom to me on an regular basis.
Ik: We like to call the “synergy” that happens between people here the “NextSpace Effect™”. When people meet, find common ground and enhance either their business offerings or create a new business. How has this touched you?
LB: I have added so many clients that I have incorporated this year and started adding subcontractors to get the work done.
Ik: What is the best way for someone to contact you?
LB: Telepathically would be great, but until we all work that out ~ phone 831.335.4235, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or stop by my office.