Ladies Who Launch: Gabrielle Osborne || Creative Accounting
The earliest inspiration for good hustling came from one of my first ever workshop series, designed for ‘mumpreneurs.’ I wanted to work with women who were in startups, and I kept coming across this phenomenon of women who were on maternity leave, or just about to be on it, or had toddlers, who strongly, fervently wanted to start their own businesses. There was an absolute connection with the urgency and determination of making a values based business that was heart centred with a shift in consciousness post becoming a mom.
I was quite intrigued by this phenomenon, and so developed a workshop series just for women who were juggling parenthood with starting a new business. The idea that they were mumpreneurs dropped off, they were just entrepreneurs without any need for a gendered pronoun. These ladies who launch were without doubt my earliest teachers in integrating heart and business and many have become dear friends. More importantly, they all launched, and then pivoted, and grew and established and shared with their communities. The Good Hustle was written to give a global reach to all the women who wanted to bring consciousness to their business, in the Ladies Who Launch journals, i'm going to feature some of the women and their stories to inspire you to launch yourself!
First in the dynamic ladies stakes is the simply divine Gabrielle Osborne, who is single handedly changing the face of both how accountants play the game of communication, and how businesses that are creative and adventurous can learn to love their books and regain their free time. Gab's first big idea was a business called Toolbox Solutions, and it was a simple genius process management tool inspired by her builder husband Lloyd's business and how frequently she saw tradies like him struggling to keep on top of their accounts.
She moved from that concept into working in a boutique accountancy firm as a partner in the practice. When a family health crisis made her sharply have to pivot her focus and priorities, she really created the business that had been in her heart all along, which allowed her to merge own creativity, her love of service and her desire to empower clients. Meet Gab and Creative Accounting.
1. Describe Creative Accounting in one powerful sentence.
To empower creative minds by helping them understand their business finances so they can build a sustainable business. Sometimes I'm told we are 'sleep creators' .
2. How do you integrate service to others in your business model?
Every SINGLE time I sit with a business owner particularly when they are in overwhelm and despair, I am constantly thinking 'how can I be of service for this person' ? I have had clients in tears because they're at the end of their tether and to know that I can put something in place there and then to ease their pain, is a wonderful feeling. They've got a great service, or talent, or product that they've grown their business with but over time the creation and joy has become burdened in compliance, paperwork and fear.
I genuinely love being in service to help facilitate change for them. Whether it's in explaining some of the terminology so that it means something to them, showing them how best to use their accounting software, helping them with apps such as Receipt Bank to manage their invoices, or Skippr to look at cash flow. Often it's just an empathic ear - I don't see just the numbers I see a person trying their best to make something work. I genuinely care about people. Part of my being in service is to bring some humour to a very dry landscape! Life is too short to take it all too seriously.
3. What were some of the highlights and lowlights of your journey to where you are now?
LOWLIGHTS - Too many years of working hard without boundaries contributed to a severe depression. I was at a silent retreat meditating for hours per day and I suddenly saw with such clarity how entangled my self-worth was to my work. And because of this, I was terrified of ever letting a client down. I was going over and above day in and day out to ensure they were happy. To prove I was enough. It was, of course, unsustainable at came at a cost to my own health, family-life and happiness.
HIGHLIGHTS - I have had several professional achievements including Xero Bookkeeper of the Year (Tasmania) 2016, but the highlight for me now is because of the boundaries I have in place, I love the clients I do work with (I dared to let go of the one's that didn't respect my boundaries) and I have a genuine sense of making a difference in their lives. I also have staff that are amazing. I am also about to launch an online course 'Business Basics for Number Haters' designed specifically to assist creative minds in business. (available from the end of February 2018) . https://creative-accounting.teachable.com/p/business-basics-for-number-haters - THE AIM is to deliver the info required in a fun and manageable way. I am a strong evangelist for Xero as it genuinely makes things easier and better for clients, so the main tool I use and train in actually supports my values which makes it really easy for me to be an evangelist for it.
4. Do you have a spiritual practice?
Hell yeah (tee hee)! I've had a spiritual practice for many, many years. Eighteen months ago I began seeing a psychologist specialising in Mindfulness Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (MCBT) and that has been an amazing new direction with my meditation practice utilising body scanning from the Vipassana tradition. The 12 week programme I undertook also had 'in vivo' practices such as uncovering avoidance behaviour that has been quite transformational for me.
5. Advice for others who want to start their own good hustle?
Be open to the way that the opportunity for your heart-centred business may present and don't get trapped by stereotypes. When I started my Accounting degree as a mature age student, family & friends were shocked because they saw me as someone who worked well in words, was high energy, friendly, a bit silly, loved outfits and spontaneous dance and not their ‘stereotypical accountant’ - and yet those qualities allow me to blog in a relatable manner, empathise and engage with clients to build long term relationships and bring some fun in unexpected moments. Bookkeeping is just the vehicle that allows me to serve. As part of the sustainability of your own business, invest in getting the fundamentals right. Know you’re compliant, ensure you have good systems, take advantage of technology to create efficiencies and the ability to grow - and find an awesome bookkeeper/ accountant / advisor. Get the basics right from the beginning, so you can go forth and create your goodness in the world and scale it for greater impact.