From Paralyzing Fear to Compelling Reward

posted Aug 29, 2017, 12:08 PM by Suzette Vearnon

When I asked myself what would make me drive across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in Virginia again, my first thought was nothing.  And then I thought of what would.  If my son's life depended on my driving him across that bridge, I would drive it.  If I knew that a million dollars was waiting for me but I had to drive across that bridge to claim it, I would grit my teeth and drive it.  Herein lies the key to overcoming paralyzing fear.  
There has to be some gain on the other side that means more to you than the fear that's gripping you.  Without that reward, you don't have the fuel to push past that heart-stopping terror.

This realization coined a more compelling acronym to replace my old one for FEAR:


So how do you shift from paralyzing fear to compelling reward? 

I can't remember who said it, I even searched to find out, but there is a quote that goes something like, "If what's in front of you is not more compelling than what's behind you, you will never move from where you are."  It's so true!   We think that what we fear is the problem.  It's not.  It's the focus on it that creates the energy around it.  After all, what you focus on grows.  It's that we haven't dug deeply enough to locate what means more.  If we can dig through all the catastrophic thinking and threat and get to the music--the heart of the matter, the melody that longs to be heard--the energy will shift along the focus.  

Here are some questions to ask yourself: 
  • What do you want?  Everything starts with this question.  You will stay stuck, flipping back and forth in your resolve, until you get clear about what it is that you want.  
  • Why do you want it?  This is the hinge that what we want hangs upon.  I suggest applying the 5 Why's to this statement.  This means asking yourself "Why" five times or as many times as you need to in order to get down to why this matters so much to you.  
  • Will you be okay if you don't pursue it?  This is the hinge that your commitment hangs on.  It brings to the forefront what you would regret more.  Will you regret more going for this or not going for this?  When I determined what I'd regret more, it put failure in a whole new light.  You see, I could be okay with failing if I at least tried.  
Now back to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.  To be completely honest, had there not been traffic all around me propelling me to keep driving across the bridge, I would not have made it.  All I could think was "keep your foot on the accelerator and hold on to the wheel."  I couldn't shut my eyes.  We couldn't change drivers.  I couldn't pull my car to the side.  I couldn't back up or take the nearest exit off the bridge.  I had to stare at what looked like death and keep driving towards it. Besides, being suspended halfway between the top and the bottom was not an option.  Furthermore, I had my mom and my son to consider.  I had to keep moving. 

What you are facing right now might feel just like that to you. Scary doesn't even come close.  You have to dig down into your fear until you hit what means most. Focus on that and you will overcome what stands in your way.  

Entrepreneurship Question: What would you do if you were 18 again?

posted Nov 11, 2015, 12:01 PM by Suzette Vearnon

MY ANSWER:  When I was 18 years old, I only knew that my parents said I was going to college. I had NO IDEA what I wanted to do and even when I declared my major Junior year, it was a toss up between Mathematics and Psychology. I chose Mathematics because I was told this was the quickest route to making money. In hindsight, I know that Psychology most resonated.

I said all that to say, don't feel badly that you don't know what you want to do at age 18. I didn't either. You are already ahead of me though in that you are asking for advice. You are to be commended!

Though you've said you have no clue about what you want to do, you seem to be drawn to entrepreneurship. I myself am an entrepreneur. Here's where I'd encourage you to get clear. By definition, an entrepreneur is someone who starts a business and assumes all the risk for it. That's it put simply. There are more elaborate definitions out there but this is most concise.

For entrepreneurs, while money may not be the motivator, it does require money to run your business or to sell your product or service.


Is Social Media Creating a Frenzy or a Frazzle?

posted May 12, 2015, 3:55 PM by Suzette Vearnon   [ updated May 12, 2015, 4:06 PM ]

I heard a statement that I can't say I totally agree with, but it definitely caught my attention.  A respected Sales and Marketing Expert said that there is going to a migration from social media in the coming months or years.  When I heard it, I immediately shook my head in disagreement.  I don't believe social media as a marketing strategy will become obsolete.  In this computer age, it's here to stay.  What I do believe is that it cannot take the place of human connections.

Can I be the first to complain about the commercialization of social media marketing?  One need only to take a stroll to one's own Facebook news feed and, without the proper security precautions, you won't recognize your page.  This happened to me.  I was off Facebook for about a month and when I returned, it had been hijacked!  People had tagged me on stuff that had absolutely nothing to do with me.

Just this past Saturday I had an experience with someone on Facebook.  I sent a personal invite to a woman using Facebook chat.  I wanted her to listen to a free audio I had just launched.  One would have thought that her focus would have been on the word, free, but it wasn't.  Her response was, "Thanks for this message.  Is it a generic one or...?"  I assured her that the message was sincere.  In fact, "It's not generic.  I truly mean it," was my reply.  She thanked me and said that made her feel better.  

This only confirmed what I had already been feeling. She put into words the sigh of frustration that comes out of me as I navigate what feels like one flashing billboard after another.  This post saying "look at me!" And another post saying, "No, looking at me is better!"  It's creating too much noise.  Instead of creating a a frenzy around our products or services, folks nerves are beginning to frazzle.

So what should we do?

I certainly am not a marketing expert but I am a real person.  I think we in business forget that sometimes.  We get so focused on our goal that we forget that we are people.  Something that hasn't changed is the power of building strong relationships.  Customer service back in the day was built on it.  High speed this and that does not change it.  I think that was the key in my response to the woman.  Three little words, I mean it, shifted her from feeling unsafe to welcoming me into her space.
So while I don't believe there will be a mass Exodus from online marketing, I do believe that many ads are going to be blocked and people are going to refuse what we have to offer until we get back in the people business.  Why?  Because they matter.

How to Run Your Business Instead of It Running You

posted Apr 27, 2015, 9:14 AM by Suzette Vearnon   [ updated May 12, 2015, 8:09 AM ]

Have you heard of Ali Brown?  Maybe I'm the only one on the planet who had absolutely no idea of who she was until this weekend.  I  caught wind of a virtual conference where she was one of the keynote speakers.  Inspiring is an understatement.  She had so many nuggets, I kept hitting the rewind button.  What was suppose to be only an hour took me several as I listened to her millionaire making advice that was as simple as going to the frig and getting some water.  

What rang true for me was not to build your life around your business; but rather, to build your business around your life.  As entrepreneurs our most precious commodity is time.  Isn't that why we, as entrepreneurs went into business in the first place?  We wanted say-so over our time: how we spent it and what we chose to spend it on.  

 I can't speak for you.  But me?  This notion that we have to work ourselves into exhaustion and sacrifice what's most important to us is more counterproductive than productive.  I want to work smart, not hard.  Working smart is how I choose to work.

What do you want?

In order to run your business, you have to be clear about what you want.  It's only in the clarity of it that you will hold yourself and others accountable to it.  If you are not clear, you'll choose frenzy over freedom.  You'll see something as needing to be done right now even when it truly can wait.  When you are clear, you figure out how your business can support you.  This might require that you do business differently.  For me, quality time with my new husband is valuable to me.  I am clear about that.  This has meant a shift in the way I do business.  Wednesday is our together day.  This means, I do no work on Wednesdays unless it is working towards a great relationship and marriage.  Has it been challenged?  Yes!   There have been deadlines that have conflicted from time to time.  However, the way I've retooled my business is remedying that.  I'm proof positive that you can anticipate and organize your business in a way that serves you and boosts your productivity.

How can you use your business to support it?

Exit being the DIY (Do-It-Yourself) business owner.  Enter hiring someone to help.  One of the best decisions I made was to hire some help.  When I heard Ali talk about how important that was, it was confirmation that I was on the right track for sure.  Some folks might argue that they can't afford to get help.  Ali argues--and I strongly concur-- you can't afford not to.   In order to build a profitable business, you have to delegate.  You have to outsource. 

There are ways to make it happen that don't cost an arm, a leg and a kidney.  Ali reasoned that her consulting rate of $100/hour would allow for her to pay someone $20/hour for a couple of hours.  She didn't say this, but I took out my mental calculator to prove her right.  If she had 3 clients who utilize her for a combined 18 hours per week.  Her gross would be $1800.  Securing part-time help at $20/hour (subcontracted so she wouldn't have to pay benefits or payroll taxes) for say 10-15 hours per week to do light bookkeeping, run errands and perform administrative clerical tasks would only cost her $200-$300 per week. That isn't but somewhere around 11-17%.  The interest on credit cards is more than that!   

The benefits far outweigh the costs.  These rank high up there:
  • Autonomy.  More time to focus on what's meaningful.  
  • Peace of mind from knowing that, though a nuisance, the necessary things in life are getting taken care of
  • Increased productivity.  With more time to focus on marketing, she could strengthen her brand and attract more clients into her pipeline. 
  • Most of all, you are back to running your business.  You're back where you belong - at the helm.
For more information on how OAS helps businesses, email us at or call us at 919-801-8934.   

Keeping My Word

posted Apr 20, 2015, 6:31 AM by Suzette Vearnon   [ updated Apr 20, 2015, 6:46 AM ]

You are your word.  A notion I hadn't considered in quite that way until I read The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz.  So how do I bring the agreement, be impeccable with your word, to the services I render today?  For me, that is a tenet that one must bring to every aspect of business.  That old way of doing whatever to get ahead may have made folks a lot of money but it left them with little else. 

One of my favorite television shows is Suits.  What I find intriguing is the dance between vulnerability and success.  To Harvey, winning is all that matters.  At least that is what he says.  Yet, Mike, his associate and biggest contradiction, constantly requires him to dig deeper.  Values like forgiveness, integrity, caring about others, truth and equality are often wrestled between the two as if in an arm-wrestling match.  Before I know it, I'm drawn in by the tension between light and dark, ego and vulnerability, loyalty and betrayal.

As captivating as it is, the sobering reality is these contradictions play out in our everyday lives.  Every day pits our head against our heart.  For me, rather than suit up for another day of war between the two, I've chosen to strike a balance.  My bookkeeping is my skill.  It is my head, if you will.  The integrity that I bring to it is my heart.  It's my word.  

Part of keeping my word is showing up.  It's more than being physically there.  Folks drag themselves from one thing to another, but wish they were someplace else.  They attend their daughter's dance recital or son's soccer game but miss the specialness of the moment because they are texting or playing Candy Crush.  My inner Mike would argue that folks that do that aren't showing up.  Distracted is not showing up. Halfheartedness is not showing up.  Begrudging or avoiding any aspect of your day is a sign that you aren't showing up.  Showing up is being present.  Being all the way in.  A theme that plays out over and over in my favorite legal drama:  Either you're in or you're out.  It's what Ralph Waldo Emerson means when he said, "Once you make a decision, the Universe conspires to make it happen."  

Showing up is making a decision.  It's the coming together of your heart and your head.  

Another component of keeping my word is being prepared.  It's doing the work.  Doing the research.  Setting aside the time, focused time, to pull all the pieces together.  For instance, today, I have a meeting that is going to require sign offs from my client.  In anticipation of my clients' needs, I completed the paperwork so the client won't have to.  Was I asked to do it?  No.  I could have waited until the meeting but I value their time.  I know what is most meaningful to them.  

Some might say, that's not bookkeeping.  I believe it is.  

Bookkeeping is more than number crunching and ledger entries.  There's an art behind the science.  

There is a mindfulness behind the calculation.  That's why I'm glad that I started out as an administrative assistant before transitioning into bookkeeping.  It's not just what you do, it's how you do it.  It's the attitude of service and excellence.  It's the going the extra mile.  It's understanding that my clients all want to do one thing - run their business.  My job, or agreement rather, is to show up and be prepared.  That releases them to focus on what matters most to them.  That's my commitment.  That's my word.  

Help for the Organizationally Challenged

posted Apr 17, 2015, 9:21 PM by Suzette Vearnon

If organizational fix it expert, Peter Walsh, suddenly appeared at your office, what would he find?  A desk that he can hardly see because of all the papers strewn across it?  A half drank cup of coffee with mold forming on top?  Would he turn around and almost trip over a box of files in the middle of your floor?  

When my life has gotten out of balance, my house reflects it.  As perplexing as what came first: the chicken or the egg, I don't know if my feelings preceded the clutter or whether the clutter contributed to my feelings.  Nevertheless, the laundry is piled up.  Shoes are in the same place where I stepped out of them. Outfits from the week are thrown across the chair, the foot of the bed and the ironing board.  Stacks of papers and my laptop are on the floor by my bed.  And life is equally chaotic.  

The National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) website had some alarming statistics:
  • 48% of American executives admit to having a messy desk but claim to know where everything is. In contrast, 12% say that although their desk appears organized, they have no idea where to find anything.
  • Executives waste six weeks per year searching for lost documents.
  • Disorganization costs businesses valuable time and money. According to a recent study, the average U.S. executive wastes six weeks annually searching for important documents lost in clutter According to a recent Esselte study. In fact, for an employee who earns $60,000, that time lost costs the company a staggering $6,290.
  • The average U.S. executive wastes six weeks per year searching for missing information in messy desks and files. (That translates into one hour per day.) 
  • 42% of adults report that too often they feel that 'life is a treadmill and I can't get off
  • 59% of all Americans say they are too busy
  • 60% of Americans feel they do not have enough time to get everything done
  • 65% of people described themselves as "very" or "insanely" busy
Too often, to cut corners, business owners try to do everything themselves.  The results?  Lost time.  Compromised productivity.  Money down the toilet.  

Enter stage right, the bookkeeper.  Unlike a CPA whose services are more specialized, a bookkeeper is more detailed.  He makes sure your financials are properly handled and maintained.  Though knowledge of Quickbooks is a preference on most job ads, I've met many bookkeepers who knew the software but whose organizational skills were lacking.  One does not work well without the other.  What good is entering bills into the accounting system, but when it's time to pay them, he can't figure out where he put them?  

Being organized is key.  One of my girlfriends put it like this.  "When you can tell someone exactly where things are in your kitchen and it's actually there, you're organized," she said.  She was describing me.  Over the telephone, I could tell her the drawer and what it was underneath.  More recently, I was talking with a client whose family member was about to see the office for the first time.  "Well, my desk is straightened up," I said.  "Your desk is always straight," responded my client.  Take it from me, the way your bookkeeper leaves his or her desk says a lot about how they handle your financials.  
Odyssey Administrative Services, LLC is a dynamic bookkeeping and administrative services company, bringing skill and insight to its clients.  With over eleven years in cash and accrual accounting and thirty-one years in administrative support , OAS specialists work with clients, CPAs and tax preparers to organize and maintain vital financial records.   To hear more about our services, email us at or call us at 919-801-8934.

How I Got A Tax Refund

posted Apr 13, 2015, 6:21 AM by Suzette Vearnon   [ updated Apr 17, 2015, 4:33 PM ]

Tickled is not the word.  Relieved is a better one.  Yesterday, I talked with my tax preparer and found out that instead of paying like last year, I am getting a refund. We are talking about going from paying over $1600 to getting a refund of $10.  To some, this is insignificant.  Not to me.  It's a balancing act.  On the one hand, you don't want to owe taxes, right?  But on the other, you don't want to give Uncle Sam an interest-free loan.   

I think one of the major factors that helped me to almost break even was this.  I made my business a priority.  In prior years, I focused so much on providing quality services to my customers that I was too tired to devote the time needed to my own books.  I know some folks might say, "Shush.  Don't admit that," but I believe that honesty begets honesty.  

One of the ways I made my business a priority was to upgrade it from a dba to an L.L.C.  I wasn't thinking about tax savings at the time but I was able to deduct these costs associated with it:
  • Articles of Organization    $125
  • Home Occupation Use Permit    $80
  • Business License    $50
  • Costs of opening a business bank account   
  • Ordering business checks   
  • US Post Office box rental
  • Accounting system software upgrade
Second, I hired an employee.  Doing everything yourself only works if you're not growing.  When you're too worn out to take care of yourself, that's a sure sign that you need some help.  Sure, there are costs to doing that.  Here's a few I encountered:
  • Job posting online
  • Socialmedia advertising
  • Background check
  • Training
  • Cloud technology and apps, i.e., Google for Business,, etc.
  • Adding Payroll software
Just the same, this paled in comparison to the peace it brought me and the capacity to better position my business.  No longer exhausted, I was able to recognize deficits and seize the opportunities Life presented.  Moreover, my new husband got a happy, more energized wife.  

For added measure, I upped my estimated tax.  Using, I estimated my income for the coming year and divided the estimated tax withholdings by 4.  Then I made quarterly payments to the IRS using the electronic equivalent of Form 1040-ES.  As the sole member of my LLC, it was both mandatory and critical..  It was pretty cool when my tax preparer told me that my estimated tax paid came to within $10 of the actual tax owed.  That's pretty savvy if I have to say so myself.    

Understand, I am not offering a formula like Charles Givens' rule for increasing your take-home pay.  Though I must admit that back in the 90's I found it very helpful.  Neither am I offering tax advice.  My intent is merely to celebrate a victory and pass along information that helped me get there.  For more helpful advice about deductible business expenses, go to this IRS Website:  It'll help you position your business for success come next tax season.
Odyssey Administrative Services, LLC is a dynamic bookkeeping and administrative services company, bringing skill and insight to its clients.  With over eleven years in cash and accrual accounting and thirty-one years in administrative support , OAS specialists work with clients, CPAs and tax preparers to organize and maintain vital financial records.   To hear more about our services, email us at or call us at 919-801-8934.

Rich versus Poor: What you believe matters

posted Apr 12, 2015, 11:27 AM by Suzette Vearnon

I stumbled across this “Wealth File" from T. Harv Eker's Secrets of the Millionaire Mind: Mastering the Inner Game of Wealth on Goodreads and it resonated with the consciousness that I wish to bring to business:   

1. Rich people believe "I create my life." Poor people believe "Life happens to me."
2. Rich people play the money game to win. Poor people play the money game to not lose.
3. Rich people are committed to being rich. Poor people want to be rich.
4. Rich people think big. Poor people think small.
5. Rich people focus on opportunities. Poor people focus on obstacles.
6. Rich people admire other rich and successful people. Poor people resent rich and successful people.
7. Rich people associate with positive, successful people. Poor people associate with negative or unsuccessful people.
8. Rich people are willing to promote themselves and their value. Poor people think negatively about selling and promotion.
9. Rich people are bigger than their problems. Poor people are smaller than their problems.
10. Rich people are excellent receivers. Poor people are poor receivers.
11. Rich people choose to get paid based on results. Poor people choose to get paid based on time.
12. Rich people think "both". Poor people think "either/or".
13. Rich people focus on their net worth. Poor people focus on their working income.
14. Rich people manage their money well. Poor people mismanage their money well.
15. Rich people have their money work hard for them. Poor people work hard for their money.
16. Rich people act in spite of fear. Poor people let fear stop them.
17. Rich people constantly learn and grow. Poor people think they already know.” 

Just reading it, the rich side is expansive while the poor side is constricted.  Some might say to themselves, okay, all I have to do is psych myself up to align with the rich side.  I use to think that rehearsing the to do's of checklists would somehow transform me from being fearful to powerful.  It doesn't work that way.  Wealth comes from the inside out, not outside in.  Once you resolve where your power truly lies, you'll find the richness that is just waiting to be discovered.

Make this book a must-read on your path to success!

Bringing Consciousness to Business

posted Apr 5, 2015, 11:21 AM by Suzette Vearnon   [ updated Apr 5, 2015, 11:24 AM ]

Fascinating to me is the new consciousness permeating the business world.  CEOs, heading major corporations, are going undercover to have a grassroots experience of their companies and their employees.  Multimillionaires are giving aspiring entrepreneurs access to their business acumen and millions in real time. I believe that despite the rise in social media and technology, there is a longing among living and breathing people for connection.  Behind every brilliant idea is a mind that conceived it.  Nothing will ever replace that.

A couple of months ago, I was a guest on a virtual teleconference with the theme "#SPEAKLIFE To Your Business."  As I prepared my talk, my mind went to a common response in business.

It's not personal, it's business

Without apology, my talk was a contradiction.  It is personal.  It's my business.  As a small business owner, businesswoman and citizen of this planet, it is personal. For every cause there is an effect.  For every action there is a reaction.  For every decision there is a consequence.  It is personal.  I've not talked to one independent business owner or entrepreneur whose reasons for putting a value on their goods or services is not personal.  A personal need.  A personal desire.  A means of resolving some aspect of suffering.  That's personal.  Bringing consciousness to business is to be mindful of this very.  To not be mindful allows the suffering to continue.  

Suffering in this context is not the type of suffering of martyrs.  Martyrs get some type of perverse pleasure from their suffering.  They boast in it.  They revel in it. Paradoxically, it makes them feel better than others because of their "sacrifice."  I'm not talking about that.  Rather, I'm talking about a solution.  Allowing the power within you to speak up.  Hearing the complaints of her children over the mushiness of their food by lunch time, newly divorced single mom Melissa Kieling conceived the idea that instead of putting gel coolers in their lunchbox to build the gel pack into the lunchbox itself.  I listened as she explained to Steve Harvey that she, a woman with no career experience, cut up her shower curtain to make a prototype of her idea and begged the dry cleaner to sew the components together. This one idea took her from poverty to millions.  Her's as well as countless others is their story to consciousness.  

It's that lightbulb moment in the midst of confusion or suffering that has motivated many to leave traditional employment to pursue something more personal.  One of the biggest lessons that successful entrepreneurs have learned is that you have to do something you've not done before in order to grow forward.  And you can't do it for a while, then when things get better or they get tougher you abandon it to go back to what you use to do.  To be conscious is to tune into what you know that is bigger than what you see.  Those who are most successful are those who are moved by vision and not paralyzed by their bottom line.   That is what has helped me to continue to put one foot in front of another on those see-nothing days  It is with that discipline that I continue to move my clients to consciousness.  
Odyssey Administrative Services, LLC is a dynamic bookkeeping and administrative services company, bringing skill and insight to its clients.  With over eleven years in cash and accrual accounting and thirty-one years in administrative support , OAS specialists work with clients, CPAs and tax preparers to organize and maintain vital financial records.   To hear more about our services, email us at or call us at 919-801-8934.

Should You Focus On One Thing and One Thing Only?

posted Mar 31, 2015, 3:48 PM by Suzette Vearnon   [ updated Mar 31, 2015, 4:13 PM ]

If you had asked me this question a year ago, I would have said, "I am the Jack of all trades and the master of all of them."  Sounds pretty cocky doesn't it?  I would say "yes," if I didn't understand something.  While there is the universality of sound wisdom, those who can do multiple things well cannot be put into the same boat.  
Noteworthy examples of this are tennis superstars Venus and Serena Williams.  Most of us know their story.  Their father put a tennis racket in their hands when they were old enough to hold them.  Serena recalls 2-hour practices with her dad at the age of 3.  They practiced in conditions that taught the sisters to persevere despite difficulty.  Although we all marvel at their brilliance on the tennis court, equally captivating is their bodacious tennis outfits.  There is just as much frenzy about what they wear as their titles won!    

Serena's brand has opened multiple doors in the fashion and entertainment industries. In 2014, within days of winning the U.S. Open, her clothing line debuted at New York's Fashion Week.  Universally sound wisdom would have warned her not to attempt it.  It would have looked her in the eye and would have warned, "You need to focus on tennis or focus on fashion.  You can't focus on both."

In response, this phrase from a sacred text comes to mind.  It says, "Your gift will make room for you."  The sisters were trained to be an indomitable force on the courts.  Just the same, it has been their creativity that has made room for them.  They have a unique voice, a unique perspective on fashion that they courageously brought into the tennis world and now rocks the runway.  

Like Mr. Williams put a tennis racket in their hands, Life put a typewriter in mine.  It was not what I dreamed of.  I had majored in mathematics and hoped to land a computer job.  Life sent me on a totally unrelated path.  My first job was blocking eyeglass lenses.  My second was a secretary in the Hematology Department of the UNC School of Medicine.  I did not realize that this would be my yellow brick to road to the land of Oz.  But it was.  Odyssey Administrative Services has made room for my ability to anticipate needs, to help clients get clear about their needs, and to plan for instead of react to.  It allows us to add value to whatever we do.  

Sometimes there is one vehicle and sometimes there are multiple ones.  What's most important to those who are multi-talented and multifaceted is that one doesn't take away from the other.  There must be an inherent cooperation that unites them.  Your gift has to be the director.  When I realized that, what started as a job became more purposeful and fulfilling.    

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