Get the Balance Right

Ep. 113: Business Strategy Session With Multifaceted Media Creator (Guest Fawn Anderson)

September 28, 2022 Heather Zeitzwolfe Season 3 Episode 113
Get the Balance Right
Ep. 113: Business Strategy Session With Multifaceted Media Creator (Guest Fawn Anderson)
Show Notes Transcript

As an entrepreneur, I'm sure you've felt bogged down by the various technicalities of running a business. These stressful inconveniences often include complying with tax laws and other financial responsibilities. As a creative spirit, these constraints can lead to fear rather than imagination.

My guest today is Fawn Anderson, an incredibly talented photographer,  compassionate vegan, and dedicated community builder. Along with her husband, Matt, she is also the co-host of the podcast, Our Friendly World. Fawn joins the podcast for a strategy session, where she gets the chance to ask her burning questions. We examine the current state of her business and the barriers she is experiencing while trying to put multiple ideas into fruition. We discuss her overarching umbrella of building a media production company and address the best options for her immediate next steps.

Being creative can lead to a multitude of possibilities. However, having too many ideas and interests can lead you to feel pulled in various directions. Can you relate to this? If so, apply for a free strategy session, which will be released as a podcast.

Contact and Follow Fawn Anderson: Instagram - Linkedin
Our Friendly World Podcast With Fawn and Matt: Website - Buy Me a Coffee
F.A. Images (Photography):  Website - Global Family Photo Album

Episodes mentioned:
Ep. 94: Stop Winging It With Your Numbers, You Need a Plan
Ep. 100:  Unlock Your Profitable Superpowers

For more info, see complete show notes:

Want to do a FREE profit coaching or strategy session, which will be used as a podcast episode? Apply here! (Scroll down on the page to find the form)

Contact Heather: Instagram - LinkedIn
Profit Tracker Tool: Download
Get the Balance Right Coaching: Website
Book a Discovery Call (via Zoom) - Schedule
Heather & Get the Balance Right - LinkTree
Zeitzwolfe Accounting: Website - Facebook

Support the show


Hey there and welcome to get the balance right podcast. I am your host Heather Zeitzwolfe on today's show, my guest is Fawn Anderson rather than doing an interview. Fawn is coming to the podcast to do a strategy session, which if you're interested in doing one yourself, you can apply. There is a link in the show notes and it's totally free and it could be. Broadcasted as a podcast episode.

Like you, Fawn is a media creator. She has a podcast with her husband and she's also a photographer. So we talk about some of the struggles that she has  Having a photography business moving in the middle of it.

And then all the questions surrounding. Should I be an LLC? What are my other options? What about bank accounts? What should I do next? What should I focus on

now I want to be very clear, I'm not giving out legal advice. This is not tax advice. please keep this in mind. So if you are in a situation similar to Fawn, Please seek out professional guidance, either through a CPA like myself or a lawyer who can give you detailed information based on the state that you are doing business in. But regardless, there's a lot of great information in this podcast episode, which I think you'll find really helpful because a lot of Fawn's questions are ones that I get asked quite a bit because there's a lot of ambiguity around starting a business You know, you can read online, but still it's like, oh, but I'm not getting my question answered. So I think you'll find this one really helpful because. They are probably questions that you have swimming around in your head. You're like, oh yeah. What about that?

So we dive into all these things and figure out. Where her plan of attack should be. So if you're feeling like you're in that situation where you're not really sure what to do next, And what to focus on. 

Please go ahead and sign up for a strategy session. Like fond did fill out the application It's in the show notes  and

Here is my strategy session with the talented and so, so sweet, Fawn Anderson. 

Strategy Session: 

Heather Zeitzwolfe: Fawn Anderson. Welcome to get the balance right. Podcast. I'm so excited to have you on the show today.

Fawn Anderson: Heather, I'm so grateful for this opportunity. I find you incredibly fascinating, incredibly smart, intelligent, funny, wise. And, you make the future feel so hopeful. I'm not, as afraid of the man as I was as, since I've been listening to you in your podcast. So thank you. Thank you for helping me and thank you for having me on

Heather Zeitzwolfe: Sure. When you're talking about the man, like On my podcast, sometimes I refer to corporate America, the man what are you saying when you're saying the man?

Fawn Anderson: The tax man,

Heather Zeitzwolfe: Oh, the tax man. Okay. That's the other man. Yeah.

Fawn Anderson: Whoever would be very happy about placing the thumb on me or, I just don't wanna get in trouble. Like I want no trouble. There's, just like when you're driving down the street and you see a cop car and you immediately freeze.

I do anyway, even though I've been abiding by all the laws and everything, I still freak out. same with taxes and business and licenses and all that stuff. I have that same stuck feeling like, oh, I'm scared.

Heather Zeitzwolfe: Yeah, I totally get it. I used to have a Mohawk when I was punk rock back in the eighties. And when I was walking down the street, people would see me and they would lock, their doors, their car, and you could see like the kids like freaking out in the car. And then it like made me feel apprehensive.

Like I'd go into a store. And I felt like people are gonna think I'm stealing that wasn't me at all. I can understand this whole thing about the cops and all that kind of stuff. And as far as the tax man, people, when they come to me, they're always so fearful of, screwing up, because you don't want the IRS knocking at your door because you know that they will never go away.

 It is a terrifying thing. I totally get it Fawn. You're very talented. You've got a lot going on. You do podcasting, you're a photographer. Tell us about what is working right now for you.

Fawn Anderson: Well, It depends what hour of the day you're catching me for me to answer that question, because , there are times of the day where I feel like screaming or crying in my pillow, thinking nothing is working out for me, but the majority of the time it feels like everything is really working out. I'm at a stage where I'm realizing that all the creative endeavors that I've pursued since I was a teenager up until now, it may seem like I've gone through these different roads.

I'm seeing how everything is coming together beautifully and how everything is working together to form one big entity 

Heather Zeitzwolfe: your long term goal is to build this friend community. Is that what you're referring to?

Fawn Anderson: That's just one of the roads. , my long term goal is to create a multimedia kind of empire. I am a photographer by trade that's how I made a good deal of my money as , an architectural photographer photographing for really high end architects landscape designers interior designers is where I actually started.

And then my main focus before that was always humanitarian focused photography. So I funded my own projects. I worked with different corporations. I worked with the Aveda corporation. I worked for care international places that had. This mission to give back and do good things in the world.

I also did my own humanitarian type of focused photography work. , I created a book a global family photo album. I did that. And just like you when I first started, I was really, really in love with the fashion world. I wanted to be this cutting edge, very powerful fashion photographer.

And I never quite fit into that click in Los Angeles , there was a click

You use the word misfit. I always felt. Didn't quite belong, so I always did my own thing. I funded my own projects. I just did my own thing. And then to make a living, I was an architectural photographer, you know, like, or I did corporate photography, whatever it took.

I did weddings, all of that. 

While I was doing all my photo assignments and photo shoots and everything, there was something ever since I was a little kid that I was noticing in our American culture and I'm an immigrant.

And I was raised in two different cultures at the same time. I would notice my friends and how they lived. I would, look around at my relatives, my, my immediate family and really like notice how we lived. And I was always obsessed with friendship and family. What values people have and how they define friendship.

So my husband's a computer programmer and we were just joking around one day. I said, it's harder to make a friend now than it was looking for true love, like it's like dating all over again.

 For fun, we came up with this idea of creating a matchmaking service for friendship, for platonic friends only within your own zip code. So you're away from the computer. You're actually meeting people in real life. So we created this thing. This is long before Bumble and . I had this elaborate plan for a worldwide friend. Thing to happen 

and so when the pandemic happened, I just brought all my photo gear together. And we started a podcast based on our art of friendship that we were working on. so we started our podcast, , our friendly world with fun. And Matt is what it's called. I'm combining all these things and I'm also a fellow vegan by the way, Heather and I also started a vegan bakery.

So I feel like all these things are coming together. so that is my main focus is to bring community together in the form of working with finance. Working with our relationships, working with mom and pop businesses, basically bringing the community back. So it feels like we have a village again, that we are not alone, that we're here to thrive together financially in every way, spiritually, every way, 


Heather Zeitzwolfe: all of this sounds so magical and beautiful , it seems like it could be very long term, cuz it takes a long time to roll things out to that magnitude, that scale. between now and when that happens, we need to start to roll out different parts of it, maybe monetize certain parts of it and build and build and build until it reaches this vision that you have.

 Along the way, you're in podcasting, you're still a photographer maybe there's gonna be this app that comes along again. Maybe it's a revamp of it. What is the next step that you're thinking and where are you getting stuck with that?

Fawn Anderson: Here's where I'm stuck. I formed an LL. I'm also a mom, I'm a homeschooler. So I took some years off to just take care of the family. And so right before the pandemic, I started my business up again. This was like way back before the pandemic, like around October, November. So I had everything all set up.

I was going out to meet clients and everything. And, shortly after that in March of 2020, everything stopped, I still have the LLC and everything. I'm still trying to get that going. And then since the podcast came into play, I'm thinking, I don't want it to just be a photography business.

I would like to have a what do you call it like a production company, that involves video photography, it involves sound obviously with broadcasting and doing voiceover work is what I'm also getting into.

Heather Zeitzwolfe: Oh, okay.

Fawn Anderson: I'm stuck because I feel like I have all these wires that have been nodded together and I don't know what to do next.

I don't know. Should I discontinue my LLC and start all over again? Or can I have, so it's called FA images, LLC. Can I create that as an umbrella that holds the video production and also the voiceover work, like all of that, since it is still media, is it possible to put that under one umbrella?

And how do I do that?

Heather Zeitzwolfe: Yes. 

Okay, for the people that are out there, this is not going to be legal advice, tax advice. This is just informational because I don't know all of Fawn's situations. This is gonna, be some general information. 

In your case, so if it's all under that one business, you can have it all underneath that, LLC.

I got an assumed business name, which is Zeitzwolfe Accounting. I pay an extra fee to the state for this assumed business name. Different states have different rules on this. but so I pay a fee and it's registered underneath the LLC New Wave Accounting.

 You could operate with your different types of, entities as separate assumed business names or doing business ads in some states call it and they could all be under that one umbrella.

 I wanna get too complex, uh, let me just ask you, is your LLC only registered to you? Is it a single member, LLC?

Fawn Anderson: Yes, single member.

Heather Zeitzwolfe: Okay. That makes it a lot easier

You can. Get an assumed business name. Usually those are less money. , it's not a, like a legal entity, 

Fawn Anderson: what is an assumed business.

Heather Zeitzwolfe: Okay. So assumed business name is a name that you can operate under. It's not like an LLC that's a legal term 

 As an LLC, you can be taxed in different ways. So you can be taxed as a single member, LLC, which goes on your individual tax return. Or you can be taxed as an S Corp or if you've got more than one member or a partnership. But if you're just doing it under an assumed business name, which just means that you've now registered that name, your business name with the state.

And you're operating under that name. on your tax return. It shows up the exact same way. So it's schedule C under assumed business name if you wanted to open up a bank account that was in the business' name, you would go and register what the LLC, and you'd get an EIN from the IRS with that, LLC.

But you can do the same thing with your social security number with the assumed business name, and then you can get the EIN. You can operate the same way. It's just that there's that added protection of that LLC. At this point with your business, the way it is, unless you had. Tons of assets or whatever.

 I don't see that it's necessary for you it's typically more money  and it really depends on what you're doing. And people think oh, I have to have an LLC to operate as a business. And you don't, you can just use your own name.

That's how that works. the more you progress with that business, I would probably say, yeah, let's get an LLC and then we can talk about other ways to be taxed 

Fawn Anderson: do I go about getting an assumed name, just like I did with the LLC. 

Heather Zeitzwolfe: Yes. assume is this name is just the name that you operate in your state. You do a business search on the secretary of state website, just make sure that nobody else in your state is using that same name. You just search that business name 

That's the easiest way to do it. 

Fawn Anderson: I can just go with my name. That's it.

Heather Zeitzwolfe: yeah. You could go with your name. Yes. here's the thing though. you wanna make sure that you have, really good insurance depends on what kind of business you're doing, because if people Sue you, then they can go after you. Now I'm not a lawyer, but with the LLC they could potentially go after you.

 If you're operating as like you and the LLC are one and the same, then they could Sue you. Depends on what you're doing. So make sure you have really good contracts. I don't like using social security numbers, so I would get an E, 

Now, if you started a business just under your own name, oftentimes you can start a bank account can be like a business bank account typically with a credit union or something.

Like If you are already a member of a credit union, they'll probably let you open one some banks will say you have to get a business bank account and they'll start charging you for that. there are some, pros and cons that just operating under your own name 

Fawn Anderson: so Heather, I can just go and open an account with my name. No, no crazy business name, but make sure it's separate from anything else in my life. It could just be under my name. It doesn't even have to be a business account as long as it's purely business. Anything that flows from it, all the credit cards everything

Heather Zeitzwolfe: Yep. And you would wanna, talk to the banker and just make sure, but for me personally, with my credit union when I asked 'em about opening up an account, they're like, oh, for a business. Yeah. You're gonna have to pay. But if you's just under your personal name, it's not an LLC, then it would be free. 

It just really depends on the bank. But that can be an, a cheaper way to go as far as opening up a bank account. I bank at us bank for the fact that they don't charge me for having a business bank account, you know, I would've rather used the credit union, but they were gonna charge me. So, um, I went with the free version.

Fawn Anderson: Got it. Thank you.

This is so helpful. 

Heather Zeitzwolfe: I wanted to address something else that you were saying, The LLC, when you register that's on the state level, so it depends on what state that you're in.

There might be ramifications for starting an LLC in that state. So for instance, California has different rules, then say Oregon, where I'm located. when you go to do your taxes depends on what type of business that you have. But if you are performing your services in a particular state chances are that state, that you're performing these services that is gonna be the one that you are taxed in.

So you're probably living in that state, you're functioning in that state. Now, if you go over to another state to film or, some other activity that happens in a different state then you have to abide by those rules. And this could be, if you're performing a service or if you're doing art or, there's all these different rules, every state is different.

So you have to look at the rules. If your income is lower than a certain threshold, oftentimes you don't have to worry about it. 

Fawn Anderson: Yeah. See, this is what I'm talking about. Like I don't wanna get in trouble, so it's really good to be knowledgeable. And it's just good to turn to you, So Heather, I like all the topics that you're talking about on your, podcast, on other episodes, like about profitability and you were in one episode you were talking about how, you need to make a plan. And most creatives, I think we have so many ideas and so many projects that we're working on and everything you described on that episode, it was a recent episode.

, I think it was your 100th episode. Was it the most recent one where you were talking about profitability?

Heather Zeitzwolfe: I'm trying to make that a point every single time, but yes, there was profitability was mentioned in that the plan was the one about the plan was a little bit earlier, but this last one was about profiting from your superpower. So yes, I was talking about you do need a plan when you're, utilizing your creativity to make money.

Cuz , I'm a creative person too, and I love to come up with ideas and it's oh yeah, I wanna do this and that. And then it's but what is the plan around it? And how do you plan on making money? 

Fawn Anderson: Exactly. And that's where I sit because I have so many ideas and so many projects and they're all areas where I have expertise in. I can't can do something, but with everything, with children, with homeschooling, There's so much to do. Just running a podcast is a full-time job.

And I'm the only one who's pulling it all together. It is crazy in the amount of hours that it takes, that it demands. I have to come up with a plan. I have to come up with a plan to help feed the family right now. And I'm sure I feel stuck. I feel like, oh my God, what am I gonna do?

I don't know. I don't even know what to ask you right now. I'm really sorry. Now I feel like a really crazy artist. 

Heather Zeitzwolfe: No that's okay. Because you've got all these great ideas. I'd like to keep things as simple as possible. I'm one that loves processes and plans and put things in place and like big, huge scale things. But we wanna start getting money through the door, right away, we need to think about what's the lowest hanging fruit where you can start making some money, start making some traction, and then working towards those bigger things.

And maybe it's also doing that at the same time of having your big goal in mind. And what can we do today to start chipping away and reaching that goal. A, part of the plan might be to have a certain amount of time, effort, maybe money even to put towards the bigger plan 

maybe we look at what the big plan is and figure out, okay, what are the bite size pieces that we need to do along the way is it gonna take three years, five years, 10 years, whatever it is. But we gotta think about making money now. so 

Many times with creatives, I hear oh, I just like to do what I do. I don't wanna be a capitalist. I understand all that. I have friends that are anarchists but at the same time we live in this capitalist society, we have to make money.

if we do wanna help people in the world, we generally need money it may seem evil but if we make money, then we can help other people with the money that we make. And we're not talking about gouging people, we're just talking about. , offering a service at a fair price 

Fawn Anderson: 

It makes sense. Everything you're saying is making sense it's making me have vision as I'm really listening to what you're telling me. I keep hearing the word simple with your business plan, simple with , everything that you're doing. Just make it simple. And I think I have to put aside my ego about all these fantastic things focus on doing voiceover work while I'm still going on with the podcast and then put money aside to start the production company get some work, get some money coming in.

Simple. . And I think. In general, once money starts coming in we tend to feel better about everything else, but you feel more hopeful. You feel like, Hey, this is manageable.

So like little simple baby steps,

Heather Zeitzwolfe: exactly. And we also wanna make sure that when we talk about profitability, you make sales, that's wonderful, but then you got all these expenses. What's left over is the profit. Hopefully there's money left over, but oftentimes we get so caught up in our ideas that we end up spending money on something.

And then we end up spending money on another thing. , and we're purchasing things before we even know what the plan is we're like, oh, I'm gonna need this or that. I'm guilty of it too. I love to buy software. I bought this software and it's it's terrible. But, , now I'm committed to it because I bought it, so we

Fawn Anderson: know exactly what you're talking about.

Heather Zeitzwolfe: yeah. So if we have a plan in place, then we can be like, okay, this is gonna be the next step. And this is what I need to concentrate on and start making some money.

So People hate the word budget, call it money plan or whatever you wanna call it. put some numbers around things. So we know okay, maybe you need to put a little money away for that big thing that you wanna accomplish and maybe not buying things right away.

Like years ago, my brother bought this. D V D a recorder, by the time you finally took it out of the box, it was. Out of date. I don't even think you could get the plugins for it anymore and you buy things too soon.

It may be outta date anyway. And I don't know if you're guilty of, buying a bunch of stuff,

Fawn Anderson: I am.

Heather Zeitzwolfe: oh, 

Fawn Anderson: am.

Heather Zeitzwolfe: I'm guilty of software costs. I mean,

Fawn Anderson: It's a psychological thing, because when you start a business where you start a project and when you buy something, you feel like you're accomplishing something and then you get a physical something in your hand, even if it's software, , you're like, yeah, I'm on my way. you get shoppers remorse because you realize, oh, I should have kept calm and be simple.

Heather Zeitzwolfe: Yeah. And then you always have this guilt feeling like , I gotta use this and maybe that's not even the best use of your time,

Fawn Anderson: I remember Heather reading Coco Chanel's Autobiography. the way she started her big empire was she just looked around to see what was in front of her. And She started off with straw hats. Because she was staying at a friend's a Villa or something. And in the barn, there was lots of straw.

so One of the things I got from her there's always something in your immediate surroundings, you don't need to go purchase anything. You don't need anything, no matter what you're doing, there's always something around you that is there for you.

And so you don't need to go out and splurge and buy 

you start, like you said, simple, what you need is always around you, you have to.

Heather Zeitzwolfe: It could even be , the people that, you know, as well, and they could be your clients, it doesn't necessarily mean that you have to go out and find these other people, especially if you create something that is in your wheelhouse, that you already know people that would that service or that product or whatever.

Fawn Anderson: Thank God for the podcast community. I'm so glad that I connected with you, Heather, you are such a beautiful genius

Heather Zeitzwolfe: Oh, thank you. All right. So If you don't wanna answer this, you don't have to, but how are you going about tracking your finances and your business and all of that right now, you mentioned that you have all these things. Are you keeping them separate? Are you putting them together under one business?

How are you

Fawn Anderson: Everything is separate. I log everything. I do. I look at my accounts at least once a day. I know exactly what's coming in, going out. That includes also looking at the credit cards because I find, sometimes there are weird charges.

Like I went to a magazine stand and I bought a magazine and I felt iffy about it at the time. You always have a sense when your identity's about to get stolen somehow. And so a few days later, as I was looking at the accounts, there was a weird charge and it was the kingdom of bling.

I'm like, I've never heard that name. I've never been, what is this? I always look to make sure everything's copacetic

Several times I've found weird charges that didn't come from us. I'm always looking at the numbers and it is very simple.

I don't buy a lot and I don't spend a lot. I know exactly to the penny. Where things are.

And I keep also a daily journal of everything I do. So it's in like pen and paper form as well as digital.

Heather Zeitzwolfe: Wow. As far as the tracking of the expenses and income, do you do that on paper? \ do you look at the bank statements? Like how are you tracking that?

Fawn Anderson: I buy everything on the credit card, so everything is itemized there and I keep all the receipts and there's a clipboard for business and there's a clipboard of different file for our family home stuff and totally separate.

Heather Zeitzwolfe: okay. So when it comes to tax time, then you would be able to take it out and look at it

Fawn Anderson: It's all digital. . Everything is through the credit card and the bank, all the transactions.

Heather Zeitzwolfe: Okay. As far as the different businesses under the umbrella do you have those right now, or , is it primarily the photography is 

Fawn Anderson: The photography is the main thing and luckily or not, luckily I haven't made money off of the podcast it's pretty simple 

Heather Zeitzwolfe: When moving to your new place, new state, do you have a plan as to how you're gonna get new clients? Or do you have old clients? Or how does that work

Fawn Anderson: I'm starting from scratch

Heather Zeitzwolfe: Oh, wow.

Fawn Anderson: over again, I'm just going to make cold calls or cold emails. I'm going to pursue who I think would be great clients, where we would have a good relationship, like benefit from the relationship.

So I'm starting all over 

Heather Zeitzwolfe: Your most important thing would be to get the clients in that other state. Have you started contacting people in that state?

Fawn Anderson: No right now all I'm doing is working on escrow and moving bands and packing

Heather Zeitzwolfe: Oh, that's a lot to do.

Fawn Anderson: the kids' school work and taking care of the whole family, getting everyone to remain calm while I take care of all these details.

I think once the movers have moved everything away, I will have a clearer head and then really start working on exactly how I'm going to get that first job.

Heather Zeitzwolfe: Based on our conversation, what is probably the next thing that you're gonna to do?

Fawn Anderson: I think I'm going to figure out what I'm gonna do with a bank account. Number one, I'm going to call the secretary of state. And then I'm also going to look for work at the same time.

Heather Zeitzwolfe: yeah, that's In the new state.

Fawn Anderson: Yes.

Heather Zeitzwolfe: Very good. All right. Fawn thank you so much for being on the podcast.

Fawn Anderson: Heather. Thank goodness for you. Thank you so much.