(512) 887-2407 [email protected]

ActionCOACH – Andy O’Brien is proud to present his second “Your City, Your Business: Business Owners Speak Out” interview series. This is a collection of short interviews and education from business owners with amazing insights into today’s challenges.

Certified Business Coach, Andy O’Brien (AO) virtually sits down with business owners to learn how they are working through COVID-19 and their current challenges and successes. Check out their inspiring stories for tips on how to cope with and successfully recover from this pandemic as well as ideas on how to avoid making common mistakes.

Michael Edwards, Precision Bookkeeping, LLC

AO: Tell us about your business.

ME: We’re a small boutique bookkeeping firm. We work on QuickBooks, both desktop and outlook. Our primary target audience is professional services with a top line revenue of a million dollars or more. I have a unique business model, I have a mixture of employees and contractors. The idea behind that is to be able to grow as business grows and have that scalability.

AO: How many years have you been in business?

ME: Just over three years.

AO: You mentioned your best customer is professional services, can you give us a list of what professional services mean to you?

ME: Doctors, lawyers, engineers, architects, those are professional services that I target.

AO: What has been the greatest impact of COVID-19 in your business?

ME: There’s been a handful of clients who have slowed down, so my billing hours have decreased. There is another handful of clients that were affected dramatically and had to close down. For the ones that I had invoices outstanding I deferred some of their payments and worked with them to manage that while they’re going through these tough times. On my end, I have been quarantined and had to work out of my home. So, it has given me an opportunity to focus more on my business.

AO: What acts have you taken to make a difference?

ME: I do a lot of networking, so I need to be out and about meeting people and because everybody was staying in and very concerned with the virus, I started tailgate networking, getting people to meet with me in parking lots where we sat six feet away from each other and conducted a regular networking meeting.

AO: What mistakes did you make along the way, and how can other entrepreneurs learn from your experience?

ME: My background is in leadership roles and operations and client services. I am not a bookkeeper. I started this business as an entrepreneur to run a bookkeeping business. I wish at the very beginning I would have gone through more online classes on accounting to really help myself understand bookkeeping more in depth.

AO: What is most inspiring to you today?

ME: The positive energy of business owners, the ones who recognize the troubles that this virus caused. There’s a lot of energy and people who are not looking in the rearview mirror and they’re looking forward and knowing that we can come out of this.

How To Reach Us:

Michael Edwards

Precision Bookkeeping, LLC

(630) 240-2667

[email protected]cisionbookkeeping.com

Michael Fiala, Internet Marketing and Creative

 AO: Tell us about your business.

MF: In 2005 I started Internet Marketing and Creative as a copywriter and a direct response copywriter. Then branched out into web development, search engine optimization, video, and anything to do with salesmanship.

AO: How many years have you been doing this?

MF: 15 now.

AO: Who is your best customer?

MF: My best customers have always ended up having a marketing budget. I target small to medium-sized businesses.

AO: What has been the greatest impact COVID-19 has had on your business?

MF: Those clients that we had planned in January to do 10s of thousands of dollars worth of work on their websites and pay-per-click campaigns, all of them went up and it’s gone. They’re going to have to get reopened and get the income coming in to afford to do the project we were going to do in the first place. My larger clients never stopped because they’ve got the budget.

AO: Have you done any type of a business strategy session?

MF: When I first started this business, I took some courses from John Ford, Michael Masterson, and Direct Response, and then got some coaching from Chris Marlo. It got me headed in the right direction and thinking about the way I should pursue this and how to define your niche.

AO: What mistakes did you make along the way, and how can other entrepreneurs learn from this experience?

MF: Not marketing myself enough in the beginning. It’s hard when you’re first starting out, because you don’t know anything about marketing. It’s a learning process. You have to define your niche to find your target and then figure out the best ways to help them.

AO: What is most inspiring to you today?

MF: The fact that all these people who have been locked up for two months are clamoring at the bit to get out there and work. These people want to get their businesses up and running again and that’s extremely inspiring to me.

OFFER: 10% off your first project plus a free consultation.

How To Reach Us:

Michael Fiala

Internet Marketing and Creative

(641) 420-9847

Nicole Harris, Hydrate Texas

AO: Tell me about your business.

NH: Hydrate has been a store in Georgetown for over 30 years. It started out as a water and ice store called H2O To Go. New ownership and evolution has brought it to become more of a smoothie, juice bar, and sandwich shop. We have local kombucha on tap. We try to feature local products.

AO: Your target market or your best customer, who would that be?

NH: We like to serve all of our Georgetown community. Somebody who’s looking for something healthier and better.

AO: What has been the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business?

NH: People stopped coming in for a while. The fear sent in and people didn’t leave their house. They didn’t come into my store. That’s what hit us the hardest.

AO: What are the one or two actions you have taken to make a difference and how is it working?

NH: We stayed open as much as possible to serve the community. I did have to cut back my hours and my labor. I was very open with all of my team members about why we needed to do that and how long this was going to have to go on. Then people started coming back and we reopened. We already had online ordering and delivery service available, I didn’t have to add anything.

AO: What mistakes did you make along the way, and how can other entrepreneurs learn from your experience?

NH: I didn’t order things early enough. I didn’t take it seriously enough early on. I didn’t realize how it was to affect the product delivery chain and that’s why I have empty shelves.

AO: What is most inspiring to you today?

NH: My community. Last year I was shut down for seven weeks because of the gas leak and my community rallied around us and I knew from the very beginning of all this that it was going to happen again. So, I’m very inspired by the Georgetown community.

OFFER: Buy a $2 Koozie and bring it in and get 20% off smoothies and juices purchased until August 31st.

How To Reach Us:

Nicole Harris

Hydrate Texas


[email protected]

Paula Hanus, Larch Pine In

AO: Talk to us about your business.

PH: We’re a bed and breakfast. The house itself has been in the industry for over 30 years. We’re the third Bed and Breakfast owners. We’ve been affected by the coronavirus in that our last reservation happened March 6th. May 6th, we started to get our reservations again. So, it allowed us time to remodel. We were excited about that because that was hard to get to when your inn is full, so we took advantage of the time.

AO: What one or two actions have you taken to make a difference through COVID-19?

PH: We did apply for some of the grants. We did get some money from the state of Iowa, which we’re very grateful for. It’s helping us get through and stay afloat. In December we started having afternoon teas on Sundays and they were very well received by the public so we’re doing those in the month of June just to see if there’s interest.

AO: What mistakes did you make along the way, and how can other entrepreneurs learn from your experience?

PH: Not doing the room that we had held off doing right away when we opened up. Every weekend last year in the summer we were full, so had we had that room open, we would have been able to have more revenue coming in.

AO: What is most inspiring for you today?

PH: I get inspired by Clear Lake itself, the community, and the spirit of volunteerism. We had two women come down from Minneapolis and reserve our crow’s nest for four nights because they were getting away from the mess that they were dealing with. It makes me feel good that they could move here for a few days and find a little peace and comfort.

How To Reach Us:

Paula Hanus

Larch Pine Inn


[email protected]

Stephanie Featherstone, State Farm

AO: Tell us about your business.

SF: Started my State Farm agency in 2008 in Georgetown, Texas. I started my agency [from] scratch, which means me, a telephone book, a cardboard box, knocking on doors. Here we are, 2020, still growing, still moving forward to grow the business, not just produce but make sure that we’re in a position of growth. I have a team of three always recruiting.

AO: Who is your best customer?

SF: A household with multiple opportunities, they’re looking at their entire household and they’re seeing a need in every facet. The ideal client for us is those opportunities where we can have those simple conversations of what could impact their family’s lifestyle and we’ve mapped solutions to fit that beyond just the demand products.

AO: What has been the greatest impact of COVID-19 on your business?

SF: The face-to-face. My number one strength is the ability to network and connect with people and so recognizing that’s been moved to virtual has had the largest impact. We can get done what needs to get done virtually, but it’s hard to replace that heart-to-heart. Looking a person in their eyes, reading their body language, those kinds of things are really impactful for me because now I’m able to know how to navigate that interaction.

AO: What one or two actions have you taken in your business to make a difference and how’s it working?

SF: We made a concerted effort to reach out to all of our clients who were 70 and older, just to let them know that we were thinking about them and that we were here for them. That was probably close to 120 people that we ended up making contact with and [it was] very well received.

AO: What mistakes have you made along the way, and how can other entrepreneurs or business owners learn from your experiences?

SF: When I first started, I didn’t trust my gut and I looked toward those that have done it before and use their logic to help determine what my plan is going to look like. I let that overshadow what I thought my gut was telling me to do. My mind is telling me I should do it like this guy over here did it because he’s still successful, when really that wasn’t a good fit for me. I think it shuts down your ability to try to be innovative.

AO: What is most inspiring to you today?

SF: The opportunity for learning, listening and compassion.

OFFER: Complimentary virtual conversations.

How To Reach Us:

Stephanie Featherstone

State Farm


Executive Coach Andy O’Brien wants to interview you! If you would like your business to be featured in one of our upcoming “Business Owners Speak Out” newsletter series, please contact Kari at [email protected] to schedule an interview.