Women in Small Business: 5 Questions with Keila Hill-Trawick
Photo by Yodith Dammlash
Title: Owner, CPA, MBA
Business: Little Fish Accounting
After spending over a decade working in finance and accounting in both the government and private sector, Keila launched Little Fish Accounting. Keila provides financial and tax planning to freelancers, solopreneurs, and small businesses and serves as a strategic business advisor, helping them plan and reach their financial goals. Keila is also part of my WeWork family, which is quickly becoming my favorite way to meet exciting, amazing, inspiring people.
1. What led you to owning your own business?
I had friends who were freelancing and kept lamenting the fact that they didn't want to have to focus on the accounting side of their business. In wanting to give them room to pursue their passions without having to focus on accounting and tax complexities, I realized that I could use my skills in service to other entrepreneurs who had the same feeling. I started Little Fish to support solopreneurs and tiny businesses by serving as a resource to a community I felt needed it most.
2. What is your business philosophy?
"Small business doesn't mean small time." I know that it's hard to start and run a small business with a small team (sometimes even an army of one), but I also know that money management can make or break success. I want to empower owners to have an active role in their money, even if they aren't the ones doing the day-to-day tasks of keeping it together. That change of mindset can be the difference between struggle and solid ground financially.
3. What have you learned about yourself by owning your own business?
You do a lot of jobs, and sometimes the business of the business takes more effort than doing the work itself. I've had to implement systems and automations that allow me to give my attention to the human side of what I do, which is to make my clients feel heard and supported. It's hard to be accessible when you're constantly in the weeds, so making space by automating some processes has made a world of difference.
4. What has been the most surprising thing for you?
One of the most pleasantly surprising parts of starting Little Fish has been the amount of encouragement and support I've received from other female business owners. It has been incredibly helpful to lean on others as advisors and provide reciprocity by offering my help where I can, as opposed to seeing other women as competition. That kind of fellowship has increased my personal and professional network ten-fold.
5. What advice would you give to a woman starting a new business endeavor?
Start. It seems daunting but you don't know what you're capable of until you get something off the ground. Also, build a team around you. No one expects you to know everything. Having people around who are more experienced in areas in which you feel weak, makes you stronger.