215 Running a Successful Business and Motherhood with Kimberly Tara
Today, I'm joined by my CPA, Kimberly Tara. Kimberly is a mom to four young children and manages a thriving CPA firm. In this episode, we'll dive into how she manages her family and business without burning out. Her story serves as a reminder that achieving work-life harmony is possible when you prioritize what truly matters and seek support where needed.
One of the central themes of this episode is the idea of saying "no" and the art of prioritization. Kimberly shares her experience with learning to say no to certain commitments and projects that don't align with her current season of life. She discusses the importance of discerning between a definitive "no" and a "not right now."
However, the most significant revelations come from Kimberly's experiences in her business. She acknowledges that her relentless pursuit of perfection and her tendency to take on too much were unsustainable. Recognizing the need to let go of certain responsibilities, she began making changes in her business model. Kimberly shares how she overcame the challenges of relinquishing control and discovered the power of trusting others to support her vision.
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Hey everyone. I'm excited for you all to meet Kimberly Tara here today on the podcast. She is a CPA, but don't panic, we're not here to talk about your taxes. I have been watching her business just explode over the last year, and she is doing this while having four children ages six and under, and so I asked her to come on the show just to talk openly and honestly about what are some things she's had to put in place to help her not get completely overwhelmed and burn out, as she is juggling for young kids and a thriving business, and I can't wait for you all to hear some of the very powerful nuggets and decisions that she's had to make about her time and how she went about doing that. So, without further ado, let's go ahead and chat with Kimberly.
Welcome to the Work Life Harmony podcast. I'm your host, Megan Sumrell. I'm the creator of the top program and top planner teaching all things time management, organization and productivity for women. I'm also a mom and wife and, just like you, I'm juggling hashtag all the things while running multiple businesses and a family. Guess what? You don't have to feel constantly overwhelmed, exhausted and stressed out. There is another way, when you have the right systems and tools to plan and manage your time, you can live a life of harmony. This is your show to learn from me and other amazing women how to master your time, planning an organization to skyrocket your productivity so you can have work life harmony. If you're ready to stop feeling overwhelmed, this is the show for you, and if you're new here, I'd love to get you started with my work life harmony assessment. All you have to do is DM me on Instagram at Megan Sumrell, with the word harmony and my team will send it right over. Hey, everyone, welcome back to work life harmony.
I have a fantastic guest for you all here today. I cannot wait for you all to meet Kimberly. I'm going to let her introduce herself here in just a second Now. If you saw ahead on, maybe if you've read up on her and know a little bit about her bio, you'll know she is a CPA. Do not hit pause, don't panic. We're not here to talk about your taxes today Although I'm sure a conversation may come up around that because of what you do but you are quickly going to learn all about Kimberly and her life and all that she has going on and is juggling, and we're actually going to hear some real life, little bit of war stories or not, around how to manage a business, a family, all of that. So, kimberly, I would love it if you would introduce yourself and then we will get going.
Hi, I am so excited to be here. Thank you for having me, Megan. So, like Megan said, I'm Kimberly Tara. I'm a CPA and certified tax coach, but I like to always make sure that I talk about my personal life first, because sometimes I just dive right into the profession and forget about them. So I'm a wife, I'm a mom to four kids. As of this recording, they are six, just turned five yesterday three and 15 months. So yes, we're crazy, they're all 22 months apart. The trenches we are in the trenches, but you know what we are like, ever so teeny, tiny, starting to see a glimpse of light at the end with, like the six year old and the five year old. Like they get in the car, they buckle themselves, they unbuckle themselves, they listen, they mostly wipe their own butts most of the time. I mean like, really, we're starting to slowly get to the other side and we're so glad that we did it because we know that when our youngest is four and they're like four, six, eight and 10, man, we just like we are going to be rocking and rolling and we are planning for that and we'll talk about this with, like, my business and everything, the vision, like where we've got about two and a half years until we get to that point. We're very excited for it. So let's see what else.
I have three businesses. My main business that I run is my tax practice. I've had it for seven and a half years now. We serve CEO, mom service providers with tax strategy and tax planning and preparation All the things that most business owners don't want to do as a business owner. That's the part that we love. Outside of that, I love to travel. I love listening to audibles and podcasts. Listening to education has really changed my life. I love to read. I love to learn, but I realized after probably not after the first kid, but after the second kid that the books were just sitting there on the nightstand, that I wasn't actually going to open them at night.
I'm not really as much of an audible person, I'm more of a visual person. But somebody a coach kind of quote unquote forced me to listen to a book because I needed to get it done. And she was like we'll try audible and it changed my life and now I'd probably listen to like four books a month because I listen on 2x. So yeah, that's kind of in a nutshell where we're at. We're in the trenches of a thick personal season, but also doing a lot with my business and my business growth, because I'm very mission driven there. So we're just kind of making it happen most days.
It feels like amazing and I always love when I have a guest on to kind of share how we met. So I actually was listening to a podcast and you were the guest on the podcast no-transcript.
At the conference, at the well oiled operations conference, or powerhouse.
I thought I heard you on a podcast first and reached out to you. Isn't that funny?
No, no you presented and wait. I was supposed to be there in person but two days before, so my second child started projectile vomiting Saturday night.
As they do, as they do?
I was supposed to leave on Monday. Saturday he starts throwing up on me on the sofa on the baby's new blanket we have like a three month old at the time and it was like her personalized blanket and it's got throw up on it now. And so I'm just sitting there sobbing, cleaning everything. I'm like in my bra and underwear because I had to take my throw up clothes off. I had to put the baby down. I'm sobbing trying to salvage her beautiful. We have three boys and a girl, so I had a pink, beautiful monogram blanket.
I'm like just sobbing trying to get everything out so I can wash it, and sobbing because I know that I have to cancel this conference that I was still looking forward to. My husband was going to come with me so we could bring the baby I was still nursing. This was going to be like my first thing, like really back in business and really hitting the momentum. And I'm just sobbing because I know I have to cancel because I can't leave my parents. You know we were already leaving them with three little kids, couldn't leave them with a sick one. So I saw you and so they were kind enough to send me a virtual link and you were one of the presenters there, so I think that was the very beginning of our relationship, and isn't that just like a mom's story?
It sure is. It sure is. One of the things that I so appreciate about the way you talk about business and motherhood is you're very honest and would love for you to share some of your journey on figuring out that guess what, we can't do it all, especially when you have four young kids, and maybe share with some of our listeners. How do you make decisions on where to get help and support and what does that look like for you?
Yeah, so keep me on track here. Okay, so to start, I think I always wanted two kids. I'm a planner. I'm a pretty fun CPA.
I'm a pretty extroverted CPA. I'm a fun CPA.
I was an engineering major first and I was a pretty fun engineering major, so my brain does these things, but I'm actually pretty extroverted. So I really thought that I was going to have two kids, but I think that we were really given four kids because it has forced me to let go of things that I, if you'd asked me 10 years ago before I came a mom, I never would have let go of these things. With the addition, with the birth of each child, it's like a slap in the face of how much less time you're going to have now, because now you have this human, this person that you created, who needs you, who needs everything from you. And it's not about you, it's about them. But by the time you do that, times two times three, times four, you really have no choice but to simply just let go of things, just literally let go and say I can't worry about this, but to also say how can I get support? Can someone help me do this?
And for me it's been little things like the dishwasher doesn't get loaded the way that I want it to get loaded. Every night it still gives me anxiety thinking about that. It's not loaded the way that I want it, but you know what it's loaded. We have clean dishes the next day and I didn't have to do it. Same thing with the laundry, right? If my husband does the laundry and it's like those aren't folded the right way or you mixed them up, because we have four bins of laundry, right, but we have clean clothes and maybe they sit in the hamper for a couple of days, maybe we're pulling clothes out of the hamper that are not put back in the drawers, but they're clean, and so my kids have clean underwear to wear, right. So it's so funny just how my perception of what's important has really changed. And how the dishwasher is loaded or how the laundry gets done or how it gets folded those aren't important to me anymore. They were very important to me 10 years ago. Like, shouldn't be.
You have me thinking about the whole dishwasher thing. Like I have to ask are you a the bowls go on the top rack or the bottom rack person?
Mostly the bottom. Unless the bottom is full, then they go on the top. It's a battle In our next house. I've already and it's just so funny the things that you want, like as a mom and as you get older and life changes, and like what goes on the Christmas list and like my wish list for our next house is I want two dishwashers. I need two dishwashers and three ovens and a big pantry and an extra refrigerator. Like these are the things that I need, because sometimes if I'm really cooking for all six of us and then if I cook for my parents or friends or my brother comes like I need two dishwashers. I've already had a lot of pots. I need a bigger stove. So it's just the little things like that that I've learned. Also, saying no to things has been. I started saying no in 2020 when I was pregnant with our third child. I love that.
So what does saying no look like for you?
Yeah. So saying no over the last couple of years has looked like saying no to things like room mom for the little kids, knowing that there were other moms. Thankfully, our kids go to schools where the parents are very involved and there's typically not a shortage of these things. They're usually like oh, who do we pick? Saying no to those things so that I could, because I was pregnant or because I had an infant or because I was really in a deep year of my business. Right, and saying this, saying no right now to this is gonna allow me to say yes in the future. And I said yes to room mom for my oldest, who's in first grade, and he's been asking. He's just so excited he can really appreciate it. He knows when I'm there and why I'm there, and all of those no's for the last three years have led me to the right yes this year for him as a first grade.
I love that Cause. I think sometimes what we think no is permanent. In some cases maybe it's just a not right now.
So I've probably learned to say no, and truly say no, to some things. But you're right, some things I am saying more of a not right now, too, than a no, you're right.
How do you go about? I know I didn't tell you we're gonna talk about this, but I think this is something I hear repeatedly from our listeners is just how hard it is to say no right For all the reasons that the guilt, the shoulds, the whatever. What does your thought process look like in terms of leaning into deciding what does deserve the yes versus?
the no's yeah, so I'm an Enneagram three, wing two. So I'm a high achiever with a wing helper. So I wanna say yes to everyone and everything. And it became clear so it must have been 2022. So I was pregnant with our fourth child. We had our blog, we have my tax practice. Our third business is just rental property, so I'm not very active in that one, but I had all of those things going on. So I had three little kids under the age of five, two businesses and pregnant with our fourth and I was trying I was literally trying to do it all and I realized the blog wasn't really taking off, my tax practice wasn't really taking off.
I didn't feel like I was a pregnant mom. I was tired all the time because I was pregnant, right, and it was like this realization, this like okay, something has to give and you cannot do it all, even though you want to do it all. You think you can do it all and some days you can like, some days I do do it all, right, but you can't do it. That can't be every day, 365 days a year. It's not possible. I wasn't being good to myself, I wasn't being a good wife, I wasn't being a good friend, I wasn't being a good mom, I wasn't being a good blogger, I wasn't being a good CPA. I really had to dive deep and say, okay, kimberly, you're not superhuman. Even though you want to think you are, you're not superhuman. So what does this look like? And so we set the blog up on Evergreen and the blog is just running on Evergreen with our content that lives there.
We got some help at home. My husband and I had a very come to Jesus conversation, if you will, that this is what I need, this is how I need you to help, and I should say that I have a wonderful husband. He just doesn't realize things the way that I realize it, and also we've always had it set up where he works a corporate job, and so that comes with some benefits good corporate benefits, right but that comes with cons, like not having flexibility, and he drives to work at a power plant 40 minutes away from where we live every day. I'm the one who's more flexible, and with the kids, and that's how we wanted it to be, but I don't think that I plan for my business to see the success that it has had, and so now my business needs me more, but I still want to be mom.
I had to figure out what to let go of, right? So saying no or not right now for me, the blog and I love how you said not right now, because I don't think the blog is a no. The blog is a not right now, like I've been saying no to it, but I like how you said it better. It's a not right now because I'm really leaning into my tax practice. I love what I do there and so I'm leaning into being a present mom and running my tax practice, and if it doesn't align with those two things, it's a no or a not right now. So that has looked like getting some more support at home through my husband, through some help at the house, and then also bringing help into my business as well, which I never really thought that I would do. But oh my goodness, that's just been a trajectory change in the last like maybe even 90 days, and oh my goodness, just that has been so incredible. I mean like we're just exploding in the last couple of months, because I love it.
It's amazing. So I think one of the things you brought up is really important because it hones in on exactly why I cannot stand the phrase work life balance and why I think it perpetuates more overwhelm for women. You were at a point where you had a lot of things that you were juggling. If you look at the approach a lot of people will give in terms of how to balance it, it's meaning okay, let's divide our time equally among all of the things competing for my time, where, in some instances nine times out of 10, the answer isn't in dividing our time equally, giving the blog the same amount as this business as that. Instead, what needed to happen was letting something go so that you were happier, you were more harmonious and that now the things that you're leaning into are what are most important to you and they're thriving. I mean to see what your business is doing.
The momentum is there right, because I was spreading myself too thin and so nothing was getting the right amount. My kids weren't getting the right attention. It's not even about the amount right, it's the quality of the attention. And I think you and I have talked about this before, where I thought I was doing the right thing by bringing my computer downstairs and setting them up with Play-Doh and their homework and I was working on my computer and I thought that that was me being with them, right. Of course I can talk to them while I'm just typing on my computer and they're playing with Play-Doh, but all they saw was mom on her computer. Because they're little, if they're older and teenagers they can get it right, but at five, three and one, all they saw was mom looking at the computer and not looking at them, and that needed to change. I think. Just hearing a few little things like that along the way, it was really sombering.
And then I was also in a mastermind in Q1 of this year and somebody made a really great point, and this was when I really doubled down into just the tax practice.
She was like if I can make my main business successful and have it run without me needing to work 50 hours a week and having slim profit margins. It allows me to lean in, because she wanted to give back to new business owners in, I think, the Latino community. She was like if my main business is successful, then I can do more pro bono on that side without having to worry about finances. I have a real passion for teaching moms and kids about money, and I want to do it in an extremely affordable way, and so my main business is the catalyst for me to really be able to do that in the future without having to worry about how much it's making. Or is it going to support my family or is it going to support the business? I've got something that is helping me support that education and that brand without having to worry about money. So it's just a mindset shift, right.
Leaning out is actually what sets you up for success to move forward. Now you mentioned that you do get some help at the house, so how have you gone about making decisions on what that looks like for you and what that help can mean for you? Because I know that's hard for us, I mean especially when it involves people coming into your home and all of that. And I think a lot of people, when they know they need help, they just don't even know where to start with that.
Yes, so we actually outsourced our laundry for a little while that was the start of it because I do want to be present with my kids. So for me, like I didn't want a nanny who was spending time with my kids, so like, okay, we have somebody watching our kids, I'm doing the work and then I get to do the housework. Well, that's not what I want Like.
that's not why I became a mom.
Exactly Like my husband goes to work, I work, and then somebody's watching, playing with the kids, and then my husband comes home from work and he's outside with the kids and I'm sitting here cooking dinner, doing the dishes, doing the laundry. Like no, that's not how it's going to happen. So I saw in one of the local mom groups, like Facebook mom groups, somebody had posted about this and I was like, hmm, so they come and pick up your laundry, they do your laundry and then they bring it back. Okay, all right, I'm willing to try that, I'm willing to give it a go.
So we started with that and that was really my first like toe dipping into having more house help versus like just sitters and childcare help. And we were also that was also right after our daughter was born and we didn't have childcare for her and I probably should have put her in daycare or something. But I felt really guilty because I didn't do that for the other three and so the mom guilt was real that just because she was a fourth child, she should not have to go to daycare sooner than the other two. So that mom guilt was real. Probably should have just done it. She'd have probably been fine, but I feel good about my decision. So then it became okay. Well, how do we get more of the household tasks off my plate so that I'm either working in my zone of genius in the business or I'm spending quality time with my kids and I'm not constantly doing the dishes?
I love that you approached it that way, because I think where so many people start is they end up because they don't know what to do. We end up outsourcing or getting help in the areas of the things that were the fun. We outsourced the fun and we're left with the scrubbing, the toilets and the whatnot.
And so I love that you really put that thought into. Hang on, these are the things. I do want it. Let me zone in on the things I want to keep and protect, to then say what's left and how do I get help there.
Yeah, yeah, so that's what it pretty much looks like on the house side. So we do have housekeepers that come every other week and so that's the scrubbing of the toilets and the bathtubs and the dusting and all the deep cleaning. We keep it pretty clean in between and then we have somebody that comes and helps keep up with the laundry or, if she's here, maybe unload the dishwasher and reload the dishwasher and just all those little tasks that really add up and take time away, so that when the kids get home from school, I sit down and I eat a snack with them while they're eating their snacks. So I'm actually getting a snack and I'm spending quality time with them. Then I'm helping them with their homework instead of somebody else helping them with their homework, where it used to be like, okay, I'm saving unloading the dishwasher.
And I thought it kind of goes back to that work-life balance. Like I thought that I was being smart and strategic, and I was to a certain extent. But I was being smart and strategic by saving the unloading of the dishwasher and the loading the laundry, the washing machine when the kids got home, instead of being up in my office working. I was saving those things so that I could talk to them while they were eating their snack and I was unloading the dishwasher and reloading it. And that does still happen sometimes, but now it doesn't have to happen seven days a week, because the reality is I was still to them, dividing my time and doing something else, instead of just sitting with them for 10 minutes having a snack after they just got home from school.
Yeah, so much to think about. My hope is that anybody listening right now, that is, in the stage of life where you are in the trenches as you are, kimberly with young kids and your demands on your time being shifted whether it's with a job outside the home, whether you're building your own business or just multiple human beings at you wanting your undivided attention as they do I hope that you've gotten some good takeaways on maybe reframing, thinking about where do you want your time, where do you not want it, and what might know or not right now look like for you, so that you don't feel the burden of either being everything all the time or splitting your time all day long. Right when we're kind of one hand in here, one hand over there and I know it's much easier said than done- when we fall off the tracks and we have to remind ourselves, right Like, this is not perfect.
Every day I'm reminding myself, Kimberly, don't do that. Right Like, don't do that, Let somebody else do that or let that go until the next day. This is a constant reminder.
I love that you said that because I was about to say so. What has been some of the hardest things for you to let go of? But I think it might just be also everything right, literally everything, and maybe it's just that reminding ourselves every day of why right.
Don't do this right or when it gets hard. I would say it's been easier than I expected to let things go on the home front. It's actually harder in my business. I really take it very seriously how we serve our clients and it's just been me for a while, and so it's honestly been harder in the business making sure that those checks and balances, that quality control is in there, but just staying the course, reminding myself why I'm doing this, that it's going to be beneficial over the long haul. I would actually say it's been harder in my business to let go than I anticipated. The house stuff. It's like ah, you know, laundry's done, dishes are done, I'll let that go, I'm getting used to it, yeah.
For those listening that do have a business, I would love for you to share a little bit about how you serve your clients and what you do, because your approach to CPA and relationships with your clients is very unusual, I think, with a lot of typical CPA firms that we see out there, and it's incredibly powerful. So I'd love for you to share who you serve and what that looks like.
Oh, thank you. Yeah, so we partner with CEO mom service providers and we are working with them to basically keep more money in their pocket using their businesses. Right? Business owners just have such an incredible opportunity to use the tax code to their advantage, but they don't know how right. We don't teach money in finances and taxes in school.
We should, but we don't here in the US and maybe if we did this, gets really down. I don't think they would talk about business ownership as a whole other world, right? That's why there are experts like you out there.
Yes, exactly, exactly so. And, like you said, it's the relationship and I honestly didn't realize until I started marketing I haven't marketed my business ever until this year that our response times of 24 to 48 hours is unheard of in the tax and CPA world, or that reaching out to our clients proactively to say, hey, you wanted to check in, or have you done this, or did you hear about this, or have you thought about this, that that's very, very unique. I just didn't realize that that's how I've always served my clients. I believe that you should have a relationship and look, even if you're not a business owner, your tax professional, if you have someone filing your taxes, you really should have a relationship with them. They should know if you've had a baby that year or if you have something going on.
So I believe that in this world of finances and money and business, you should really have a relationship with your CPA and we really lean into that. Our clients just trust us. They know that we have their backs, they know that we're their partners and we care about their business just as much as they do. I love it. I love working with our clients. I love helping them save money, because if you're a mom. If you're a parent, saving money on your taxes could mean one less client that you need to bring on, or somebody else that you can hire to help take things off your plate right. That's the beauty and the magic of keeping more of your money in your pocket, and so that's what we're here to do and how we serve our clients.
I love that and I've shared in the group with some of my students as well. I've spent my last year in an actual finance program where I was learning a lot and one of the very first things that he had us doing was like reevaluating our CPA and giving us checklists of like no, you should have a relationship with them. Which was just so. I was like wait what? And I will say to everyone listening Kimberly is one of only two CPAs I would recommend to business owners honestly because of how you show up and serve and the relationship approach and all of that Because, like she said, without it there's just so much missed opportunity and you're very ethical, which to me is super important when it comes to how we're managing our taxes.
I didn't realize that there were ones out there who weren't right, but there are unfortunately so.
Yeah, where is the best place for people to find you? And obviously we'll put links in the show notes as well.
Yeah. So if you are a business owner at Terra CPA firm on Instagram is the best place to come learn. Send me a DM. I love the voice messages on DM. They're my favorite. I think we get to hear everybody's personality. If you're not a business owner, our blog messy wonderfulcom is going to be a great resource for you, especially if you're little kids. It's money, motherhood travel. We always get asked like how do you travel with little kids, how do you travel with more than one kid? And I'm just a very logistical person, so I share how we actually do it, and we just share how you can talk about money with your kids, even if you're not a business owner. So that's a really great resource. If you're not a business owner and you have a podcast as well, obviously you're listening to this or a podcast listener, so where can people find that? Yes, so it's the CEO moms building wealth podcast. And I would say, even if you're not a business owner, there are some really great again Great stories.
Great stories on there just about building wealth. And look y'all, everybody thinks that I mean financial wealth, and I do. I mean financial wealth, but I also believe and this is why Megan and I get along so well is we really believe in that holistic approach to wealth, having calm and inner peace and joy and there's just time, freedom. There's so much more to true wealth than just financial wealth. So we talk about all of that on the CEO moms building wealth podcast.
Love it. Oh my gosh, thank you so much for your time here today, Kimberly. I could always chat with you all day long.
I know. Thank you for having me. I love your podcast and I'm such an honor to be a part of it.
Well, I'm sure we will probably see you back in future episodes. Getting on top of all things time management, organization and productivity doesn't have to stop just because this episode is over. If you want one tap access to all of my training and current top podcasts, go to the app store or Google play and download the pink be app. It's one word the pink be it is jam packed with simple yet powerful tips and strategies to get you out of overwhelm and into harmony. And if you have a question you want me to cover on a future episode, go to iTunes and ask your question in the podcast review section. And while you're there, don't forget to leave a five star review.