Dorothy Kolb of dk east associates on the moment she realized she wanted to launch her own business, her upcoming podcast, and more!

Dorothy Kolb_Blog Header

Describe your business in a few words?

dk east associates provides outsourced CFO services and accounting strategy to women-owned small businesses to drive bottom line profit and streamline processes. We specialize in companies in the creative, social impact, media, and sports spaces with $1M-$10M annual revenue.

What made you take the leap to start your own business?

In 2014, at the end of my marriage, I had 4 kids and no financial support. Then, I was downsized from my CFO job. I’d worked at major corporations for my entire career and had never considered being an entrepreneur. I could get another 9-5 but I wanted to have control over my career, my work-life balance and my future. So, I took a leap of faith and invested in myself and started a business.

What was your background prior to starting your own business?

I had a foundational start at Deloitte in NYC combined with leadership positions in production at CBS Sports, FOX Sports, NBC, HGTV & Food Network. Working at events like the Winter Olympics, the Super Bowl and Taste of Honolulu and Vail, I learned there’s a small margin for error when it comes to financial forecasting and profitability. That experience put me in a unique position to offer a suite of services that combines financial strategy and operations for small businesses.

Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

I did not! I would love to say I come from a long line of small business owners like so many successful entrepreneurs do, but honestly my father worked for NBC for almost 40 years and my mom was a stay-at-home mom and then worked for the Girl Scouts. It wasn’t until I found myself a single parent of 4 that I realized I wanted to have the freedom to call the shots in my life.

Take us back to when you first launched your business, what was your marketing strategy to get the word out and did it go as planned?

Believe it or not, I started with responding to a post on Upwork for a part-time controller (I still have that client!) and another on LinkedIn for a similar position. That’s all I had for about a year and then those clients began to recommend me to their networks. Now I still receive referrals for clients regularly, but I’m starting to really up my game as a content provider and thought leader.

We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?

I partnered with another firm for a project with a lot of moving parts because I wasn’t able to take on all the additional work myself. That firm then circumvented me and went to the client and said they could do all the work themselves (including my strategic work) and that the client should fire me. My clients are all very loyal to me and the founder fired the firm and told me about it much later. I have contracts in place that address this but it clearly didn’t work. Now, I only refer out to firms or people that I trust, have good working relationships with and share my values.

What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?

Launching dk east associates at all is a huge accomplishment for me. I was so afraid to go out on my own and so afraid to fail but circumstances forced my hand and I’m so glad they did. I’m happier, less stressed, more motivated and frankly a better parent than I was.

When hiring for your team, what is your go-to interview question? Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience?

I learned (almost too recently) to take into account more the personality and emotionality of the person than even the experience. Let’s face it, accounting isn’t rocket science but making sure I’m hiring people who are in line with my values and the culture of dk east is so important because that’s what sets us apart from our competitors.

How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?

We immediately had to shift to damage control for our clients and help them figure out how to work effectively in the new remote workspace. We assisted in getting PPP and EIDL loans and were really humbled by the fact that we were integral in helping many of our clients keep the lights on.

What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?

I’m in pre-production for a podcast called Oh sh*t! What Now?! for mompreneurs. My colleague and I have 9 sons between us and are both killing it with our businesses. She is in e-commerce consulting but we have been friends for almost 10 years by virtue initially of all the sports we sat on the sidelines for!

What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?

2019 & 2020 were challenging personally. I lost my parents and my dear friend within 18 months, on top of the pandemic. My lesson was life is short. Don’t spend time on people or places where you are not appreciated for the wonderful person you are.

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?

I wish I realized how emotional finances are. It’s not all numbers in a spreadsheet, not only for myself but more importantly for my clients. Now that I can see that, my approach has pivoted to a better understanding of how finances make my clients feel and how my services can support them.

How have you managed to stay grounded this year?

Does wine count? I’ve learned to be more present, re-prioritize things and focus on the things I can control in the life I have. Realizing that I’m doing a lot of this for my sons also helps me stay grounded.

Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?

Of course! I’m a single parent and became one when my kids were 7, 9 and twin 12’s so I needed to really be in their lives otherwise, what’s the point? I start my day at 6am so that I’m done with all the things that need my biggest concentration earlier in the day. That allows me to be able to go to their sports games or do practice runs and most importantly have dinner together. I’m a huge proponent of family dinners – even with 4 boys who are now 14, 16 and twin 19’s. Although it’s harder now that the oldest three have their own jobs.

What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?

That I coached boys basketball at one point! 15-17 year olds! They towered over me but they were all friends of my twins so they were very respectful and we had a lot of fun. I’ll probably coach again next winter for my youngest.  Oh and I’m a huge Britney Spears fan!

What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?

  • Time blocking! This is new to me but keeps me on task. I not only block off the time to focus on a project or deliverable but I silence all notifications.  
  • Take short breaks during the day – it can be only 15 minutes but just walking around outside or getting some sun on the deck helps fight fatigue.
  • Have a plan. I plan out my week on Sundays and then each night I look at the schedule for the next day so I get in the right mindset for the tasks I have in store for me.

What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?

Being an Entreprenista means I’m killing it but I’m lifting up my sisters along with me. After working in environments where women did not support each other, I love the support and collaboration I’ve found in this community. My latest work with social impact firms has allowed me to be part of positive growth in this world.

Share it!

Posted in
Tags

Leave a Comment





Brand Photographer Brittney Jean Guy-Atakpo on helping women show up confidently on camera

Describe your business in a few words? I’m Brittney with Brittney Jean Photography & Company. I help women show up confidently in photos and on social media to grow their brand and business. I’m a Brand Photographer and Strategist. I have over 5 years working for Fortune 100 companies in sales and marketing and over…

Lorena Tapiero of Conscious Consulting on the power of networking

Describe your business in a few words? Conscious Consulting is a Latina-owned, bilingual marketing and public relations agency with 20 years of experience in the hospitality, sports and wellness sectors. Our thoughtful, comprehensive approach helps brands establish clear communication priorities and a long-range vision for meaningful press coverage, value-added partnerships and sustainable influencer relationships. As…

Lindsay Applebaum Stuart of Mamalux on the beginning stage of business

Describe your business in a few words? Mamalux is a first-of-its-kind leakproof sleep solution for breastfeeding moms. Our Kickstarter launches on 10/19! What was your background prior to starting your own business? I spent the first 10 years of my career as a sports journalist for the Washington Post and Sports Illustrated! So this has…

Jessica Bargenquast of Lady ChangeMakers on organic marketing strategies that work

Describe your business in a few words? Lady ChangeMakers is an exclusive e-commerce platform for women-owned businesses to gain valuable exposure and sales. Most of my life I’ve been encouraged to be seen and not heard. Growing up extremely introverted and shy I felt invisible. I wanted to create a platform so women-owned businesses could…

Jennifer Gligoric of EntrePods on the importance of mindset

Describe EntrePods in a few words? Cutting-edge entrepreneur and investor network answering the question “So Now What?” for business owners powered by fractional consultants and coaches with decades worth of experience. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I had no choice.  My mother owned a staffing company for 54 years…

Certified Financial Planner Maggie Gomez on investing and building wealth

Describe your business in a few words? An accessible place where anyone can learn to invest and build wealth, regardless of their net worth. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I realized that it was only those who were already wealthy that had access to quality financial guidance. I got…

Claire Jones of Cushy Couture on shifting paradigms in the fashion industry

Describe your business in a few words? Cushy Couture is a customer-driven clothing brand that creates high quality sweatpants in a wide range of colors and patterns that come in three different inseam lengths because we believe that you don’t have to settle for less. We create functional sweatpants that will last you for multiple…

Writer, Speaker, Podcaster, and Life Coach Chelsea Austin on taking care of yourself first

Describe your business in a few words? I advocate for others to find their own self-worth and acceptance through self-care, love, respect, and storytelling. What made you take the leap to start your own business? When I started writing my book and my blog, I don’t think I ever realized it would become a business.…

Maria Indenbosch of Humanity Wine Co. on creating the company you want to work for

Describe Humanity Wine Co. in a few words? We deliver high valued, family owned wines to your doorstep while changing the lives of abandoned youth by donating 50% of our profits to capacity building programs.  Humanity Wine Co. yearns to change the landscape of business as we know it. Leading abandoned youth to rise to…

Jaclyn Fu of Pepper on empowering women to love their bodies as they are

Describe your business in a few words? Pepper is an unapologetic bra brand for small-chested women, on a mission to empower everyone to love their bodies as they are. We design bras specifically for AA, A, B cups, in band sizes from 30 to 40. We’re bringing back the IBTC to encourage women with small…

Lesha Wincher of E L L E É on believing in your vision and never giving up

Describe your business in a few words? E L L E É is the perfect atmosphere to relax and unwind for mind, body, and soul. Our business is different from the rest as each one of our services are specifically tailored to each one of our guests. What made you take the leap to start…

Meg Murray Jones of Postpartum Plan on the best decisions she made in launching her online resource

Describe your business in a few words? Postpartum Plan is an online resource for new parents from 35 weeks pregnant to 6 weeks postpartum. It brings together a support team of experts that all new parents should have access to; women’s health physio, yoga and breath-work instructor, nutritionist, postpartum doula, GP and more. We also…

Amelia Pavlik of FRESHJUICE + bubbly on wellness and work/life balance

Describe FRESHJUICE + bubbly in a few words? A boutique business focused on connecting clients to wellness splurges to suit budgets big and small. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I love all things wellness, and for years, I’d searched for a resource that could provide me with the latest…

Ari Krzyzek of Chykalophia on converting your network into your net worth

Describe your business in a few words? Chykalophia (read: see-ka-lo-fia) is a creative and technology agency helping women-led brands in FemTech & DTC fast-forward their business through strategies, design and all things website. What made you take the leap to start your own business? My fiancé at the time (now my husband and business partner)…

Monique Little of You Go Natural on the importance of planning for growth

Describe You Go Natural in a few words? YGN creates beautiful and innovative products that make natural haircare easier. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I started my business because there was a need in the market that needed to be filled. I did not want to let the opportunity…