Mamaprenista Shannon Palermo Shares the Process Behind Launching Modern Balance and Overcoming Fear
Please share a brief introduction about yourself and your business:
I am the founder and CEO of Modern Balance, a bookkeeping and advisory firm. We work with small businesses across the U.S., but seem to be naturally niching down with coaches, consultants, and creatives. I live in South Florida, and I’m a mom of two daughters. I love going to the pool or beach with my girls, traveling, listening to live music, and working. Yep, I actually love to work. I absolutely LOVE building my business. Since becoming an entrepreneur, I’ve met so many amazing people that have turned into great friends!
What excites you about being an Entreprenista League member?
Networking and meeting new people
What made you take the leap to start your own business?
I initially just wanted to make some extra money on the side of my regular job. However, when COVID hit, I was let go, so I took a leap of faith, took the business full-time, and never looked back!
What was your background prior to starting your own business?
I was a paralegal and office manager at a law firm for over 20 years.
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
No, it was never on my mind until I was trying to figure out how to make some extra money. I decided which part of my job I loved the most – the bookkeeping – got some more education and started the business.
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?
I was very nervous to say anything to anyone about my business because I had a full-time job. It took some time before I got a client, but then I got more comfortable with it and started networking on Facebook and LinkedIn. I joined a group sales coaching program where I learned how to crawl out of my shell and start talking to people. My introverted self became very comfortable with Zoom coffee chats with people all over the world.
What is the biggest challenge you have encountered along the way and what did you learn from it?
My biggest challenge is juggling all the work. Between admin work, marketing, sales, networking, onboarding clients, client meetings, and the actual client work, something always fell by the wayside. When it became too much to handle alone, I learned to start delegating and outsourcing. In early 2021, I also hired my first employee which taught me a lot about leadership and management.
What is the accomplishment you are the proudest of to date?
Being a single mom of two who owns her own home and runs a multi-6-figure business. I had an 18-year relationship with my daughters’ father in which I was very reliant upon him for support money-wise. Once I moved out on my own, I shifted my mindset and my goals to ensure that I was able to support myself. I bought a house two years later, started my business two years after that, and then took the business full-time two years after that.
Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?
It’s more like an ebb and flow than balance, I think. Balance implies that it’s always level and equal, but that’s impossible. Depending on the time of year, the business could consume my life, like tax season gets a little insane. But then in the summer, I love to take vacations with the kids, and they love it when I take a random day off or an hour in the afternoon to spend with them. My best tip would be to take time for yourself – don’t lose yourself in your work or your kids/family. Schedule time in your day for yourself, even if it’s a 15-minute morning meditation, a short walk in the afternoon, or a TV show while you’re taking a lunch break. Also, working from home can often turn us into hermits who avoid people-ing like the plague, so avoid that by scheduling time out of the house with kids or friends.
What’s a piece of advice you can share that you wish you’d known when you first started your Entreprenista journey?
Don’t let fear paralyze you. I know it’s easier said than done, but fear is a nasty little thing that creeps up on you and starts throwing monkey wrenches into everything. Acknowledge the fear, feel the fear, and push it aside. (I’m still working on this!)
What have you achieved recently that you’d like to celebrate with our community?
I’ve recently started mentoring other bookkeepers who are looking to grow their businesses.
What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?
My team is growing, and my operations manager is whipping us into shape. The business is going to run like a well-oiled machine allowing me to relinquish more control to my management team. This will allow me to focus on the growth of the business (and a little side project I’ve got in the works).