Swimming in Numbers: A Girls Bookkeeping Voyage

Full Sail Silhouette

True Story: Jen Landis

Today’s True Story is from Jen Landis who enthusiastically volunteered to share her experiences with business record keeping. Jen is the head girl at PinCurl Girls where she draws on her MFA and her experiences with the education process. As Jen tells it, PinCurl Girls “encourages girls to avoid self-doubt by looking for happiness, expressing their artistic talents and believing in themselves by thinking positive thoughts.”

Setting Sail

Jen started her business as an outlet for her inner girl. Since it was barely more than a hobby, she didn’t worry about the books very much. Looking back, Jen says “I’m not sure I ever thought about it. I was more concerned with if people were connecting with my art work.”

But, as interest in her art kept growing, she worked toward upgrading her bookkeeping habits. First, she started with a paper system with all her records printed and filed in a binder. Then she tried a software program but was overwhelmed by the time it would take to enter all the data. Jen was adrift in a sea of choices, “I knew there were lots of different avenues to my bookkeeping but didn’t know which one to try first,” she says.

A  Seaworthy Craft

She found a vessel for her journey in Outright.com, a web based small business bookkeeping program that resonated with her way of working. Now, Jen is much happier with the state of her records. “I still use my binder process but all the down to the penny details and charts are accessible through this program,” she says.

Safe Passage

Now that she’s crossed the sea of her financial data and learned to steer the ship, Jen is reaping the benefits of her discipline. She’s able to make better business decisions like how much inventory to make, how much it will cost and how long it will last. Jen admits, “Before I started with the bookkeeping I couldn’t have told you that.”

The Storm Before the Calm

Jen weathered a storm that sprang from her own imagination. She was trying to navigate by the false stars of magic thinking about money. She remembers how she used to avoid looking at the credit card bills so she could ignore the interest cost. She’s reformed now but says it’s still hard sometimes to sit down and do the math. Despite that,  Jen is staying the course. As she puts it, her old way of thinking “was all wrong. I now look closely at where my money is going and love how empowered I feel because of it.”


In an interesting bit of synchronicity, Jen recently found the book The Energy of Money: A Spiritual Guide to Financial and Personal Fulfillment* by Maria Nemeth Ph.D. According to Jen, the author focuses on what she calls our “Monkey Mind” that chatters about not doing the books, balancing the checkbook and other money tasks. Part of Jen’s struggle was overcoming that as she says, “I found myself listening to my Monkey Mind in the past and not taking the time to do things properly.”

Details, Details

Do you want your creative business story told? Just volunteer! That’s right; this is an all volunteer group. Let me know if you’re interested and I’ll send you some questions. That’s all there is to it – so send me a note today or a tweet today!

Creative Commons License photo credit: anoldent

* Amazon Affiliate Link – Also available on Kindle!

5 thoughts on “Swimming in Numbers: A Girls Bookkeeping Voyage”

  1. Great article Monette! I have realized when my finances are organized it is much easier to handle them. And reading your blog will continue to inspire me to look at my bookkeeping in a positive way!

    I am very curious how other artists organize their finances?

    1. Thanks Jen! I hope I did justice to the fantastic job you’ve done! Thanks for the vote of confidence (sweet – blushing!)

      I’m with you – lets hear from the other creative folks out there! Leave a quick comment with your experience 🙂

  2. Most of our stuff is paid for by PayPal right now.
    I also save business receipts.

    Then all of that gets entered into a spreadsheet for tax time.

    I can really resonate with where Jen was – that’s SO where we were back in our jewelry-biz days. (Except we didn’t even have the binder!)

    Now… I’m going to be looking for ways to keep more up-to-date as we go to avoid that sense of overwhelm and dispair. (Tho’ I’m still not sure how we figure in old supplies that I no longer have receipts for.)

    Will have to check out that program, as QuickBooks seems to require you to have a CPA degree to set it up, which seems rather paradoxical.

    Other suggestions also more than welcome! 🙂

    Thank you for sharing Jen! 🙂
    Great idea Monette! 🙂

    1. Thanks, Birdy, for the peek into your biz too – the more the merrier! I LOVE your phrase “overwhelm and despair;” I’ll have to use that sometime 🙂

      There are so many different ways to address the records/books thing so that there’s a way that suits everyone. There isn’t any one RIGHT answer – don’t let anyone tell you that!

      Re: the QuickBooks thing. Yes, it is complicated to set up (and, heaven knows, you don’t want to get it wrong there) but sometimes it’s the best solution for certain businesses. But, not always, and I think it’s overkill in a lot of applications. Good luck and let me know if you’ve got a question 🙂

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