Today I had the pleasure of speaking with Melissa Houston, chartered professional accountant, a CPA, a financial strategist for CEOs, columnist for Forbes.com, and the host of the Business Society Podcast.
Melissa helps successful business owners increase their profit margins without having to increase revenue so that they keep more money in their pocket while increasing their personal wealth.
As business owners, we have to be very mindful of getting the information that we need from a source that we trust, but also in a way that we are able to use it. We're expected to be badass in business the way that we are badass in law. But the reality is finance is an entire industry and none of us should feel bad about ourselves because we don't know what we don't know, right?
Melissa Houston is a reliable source to inform, tune in to learn more!
In this episode we discuss:
- The importance of knowing your numbers as a law firm owner.
- The value of financial coaching.
- Why profit is far more important than revenue.
- How as a business owner, having more control over the wealth that you're creating.
- Understanding your money mindset and creating financial goals.
- Getting clear on what you want your money to do for you.
- A five-step money framework.
- Your responsibility to check in on the financial health of your business.
Allison Williams: [00:00:12] Hi, everybody, it's Allison Williams here, your Law Firm Mentor. Law Firm Mentor is a business coaching service for solo and small law firm attorneys. We help you grow your revenues, crush chaos in business and make more money.
Allison Williams: [00:00:26] All right, today's guest on The Crushing Chaos with Law Firm Mentor Podcast is Melissa Houston, who is a chartered professional accountant, a CPA, a financial strategist for CEOs, a columnist for Forbes.com, and the host of the Business Society Podcast. Melissa helps successful business owners increase their profit margins without having to increase revenue so that they keep more money in their pocket while increasing their personal wealth. She has over 20 years of experience with large and small corporations, government, and non-profit industries while specializing in internal controls, corporate accounting, budgets, financial reporting, corporate and personal tax, audit, and S.R. and E.D. So that was a lot that was a big mouthful, but I love sharing with you the bios of people that I consider to be impressive people and I had the pleasure of meeting a lot of people as I've been doing the podcast and we have had some amazing guests on. But I loved talking to Melissa, because Melissa is somebody that she espouses what I tried to bring to the legal space, which is she speaks her level of expertise her knowledge. You can clearly tell she knows her stuff, but she is able to distill it down in very matter-of-fact, plain English ways of understanding that make it easy for business owners and in particular, law firm owners to get it.
Allison Williams: [00:01:53] And one of the things that I think we as business owners have to be very, very mindful of is getting the information that we need from a source that we trust, but also in a way that we are able to use it. And I know a lot of us, a lot of law firm owners struggle with the shame and guilt that comes with not knowing their numbers, not knowing how successful they are, kind of faking the funk to the community, to the, to the profession and to their friends and family. Because we are expected as law firm owners to know what we don't know, right? We're expected to know what all we're expected to know our numbers, to be on top of things, to know how profitable we are. We're expected to be badass in business the way that we are badass in law. And the reality is finance is an entire industry. Just as marketing is an entire industry and none of us should feel bad about ourselves because we don't know what we know, we don't know, right? The only shame in ignorance is choosing to retain it. So without further ado, I want to welcome our guest to the podcast, Melissa Houston. Melissa Houston Welcome to The Crushing Chaos with Law Firm Mentor Podcast.
Melissa Houston: [00:03:03] Thank you so much for having me here, Allison. I'm so excited to be here.
Allison Williams: [00:03:07] Yeah, I'm excited to talk to you too. You know, I had the pleasure of meeting you when we were connected by a colleague in a business incubator, and I've been following you for a little bit. I'm in your Facebook group, and I just think the value of what you offer to the world is just remarkable. And so I'm really excited to bring you to our audience. And for everyone, you know, we're going to be talking today about the value of financial coaching. And Melissa has both the expertise of being a CPA, but she also has the talent of being a coach. And what I love about combining those two synergies is that it can really help to move not only your step-by-step how-to but your mindset. And we're always talking about how to elevate our mindset here at Law Firm Mentor. So without further ado, Melissa, I want to dive into the parameters of this and really ask you kind of the starting question, which is what do you think is better? Do you think profit or revenue is better? And why is that?
Melissa Houston: [00:04:06] Such a good question, because so many business owners believe that if you have the revenue coming in, then you're a OK. And that is not the case whatsoever, because if you have the revenue coming in but you're consistently having, you know, all your money going out the door, your, your expenses exceed the revenue that comes in month after month. You are operating your business at a loss. So the unfortunate thing is there are many business owners out there who are not aware of whether they're operating at a profit or loss. So profit is extremely important because, without profit, your business will go under. So that is why profit is far more important than revenue.
Allison Williams: [00:04:49] Yeah. And you know, I love that you say that because there are so many business owners. I encounter a lot of lawyers that, that have the mindset of, you know, I want to grow to an X size business, right? And they talk about revenue like it's the Bible of success in business. But you're right. Like, I know some law firm owners that have a seven-figure business but have a five-figure personal income, which is shocking if you think about it. But it's not uncommon,
Melissa Houston: [00:05:13] It's not uncommon. And the thing is, especially with lawyers, you're ambitious people. You want to hit that seven-figure or eight-figure, whatever goal that you've set for yourself and you want to do it as quickly as possible. Now, what happens a lot of the time is that people seem to think that growth is always a good thing, and I'm here to say it's not, right? So if you're growing your business too quickly, there's a lot of problems that can arise financially. And one of them and the key one being is that you don't have the capital to sustain that quick growth. So growth really needs to be planned out and you need to ensure month after month that you are hitting your, your profit targets because you have to maintain that control growth.
Allison Williams: [00:05:58] Yeah, so controlled growth. I like that as a concept, but I'll tell you, when I heard you say not growing is sometimes better than growing like the rapid growth. And you know, of course, you know, my mantra is never stop growing. So when we talk about that, I want you to kind of put a frame around the idea of strategic growth.
Melissa Houston: [00:06:18] Yeah, absolutely. I certainly didn't mean to leave the impression that no growth is better than quick growth. But what I'm trying to say is that when you are growing your business quickly, you need to ensure that you've got the key financial foundation in place to ensure that you don't derail your business. So there's a lot of things that you need to be monitoring. You need to be monitoring your cash levels, you need to be monitoring any debt levels. You need to be monitoring those expenses that are going out the door, ensuring that revenue coming in is going to exceed your expenses. So it's very strategic in the sense that you know the, the goal is month after month to have that profit coming in so that you can reinvest that profit into your business for, for good controlled growth.
Allison Williams: [00:07:02] Yeah. So when you say that when you talk about controlled growth and reinvesting profit, you know, that's something that we're committed to here. In fact, one of the programs that we have in Law Firm Mentor is Cash Flow Fridays, and we actually have, one of our, yes right. And we would love to claim it. I'm not going to claim it. I would give a shout out to one of my lead coaches, Wolfgang, who came up with Cash Flow Fridays, but it was really out of the lack of knowledge that our clients were evidencing like they didn't understand how to create a cash flow projection. They didn't understand how to read a profit and loss statement. And I think a lot of lawyers get overwhelmed by just the idea of having one more thing to learn and master in order to be successful in business. So how do you help people overcome the resistance to having to take on what may be, for many, a sophisticated area of knowledge that they don't have?
Melissa Houston: [00:07:52] Well, the main reason why you would want to know your numbers in your business is that. There's nothing in your business that doesn't affect your bottom line, right, so everything that you're doing in your business is going to impact it positively or negatively, whether it's directly or indirectly. And the reason why you want to know this, is because every business decision that you make as a CEO, when you understand your business numbers, you understand how the decisions that you're making affect your profit line. So if you're not aware of this information, then essentially it's like driving a car blindly, right? You have absolutely no idea you get in the car and you just drive and you don't know where you're going and eventually, you're going to crash. So it's the same thing. It's the analogy that I use for business owners because if you don't know what's going on within your business, you are essentially at the driver's wheel of the business going blindly and you don't know where you're going to end up.
Allison Williams: [00:08:48] Yeah. And I would imagine that that's a lot scarier and a lot more dangerous the bigger you get, because, you know, mismanaging $100,000 is a lot quicker recovery than mismanaging a few million dollars.
Melissa Houston: [00:08:59] Exactly, exactly. And unfortunately, I usually see clients come in after the fact when they've lost a lot of money and they realize that they've dug themselves a hole and they need to get out. But I prefer to see clients on an earlier basis where they're like, OK, I'm starting this business and I want to understand how to manage my finances so that I don't end up in that situation.
Allison Williams: [00:09:23] Yeah. So I mean, I'm sure we all identify with that, especially, you know, the lawyers that are listening. We all have had that client that comes in, they have a consultation. They said, I'm thinking about X and you're like, OK, don't do that, do this instead, and then they don't hire you. And then they come back a year later, and they have completely screwed up everything that you could have proactively gotten for them. And you're now playing Monday morning quarterback trying to fix the stuff that they created, right?
Melissa Houston: [00:09:47] Yeah. And certainly it happens. And you know, I don't judge because, you know, we all have our path to take, but I'm just trying to say that the importance of getting in there earlier definitely has a return on investment, right? Like, you're definitely going to save money, prevent catastrophes from happening. But you know, when you're ready, you're ready. You have to meet the client where they're at, right?
Allison Williams: [00:10:10] So when you say return on investment, those are like some sexy words to me. I get excited when I hear them because that leads to wealth. So let's talk about wealth creation and the unique ability that a business owner has to create wealth relative to someone who simply has a job.
Melissa Houston: [00:10:25] Exactly. And I love this question because being a business owner means that you have way more control about the wealth that you're creating in your, in your personal life. So as business owners, we typically own 100 percent of our business, so we're not giving our profits out to shareholders or anything like that. So what we can do is we can control the amount of money that we want to make in our business. So typically, like we were talking about earlier, lawyers tend to be very ambitious. You know, you're going for the seven, eight-figure income. And this is a perfect example of how you can build your wealth within your business. So you know you tighten up your profit margins, you understand what you're aiming for and achieving for your revenue numbers. You understand how, how much you're going to have to pay and expenses to ensure that you hit the profits that you've planned for. And what happens is, you know, as I mentioned earlier, you can reinvest your profits for growth or you can invest them into investments like, because you never want cash sitting there idly, right? You definitely want a cash reserve for cash management purposes, but you also want to make sure that any extra-large balances of cash are protected. So sitting in, a in a bank account where it's not making any money is definitely detrimental to your cash. So what happens is as business owners, we have these tax strategies and tax incentives that are not available for employees of companies.
Melissa Houston: [00:12:00] And there's a lot of tax-saving strategies that you can use as a business owner to get that wealth transferred from your business to your personal assets. So regardless of what you decide to do with your profits, whether you're still growing your business or you've decided that, OK, maybe I want to take some out and enjoy life, what have you that your business will always show up in your personal finances because you own it. Ok, so the more your business is worth the, the wealthier you are personally as an individual. And quite often I see people business owners who are like, Well, I only need to make a certain amount of money to make ends meet, you know, and that's all I need. But I really want to smash those mindset issues because wealth can be a very positive thing. I mean, you get to not only make a lot of money, but you're, you're going to finance the financial life that you desired. And you can also do a lot of really good stuff with money, you know, you can donate it sort of not for profit, what have you. So there's so many opportunities when you're building wealth within your business so that you can affect your life and the life around, like the lives around you positively.
Allison Williams: [00:13:15] Yeah. So when we talk about that, it's a well, it's a wonderful point that you just raised about how people can do great things with wealth, because what a lot of the followers of Law Firm Mentor are, what I'll say is heart-centered professionals, right? They don't just practice law because it makes them a buck. They practice. They know that there's an opportunity to create wealth through their profession, but they really have a desire in what they are doing in the world, who they are being in the world, how they are creating in the world. And I have a lot of people that come in and they have that value conflict between making wealth and also wanting to do good right now, wanting to serve underserved communities right now, wanting to help people that have fewer resources right now. So how does one balance the desire for creating more wealth with the immediate heartstring goal of helping populations that may not have the affluence to be able to fund as quickly as possible the affluence that they would like to create in their personal lives?
Melissa Houston: [00:14:12] So that's a really good question. I mean, basically, it's going to be based on what you as a person or as an individual prefers in terms of donating money, right? So whether it's instant, instant gratification where you want to donate money to your favorite charity, maybe right away you can take those profits, take a certain percentage, donate them, and feel good about it. But if you're thinking more long term that you want to leave some sort of legacy or make a bigger impact in the world, that's going to take time to build like a not-for-profit or whatever you have in mind. And this is why I always meet with my clients at the beginning and we really hammer out those financial goals because not all financial goals are based on I want a sailboat, I want a vacation home, I want this, I want that. You know, a lot of people want to make a difference in the world. So if, if that's important to you, that's something that you're going to want to work towards. And you know, nothing is built in a day. These, these kinds of structures take time, patience, money, and just constantly reinvesting into it. So it's the difference between the instant gratification. There you go, here's, here's X amount of dollars and you know your organization can do as you wish with it, or you create your own organization and get to make the change in the world that you want to see.
Allison Williams: [00:15:32] Yeah. So I love the idea of making the change in the world that you want to see, and there are a lot of people that I think will resonate with that message. But you know, one of the things that you were as you were speaking earlier that just kind of came to me is kind of the challenge that a lot of people have that if they have always been a wage earner and they always lived, check to check before they became a business owner, and now they have access to a lot more cash. One of the things that I see is a consistent theme with both clients that we have people that are in the legal community that will end up talking to us. They share about the fact that they never learned how to manage money beyond immediate need because they always had just enough to meet their immediate need. So there's almost like an urgent side of them of, Oh my god, I've got extra cash in the bank. I need to like, go spend that because that's what I'm used to doing. So how do you start to work with someone to kind of shift the mindset around cash equals play day or cash equals the ability to go spend or cash equals excess that I have to get rid of because my psychological, my subconscious programming says I live within my needs and that's it.
Melissa Houston: [00:16:38] I love this question and it excites me because this is really what financial coaching like when you look at it, that's the root of the issue, right? And everybody comes to the table with a money mindset issue. Even if you're making a ton of money, there's usually some sort of issue there. So you really need to and this is why I always talk about my clients right at the beginning. Let's talk about what's going on in your head, so to speak, right? Are there money mindset issues holding you back? What is your money story from childhood? And that's why it's so important to create these financial goals right at the beginning, right? So when clients get clear on what it is that they want to achieve in their life, they have direction. So what happens is if you don't have goals, financial goals planned out for yourself, you get in situations where you were just talking about where you're making a whole lot of money now and you don't know what to do with it, you never gave your money a job. So you spend it. And then what happens is you're just spending it on stuff that's, you know, they're not appreciable assets. You're not reinvesting your money, you're not building your wealth, you're not building your net worth. So when you don't have a job for your money, that's where you have no direction for it. So I really get, you know, get clients to get clear on what they want with their money and you know. And you don't have to make one choice, there's you know, you want to invest, you want to diversify your income. You want to put money aside for, for donation, like there's a lot of different buckets you can put your money into. But if you don't know what you want, you'll never make those decisions to do it.
Allison Williams: [00:18:16] Yeah. So that's a great phrase. You know, a job for your money, right? Because I always talk about the idea that, you know, if you don't as a, as a business owner, really take yourself out of the weeds. You're very easily just going to have a job that has your name on it. Right, exactly. And it's really the same thing. If you think about it with money, right? Your goal is to have responsibilities for your money. Your money should be doing something. It shouldn't just be a thing that you happen to have. Because what happens is, again, those subconscious programs start to kick in and we do with our money what we've always done with our money. And if we've only ever had enough, we will find a way to spend what there is, even if there's no immediate need for it.
Melissa Houston: [00:18:53] Exactly. And that's a very common problem that people get into. And so a lot of people end up thinking, Well, I'm not in debt, so it's not really an issue. But how are you going to finance your retirement? How are you going to finance your financial dreams? Maybe, you know, one of your financial dreams is to retire early. So if you've got that motivation that you know you've got your why into why you're a business owner and what you want to do with this and you create and what I do with my clients is I create financial plans that are centered around their financial goals, like value-based goals. And so you've got this plan that you're following step by step, by step. And it sounds mundane when I say that because as instantly as I heard it come out of my mouth, I'm like, no, don't say that, you know? But you know, essentially that's what's happening, and you can reward yourself in different ways along the way. But it's amazing when clients get clear on what they want, is how confident and, and purposeful they feel because money is such an emotionally charged topic, right? And if you're kind of wandering around aimlessly with a full wallet and you don't know what to do it, it can, you know, make you feel a little bit, you know, less worthy of yourself because you're like, I don't know what to do. I've never been taught this, and that's the frustrating thing, too. And I especially see it with my clients that are lawyers as well is that when they come to me, there's a lot of shame and a lot of, you know, just feeling bad about themselves because they're like, I'm such a smart person. How do I not understand how to manage my money, right? And it's not that you're not smart. It's because, you know, your life centered around becoming a lawyer. I'm pretty sure nobody taught you how to run a business when you're trying to study for the bar exam, right?
Allison Williams: [00:20:46] Absolutely not. No one taught us how to run a business and no one, you know, trying to think of the right way of saying this, like we didn't just get the message of being a lawyer and business wasn't discussed. We were given the message that we need to have all of the answers, right? So as an imperative, it's kind of like once you have the title of professional, people will ask you any and everything assuming that you know any and everything. I mean, like the number of people that are like, get into a conversation with a lawyer and say, Hey, family law attorney in Charlotte, North Carolina, I am, you know, Susie Smith, your third cousin, twice removed, who lives in San Diego, California, and I have a landlord-tenant issue. Can you help me? And you're like, No! I don't know all things legal. Like, you know, that's not my area of expertise, it's not my state, I'm not licensed there. But they assume that, you know you have that title of professional. So you're supposed to know. And I think a lot of lawyers soak in those societal assumptions. And then when we don't know something, there's a, like you said, shame, guilt kind of a hiding out. And I know a lot of lawyers that don't go out and get help because they are so triggered by the fact that they don't know what they don't know. And, and kind of coming out as somebody who doesn't know the answers that they feel bad about themselves for not knowing all the things that you've learned over decades of experience in the financial realm.
Melissa Houston: [00:22:08] Exactly, exactly. And that's what I, you know, I really try to explain to my clients, too. When they come to me, it's like, I don't know what you know, but I know what I know. But I wouldn't feel bad about not knowing what you know because I didn't study what you know, that's not my area of expertise, right?
Allison Williams: [00:22:24] So when you're working with a lawyer as a as a financial coaching client, how do you help them to create plans and not feel that sense of I mean, obviously you can't control what a person feels, but how do you help them overcome their feelings and move through them of not knowing what they don't know and still making a plan? That seems like it might take a long time, but the more aggressive they get about their goals, they can really accomplish remarkable things in a relatively short time.
Melissa Houston: [00:22:52] Yeah, absolutely. I have a five-step money framework that I take my clients through, and it's amazing, you know, once you break it down into steps because, you know, if you came to me and you're like, I'm totally overwhelmed, I have absolutely nowhere to start. This is too much for me, and it's going to take me a year to learn this or more, right? That's the general apprehension I hear. You know, it's like, I don't have the time. I, you know, just make it easy for me. But when you break it down step by step, you realize, you know, you're just taking off little pieces and you're digesting it and then you move on to the next step. And what happens is within a month or two, you have a really good understanding of what's going on within your business and your business finances. So I take clients through those steps to make sure that their financial systems are set up. While you don't need to get in the weeds, you don't need to understand debits and credits and all that stuff. But as the CEO of your business, you have a responsibility to check in with the financial health of your business. And even for professionals who are far too busy and they hire like, let's say, a fractional CFO. I also emphasize the fact that you may have hired people to help you and advise you, but you should never check out of your finances. So you, as the, as the top business decision-maker, need to understand this information and how it impacts your business.
Allison Williams: [00:24:20] Yeah, wow. So that is such powerful advice. I mean, the idea of not checking out, you know, I think there are some lawyers that are such micromanagers. They check in too much in the weeds. They just kind of live in the weeds and they don't really understand it, but they feel like they have control if they're there and then you have the abdicator right? The person who's like, Yeah, yeah, I got somebody who's taking care of that. And then like, you go in one day and all of a sudden your business accounts at zero and you're like, What happened? Yeah. You know, so both of them are toxic dysfunctions that we have to avoid.
Melissa Houston: [00:24:50] But yeah, and it's hard to find that happy medium. But it definitely is there. You just need to invest the time to figure out where you're at in your business and how you can make it better.
Allison Williams: [00:25:00] Right. And if someone's going to invest the time having someone like you on their team, someone who can actually guide them in the right questions to ask the right level of engagement with their finances without overwhelming them to the point where it's a full-time job for them is really going to be beneficial.
Melissa Houston: [00:25:15] Absolutely.
Allison Williams: [00:25:16] Yeah. So, Melissa, it's been just wonderful talking to you. You've been such a wealth of information, and I really want people to learn more about your five-step blueprint on, on money management. So if you could give us how, first of all, tell us how people can get a hold of you if they want to learn more?
Melissa Houston: [00:25:33] Absolutely. So you can visit my website at MelissaHoustonCPA.com And the Five-Step roadmap to Biz Finance Freedom is available. You'll see it right when you land on the home page. You can grab a copy of that and have a look through it, and, you know if you have any questions, reach out to me.
Allison Williams: [00:25:53] All right, everybody, you have heard it here. Melissa Houston has been our special guest today. I have the pleasure of following her. You guys should really check her out on social media. Of course, all of those links will be in the show notes as well. She is really just a fountain of information, and she brings it to us in real world, no nonsense, very easy-to-understand lingo that is just kind of near and dear to my heart because finance people can scare me sometimes. And Melissa is not one of those people. So, Melissa, thank you so much for being a guest on the podcast today and for everyone out there listening, I am Allison Williams here, Law Firm Mentor. Have a wonderful day.
Allison Williams: [00:26:41] Thank you for tuning in to the Crushing Chaos with Law Firm Mentor Podcast. To learn more about today's guests and take advantage of the resources mentioned, check out our show notes. And if you own a solo or small law firm and are looking for guidance, advice, or simply support on your journey to create a law firm that runs without you, join us in the Law Firm Mentor Movement Free Facebook group. There you can access our free trainings on improving collections and law firms, meeting billable hours and join the movement of thousands of law firm owners across the country who want to crush chaos in their law firms and make more money. I'm Allison Williams, your Law Firm Mentor. Have a great day!
Melissa Houston is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA). a Financial Strategist for CEOs, a columnist at Forbes.com, and the host of The Business Society podcast. Melissa helps successful business owners increase their profit margins without having to increase revenue so that they keep more money in their pocket while increasing their personal wealth.
Melissa has over 20 years of business experience with large and small
corporations, government, and not-for-profit industries while specializing in Internal Controls, corporate accounting, budgets, financial reporting, corporate & personal tax, audit, and SR&ED. Melissa enjoys helping business owners build their businesses by increasing their financial management skills. Your numbers are telling you a story - make sure you are listening to it.
Melissa's passion is helping business owners go from 6-figure to 7-figure businesses and achieving their personal financial dreams.
When Melissa isn't helping entrepreneurs become better CEO's of their business, she can be found at the cottage with her husband Jamie, two teen children, and three dogs.
Five-Step Roadmap to Biz Finance Freedom is available on the Website
Forbes Contributions: www.forbes.com/sites/melissahouston/ ?sh=4de028d25ee8
Allison C. Williams, Esq., is Founder and Owner of the Williams Law Group, LLC, with offices in Short Hills and Freehold, New Jersey. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, is Certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Matrimonial Law Attorney and is the first attorney in New Jersey to become Board-Certified by the National Board of Trial Advocacy in the field of Family Law.
Ms. Williams is an accomplished businesswoman. In 2017, the Williams Law Group won the LawFirm500 award, ranking 14th of the fastest growing law firms in the nation, as Ms. Williams grew the firm 581% in three years. Ms. Williams won the Silver Stevie Award for Female Entrepreneur of the Year in 2017. In 2018, Ms. Williams was voted as NJBIZ’s Top 50 Women in Business and was designated one of the Top 25 Leading Women Entrepreneurs and Business Owners. In 2019, Ms. Williams won the Seminole 100 Award for founding one of the fastest growing companies among graduates of Florida State University.
In 2018, Ms. Williams created Law Firm Mentor, a business coaching service for lawyers. She helps solo and small law firm attorneys grow their business revenues, crush chaos in business and make more money. Through multi-day intensive business retreats, group and one-to-one coaching, and strategic planning sessions, Ms. Williams advises lawyers on all aspects of creating, sustaining and scaling a law firm business – and specifically, she teaches them the core foundational principles of marketing, sales, personnel management, communications and money management in law firms.
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00: 20: 14 (30. Seconds)
And I especially see it with my clients that are lawyers as well is that when they come to me, there's a lot of shame and a lot of, you know, just feeling bad about themselves because they're like, I'm such a smart person. How do I not understand how to manage my money, right? And it's not that you're not smart. It's because, you know, your life centered around becoming a lawyer. I'm pretty sure nobody taught you how to run a business when you're trying to study for the bar exam, right?