“I was exposed to that small business vibe very early on, and got to see the inner workings of it,” Lyndsey says. “I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I think I had the business name set aside for 15 years—I just didn’t know what it was that I was going to do.”
Today, Lyndsey is the founder and owner of County 249 Creative, a social media agency that works mainly with service businesses like spas, salons, food and beverage purveyors, and ecommerce and retail companies, among others. She started County 249 Creative after 10 years with the same company, gaining progressively more experience and responsibility as time went on. By the time she left the company to start her own agency, she was both director of marketing and director of HR, handling payroll, hiring, and other HR tasks.
“I was also freelancing for an agency at the time, doing social media for much bigger businesses, bigger brands than I’d ever worked with before,” she says. “During that experience, I got the agency bug, so to speak. I really enjoyed working on multiple projects and the fast-paced nature of it.”
She realized that if she was managing a full-time job, and freelancing on the side, there was no reason she couldn’t put all of that energy toward her own business—so she gave eight weeks notice to both the agency and her full-time employer, and spent that time getting ready to launch her own social media agency.
One of her first moves after launching? Hiring Bench to handle her bookkeeping. Because Lyndsey had spent years handling all the HR operations at her former company, from writing policies to hiring, she knew there were certain things she’d just have to outsource.
“I went into entrepreneurship understanding that I couldn’t do my accounting by myself,” she says. “When you get to a certain point in your career, you know the things that you’ll do consistently, and those you won’t. I knew that I probably wasn’t going to be saving receipts or organizing things into categories. And you have to have your books accurate—it’s essential to running your business. So it seemed to make the most sense to hand those tasks off to a true professional right away.”
This allowed Lyndsey to focus on her core mission, which was to put client satisfaction at the center of her agency. “When I was on the other side, as director of marketing, we worked with a lot of agencies—some of them were great, but many of them I felt like I was either being spoken to in a condescending tone, or we were treated a particular way because our budget wasn’t as high as some of their bigger clients. I really felt there was a better way to do it, and so number one for us is always client satisfaction.”
Because Lyndsey’s business tends to have clients who pay regular amounts on a monthly basis, she stays pretty hands-off when it comes to her Bench reports. Her bookkeeper gets all the information she needs from Lyndsey’s Freshbooks and Gusto accounts (both of which are Bench partners).
What Lyndsey does look at her Bench reports for is often to help inform pricing, making sure that the expenses she’s incurring for clients’ accounts on things like stock images, graphic tools, etc. make sense given what she’s charging.
For others who might be feeling the entrepreneurial itch, Lyndsey offers this advice: “Plan ahead. There’s no reason you can’t spend six months, a year, five years planning the dream. I did so much planning beforehand, and I think I owe a lot of my success to that.”
She also recommended getting as much experience in your industry as possible, as you never know what will come in handy. “I mean, payroll is a great example, right? That turned out to be super, super helpful for me,” she says. “Get that experience so you can make sure you’re the expert. We’re all going to have that imposter syndrome anyway.”