Stacy Ayotte

Stacy Ayotte(Story edited from Stacy’s remarks at an October, 2014 WWC luncheon.)

I own and operate a Bookkeeping practice out of my home called The Back Office Expert.  I started my business in 2008, after spending almost 30 years as the Accounting Manager at Blue Cross, Creative Work Systems, and Catholic Charities.  I worked with the Small Business Development Center and joined a strong networking organization (BNI) that got my business off to a good start.

However, in April of 2010, I was diagnosed with cancer.  I was unable to work for two months and subsequently lost my largest client.  After exhausting my savings, I had to apply for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) to support myself and my teenage daughter while my business regained its momentum.  One of the requirements for a self-employed TANF recipient was to work with Women, Work, and Community (WWC).

I met several times with Gigi Guyton, mostly to discuss marketing avenues, such as Social Media, that were very new to me.  Gigi also introduced me to the Family Development Account (FDA) and helped me to apply.  Over three years, I saved $1,000; which was matched with $4,000 from federal and private sources.  That account matured in April of this year and paid for productivity software, office furniture, office equipment, business conferences, and my QuickBooks ProAdvisor renewal.  I had so much fun spending on my business!

In order to claim my FDA matched savings, I attended WWC’s My Money Works class.  Truthfully, I tried to get Gigi to waive that requirement, as I didn’t feel I would gain much from it, since my entire career and education has been Accounting.  I’m so glad she didn’t let me weasel out.  While I may not have learned anything new, I certainly had a couple of “aha” moments!  The biggest one was realizing that I should be creating personal budget-to-actual reports for myself.  It seemed silly at the time that I hadn’t made that connection; I create these reports for my clients and explain how to use them!

My business is doing well.  Last year, I brought in $35,000 and I’m on track this year to break $40,000 in revenue.  The investment I was able to make with the FDA money has increased my efficiency and enabled me to take on more clients.  I’m toying with the idea of growing my business large enough to add employees.

I didn’t know much about WWC before I started working with Gigi.  I certainly never would have known about the Family Development Account without her guidance.  I meet with new business owners all the time, and I consistently recommend WWC. I believe the organization provided me a broader spectrum of services and is a prime reason for my success.

I am passionate about supporting small business, and I am passionate about supporting women.  WWC is the embodiment of my passions and beliefs. Thank you all for supporting Women, Work, and Community and helping my business become successful.