We are excited to share with you a transcript from a recent podcast episode in which our founder, Sharai Lavoie, was interviewed by Julie Bee on her show “They Don’t Teach This in Business School.” In this insightful and inspiring conversation, Sharai shares her experiences in powering through burnout, the transformation in how she defines success, and the importance of her team at Lavoie CPA PLLC. We believe you will find valuable insights and advice from Sharai’s journey as a business owner, visionary, and community leader. Visit this link to listen.
In this podcast episode, we talked about:
- Powering through burnout
- Transformation in defining success
- Importance of a strong team
- Monetizing passions and interests
- Community involvement and charitable efforts
- Balancing visionary work with daily operations
- The value of key employees
- Resilience and dedication of the team
- Managing workload and personal growth
- Coping with burnout through spirituality and determination
Transcript[00:00:00] Julie Bee – Host: On today’s episode, I talk with Sharai Lavoie about powering through burnout, the transformation, and how she defined it. And the importance of her team. I’m Julie B, and they don’t teach this in business school. [00:00:16] Midroll Spot: Every week, Julie sends out big ideas and easy actions that help elevate your business. She also shares some awesomeness happening in the business community.
Make sure to subscribe to the Be Awesome firstname.lastname@example.org.[00:00:34] Julie Bee – Host: Hey there, I’m Julie B, and this is, They Don’t Teach This In Business School. On this podcast, we discussed the behind-the-scenes of being a business owner. Today I’m really excited to interview Sharai Lavoie, the CEO of Lavoie, CPA. And I’m really looking forward to this because I know we’re gonna have some really fun conversations and also learn a lot about being a business owner.
So Sharai, thanks for being here. And yeah, [00:01:00] why don’t you just, let’s start off with telling me about your business and your role in the business.[00:01:04] Sharai Lavoie – Guest: So we’ve been around for over 13 years now, going on 14 years. And we are a financial operations management firm. We don’t do taxes, and we don’t do an audit. We do partner with different firms on that side of things, depending on the size of the company or client that we’re working with.
But we focus on outsourced accounting. We lovingly call it accounting as a service. Sorry. , you may see our branding that says AAS or Get Your AAS in Gear. Mm-hmm. So that’s a A A S on that side. But we also sell and implement technology, and we have a consulting side where we do project work, system selection, process improvement, due diligence work, and quality of earnings work on that side of things.
So it’s a lot going on, but it all intertwines into each other. I thoroughly enjoy it. So I’m responsible for the direction, the [00:02:00] business development, the pivots that happen all the time. Mm-hmm. , staffing, and everything, and I have an absolutely fabulous team. That helps.[00:02:10] Julie Bee – Host: So That’s awesome. So what is your favorite part about being a business owner? [00:02:16] Sharai Lavoie – Guest: You know what, it’s because my favorite part of being a business owner is that I get to monetize what I love to do. I love to help people. I love to clean stuff up. I love to see things get going, and I love to see reimagine life. What could be, what’s the, what’s the next level, what could be, and I love all that stuff.
And being a business owner and what we do allows me to do that in multiple places and with multiple people. And apply lessons learned. So that part of it I love. And I also love being able to use our organization for community [00:03:00] good and charitable purposes too, because I, that’s a big part of me in this.
I think having that extension of the business is really good too.[00:03:09] Julie Bee – Host: So I wanna ask you a question about the work that you described. I, I would put into the class the visionary elements of being a business owner. How do you make sure that you have the time, the space, and the capacity to actually do that work?
Because I know for a lot of business owners, that’s so often the stuff that gets put aside or put on the back burner, even though it’s probably the most important work we can do. How do you make sure that you have the capacity to do those things?[00:03:38] Sharai Lavoie – Guest: If we’re talking about for me. Mm-hmm. Yeah, for the company, that’s an ongoing thing.
Sometimes that happens on Saturdays, but honestly, it happens all the time. And so I’ve tried to get into a habit of writing those things down instead of thinking that I have to have focus time because those visionary things are [00:04:00] things I get to do with my clients. Mm-hmm. But when it comes to it, it’s kinda like the carpenter’s house, right?
Mm-hmm. , when it comes to your own, You kind of ignore it sometimes, but it always comes back when you step on that nail, and you’re like, I gotta get that done. Mm-hmm. So for that, I think about it all the time. I doubt if there’s a time that I’m not thinking about it. Mm-hmm. , because I always tell the staff, like, I’m already over there.
I’m just trying to get things done so that you guys can get over there with me, and so I’m usually always thinking about those things. They’re always in the back of my mind. It’s just that I don’t necessarily say I’m gonna block two hours to. Think about this today, which I probably should, but I don’t.[00:04:46] Julie Bee – Host: Whatever works as long as we’re getting to it. I think that that’s the main thing. I think, you know, there’s a lot of systems and processes out there, and don’t get me wrong, I love a good system and a good process, but I think you have to find, you know, you find pieces and parts of what’s offered out [00:05:00] there and make it work for you, and you kind of create your own process along the way.
So I think as long as you’re doing the work you love to do and getting to be that visionary, that’s what really.[00:05:09] Sharai Lavoie – Guest: Yeah, I would agree with that. [00:05:11] Julie Bee – Host: Totally. You’ve mentioned your team several times, and would you talk a little bit about how important your key employees are to you and maybe also some moments that you’re particularly proud of that they’ve, that they’ve done over the past year or so? [00:05:27] Sharai Lavoie – Guest: I take my team very seriously. I guess I could say they’re extremely important cause there’s no way you. The firm would be where it is right now. I would be where I am right, right now without them. Mm-hmm. , and you know, we do have some very key employees, but everybody plays a part. I always try to make sure everybody understands that no matter what you’re doing, you’re playing a huge part in a much bigger picture.
And so to take that as seriously as you possibly can [00:06:00] is what we should do. And I would have to say that, you know, Matt Dewal has been instrumental. Mm-hmm. in a lot of that too. And he has just really, we play off each other very well. Be it, him being part of the team has just made a huge difference and allowed us to do some really good springboarding on that side. And we always have these aha moments where we’re texting each other back and forth about the next thing to do. So they have been, they’re kind of everything, and I, I let them know that I really do care about them and I care about their development and. Being at OI isn’t what’s the best thing for them.
I wanna see what’s best for them. And so I don’t take that part personally because I actually care about the individual, and I want what’s best for the individual.[00:06:55] Julie Bee – Host: Is there anything that you can think of off the top of your head that you’re particularly proud of [00:07:00] your team? [00:07:01] Sharai Lavoie – Guest: They’re resilient.
I would say I am so proud of their resilience and, actually, their service. If there’s anything community-wise, or client-wise, it doesn’t matter what it is; they are willing to jump in. And help out in any way. And it’s like 800 times outside of the scope of our work, but they will still jump in to help.
And that is, I think that says a lot about them, but they’re extremely proud of that.[00:07:36] Midroll Spot: Julie has spoken to countless organizations for 13 years on topics including leadership, management, employee engagement, and. Workplace culture, small business ownership, and entrepreneurship. If you’d like it, an engaging, relatable, and inspiring speaker for your next event.
Book Julie to speak to your group for more email@example.com. [00:08:00] [00:08:00] Julie Bee – Host: Hey, this is Julie Bee, and you’re listening to They Don’t Teach This and Business School. I’m here today with Sharai Lavoie. Hopefully, I said that right. This time I’m getting closer. , we were laughing. Yes. Before we were laughing before. Because I, I’ve known you for many years, and I’ve been mispronouncing your name, and it’s, I feel bad, but you know, you, you, you live and learn.
But anyways, I wanted to ask you, you know, we’ve talked about it.[00:08:24] Sharai Lavoie – Guest: That doesn’t mean I love you any less. Julie. [00:08:26] Julie Bee – Host: I love you too, and I’m so glad I finally asked you to pronounce your name for me. You know, I think we, we, I can’t remember exactly where we met. I think we met through a networking event, and then we did 10 K s B.
You know, we’ve both gone through the 10k, the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program, and we’ve talked several times, but I’ve never asked you to say your name for me. I always just knew your name, and so I would come in thinking, I, thinking I knew how to say your name. So anyway, it’s just these funny little things in business.
After 14 years, you think, I know, think you would have it figured out. [00:09:00] Sharai, I wanted to ask you, you know, we talked about some of the fun stuff about being a business owner, but I wanted to make sure to ask you if you have any, any experience with going through burnout as a business owner, and if you’d be willing to share any of those stories.
I’d[00:09:13] Sharai Lavoie – Guest: I probably go through a regular cycle of burnout, but burnout is what then pushes me to the next level of things because one thing that I did determine When I get to burnout and I don’t address it, I will probably be in therapy every two seconds along that side. So I finally decided that you know what?
I have got to put my big girl panties on and get through this on that side. I am a spiritual person, believe it or not, and so I’m like, you know what, guys got me this far. He’s gonna get me through the rest. I can have me. Pity party if that’s what I wanna do because that’s the selfishness of what I wanna do.
But at the same [00:10:00] time, I should always have a plan A, B, and C. Mm-hmm. And so if A doesn’t work, I go to B. If B doesn’t work, I go to C. And if C doesn’t work, I go back. I. Always stay in prayer, but I go to prayer. Mm-hmm. , and then, you know, a comes back up again. So burnout is something I think, as a business owner, you will always experience just because of all the things that are on your shoulders.
Right. I’ve just come to the conclusion that I have to; I can sit in it for a minute, but that’s all I have is a minute. I don’t have any longer than that because I don’t want it to paralyze me. Mm-hmm. Personally and mentally, I don’t want it to paralyze the business, so I have to figure out a way to get out of that.
Mm-hmm. And for me, it’s more on a spiritual level because it’s more of, you have to get this. If the quickest way to get me to do something is to tell me, I can’t. And so [00:11:00] motivation. Yep. Great. Yeah. If you tell me, no, that’s not suited for you, or no, you can’t mm-hmm. , I will put it in your face every time. So that is the quickest way to get me to do something.
But, so because that drives me, and that sense of things is my own internal overachievement wanting to accomplish. Burnout becomes something that I know is gonna happen. Mm-hmm. , but I also have started conditioning myself as to how to push through it. And I hope that answers your question.[00:11:34] Julie Bee – Host: I have a couple of follow-up questions, but that is pretty much the summary of what I hope business owners see after they read the book that I’ve written about burnout when it comes out next year.
But it sounds like you have accepted that burnout is going to be part of your life. Usually, on the other side of getting through burnout, you might have a breakthrough in the business of some sort. Is that fair? Are those fair statements? That is very[00:11:58] Sharai Lavoie – Guest: fair. Yeah. [00:12:00] Very fair. [00:12:00] Julie Bee – Host: How do you recognize that you’re in burnout?
Like, what, what is going on in your, you know, in your, just in your mind or in your, in your body or whatever? Like how do you know you’re[00:12:09] Sharai Lavoie – Guest: in burnout? I know I’m in burnout when everything is irritating. I am very much a person who, if you can’t have fun doing it, you shouldn’t be doing it. Mm-hmm. At all. I mean, nothing should feel like work.
It shouldn’t feel like work. And if it feels like work, you probably need to do something else. And when it starts feeling like work and things are irritating me. I know I’m getting to that place of burnout because I’m not already iterating on the next thing so that it doesn’t irritate me. Mm-hmm. And so that’s how I know that I’m getting there.
Mm-hmm. And I know, okay, I need to take a moment. And get this together, even if that’s staying here at the office after everyone is left so I can have my little pity cry [00:13:00] party and then go home to my family whole mm-hmm. , then that’s what I need to do. But that’s, those are the triggers that. I know that when it’s coming.
I know it’s coming.[00:13:11] Julie Bee – Host: You know, you also said something really important there, Sherry, about if you know it’s coming, but you might stay at the office and work late. And I think the reason I wanna highlight that very particular point is I’ve had a burnout that’s put me into that I, that I went to the emergency room for because I thought I had a heart attack.
Ha. It was a panic attack. And the cardiologist I saw basically said, do less. You know, take a vacation, take a break, take it, take it a little easier. Which is not bad advice, right? It’s not bad advice. And telling a business owner that is like just. Pouring gasoline on a fire. It’s so important to recognize that in yourself that if you know, working through whatever the problem [00:14:00] is, or spending a little bit more time at work might be the way that you actually get on the other side of burnout is so.
Crucial. I just wanted to the point that out because I think that’s very important. I[00:14:10] Sharai Lavoie – Guest: I agree with you because I love what you said about it; it’s like pouring gasoline on the fire. Mm-hmm. Because if you tell me if I know I’m at that point and you’re like, okay, you just need to disconnect. Well, when I disconnect and go on vacation, guess what I’m thinking about the whole time?
Every single. The thing that I know is gonna be there when I get back. And if I can just carve out 15 minutes, I can get this part done. I can address this. Whereas if you just come up with a plan to get yourself to a good point and then go on vacation, then you can breathe. Mm-hmm. And when people tell you to disconnect and do all these things, it’s easy to say it.
It. A hundred percent harder to do when you know that you’ve left strings loose. And also [00:15:00] when you know that. Your team isn’t at their peak where they, you know, it’s covered like when you get back. It’s not gonna be if you disconnect; I find it very hard to completely disconnect. But if you do disconnect when you come back, that it’s not gonna be a tsunami, right.
Of things that are coming at you. Because, for me, that creates anxiety. Like that part. So for me, just powering through it, getting to a good point, and then I can not let that be a worry in my mind and lose sleep over it. And then[00:15:33] Julie Bee – Host: you could actually start recovering from burnout, [00:15:35] Sharai Lavoie – Guest: basically. Exactly. Yeah.
Yeah.[00:15:37] Midroll Spot: Each and every week, Julie sends out big ideas and easy actions that help elevate yours. She’ll also share some awesomeness happening in the business community. Don’t miss out. Subscribe to the B awesome firstname.lastname@example.org. [00:15:55] Julie Bee – Host: You’re listening to They Don’t Teach This in Business School, and I’m the host, Julie Bee, I [00:16:00] wanted to ask you, so we just talked about some deep stuff about burnout, and I wanted to ask you something that, that hopefully is a little bit lighter.
How do you define it?[00:16:13] Sharai Lavoie – Guest: It is an ongoing conversation. [00:16:16] Julie Bee – Host: I asked the deep questions here. That’s what I do. [00:16:18] Sharai Lavoie – Guest: You do? That is like an ongoing conversation. You know what? I’m here, and I’m still standing, and that should be successful enough, really, honestly. But I will admit, honestly, for me, it’s not mm-hmm. , but it should be.
Mm-hmm. and that is something that I have to. Keep grounded in that, my level of success and my picture of success. Who I know I am and who I wanna be may not be someone else’s. Mm-hmm. , um, just because of who I am. Honestly, I reiterate success all the time because I think it’s its levels to it.
Mm-hmm. And. When you’re at [00:17:00] different points in your life, success looks different. Mm-hmm. for you? In my thirties, it looked different. I’m still in my thirties. Mm-hmm.
That’s awesome. I just perpetually stay in my thirties. Yeah, that’s right. That’s how you do it. But it just looks, it looks different all the time for me. I don’t hang my hat anymore on. A revenue number. I don’t hang my hat anymore on a number of employees or anything like that because success is way more encompassing in my total self versus just what I do, which is one question I hate when people ask what I do.
I’m more than just that.[00:17:46] Julie Bee – Host: Oh, yeah. No, I hear you. I’m, I’ve, I’m, yes,. I’m going through that struggle right now, trying to figure out and tell people what I actually do these days. It sounded like there was a time when revenue, a number, number of employees was. [00:18:00] The definition of success and a transition has happened.
Can you talk a little bit about that transition or that transformation?[00:18:07] Sharai Lavoie – Guest: It was more around; I think that transformation happened when you observed. So I’m a big people, watcher, observer kind of person. Mm-hmm. And have always been, but I found it very interesting, the people that I observed where they had.
What I would’ve considered a success at that time. Mm-hmm. Like, oh my God, I gotta get there. Mm-hmm. But then you look at the fallout, and you look at everything around it, and you look at it, at least for me, I looked at it in the sense of, is that really where I wanna be? And if it means that having that means all the other things, I don’t.
Like there’s a, there’s a sense of core self that, like, I don’t want it, like I’ve fought very hard to just really. [00:19:00] Pivot me to just being comfortable with just being myself and not what other people expect me to be on that side. And so it just kind of became, do I wanna give up that sense of myself for that?
And do I have to? Because a lot of times you don’t have to. It just means that it’s gonna be a lot slower for you, and that’s okay. And I’m okay with that, so, but I don’t ever want to. Lose myself and lose my grounding in the pursuit of something that once I have it, you just kind of have all these other things that I regret.
Mm-hmm. or you think about constantly of things you would’ve done differently.[00:19:42] Julie Bee – Host: Boy, that’s an excellent answer. I, I went through that whole thing too, and I think most business owners do, whereas, oh, you. [00:19:48] Sharai Lavoie – Guest: do get to, ’cause, in your head, you’re Martin Zuckerberg. [00:19:51] Julie Bee – Host: Yeah. Get into X number of revenue or X number of employees.
And then what really, and I actually just had this transition last year [00:20:00] where I, I finally realized that the achievement of a goal does not define if I’m successful or not, because as soon as I achieve a. I’m like, okay, what’s next? Like, I, I, you know, I might celebrate like this, this much, but it, it’s almost like the next day I’m thinking to myself, okay, what’s the next goal?
Like, what’s the next step in this process? So I spent a lot of time last year redefining what success looks like for me outside of any goal. So, it’s, you know, laughing and being happy and being able to be me and doing things that I love because I, I, I feel for people whose only definition of success is external goals.
Because I feel like they never, they probably never feel successful because they’re always trying to get to the next thing.[00:20:46] Sharai Lavoie – Guest: I found success when I learned how to train myself to make a really good pound cake, so that was a success for me too. , [00:20:55] Julie Bee – Host: I could make a Turkey. Oh my gosh, my Turkey is, my [00:21:00] Turkey is really, really, really requested on all the major holidays, said, I’m like, that is the kind of stuff that makes me feel successful as a human being.
There[00:21:10] Sharai Lavoie – Guest: you go. Like the joy in everything out that, right? That [00:21:15] Julie Bee – Host: is where it is. Oh, man. This has been such a good conversation, but I just have one more question I wanna ask you today. If you were asked to teach a class about being a business owner to future business owners and future entrepreneurs, what is the one thing that you would want them to learn from your class?
That is[00:21:35] Sharai Lavoie – Guest: such a loaded question, Julie. If you [00:21:37] Julie Bee – Host: have maybe two, two or three things, that’s fine [00:21:39] Sharai Lavoie – Guest: too. That is crazy because I don’t know that you can teach it. Honestly, I, I honestly don’t know that you could teach it. The only thing that I would say that would be a takeaway from. Class I taught on it, so to speak, would be to make sure you’re comfortable with asking for help.
Hmm. [00:22:00] A lot of times, as business owners, we think we can do everything. We know everything. We don’t need to listen to anybody because we got it figured out, and then crisis mode hits. Be comfortable asking for help and ask for help before you need it. That is very key. And also learn how to give yourself.
You’re gonna ha you’re gonna make mistakes. You’re gonna have oops moments. You’re gonna have times when you’re like, I probably should have done that differently, that kind of thing. But allow yourself some grace with that because you’re not perfect. And even though someone may be looking to you to be that you’re not.
Yeah. And you gotta, you gotta own that. Mm-hmm. Off. and if you own that off top, it’ll make your life so much easier.[00:22:50] Julie Bee – Host: Wow. Well, yeah, I think we are going to wrap it up right there, Sohar. I have really enjoyed this conversation so much. I’m so glad we finally got it. Got it on [00:23:00] here. Got it recorded. Yes,. I know the, uh, business owners that will listen to this will enjoy it as well.
I really want to thank you for being on the show.[00:23:09] Sharai Lavoie – Guest: Well, thank you for having me, and thank you for picking, putting up with my crazy schedule to get this done. So I truly appreciate you for that. You [00:23:18] Julie Bee – Host: you are welcome. And that is it for this episode, but stay tuned because I’ll be back with more lessons learned on the business owner’s journey.
I’m Julie Bee, and they don’t teach this in business school.
We hope you enjoyed this insightful conversation between Sharai Lavoie and Julie Bee on “They Don’t Teach This in Business School.” Sharai’s experiences in overcoming burnout, redefining success, and the importance of teamwork serve as a testament to the resilience and dedication that has made Lavoie CPA PLLC the successful firm it is today. If you’d like to learn more about our services or get in touch with our team, please visit our website. As always, we are committed to helping businesses and individuals achieve their financial goals and look forward to serving you.