We had the good fortune of connecting with Brooke Lively and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brooke, do you have a budget? how do you think about personal finances?
First, I can’t stand the word budget and I think most entrepreneurs agree with me. As a group, we are more about possibility than prohibition and budgets are all about what you CAN’T do. They are limiting and we want something that tells what we can do to expand our business. For that reason we use Profit Plans. In Profit First, Mike Micalowicz turned the P&L formula on it’s head. He said Revenue – Profit = Expenses. He is right, we should be planning for profit. It was at that moment that we changed our verbiage and redesigned template we used with our clients. As the owner of a fractional CFO company, I have to walk our talk. I do the same exact exercises we ask our clients to complete. To determine how much money I want/need at home, I fill out what we call our Life Without Compromise where I write down my current needs and then what I would spend if I had no limits on money. If I didn’t compromise anywhere in my spending. The without compromise number is my goal over the next few years and I steadily increase my current take home amount. I then put that as Profit in my Profit Plan and start to build out the rest of my business for the year.
What should our readers know about your business?
Building a business is like climbing a mountain. It is fun, exciting, beautiful, breathtaking and fulfills many goals you have had – possibly for years. But just like climbing a mountain, there can be hazards. Climbers often lose their way, wander from the path, and encounter obstacles they just don’t know how to conquer. Nobody has ever climbed Mount Everest by themselves. It takes a team of people, often Sherpas, with knowledge, experience, and the ability to lend a hand and problem solve when complications present themselves. At Cathedral Capital we understand all the challenges you face trying to grow your business. That is why we like to become part of the team that helps you achieve your goals. Just think of us as your Financial Sherpas. A team of CFOs and Profitability Strategists who help attorneys with fast-growing firms across the country turn their companies into profitable, thriving businesses so the owner can create the life they want. My experience hasn’t been any different. I made all the mistakes that most business owners make. I ran a loss for 26 months straight and maxed out my lines of credit, racked up multiple 5 figures of credit card debt, and refinanced my house to pay for it all. However, I believed in my vision and by listening to our clients, turned the business around. While this was the hardest point in my journey, I was there for a great reason. I fired my biggest client who was 94% of my revenue because we were not a core value match. It was an incredibly hard decision, but my team supported me and it was the right decision. As a result, when our team talks to clients it is from a place of complete understanding and lack of judgment. I talk to a lot of business owners. A LOT. And most of them even feel comfortable enough to share with me what is really happening in their company. How do we get to this point? I tell them the truth. And the truth is—I’VE SEEN WORSE. I promise you; I have seen worse. I have seen people carrying over six figures of credit card debt (yes, take a moment and do that math). I have talked to people who owe the IRS more than one million dollars in payroll taxes. I have worked with owners whose whole dysfunctional family worked in the company, and some were stealing. I have seen more firms than I ever thought I would who didn’t have “books.” They literally looked at the bank balance to see if they could write a check or process payroll. Here is another thing I consistently see. Owners who made the best decision they could at the time. They worked hard and made the math work—even if it meant that they made some less than desirable moves. They racked up credit card debt; they raided their retirement accounts; they maxed out their lines of credit; they borrowed from their credit card processing company; they sold work that wouldn’t be done for months and used the money to pay rent that day. But they kept their company alive. They kept food on their tables and the tables of their employees. They laid awake at night, worrying about how (and if) it was going to work out. They did what it took. And then one day, they gathered enough courage to call me and ask for help. These are the people who didn’t want to live with all the stress, chaos, embarrassment, and isolation they were feeling. They wanted to live a more “profitable” life. And that is what CathCap helps them do. We take the burden and help them clearly see the path. We become their sherpas to lead them on the most exciting climb of their lives.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
As a 6th generation Fort Worth girl, I love my city. It is a great combination of cowboy and culture and I love every minute of it. Day one is all about the North Side. First stop is the 11:30am cattle drive on Exchange. Then over to Joe T Garcia’s for amazing Mexican food and their incredible margaritas while sitting on their beautiful patio. Following lunch, we’d do a little afternoon shopping (every visitor needs a set of longhorns for their car) then slide into the world’s only year round rodeo. Every Friday and Saturday night the Stockyards Championship Rodeo runs and it is great family fun. We would end the night at Billy Bob’s, the world’s largest Honky Tonk to take in a concert and do a little two-steppin’. Day two is a trip to the Cultural District. First stop is the Amon Carter Museum of American Art. Started as a private collection of western art, Ruth Carter Stevenson grew it into an amazing collection. As she once told me, “We collected the best art in Texas, and kept going west. Once we had covered New Mexico and Georgia O’Keefe, we kept going west and collecting. Eventually, if we went any further west we would have ended up in the ocean”. That was when they dropped the Western Art moniker and started collecting the best of American Art. Once we have seen the highlights of that collection, it is on to the Kimball for a similar story, but with European art. It is always fun to see the only Michelangelo outside of Europe and experience their two buildings – both built by internationally famous architects. The Kimbell has a wonderful lunch buffet that you shouldn’t miss so we would have to stop there for lunch. The final stop of the day is the Modern Art Museum to see some of their incredible pieces in their beautiful building. Dinner would be low key at Clearfork at one of their many restaurants.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I want to recognize my team. First, they take INCREDIBLE care of our clients which allows me to focus on running the business. But more importantly, they support me and the vision I have to grow our company and help more entrepreneurs achieve their dreams. As accountants, they have a low risk tolerance so my drive to help more companies pushes them out of their comfort zone. But they have my back, support my vision, and are excited to be part of the ride. I can always rely on them to be honest, forthright, and give me the great advice they also give our clients.