Voss Babe Female Entrepreneur Series – Erika Dowell, Owner of Signal Operations

For many entrepreneurs and small businesses, social media can be an absolute game-changer! All it takes is one viral post and a business can suddenly take off.

At Like A Voss Social Media, we’re highlighting local businesses and entrepreneurs who are killing the online game. This week’s spotlight is on Erika Dowell, Owner of Signal Operations

Signal Operations is a cloud-based bookkeeping and accounting agency. Signal Operations understands small businesses live and die based on their finances. We help small business owners see the signals their books and their employees are sending while combining our knowledge in Bookkeeping and Business Operations and partner with you to help your business succeed.

Our CEO Mandi interviewed Erika about her secret to success in business and in life. We also got some awesome insights into what they think makes social media such an effective tool in business. Also, Mandi wanted us to make sure that we made a point of saying that Erika is the new bookkeeper for Like A Voss and has been doing a KILLER job cleaning everything up that was wrong previously so that she can ACTUALLY have some insight into business finances. (THANK YOU ERIKA!)

A Little Bit About Being a Female Entrepreneur 

1: How long have you been in business?

Since March 2018, but I’ve been working in a variety of small businesses for a decade!

2: What made you decide to break away from the 9-5 and start Signal Operations?

A few reasons! First, I have always known that I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I thought I had to create the latest and greatest idea, but I finally learned that I just wanted to do something I was passionate about – finances, numbers, and operations. 

Secondly, I wanted a role where I was 100% remote and could work anywhere and whenever I want. It’s not unusual for me to be working at 2am (out of choice) and not at 9am.

And lastly, my partner is in the Canadian Military, so we move around every few years. It’s important to me that I keep my career so creating my own remote-first company was perfect for that.

3: What do you love most about being a female entrepreneur?

Good question! I think it’s the community that other female entrepreneurs are creating. There’s strong collaboration between female entrepreneurs and less of a feeling of competition. I don’t believe that competition between entrepreneurs should be a thing and I’d rather focus on creating an inclusive community.

I’m also excited to be part of the example that women can be in leadership roles and do whatever makes them happy! I don’t buy into ‘Girl Boss’ or ‘Boss Babe’ labels or anything like that, but I absolutely love being a boss and a leader!

4: What is the hardest thing you have had to overcome as a female entrepreneur? Something you did not foresee when you decided to start Signal Operations? 

The loneliness of being an entrepreneur! It’s hard to find friends that are going through the same battles or understand the grind! My partner is a great listener, but sometimes I just need someone else who understands the pain points of growing and heading the right direction in my business.

Mentor whiplash is a thing! Many people have opinions on what I should or shouldn’t do in my business; who I should or shouldn’t work with, when I should hire, when I shouldn’t, the list goes on! It’s important to not get stuck in the whiplash that is mentoring (solicited or not!).

5: What is one thing about working in the accounting industry that people would be surprised to learn?

The accounting industry is changing quickly. Gone are the days of up-all-nights doing taxes and sorting receipts. Through using technology and creating efficient processes, bookkeepers and accountants are so much more of an asset than ‘I gotta do bookkeeping because the CRA says so!’ We offer advice and help entrepreneurs understand how their business is doing.

And Now Onto The Social Media Questions!

6: Do you have a favorite social media platform? Why?

I have two!

First is Instagram. I’ve always been obsessed with photography (I even have a side project where I focus on that for a creative outlet). I love looking at photos and wondering what life was like before, during, and after the photo (or video!). I navigate the app carefully to try to avoid the superficial parts and focus on friends, clients, colleagues, and the occasional small brand. 

Second is Pinterest. The only way for me to create a normal meal plan is by using Pinterest to find some recipes that are relatively easy to. Not to mention all the business resources. (Hopefully I can get more Canadian content on there soon…)

7: What made you decide to start using social media as a way to promote your company?

I always knew I had to use social media, but it wasn’t until earlier this year that I started taking it far more seriously. I had someone who decided to work with Signal because they saw Signal was on Instagram; that signaled to me (ha, the puns) that the clients I want to work with value companies who are tech savvy, understand social media and forward-thinking businesses. I wrote ‘Do More on Instagram’ on my white board that day.

8: How has social media impacted your business? Would you say that it’s an effective marketing tool?

More than anything, it’s given more confidence in my business. After working with a coach for a few weeks, I doubled Signal’s clients in a month. So, yes, it’s effective. It’s just another touch point for people to get to know you and hopefully learn more about managing money better. 

9: What advice would you give to other businesses and entrepreneurs who want to use social media as a way to connect with customers?

Make it a habit. If you’re going to scroll on your personal account, go scroll on your business account. Reach out to people. Comment. DM. It feels awkward but creating relationships, not transactions, is important. I’ve learned that social media is one of the best ways to network, especially in the fire that is 2020.

A Little More About Erika

When I was 16, I got my Glider Pilots License. I’m certainly not current (up to date, allowed to fly) in the glider, but I always bring what I learned as a pilot into business everyday. If you’re curious how I do that, send me a message! 

For fun, I play Nancy Drew PC games as a way of taking a break from numbers and comparing spreadsheets. It may sound nerdy, but I absolutely love solving puzzles and mysteries. So if I’m not building puzzles, I’m probably playing Nancy Drew. I’m also starting my Nancy Drew book collection… Basically, puzzles and mysteries are my happy place. 

I’m pretty sassy and sarcastic in ‘real life’ so if we ever meet, I’ll probably make some sassy joke. 

Connect With Erika 

Website

Personal Instagram (for pictures of my cat, mostly)

Signal Operations Instagram

Facebook

LinkedIn

Twitter

Know Any Voss Babes?

Do you know a female entrepreneur who loves social media as much as we do? Contact us today – we’d love to tell her story!

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