The following conversation was conducted over email and edited for flow and clarity.
Acquania Escarne of Wealth Noir (WN): Carter Cofield, I am so glad you could take time to share your story with Wealth Noir readers. Before we dive into the amazing work you do, can you tell our readers a little more about yourself?
Carter Cofield of Cofield Advisors: I am the Owner & Lead Advisor of Cofield Advisors, LLC. As a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and Personal Financial Specialist, I am dedicated to helping creative entrepreneurs thrive. I started Cofield Advisors because I believe in entrepreneurship and wanted to give creatives access to a one-stop-shop for financial guidance so they can spend more time in their creative zone of genius.
WN: You have a great mission and I bet entrepreneurs really benefit from your expertise. How did you get started in personal finances?
Carter Cofield of Cofield Advisors: I got started in the personal finance space because I wanted to help millennials learn how to manage their finances and build wealth. In my pursuit, I learned that there are a large number of millennials who have taken the path of entrepreneurship without realizing how much more complicated your financial situation becomes once you make this transition. To help this group, I started my own firm to ensure that these entrepreneurs can get the financial support that they need and deserve.
WN: That’s great. What inspired you to leave the corporate world to become an entrepreneur?
Carter Cofield of Cofield Advisors: Starting out in my career, I had no intention of ever becoming an entrepreneur. However, one conversation shifted my mindset. One morning, my roommate and cousin woke up and asked me what day it was. My reaction was, “How don’t you know what day it is?” He then said a series of words that completely blew my mind. His response was, “Since I love what I do every day, the days of the week don’t really make a difference to me.” I was left shocked and silenced. Is there a world where you can get up every day and actually do the thing that makes you happy? And get paid for it? A few weeks after this conversation, I quit my job and started my amazing firm, Cofield Advisors, and never looked back.
WN: That is an amazing story. What did you do to prepare for being your own boss?
Carter Cofield of Cofield Advisors: Before becoming my own boss, I did three very important things. First, I begin to save a lot of money. I understood that there would be enough stress and worry on this continuous journey called entrepreneurship and needing to pay the bills was one thing I didn’t want to add. So I saved about 10 months’ worth of living expenses so that if I didn’t make a dollar for almost a year I would be fine.
Second, I sought out a mentor who also owned his own businesses. My mentor gave me one thing that helped me so much during that first year and that thing was perspective. He let me know that he, a Harvard MBA grad and CPA, didn’t make a single dollar for the first four months after opening his business. With this new insight, I figured that if I made money within four months after launching my firm that I’d be doing better than a Harvard MBA graduate and that took a lot of pressure off me.
Last, I began to read. I began to replace entertainment with education and this completely changed my life.
WN: You are correct, perspective matters and keeps you motivated and focused. So let’s change gears a bit. You mentioned previously you work with creatives. What does that mean? Who are creatives?
Carter Cofield of Cofield Advisors: So there are two types of creative entrepreneurs in my opinion. First, there are those creatives that own a business, such as coaches who own coaching practices, social media experts who own social media firms, etc. Second, there are those who are a business like entertainers, tv/movie writers, public figures and influencers.
Regardless of the type, the more creative someone usually is, means the more stress or anxiety they get around understanding finances and taxes. So I wanted to create a firm that would take these financial and tax responsibilities off their shoulders so they could spend more time doing what they love! So we’ve developed a one-stop-shop financial services firm where we help our clients; manage their finances, save thousands on taxes and, as a result, grow their businesses.
WN: What have been your greatest challenges being an entrepreneur?
Carter Cofield of Cofield Advisors: The greatest challenge of being an entrepreneur for me is understanding that you need to have an off switch. Starting out, I would work 12-16 hours every day and found myself getting burnt out. But my mentor helps me understand that you need to take care of yourself first or your business will never last.
So I began to give myself certain cut off times and days where I wouldn’t work and instead take time to reflect on how I wanted my business to function. Since then, I have seen not only tremendous financial growth but a lot of personal happiness in the process.
WN: Wow that’s great advice. What are some of your favorite perks about being an entrepreneur?
Carter Cofield of Cofield Advisors: The main perk of being an entrepreneur for me is simple, I get to use my business to design the life I want to live. For example, I started my business with focused attention on making it virtual. I personally hated the thought of having to drive to an office every day and sit behind a desk when it was beautiful outside. Now my business allows me the freedom to work from anywhere. I’ve taken client meetings in over 10 different countries and I don’t plan on stopping that any time soon.
WN: If you could flip a switch and get everyone to do one thing when it comes to their personal finances and future, what would that one thing be?
Carter Cofield of Cofield Advisors: I think you should save 20% of every dollar you make and invest it for your future. If you simply do this, it’s impossible not to become financially free.
WN: What a vital savings tip. Is there any particular childhood memory you remember that helped influence the person you are today?
Carter Cofield of Cofield Advisors: Well, yes, for me it was the fact that both of my parents passed away before I was 16 years old. Now, most people would say this was a disadvantage. But the way I look at it is that I was forced to grow up and be an adult at the age of 16. Most people don’t have to do this until they’re 21, which gave me a five-year head start. This allowed me to begin focusing on my future earlier and taking action to better my life and for my family.
WN: This interview has been great. OK, last question. Are there any exciting products or offerings you have coming up? Anything you are currently working on now?
Carter Cofield of Cofield Advisors: Yes, I actually just launched my speaking campaign in which I will be traveling around the country and teaching people how to take charge of their lives through entrepreneurship. You can learn more on my website.
Acquania Escarne is the creator of The Purpose of Money, a community of women building generational wealth for their families one dollar at a time. As an entrepreneur, real estate investor, and licensed insurance agent, Acquania has always been passionate about financial literacy. On her website, Acquania blogs about ways to help you improve your money habits, create wealth, and invest in real estate. Follow Acquania on social media for daily tips.