From “Solopreneur” to a Team of 14: Adding Talent and Clients with Kabbage
Even though Amber Miller used to have a “cushy corporate job,” she knew she was an entrepreneur at heart. “I wasn’t going to get where I wanted without taking a leap of faith,” Amber says. That leap eventually led her to launch Phoenix-based Smart to Finish, a company that provides virtual assistants, marketing consulting and other support services to small business owners.
When Amber left her corporate gig, she started out as a virtual assistant for fellow “solopreneur” clients, providing business support and online marketing. She had a knack for it: Her clients started referring her to their colleagues, and the business took off. In 2013, Amber realized she needed more hands on deck. “One of my clients joked that the assistant needed an assistant,” she says.
Five years and 13 employees later, Amber is now CEO of a thriving business with more than 50 clients, offering everything from customer service to marketing and graphic design services. “We’re often running a client’s entire business,” she says. “We’re the whole operations team.”
Easing Concerns About Meeting Payroll
Hiring the first few employees was a big step in growing the business. “I knew that if I wanted to take on more work, I’d need more staff,” says Amber. “But payroll can be a challenge.” Amber’s clients pay invoices at the end of the month, but payroll cycles are twice as frequent. “Making payroll is not optional – employees rely on their checks,” she says.
When her accountant suggested Kabbage, Amber applied for a line of credit. She uses the funds to meet payroll while waiting for client payments. “I can’t tell you how many times it’s saved my butt,” Amber says. “I can pull from the credit line, and in two days, I have money in my account.”
Since Kabbage relieves Amber’s payroll worries, she has more freedom to hire employees with specialized skills. “Some people love doing client care, and some love doing internet marketing,” she says. “Finding people who love what they do became my business’s secret sauce.”
Saying “Yes” to New Clients
Since Amber started hiring employees, Smart to Finish has expanded from 35 to 53 ongoing clients and has grown revenue by 35 percent. As the business grows, Amber is finding more ways to use Kabbage.
“I’m looking to bring on two new full-time employees so we can go into copywriting, since clients want help with content creation,” Amber says. She recently hired a PR firm to raise the profile of Smart to Finish and also uses Kabbage to pay for ads and training software.
With a growing and experienced team, Amber can pursue not just more clients, but bigger ones. “One person wanted us to run their entire business – 100 hours a month,” she says. “Those are the clients we want. Now I don’t have to hesitate about whether we can handle the work. I can say yes.”