Jess built her food blog from the ground up and turned it into an empire. Here’s how she did it.

Putting the right systems in place took her content creation business to the next level.

Jess Larson is the example of how it’s possible to turn a passion into a successful business.
As the owner of the food blog Plays Well With Butter, she shares flavorful recipes for food-obsessed home cooks in a style she brands “weekday gourmet.” Seriously, her recipes on Instagram are something else.

Starting as a passion project, it soon skyrocketed.

Like many influencers, Jess started out thinking her blog wouldn’t be a huge thing. Man, was she wrong.

Initially getting 300 blog visitors per month, it has skyrocketed into the millions. Boasting a six-figure Instagram following, she’s able to choose which brands she wants to work with and has an incredible team to support her.

In other words, she’s crushing it.

But back at the start, Jess was juggling a corporate job with all the things that come with a creative side hustle: making captivating content, finding the time and right formula for publishing the content, managing expenses , figuring out the nuances of tax prep, and deciding whether to bring on an assistant. It was a lot of new stuff, and it was both scary and exhilarating.

With all these things on her plate, Jess decided to make content creation a full-time gig. She also quickly determined she’d need help managing her accounting if she were really to get her business to the next level.

Bringing Revel on board helped Jess accelerate this growth, freeing up her time to make key decisions that prioritize budget and profit.

Mindset is everything.

When she was starting out, Jess wrote down on paper the goals she wanted for her business.

She admits she thought her goals were silly at the time, telling herself she’d never be a famous chef like Ina Garten. This mindset is what can make or break a business.

The missing piece of the puzzle came when she unlocked her own confidence in the business and gave herself permission to go for it.

“…[I learned] how much your mindset matters and how much you have to stretch your limits, beliefs…and how you envision your business.”

Side note, we recommend goal setting for anyone starting a business and reviewing these goals year after year. You may not know if you’ll be able to achieve them, especially starting out, but it positions you for success right off the bat and keeps you focused on why you’re doing what you’re doing day in and day out.

After a shock bill, Jess knew things needed to change.

Before bringing Revel on board, Jess spent hours each month organizing her business’s finances. She didn’t want to be swamped in tax prep at the end of the year, so she scheduled time every week to go through credit card statements line-by-line. Putting everything into software and spreadsheets took consistent effort and came with uncertainty.

During their first tax season in 2017, Jess and her husband didn’t realize the tax rate would be different as a sole proprietor. They were unaware they had to account for self-employment tax and at the end of the year were hit with a giant tax bill. It was a huge blow and was the impetus she needed to find the right type of CPA for her business.

If she wanted to grow, systems had to be put in place.

When she came to Revel, we noticed Jess really cared about the numbers. She knew intuitively how important they were, but she needed support. We loved her approach: she wanted to work with us as a partner and collaborate.

Revel came in and helped shore up an operational budget, as well as implementing Xero as the accounting platform that would support real-time comparisons of where their numbers were vs the budget. Most importantly, we collaborated on a year-round tax planning strategy that meant every quarter we were checking in, updating our projections, and revising our plan of attack regarding taxes. It was night and day to see things coming a mile down the road.

It’s all helped her free up the space to look at her business from a higher level. As a result, Jess can make a lot more strategic decisions. She’s able to spend time looking at where she can reign things in or where the business can afford to spend more.

Opportunities that might have been pushed to the side before? Jess can now grab them with both hands and as a bonus, she doesn’t have to do anything to get ready for tax season. Win.

Things were picking up speed and Jess needed extra support.

Now that things were really going, if she was going to grow her social media presence and business at the same time, she needed a team of trusted experts who would always have her back. But she needed to work out if she could afford them.

Revel provided her with the tools and advice needed to make the financial decisions necessary for Jess to bring people in and add support to the business.

A few years ago, the thought of having employees financially reliant on her was scary. Now, she relies on them. The mindset shift was everything. It’s a perfect example of how passion and a plan can bring about the most incredible things.

Now Jess has more time to work her magic.

Jess Larson PWWBOutsourcing the accounting means she can focus on the areas where her skills shine brightest. She’s able to identify where she needs more support, and the clarity over her budget means she knows how and when to bring in the best people who contribute their own awesomeness. It’s meant she’s been able to craft a whole team that’s greater than the sum of its parts.

If she hadn’t had the courage to utilize Revel’s expertise to map out how and when she could hire, she may not have been as successful as she is today.

If you’ve got passion and a killer team behind you, you will soar.

Jess has put her whole self into Plays Well With Butter. Her hard work, passion, creativity and charisma have built one hell of a legacy. To see her in her element, check out her Instagram and her recipes. Be prepared to get lost in the sauce, literally.

If you’re a content creator hustling to create your legacy, you’re speaking our language. A creative business owner doesn’t just need a CPA who understands what they do; they need one who truly gets it.

Working with creatives is our jam. Check out The Revel Way to see how we can help you work less, do more, making money doing what you love.

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