( ENSPIRE She Did That ) Lorra Brown Was Appointed by the Reserve for the State of Arkansas for Money Smart And is the CEO of LBE Consulting, PLLC
ENSPIRE Contributor: Alexandra Rivera
Brown is a business strategist working with various clients nationwide. She provides accounting services and business consulting to self-employed individuals. She was ranked by ECA Accounting as one of the Top 100 Accountants to follow. As a single mother of three children, Brown has conquered her fears and adversities and built a 6-figure firm.
Dave Ramsey has also endorsed Brown as his trusted Endorsed Local Provider. Having to adjust to being in a male-dominated field Brown pushed through the adversity to get to where she is today. She has always been passionate about working with numbers and now she helps others.
In a recent interview, ENSPIRE spoke with Brown about her journey, firm, and adversity.
What made you interested in Finance and Accounting?
Growing up as a young child, I always had a deep passion and interest in dealing with money and I loved working with numbers. In High School I was a part of FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America), little did I know this was the beginning of my career. Shortly after, my parents had a bad experience with the IRS that cost them thousands and I knew I had to do something about it. After graduation, I attended college in Little Rock, AR, and studied Accounting and received my degree in Business Administration with a minor in Accounting. Later I worked for a nonprofit organization where I fell in love with helping others.
What were some challenges you faced early on? Was it hard to start your own business and raise three children at the same time?
When I first began my career, one of the toughest adjustments I experienced was being in a male-dominated industry where men dressed only in uniforms. It forced me to only wear black, gray, and navy blue suits in order to fit in. There was no room for personality or a diverse work environment. And although I conformed quickly, it was difficult. Being a black-educated businesswoman in Corporate America was a lonely but rewarding journey.
Often, I found myself over-dedicating in order to reach my goals and prove my success. I missed out on many games, movie nights, and school events with my children. My children were only in middle and high school when I first started my business. And it was very difficult for me to learn how to develop a work-life balance as an entrepreneur. While starting my first business wasn’t challenging at all because of my previous experience and the individuals I had on my team. In the beginning, as a new business owner, my heart was set on helping as many
as I could. This, however, affected my business because of wanting to help those who could not afford my services.
What fears and adversity did you face building a 6-figure firm and how did you overcome them?
When I started my firm full-time in 2009, I started out just doing taxes I could price comparably. However, when I branched out into providing other services such as bookkeeping, consulting, and software implementations, I didn’t price the services correctly in fear of clients leaving or not getting new clients.
Then I started traveling the world doing consulting work and while it was fun and rewarding it quickly affected my health. I found myself again over-dedicating to my work while neglecting my family, health, and myself.
I quickly had to take a step back and begin working with a new mentor. I had to gain clarity about what I do, who I was going to serve, and how my clients could benefit from my services. I made a list and identified all the changes I wanted to make and started with two at a time. Some changes would take 30 to 90 days, but I didn’t stop until I felt I was in a good place. Now every six months, I evaluate what I need to work on and celebrate the milestones and acknowledge the achievements that I’ve made. I’ve learned that business is a consistent marathon and not a race.
What is Money Smart Week and are you excited to be a part of it?
Money Smart Week is a national public education program coordinated by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago that empowers individuals with the knowledge and skills to make better-informed personal financial decisions. I’m always excited to be a part of this program and all financial literacy or educational programs that help to provide knowledge and skills in order to help others (children, young adults, and adults) make better-informed decisions.
When we provide the tools to communities to learn how to see, spend, and invest, they can make tremendous steps toward creating brighter and better financial futures. It leads to others giving back and creating a healthy economy. And I feel that this is ultimately my life calling and purpose to help as many as I can.
Do you have any new plans for your business before the end of the year?
My goal is to become a one-stop shop for all of our clients; we help our clients with much more than accounting, bookkeeping, and taxes. Clients can benefit substantially from these services. Expanding our services to current and future clients is a win-win for them and us. Providing cash flow management, strategic business planning, new business formation, and more CFO services.
This mother and businesswoman has made her way into a male-dominated field and has been rewarded for all her hard work. Her goal now is to offer everything at her firm and expand her services. She has been appointed to the federal reserve to help with their Money Smart program where she gets to pursue her life calling of helping people in need.
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