Throughout February, I am going to share my story, so that you don’t have to make the mistakes that I did. You will get to understand where I have come from and my background. You will realise that I am not so different to you.

You will learn how I went from wanting to be an organic farmer all my life and thinking accountant would be the most boring profession ever to being one of Australia’s top cloud integrators and one of the world’s best Xero trainers.

You will learn why I started learning how to teach others to be a cloud expert.

You will learn about the mistakes I made along the way.

You will learn about the behind-the-scenes at an Add-on.

But I’m not going to start in the beginning. That would be too predictable. I’m going to start in the middle.

What I Learned Working At An Add-on

From October 2012 to October 2013, I worked for well-known inventory addon, Unleashed Software. In September 2013, I left Unleashed and became a cloud integrator under my own name, Jeri Murphy, after realising how much support and guidance people needed in order to implement an addon solution and successfully connect it to Xero. (At the time, Unleashed only integrated with Xero, not QuickBooks Online).

At Unleashed it as my job was to support the Partners and Business Users I was working with, however I knew that people needed my help with more than just Unleashed – that’s why I went out into business on my own.

Here’s a summary of the things that I helped people with on a daily basis at Unleashed Software:

  • Scope calls with new potential Unleashed users – the aim to understand the business processes and needs of the lead and help them understand if Unleashed is the right fit or not. If it fits, how will it work for them?
  • Write training and implementation manuals on how to implement Unleashed successfully
  • Answer support tickets on how to use Unleashed correctly
  • Help Xero Partners understand how Unleashed and Xero work together
  • Run webinars for Partners on how to implement Unleashed
  • Run webinars for advanced users on how to become an expert on Unleashed with Xero – all the theory and the practice.

As you can see, I was wearing a few hats whilst working for the add-on, Unleashed. When I started at Unleashed in October 2012, I was:

  • an experienced small business bookkeeper
  • a KPMG trained accountant
  • a degree qualified accountant (Bachelor of Agricultural Commerce majoring in Financial Management)
  • a single mum running a household of 3 kids under 8 (why am I telling you this… read on)
  • and I didn’t know anything about inventory (I hadn’t even used it in MYOB)

I tell you about my family and what I was juggling at the time so you eradicate a few of those excuses that you might have for not achieving what you want to achieve. If I can become who I am today when just 3 years ago, I had no inventory experience, no training experience (all self-taught) and 3 kids on my own – then you can do it too.

I’ve learned how to:

  • Understand a business, it’s people and processes so I can help them find the right solution for their business
  • Best implement Xero and many add-on solutions without the headaches and the blowouts in hours and hours or unbilled work
  • Share my knowledge and experience with others so that you take action and help grow your business too
  • Describe complex integrations and business processes to business owners all over the world so they can make changes in their business that help them get their life back – help them ENABLE their business to help them do what it’s meant to.

Whether you are an adviser, a business owner, an employee or a dreamer reading this article, the business you own or the business you work in – it’s purpose is to help others achieve something they can’t or don’t want to achieve on their own so that they (and you!) can spend more time doing the things that you love and spend more time with the people that you love.

Back to the lessons that I learned working at an add-on (THE VIEW FROM INSIDE THE ADDON)…

Have you every read the articles about bootstrapping? The growing pains of a start up? How many businesses fail in the first few years and how not to be one of them?

It’s a tough world. Ask Rod Drury about starting Xero. I did. It wasn’t an easy journey.

You think some days you have it tough trying to find work life balance. Try doing that with 10 staff (and growing), a rapidly growing business pipeline – across the world. Every add-on is balancing.

Balancing…

Building a great product that meets the needs of the many.

Supporting the existing customers to use their add-on to it’s greatest potential – how it was meant to be.

Fixing the issues that come in accidentally.

Building more great features when people ask for them

Training up the support team so that they can support the existing customers – which are growing.

Hiring new sales people so that they can get more money to pay for more development for more great features to keep the existing customers happy and attract new ones.

Training those new salespeople so that they don’t sell the wrong thing. Over-promise. That’s bad. That’s not helpful.

All the while, keeping a complete handle on the finances, balancing the budget of inventors money who backed that add-on to do everything it promised to help all those people that needed their problem solved with this amazing add-on.

That investor could be some of the biggest venture capitalists in the world. Or it could be a loan from your mum or a mortgage on the house. It doesn’t matter who invested in the dream. The pressure is still the same.

Have you ever thought about what it’s like for the add-ons juggling all this? Maybe now you can.

And when you do, you will get a taste of what’s it’s like to be a cloud expert in your own business. What it takes to be a cloud integrator.

Whether you want to just be a cloud integrator with your own business, create a cloud integration department in your accounting firm or just implement an add-on with Xero or QuickBooks Online in your business. The process is still the same.

To create the outcome you want, the process is the same. I’m going to share that roadmap for you.

What It Takes to be a Cloud Expert

On Thursday, March 3rd, I am going to tell you exactly what it takes to become a cloud expert. I will share with you EXACTLY what it takes. No fluffy advice. Real Actionable Tasks.

Remember I’m not that different to you.

If you are an accountant, I have been you. I was a tax agent, at the ripe old age of 26, and owned my own accounting firm using Xero in 2010 until I was bought out by a Xero Gold Partner in 2012.

If you are a bookkeeper, I have been you. I started my first bookkeeping business in 2006 just before my first child. My bookkeeping firm became my accounting firm. I still do bookkeeping to this day and yes I work from home.

If you are starting out as a trainer, I have been you. I was just starting out once too. Scared out of my brain that no-one would care what I had to say. “Why would they listen to a 30 year old mother of three?”. But they did.

If you are a cloud integrator, I am you. And I can tell you, I have made many mistakes along the way. So much so that I came to hate integrations so much that I didn’t do them anymore until Marlon and I joined forces this year.

So, you can see I have some stories to tell and you can read them here over the next few weeks. What I do know is that I am sick of watching others struggle and trip. I became a cloud integrator to help business owners connect add-ons with Xero without the headaches. I become an Ecosystem Expert Trainer because there were too many businesses to help. Nothing has changed. New people are moving to the cloud every day.

If you want to learn from my mistakes and then learn EXACTLY how we do what we do then you can join me for an online workshop on Thursday, March 3rd. I will share the details of the workshop in next weeks WhichAddOn.com Weekly Digest. If you aren’t already on the list, go on it here.

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