Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in coaching but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Susan Stutzel, Founder of S Stutzel CPAS and Stutzel Coaching, located in Tipton, IA, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

I have created a life I love as a multi-passionate entrepreneur, owning and partnering in multiple businesses. As the owner of S Stutzel, CPA, I support small to mid-size nonprofit organizations in the areas of compliance, strategic planning, and organizational health. As the owner of S Stutzel Coaching, I empower high-performing business leaders and owners to overcome overwhelm by defining success and creating actionable steps to thrive in business and life. I am also a business-performance coach as part of the PartnersCoach team, where we train young leaders in CPA firms to fill the partner pipeline.

Tell us about yourself

I truly love what I do. Every. Single. Day. I knew I wanted to be a CPA by the time I was 10 years old. Growing up in a farming family who struggled to make ends meet, I knew that was not the life I wanted for myself. At a young age, someone told me that since I excelled in math, I should be a CPA "because they make a lot of money and are good at math." That was enough for me, I bought into this dream, and after taking an accounting class in high school, my passion was ignited. In college, I took a couple of psychology classes and was intrigued by human behavior and potential. However, my dream was to be a CPA, and I was driven to finish what I started, so I pushed aside what I now know would lead me to my truest calling.

My career journey started as an audit associate at a top 5 accounting firm. I quickly learned that I still had so much to learn. During my time at RSM, I made lifelong connections. I had the opportunity to learn under and alongside some of the smartest CPAs I know. The mentoring opportunities I received inspired me to do the same for others. After just a few years, I was interested in exploring a career in the industry. I was curious what it looked like to be "on the other side of the table." I have had the opportunity to work at a small family-owned business and a fortune 500 company. While these were great experiences, my love for public accounting drew me back to a small regional firm before starting my own practice in 2013. As the founder of S Stutzel, CPA, I provide auditing and consulting services for nonprofit organizations, primarily in Iowa. My passion for the accounting industry is a perfect match for working with small nonprofit organizations because they are equally passionate about what they do. Yet I began to notice that my best days involved not just the auditing or consulting that I have come to love but the individual conversations. I found myself completely energized after conversing with a client about their goals and aspirations or those of the organization. It brought me joy to listen and be curious about how they could make it a reality.

This lead me to dig into reading leadership books by amazing authors like John Maxwell and my all-time favorite, Mindset by Carol Dweck. Then in 2019, I obtained my Executive Coaching certification. Immediately, I began coaching CPAs and professionals to achieve their own definition of success by overcoming the obstacles that hold them back. We all have untapped potential, and I thrive in helping others break through barriers and manage priorities to live an abundant and meaningful life. I truly believe the words of Jordan Peterson, "Incremental improvement is unstoppable."

I am blessed to have had the opportunity to discover my purpose and live out what I am most passionate about while helping others do the same. I live in eastern Iowa with my husband and two teenage children. Outside work, I enjoy spending time with my family, catching up with a friend in one of my favorite coffee shops, and relaxing with a good book.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Finding and living out my purpose. I truly believe we are all created to live out a specific purpose. Along my journey, I hit roadblocks and challenges that seemed impossible. Yet, it was through those tests that the testimony came to life. I love being a CPA and am proud of that accomplishment as a first-generation college graduate. I am passionate about living life in abundance and fulfilling our God-given potential, and I have the opportunity every day to help others find peace of mind knowing they are living in their purpose and finding the right balance in business and life.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Balancing work and life. Yes, I coach leaders on how to find this balance, or rhythm or harmony (depending on what term you prefer), yet at times, I struggle too. There is a lot of work in running multiple businesses, and when I say my family comes first, I mean it. It takes consistent and intentional daily decision-making to set and keep boundaries, delegate, and prioritize what is most important. I love my work, which makes it hard to put down at the end of the day or week.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Define the work that lights you up inside and stay focused on that.
  2. Seek out others who will support you along the way. We don't get where we are going without help from others. Surround yourself with people who will help guide you, push you to the next level, and pick you up when you fall down.
  3. Clarify your vision for the future, then define actionable steps that will get you there. Creating daily habits and routines are natural keys to success. Plus, checking things off of a list gives an instant dopamine hit that propels you forward to the next task!

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Not every day is sunshine and sprinkles, but with vision, clarity, and hard work, you can do anything you put your mind to. I believe in you!

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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