Anyone I know reading this will know how much I attribute Brown Dog’s growth and resilience to BBB’s help.

Today we are joined by the fabulous Jessamy Walker of Brown Dog Financial. Jess has been a BBB member for three and a half years. She’s a Lifestyle Financial Planner with a twist. She does things slightly differently to your traditional Financial Planner. Today, we’re going to ask Jess what her biggest success and her biggest challenge have been over the last 12 months.

So, Jess, tell us a bit about who you are and what you do.

I run Brown Dog Financial Planning, which is a financial planning service based on your life and your lifestyle rather than just buying investments. It’s creating a proper plan. Money has to underpin your story, not the other way around. But money is the tool that does it.

So, Jess, what’s the biggest success that you’ve had over the last 12 months?

At the beginning of the year, we took on some social media and started posting once or twice a week. Something I’ve been meaning to do for ages – I set it as a goal. Suddenly it has to happen, doesn’t it, when you do that?

“We’ve had lots of leads – lots of enquiries. It’s great”

We did that and it was gathering momentum and doing quite well. And then I wrote a couple of articles about furlough and redundancy and the impact on life. And it’s just taken off. We’ve had lots of leads – lots of enquiries. It’s great.

That’s fascinating. I talk to lots of business owners who really struggle to make social media work. So, the fact that that’s your success… I’m very excited about that – well done.

It’s taken probably 12 months to get my head around it and get it organised. With a continual nudge, we did it.

That’s the only thing we’ve done differently that I can attribute it to.

What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced then?

The biggest challenge this year? Moving a team from office space to working from home – the tech.

Having done the social media that then meant the clients were coming in, suddenly the team had to go elsewhere. I furloughed one. I sent one home – the technology didn’t work. Complete change of IT systems and everything we’ve had to do. All of that – new software, new everything, new setup – while working flat out.

It’s hard, it’s really hard. You need 30 hours in every day, really. We took a bit of time to sort it out, and it’s much better.

So, what is the one piece of advice that you would give business owners?

Know your numbers.

Doing what I do, I’m going to say that. But know your numbers in a very broad picture – what comes in, what goes out, what your tax bill is going to be.

Set up a separate account for your tax bill, and pay yourself properly. Don’t just draw money from the business because that’s what you’re worth. Pay yourself as if you’re working for someone else. Or aim to get to that stage because it doesn’t happen immediately, but yes, know your numbers.

I love that. And we were talking just before about tax bills and a couple of times I got hit by that tax bill. I didn’t see it coming, which obviously is ludicrous. But then I did it again the following year!

You’re not unusual, Tracey.

The number of people that just try and muddle along and have it in one. And then, particularly in the first year when you pay, you don’t think you’ve made any money. Because you’re only setting up. And then suddenly you get a tax bill and on your own earnings you pay this year’s and the year on account. And everybody’s telling us not only have I got to pay tax, I’ve got to pay next year’s ahead. Where does it come from?


Set up an account somewhere. 20%.

And then, with what’s left after the end of the year, go party with it. Say that it’s a reward at the end for paying your tax bill!

Just before we finish, I just wanted to mention goals, because you mentioned, “I set my goal and so it has to be done.”

We take goals seriously at BBB, but there are a very small handful of people that have set goals throughout this year and are on it to achieve 100% of absolutely every single goal they’ve set so far throughout the whole of 2020, and Jess is one of those people.

I just wanted to acknowledge that because it is no mean feat. It’s no mean feat in a normal year, but to keep showing up to these goals in the year that we’ve had is pretty special.

Thank you. So, I set this month’s goals and thought, oh yeah, there are quite a few, but that’s okay, those are achievable. And then you started the Sales Challenge and I added a few more.

Did you? That’s great!

Jess, thank you. It’s been absolutely amazing and valuable to talk to you.

Thanks for your time today, I really appreciate it.

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