Alexis understands people intimately. Numbers? Less so. Read how FreshBooks has made it easier for her to focus on connecting with clients
For as long as she can remember, Alexis Girvan has been driven by people—and more specifically, she’s been driven by trying to understand, define and support what moves other people.
“I really love helping people grow. It’s my absolute deepest joy when I can give a resource, a book, podcast, a rhythm, or a habit to someone to try that might actually just make their lives a little bit better and a little bit more purposeful,” she says. “I’m a huge believer in operating where your heart beats hardest, knowing very well that we are all designed to do very specific work on the planet.”
So in March 2021, after years of working in the health, wellness, and retail spaces, Alexis followed her own heartbeat. She took a leap of faith and turned her side hustle, Soul Coaching—a propriety life coaching program—into her full-time gig. Since then, she’s worked with everyone from individuals, to CEOs, to first responders, to peacekeeping organizations.
We caught up with the Ohio-based “soul coach,” writer, and leadership development consultant to learn more about how she helps others find their passion—and how FreshBooks has helped her realize hers.
How did you get started as an entrepreneur and become a life coach?
Alexis: I have a real fondness for the people development component of things, like the training and the ongoing learning. For seven years, I worked for Lululemon, which is based in Vancouver, where people development was in the company’s DNA. I did education and started opening new stores for them, but my favorite part was always sitting down with new hires, diving into their goals, and really getting into the underbelly of what was going on in their lives.
Running alongside that, I’ve always had a very entrepreneurial bent about my life—and I’ve always had a drive in me to start my own thing.
So, in 2016, I started putting together a proprietary program of things I thought were really beneficial for helping people to gain some verbiage for their core values, their mission, their vision, their purpose, and to develop life rhythms that would align with those things.
One of the employees I’d done a good amount of development and coaching with at Lululemon said, “You like coaching people’s souls and helping people name what’s going on in their soul. That’s what you love to do.” So I called it Soul Coaching and in March 2022, I was able to launch fully as an independent business owner.
The other really big thing about FreshBooks is the personal connection component of having an account manager. My account manager has been accessible for my questions and we’ve talked on the phone a bunch now. I’ve really benefitted from having a personal touchpoint within the business.
What was the most difficult part of dealing with the financial side of your new business?
Alexis: Every year at tax time, I cry. I think that’s a pretty clear way of explaining my emotions around taxes. Numbers just, like, instantly give me anxiety. I can connect with anyone, but I stink when it comes to tracking and remembering what to write off and what category it goes in.
I grew up watching my parents do taxes at the end of the year, and it was a huge deal because they were entrepreneurs who were trying to make sure they got all their deductions and things. But when I started out, I quickly realized that I didn’t have that kind of business acumen. I was really passionate about what I was doing, but I didn’t really have great skills in finances, marketing, or all of those things that you need in order to actually run a successful business.
So, very early on, I knew that I needed some help.
How did you find out about FreshBooks?
Alexis: I was introduced to FreshBooks through some life coach training and was able to take advantage of it early in my entrepreneurial journey.
The first year at tax time, I was like a deer in the headlights. I was overwhelmed and didn’t understand what deductions I could take and all of that, and just didn’t have a very organized way of tracking expenses and payments.
FreshBooks saved me from that. It really helped me with categorizing all of my expenses. I very quickly started using the reporting function in FreshBooks. That really wound up being one of my saving graces for taxes, in general. I could look at the whole year and categorize it and itemize it.
What has FreshBooks helped you achieve specifically that you couldn’t have without it?
Alexis: I think one of the biggest blessings it’s brought to my business is invoicing. I wanted something that was more all-encompassing than just taking payments through Square.
When I start with a new client, I automatically set them up with a recurring invoice. I can send them the link, they can go to the website, and they take care of their payment. As an entrepreneur that’s just starting, it feels very official, branded, and easily accessible for people.
I love the fact that you can see a client’s whole profile, including what they’re paying and what you’re charging them. I don’t have to worry about it ever. At the end of the month, I can go right to my payments list and make sure that I have everything documented. It pretty much always is, which is just awesome.
The other really big thing about FreshBooks is the personal connection component of having an account manager. My account manager, Devina, was assigned to me this year. She’s been accessible for my questions and we’ve talked on the phone a bunch now. I’ve really benefitted from having a personal touchpoint within the business. I like cultivating relationships, so it’s been really fun to just have more of a person-to-person conversation than just a numbers conversation.
Do you have any advice for budding entrepreneurs or life coaches?
Alexis: You also have to be willing to play the long game—and it’s often much longer than you think it should be. It will take falling forward. Your first year of business is not supposed to be like some raving success; your first year is so much of figuring it out. Cultivating relationships and cultivating trust takes time.
It’s also worthwhile to have some cloud-side based accounting software, for streamlining and the professionalism side of things.
Honestly, FreshBooks is one of the longest-standing and most highly recommended pieces in my toolkit for being an entrepreneur. It’s been such a gift to me to have such a, like, rock in my little chest of things that I know that I’m going to use every week. This platform has been just like a faithful friend to me for the last five years.
about the author
Jessica Wynne Lockhart is an award-winning journalist and fact-checker, who splits her time between Canada and Australia. She has bylines in the Toronto Star, Chatelaine, and The New Zealand Herald. She writes about e-commerce, personal finance, health, and travel. Learn more about her work at jesslockhart.com.