Audrey: I’m a wife, mom, sister and business owner. I have lived in this area my entire life. I am fortunate to still have both my parents who live nearby. I live with my husband Will, my 11 yr old daughter, my sister, who has Down Syndrome and is 45 and my two dogs, Sugar and Boo. I have a son, 27 who is married and has a 3 yr old daughter so I’m a grandma too! Our household is very lively and full of laughter and fun most days. Some days there is bickering either from my daughter and sister or the dogs but such is real life. :) I worked for 20+ years in the nonprofit community in Accounting. I graduated with an undergrad Business degree and then went on to get a Masters of Accountancy from Gardner-Webb. I love cars, drag racing, reading, swimming and hanging out with friends and family.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS.
Audrey: I started Blackburn Consulting in 2015. I finally realized I was not cut out to be an employee and take direction from others. I love owning my own decisions and calling the shots. I cried when I realized that the reason I always felt inadequate in my job was because I was not made to be an employee. It was such a breath of fresh air to realize this was what I was called to do. I love serving and helping others. As a women business owner I seek to raise up and encourage other women. I work with women led nonprofits and women owned and run small businesses. I’m an accountant by trade but I see myself more as a Business Advisor. This is my passion. I don’t see competitors. I see collaborators. I don’t see lack. I see abundance. I want others to see them same. I get excited when the business owners I serve have successes and realize their mission and purpose.
DID YOU HAVE A CAREER BEFORE YOU BEGAN YOUR BUSINESS? IF SO, WHAT?
Audrey: I worked for many years in the nonprofit sector as Finance Director, Business Administrator, etc. I have always been involved in Accounting since I was 19.
WHAT DREW YOU TO THIS CAREER PATH?
Audrey: I like Accounting in high school and honestly I looked for a career where I could make good money as a woman. I had my son when I was young so I needed to be able to support him. Accounting was a career where women could excel and I love how numbers tell the stories of our businesses and can articulate the mission of the nonprofit. I use numbers every day to tell the beautiful stories of the lives that nonprofits change.
WHAT IS SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS/SERVICE YOU PROVIDE THAT PEOPLE MAY NOT REALIZE?
Audrey: Many people think of me as a bookkeeper because it is what they relate with most. But that is only a small part of the services I offer. I offer bookkeeping services to clients as we must have good records before we can make decisions based on those numbers that affect people, what we offer and our lives. I serve as a key member of management for many of my clients in that I am assisting with financial decisions, running their business and many operational issues. I will be certified as an Operational and Financial Advisor by year end but that is simply a certification for something I already do. I don’t provide investment advice. I don’t prepare taxes.
IF YOU COULD GIVE YOUR YOUNGER SELF ONE PIECE OF ADVICE HAVING THE EXPERIENCE YOU DO NOW, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Audrey: Be confident. Don’t think you are not good enough, wise enough, accomplished enough. You don’t need degrees or certifications to make a difference. Be yourself even when it seems that others don’t understand you.
IF MONEY WERE NO OBJECT FOR YOUR BUSINESS, WHAT WOULD YOU ACCOMPLISH IN THE NEXT FIVE YEARS?
I would be a public speaker traveling the world speaking and write books. I am working on a book right now but it is slow going. It’s hard sometimes to write and work ON my business when I still do so much in my business. I would love to take a month off and go to a secluded home in the mountains and finish my book. I love to write and always have. I love public speaking and teaching. I wanted to be a teacher when I was a little girl. I was given the opportunity early on in my business to teach some classes and it was a dream come true for me. I love seeing others excited for what they have learned. I have spent so much of my life learning and I want to share that information with others.
TO WHAT/WHO DO YOU ATTRIBUTE YOUR SUCCESS?
Audrey: Hands down, my husband of almost 15 years, Will. When we were dating he was already plotting how to send me back to college to finish my degree because he knew how it hurt me that I was unable to finish. Every single thing I have wanted he has sought to make happen. I wanted to stay home with my daughter for at least 6 -9 months after she was born. He worked night and day to make sure I could and I was given 2 ½ amazing years home with her while I not only finished my bachelor’s degree that I had started over 17 years earlier but also graduate with a Masters of Accountancy with a 4.0. He is my biggest support and biggest fan. This year I was able to give him the gift of leaving his job to start his own business. We are now a family of entrepreneurs. :)
WHAT MAKES YOU/YOUR BUSINESS UNIQUE COMPARED TO OTHERS WHO DO THE SAME THING?
Audrey: Hands down my nonprofit experience. I know so much about nonprofits, their grant funding, their accounting and audit requirements, their struggles, their heart. The same with women owned businesses. I get the struggles and challenges that we face as women running a business. It can be lonely and frustrating. It can be exhilarating. I bring all that to the table to serve both of these audiences in the way that meets them where they are and strategically allows them to go higher, obtain bigger goals and do things their way. And I get to cheer them on in the process. Accounting can be boring but what I do with that is the fun part. I love to see others thriving!
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LOCAL RESTAURANT? WHAT DO YOU ORDER?
Audrey: I have several but my most favorite is Village Tavern at Reynolda. I love their shrimp and grits. Any time I travel I will order shrimp and grits at a restaurant. I have yet to find one that beats Village Tavern at Reynolda. They have the best!!!