5 Days to 5 Years Series: Day 2 – Edit

Disclaimer: In celebration of my company Nel Tax and Financial Solutions completing its fifth year of business, I decided to once again share some words of wisdom to other business owners and entrepreneurs that will help them along their entrepreneurial journeys. Tips and guidance provided are purely for informational purposes only. Enjoy! 
Late night selfie from 2017 of makeup-less me stressing about who knows what now. But in the moment, it was real.


Yesterday, I encouraged you to start your business. Today, I empathize with stress of editing what you started in order to establish how your business will sustain.

The picture of me above is probably one of my most honest moments as an entrepreneur. I took that selfie late night outside of my office while my family slept. It shows me trying to mastermind in the late hours something to either move my company forward, or to get rid of something that was holding my company back.

Seeing that picture now after four years, I honestly do not remember what caused me to enter such a stressful state. But I can read the stress in my expression, the time of the selfie, and the slight breakout that always rears its ugly head whenever I am lacking rest and ease in my life.

I share this because as we build our companies to withstand the test of time, we are constantly faced with the decision to edit. Edit our offers. Edit our messaging. Edit our network and support. And the edit that happens over and over again the longer we stay in this entrepreneurial journey is the edit of ourselves.

As I said, I do not remember now why I was in the state I was in when I took that selfie. But I do remember what was the results of seeing that selfie after I took it.

I went to bed.

The edit I made that night was I had to take care of myself in order to effectively lead and to be fully equipped to make all of the decisions required for the sustainable success of my company, my clients, my family, and myself. Although working tirelessly grew my business to profits within that initial first year for my business, I could not continue to operate this way .

I hired help first in the form of contractors, then coaches, and then an employee. I established company culture by enforcing the business hours and sharing client expectations vocally and in writing. And I even start scheduling days in my calendar just to enjoy blowing bubbles with my young daughter to watch her laugh and play.

Editing ourselves and our business is an ongoing process when it comes to building businesses that will last. It requires taking that honest “selfie” of oneself from time to time to admit what we should expand upon and what we should let go.

Even though I can edit myself a little better and quicker now than I could back in 2017, I still have moments where I have to pause to make sure what I am doing is aligned with who I am and what I deem to be successful for my business and my life. But the more I take a moment to check in with myself, the more I continue to enjoy what I am building year after year.

5 Days to 5 Years Series: Day 1 – Start

Disclaimer: In celebration of my company Nel Tax and Financial Solutions completing its fifth year of business, I decided to once again share some words of wisdom to other business owners and entrepreneurs that will help them along their entrepreneurial journeys. Tips and guidance provided are purely for informational purposes only. Enjoy! 
First Professional Headshot of Shan-Nel D Simmons in 2016 Photo by Maxine Moore


I smile every time I see that first head shoot I took back in August 2016. One month away from leaving my 7 year career with the IRS. Three months away from starting my company as Nel’s Tax Help and truly taking one of the ultimate risks one can take in a lifetime – betting on myself to make my dream a reality.

That day in August, I was strategic about what I wanted to include in that photo. I wanted it to say I am a woman with my pearls. I needed it to show that black is professional which is why I donned my poised afro puff on top of my head in my executive chair. But most importantly, I can see the joy and fear in that smile as I was showing 100% of me at that time. There was a woman ready to take on the world of tax and accounting as a new entrepreneur with both feet planted in her new company without any back up.

There was no transitioning for me by working somewhere else as my business grew. I took what I had saved from working in the government and I have only worked solely from my business since its beginning. I chose the all or nothing route.

Whether it was wise or not to do it the way I did, I started. I started with what I had and what I knew I could do then. I trusted my abilities before they were fully proven because in the beginning I knew fully the vision I had for myself, my company, and my family.

I am currently 5 days away from celebrating 5 years of this business because with all the uncertainty, with all the statistically odds against my longevity, I did the bravest thing I could have done – I started anyway.

If you are reading this and you are trying to find the perfect time, or you doubt if you have what you need to start your business, complete small tasks such as registering your business name, deciding what to offer, or even writing down all of your ideas for the business. But do something to start making the business happen in reality and stop living rent free in your head. I describe in detail throughout A.S.K.ing for Success the steps I took and the questions I asked myself when I started the process of leaving employment to start entrepreneurship.

Just know that how you start is not how you will finish. Start with what you have now and you can (and will) grow into the entrepreneur, the company, and/or enterprise you desire to be.

But you do not make it to 1 year, 5 years, or 50 years in business until you start with day 1.

7 Part Series of Advice for New Business Owners – Tip #7: Celebrate All of Your Successes

Disclaimer: In celebration of my company Nel’s Tax Help, LLC completing its second year of business, I decided to share some words of wisdom to other new business owners that will help them along their entrepreneurial journeys. Tips provided are purely for informational purposes only. Enjoy! 

2018 DMV Entrepreneur of the Year

Today my company, Nel’s Tax Help, LLC , completed its second year of business since officially starting on November 7, 2016. Since I opened my doors to help taxpayers and businesses, I have achieved:

  • Being featured as a tax expert for Credit Karma and Best Company
  • Participating in numerous speaking engagements as a panelist, a tax adviser for blog radio shows, a presenter at business conferences, and as a trainer in workshops
  • Publishing two books, A.S.K.ing for My Success: My Faith Walk from Employee to Entrepreneur and Get It Done: Design the Business of Your Dreams
  • Helping taxpayers and businesses in now 16 states while maintaining an over 92% client retention rate
  • Winning the 2018 entrepreneur of the year ACHI magazine award for the DC/Maryland/Northern Virginia (i.e. DMV) region where 11 other professional women were nominated for the same category

When you are an entrepreneur, you have to be your own biggest cheerleader. You have to share with others the great things your business is doing.

Do not think of it as bragging. Many of businesses share their achievements all the time. Sharing your company’s wins is how you let other consumers know that you are the go-to business for their service or product needs.

Besides, if you do not celebrate your winning moments, you will start to think that all your efforts as an entrepreneur are sinking your business. There will always be something in your business that will need improvement. But you must also take out the time to pat yourself on the back for the areas where your company shines.

I hope you enjoyed this 7 part series of advice for new business owners. It was my pleasure to share them with you. Here is to another year of business, and I hope you enjoy watching your company grow as much as I have enjoyed watching mine grow over the years. So cheers to us, my fellow entrepreneurs!