EP 76 – Creating an Exit Plan for Selling Your Business with Megan Gillikin

December 13, 2022

Megan Gillikin is the founder of The Planner’s Vault, an educational resource and community for wedding planners, and the host of the Weddings for Real podcast. After running a successful wedding planning business for 12 years, Megan now devotes her time to helping the next generation of planners achieve their business goals.  

Megan returns to the podcast to join me in discussing her journey of buying and selling a business, the process of how to sell your business, and the mindset needed throughout. Listen to Megan’s entrepreneur story during her first time on the pod here. 

In this episode, Megan and I discuss: 

  • How she bought her business | 4:44 
  • Why she began to consider selling her business | 11:13 
  • Creating space from your business to have a better view of it | 15:57 
  • The steps of selling your business | 19:43 
  • Evaluating and increasing the value of your business for sale | 24:10 
  • Negotiating the sale of your business | 30:26  
  • Preparing for after the sale of your business | 43:23 
  • Post-sale mindset and where you go next | 47:02 

      Connect with Megan: 

      Website | https://www.theplannersvault.com/ 

      Podcast | https://www.theplannersvault.com/podcast  

      LinkedIn | https://www.linkedin.com/in/megan-gillikin-34900524  

      Connect with Danielle: 

      https://kickstartaccountinginc.com/product/profitplanner/ 

      Website | Kickstart Accounting 

      Facebook | Kickstart Accounting Inc. – Home | Facebook 

      Instagram | Kickstart Accounting, Inc. (@kickstartaccounting) • Instagram photos and videos 

      Twitter | Kickstart Accounting Inc. (@KickstartAcct) / Twitter 

      Book your FREE Discovery call: https://kickstartaccountinginc.com/book-a-call/ 

      Test your Financial Health: https://kickstartaccountinginc.com/checkmyfinancialhealth/ 

      Learn how to pay yourself as a CEO – https://www.kickstartaccountinginc.com/getpaid 

      Full Episode Transcript: 

      Intro  00:00  

      Welcome to Entrepreneur Money Stories, the podcast for women entrepreneurs who want to dig into their money stories so they can break free from limiting beliefs around money once and for all. Hosted by Daniel Hayden, owner of Kickstart Accounting, Inc. This podcast is a series of real conversations about money mindset with valuable and action packed takeaways for the entrepreneur who's building their abundant empire. Danielle is a reformed corporate CFO who's on a mission to help real freakin female entrepreneurs understand their numbers and gain the confidence to create sustainable profits. And now here's your host, Danielle Hayden.  

        

      Danielle Hayden  00:38  

      Welcome back to another episode of Entrepreneur Money Stories. Today we're welcoming back Megan Gillikin to the podcast. Megan is a veteran wedding planner, podcast host and international speaker dedicated to making life easier for her fellow wedding pros. We're gonna talk all about how Megan got her start, how the process behind Megan selling her business, the mindset struggles that went in before, during, even after her selling her business, really everything that you need to know the behind the seeds of somebody going through this experience. We hear from our clients all the time, I would like to entertain or have the possibility of selling my business in the future. But the number one question is how, right? So Megan is going to expose the more vulnerable side of her and her business and the six, this experience that she went through, here is my conversation with Megan. Megan, welcome back to entrepreneurs money stories.  

        

      Megan Gillikin  01:49  

      Danielle, thanks for having me. I love these conversations.  

        

      Danielle Hayden  01:52  

      Yeah, I think you are our first ever repeat guest.   

        

      Megan Gillikin  01:56  

      Ooh, do you give out badges or gold stars or anything? Gold Star? Great!  

        

      Danielle Hayden  02:05  

      Well, I really appreciate you being willing to open up and be vulnerable. I know that this is a very, very heavy topic. We hear from our clients and other other entrepreneurs in our audience questions about selling our business literally all the time, right? And this goes from the mindset between behind buying and selling a business, the actual numbers, right, like, how do we actually do it? What do we need to prepare? And then what are those emotions that we feel afterwards? And then, you know, what do we what do we even what do we do next? So I think it'd be really, really helpful to just kind of walk through this entire journey with the audience and hang in for the ride. It's a gentleman because I know, I've never, I've never sold my own personal business, but my background was helping investors and private equity firms buy and sell their business. And so when I talked about this, I talked about it from a very quantitative, tactical, you know, this is what you need to do space. And I think as entrepreneurs there's so much more emotion behind it that we need to and mindset behind it that we need to focus on.  

        

      Megan Gillikin  03:27  

      Yeah, oh, I'm excited already just just kind of hearing that framework. I think the mindset is huge. The learning lessons that I I know we're going to unpack together are going to be great and I'm very much an open book when it comes to questions and owning that I don't know everything and you need I needed I needed people like you, which I worked with through the process when it came to the money and the legal and the framework of it. And then there are other people that I had to have on my team as well. To help me through the mindset. There were some some tough moments that I had to go through as an entrepreneur, so I'm excited Danielle.  

        

      Danielle Hayden  04:13  

      A lot of emotion. Alright, well let's you know if you want to hear more about vegans journey, I will and just traditional money mindset I will link that episode up in the in the show notes so you can go back and start with that episode. But maybe just let's touch on the beginning of the business right so you had purchased that business. What was different about your mindset when you purchase the business to when you exited, exited the business?  

        

      Megan Gillikin  04:44  

      Yeah, everything pretty much everything. I purchased this business after going on a job interview back in 2010, hoping to get a position working for the original owner. And that was not Her goal. So I came out with the offer to take over a certain number of weddings and the brand itself. After sitting down with her, she had a number in mind. And at that time I was in my mid 20s. I was newly married, I'd been married for about, honestly, like no joke. Three weeks at this point, when I had this conversation with the original owner, I had a full time job working for Marriott Hotels, my husband was like, let's do it. Let's take this leap of faith. So we did very little research, very little. Digging into what it looked like to purchase a business, we just didn't know what we didn't know. And, yeah, we took out a small business loan became business owners back in 2010. And I would say naivety was a lot of where I was coming from, it was exciting. I was, I didn't know what to be nervous about, honestly. So I went in with the mindset of this is going to be great. I am now a business owner. And this will be easier. This was one of the things that I thought this will be easier to take over an existing business than start from scratch. And I could not have been more wrong there. And then, alternatively, in 2022, summer of 2022, is when I officially sold the business after having it for 12 years. And that was something that was probably a two year build up that we worked anymore important  

        

      Danielle Hayden  06:35  

      To pause. Right. So a two year build out. We we tend to think about everything in quick terms, because we can see it in social media in that way. So two years, a two year build up, these things do not happen overnight.  

        

      Megan Gillikin  06:54  

      Yeah, I think the first over that two year period of time, I would say the first six months of that was just wrapping my mind around, can I do this? Like mindset wise, can I let go of this business that I have built and poured so much into? Like, if I sell it, and it becomes a great success for the next owner? Am I good with that? If I sell it, and it all falls apart? When it's no longer mine? Am I okay with that? Like I had to kind of examine both of those from a mindset standpoint, then I had to start thinking about like, how do you do this? How do you sell a service based business that people are booking because of your brand? And your name attached to a lot of it? Like how do you? How does that even work? Where does the you know, financial side of that come in? How do you find a buyer? These were, that was probably the first six months. And then we moved into the next phase from there, which I know we'll talk about too.  

        

      Danielle Hayden  08:02  

      Yeah. All right, let's let's let's dive into one piece at a time. So I want to ask one question before we dive into how you sold it. When you bought the business. Did you feel rushed during that process? 100%  

        

      Megan Gillikin  08:18  

      I felt literally sat down with the owner who said I'm moving in four months. I'm based in North Carolina and she said I'm moving in four months to DC I'm engaged, I met someone and I'm looking for someone to take over these weddings for this coming fall like this coming fall that I would like for someone to take and then a couple of weddings next year. I think it was six weddings total. But I would be purchasing taking over as the planner, and I absolutely felt rushed, I could tell that she was urgent ly looking for someone to step in. And that should have been a warning sign to me. But again, early, you know, mid 20s I think I also felt a sense of urgency that if it wasn't me, she would find someone else and I wanted it to be me. So we moved pretty quickly to to buy the business and I think that that's not a good move. That's not a good move. Right.  

        

      Danielle Hayden  09:20  

      Right. Yeah, I think, you know, thinking from the sellers and right like we're we're preparing for a long haul. And so when we have a buyer and or a seller that's trying really urgently it's almost why and so when you when you bought the the business did you ask for any financial statements? Or what did you ask for it? Did you know that ask for anything.  

        

      Megan Gillikin  09:47  

      We did ask for financial statements. And I remember that that was like pulling teeth to get as much as we wanted. Like we would ask for some things and we would get you know 50 up to 60% of what we had asked to see from past financial statements. We asked for contracts for the wedding's that we would be taking over to see what the terms were of what they had paid thus far. And there were some that like she gave to us and others that she was having trouble tracking.  

        

      Danielle Hayden  10:20  

      So if she would have sold to I'm gonna, and I don't mean this insulting, a more sophisticated buyer would have never held right.  

        

      Megan Gillikin  10:32  

      It never would have held. And I honestly don't know if what I say what we purchased it for. I it'd be interesting to kind of dig into that. Honestly, at this point in my life, I really don't have time to go back and dig too deep. And I'm I can tell you what I I know about selling it what my purchase price how I came up with that number, but I'm curious what we bought it for our back in 2010? Was Was it low? Was it high? I don't know. I don't know,  

        

      Danielle Hayden  11:00  

      She probably didn't know either.   

        

      Megan Gillikin  11:01  

      She probably pulled the number out of like, what would be a great number to be able to sell my business for and, and she luckily found two naive buyers to buy it.  

        

      Danielle Hayden  11:13  

      Alright, fast forward, there's, you know, you have a whole podcast of everything that you learned about that business. So if anybody wants to hear more about how to run the business, they can come and listen to your podcast. Now, you said it took about two years to start selling your business. What made you start to even consider this as an option?   

        

      Megan Gillikin  11:37  

      Great question. So in 2020, a few weeks before the pandemic, I launched another arm of my existing business, which was an education brand coaching consulting for wedding pros, wedding planners specifically. And I launched that as an addition to my planning business and did not at that time plan to sell my planning business. But as that education brand took off, and I spent more time in that business, and I started to remove myself more from the day to day of my planning business. My thought was, I can maintain both of these and have both and feel good about it. But the reality was that I started to feel less engaged and less honestly in love with what I had built with my planning business. Now, we were also in the middle of a pandemic, which was really, really tough for the wedding industry. I think it's important to note that I did not opt to sell my business because of the pandemic, I opted to really sell my business because I found a joy and passion and love in the coaching small business owners that I hadn't felt in a few years. And it's where I wanted to spend all my time. And I felt like I started to put the brakes on the growth of my planning business while I had full time team members that were working for my team. And that felt really not right, I knew that the planning business had future growth to come. But I no longer wanted to put my energy and my time and my resources into growing that business. I'm also a mom of three kids 10 and under. And there's only so many hours in the day, like there. It's that's the reality, and I'm an Enneagram three. So I'm an achiever, I like to think that I can do it all. But I went through a season of burnout around 2016 to 2018. And I had come out of that, knowing that I can't do it all I can't be all things to everyone. And life is short. So it was it was the right time. For me. It just was the right time for me to make that move.  

        

      Danielle Hayden  14:02  

      Do you think that your day said you weren't as in love with the planning business anymore? After you started to remove yourself? Do you think that it there's any correlation that because you removed yourself, you were falling out of love with it? I hear from some of our clients that they are scared to remove themselves from pieces of their business because they're scared of what would happen? And I'm just wondering if you think there's any correlation there?  

        

      Megan Gillikin  14:29  

      I don't think so. Actually, I really I don't think that so I think oftentimes, you need to be able to step back and remove yourself from the business to be the visionary to see the next steps to get excited about future growth opportunities that you can always see when you are in it just in the day to day. And I guess what I think happened in my case is that I will As in it, like in it on the hamster wheel for many, many years longer than I probably should have been. So I would actually advise that for those of you that are in it, and first step is to like create some space to be able to maybe fall back in love with your business, so that you're not drowning in the overwhelm of the day to day that doesn't. I don't think taking a step back is what led to me wanting to sell it. I think it was honestly finding passion in just another area that I had never really considered, that I could love so much.  

        

      Danielle Hayden  15:38  

      And you mentioned previously that your first kind of job was to get your mindset around those two scenarios. How did you come to peace with that? Like that's, that's big. That's heavy. Like, what what? What did you do? What work did you do to get there?  

        

      Megan Gillikin  15:57  

      Yeah, here's one of the most important things that I think took me a few years, I used to refer to my business as my baby, my first baby before my actual babies, I would say like, this was my baby, before I had babies, I gave it everything I grew it, I rebuilt a reputation that was not in a good place when I purchased it back in 2010. And when you refer to your business as a baby, which I think a lot of small business owners do, you begin to think that it cannot survive without you that you are the reason that that baby continues to grow. And I think that's a really unhealthy path to go down as a business owner. So I, I worked with a business coach, who helped me with some of that mindset, this was pre even getting to the place to sell my business, but she helped me understand like, a baby is a living, breathing thing that will not survive, if you put it down and walk away. And a business is not that like a business, you should be able to put down and take a vacation, and you should be able to put down and take a little bit of like mental space from it so that you're not connected to it. 24/7. And I started that work. After going through that intense burnout, I hired her in 2018. I worked with her for about a year and a half. And I think that's where I started to look at it like, wow, look what I built, I am really proud. I'm super proud of what I've built with this business. But I am not the end all be all for this business and there can be more life with it. That doesn't involve me. That was that was the mindset work.  

        

      Danielle Hayden  17:42  

      Alright, so once you for six months, you knew you're moving forward with this. What next? Like I hear people all the time say, I want to sell my business, but what the heck do I even want to even do it? What did you do next?  

        

      Megan Gillikin  17:55  

      Yeah, I think it depends on the type of business that you have. If you are the brand, and you are the face and it is very service based, you're going to have to approach it a little bit differently than if it is more of a product based business or like a restaurant of sorts where they're going for the food and the atmosphere. And it's not specifically you, perhaps, but in my business, my face was all over the website, my name was mentioned in just about every review past clients would say like you need to work with Megan and her team. So where I started was, I started having conversations. And I reached out to key people in my market that I felt like I knew I could have a safe conversation with I did not ask them to sign an NDA. But I would probably go back and recommend that this is something that you do for sure. The way I did it was instead of saying like, hey, I'm interested in selling my business, and I'm just wondering if you might want to buy it, I did not do it that way. What I did instead was I had conversations and I said something along the lines of hey, you know, I'm exploring what comes next for my team and my business. And I'm looking at a few different paths. You know, one of them is that we go more boutique style. And we limit the number of weddings that we take on. And our team becomes more focused on a specific type of an event. That's one area that I'm thinking about. I'm also thinking about bringing on someone to lead the business, and I'm even further removed from it in the way that I am. And I'm exploring,  

        

      Danielle Hayden  19:39  

      So, hiring a CEO or a real COO  

        

      Megan Gillikin  19:43  

      I talked about that. So I guess what I did was I painted the picture. And this was truly where I was at was I wanted to examine three to four different paths of what I could do and one of them could be selling the business. And my thought was, if I say this, and Someone who's like ooh, like this, I'm kind of interested in this, then that would open the doors to further conversation from there. But it would not become the rumor in my market that like, ooh, she's selling your business, like don't send any business her way anymore. And I also had a conversation with my team. So that happened before I started having those external conversations, I sat down with the ladies on my team, and I said, Hey, you know that I've been growing this education brand. And you also see that, like, my efforts in the growth of this business have slowed down. And I don't know that that's fair to you, and what I see, you may want for your career, so I want to have a conversation with you one on one. And kind of gauge what you're looking for and what your interest is, in continuing on with this business, or what you see yourself doing two to five years from now. And I had that with Gina on my team that I hired 11 years ago, she was kind of what I would call the rightful heir to the business. And she didn't want it like that was kind of a surprise to me is that she was like, I really don't want to be a business owner. Like I like being a number two. I know. And I kind of had a moment of, okay, well, then now what? And then I sat down with Elizabeth on my team who had been with me for about two and a half, three years at that time. And she had started her own business, prior to joining my team. So I knew she had that like heart of entrepreneurship. And we had a conversation, and she did express initial interest. And that was that like, there was no like, Yes, I'm in like, sign me up, where where do I sign on the contract? It was, we had a conversation. And then we kept moving forward. And I had other conversations with other people. And then I ended up having a deeper conversation with Elizabeth that led to like, what came next from there?  

        

      Danielle Hayden  22:01  

      There was time and space, like how much time do you think went on?   

        

      Megan Gillikin  22:07  

      Yeah, I want to say   

        

      Danielle Hayden  22:08  

      How do you think you've put into talking to other people too? Like, how much effort were you putting in? You're running, you're still running two businesses still running? And you've decided that you're going to make a move? You don't know what we'll be at? How much time are you putting into it?  

        

      Megan Gillikin  22:22  

      I would say I had conversations with eight to 10 other people. So probably between two to three hours invested per conversation in just emails and a coffee chat and any follow up questions. So yeah, it was it was probably like 40 plus hours of just conversations. And then from when I chatted with Elizabeth,  

        

      Danielle Hayden  22:46  

      Let me ask you, I'm gonna interrupt you real quick, because I want to finish the thought what type of people did you meet with? Like, who specifically did you meet with? Were they other people in the industry investment banker, like, Who did you meet with?  

        

      Megan Gillikin  22:57  

      It was other planners in my market. It was a couple of venues in my market that I knew had expressed interest in adding planning arm to their in house services. So, I had conversations with a couple venues, probably like four to five other planners, and then internally with three of my team members.  

        

      Danielle Hayden  23:22  

      All right. Yeah, I think that's important, because I think that that's a very specific, where do we go so that Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for sharing that. Alright. So time continues, right? You all go back to business. So when you're having all these conversations, nobody jumps up and says, me, right? Like, it's me. Is there anything else that you were doing behind the scenes? That that might be a takeaway for somebody? You know, anybody? First episode, you're a client of ours. So you knew your numbers. You You had solid bookkeeping behind you. That's something I talk about, like first and foremost, if you're selling to a buyer, they're going to need books, right? They're gonna ask you for numbers. What else were you doing?  

        

      Megan Gillikin  24:10  

      Yeah, definitely got my numbers straight with my bookkeeping team. I also separated out my business that I mentioned, I started originally, under my planning business, it was the same LLC, but early 2021. I separated those two businesses. So they were two separate entities because I knew like the writing was on the wall that the goal would be to sell my planning business but I intended to keep the other business that I was building. So I separated those out, got my paperwork straight. They're separate bank accounts, like separate bookkeeping, everything was separated. I also started to have conversations to understand what do I value this business at like? How do I determine what I sell this business for? And what that looked like was, I spoke with two other wedding planners nationwide that I knew had sold their business. So not local to my market, because honestly, it's really hard to find wedding, small business professionals that have sold their business. And that's why I'm so happy that we're having this conversation. But I had conversations with two other planners that I knew had successfully sold their business. And I asked them, how they determined what the value of it was, and how they went about that process. I had a conversation with a small business investor that my husband was connected with to understand like, where do we come up with this number in looking at our books, and then I did research on my own as well, lots of Googling and trying to determine how do you come up with the valuation and I took all of those different avenues of research. And then my husband and I sat down. And we took those numbers, and we said, what are we comfortable with? Like, what would if we were to get this purchase price for our business?  

        

      Danielle Hayden  26:08  

      What would it need to be? And that's what we did? Is there anything that you did as you started to explore the valuation and what you could get for it? Is there anything that you did to increase the value of So anybody who listens to this podcast has heard me talk about the book about to sell? And love all the concepts in general and his book and his methodology? Is there anything that you did as you're talking to these planners to change, possibly increasing the value or to make your business more sellable?  

        

      Megan Gillikin  26:46  

      And I wonder if I did, and I don't know it. I mean, what comes to mind for me first is that we had a federal trademark for our business name. So I went through the federal trademark process to have the name protected, the brand protected, I had all of like the state things as well. I had solid bookkeeping in place, trying to think well, what are some, I guess? What are the most common things? And I can tell you if I did them, if we want to go down that road?  

        

      Danielle Hayden  27:18  

      Well, I think that you did some of them naturally, my removing yourself from the business. Oh, and from marketing from content. Yeah, the other piece of it is creating SOPs, standard operating procedures, on how you do things. So what you do.  

        

      Megan Gillikin  27:33  

      Also, so that, that takes me to like, I did put a big promotion on like my team and making sure that they were front facing and featured versus it being all about me on social media on the website. I also had two very strategic partnerships. With venues here in my market that were recurring revenue, we were not advertising with them. It was just business, it was basically handed to us based on a relationship that I had built several years in advance. So that was something that as it looked, as you look at the sale, where we valued the business, we could say like, well, we know that on average, for the last five years, we have a guaranteed 20 to 30 events at this price that comes always from this venue and that I think was highly valuable for the purchaser of the business.  

        

      Danielle Hayden  28:27  

      Did it have anything to do with you though it was the relationship with you? Or was it relationship with your business?  

        

      Megan Gillikin  28:32  

      The initial relationship was me negotiating the partnership, but it was a contract that was for my team servicing those events. So it was not me.  

        

      Danielle Hayden  28:44  

      You were not handling the events. Were you still doing events your last year?  

        

      Megan Gillikin  28:52  

      I stopped taking events in 2019 after working with my business coach, and the goal was like, let's move you into the CEO capacity. My my events were supposed to finish in 2020. So I should have finished out all my weddings in 2020. Then 2020 came and all of my 2020 final last year of weddings move to 2021. And then I know it was I joked No, I'm never gonna make that joke. It's inappropriate. Anyway. I had my last weddings in 2021. And then I had one client in 2020 that came to me and said, You planned our son's wedding. We loved you. Our daughter's getting married in 2022. Would you do the wedding? And I took that wedding as my final wedding and I negotiated with the sale of the business. So this is where like I'm happy to dive into like, once we agreed like we had our buyer. What did that look like? And I negotiated as part of the sale of The business that I would finish this wedding, and the payment of that wedding would come directly to me versus going into the sale of the business.  

        

      Danielle Hayden  30:14  

      Alright, well, let's, let's, let's finish the story. So who, yeah, who eventually bought the business? And what are those final steps look like, once you identified the buyer?  

        

      Megan Gillikin  30:26  

      Yeah. So in 20, I believe it was summer, maybe spring of 2021. I had further conversations with one of my team members, Elizabeth who expressed interest in purchasing the business. And we agreed on a purchase price that she was comfortable with, that I was comfortable with. And I worked with a lawyer to draft a letter of intent to purchase the business. And the things that were included in that letter of intent was what would be included in selling the business of what were the assets included, what was excluded from the selling of the business, we had to have discussions over intellectual property, since a lot of the intellectual property, I had used to build out the education brand that was now separated from my planning business, we we did something interesting that I really liked was, we came up with a clause in the letter of intent that said, Elizabeth, and I can agree to selling the business anytime during this window of time in 2022. But if she has not purchased the business by and we agreed on a June 1 date, if we, if she had not purchased the business by June 1, then she would owe kind of like an earnest deposit towards the business, which was 10% of the sale price that we had agreed upon. And that was kind of based off of understanding real estate a little bit. And knowing that like when you agreed to buy a house, you put down a certain amount of money. And if you decide that like you don't want to buy the house, the money is gone. And that was what we had worked into our contract for the sale of the business not wasting your time. Yeah. And we also had something to protect Elizabeth. So we had something that said we had agreed to this purchase price. And if someone else came along, and I decided to sell it to them for a totally different price, I would be penalized financially for not honoring my contract with Elizabeth, there were things in place if Elizabeth were to be fired from the business between when we signed the letter of intent, if something went wrong there. There was a clause that mentioned that, at the time, the sale of the business, anything in the bank account would stay with me. And any payments, post sale of the business, even if the contracts were signed under me. But they were for future dates, all remaining payments would go to Elizabeth with the exception of the one wedding that I kept, that was my final client. I see your wheels turning.  

        

      Danielle Hayden  33:26  

      Who helped you? Like, that's a lot, right. That's a lot of projection for you. Or her. Did you have somebody who guided you through that? Or were these your ideas?  

        

      Megan Gillikin  33:37  

      It was a combination. So it was I worked with a lawyer that works with creative entrepreneurs. Her name is gearshift Patel. And she's based in Texas. I had had her on my podcast before and I had developed kind of a friendly relationship with her. And I reached out to her when I was interested in selling the business. And I asked a lot of questions. And I contracted her to help me with the letter of intent as well as the sale contract of the business. But some things I would go to her and say like, Hey, I'm just curious, like, is there a way for me to protect myself? Should she decide to back out? And she said, Yes, we can draft it this way. This is what this earnest amount will look like. And then I asked her, I was like, I know I would like the final wedding that I'm doing like those payments. I would like to keep those instead of those going into the business and then Elizabeth is paying me a percentage of it like I would like to keep that. So she helped me draft the verbiage for it but it was a combination of her guidance and expertise from a legal standpoint and then probably my curiosity and like desires from a business owner standpoint.  

        

      Danielle Hayden  34:52  

      What are the final weeks look like right where we're building up we find the right buyer had a letter of intent, we're still working together, right? Like you're still, you're still in weddings, you're still she's still your employee, be a little bit of what that looks like, what are the momentum build look like up to the final event?  

        

      Megan Gillikin  35:14  

      That was probably the hardest part mindset wise for me, because we had a letter of intent that was signed, that went pretty quickly. And then we had, you know, we were working within that letter of intent for I want to say between eight to 10 months before the business was actually purchased. And I held the idea of the sale of the business at arm's length. It was not it was not here, right at my chest, it was held out here because whatever, wherever I was, mindset wise, it was, this would be great if this happens. But if this falls apart, and I remain the owner of this business, this can't wreck my world. So I, I stayed in that state for several months. And then as I got closer to the final weeks, we're reviewing the contract, we're making edits, we've got a date that we're supposed to meet at the bank, which is the same bank that I met at 12 years before to sign the contract and purchase the business and I get goosebumps as I say that because my my feeler side, like there was all the feelings of like, full circle moment here. But yeah, that was the toughest mindset was those few weeks leading up? Like, is she gonna back out? Am I gonna back out? Actually had that thought, like, am I gonna say like, just kidding, I'm not selling you this business. I really had all of those thoughts going through my head. So if you are listening to this, and like, maybe you're somewhere on that journey, yes. All those things. I experienced all those things of like, maybe I won't sell it. Maybe she won't want to buy it. I don't know, like, what could happen. And the back and forth of the contract was pretty straightforward. There were things that Elizabeth wanted. Nothing was outlandish. I had a lawyer that I could go back to. And you know, question I definitely recommend this is not something that you draft a contract that you download a template to online? Of course not. I also worked with you all, from a bookkeeping standpoint to figure out, what does this look like with this payment coming in? Now, I think there are a few different ways that you could do this, mine was the simplest way possible. You could have a payment plan in place you could have, where payments are being made to you for a number of months or years after the sale of the business. We didn't do it that way. Elizabeth had help and guidance and financial support she went, I believe she attempted to go through small business, and I think is still working through that. So there was some hold up on her end. But we also knew that should that fall through. She had financial support to still go through with the purchase of the business so that maybe  

        

      Danielle Hayden  38:10  

      So you didn't help her find financing or a dialer anyway.  

        

      Megan Gillikin  38:16  

      No, I mean, I gave her everything that she needed for the small business loan process. So she would come to me and say like, Hey, we're working with someone, they're now asking for X number of years of books, and I gave her everything transparently. But I did not help with that process. No.  

        

      Danielle Hayden  38:35  

      And you felt comfortable giving her this information, because you had an agreement signed with her that she could not disclose this information. So she couldn't go in. Tell the other team members Lauren posted on social media. I just want to remind people that when you're going through this due diligence, it is literally like taking off your bra. We're getting naked for somebody, right?  

        

      Megan Gillikin  38:54  

      It's true. Yeah, yes, it's true. It's true. So yes, she we both had signed something, you know, speaking to like, we're not shouting from the rooftops that this is happening. We are in this committed relationship at this point with each other. And we knew what the goal was for working towards the purchase of it. But it was a moving target based on the small business little process. But at the end of the day, it was a like, one time payment that was paid at the time the contract was signed, I had conversations with you all with kickstart, for bookkeeping to figure out, like, Where does this money go? What are the tax implications of this? What do I need to set aside for this? Do I deposit this into my second business? Do I deposit it into my personal account? These were all the things that I didn't know. And this is where it goes back to like I needed that support team for that.  

        

      Danielle Hayden  39:53  

      Did you have any clause in the agreement that if revenue increase like you're still running the business so what if skyrocketing, you guys have a ton of revenue, a ton of clients sign. Was there anything that raised your valuation price? At all?   

        

      Megan Gillikin  40:09  

      Great question. Originally, that was where we had wanted to go, before we sign the letter of intent was we had a tiered revenue, like what the revenue was, to what the sale price would be. And that was my idea. And then I realized that that actually kind of added an additional layer of stress to me, because I felt like I needed to put more into the business and book more to make the numbers like get to a certain amount. And it just started to feel really, really heavy and not good to me. And the range of like, lowest to highest was not a huge. It was not a huge difference and tear, because I could look at my business and say, for the last 11 years, here's where we have been revenue wise, honestly, the books didn't look great for 2020. And that was really it. 2021 was looking good as we were looking at that. But 2020 obviously didn't look good from the pandemic. So Elizabeth had access to like 2018 2019 2020 and 2021, to be able to see what that looked like. And we dropped the tiered system on my request was, let's just here's the number that I would like to be at. And are you good with this? And she was good with it. I was good with it. So that's what we went with in the letter of intent.  

        

      Danielle Hayden  41:38  

      Yeah, I wonder if it would have been different if you were working with somebody else? She was an employee, she was an  

        

      Megan Gillikin  41:47  

      Insider. Yeah, it was, it could be a very different experience. When you're working with someone that's not in your business, I definitely can see that.  

        

      Danielle Hayden  41:54  

      I'm thinking like, back in my days, it was like, you're not getting a cent without me getting. Toe for toe. Yeah, um, alright, we signed the paperwork, wholesale mindset, like how do we, I think your situation is a little bit different from other business owners that I've spoken to right, and you have a passion that you is immediately occupying your time, right. So it's not like you are going into the abyss riding into the sunset. Finding what to do with yourself in retirement, right, you had something but doesn't meet it still had a mindset issue. So struggles and issues. What did that look like?  

        

      Megan Gillikin  42:41  

      It looked like a few different steps of mindset. So the contract was signed, we didn't make it official for about two weeks afterwards, and an announcement to the industry. So I let our key partnerships know, in advance. And that was something that they were comfortable with as well. We let all of our existing clients know, we made the public announcement to the industry, I still had my wedding. So we sold the business, the end of May 2022. My last wedding was September 24th 2022. And I think  

        

      Danielle Hayden  43:19  

      Did you send an email or like, how did you announce it to everybody?   

        

      Megan Gillikin  43:23  

      Yeah, so I sent an email to our clients and partners with the offer and opportunity for a follow up conversation. Like, I want to send this over to you, I want to share this with you as one of our VIPs. And then here's the link to my calendar. If you have questions, you want to talk about it and I'm letting you know first. That's kind of how I like to handle a lot of big information is I know, I would not want someone to call me and tell me over the phone something that I may need a moment to process and have a sharp reaction to. So I like to give time you process then I'm here not just you process and then that's it. Mindset wise, I struggled a little bit it felt good. I felt pride. I also had those feelings, those early business owner feelings of like that, did I just leave my baby with someone else? So I had to kind of go back to that feeling of like, okay, this is this. This was right, right. Like this is the right thing to do. And then it felt good. And it feels good. Now, it feels like I have talked about this on my podcast before but this is where hopefully it won't get too too mindset cheesy for you. But when I moved into my home eight years ago, I had a neighbor give me a small house plant in this tiny little pot. And I sat it on my kitchen counter and it stayed in that pot and it was doing just fine. And then one day I thought like hmm, I should move it closer to the window and Maybe it needs a bigger pot. So I repotted it, then I only have like two plants in my whole house because I'm really not so great with plants. Good thing, this one's a hearty one. But the plant grew so much bigger like it got, it's taller than my 10 year old. Eight years later, I still have this plant. And I just recently repotted it once more to this giant pot. And it's grown even further, and I'm watching these little new like green things pop up. And it's really, really cool. And I've thought about that, as an entrepreneur, like, you start in one pot, and you grow. And then you realize, like your roots, they have nowhere else to go, Okay, you can't get any bigger. And you got to repeat yourself. And I think that that's kind of what I've done as I've been an entrepreneur is you get to a place where it's time to relocate, and it's time for future growth that you can no longer have in that same spot. And that is where I find myself right now is, I'm able to create these new branches of growth and new ideas and new things that I want to bring to life because there was time and we can outgrow our businesses, I really believe I'm not saying that everyone will outgrow their business. There are other ways to grow your business that it continues to expand and your role changes and you bring on more team members, and that growth could be the right growth for you. But I want to acknowledge that in some cases, it's okay to outgrow that business altogether.  

        

      Danielle Hayden  46:27  

      That is a really beautiful analogy, not too cheesy at all.  

        

      Megan Gillikin  46:30  

      Thank you. Thank you.  

        

      Danielle Hayden  46:33  

      I have one last question. You know, you you've done both, you've bought a business and you started a business from the ground up. You know, for anyone who's listening, who's thinking about selling their business and starting over selling a business and buying business, anybody who maybe is still inside hustle world and doesn't know which direction to go, like lessons learned, like what was the highlights and lowlights of both. That could probably be a whole podcast, but  

        

      Megan Gillikin  47:02  

      I'll give you this, this will be in round three, we'll have to do this at a deep dive. I would say. The next steps, you don't have to know all of them. So I talked about this at conference down in Florida, Danielle, that you and I were at Yeah, together, where sometimes you feel like you can't move forward unless you know, step 12345678910. Especially my brain as a planner can lean on wanting to know everything. And it's okay to take a step that feels really good in that moment, and then sit there and figure out what comes next. I would never have been able to do this on my own. I'm proud of the accomplishment that I've built. But there's what I call my my circle of trust, or that internal board of advisors that I look to to help me see things that I can't always see myself. So my husband, and business partner is one of those people, I believe in having a business coach that sometimes can be like, Hey, have you realized that like your life could be so much easier if you just did these three things. And you're like, huh, I had no idea I couldn't see it, I was too deep in the trenches. So I believe in having a business coach, I believe in having a circle of trust. But trusting yourself as the like the CEO, that means seat there. And also didn't yell at you and I talked about this before we really officially kicked off recording, I just want to be that voice for you that you don't know. You don't have to know everything. You don't have to have everything figured out. You don't have to be an expert in every single number in your business. You don't have to have perfect everything to be able to sell your business. You just have to be strategic and know people that can support you in those areas of growth. So I learned so much over being an entrepreneur for 12 years, did a much better job of selling my business than I did purchasing that same business 12 years ago. But even now like months after the sale of the business, I can still look back and be like would have been good to do that. And I didn't and that's okay. Well, maybe next time  Next time. The next business.   

        

      Danielle Hayden  49:07  

      Alright, that was beautiful. Any last nuggets or anything that I didn't ask you that you wish you would have that you want to leave the audience with?  

        

      Megan Gillikin  49:36  

      No, I don't think so. I think we I think we covered everything. I am happy to be a resource if people have questions or they're looking for recommendations on what maybe they should do with their own business so feel free to reach out to me. You can find me on Instagram I'm at planners fault or at weddings for real which is my podcast for Are wedding professionals. And yeah, just know that we're all very messy, imperfect humans, and it's just knowing the right people and taking that first next step, which is going to open up some doors for you.  

        

      Danielle Hayden  50:13  

      Yeah, it's always taking one, it can be a small step. So that's thinking about selling your business. This step can be that you listen to the show, right? And you and even reflect on that and you resonate on it and you take one more small step to take action. I agree. 100%. Alright, thank you so much for being here.   

        

      Megan Gillikin  50:35  

      Thanks, Danielle. 

        

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