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Profitable by Design: How an Agency Owner Used Profit First and Pockets to Grow

Customer StoriesNovember 17, 2023

If you'd told healthcare professional Tiereny Allen-Green 10 years ago that she'd own a six-figure branding and design agency, she probably would have laughed in your face. But her self-employment journey shows how entrepreneurship can unexpectedly become one's calling. With determination and the right resources, small business dreams can become reality.

Entrepreneurship runs deep

While Tiereny may be surprised by how quickly her entrepreneurship journey has taken off, it doesn’t come as a surprise. "Entrepreneurship runs in my family. My mom and uncles are all business owners, and they'd come to me and ask for help with something like business cards or a website, and I'd say "yes." Then I'd run home and be like, 'Okay, how am I going to do this?' and teach myself in the moment."

As Tiereny started to see Instagram take off, she watched as other small business owners began to develop an online presence. "There was an opportunity to give these new businesses a brand that didn't look new and help establish them as professional." That's how Scopetheory Design Agency was born. 

She came to love the business of reverse engineering things and found herself motivated by the need for more diversity in the agency space. "I didn't see many people that look like me; the industry was very male-driven, especially web design, and I wanted to see more women as agency owners."

how to use profit first method in agency

Tiereny says the agency took off from there. "I was really just figuring it out as I went, and it progressively got better." Eventually, Tiereny says her work started to speak for itself, and she continued to get more inbound requests. With most of her clients being businesses in service- and product-based industries, her agency has grown through word-of-mouth referrals. 

Though that was 13 years ago, Tiereny didn't take the leap into full-time self-employment until 2019, when she realized that her agency was bringing in more income than her healthcare career. "To be honest, it caught me by surprise. I didn't even realize it was happening." 

Tiereny says the most nerve-wracking part was turning in her notice at her full-time healthcare job. She went back and forth for weeks deciding if it was the right time, and when she finally did it, her boss said, "Tiereny, we've been waiting for this. You've given us everything. Now it's time for you to go and do your thing." 

And it paid off: 2019 was Tiereny’s highest-earning year to that date. When the global pandemic and recession hit the following year, Tiereny was worried Scopetheory wouldn't make it. "But I saw this sense of resilience and accomplishment from small business owners. Even amid adversity, we have the power to build something from nothing. I started seeing all these new businesses, which felt full circle." Motivated in a new way to be part of other small business owners' stories, she dove in and has continued to see revenue increase year-over-year.

Found: An easy-to-learn tool

With all that growth comes growing pains. Tiereny jokingly says if there's a system that claims to make things easier for small business owners, she's probably tried it. When she came across Found in October 2021, she used multiple payment processors, CRMs, and invoicing tools to run Scopetheory.

As a small business owner, Tiereny says you learn a lot of things as you go. "But there wasn't a learning curve using Found." Over time, she's been able to slowly transition her systems over to Found.

But now that she was happy with Found, Tiereny didn't want to switch business bank accounts or sign up for more budgeting software. Over the past two years of using Found as her business bank account, she'd slowly transitioned her invoicing, bookkeeping, and contractor management systems into Found, with everything in one place. 

Tiereny said Found's new pockets feature came at just the right time. She'd long been an evangelist for Found's auto-save feature for taxes and was excited to see more customization available with pockets. She immediately tailored her Found account to her needs, creating her Profit First pockets and setting up deposit allocations based on the Target Allocation Percentages (TAPs) recommended by Profit First.

Tiereny doesn't claim to be a finance person—nor does she want to be! That's why automatic deposit allocations are a game-changer for her business: "I don't have to remember to move money each time I get paid," she says. Instead, her five Profit First pockets are funded with each deposit based on her custom allocations. As her business grows, she can adjust the allocations based on her real revenue range. 

Seamless cash flow management for the future

Tiereny's only just started using Profit First in her Found account, but she's excited about what it means for the future of Scopetheory. "Profit First has made me feel like a financial weight has been lifted off my shoulders as a small business owner."

The Profit First method has also made it easier to think about expanding her business, too. She's been working on building out mentorship and coaching sessions for other designers in the industry. "I remember starting without a blueprint, and if I can take what I've learned over the years and help someone get there quicker, I want to."

While diversification is great for stability and growth, it can quickly complicate your finances—that's where pockets continue to help. As Tiereny starts to build out this new revenue stream, she says she'll probably create a pocket for it, helping her get a clear view of which income source brings in the most money. With Found, Tiereny says she has the tools she needs to grow Scopetheory.

"I recommend Found to pretty much everyone I talk to. If I find something I love that works, you will not get me to shut up about it. That's why I've been such an advocate for Found."

This material has been prepared for informational purposes only.

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