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Meet Lauren Bishop of Squid Ink Office Management

Today we’d like to introduce you to Lauren Bishop.

Lauren, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I’ve worked in restaurants and bars for over 15 years in almost all the positions, I work well with Chefs; I understand their form of passion and it also helps that I love food! Several of those places, I was promoted to a management position where my responsibilities would somehow always end up including some form of an accounting aspect. I also did some part-time clerical/administrative work in an office throughout the years when I could. I never really thought the two would ever really relate.

I’ve always been interested in art and even went to art school. I loved painting and photography and ended up focusing a lot on Art History. Studying art (and art history specifically) gave me an advantage. They focus on thinking outside the box and being very detail oriented. It conditions you to a different way of thinking. However, the field is super competitive, so I ended up staying in the restaurant industry.

After so many years in restaurants, I got burned out. I started looking for something that would still be in the industry while allowing me a little distance from the operations aspect of it. I found an opening at a restaurant/bar that needed an Office Manager. It was a perfect fit, I knew a lot about how restaurants worked while also knowing a lot about how a business is run. I learned so much and found I really had a knack for this!

After a year or two, I was chatting with someone who happened to be a small business owner; they needed someone to come in and help with their books. They were small and new but didn’t really understand how to track everything appropriately. They also had a hard time understanding their accountant. This is something I’ve come across a lot- I’ve met some great accountants that do their job very well but lack the people skills that help them explain the business’ numbers to anyone except other accountants. This poses a big problem, with creative people specifically. These are right brained people who love what they do and are so passionate about it. But most of the time, they don’t know anything about business management and don’t have the time to focus on it.

It started off small with that first business and as I started to talk to more small business owners in the creative field, the more I noticed that there was a big need for this. Someone to bridge the gap between the bookkeeping/office management and the passion. Squid Ink Office Management was formed and took off!

My background in art and accounting gives me the ability to truly understand the passion and the books. The combination of the two helps me to understand where priorities lie in my clients and how to get them to where they need to be.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
There is always a learning curve when it comes to branching out of your comfort zone. A lot of what I do has to be meticulous and thorough, which is a big part of my personality. Having the opportunity to learn the different aspects of business, especially applying it to the creative field, is still something I do every day. With what I do, I must be very organized and learn how to juggle everyday tasks with things that pop up. Prioritizing and having efficient time management is also very important.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Squid Ink Office Management is a bookkeeping/office management company that specializes in creative fields. We take care of the business, so the client can take care of the passion. When starting a creative based business, it’s exciting! Finally getting to live the dream, be your own boss! But most people that do this underestimate the amount of time you will have to put into it just managing it. It is a business after all. Squid Ink is here to take away some of the accounting aspects, so they can do what they love! Is it really living the dream if you are spending hours going over different reports and spreadsheets instead of what you love?

We work closely with their accountant, especially during tax season, to make sure everything is in compliance and answering any questions the accountant may have about the books. We track income and expenses, pay bills, reconcile bank accounts, process payroll, file and pay the sales and payroll taxes, etc. We cover all the things that matter in business so they have the chance to do what they love. We love businesses that are super passionate about what they do!

We have some amazing clients that do amazing things. I love raving about my clients any chance I get. Bellina Alimentari in Ponce City Market is some of the best food I’ve had in Atlanta – I order the squid ink pasta (they make the pasta fresh in house!) almost every time I stop by. The Basement in East Atlanta Village has some great themed dance parties. Gotta Have It Catering and Food Truck became a client when I hired them for my wedding! My friends and family still rave about the food! Our newest client, Cultured South, is opening a Kombucha taproom in the new Lee + White development on the west side beltline that I cannot wait for! We are so proud to be working with such amazing and creative people!

What sets us apart from every other Bookkeeper or Accounting firm is understanding the passion and the books! Other firms are primarily focused on the numbers and they don’t really understand the passion behind the business. They don’t connect with their clients on a level that is invaluable!. My background in art helps me understand and appreciate the creative aspect of the business and several years doing bookkeeping has taught me how to effectively balance the books. I love being a small (and BIG!) part of each of my clients’ passion. I love making things easier for these small businesses and being their cheerleader!

What were you like growing up?
I come from two big food families, both Grandmothers always cooked huge meals and my mom still likes to say I was the best eater because I never hated any food. That definitely sparked my interest in food from an early age. Now, my husband and I love finding new restaurants in Atlanta and whenever we travel.

I developed an interest in art at a young age and luckily my high school had a great program with a menagerie of classes. After graduation, I enrolled in the Art Institute and transferred to Georgia State after a few years to study Art History.

I worked in bars and restaurants since I was 15, working to put myself through school. I never could seem to shake the industry out of my life. It is absolutely different than any other job I’ve had. I was a bit introverted and shy until I started working. I had to learn to open up and be confident when waiting tables and bartending. It really teaches you a lot about people and yourself!

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Izzy Hudgins Photography

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