May 13–Imagine packing up your family and moving across several states to a city in which you know no one — emphasis on no one — to open a new business.
Gutsy move, right?
Not if you’re Samantha Zishka, owner of West Ridge Accounting Services in west Greeley.
Done with the cold winters of her hometown, Worthington, Minn., and wanting to move on from her job working for another accountant, Zishka, an IRS enrolled agent and certified bookkeeper, was ready to be her own boss. She had signed a no-compete clause, so she began researching places to relocate outside a 100-mile radius of Worthington.
“Greeley and Loveland popped up as the fastest-growing economies in a couple of studies I did,” said Zishka, who examined growth in the housing market, population statistics and job postings to see how much work was in the area.
She also wanted to relocate to an area where there was room for one more accounting services business.
A family vacation in 2015 to the area sealed the deal; she said she “fell in love” with Greeley and its history. A year later, she opened her businsess. A self-described go-getter, Zishka jumped all in to get her business up and running. She joined the Greeley Chamber of Commerce and Greeley Young Professionals. She started attending meetings of several networking groups. And she started volunteering.
“I wanted lots of friends,” Zishka said. “I like having people in my life.”
Not only did she make a lot of friends, but she got a lot of business.
“We’ve doubled our projections,” she said. “Every day we’re growing.”
To top it off, after just two years in the community, Zishka was named the Chamber’s Ambassador of the Year. What does one do to achieve such recognition in such a short time?
“I went to just about every ribbon-cutting I could attend, every before and after hours to help, whether it was greeting, showing people where to sit or cleaning up afterward, and I sold tickets for the Chamber,” she said.
Though it sounds like it was easy breezy getting her name out in the community, it was challenging to convince people she was the business owner, not an employee.
“I had to get people to trust me with their books,” said the 31-year-old.
Susan Olson, co-owner of iMassage in Greeley, met Zishka through Greeley Young Professionals.
“All of a sudden she was everywhere,” Olson said.
Olson, also a Minnesota native, has been in Greeley four years.
“She’s inspired me,” Olson said. “She’s made me more of a confident networker.”
Zishka continues building her business in the fast lane. She recently opened a satellite office in Worthington to tap into the void left by six accountants in a 30-mile radius entering retirement, and to make it easier for the 300 clients she brought with her to Colorado to have their taxes done in Minnesota.
Getting to this point hasn’t been an easy journey for Zishka. She was a single mother managing a gas station in Worthington during the day and doing taxes at night. After five years, she quit the management job “and never looked back.”
“I really like doing taxes. I truly love taxes,” said Zishka, who specializes in taxation while her staff oversees bookkeeping services.
West Ridge Accounting Services has been a family affair from the start. Her husband, Carl, was her business partner until a motorcycle accident last year sidelined him.
“He’s just now getting back on his feet,” she said. “Both of my kids think they work here.” Alexis, 12, helps with mailings and filing, and Thomas, 9, takes charge of the shredder.
“I feel like I have the greatest support from the community,” Zishka said. “I couldn’t imagine leaving. I’ve been here two years and I can’t go to the grocery store without knowing everybody. That’s really cool.”
This article provided by NewsEdge.