“The Dancing Accountant” dishes on how she stands out to clients
Nancy McClelland loves dancing so much, when she decided to start her own firm, she called it The Dancing Accountant, LLC. She shares some great insight into how opening up to her clients about her hobby makes her seem more human and less intimidating.
Being a professional 1960’s Go Go Dancer was something that Nancy had always wanted to try. Shortly after a milestone birthday, she realized that it was now or never, so she began taking classes in Chicago. Just four short months later, she was asked to join The Janes Go Go Troupe and began performing at events all over the city — including at one of her client’s venues!
Nancy graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education and went straight to work as the Business Manager at the Ann Arbor School of Performing Arts. Someone along the way gave her a CCH Tax Guide and that’s when she realized she should get her Masters in Accounting, pass the CPA Exam and start her own firm.
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Nancy: Well, since 2001 I have my own accounting firm which is actually called the Dancing Accountant.
John: Wow. Nice.
Nancy: Yeah. It’s actually the company name. I actually got that name from a client, I was going in costume to a – to a go-go dancing gig that was here in the neighborhood and a client was there with our kids picnicking and, you know, I walked up and she said, “Oh, look, it’s the dancing accountant.” And my company’s name before that had been Nancy McClelland LLC.
John: Hold on, let me wake up for a second.
Nancy: That’s what she said that it was, that’s it, that’s the name I’ve been looking for.
John: That is so fantastic. And so, how do you find clients deal with that name?
Nancy: You know it’s been really wonderful, I’ve gotten a couple, you know, the clients that I’ve had forever, they already know this about me, we’re all friends on Facebook, we all live in the same neighborhood. I mean I specialized in small businesses and cooperatives and so, you know, it’s a pretty tight circle.
Nancy: We’re friends anyway. It’s with new clients that it’s really fun because in my mind it’s a litmus test for them, I mean running my own business I get to – I get to choose who I work with, right?
Nancy: You know that’s a luxury definitely. And so, I thought, well, this will be great because if they’re not cool with it, if they don’t like it for some reason that tells me something about them and that’s never happened. They get so excited about it they say, “Oh, you know, I saw your e-mail address for the Dancing Accountant, so I just decided to look you up on Facebook, I decided to look you up on LinkedIn, or decided to look up your website and you really mean dancing.”
Nancy: It’s great.
John: Well, that’s funny how no one says you really mean accounting.
Nancy: [Laughs] I think it humanizes somebody when, you know, they’ve got a hobby because it’s – I mean it’s scary, you run a small business and you’re pretty much terrified of anything involving QuickBooks, you’re terrified of anything involving the IRS or the Department of Revenue. And, you know, and there’s this person that’s supposed to be a trusted business advisor and you do want to trust them, but there’s nothing to make them not scary also.
John: Oh, that’s a good point.
Nancy: I mean, you know, we’re supposed to be holding their hands we’re supposed to be walking them through all of these, but, you know, for them to feel like you’re their friend, you’re a real person, you’re not just somebody who speaks geek talk and, you know, knows how to plug in the numbers, but you’re, you know, you’re weird like them. We all have weird hobbies.
John: Yeah, that’s an excellent point. And, when you’re dealing with clients, yeah, you can also be scary.
John: In the same way that, you know what they’re scared of doing or not knowing in the same way. That’s an excellent point.
Nancy: Yeah. I mean, you know, to them where finding an accountant in the first place is terrifying and then they think that we all wear green-eyed shades and, you know, sit at our desk in the corner and go, [Laughs].
John: Exactly. Those are the tax ones.
Nancy: Yeah. The tax – the tax accountants.
Nancy: So, yeah, it’s been really – it’s been really wonderful with clients. It’s been actually kind of even more – it’s been even more wonderful with colleagues though. There’s – well, I mean I have one story in particular that was really wonderful for me. I was at accounting technology conference last year in Vegas and Doug Sleeter
Nancy: The Sleeter technology conference, right? He was there, I saw him, I was at the pre-conference, I saw him in the back of the room and I thought, oh, gosh, he’s such an idol, it would be so amazing to meet him and then I thought, well, I’ll just get up and go introduce myself.
Nancy: I did and shook his hand and, you know, it’s a pleasure to finally meet him, I’ve been following his blog for years, etc, and so on. And, he noticed my nametag, he said, “The Dancing Accountant? Is that really the name of your company?” I said, “Yes.” He goes, “Come with me.” And the next thing I know I was getting introduced to Misty, who you’ve met.
Nancy: And she had put together this massive flash mob that was supposed to be vendors only, but when they found out that I was a dancer, they wanted me to join in and by the next morning I was participating in the opening flash mob for the conference.
John: That is so cool.
Nancy: It was fantastic.
Nancy: And through that I met the people at Funding Gates because there were vendors there that were holding a dance contest throughout the course of the weekend. And I met my colleague, Lisa who is also a dancer and I met her because she and I were competing in this same dance contest.
John: In the dance contest? Nice.
Nancy: Yes. So, I mean the people that I now have, I mean the network of people just from that one silly experience because Doug happened to notice the name of my company. I mean these – these are professionals that I can get in touch with when I have questions or problems or needed consultants. I mean…
John: That is so powerful.
Nancy: That’s invaluable, yeah.
John: Now, that’s – that’s…
Nancy: All because of that silly nametag.
John: Yeah. And had you been, you know, just Nancy McClelland LLC, you’d be in the back of the room in the corner talking to nobody.
John: No, that is so fantastic. And so, when you say dancing, like what kind of dancing do you do?
Nancy: That’s a great question. So, I’m actually a member of two different dance troops. The main one is called The Janes which is a 1960’s style go-go dancing troupe. So, think Nancy Sinatra, These Boots are Made for Walking with the big tall weight boots.
John: There you go.
Nancy: Yeah. Or, you know, the old TV shows, Shindig and Hullaballo, we do that kind of dancing. And it’s great we get hired to perform at festivals, we get hired to dance with surf bands and do an improv work. We get hired to, you know, do people’s birthday parties or teach little kids how do dancing, I mean it’s wonderful.
And then the other group I dance with – I will do guest in sometimes with a group called The Fabulous Ladies of Fitness which is a..
Nancy: [Laughs] Okay.
Nancy: Which is a 19 – 1980’s style like fake aerobics.
John: Sure. Like a Richard Simmons type of…?
John: Yeah. Yeah. You get the leggings and the teal in the neon pink and, yeah.
Nancy: You totally nailed it. Yeah.
Nancy: That’s exactly it. So, they do – they do a monthly dance party here in my neighborhood in Chicago and, you know, every hour or so they’ll get up on stage and they’ll do a silly choreographed routine that the audience dances along with. And they invited me to start dancing with them and I actually got to do summer dance with them a couple of weeks ago in Chicago which is a big huge dance festival in Grant Park downtown. So, I got to – I got to teach five hundred Chicagoans my choreography to Gloria by Laura Branigan [Laughs] which is definitely a highlight of my life.
John: That is awesome. Yeah. Yeah. That is really fantastic. And one question that I forgot to ask is one thing that I love to ask all accountants is how did you get into accounting?
Nancy: That is a great question because for me it was just a remarkable accident.
John: We might have something in common then.
Nancy: Oh, really? [Laughs]
Nancy: I was at the University of Michigan as an undergraduate student studying music education. Teaching has always been my thing, I’ve always love teaching, but the topic almost was beside the point. I love teaching music theory, I love teaching dancing now, and I definitely see my work with my small business clients as definitely a teaching.
Nancy: You know teaching them how to – how to keep their own books, teaching them how to read the financials doing board trainings, etc. So, I had been studying music education at the University of Michigan and a job opening came up at the Ann Arbor School for the Performing Arts. They needed somebody who could teach music theory part time and be the business manager part time. And shockingly I was the only person who applied for that position with certainly weird company.
John: Yes. That’s both right brain and left brain.
Nancy: So – and I love teaching music theory I mean that part, it wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy that, but there were a lot of good music theory teachers out there and there were very few people who could help – I mean the founders of this organization were all musicians and they’ve built something really wonderful, but they needed somebody who could communicate with them in the language that they use and the passion that they had and all the ideas that they had, but they needed somebody who could keep track of the finances and keep them organized and assess out which of these amazing ideas were actually executable and which weren’t and, that’s still something I do even actually for the dance troupes that I’m in, that’s a role that I often fill.
John: Wow. That’s excellent.
Nancy: Yeah. So, I love that job so much and from there I ended up working for Joseph Curtin who’s a world famous violin maker and a MacArthur Grants awardee. And I worked for him for years at the violin making studio as the business manager and it was through meeting his accountant there that I decided to actually, you know, become a CPA and she gave me my first CCH text guide. [Laughs] I’m in debt to Theresa for all my life because of that first guide. I still have it.
John: Nice. Some people listening are like, “It’s in print? I didn’t even know that there’s a hard copy of this?”
Nancy: I’m sure they must still print it out, I don’t know. Anyway, yeah, so it was from there, it was after I moved to Chicago I worked as accounting supervisor in a not for profit and then I realized that I was way too extroverted for those types of jobs and I really needed a role where I can interact directly with clients and that’s when I decided to get my Master’s in Accounting and Financial Management and start my own firm.
John: And the rest is history, look at this. Wow, this is impressive. That’s impressive. I just got a D in Physics and then…
John: I was like, yeah, I guess I should go and do accounting.
Nancy: Your story is better than mine.
John: Well, no, mine is just quicker. It’s actually a lot sadder, you know where all your life you dreamed of one thing and then you get your butt kicked freshman year because they’re talking about make belief things you can’t see. And I’m like, you know what? I can see money and I can see business, so let’s go into that. And, yeah, but…
Nancy: It’s really funny that you mentioned that because Physics has always been really difficult for me, I’m just now getting back into studying it because I’m very frustrated in watching the new Cosmos series.
Nancy: And, I’m having a lot of trouble understanding Neutrinos and so I finally got Particle Physics for Dummies or some book like that.
Nancy: If I come up with anything useful, I’ll let you know.
John: Please do because I think it’s all make belief.
John: Simply because I did terrible in it. But that’s always so cool to hear how you got into it and then now have parlayed it into your own business and really standing out through the dance and bringing that, you know, aspect to it which is really awesome. So, how did you get into dancing or is that something that you always did growing up?
Nancy: No. That didn’t come until a lot later. Well, not sure that’s entirely true, I’ve always, always loved to dance. I mean when I was a little kid dancing around in the living room I pretended that the back of the sofa were like it was a balance beam on a stage and I’d be doing these fancy amazing Olympics type dance moves on it. I was pretty convinced I was fabulous.
John: Right. [Laughs]
Nancy: So, you know, dancing, but like I would – I would dress up and go do disco night in college and I went, you know, go to the clubs and go dancing how many years after, but it wasn’t until my 40th birthday was coming along actually, so this is just three years ago – three-and-a-half years ago. You know how I’m sure all of the – of the people out there who have at some point turned 40 will recognize this feeling. You get this voice in your head that will not stop nagging you about the things you haven’t done yet, right?
Nancy: I’m 40, I’m turning 40, that means I’m going to die soon and I’m going to die without having accomplished any of my dreams you know.
Nancy: It’s horrible feeling.
John: And teaching people how to dance to Gloria in Grant Park is one of those things. [Laughs]
Nancy: It turns out it wasn’t, I didn’t know it at the time.
John: Right. But, yeah, you have this thing where, yeah, you got to get this done.
Nancy: Yeah, absolutely and I’d always love go-go dancing. I mean my husband even you got me a pair of the white boots and, you know, encouraging me to get out there and realized this dream, but I was too scared. I was especially scared that people would look at me as some 40-year old wannabe somebody doing something that was way too young for them, wasn’t distinguished, you know I didn’t I was really scared of that.
Nancy: And I finally decided it didn’t matter. One day I just googled go-go dance class Chicago and I found The Janes and not even during tax season do I skip class. Class is every Monday and Tuesday night and if I’m in town and there’s not an emergency, I make it to class.
John: That is so great.
Nancy: It’s wonderful, it’s – and, you know, I danced I went to class for about four months before they joined me to — asked me to join them in that performing troupe. And I’ll tell you that first performance I was terrified, I was – I was really, yeah, no, I didn’t want to go.
John: Well, I mean only four months, I mean that’s a short amount of time to get up to speed. I mean you – you had it in you, this was destiny. This was…
Nancy: I guess it was in retrospect it seems like it, but – but at the time, no, I was – I was just plain terrified. I was worried other people would judge me, I worry – worried what other people would think.
Nancy: And as a matter of fact, it’s one of the women in that troupe that helped me get passed that. I mean I still get scared, I get scared for every performance I get scared, you know that I’ll mess up a move. I don’t get scared that people will judge me anymore.
John: That’s great.
Nancy: She – her name is Laurel. She’s just fabulous. She was a real inspiration for me because she always – she wore what she wanted to wear and she did what she wanted to do and she said what she wanted to say and I referred to her at some point as fearless.
Nancy: And, she had such a great response. It’s totally – it’s totally words to live your life by. She said, “Oh, no, no, no. I’m not fearless I’m just as terrified as the next person. The difference is that I do it anyway.”
John: Oh, yeah, that’s huge. That is huge.
Nancy: So, she really was my inspiration for getting – getting passed that fear even though have it anyway, you know it’s okay, it’s okay to be scared, we’re all scared.
John: Yeah. And do you think that this experience has impacted your business at all and how you approach that?
Nancy: Oh, yes, absolutely because well, and I’m sure a lot of – a lot of CPAs out there listening to this will – will have the same kind of experience. You have certain clients who will make you feel intimidated or you’ll have certain clients who for one reason or another are difficult and it’s okay to be scared about those meetings too. It’s okay to be anticipating push backs from them. It’s the same exact thing. It’s okay to be scared, just take a deep breath and do it anyway.
Nancy: Going up to meet Doug Sleeter at the – at the conference last year was the same thing. I mean he was sitting in the back of the room I was sitting in the pre-conference session. Getting up during the middle of that session and pretending to go get a glass of water so that I can stand next to him in the back so that I could real casually…
John: Oh, since you’re here, Doug.
Nancy: Exactly. I mean I was really scared you know. What if he had turned out to be a jerk or what if – which by the way is not, he’s the nicest person on earth. Or what if, I don’t know, what if I tripped and fell, what if this what if that, what if a thousand different things.
Nancy: But I did it anyway. And so, yeah, dancing has been – it’s even changed the way that I expressed myself physically, I mean with my clients and my, you know, how comfortable I could be in a meeting with them or maybe meeting potential investors for a client, I mean that can be nerve-wracking or working with lawyers that sometimes is nerve-wracking.
John: Oh, that’s the worst.
Nancy: [Laughs] With some them it can be, they can be extremely aggressive and purposely intimidating and I just take a deep breath and I think, you know what? I know my stuff, I know my stuff. I don’t have to be scared of this person who’s trying to intimidate me. I wear – I used to dress very, very conservatively until my friend, Heidi, she – she pointed out that there is a big discrepancy between how colorful my personality was and how not colorful my clothing and jewelry were.
Nancy: And that was from being scared of being judged by people. That was totally came from that and so, hanging out with all these women who, you know, wear costumes and fake eyelashes and make up and, you know, wow, you know, it’s just it helped me kind of figure out, okay, well, who am I and what do I want to wear to express who I am inside. And I think clients are a lot more comfortable with that when I go to a meeting not wearing a business suit, not even business casual. I’m wearing a colorful outfit that expresses who I am as a human being and that makes them feel more comfortable, it makes me feel more comfortable and that all came from this experience.
John: That’s amazing, like that’s just so great. And, yeah, I mean just how before you’re almost pretending to be an accountant or what you think an accountant should be. I mean I was there when I first started.
Nancy: Even worse. What I think – what I think a client thinks an accountant should.
John: Oh, yeah, that’s even – yeah, that’s even want more removed.
Nancy: So many decrees of – yeah.
John: Yeah. And it’s – and then when you take a step back you’re like, wait, this is ridiculous. I mean I don’t even like this. What is going on? This isn’t who I am. And you’re not even relating to clients on a human level, it’s on a transactional level because you’re…
John: …each one removed from who you really are.
John: And – so, that’s – that’s so cool to hear that, you know, by doing this and expressing yourself it’s broken through and that your business has flourished even and that, you know, even more clients gravitate towards you because of this.
Nancy: I actually had a – I had a really wonderful e-mail this week from a potential client who got in touch saying, hey, I’m, you know, I’m getting in touch about some accounting stuff that I – that I need help with. You were recommended by so and so and by the way I saw you at Summer Dance a couple of weeks ago, you were great. And that was so cool.
Nancy: Wow. And that didn’t prevent her from coming to me.
John: Right. Yeah. Exactly. [Laughs] And you e-mailed inspite of that.
John: So, all that stuff that’s in your head of people judging you obviously they’re judging you in a good way. I mean they’re, you know, that’s…
Nancy: I couldn’t possibly have known any of that unless I tried it.
John: Yeah. Yeah. I mean that’s the thing is and it’s scary to do that as if you’re stepping off a cliff.
John: Or stepping out of the nest and it’s scary to do that, but what I’d think that none of us realized until we take that step is that staying in the nest is even more detrimental.
Nancy: Absolutely. Absolutely. And, you know, part of that is because we’ve got all of these – we’ve got all of these things in our heads that, you know, keep us terrified. It’s not coming from outside where we’re projecting we’re worried about what other people might think of us. And I think one other thing that we forget, well, I certainly did is that we’re not an eighth grade anymore, people aren’t looking for an opportunity to shoot you down, they’re not.
Nancy: People, they want to be supported, they want to be excited about what you’re doing and they want to be inspired. I mean meeting Doug last year, he doesn’t want people to be afraid to walk up and shake his hands. You know he wants to be approachable and he wants to meet people who will take a deep breath and say, “Hi. I’m a fan. You’re cool.” Eighth grade is a long way from where we are now, but I think we – we forget that because in our heads, you know, we’re all – we’re all kind of still an eighth grade.
John: Right. Well, eighth grade is pretty daunting, so I think we’re still getting over it.
Nancy: We’re all still struggling with that.
John: I’m still in a locker right now. I feel like I’m still jammed in there by the football team.
Nancy: Still getting beat up in the locker room. Yeah. But, it’s not – it’s not happening anymore, you know we’re all grown up now and to some extent I mean we’re all professionals and we do to some extent get to pick and choose who we work with or the terms at least in which we’re working and to remember the people out there to get you.
Nancy: That’s really reassuring.
John: Yeah. I mean that is a really good point that you made that I just want to reiterate is that we are projecting, that we’re – it’s all in our head, we’re projecting what the other person thinks and the problem is is that we’re all projecting off of each other so no one – we’re all calibrating to each other so we’re all off, everybody’s off. And it just takes one of us to just step out and ground yourself in who you are and what you do and you still do a great job obviously. The accounting doesn’t suffer from…
Nancy: Oh, God no. I hope not.
Nancy: Oh, I’m every bit as passionate about it as I ever have been.
John: Right. And if anything, it enhances it and that’s such an excellent example for others to hear and to learn from, so those are some excellent, excellent points. And so, before you got into dancing in your other work and what have you, did you have other activities that you – hobbies, passions that you share or were you – was this the one that made it come out?
Nancy: That’s a great question.
John: All of my questions are great, Nancy.
Nancy: [Laughs] They are, they are, they’re all great questions. Yes, I’ve probably never met a hobby I didn’t like. I’m a certified sake professional which is like a smelly aid for sake for which is a Japanese brewed rice drink.
Nancy: And I run a women’s wine tasting group called the Wine [Birds].
John: We’re catching a common theme here.
Nancy: Yeah. Yeah. [Laughs] I love – I love cooking, I love to travel, museums, science especially biology and natural history, less physics, but I’m working on that.
Nancy: Yeah. So, I always had tons of hobbies, but I think in the past those have been escapes from work a little bit more than this is – this feels – this feels intrinsically related in that, you know, you don’t normally share with your clients what all your hobbies are, where this is kind of as obvious as it can be, I mean it’s the freaking name of my company you know.
John: Right. Right. Right.
Nancy: Not like it’s going to not come up in conversations. So, I’ve always had outlets absolutely, but I haven’t been quite so, I don’t know public about the outlets, maybe that’s it.
John: Sure. And what do you think held you back from wanting to be more public about those?
Nancy: Definitely – well, wanting to be more public about?
John: Or just to share like…
Nancy: That’s a great question, I mean I guess they don’t easily come up in conversation is probably the simplest. I mean I wish it were like that, but how do we introduce ourselves to the person who’s sitting next with us on the plane, right? We say, “What do you do?”
John: Right. Yeah.
Nancy: You know and the answer…
John: I always say accountant and the end of conversation, [Laughs] never a follow up question. No, whenever I said comedy, it’s like, oh, now we’re talking the whole flight to L.A. you know.
Nancy: That’s really funny. I’ve had the opposite experience. I find at times that I have to hide the fact that I’m an accountant because especially when I’m getting a massage, I know this sounds ridiculous. I’ll be getting a massage…
John: It’s so peaceful to talk about accounting.
Nancy: Yeah, right, exactly or when I’m getting a haircut, same thing happens you say you’re an accountant and massage therapists and hairdressers are almost always treated as independent contractor.
Nancy: Yet they don’t know how to keep their own books, they’re not really sure how to fill out a schedule C, should they – should they get an LLC or not, should they become an S corp and the next thing you know an hour has gone by and you’re thinking, “Whoa, I just paid for that? They should be paying me.”
John: Right. This is the other way around. Right.
Nancy: Yeah. And I love helping people, so it’s not that, but every once in a while.
Nancy: Yeah. So, maybe it’s because I’m a small business accountant as opposed to, you know, I don’t – I don’t do audit work and I don’t work for big corporations so.
John: Right. That’s interesting. That is interesting, but, yeah, like how do you approach that, yeah, in a work setting how would you bring that up?
Nancy: Yeah. Absolutely, I mean, you know, we don’t, maybe we should, but we don’t tend to ask each other in any environment, we don’t say, “So, what do you like to do in your free time?” I mean that sounds like you’re asking somebody on a date when you say that, you know it’s just way too personal.
Nancy: So, I think that that’s, I mean I’m as extroverted as they come, if somebody showed an interest in my personal hobbies, I’d shared them with them. So, it wasn’t, you know, it wasn’t to embarrassments or worried about judgments or anything like that the way that I was when I first started dancing.
John: Right. It was just the opportunity to then present itself.
Nancy: Yeah, it’s not like being on a flash mob in an accounting contest.
John: Right. [Laughs]
Nancy: Anybody you run into for the next three days is going to be like, hey, that was really cool, and the next thing you know you’re talking about dancing.
John: Right. That is so perfect. I remember when I used to work corporate and I used to go ask whenever I’d start in a new department or just on occasion, I would just go up to people and be like so what do you do and they would always start with their job, well, I take this spreadsheet and then I would… No, no, no, that’s your job, like what do you do, like who are you like what do you – and sometimes people just have a hard time answering that question where maybe they don’t feel like you said earlier that their hobby is really that interesting. You know, well, I really love to watch mad men. Well, great, that’s what you do. I mean, you know, like whatever it is, I mean that’s – it’s something that’s that simple because what’s so amazing is that so does that person three cubes away.
Nancy: Right. Right.
John: But you never say it and then none of you say it and then that you have no connection whatsoever to anybody.
Nancy: Right. There’s no real connection.
John: And, you know, I mean who knows maybe someone you worked with is the biggest biology museum buff ever in…
Nancy: Right. Absolutely.
John: And you missed the boat. No, I’m just kidding.
Nancy: Yeah. [Laughs]
John: But you never would be in dancing, so you’d be running a museum. But, I mean that’s the thing that how much easy it on the person to just open up and say at lunch, you know, yeah, so this weekend I was at the, you know, such and such museum or I was – went to this movie or whatever as opposed to, you know, so that’s the fine line between how much easy is it on the person to bring up versus, you know, someone else approaching you to open up to everything.
Nancy: I have a funny one from a friend of mine, she actually used to be a client, she’s the COO of one of my major clients and she left to raise her children and ended up doing bookkeeping for me on the side that, you know, while she is raising her kids, so that’s a pretty cool relationship.
Nancy: And she – she found out that I don’t watch television, I mean we don’t have a television maybe we don’t have a television, but we like will sometimes stream stuff for, you know, like Cosmos. [Laughs]
John: Sure. Great.
Nancy: But, I’m just not much of a TV or a movie person. And she said, “Well, what do you do?”
Nancy: And I didn’t understand the question like, “What do you mean what I do?” And she’s like, “Well, like at night when you get home, what do you do if you don’t have a TV?” and I was just like, “All the rest of the things in life,” I, you know, that was a really odd – odd question for me. I think I’ve always just been a hobby person, I mean I’m endlessly fascinated by knowledge. And so, whether that’s kicking my feet up and reading an accounting textbook which sometimes is actually what I do or a particle physics book or going out dancing or, you know, hosting a wine group or going to museum or going to an event.
Nancy: You know there is a lot out there to do, but no, we’re not asking each other, we’re not asking each other what those things are.
John: Right. Right.
Nancy: That means what’s your career.
John: Yeah. And I have to say this that as a Michigan alum it’s completely understandable that you don’t have a TV after watching your football team lose repeatedly. [Laughs]
Nancy: Can I give you my standard response anytime anybody jokes about University of Michigan football?
Nancy: “Oh, Michigan has a football team? I went there for academics. Oh, clearly that’s not why you chose your school.”
John: There you go. [Laughs] So, what do you think might be, I think we might have touched on this, but just in case any words of, you know, some of those barriers that people might be facing and any words of encouragement that you might have for others that might be on the fence as far as sharing and what have you.
Nancy: Yeah, absolutely, I mean I mentioned the story earlier about – about Laurel talking about, you know, we’re all scared, we are – we’re all scared, we all are eighth graders inside who are remembering what it felt like to be teased or we’re doing the opposite, you know, we’re being the lawyer who is also an eighth grader inside except that person is making sure they don’t get teased so they’re, you know, they’re trying to dole it out before it gets given to them.
John: Right. Their choice is scared.
Nancy: Yeah. Their choice is scared, you know and I don’t mean that about all over here at…
John: No, no, but as a person as, yeah.
Nancy: Yeah. There are – there are some personality types out there that are – that are going to, you know, try to intimidate you and there are most people out there are wanting to be supportive, they are wanting to be inspired, you are the one who needs to take the deep breath and say, you know what? It’s okay that I’m scared, we’re all scared, the difference is that I’m going to do it. I’m going to step out on that stage or I’m going to wear these crazy outfits or, you know, I’m going to publish that book or I’m going to record that song that I wrote all those years ago or I’m going to go to open mic night or I mean whatever your hobby is.
Nancy: You know take a deep breath, recognize that we’re all scared you’re not an exception, it’s okay that you’re scared take a deep breath and do it anyway. People out there they want to applaud.
Nancy: As a matter of fact, oh, I have a great story about that. Oh, my God I was terrified. So, here I had already been performing for a couple of years and was, I mean I always get – I always get stage fright, it’s hard to memorize a bunch of choreographies and your dancing. Some of the gigs that we do are solo gigs where we’re teaching audience members how to dance or their solo gigs where we’re improv-ing with the bands, but a lot of our gigs are, you know, somewhere between three and ten of us will be doing a choreographed routine together so if you mess up the audience can see that you messed up.
Nancy: Because you’re all supposed to be doing the same move, right?
Nancy: And so, I was getting a little bit of stage fright because you don’t want to be the one that mess up. But there was a gig that was not one, but two different clients at the same time, so one of my clients be they’ll go to the coop which is the little coop grocery store in my neighborhood. They were having an annual fund raiser at another client of mine, Café Mustache which is a café and bar here in the neighborhood.
Nancy: So, they asked if my troupe would perform at their fundraiser.
John: It’s like your worlds are colliding.
Nancy: [Laughs] And I just thought, oh, my God, no. No, no, it’s one thing for them to know that I’m a dancer, it’s another thing for them to see pictures on Facebook of me in these crazy silly costumes. But God to actually dance for both sets of these clients at this event and it was a tiny little event compared to most of ours, but I was more nervous than I had ever been about anything in my entire life. I was so scared, you know, maybe – maybe they thought, oh, I thought she was better than that you know or maybe they were thinking, oh, now, we’ll get to see what this thing is that she’s been talking about all this time and they think I’m awful where to go back to the age thing maybe they’re going to be like wow, that would be neat if she were ten years younger, but, well, she should not be doing this anymore. All of these fears, again, they’re my fears, I was projecting onto two sets of clients in one night and we got up and we did the performance and I swear the applause has never been more deafening.
John: Oh, that is awesome.
Nancy: It was amazing. It was wonderful. We went back and did it again the next year. And, you know, it was just – it was beautiful, it was wonderful, it was fantastic, I had nothing to be afraid of except for the things I was making up inside my head.
Nancy: So, the advice I would give to anybody and it doesn’t matter whether your hobby is something very public in a performance sort of way such as the work that you and I do or if it’s something more private don’t be afraid to share it with people, don’t be afraid to – well, I keep saying don’t be afraid, that’s not what I mean. Be afraid, do it anyway.
John: Yes. No, that’s…
Nancy: Don’t let your fear prevent you from doing it. I mean it’s the number one thing that was my lesson and I hope I can spend the rest of my life telling other people please do the same thing, for me it’s been an amazing trip because of it.
John: That is so perfect and so inspiring for everyone to hear and, yeah, I think that that’s just such a fantastic story. And I think one day all of the Green Apple Podcast will show up one of your shows and there will be flash mob, your show – and the applause will be even more deafening and crazy and it will be awesome.
Nancy: That sounds wonderful.
John: A bunch of accountants clapping for another accountant like it will be the world will come to an end. It will be so fantastic, but…
Nancy: It will be worth it.
John: Right. Right. It will be perfect. But, I feel like we’ve really gotten to know you and some really good points here, but I don’t feel like we totally get to know you until I give you my seventeen rapid fire questions. These are my, you know, let’s see if we can really be friends type of things.
Nancy: Oh, boy, we already established that we have the Notre Dame versus UM thing going on, I mean this friendship can only go so far, right?
John: No, that’s true. That’s an excellent point. I mean especially in the fall, it’s kind of on ice.
Nancy: In the fall when you’re paying attention and I’m not.
John: Right. Exactly. In the spring time, we’ll, yeah, I might e-mail you once in a while. So, these are seventeen super fast questions and it’s all for fun, so first…
Nancy: I feel like I need a buzzer or something.
John: I do. I feel like I mean, you know, with the service bell or something. If you take too long, then – but – and feel free, I’ll give you two options if you want an off the cuff option, I think that you’re the kind of person that might have a third better answer, so feel free to pick that and I mean that in all due respect. So, here we go.
Nancy: All right.
John: First question, PC or Mac?
John: Balance sheet or income statement?
Nancy: Balance sheet. Duh?
Nancy: Like you even ask that.
John: [Laughs] Right click or left click?
Nancy: Right click.
John: Oh, that’s so – that’s so predictable. I knew you’d say that one. Your favorite cereal?
Nancy: Oh, I don’t eat cereal. Homemade granola.
John: Oh, that’s good. All right. Star Wars or Star Trek?
Nancy: Star Trek. Oh, my God, I’m a huge, huge trekkie. Oh, my God, I’m so — or trekker depending on which group of Star Trek fans you talk to.
John: Right. Wow.
Nancy: Yes. I love Star Trek.
Nancy: Especially Star Trek Next Generation.
John: That’s the series. All right. Cats or dogs?
Nancy: Cats, definitely. We have two foster cat care, so we’re big – I love dogs, but cats allow you to travel and they snuggle.
John: Oh, yeah, that’s a good answer. Favorite number?
John: That’s mine too. Good answer.
John: Favorite sports team?
Nancy: [Laughs] Oh, I know the answer, I know the answer, the Brewcity Bruisers Milwaukee’s derby team.
John: There you go, the roller derby.
Nancy: My best friend’s on that team.
John: That’s cool. I’ve never had a roller derby answer. So, that’s perfect. Pens or pencils?
Nancy: I type on my laptop. Can I say highlighters?
Nancy: I always carry a highlighter.
John: That’s good. What color?
John: Standard. Sudoku or crossword puzzle?
Nancy: I hate them both. I definitely would go for crossword puzzles. I love the trivia aspect, but I’m not very visual, so I have trouble…
John: I should have thrown in tax guide, that might have won for you.
Nancy: [Laughs] That wouldn’t won.
John: Movie that makes you cry?
Nancy: Oh, movie that makes me cry. Wow, there are so many movies that made me cry. When Harry Met Sally, I know it’s a comedy, but it’s just so touching at the end. I just love it so much.
John: That’s a great movie. Favorite color?
Nancy: The blue – okay, I have known this answer since I was a young child and I’ve never had a chance to answer it, I’m so excited about this. The blue of the lights when you’re on – when you’re on a runway in an airport, you know the blue.
John: I’m dying laughing right now.
Nancy: You look at the window and you see the light.
John: At night, when it’s the blue.
Nancy: At night.
Nancy: At night the blue lights on the runway that is hands down my favorite color.
John: That’s a good blue. Least favorite color?
Nancy: Probably pink.
John: Okay. Least – sorry, favorite ice cream flavor?
Nancy: Peanut butter.
John: Oh. Favorite comedian?
Nancy: [Laughs] Do I have to answer you or…?
John: No, not me. Absolutely not me.
Nancy: Comedian. Okay. Well, he’s passed away, but Richard Jeni.
John: Oh, Richard Jeni is great. I’ve met him and I saw him and he’s – he was lights out hilarious.
Nancy: He was absolutely amazing and I was honored enough to be able to see him perform a few times before he passed away and wow, he’s genius, hilarious.
John: Yeah. He had a bit about hearing the noise and his wife would make him go down and he’d come back with an axe in his forehead and he’s like, “He’s got an axe!”
John: Oh, man, he was so funny, so funny.
Nancy: My favorite one is the one he tells about the lobster who’s so excited because he says it’s kind of cool because there would be – there’d be a sign on the lobster tanks saying, “flown in fresh daily” and he’s like think about how horrible that is like the lobster, you think you’ve won like the lobster…
Nancy: So, it seems like, woohoo, I get a flying here and you show up and everybody’s got a bib with your picture on it.
John: Yeah. [Laughs]
Nancy: Oh, I loved him.
John: He was so, so funny, so funny. Next question, heels or flats?
Nancy: Oh, heels. Yeah.
John: And the last one is favorite thing you own?
Nancy: Favorite thing I own? Oh, that’s a tossup between two things.
John: Okay. Two things then.
Nancy: Should I tell you both?
John: Sure. Both works.
Nancy: Okay. All right. So, I have a disco ball, I’m looking at it right now. I have a disco ball in my living room.
Nancy: And I actually got it in exchange for teaching kids music classes back in the day.
John: That’s fantastic.
Nancy: So, that’s really one. As a matter of fact we had some people crashed a party of ours once because they saw the disco ball reflection out in the sidewalk and they just rang our doorbell and said, “Hey, this looks like a great party.”
Nancy: But my true coolest thing I own greatest possession thing I love the most aside from our cats is that I actually own one of the last checker cabs ever built.
Nancy: It’s a beauty. And it was customized off the line. It’s known as a Winkoff Checker from this guy Marvin Winkoff who was collecting the last ones that were built and customizing them to few of his designs until it’s painted like a Rolls Royce. So dark blue on the top and silver on the bottom. It’s got opera windows and oh, it’s a beauty.
John: Wow. And so, do you park it in your garage?
Nancy: Actually it’s kind of funny. I live in a condo in the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago and our garage is too small for a checker.
Nancy: So, we park our bikes in the garage and we rent space a few blocks away in a garage for the checker.
John: And you take it out for a drive on occasion?
Nancy: Oh, yeah, absolutely. As a matter of fact, I’ll send you a picture of the go-go troupe sitting on the hood of the car.
John: Oh, that would be so perfect, so perfect then everyone can check that out at GreenApplePodcast.com. We’ll have pictures and show notes for that. So, man that is awesome.
So, thank you so much, Nancy for being a guest.
Nancy: Well, thank you. It was so much fun.
John: Yeah, and sharing your story and really inspiring people and bringing some really great, great ideas to the table and explaining to people that we’re all scared and just do it anyway, that’s so perfect. So, thank you so much.
Nancy: Thank you so much. This has been so much fun and, you know, you’ve been pretty inspiring yourself, it’s not that many people who are willing to get in front of a stage, on top of the stage, in front of zillions of people and tell jokes, I mean that’s – that’s more terrifying than anything I’ve ever done.
John: Yeah. Well, you know, I would never dance in a million years, so I think we’re even, I think we’re even so…
Nancy: That sounds fair.
John: Right. Well, thank you so much.
Nancy: That sounds fair. Thank you so much.