I knew the tax law, I was not an attorney, but I knew enough to try to go out on my own and make something of myself. So, I made the decision to start my own little company. At that time my spouse and I lived in a two-bedroom house and I was determined to do something; I left the law firm and I started a company on the kitchen table of my home. I knew that my spouse made enough money to cover the house note, but that was about it. There was no extra money for the extra things that I wanted and I knew that I had a baby on the way, so I had to make it happen. It was stressful, I had a little money left from when I was at the law firm, so I started getting a few small tax clients. I started passing out flyers, using word of mouth and tried my best to build my business. I started out with a few firefighters, police officers, and teachers. I felt comfortable enough having these clients come into my home, but the word started to spread, so I actually needed to make more money to really kick off my business. I needed to try my best to replace theincome that I was getting at the law firm and it was difficult, but I gradually started to build up a clientele and little by little my little company started to grow. Despite the growth, I had a newborn son and clients going in and out of my own home. It was quite a commotion, so I made the decision to get a real office.
My First Major Client:
When I made that decision to get a real office, it was a couple of months before Christmas. I was extremely nervous to be spending the last of my money so close to Christmas, and on leasing a new office space. I remember the man next door had an insurance building and one day told me, “If you're good at what you do, you lease that office, you place an ad in the Yellow Pages and you don't look back because failure is not an option.” I remember thinking to myself, "Are you kidding?" To place an ad in the Yellow Pages at that time would be about $500.
I barely had that much money left in my bank account, and that was going to be my money that I was going to use for Christmas. I said to myself, "Okay Karla, you have a decision to make. You can use that money to buy Christmas gifts, or you can use that money to place an ad in the Yellow Pages." The Yellow Pages back in those days was where people went to find businesses because we did not have the internet as we do now. In the end, his advice paid off because I eventually got my first major client from the Yellow Pages. I was in my office, it was on a Tuesday morning and I kept picking up the phone. The phone wasn't ringing and I kept picking up my telephone to check to see, did I have a dial tone? Is the phone broken? What is going on? Because, my phone wasn't ringing.
Finally, my phone rang and it was a lady by the name of Amanda on the other end of the phone. Amanda was in the middle of a tax audit and she had contacted me because she was referred to me through the Yellow Pages. She saw my ad and I had advertised that I help solve tax problems. So, she explained to me her situation, I told her that I could help her. Amanda met me in my office later on that afternoon. She signed her engagement agreement with me and gave me a payment of $1,000 to go before the IRS to represent her.
Almost Losing it All:
I was so excited to get that first major client, I knew this could be my big opportunity. When I called the auditor, he said he would only give me a week to meet with him. So within that time period, I had to get everything together to go meet Mr. Chu to represent Amanda before the IRS. I put on my business suit, I got my enrolled agent license badge and I drove to downtown Los Angeles to the federal building. I remember standing in line to go through to get into the federal building and just feeling so incredibly confident that day. I had all my documentation in place and I felt super prepared. Despite my eagerness, I flopped. I had met with Mr Chu, I presented the documentation. We met in his office for about a good two hours. We went over everything. I answered all his questions. He had a thorough questionnaire. I remember answering his questions. I remember being so incredibly confident. When I was done with that audit and I spoke to Mr Chu, he looked at me and he said, “Mrs Dennis, I am still not going to allow your client's tax deductions.” I remember my heart was pounding; I was panicking. I asked him to give me two more days to reevaluate my work. After all, I had only had a week to go over her records. He allowed it and sent me on my way with a firm warning.
I remember leaving that building, my head was pounding, my heart was racing and I'm thinking to myself, I failed Amanda. I could not explain to the IRS why the taxpayer needed these write offs. I didn't make it happen for her. When I got home I decided I did not want to talk about what happened, and told my husband that I just wanted to spend time with my son. I remember changing my clothes and picking up my baby boy. I remember just looking at Kenny and he made me happy and just wanting to spend some time with him. He smiled at me and had so much faith in me, I knew that I would have to find a way to not fail my son. Just like my own mother, books played a special part in our relationship and I took out one of his favorites and read to him. By the end of that children's story, it became crystal clear to me what needed to happen. I thought to myself, I had landed my big client and I had let her down. Just at that moment as I was reading that story to my son, it hit me. I said to myself, "I need to make the story of why my client needs these deductions as clear as the story I was reading to my son."
In that moment, I realized that I needed to break it down and make it very visual and easy to grasp. I sat at my desk and I really rethought my strategy. I said to myself, "I got to take this complicated process and break it down to its core." This is when I created my first version of the TD WOW System. I needed to establish a framework, a road map to give the IRS the actual stepsto tell a full story. I said, "Karla, paint the picture like a storybook." I was so excited to meet withMr Chu that week. I sat down, I met with him, I painted that picture and I won that case. It was areally exciting time and I've been winning cases ever since and teaching my students exactly what needs to be done and how.
Building A Million Dollar Firm That Serves Clients in all 50 states
If you look at my story and experiences, a lot of the ways I succeeded came with help. Now that I own my own business and have expanded to having over 20 employees, it's easy to gloat. A lot of business owners succeed and never share that wealth of knowledge. All the lows and highs of taking the risk and starting a business. My company helps Americans all over the country save money on taxes and not leave Uncle Sam a tip. I am a firm believer that you work hard for your money, therefore you deserve to do everything in your power to keep that money. At the same time, everything I was fortunate enough to learn is also something I want to share with everyone else. Whether you prepare taxes, own a business, invest in real estate, or want to learn more, my program is designed to be simple and easy. Just like the story book I read my son all those years ago, I wanted to find a way to help my clients by painting a picture story presenting that to the IRS, nothing more, nothing less.
Four Sons and a Business:
In the end, I did get my wish. I met my goal, and even though it took hard work and dedication, Iwas able to be both a mom and a career woman. My husband and I had four sons, and we createda beautiful family and with four sons who had a mother and father who were able to succeed personally, financially, and as a unit. Now two of my sons help me run my business and have both dedicated themselves to helping other business owners succeed through saving money, and adapting to all the changes that have come over time. Karla Dennis & Associates has always been a family business and even though we have expanded over time and work with clients from all backgrounds, we always stay true to our foundation and always act with integrity.
Now her son Kenneth Dennis is the Co Founder and lead over at the Tax Reduction Company and runs our operations for our education business.