Pop Quiz, Monday with Shan-Nel D. Simmons, Founder at Nel’s Tax Help


The Pop Quiz, Monday is a fun little exam that we love to give to savvy business owners. The examination is not a surprise after all since the interviewee already knew about the questions in advance. However, we can always pretend and have fun with the scenario of a young entrepreneur sitting in class nervously biting on their pencil. They are ready to take a pop quiz on a chapter that they were supposed to read the night before. Instead, they played Metroid all night on their SNES (Oops, this was me in high school). The real purpose of the pop quiz is that this is a fun way to introduce business tips from real-world experiences that you can not learn in a classroom. We want to thank our entrepreneur for being a good sport and volunteering their time to answer a few questions to help our community grow from their knowledge.

I want to introduce you to our guest today who will be taking our Pop Quiz Monday.

1.Can you please tell everyone your name?

Shan-Nel (pronounce like Chanel) D. Simmons

2. Tell us about your business and what you do?

I am the founding owner and tax accountant of Nel’s Tax Help where I provide solutions to tax problems of individuals and businesses nationwide. As an enrolled agent with an MBA in accounting and finance, I use my education and experiences to represent my clients in IRS examinations, prepare past due returns, and handle tax debt issues. Also, to proactively prevent tax problems and to minimize owing taxes, I provide tax advice and tax planning services.

3. Why did you want to become an entrepreneur?

I worked for the IRS for over seven years as a revenue agent before starting Nel’s Tax Help. As a revenue agent, I would hear from individuals and businesses all the time that would say had they worked with someone like myself they would not face huge tax adjustments with substantial penalties and interest. I witnessed first-hand how crippling a tax audit can be for a W-2 wage earner or a small business owner. So, in addition to the desire of always wanting to have my own business, I chose to provide proactive solutions as the owner of Nel’s Tax Help versus correcting mistakes years later as an agent for the IRS. I wanted to help taxpayers receive reliable service.

4. What are the challenging aspects of running a business?

Getting clients to see the value of your work before they have problems. Software makes too many people overly confident that they can handle complex matters completely on their own; and in the tax world, the software is truly just a tool to increase efficiency. It does not replace the effectiveness of the expertise of a qualified tax professional.

5. What do you love most about your job?

Being able to see or hear the relief of my clients when I tell them the tax matter has been handled and the nightmare is over. To see or hear the joy re-enter them with that news is so rewarding.

6. How do you have fun at work (team building, pranks, etc..)?

Since I’m a one-woman operation, I can play music very loudly while I’m doing paperwork. One would think I was auditioning for American Idol. Also, I’m very active with people on social media — particularly Facebook. So, I love posting funny memes about taxes and getting a laugh from my followers.

7. What would one piece of advice that you give to a new business owner?

You get to define what success means for your business. If that means you retained most of your clients from year to year, you are successful. If that means you doubled your gross receipts, you are successful. If that means you got a new positive review every month, you are successful. You started your company to be your own boss. That also means not only you get to create your own company, but you also get to decide what aspects of your company should be highlighted and deemed a success. Now, be realistic with yourself about areas of opportunity that need to improve to have a better business but also enjoy what works for your company and celebrate your wins.

Thank you for taking our pop quiz today. You get an A+ for effort. You can learn more about our interviewee and their business by visiting them on the web:


Author: Ricky Singh, MBA

Editor of The Startup Growth.

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