“We the Prosperous” – Meet Amy, a #GirlOnFire Repping Women Through Her All-Female Artist Agency

Customer Stories, Self-Employed AVC_at_desk_7324

Every Intuit customer has their own unique story. Along each of their journeys, they find passion, share advice, take risks, celebrate success, and form a community of their own.

From small business owners, to the self-employed and those simply seeking ways to be more financially savvy – we’re here to be a part of each story and champion our customers as they take steps forward on their path to prosperity. Hear how the power of many comes together to support the business of one with #WeTheProsperous.

Meet Amy Cooper, founder of Trove Artist Management and frequent user of QuickBooks. She’s defining prosperity on her own terms, while leading one of the only all-female agencies in the U.S.

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Intuit: Amy, tell me about your business!

Amy: Trove Artist Management is an artist representation agency. I represent hair stylists, makeup artists, and photographers for commercial and advertising projects. I have artists in Texas, New York, and California, and we are all women. I think we were one of the first all-female photo agencies in the U.S.

Intuit: Why did you choose to start your own business/become self-employed?

Amy: I had been working as an art buyer for the same advertising agency for six years, and was ready for a change. I was also starting to meet some very talented female photographers who were coming to me for mentoring and advice on how to get to the next level of their business.

I decided to take a career course that helped me figure out how to combine my passion for women’s equality with my experience as an editor and art buyer. I dreamed up the idea of Trove, and took a leap.

I had been working in advertising, editorial, and entertainment for over 15 years, and I realized I could count on only one hand the number of women photographers I’d been able to award a large photography project to, and I wanted to change that. I also saw a need for the agency model to change with the emergence of social media, and the ways creatives are sourcing photographers.

Intuit: What do you wish someone told you before you started your self-employed journey?

Amy: Probably to save more money before taking the leap, and not expect to start making a profit in the first few years. Starting a business is going to be nothing like you imagine it will be, you will lose a lot of sleep and have to get intimate with accounting software! Also, something that I make sure to tell potential entrepreneurs: start networking your tail off, like yesterday. Meet as many people as you can, preferably before you quit your current job with the awesome health insurance.

Intuit: Speaking of accounting software…what drew you to Intuit’s products? How do you use them?

Amy: When I decided to start my own business, my accountant told me that she would support me, but I would have to start using accounting software. She uses QuickBooks, and was able to show me the ropes. I really love it! QuickBooks is always surprising me with how things are set up to simply fall into place. I can write a check to one of my artists, and at the same time QuickBooks automatically updates my bank register, expenses, and preparation for 1099s and taxes. It does a lot of things for me that I didn’t even know that I needed to do – it helps me keep track of who has been paid, and who has paid me. QuickBooks recently helped me prepare documents and present financial information for my WBENC certification.

Intuit: What’s been most surprising and challenging about your self-employed journey?

Amy: The most surprising thing would have to be how awesome I am at bookkeeping without crying! I am not a numbers person, but learning those skills has given me a lot of confidence. I think knowing very specifically where your dollars are going, and where they are coming from can be empowering, and help you focus and plan your goals.

The most challenging part has been managing everyone’s evolving expectations, including my own. Each of my artists have different goals and expectations of me, and a big part of my growth has been to make sure to set expectations very clearly before working with new artists. I didn’t really know how to do that at the beginning, but I am getting better at it with each artist that works with me.

Amy and a few of her amazing clients at Trove.

Intuit: Starting a business and becoming self-employed isn’t easy; what has made the journey worth it to you?

Amy: The moments when I get in deep with my artists and help them realize their value, or regain their confidence. Anytime I feel like I’ve helped someone solve a problem or reach a goal is pretty great. Being able to leave my desk and go to the gym anytime I want is also a plus! Knowing that I could step away and help my family if they needed me at the drop of a hat. And my favorite part – not having to wake up to an alarm in the morning! When you think about it, that’s a pretty terrible way to start your day, isn’t it?

Intuit: Who are you inspired by?

Amy: A very long list of women! I have two friends, Cindy Villanueva and Jennie Trower, who are also kind of mentors to me. They’ve helped me realize how strong I am – not just physically, but in my determination to succeed and inspire others. And they have helped me know my value.

I am also inspired by and so grateful for two other friends, Annie Campbell of Altered Agency and Mishel Brownlee of Maven Artists Agency. Both are agency owners like me, and they have been so generous with sharing their knowledge, experience, and network with me. I think women who are more interested in seeing other women succeed than worrying about competition are amazing.

Intuit: Who do you lean on for support? Who do you go to for questions about your business?

Amy: Well, I really do have a trove of amazing women in my life who I can count on, which is why I named the business Trove. I’m lucky to have a variety of friends with different talents who I can call on. My accountant Christy is also my best friend, and I call her when I have any questions about bookkeeping, taxes, and how to be a “wonder woman” like she is.

I call my twin sister or Cindy Villanueva when I need help managing personalities. I call Annie Campbell or Mishel Brownlee for advice on approaching clients, or to help me determine appropriate costs for specific services. My founding photographer, Tania Quintanilla has been an invaluable friend to me in moments of crazy anxiety, and my husband has always been a wonderful sounding board for me. He owns his own business as well, and has conquered many startup challenges.

Intuit: What are your goals for the year?

Amy: My goals are to win new clients and make tons of money! And of course to realign with the purpose of the agency, which is women supporting women. That goal includes more boldly representing the mission of the agency in our campaigns and client-facing communication. My other goals are to improve consistency and quality of communication with my artists, and add more racially-diverse artists to the roster in the next year.

Intuit: What does prosperity mean to you?

Amy: I’ve been reading a lot about how people have weird relationships with money, and how women especially don’t like to talk about their desires to have a lot of money or make a lot of money. I’ve also noticed that when my artists are talking about their financial goals, they tend to be timid about throwing out a big number, so I’ve been trying to encourage them to lose any guilt surrounding their desire to make money. I want us all to put it out in the universe. We need to make more, so we can give more. We need to ask for more, and really realize our value.

Prosperity means earning what we feel is our true value, and having enough income to put some of it back in to our communities.

I’d also very much like a black Tesla.

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