postImage-TammyDunn-ef27980e-7a1a-4085-b4d8-348ccf16421b.jpgMy name is Tammy Dunn and I live in Laguna Niguel, California. My two business partners are Brenda Yecke and Vicky Wilson. We own two beautiful franchises in southern California. Our offices are blocks away from the beautiful Pacific Ocean. I am truly blessed. But, I haven’t always felt this way.

I am writing my “Liberty Story” because I want to thank the people closest to me, and saying the words “Thank You” just aren’t enough. So, although I am very private about my personal life, I want to share this story with my entire Liberty family.

Two years ago, I had never dreamed I would ever be involved in a franchise business, nonetheless, a tax franchise. Then one day in April, my dear friend Connie returned home from her winter stay in Florida to tell me, Brenda and Vicky about her newest venture as an AD in Liberty Tax Service®. Her enthusiasm and excitement was contagious and soon the three of us found ourselves discussing the possibilities of owning our own franchise. The back and forth began of “can we,” and “no we can’t,” and “yes we can,” and “how can we afford it,” and finally in May we met Connie’s two partner ADs, Minnette and Kate. With that meeting, we had pretty much decided that we were going to buy our Liberty Tax® franchise. I was so excited. I had so much to look forward to and I truly believed that this was the path that my whole life had prepared me for.

And then it all seemed to fall apart.

On the evening of May 22nd my sister called me to say that my mother had a seizure and they were taking her to the hospital. I arrived in Louisiana the next morning not sure of why she was sick or what was going on. My mother had just recently begun to feel ill. On May 30th we brought my mother home from the hospital and on June 16th she passed away.

When I returned to California, I was at a whole new point in my life. I had to find a way to tell my partners that I didn’t feel moving forward with Liberty was the right thing to do anymore. My mother’s passing left me with complete emptiness and loss of direction. She had always been the source by which I measured my life’s progress and purpose. She was my best friend and nothing mattered anymore without her. Nothing at all mattered anymore.

But when Brenda and Vicky met me they held me up. They let me cry, share my sorrow and grief, and my concern about everything. We talked and emerged with an agreement to move forward with our franchise purchase. With a promise of love and support we signed our agreements with John Hewitt in August of 2013. We opened our first store in San Clemente and had 400 returns our first season. We opened our second store in Dana Point this year. On January 19th of last year, we had 6 returns on the board in San Clemente and as of January 19th of this year in San Clemente we have 26 returns on the board. We are growing and moving in the right direction!

With all that happened and all that grief in my heart, I want to share what I have learned about life while working as a Liberty Tax® Franchise owner….

Very simply....Things do matter!

My AD team matters! My wonderful AD team took the time to teach us how to become Liberty Tax® franchise owners who could be successful. I was calling Minnette 5 to 10 times a day from August through May asking her questions about everything. And the most amazing part of that process was that she answered every one of my calls! She never gave up on me. Kate let me ask her some of the most idiotic questions known to man about taxes or Liberty and she always took me seriously. She never laughed at me and never let me fall between the cracks. And Connie….there are not enough words to say what Connie has done for me. Her words to me are "nuggets of gold". She is my mentor and my friend. These women are Top Gun AD’s in every sense of the word. They care about the people who own the franchises in Orange County on both a business level and a personal level. I don’t know how franchise owners make it without an AD to support them. Minnette, Kate, and Connie Matter!

My Tax Preparers matter! Each time we hire a new employee right out of tax class I see in their eyes the same fear that lived in mine when I first started preparing taxes. It’s the same fear that exists in the eyes of most of the clients who walk through our doors. The beautiful thing about our tax preparers is that they never give in to that fear! They never give up! They continually train, and learn, and keep coming back. When our tax clients come through the door I know that we are giving them the absolute BEST experience possible and I am proud of that. My Tax Preparers matter!

Liberty Tax Service® Matters! When we first started this business our AD’s told us this was a seasonal business. How funny (they were joking!) The hard part of this business starts on May 1st and runs through December. The terrifying part of this business starts at tax season because we focus every day on the numbers board. After our first season my sister asked me how I felt about the business and all I could do was sum it up in one sentence; “It was the most exhilarating ride of my life!” I have owned and run businesses before, but never have I felt so fulfilled and eager to do more all at the same time. Liberty Tax Service® has been a complete surprise to me in this year of complete inner struggle. Liberty Matters!

My Partners Matter! Besides my family, Brenda and Vicky are the closest people to my heart. I never in my life thought that I could be so lucky to be in the position that I am in right now. We were friends before becoming franchise partners, and while it has sometimes been a challenge developing our relationship into a business relationship, we are solid, strong and every part of the word “Team”. Brenda and Vicky walked me through the darkest days during this past year. When I didn’t think I could make it, Brenda would put her hand on my shoulder and say, “Just ride the waves.” I love them. They are my rock stars. Brenda and Vicky…..They Matter!

And finally, I Matter! This past year and a half as a franchise owner at Liberty Tax Service® I have had to dig down deep. Way deep. I have had to find out who I really am and come to terms with parts of me that I never really wanted to see. In order to be a better business woman, a better business partner, a better tax preparer for my clients, a better teacher to my students, and just a better person I have had to let go of so much. My inner self has changed and my outer self has changed as well. This past year I have lost 110 pounds. Letting go of the pain of loss meant letting go of it all….My life is not what is use to be, but I can finally say that I am getting my "happy" back. I never thought I would be able to say this, but I Matter!

Today, as tax season begins to hit peak I am sure of this….My mother will always be my best friend, buying this franchise has been the best decision I have ever made, and within me and my partners is the next Top Gun, the next Elite 18, the next Top Producer, and even possibly the next John Hewitt….why not? All we have to do is believe that we Matter!