Kristy Grant-Hart, Joe Murphy, and Kirsten Liston are Tom Fox’s guests on this week’s episode of the Innovation in Compliance Podcast. Kristy is the CEO and founder of Spark Compliance Consulting, as well as an author and keynote speaker. Joe is currently the editor of the Compliance & Ethics Professional magazine, and the Director of Public Policy. Kirsten is a certified Compliance and Ethics Professional, an author, and a keynote speaker. They join Tom to talk about their book ‘The Compliance Entrepreneur’s Handbook’, and what insights compliance professionals can use from it in their organizations.



The Genesis

The Compliance Entrepreneur’s Handbook is about helping people who want to go into business in the compliance and ethics field. Kristy explains that there was an initial presentation and that the three of them were assigned sections of the book to write. “Each one of us wrote an original draft of those sections, switched them so that each person made comments on them, and then I did the edit where we put it all together. So it had essentially one voice but you can still pretty clearly hear the dynamics and the interesting stories of each individual person, and that’s how it came to be,” she tells Tom.


What Do You Need

“Most people who begin businesses in our field, are in-house or are working for some sort of vendor. They’re not people who’ve already started some other type of business,” Kristy begins. The first question is always about how to transition, and what is needed to prepare for that transition. The book is structured to answer the questions of ‘What do I do now?’ ‘What decisions can I make?’ and ‘Who should I partner with?’ It shows entrepreneurs how to execute a compliance startup, as well as critical marketing, sales, and exit strategies. An exit strategy is especially important, and something entrepreneurs don’t think about in the beginning. “If your plan doesn’t include an exit, then it’s the wrong plan. You don’t have to exit in five years but you should be thinking about making your business ready to sell,” Kristy stresses. The book is meant to delve into the mindset of where you go forward and your end goal so that prospective entrepreneurs can have an overview of the tools necessary to become successful.


An Entrepreneur’s Advice

Tom asks Kristy, Kirsten, and Joe to share their top pieces of advice to individuals who wish to start the entrepreneurship journey. Kirsten emphasizes nailing down the money, setting up your account, and knowing how to read a balance sheet. “You need to make sure you’re selling something for a profit, and that that profit is reaching you soon enough to pay for the work to deliver it,” she remarks. She adds that you should want to do the work of being an entrepreneur, and that you wake up every day excited about it. Kristy stresses on planning to have a business. Most people get caught up in the idea of having a business but do not plan for it, nor do they take into account all the legal documents that are needed or putting their website together. Joe shares some insight for entrepreneurs who are introverts. “Don’t think just because you’re an introvert you can’t do this. You just need to team with people who have complementary skills. One [other] piece of advice I have for anybody going into business is read the Wall Street Journal every day,” he says.


The Best and Worst Parts of Being an Entrepreneur

The best part of being an entrepreneur to Kirsten is owning the business. All the profit and all the successes are yours, and all the decisions are your own to make. On the other side, one of the worst parts of being an entrepreneur is that you own the business. Meaning that any losses or failures are yours to bear, and that your employees look to you to fix the problems that may occur. An advantage of being an entrepreneur to Kristy is the freedom to develop strategy, and the freedom to make choices without anyone telling you no. Alternatively, a disadvantage to her is managing the emotional aspect of it all. That is managing the emotions of clients and employees. For Joe, the best and worst parts of being an entrepreneur is the freedom and control over what you do professionally but being treated like you don’t belong [in the compliance realm] because you’re a vendor. “I think there’s a need to recognize that we’re all in the field together, and the vendors are there to add value… they’re not some alien or some thief who’s trying to steal your money,” he adds.



Kristy Grant-Hart | LinkedIn | Twitter

Compliance Kristy

Spark Compliance Consulting


Joe Murphy | LinkedIn | Twitter

Society of Corporate Compliance & Ethics


Kirsten Liston | LinkedIn 

Rethink Compliance


The Compliance Entrepreneur’s Handbook