For most of the clients I work with, bookkeeping is their least favorite part of owning a business. Which is why they hired me, right? I’m the nerd who likes diving into numbers and crunching the final costs of keeping the doors open every day. I love spreadsheets and keeping the books running smoothly, day in and day out, so business owners can focus on doing what they love.
But my love for bookkeeping grew out of boredom, not necessarily a love of numbers.
Back in my late teens, I worked as a receptionist for a mechanical contractor in the suburbs of Chicago. I quickly became the jack of all trades in the office, handling dispatch and managing the office. But even with the extra duties, I was still bored at work. I’d finish what I was doing early and hunt for things to keep me busy until 5 p.m.
One day, I asked my boss for more work. He assigned me a mother of all jobs—to analyze all the jobs and projects in the company and ensure every job category was making a 35 percent profit. With our workers doing jobs that billed anywhere from $600 to several million dollars, this was a big undertaking.
I won’t bore you with the formulas I used to calculate each project’s costs, but I will tell you that I learned a lot about numbers and myself during that time. When I was done crunching numbers for each job, I had to sit with project managers who were often twice my age (and male) to talk about change orders because their projects were over-budget. I found mistakes that the managers were making and had to (gently) bring these up and get them fixed. This helped me to learn confidence in myself and in what I could do professionally.Working with others helped me gain the confidence I needed to grow my business. Click To Tweet
From there, I started doing billing for the company, back in the early 90s when we were still doing all the numbers by hand. Meanwhile, I was still serving as dispatcher, social planner (handling the annual holiday party and team get-togethers) and diving into all aspects of the job head-on. I even went on a helicopter lift for a giant commercial A/C unit installation so I knew what our workers did in the field.
I knew early on in my number nerd days that numbers would forever be a part of my life. As I gained more experience and grew as a bookkeeper, I started taking on freelance clients who needed help keeping tabs on their books. This is where Number Nerd Bookkeeping Solutions grew, and a business was born.
With all the hats I wore, I also learned how much I love systems and organization. This has become a huge part of my business today—keeping the numbers in order so clients are more comfortable and educated about the decisions they’re making in their businesses. And teaching them systems so they can also manage some of the bookkeeping on their own.
What’s your story? Did you intentionally grow a business or did you fall into it accidentally like me?