I quit my job in January 2012 after lining up a new job opportunity that would begin in May of the same year. But, like most people, I needed something to fill the time in between.
That’s when I accidentally started my first business: “Primarily Bookkeeping.”
Before the May job began, I posted my resume on Craigslist with the stipulation that I was looking for temporary work. I had extensive experience working in a variety of office positions, was certified in QuickBooks, and maintained an insurance license — surely I could find a temporary gig.
One of my interviews was at a custom motorcycle builder in the Old Rainier Brewery building. Unfortunately, it was for a long-term position and I did not take the job.
Things often work out in the end, though. I ended up taking a temporary job with a seafood wholesaler whose office was in a meat packing plant. My job entailed organizing the office, catching up old records, and getting (and keeping) licenses in order.
May came and went, and with it, the job opportunity I had been expecting. This transformed the seafood wholesaler into my first client. We worked together and stocked the office with the best candy, traveled internationally (well, to Canada) countless times, and ate Chinese food daily for two years.
My first client gave me a gift any first-time small business owner would appreciate: referrals. My second, third, and fourth clients were all referrals from the seafood wholesaler, and my business began to grow.
In 2014, I met my “boss,” Nena. Before meeting Nena, I was using a printed checklist in a three-ring binder to track my work. My leads were tracked in Outlook and my client notes…well, they weren’t being tracked.
Nena didn’t know that working with me would be good practice for her becoming a parent in the near-future! I was belligerent, refused to listen, wouldn’t do as I was told, and would try software behind her back.
But Nena pressed on with helping me. Over the next four years, Nena organized our CRM, tracked the source of our incoming leads, calculated our close ratio, and maintained our to-do list and client notes.
For four years, Nena patiently let me try different project management and customer management software and communication tools. Together, we implemented tools that worked, like Slack, and laughed together at the ones that didn’t.
A few months ago, I came very close to meeting Nena in person on a vacation to Europe. We weren’t able to meet up on that trip, but plan to in the coming years.
During the time I owned Primarily Bookkeeping, I made incredible and lasting friendships, learned how to set boundaries, and made small talk (to an extent — I’m still an accountant, after all). I attended conferences both in the US and internationally.
Most importantly, I grew professionally and personally and I’m forever grateful for the journey — and for what else the future has in store for me.