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My Face Boot Moment

I started my business 12 years ago when I had a “face-boot” moment. (The expression is “face-palm,” but my moment was more like a boot to the face.)

Working as a staff accountant for a CPA firm, my production was about 50 clients per month. Within a year, I was completing 100+ clients per month, but there were no bonuses or pay raises. It didn’t take long to realize that if I owned the business, I would have personally profited from the additional 50 clients. I would have reaped the cash rewards of going down the learning curve and putting into place processes that improved my efficiency. It was a no-brainer. I quit my job and opened One Source Accounting.

I live and work in Gainesville FL, moving here when I was nine years old. I attended a local community college after high school, but dropped out at 19 and pursued a career in Gainesville as a mortgage loan processor.

At 24 (year 1990), I believed I needed a college degree in order to earn the living I wanted.

I chose to get my degree in accounting because it was safe. I needed something safe. I craved something safe. My father was an entrepreneur who constantly put our family at risk financially. My childhood and teen years were tinged with coming home from school with our electricity cut off, no working telephone, moving from place to place due to foreclosure or eviction, listening to my parents constantly argue about money and extreme embarrassment when Dad asked family members to borrow money in the middle of holiday celebrations.

At 29, I graduated from the University of Florida with a Master of Accounting degree, specializing in audit. I knew I never wanted to touch a tax return. While pursuing this degree, I planned on joining a large accounting firm upon graduation. That was my ticket to financial safety - join a big company and climb the corporate ladder.

However, in my last year of college, I was in a unique place in my emotional life. I was vegan, protesting for animal rights, overpowering rooms with patchouli and annoying everyone who wasn’t living my lifestyle. As I began interviewing with the large accounting firms, I knew I would never fit in. In 1995, I graduated with a Master of Accounting degree and accepted a bookkeeping job in Gainesville with a construction company earning $20,800/year.

I found myself over-degreed for Gainesville and struggling with how I was going to be true to myself while still fitting into a business culture that would pay me a lot of money. I kept changing jobs to increase my salary because that’s what you have to do in a small town. There were no corporate ladders in Gainesville. I knew I could move to another city where salaries were higher, but that was more of the same - chasing jobs for more money. I wanted something better, but I couldn’t yet define it.

Finally, in 2005, computer technology was common and accessible, and I knew I could start a business with just a laptop. And this is also the year in which I had my face-boot moment. I was no longer afraid to take risks or be self-employed. I had grown up enough and had time to look back at what Dad did wrong. I realized he quit every time things got tough and had too many martini lunches. I also studied every employer I worked for and noticed what they did right and what they did wrong. I was fascinated by those who owned a business and watched them like a hawk. I realized I was a risk taker but also knew I was not my Dad. I had personal stability and the work ethic to turn risks into returns.

Because I don’t have children, I can say this: Owning my business is the best thing I have ever done in my life. It has taught me more about myself, others and the world around me than any church pew, self-help book or therapy session. It’s changed my politics (I no longer overpower a room with Patchouli) and has given me the courage to tackle personal life challenges instead of playing the victim.

When I started One Source Accounting, it was to earn more money. I had no “why.” But once I experienced the liberation and self-awareness owning a business brought to my life, I wanted to help others on the same journey. Believe it or not, I fell in love with accounting while in college. That’s why I still do it. I specialize in helping small “Mom and Pop” businesses and tech startups with accounting and payroll.

I love being part of the support team for these businesses, and I experience a lot of “emotional ownership” while they are clients.

In my teens and twenties, I was not exposed to a person, a demographic or a cultural movement that demonstrated the entrepreneurship model and its wonderful possibilities. It wasn’t until I was 38 years old that technology ripped the gatekeepers from their posts allowing me to start an accounting business with just a laptop. And it wasn’t until 5 years after I started my business that the tech startup revolution brought amazing tools, information and motivation to accounting and entrepreneurship.

I am lucky to have witnessed the before and after. I think it gives me an uncommon sense of gratitude and particular thrill to own my business in this space and time because I can remember when none of this was possible.