From Typical CPA to Super-cool Online Biz

To hear more about Rebecca’s story watch her case study in this video

When I started my business about 2 ½ years ago, I had this vision of an organized home office, flexible hours, lots of income, and more time with my family.  I had been working off and on part-time over the years as an auditor, bookkeeper, business manager and cost accountant.

I thought about owning my own business for many years…especially during the times when I had babies at home.  The kick in the butt came when I had a daughter who was seriously ill, and we had to go to a hospital 8 hours away for treatments for several days.  This was stressful for my boss at the time, which made it even more stressful for me, since I was in charge of the month end closing of the books.

Taking the plunge

What I needed was more flexibility, and I quit my job within 6 months.  I enjoyed bookkeeping and accounting and decided I’d take on my own small business bookkeeping clients.  In fact, I found more of a niche when I became a Certified Quickbooks Proadvisor.  I got several clients right away through word of mouth.

Those first months were hectic.  I had no systems or intake paperwork in place!  It was busy figuring out a name of my business, setting up my own bookkeeping system, getting a logo done, and putting up a website.  As I got more clients, I got more paperwork.  Working at home without a separate office was really difficult.  I started overtaking the dining room table, and finally decided to make the move to a rented space.

I figured out which clients are my target market, as well as what types of jobs I wanted to do.  I especially liked training my clients on Quickbooks…how to set it up properly, and how to use it in a specific, easy way for their business.  I started a workshop in my area that I hold on a regular basis.  I noticed that the more people that attended my workshop, the more I got paid per hour!  And, I really enjoyed the interaction with several people at one time.  The comments about the workshop continue to be great, and more people sign up every time I offer it.

My interest in the internet grows

It was because of my workshops, that I started searching around on the web to find out how to get traffic to my workshop page on my website.  I believe my interest in internet marketing and social media started when I attended a Quickbooks Proadvisor training which talked about social marketing.  One thing led to another, and I got signed up for more than my share of free content and e-newsletters.  I also got setup with a Twitter account, Linked In account, and Facebook account.

The more I learned about online marketing, the more excited I became that this could be a way to get my workshops online (as well as build my reputation as an expert)!

Finding Laura

During my search for more on how to use social media, I came across Laura’s “Creating Fame” program.  It was just what I needed at the time to really understand how I could spread the word about what I do online.  Her course gave me a total understanding of how my blog, twitter account, website, and other online presence works together to build an online brand.

One step at a time, I learned how to use WordPress, use twitter effectively, and use my blog and Youtube to deliver online videos to my target audience.  I started seeing success with this little bit I was doing.

I wanted more.  I started noticing many membership sites, ebooks, and online information products.  I was intrigued with the content as well as the business side of the products.  I knew my expertise could be packaged in that way too.  That’s about the time that Laura announced she had openings for private coaching sessions.  I was on the bandwagon immediately!

The change in my business model

If I look at my business now vs. my business back then, it’s a whole new ballgame.  I now use the following tools in my business: WordPress, Twitter, Facebook Fan Page, Linked In, Snag It, Aweber, Camtasia, Youtube, Stumble Upon, Digg It, Audioacrobat, and  I didn’t know how to use any of these tools for my business before I took Laura’s first class.  I jokingly call myself a “techie” since there are few (if any) business owners in my area that know how to use all of these things for their business. In fact, I’ve been asked by colleagues to share how to use Twitter…very unexpected and fun!

I now have an at-home study workbook available for sale, and an outline of a 6 week Quickbooks online course that will be launched in the fall.  Since learning to use Twitter properly, I’ve come across four new online clients, and started coauthoring a business book with a New York Times Bestselling author!

Valuable lesson learned

I have truly learned that my time is more valuable than I ever realized before…which has helped me to prune my client list to those who know the value of my services.  I simply know that I am on my way to having an extremely lucrative online Quickbooks training business! Being online, and serving online clients can be done with just my computer and an internet connection from anywhere!  I love it!

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Rebecca TervoRebecca Tervo is the woman behind Tervo & Co, Financial Fitness. She is a Certified Quickbooks Proadvisor, author, teacher and mom entrepreneur who is passionate about teaching small biz owners and solopreneurs how to organize their finances. You can find her on twitter @RebeccaTervo


  1. That’s awesome Rebecca! I LOVE hearing these kind of stories.

    Keep doing your thing and inspiring others :-)

    • Thanks, Andy! It’s sooo neat to see my own story on “Rock Star” Laura’s blog:) I feel so fortunate to have found her. I’ve learned a ton and a half so far!

      And, isn’t it great to be able to share stories that will inspire others to do something they love?

  2. kick-ass story.

    Doing online business is the grrreateest form of doing business. If you have the right delusions and you are willing to put the hours in to become a remarkable brand, you will have a glorious digital life before you.

    • I agree…I can’t believe I’ve found this out, wish I would’ve known about online businesses sooner….I think many others out there are totally missing the boat. I know of many friends who don’t even have internet access! I think it’s the greatest learning tool we have around today…and what a good way for teachers like Laura (and me:)) to make a great income!

  3. It’s interesting that you think this way. I’m going to review some more of your posts, but so far I’m liking what i’m reading! Filter Shekan