From LIBBY to Starting Your Own Bookkeeping Business: A Conversation with LIBBY Student Christy Steinman

for bookkeepers libby Apr 22, 2024
bookkeeping program



I am so excited to have Christy Steinman, CPA and LIBBY graduate, here today to share her story with us!

Escaping your full-time job and starting your own business is not an easy journey, but it is entirely doable. Stories like Christy’s prove it. So if you think it can’t happen for you, think again…and if you need some more convincing, then this is what you need to hear.



Welcome, Christy!

Katie: So why don't you tell us what your background was, and what led you to bookkeeping and starting your own business?

Christy: So, long before I ever considered having my own business, I always wanted to be an accountant. Numbers have always been a passion. I remember in my freshman year of high school, my sister was a senior, and she was getting ready to figure out what she wanted to do in life. She had her accounting books at home, and when I started thumbing through her accounting books, I immediately knew that was also what I wanted to do. It just made sense to me.

So when I went through high school, I took all of the business classes I could, then went and got my four-year accounting degree. I started working in an accounting firm during college, and then I got my CPA right after college, because I was already working in a firm.

It really was the perfect fit for me. I was in public accounting from ‘94 to ’99, so I did quite a few years in public accounting. And then in 2007, one of my clients hired me directly from the firm I worked for at that time. So even though I wasn't in public anywhere, I had a variety of clients, so it still felt very similar to working in public because I was wearing a lot of different hats.

After a while, though, things started to change a bit. Though I always wanted to stay in accounting, I had also started get into woodworking, which became my escape from the corporate world…because as a lot of us who decided to start our own businesses know, there can be some struggles working in corporate. 

So I was already kind of looking for an alternate route, which led me to woodworking and content creation, which I realize is a crazy leap.  But from there, I ended up running across you and your program about starting your own business as a bookkeeper.

So it was a long journey, but I always wanted to be in bookkeeping. I always wanted to be in accounting, even when the woodworking and the content creation started to become passions of mine as well.


To Prepare Taxes or Not To Prepare Taxes

Katie: So, you got your CPA. Do you do taxes now?

Christy: No, I don't prepare income tax returns.

A lot of folks do come to me now that I’ve started my own business and say, “Oh, I need you to prepare a tax return.” And I'm like, “I don't actually prepare income tax returns, but I will be glad to help you do everything to prepare you to be able to have someone prepare your income tax return.”

Everyone’s pretty understanding and receptive to that, because we each have our niche that we want to work in. If it’s business-related, I'm very comfortable and very confident, because I've done that for a zillion years. But I'm not going to give tips on the personal income side of their tax return.

I want to focus on the small business side of things, even if it does creep into the tax side, because you do kind of need to be thinking about that as you're running your books all year long. But there's a line; I'm not going to dip my toe into giving advice that I'm not comfortable or confident in. That's something that their tax preparer needs to tackle.



What Led to LIBBY

Katie: Back to you and your journey to starting your own business. Can you talk about that transitional period between working in corporate and finally exiting corporate to run your own business?

Christy: Like I said, I had been looking for opportunities to change careers anyways, with no intention of necessarily fully leaving accounting until I got to the point where I was looking into becoming a full-time maker and content creator, because I did enjoy that so much.

Before really considering starting my own business, I actually signed up for a coaching program with another full-time content creator that I'd watched on social media for probably a year and a half. And as I was going through it and starting to get a little traction in my accounts, in the back of my mind, I kept thinking about how I was going to miss the daily bookkeeping and accounting, because I still love that work. But her program is where I saw you for the first time, going through your section in her course that was giving advice about starting your own business, and it was literally like a lightbulb turned on in my head.

With LIBBY, I was able to keep doing accounting as my own business and still stay connected in the maker community and the content creation community. It was the best of all worlds.

Thanks to my experience, I knew how to do the work, but the part where I had to create my own business was a little murkier. So I jumped right into LIBBY; I dug hard into the material and learned how to set up my website, how to onboard clients, how to find clients, and all of the things that are so necessary to start your own business that I didn’t know how to do.

That’s what I got out of the LIBBY program, along with the network of folks to help with my questions and offer support. Doing the program and starting my own business was hands-down the best decision career-wise that I ever made.


The Evolution From Exit to Now

Katie: So how have things evolved since you went full-time in your business?

Christy:  It’s been about eight and a half months since I went full-time. I've got a full plate of clients, and I am now in the process of hiring two bookkeepers to help me, as well as an administrative person. My daughters are actually going to be working with me—one will be working on the administrative side, and then one will be working on the bookkeeping side.

There’s also a lady in the maker community who reached out the minute I posted that I was going to be going full-time into this business and told me, “I'm in the process of getting my associate's degree. I want to work with you.” And that has been fantastic.

I do wish I would have taken your advice and hired earlier; you always say hire before you're ready, and I didn’t do that quite early enough.

Katie: I always say that. No one will ever listen to me with that, but that’s always fine; I get it, because we all do that. We all wait too long to pull the trigger and then regret waiting.

So instead, my idea is to plant that early and often. And even though you and anyone to follow will likely wait too long, they won't wait as long as they would have if they hadn't heard it from me.

Christy: Right. So I’m in the process of adding them on, but it would have been nice to do it earlier. I got really sick with bronchitis in February, which had me down for a few weeks, and it really stressed me out that I had not built my team prior to that. Not that anyone can plan for those kind of situations, but I definitely should have started the team before I really needed the team.

I definitely want to encourage folks to plan ahead, because opportunities are out there. It’s just a matter of building your team, building your infrastructure, and then continuing to add clients on and build those relationships and then build your business to the extent that you want to build your business.



Thanks, Christy!

I love how unique Christy’s story is, and I hope it resonated with you! To learn more about her journey, follow her links down below—and to hear our full interview (that’s right, this is only a portion of our awesome discussion!) listen to Episode 175 of Profits + Prosecco!









Learn how to take your bookkeeping skills and turn them into a business that allows you to replace (or surpass) your corporate salary, be present for your life, and profoundly impact your clients without selling your life in the process by joining Life by the Books (LIBBY).  

Need to boost your bookkeeping basics? Join BABs now: 

Want a peek behind the curtain into LIBBY, my program all about what it really takes to have a simple and scalable (and successful) bookkeeping business? Get access to my free, on-demand four-part series, 6 Secrets to a Simple, Scalable Bookkeeping Business:




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