Teena Chandler – The mindset you need to start a bookkeeping business.


Growing up in the rural town of Woodruff, Utah, Teena Chandler found salespeople to be “icky,” she said.


Even in a rural town with a population of less than 200 people, Teena remembers being regularly visited by door-to-door salesman as a child. She found the salespeople, who wanted to get the most out of their journey out to Woodruff, were off-putting with their insistence on closing the deal. She found they didn’t respect her and her family’s boundaries. These early interactions left a bad taste in her mouth about sales and being a businessperson. In fact, she fondly remembers having a bull on the family farm who would act as a guard dog and scare off door-to-door vendors.


Fast forward to 2023 and Teena is running a thriving bookkeeping business in Woodruff, traveling around the area to meet with clients to keep track of their financial records. She even gave a presentation to fellow accounting business owners at Universal Accounting’s annual conference, GrowCon, in May 2023. If you would have asked her if she could see herself running her own business 30, 20, or even 10 years ago, she undoubtedly would have answered, “No,” she said. So, how did she get here?


Teena’s journey to start a bookkeeping business

Teena had been attracted to numbers from a young age because of the perfect way they would match up when she solved a problem in school. She even told her mom when she was 10-years-old that she wanted to become a bookkeeper.


“There’s really no such thing as perfect in life, but when it comes to the numbers you can get pretty close,” she said.


But in 2014, Teena found herself feeling like she had no confidence. The thought of starting a bookkeeping business regularly ran across her mind, but had an ailing father and five children to care for, along with her job. No one in her life had ever modeled the behavior of starting a business, and in fact, her parents actively advised against starting any business of any kind in favor of a “poverty proud” mindset. Who could she even keep books for in tiny Woodruff, Utah? She said she felt clueless about where to start and disappointed about how she was showing up in her life.


That all started tp change with a call to Universal Accounting School and a shift in her own mental paradigm. For years, she had put off learning bookkeeping because she wanted to “have all of the ducks in a row” before she started. She spoke with an orientation counselor about her desire to learn bookkeeping and start her own business. That discussion helped accelerate a process that was already happening in Teena’s mind. She was starting to no longer see the challenges holding her back from starting a bookkeeping business as excuses, but rather as realities of her life that she could carry with her.


Teena enrolled in Universal Accounting’s Professional Bookkeeper training program to start a bookkeeping business. Things really came together when she attended GrowCon in 2020. Teena listened to presentations on how to run her business and networked with fellow accounting professionals in what she described as a “shame free environment.” This empowered her to really go for it, and she opened her bookkeeping practice, Perfect Balance Bookkeeping, in 2021.


The name is a representation of why she wanted to start a bookkeeping business in the first place: to achieve a better work life balance. She wanted to confidently serve her clients as a CEO, but more importantly, make more time to spend with her five children.


Running the bookkeeping business


Teena was keeping the books as part of her job as manager at a veterinary clinic. After graduating from the Professional Bookkeeper program, she made the clinic’s owner her first client at Perfect Balance Bookkeeping and left the job. She started to land clients without paying for any marketing materials.


“It’s kind of surprising to see the amount of people around you who run their own business and need help with their books,” she said.


Over the last nearly three years, Teena has built a nice pool of clients that keep her as busy as she wants to be through word of mouth and personal connections. Running Perfect Balance Bookkeeping is her full-time job, but not the main priority. She said she loves the freedom it allows her to have to spend with her kids.



Key lessons from Teena’s 2023 GrowCon presentation:

Teena told the story of how she started a bookkeeping business at Universal Accounting’s annual conference for accounting business owners and professionals: GrowCon. The 2023 conference was held in Orem, Utah, and was the first time Teena spoke to attendees at the event.


The pivotal change that occurred in Teena’s life, she said, was when she reframed the way she sees challenges in her life. Her mindset previously had always seen the burdens and challenges in her life as “excuses.” Teena brought in a backpack full of rocks to represent the excuses she had made for not starting a bookkeeping business — feeling clueless, her poverty proud mindset, her “icky” feelings about making sales. She stopped calling those challenges excuses, and instead labeled them “realities.” Calling those challenges realities took all of the self-blame out of those excuses, and empowered her to show up with her realities.


She recommended treating the realities of our lives as tangible things.


“There are days that the best I can do is just show up, even if I bring along all the weight of my realities. I still show up. And that is enough,” she told the audience.


In working with Universal Accounting’s team of coaches, Teena found that she could start to pass off the weight of those rocks. Life coach Robyn Mons helped her achieve the work/life balance she desired. Marketing coach Clay Neves helped her shed the “icky” feeling she had about sales and helped her see the value of her bookkeeping services in the lives of her clients. Universal Accounting President Roger Knecht helped carry the burden of feeling “clueless” about how to run a business, helping her to “trust the process.”


“People don’t realize that sometimes they have everything they need to get started. They just need a little push,” Teena said in an interview.


Speaking at GrowCon was a bit intimidating, she admits, but was a very valuable experience. Teena said it was “validating” to rub shoulders with her fellow accounting business owners.


“GrowCon is so helpful because it gives you a moment to just step back and really think about what your business needs from you to succeed,” she said.


Now nearly three years into growing her bookkeeping business, she’s not looking back.


“It’s the best decision I’ve made and I’m excited to see what the future will bring,” she said.


Listen to her story:

Universal Accounting School’s Professional Bookkeeper program is a turn-key system designed to help accounting professionals just like Teena start a bookkeeping business. Our team of coaches and experts will help guide you through the process of growing your business, from teaching the fundamentals of accounting, to helping you master marketing and workflow. To learn more about how you can start a bookkeeping business just like Teena did, call 877-801-8080 or schedule a time to ask questions about the program when it’s convenient for you HERE.


Tickets to GrowCon 2024, the premier conference for accounting professionals and business owners, are on sale now! The event will be held May 6 and 7 at at Southbank Skies Hotel in Jacksonville, Florida.

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