This week’s Work-At-Home Success story comes from Courtney Barbee of The Bookkeeper, LLC. Courtney Barbee is the youngest member of The Bookkeeper team, providing accounting and fractional CFO services to companies nationwide. She got her start in accounting as a 15-year-old summer intern and worked in both the private and public sectors before signing on with The Bookkeeper.
1) How did you get started working from home?
I had been doing some contract work with The Bookkeeper while continuing to work for the state full-time. I knew I wanted to be more available during the day when my oldest son, who has special needs, started kindergarten. It worked out perfectly that The Bookkeeper really took off that summer, and I was able to turn in my notice to my day job.
2) How did you choose the work-at-home career you do?
I’ve worked in accounting since I was 15 and have always been drawn to it. And even in our increasingly automated lives, I believe businesses will always need the human touch of a good bookkeeper.
3) How did you get started (basic initial steps)?
I designated an area of the house as a home office (complete with drawings my sons did and family pictures). I was given a company laptop and smartphone to help with doing business on-the-go. On my side, I built a company web page and social media accounts, ordered business cards, and started attending networking events.
I also knew that I would want my younger son to have a consistent schedule and opportunities for socializing with peers, so I joined a “Mothers of Preschoolers” group which meets once or twice a month and has structured, age-appropriate lessons.
4) How did you get your first client or customer or job?
Our first client was actually a good friend of mine from church who started her own online consignment store.
5) How do you market your business?
The majority of our clients now are word-of-mouth referrals, however I do blog and participate on social media regularly, as well as sending out a weekly newsletter. I also attend networking events, do in-person seminars, and webinars.
6) What does your usual day look like?
I wake up early to get a little work done before the kids are up. I take my oldest to school and then either go to the gym or run errands. This gives my younger boy time out of the house (and helps burn off some of his energy). When we get home later in the morning, I prepare his lunch and then he plays while I work on basic, day-to-day tasks that are not too focus-intensive. When he goes down for a nap around noon, I dive into my more strenuous tasks, such as profitability analyses and strategy development. When my eyes need a break from the computer screen, I’ll do a quick housekeeping chore, like unloading the dishwasher or starting a load of laundry. I work until late afternoon, when I wake up my younger son so we can go pick up his brother from school. When my husband gets home about an hour later, we have family time until the kids go to bed. He typically takes an evening run, so I do additional work during that time.
7) What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started?
It’s okay to give yourself a break for personal time. Working from home doesn’t mean I don’t work full-time, and just because I am technically at the house all day doesn’t mean I am required to have a magazine-worthy home.
8) What advice would you give someone who wants to work from home?
A gym membership (with childcare, if you have kids) is invaluable for your mental health.
To connect further with Courtney, visit
Website URL: TheBookkeepernc.com
Leslie Truex is an ideaphoric writer, speaker, entrepreneur, social worker and mom trying to do it all from the comfort of her home. Since 1998, she's been helping others create careers they love by providing work-at-home information and resources through Work-At-Home Success.
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