Toph Sheldon, CPA for the Self-Employed July 2019



513-342-4000 WWW.TOPHCPA.COM

Desperation Leads to Big Opportunity

How I Became a Tax Problem-Solver for the Self-Employed

“There is no doubt that my desperation was the main catalyst for where I am today.”

While I was busy celebrating National Small Business Week in early May, I realized you may not know what it took for me to become a tax problem-solver for the self-employed and how “CPA for the Self-Employed®” came to be. Opening my own business was an endeavor I always imagined doing. In fact, it started with a neighborhood lawn-mowing business I started with a friend when we were 16. However, becoming self-employed and starting my own

business at this stage of my life was something that really happened more out of desperation — not because I had a master plan and dream of what I wanted to do with my professional life. The truth is that I always wanted to be a pro golfer. This comes as no surprise to anyone who has known me for a long time. I was so confident I could make a living playing golf professionally that I quit my job as an assistant club pro in Cincinnati so I could move to Florida and play the Minor League Golf Tour. (You can still look up my career winnings of a whopping $330.50 at It didn’t take long for the reality of not having a steady paycheck to take its toll. In less than a year, my bank account was running low, my credit card balances were high, and my golf game had tanked. I literally had a combination of both the yips and shanks in less than a year. I could barely break 80 and, at one point, was actually embarrassed to even step foot on a golf course. Needless to say, I was in a really dark place. So, this is when desperation kicked in the first time. Being the headcase that I was and with zero confidence in my golf abilities, I knew I had to cut my losses and try to make a living doing something else. After doing some soul searching, I decided the best path to take was to pursue my CPA certification because I had previously obtained an accounting degree from the University of Cincinnati. I successfully obtained my CPA license and got hired by a wealth management firm in Cincinnati to work on their tax and financial planning team. On the surface, everything seemed great because I had a steady paycheck again and was back on my feet. There was only one problem: I was

absolutely miserable. I hated working in a cubicle, was bored to death, and quickly

realized I was not going to last long in a traditional corporate atmosphere. After sticking it out for about 15 months, I couldn’t take it anymore and resigned.

Over the next couple years, I went on to work for five different employers as well as dabble in various self-employed ventures — none of which ever panned out. At one point, I was literally trying to buy and resell golf clubs on the internet to make a few bucks. As you can imagine, desperation was in full force once again. Then something happened that completed changed my professional life (and personal life as a result). It was November, and my CPA license was on the verge of expiring because I was behind on my required continuing education credits. Because I wasn’t ready to give up my CPA license just yet, I decided to sign up for a free four-hour online presentation so I could get some much-needed education credits. At the time, my home office was in my laundry room, so I figured I’d get caught up on laundry while this presentation played in the background. Within the first five minutes of the presentation, I realized that I wasn’t going to be doing any laundry that day. There was something unique about the presenter and this presentation that really piqued my interest. For the next four hours, I was glued to my squeaky office chair and soaking up every bit of information I could. Once the presentation ended, I

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