Charles, known to most as Chuck, and Heather Johnson left the desert of Arizona nearly three years ago and relocated their family in Gothenburg - a climate and lifestyle very different from what they were accustomed to. Now the couple says that is a decision they are very glad they made.
Their environment is not the only thing that has changed for this Kentucky native and Arizona native in the past three years. Just last year Chuck decided to take a leap of faith and start his own business, one that he has always had an interest in but is vastly different from what he had been doing.
“I was a cop for 11 years in the Phoenix area and I just got tired of the heat and the drama that comes with that type of work, so I was ready for a change,” Chuck said.
Though it may sound like a total switching of gears to go from being a police officer to becoming a bookkeeper, Heather quickly points out that prior to his police work Chuck had earned a master’s degree in business and the couple owned a frozen custard and coffee shop in Phoenix. “But we got killed on that in the great recession of 2007-08,” said Chuck.
About 18 months ago Chuck left the job he had since moving to Gothenburg to go back to his business roots, and launched Craftsman Bookkeeping. “I started with bookkeeping and Quickbooks online, and actually worked for Quickbooks/Intuit as one of their live bookkeepers until I got the business formalized and off the ground,” he explained. “I am now certified in Quickbooks Online Advanced, Quickbooks Desktop, and Enterprise, and the last check of the map I was the only one with that capability, basically between Lincoln and Wyoming.”
Chuck said that part of what he wants to do is help individuals feel comfortable working in Quickbooks Online and Desktop and help them maximize what they are paying for.
“What I really enjoy is helping the small business owner have a better understanding of running their own business. That is different than whatever trade or practice they have,” Chuck said. “Running your business is it’s own animal, and becomes your own job when you’re the business owner. You have to make a mental shift and learn a lot of new things about financial statements, interest and depreciation, and taxes. That’s really what I hope to do the most; to help those small business owners to make the switch to understanding what they are doing. Bookkeeping is a simple way to begin that process.”
In his business, Chuck said he will help the business owner with a full range of bookkeeping services, including payroll, bill paying, monthly deposits and financial statements. “Then we just kind of build from there developing a long-term strategy of what they want their business to become.”
Heather works for a non-profit agency where her role is the Director of Culture, which involves leadership development, training and management. “That is a soft skill that we don’t necessarily have to use, but is a resource that is available when it comes to building the culture of your company,” said Chuck of his wife’s contribution to the business.
The couple has three children: Savanna, 14; Wyatt, 12, and Hudson, 10. Their family will be represented in all three buildings of Gothenburg Public Schools this fall, with a freshman, seventh grader and fifth grader.
“I look at the map and think, I live in the center of Nebraska! I would never have picked that - but I’m so pleased that we do,” said Chuck with a laugh. In fact, the Johnson’s were so happy with their move that Heather’s parents also relocated to Gothenburg a few months later. “And they absolutely love it,” said Heather.
Because the majority of what he does is remote, Chuck works from his office at home. He conducts a lot of Zoom meetings, which is a format that has become more widely used and efficient. Due to technology Chuck said distance is no longer an issue - he can and does take care of clients from anywhere.
The name of the business, Chuck said, was chosen primarily as a representation of the businesses he serves. “We have a lot of small business guys who are masters of their craft, and they are excellent at it. This is my trade, my craft, and my trade is to help them be better at theirs.”