Erin has had her bookkeeping business for just over a year. She was a stay-at-home mom facing a divorce and needed to figure out something flexible and lucrative. In many ways, bookkeeping seemed too good to be true. [3:00] Erin was formerly a school...
Erin has had her bookkeeping business for just over a year. She was a stay-at-home mom facing a divorce and needed to figure out something flexible and lucrative. In many ways, bookkeeping seemed too good to be true.
[3:00] Erin was formerly a school teacher, so she never had any experience with bookkeeping before getting into the business. After getting into Ben’s program, she had an aha moment where it all came together. Bookkeeping is like learning a language; it takes some time and has a bit of a learning curve, but it can be done.
[5:45] Erin is currently serving seven clients, with word-of-mouth being the main way she landed each of them. One of the major things she did early on was to get in touch with a local Vermont bookkeeper to vet the course, and that relationship has yielded three clients so far.
[6:50] There is a lot of job security for bookkeepers who know what they’re doing.
[7:15] Erin would love to build a team. She wants to grow her business and build her empire, but she isn’t 100% positive on what that ultimate vision looks like yet. Her main question today is knowing how much work to take on at any given time.
[9:40] Erin has almost been burned by taking on too much, especially as a single mom. You can only stretch yourself so thin before it becomes a problem.
[10:40] Never ever stop marketing. That doesn’t have to mean spending money or that you have to take on the clients though. Be selective with the clients you choose continually marketing will take you off the roller coaster.
[12:05] Taking on a new client will always involve a learning curve, but that can be minimized by implementing processes and systems.
[13:45] Another option to reduce your potential workload is to raise your fees. For Ben, he has a rule of thumb where approximately 25% of prospective clients don’t want to work with him because of his fees. If everybody is accepting your price, you can probably raise your fees.
[15:45] Erin doesn’t even have a website yet. If you are landing clients already, don’t worry too much about not having a website until a prospective client turns you down because of it. There are a number of simple options that will get your business online in the course of an afternoon.
[17:55] If you’re not having people complain about the lifestyle you’re leading, you’re not growing too fast. If you can’t meet deadlines, that means you’re probably growing too fast. Unless you have those problems, keep growing.
[19:25] Stagger your potential clients and start them at different times. Temper their expectations right at the beginning so that you aren’t wasting their time or yours. You can make clients wait if you have to. It lets them know that you are in demand and are upfront with everything.
[22:30] Client compliance is a common issue that Erin is facing, especially with onboarding. Start with a specific checklist for the client verifying what you need. You can also schedule a future one-hour call with the client where you can get everything you need all at once. If you don’t have everything, you can’t start the work. If you make that clear, you will put a fire under them to get what you asked for.
[27:00] One of the biggest things that people don’t like is the pain involved in switching bookkeepers. If you can make that painless by helping them through the process, you’ll have much more success.
[27:30] When Ben’s doing the marketing, he likes to put them in situations that he’s going to be experiencing with them when they are his clients. It’s like dating and marriage; the client is probably going to be a bit better during the courting phase so it’s good to know what you’re getting yourself into.
[28:50] You can have the best processes and efficiencies, but if your client is the bottleneck, everything suffers.
[29:30] Don’t shy from charging a setup fee. Make that part of your engagement letter. If people continue to drag their feet, you can call the whole thing off. This is something about which they have to be serious.
[31:15] Don’t think in terms of people; think in terms of tasks. Do the task audit and hire a VA who can take those tasks off your plate. Don’t go out and hire a bookkeeper right off the bat.
[33:10] In many ways, the business is like a puzzle where you are putting the money-making pieces together to make everything easier.