In January of 2018, Christopher was two years away from retiring from the military and was thinking about the future. He wanted to figure out how he was going to make money once he was out and found the Bookkeeper Business Launch course and thought...
In January of 2018, Christopher was two years away from retiring from the military and was thinking about the future. He wanted to figure out how he was going to make money once he was out and found the Bookkeeper Business Launch course and thought that it might be a good fit. Turns out it was.
[3:45] Chris got his first client one month after completing the course. He connected with them on Craigslist and is still working with them today.
[4:30] Chris used the money from the first client and joined the BNI (Business Networking International). Using only BNI referrals, Chris got to ten clients by October. He also got five more clients using paid leads from Thumbtack.
[6:50] BNI meetings are structured so the first fifteen minutes are meant for networking with the members and occasionally giving ten minute presentations. For Chris, being in BNI is not his natural environment. He was actually voted “Most Likely To Eat Alone” in high school because he was such an introvert, but he faced his fears and did it anyway. It took him a good six months to feel comfortable at the meetings but now he really enjoys them.
[10:00] Some people are good at talking to people and starting a business which seemed to be the case for Chris. He feels like it was just something he had to learn, so he did. His one regret may be not having gone to college sooner because the different learning techniques you pick up in school could have been an asset.
[13:20] Chris has to serve one more year in the military before he can retire, and because of that it has forced him to hire more employees as his business expanded beyond what he was capable of handling.
[14:30] Chris’s vision for his future business is to essentially just manage the business, do the marketing, and bring in the clients while other bookkeepers do the numbers work.
[16:15] Chris’s main challenge/potential opportunity is just keeping track of everything and keeping focused. Working with clients is a lot like juggling, when you have just four in the air it can be managed. Once you start juggling 27, things start to get hectic. The good news is that nothing major has slipped through the cracks yet.
[19:35] The goal is putting processes in place, not necessarily revenue or clients. Chris needs to create order from chaos.
[22:30] The easiest way to create a new process is to just record yourself doing that task. Record your screen while you’re doing the work, narrate what you’re doing, and make sure you keep it short. Once it’s recorded, you can transcribe the audio using a service like Rev.com. With the transcription you can condense the process into a checklist that contains the major important points of that process. Once you’ve got that finished, not only did you get the work done, but you’ve also defined a process and put yourself ahead of 90% of all bookkeepers.
[28:15] The biggest mistake that Ben made in his business was feeling that he was so busy that he need to hire people to take care of all the chaos in his business, but all that resulted in was more chaos.
[29:20] You will have to change your mindset as you transition from doing the work to reviewing the work. What got you here isn’t going to get you to where you want to go.
[30:35] Start with the processes you like least and that are the most client-facing. Give it time and you will eventually start to enjoy the process.
[33:10] Your business is a system and a system is a series of processes that get the work done. The value in the system is in clearly defined processes, especially if you are interested in eventually selling the bookkeeping business that you’re building.
[34:30] You have to be committed to the process, it’s always a challenge to do something new or something big.
[35:40] Chris is looking at a couple of different software options to help him track what he’s working on but so far he’s been falling back on just using a spreadsheet. Lots of bookkeeping professionals believe all they need is one more app but that’s not necessarily the case. Sometimes you just need what will get the job done. Start mapping out your processes with a pen and paper well before you get to an app or a spreadsheet. Look to the function before you look for a shiny object.
[41:10] You don’t want to be dependent on a person to get things done, you want processes that people can do. That way if someone leaves the team, you can move things around without causing chaos trying to find a new perfect person to fill that role.
[43:55] A virtual assistant may be just the answer that Chris is looking for.
[45:00] Keep your big goals front and center. For Ben, that means a giant whiteboard positioned in front of his desk that keeps his goals and projects always on the top of his mind. Technology is great, but you should lean on your process first.
[48:45] When you need to get something done, don’t think of “what”, think of “who”. Who has done what you want to do and how can you talk to them?
[50:30] Chris’s wife has been crucial in terms of support for the growth of the business. A common thread for people who have succeeded in the bookkeeping business is having a supportive spouse.
[52:05] The ultimate vision for Chris and his wife is to be able to travel in their RV while still running their business from wherever they are.