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I Love Bookkeeping

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I Love Bookkeeping is a global community of Bookkeeping Professionals. We all bleed bookkeeping and want to grow and prosper our businesses. This podcast is for Bookkeeping Professionals who serve clients, and it's for the woman or man who aspires to join our great industry. Join Ben Robinson every Tuesday to geek out on Bookkeeping.

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Recent Episodes

How to Effectively Document Processes
One of the most common questions that Ben gets is around documenting processes because they are often all over the place. [0:35] The first thing to do is to distinguish between process documentation and process improvement. Whether or not you have your processes written down, you will have processes in place on how you do things. [1:00] The reason you want to document your processes is to do more with less time and improve the quality of the services that you offer your clients. It also opens up the opportunity to offer additional services because of the increased efficiency. [1:35] Even if it’s just you in your business, it’s still important to document your processes, but once you bring on other people, it becomes crucial. [2:10] The first step to documentation is to list out all your processes in your business. For every deliverable in your business, there is a process. Once you’ve listed out the meta-processes, you can break them down further into tasks. [3:05] The next step is to take one of those tasks and actually do it. Go through the physical steps of the task while using a screen capture software to record exactly what you’re doing. [4:30] While working through the task and recording it, you should be narrating what you’re doing at the same time, preferably in a way that a sixteen year old could come into your business and do the task the same way that you are. [5:20] Once you complete the recording, you get a video file that you can use to create your process. Take the audio and get it transcribed by a service like Rev.com and then edit the transcription down to the key elements. [6:30] Once you’ve done that, you have a video that shows you how to do the process as well as a Word document that allows you to read how to do it. Once you have those, you can turn the document into a checklist. [7:05] The checklist has to pass the Cessna 172 test and fit entirely on one side of a folded piece of paper. The checklist should only address the big things involved in a task, the stuff that absolutely has to be done in a process. There should be no more than 5 items on any given checklist. [8:10] Improving your processes is a different process altogether. Start with the simpler tasks on your list and then work your way up. Just by working your way through the documentation process, you will reap tremendous benefits in your business. [9:10] List your processes and start documenting one. Don’t worry about the quality of the recording or how you sound. The point is to get started.     Mentioned in this episode: Rev.comSnagit
The Pros and Cons of Working with Startups with Jessie White
Jessie has a background in education and actually worked as a history teacher. One day in her third year, she wanted to teach some new classes and was given a flat refusal from her boss. At that point, she realized her days as a teacher were numbered. She stumbled upon Bookkeeper Business Launch on the Penny Hoarder and it seemed like a good fit. She enrolled in the course in August, launched her business in October and got her first client in November. [5:25] Before jumping into bookkeeping, Jessie was considering other jobs including different teaching positions. Once she learned what bookkeeping really is, it checked all her boxes. Going through the modules in the course was challenging initially but she benefited a lot by discussing the contents in the modules with her husband. [8:00] Jessie’s first client was a startup that just needed some help with their setup. She was close enough to actually meet in person so she drove to her place to do some training with her before landing her as a client. She now has 15 monthly clients with a few others who require different services. [10:00] The first client and the majority of the subsequent clients were mainly found through LinkedIn. Building relationships with a couple local CPAs has also been helpful by referring clients and offering help. You never really know where the most valuable relationships will come from. [12:45] The business of bookkeeping can become a monster if you let it, so Jessie books time every day to make sure that she has time to herself. Even with that challenge, Jessie considers herself completely unemployable at this point. [14:20] There were three major struggles that could have ended Jessie’s business. One of her lowest points involved getting fired by her second client. There are many reasons to quit a business but you have to remember why you started it in the first place. [16:25] In terms of vision, Jessie would like to move into more of a manager role. She would like to be able to work more with the clients and help them grow. [19:00] Jessie loves working with startups but it can be difficult because they have so much on their plate. It’s a challenge to know what to charge and get their attention because they tend to be overwhelmed. It’s a lot easier to help a business grow in the beginning than it is to jump into a big business that has never done their books at all. [20:50] It’s very important to work with the right kind of startups. The ones with no money and no direction can be a major headache. The best kind of startup with whom to work are the ones with funding. If they don’t have money because they’re bootstrapping, it's probably going to be an issue. Vet and qualify your potential clients on the front end based on their capital structure and business model. [25:25] Most of Jessie’s clients reach out to her within their first two years of business and the majority of them don’t really do much beyond a box of receipts in terms of bookkeeping. The optimal time is probably around the one-year point. That’s when it will be obvious if the business model is sustainable. [28:00] Jessie’s niche is health and fitness but it really comes down to the personality of the entrepreneur that she’s looking. It’s important to write down the specific attributes of your ideal client and what motivates them. Start with your favorite clients and what they have in common. [31:20] Based on your avatar of your ideal client, think about who already has their attention. For Jessie that means CPAs and people in the banking industry. That can also mean attorneys, podcasters and authors as well. Those are the people with whom you want to establish relationships. It doesn’t take too many of those to start getting clients. Keep in mind that the best way to get a referral is to give a referral. [35:30] You should try to get in the frame of mind of the referral partner and what they need from the relationship. [36:40] Jessie could also get a list of recently established business owners and create a piece of content to serve their needs then put that in front of them. [38:10] Jessie should strive to be known as the Startup Bookkeeper. It won’t be a rapid process. but by creating content that actually helps her avatar achieve what they are trying to accomplish, she can become a trusted authority. Most of the people with whom you get connected will never pan out, but the ones that do work with you will pay off. [40:20] Startups have a particular set of challenges. By creating a lot of content and doing the work upfront, Jessie can create a tribe that will be much more inclined to become her clients when the time comes.
How to Double Your Revenue with Brooke Swan
Brooke started off in the industry as an account manager with a construction company, until one day she got fired which was a first for her. Brooke was a day trader for a few years after that but once that became stale, she started looking for other opportunities. She had always wanted to start a business and after doing some searching, she found Bookkeeper Business Launch and decided it was the right fit. [4:10] Brooke’s business is now one year in and she serves a number of clients, some of them are other Bookkeeper Business Launch members. [5:50] Brooke really enjoys bookkeeping so she’d be happy to just do it all for a while, but she knows that eventually if the business keeps growing, she’ll hit a wall. Training a team to take some of the work off her hands is probably going to be in her future. [7:00] In terms of income, Brooke is still trying to boost revenue but she’s specifically focused on increasing her average client billings first. [8:10] Higher-end, service-based businesses are the niche in which Brooke focuses. Working with motivated business owners is one of the best parts of working with her clients. [10:00] Freedom is definitely Brooke’s favorite thing about the bookkeeping business and being able to shape her work around her lifestyle. At this point, she can’t imagine working for someone else, which is a very different perspective from what she had when she was younger. [11:55] Not knowing what you don’t know has been one of Brooke’s biggest challenges with growing the business. Being able to reach out to the Bookkeeper Business Launch group has been extremely helpful in understanding what to do next. [14:00] Brooke really likes cleanups while at the same time kind of hates them because of how crazy they can be, but once the books are reconciled and everything balances, it’s very satisfying. [15:30] In terms of activities that Brooke avoids, it’s more the business-owner stuff that gets pushed off, partly due to uncertainty and partly due to a general dislike. [17:10] By this time next year, Brooke is hoping to double her clients and hire two other bookkeepers and outsource the work to them. She wants to have the right pieces in the right places before she starts to scale. [20:15] Brooke’s struggle is whether or not to hire someone to run her business for her or should she hire bookkeepers so that she can step into the business owner’s shoes. In every business, there are only three parts: marketing, administration and operations. Whenever you bring someone on, they should complement your weaknesses. [21:50] One of the things that distinguishes business owners is our ability to market and get clients. When you’re getting started, you shouldn’t outsource your marketing because no one will have the same vested interest in your business as you do. [23:10] Finding the time to work on her business has always been difficult due to Brooke’s workload. Ben recommends booking four, one-hour sessions into your calendar next week where all you do is plan your business; preferably at a time when you are at your sharpest. [27:30] You may have to retrain your brain into being able to work on the high-level activities that move the needle. Sometimes the easy things we love to do are the ones that get in our way. [28:25] Do a task audit and list every single activity you do in your business and then assign a dollar amount to each one. The point is to not get bogged down doing the low-dollar work and focus on the activities at the top of the list. Once you’ve got your list, look through all the tasks and try to identify your unique abilities; the things that you love to do and could do all day. Everything else are tasks that you should be looking to eventually get off your plate. [30:55] Acknowledge what you have done to get to where you are. This helps build your confidence and to be grateful for what you have. [34:40] Make your business building work environment a special place that is physically separate from where you do your usual work. Take your vision for your business and then figure out how to connect where you are to where you want to go. [37:00] Brooke is the one running the show in her business. If she wants to do the bookkeeping, then that’s what she can do. She gets to decide what her business looks like. [38:15] The lowest-level activity on your task audit is a prime candidate for outsourcing to a VA. The best time to document your procedures is right before you hand it off to someone else. [40:30] One of the biggest mistakes that new business owners make is to hire someone and then throw some clients in their lap. Always start with a task and then once they have that down, you can start giving them more work. [41:20] Brooke’s action items include booking the business building hours into her calendar and to complete her task audit. One of Ben’s tips with regards to to-do lists is to put an “I” or an “O” next to each item: “I” for “in the business” and “O” for “on the business.” This will give you some perspective on where you are actually spending your time.   Mentioned in this episode: Clarity Bookkeeping
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Podcast Details
Started
Feb 22nd, 2019
Latest Episode
Sep 10th, 2019
Release Period
Weekly
No. of Episodes
30
Avg. Episode Length
About 1 hour
Explicit
No

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