Sarah started her bookkeeping practice for three reasons:
- She wanted more flexibility in the hours that she worked.
- She wanted to make more money.
- She wanted to be her own boss.
It took a lot of courage for her to leave the steady income of her job as a bookkeeper in a large firm where she worked 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and had two weeks paid vacation a year. It was something steady she could count on and she really enjoyed the people she worked with.
But she wasn’t making much money and there was almost no possibility of earning more in the future, her benefit package was minimal, and her supervisor was tyrannical. When her child needed to go for hospital tests, her boss refused to let her take a vacation day so she could be with him. When she wanted to attend her youngest child’s music festival performance and change her lunch hour to accomplish that, she was refused.
“Is this all there is to my life?” she asked herself. She craved autonomy and balance.
With two school-age children and a spouse who did long-haul trucking and could be gone for days at a time, she felt if she had her own business she could better control the flow of her work, make more money, and have more freedom to blend her work and family life.
For a while she succeeded beautifully. She loved the freedom of starting a Cloud bookkeeping practice, and because she was well-known in her community and knew a lot of people, she gathered a good local client base as well without too much trouble.
Desperate to make a success of her business, she took every client who came to her. She tried to keep her rates a little lower than the going fee, reasoning that she worked from home and had no overhead, so she could do this and gain a competitive advantage in her field.
The first three years of her business she saw a growing profit and client base. She surpassed the $35,000 she’d been making in her former job, and was thrilled to move into the $40,000s.
The trouble was that she had to put more and more hours into keeping up with the work. She considered hiring help, but that would cut into her profits, an action she couldn’t afford. Her skills were growing, her clients were growing, but her energy and passion were fading fast.
What she really wanted was to be able to take her business to the next level where she could realistically aim to earn $100,000 a year, and yet not have to hire a team. She wanted to make more money for less work.
“Am I off base or is that even possible?” Sarah asked when she wrote to us at our as part of our Kninja community.
Her crisis of faith in herself and her business, her exhaustion, and her uncertainty of where to go next is exactly what we had seen many times before, what we had lived through ourselves, and what prompted us to create our Kninja program called “Solo Sarah” after her.
We built it for all of the entrepreneurs we come in contact with who are running their own bookkeeping practices and not earning what they are worth for the skill and experience they possess. They are working too many hours for too little return.
From our own experience and living and breathing that experience before we figured out solutions and were recognized for our success by being named Intuit’s Global Firm of the Future, we knew the ways to help Sarah and other bookkeepers who struggle with the next phase of growing their business to be more efficient and profitable.
If like Sarah you found within yourself the courage to start your bookkeeping practice and now find yourself working too many hours for too little reward, if you are feeling isolated and overwhelmed as you struggle to keep up with all the new technology, this training program for bookkeepers we offer is just for you.
What we learned the hard way is that there is a difference between growing a bookkeeping practice and starting a bookkeeping practice. We too started by taking in every kind of client who expressed an interest in us – every industry, every service, every software, and soon we had no freedom at all, we were working so many hours and feeling like we had no life at all.
One day I realized that neither myself nor my partner had taken a real vacation in years. When we tried to get away, we were always connected, working, and answering emails and phone calls. And, we felt stuck.
The reason that Juliet, my partner, had started the business all those years ago – so that she could be there for her daughter – had gotten lost along the way. We were working more hours than she ever did when our daughter was little, and there was no time to stop and just be with her.
We had the material stuff – nice cars and nice clothes, and went out for nice dinners.
But we were quickly losing our connection with reality.
To save ourselves, we hired our coach and our world fundamentally shifted on its axis. We knew that something needed to change, or we needed to close the doors on our bookkeeping and accounting firm because the life and business we had created for ourselves wasn’t sustainable.
As we worked our way back from that point, we kept journals and after we had started our education website, we tried to pass on to others through our training for bookkeepers and training for accounting professionals what we had learned the hard way.
Sarah’s situation reminded us that we knew how to help others through that cycle of growth and we put it all together in one course.
Some of the things we learned were to:
- Revise our planning strategy and start doing it in 90-day increments. In that line of bookkeeper education, we learned to determine to distinguish dreams from goals, and when creating goals, how to make them smart ones.
- We realized that our original strategy of accepting all clients in a kind of desperation to get the business up and running was not an effective long term business strategy. We had to determine the niche that worked best for us, and help some clients who just could not fit in that niche find acceptable alternate solutions. At the end of the day, we understood that you just cannot be all things to all people.
- We learned that we could use technology much more efficiently than we were. Our efforts in this regard ended up being so successful that we were named IPBC Bookkeeping form of the Year in Canada. We knew we could show others the tools and technology and workflows that we had discovered to save time and operate our business more efficient.
As we began to build our course to help clients like Sarah, we added insight into how to go through the growing pains of QuickBooks Online and how to get what we call the right “tech stack” that works for you.
We increased our mentoring efforts to develop templates and resources to help solopreneurs make their business more professional and efficient. Why reinvent the wheel?
We developed ways to help people growing their accounting practices and bookkeeping practices to identify the best clients for them, and how to create powerful proposals to go after them.
Most importantly, we created a course to help our members deliver quality service and confidently charge and receive the price that they need to add value to their clients and themselves.
If you are working hundreds of hours a week and not moving ahead, we can help you with our Solo Sarah program and others we have developed on the Kninja Knetwork to help you advance towards the successful business you want to build.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post. Until next time, take care.
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