5 Pendulum Swings You Can Expect When Starting a Bookkeeping Business

for bookkeepers libby Aug 07, 2023



Today, I want to go over the five most common pendulum swings you’ll experience while starting a bookkeeping business.

This is one of the concepts that we talk about repeatedly inside of my program Life by the Books, as we often get to witness that concept in action in that program.

The concept here is that when starting a bookkeeping business, the pendulum swings very quickly from one thing to another.

You’ll be sitting in an experience and thinking that it's going to be that way forever, only for it to rapidly shift to the exact opposite situation before you’re prepared.

I describe these phenomenons as pendulum swings to my Life by the Books students. And since I started describing them, I've been noticing them more and more. My hope is that these swings can give you hope that even if you're on one side of a situation right now, you can see yourself rapidly go from one reality to another.



No Clients to No Capacity

The first pendulum swing you might experience when starting a bookkeeping business is this: you can go very quickly from wondering where all the clients are and struggling to connect to getting so many leads you don’t have the capacity to serve them all.

You can go from absolutely no leads to getting three to five in a week, sometimes even in a day.

This is why it’s really important to prepare your systems before you have the leads that make having such things necessary when starting a bookkeeping business. Without systems in place, even if you get the clients you’re hoping for, you’ll end up struggling to move them through the sales process or onboard them.

As far as systems, you need a real idea of what you need to cover on the sales call, what quoting is going to look like, what sending a contract is going to look like, what getting paid is going to look like, what onboarding is going to look like, and what training your team is going to look like.

Think about it: if you had the clients that you're wishing to actually fill out a form today, would you be able to handle that?

If not, you need to be adjusting the processes inside of your business.


No Successful Sales Calls to Closing on Every Call

The second pendulum swing that I see a lot when starting a bookkeeping business is when your sales calls go from not connecting (for lots of different reasons) to suddenly, you’re closing almost all of them.

There can be so many different things causing that disconnect, whether it's a process, something that you asked or didn't ask ahead of time, your way of explaining something, or even a root way you're feeling that makes you have an energetic disconnect on your calls.

But once you tweak that, you can quickly go from a bunch of sales calls not connecting or thinking that everything went fine and then getting ghosted to closing nearly every single call.

The way to facilitate this pendulum shift is to have good upfront processes.

I like to give some space for conversations that might not close just to try and figure out what the disconnect is. At that point, you’ll go from low close rates to very high close rates rapidly, because once you realize what it is, it can change fast.


Not Knowing How to Talk About It to Not Being Able to Stop

The third pendulum swing that I have noticed with starting a bookkeeping business is where people start out feeling like they don't know how to talk about bookkeeping. They don't know how to have conversations about what they're doing to potential clients or potential people that they could partner with to get them exposed to more potential clients when starting a bookkeeping business.

That can quickly swing to booking podcasts and expert trainings, and even further than that, it can become a thing where those podcasts and trainings actually have a positive effect on the people that you're talking to. You can see them having breakthroughs on things that you thought were simple.

So, going from not knowing what to talk about and being afraid to talk about it to getting yourself booked and seeing how impactful it is can change overnight. It starts with that first one, and the snowball just starts rolling from there.



From Not Being Able to Quit to Exceeding Your Corporate Income

The fourth pendulum swing when starting a bookkeeping business is going from feeling like you’ll never make enough money to quit your corporate job to you not only having accomplished that, but you’ve actually surpassed what you were making in your corporate job.

Now, this is a bit slower of a pendulum swing. I always say you should give yourself a healthy time frame on this part of starting a bookkeeping business.

Time is arbitrary and abstract, and what one person can do in a certain time period can be very different for another.

So it may take you longer than others, but it could also take you much, much shorter, depending on all sorts of variables. It might rely on the drive and passion behind it, or it may rely on your confidence in your own ability.

I think that eighteen months to two years is a very reasonable timeframe when you've stayed committed to the course and you're doing all of the things that need to be done in order to actually be successful in starting a bookkeeping business.


From Not Feeling Aligned to Adjusting for Accuracy

The fifth pendulum swing of starting a bookkeeping business starts when you’ve got the team, you’ve got the clients, and you’re making the money, but things still don't feel right.

This either means you don't have the right clients, or you’ve got to set better boundaries, or you've got to raise prices because maybe you took on work you shouldn’t have, or maybe you even took on clients with red flags.

(Some client red flags to watch out for are non-responsiveness or undervaluing your service.)

Other issues could be a result of you underpricing your work, or you failing to foster good communication and making it hard for them to give you answers.

In this case, things just need to shift. We either need to figure out what the process should be and “train” our clients on that and enforce our boundaries, raise the price of our services, or potentially offboard the client. No matter what, once you’ve identified the issue, this is a swing that can happen fairly quickly.



Shedding the Skin

Ultimately, what I want to say about these pendulum swings is that they’re a natural part of the process of starting a bookkeeping business. And you won’t likely be able to avoid them from the very start, but that’s okay, because there's a shedding that happens with these swings.

We don't go from being a tiny baby lizard to growing into a gigantic iguana without shedding multiple layers of skin. We grow and evolve through the process of starting a bookkeeping business, and as we do, these layers shed and new things surface, and it's okay.

Whether that shedding looks like changing things within your processes, changing things within your approach, changing things within your belief system, changing things within your existing client relationships, or whatever it might be, that shedding that happens, and it's one of the greatest things that we're able to do.

If you join Life by the Books, we give you plenty of support—not just by equipping you with the warnings, the structures, and the systems up front that will help you prevent some of these swings when starting a bookkeeping business, but also support you through fixing and reconfiguring things once you end up in positions like this.



If you're looking for more tips for bookkeeping, insight on how to become a bookkeeper, and how to say hello to a more confident business model, enroll in Become A Bookkeeper (BABs)

To learn about the programs and get a peek behind the curtain, head to www.katieferro.com/6-secrets.

Learn how to take your bookkeeping skills and turn them into a business that allows you to replace (or surpass) your corporate salary, be present for your life, and profoundly impact your clients without selling your life in the process by joining Life by the Books (LIBBY).  

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Website: https://www.katieferro.com/