6 Things I’d Do Differently While Growing My Bookkeeping Business If I Were Starting Over

babs for bookkeepers libby Aug 14, 2023



Today, we're going to be talking about regrets.

Just kidding. They're not really regrets, but I do want to talk about some of the things that I would do differently if I was starting my bookkeeping business over.

If you could wave a magic wand and bring me back, these are the things that I would do differently.



1. Skip A Website Builder

Firstly, I would skip a website builder when starting a bookkeeping business, and I would start with Kajabi instead.

Originally, a website was one of the things that I felt like I really needed in order to grow my bookkeeping business, and honestly…I don't know what I was thinking.

Now, it’s not like this isn't a common thing. People still think that they need a website. But when I think about it now, that’s not the case.

Fast forward to today. I took a look at my homepage recently, and I like my homepage. I had it redone within the last year with a great designer, but prior to that, I was able to make it functional for many years without hiring a designer or a coder or anything like that by using Kajabi.

I have a podcast episode all about Kajabi, so I’ll link that below if you want to check it out. I am Kajabi obsessed, but it was one of those things that I didn’t discover until I had already burned time and a little bit of money exploring different avenues before realizing that there was a much easier way.

So you guys have the benefit of having heard me talk about Kajabi and like, you're aware of it.

Back in 2018, I set about trying to hire someone to build a website, and I got a $5,000 quote. That sounded insane to me, because I wasn't making that kind of money in my bookkeeping business yet.

It's not insane now. I know that a designer alone would be thousands of dollars, and I can understand and respect why. But back then, I was floored by it. All I could think of was all of the things that I could do with $5,000 that were not building a website, especially because I didn't have concrete proof that it would actually bring me back that money.

So instead, I set about trying out different softwares to build a website myself.

Five years ago, softwares were substantially different; not that it was the Dark Ages or anything, but it certainly wasn’t 2023.

The first thing I spent a lot of time doing at first was Squarespace. Squarespace is much cheaper than Kajabi, but when I was using it, it was very limited in terms of functionality and design and customization. I'm sure that it's come a long, long way since 2018, but at the time, it wasn’t what I needed.

Unfortunately, I spent hours on it before I did any kind of money-making tasks. I didn’t make connections or have conversations or even tell people that I was offering a service of any kind, because the website was a prerequisite in my mind.

A website is not a moneymaking activity. You want to focus more on getting clients in than you want to focus on wowing them with a webpage that they don't want to browse.

No offense, but how often are you going to anybody's home page and browsing it? Next to never, right?

All in all, a website is not the thing that you should be leading with in your bookkeeping business. In fact, I think it's one of the things that can wait. 

Is it nice to have? Is it helpful? Does it feel good? Is it fun and effective? Does it build credibility with people who are already there? And when it's working right, is it a great time-saver and help you and your client get on the same page?

Absolutely. Yes to all. But those are the things that are really important in a website, and a lot of website builders don’t offer the features that make it a time-saver.

The website that I was quoted on originally was not going to have any of the functionality that Kajabi offers.

This can quickly become a thing where you get stuck in productive procrastination. You tell yourself this time you’re pouring into building a website is productive, because you can't launch your bookkeeping business until you have a website. You can't tell people that you’re taking clients until you have a website. You can't make your first dollar until you have a website.

Listen to me: no one cares. Put your systems in place over your website. These things can be done in Kajabi. You could even hack it in; I would rather see you use a Google form than build a website that doesn't have functionality.

Once I found Kajabi, I realized just how many features there were. I could start with what I needed right then, and I could build well beyond that later.

Kajabi allows you to have a great website and infinite landing pages, which is so important. I have tons and tons of landing pages. Those are the things that people are going to click through with a hyperlink. They're not going to go to your homepage.

Honestly, I believe that my homepage traffic is probably the lowest. Instead, my potential clients are going to go to a landing page with a click of a button.

You can create landing pages for all sorts of different things.

You can build an email list, sell your bookkeeping on subscription, get intake forms sent in, get paid, get notified when you're not getting paid, and so much more.

You can sell digital products. You can create a blog. You can create mini-courses or trainings. It is honestly infinite.

Kajabi’s lowest plan is about $149 a month. If you pay for it annually, it’s way cheaper than the $5,000 that I was quoted to create a website that would never do any of these things.


2. Embrace Bank Fees

Next, I would embrace bank fees from the start of your bookkeeping business.

I know they’re not fun, but they make getting paid so incredibly easy.

It is so important for us to get paid on time, not have to think about getting paid, not have to remember to invoice, not have to figure out who owes us money and follow up on it, not have to decide whether we’re going to do actual bookkeeping business work or if we’re going to follow up on getting paid.

2.9% is the standard for bank fees. So back when I charged $200, there would be an additional $6 fee tacked on top, meaning I was charging $200, but only getting $194. And while it doesn’t sound like a lot at first, it adds up, right?

Part of this was on me; I didn't add margins for bank fees when I started my bookkeeping business. I ended up in a situation where I wanted to avoid that, so I tried finding free ways to get paid.

Unfortunately, this was not an easy process. I ended up in many situations where I didn’t get paid and had to chase down customers, and I had to remember to invoice in the first place…it ended up being very complicated to actually get paid.

We're in the business of getting paid. You run a bookkeeping business for the purpose of getting paid. Getting paid has to be easy and it has to be relatively mindless, and embracing those bank fees early will allow it to be.


3. Get Paid Up Front

This leads us to number three: always get paid up front.

My clients pay me up front at the beginning of the month. I get notified through Kajabi, which links to Stripe. I also get notified if a payment fails.

Usually, this happens when my customer gets sent a new card and they forget to update their payment method. Kajabi notifies both me and them, and they can easily go in, log into Kajabi, and change their bank credentials.

I don’t really worry about it until it happens twice, because I know that I've got systems in place that will say, “Here's how to update your card.” I have a good rapport with my clients, and in most cases, it really is just a thing where they need to sit at the computer and update it.

If it happens twice, I’ll prompt them about it, but if it goes further than that, we're going to stop work. It’s in our contract that I get paid upfront, and because of that rule, we’re not losing money by chasing down clients who don’t pay us for months at a time.

So not only should you embrace the bank fees when starting your bookkeeping business, but you should look at them as the price you pay for setting up the systems that make it possible for you to get paid up front and easily.



4. Get Certified

Fourthly, I would have gotten certified right away when I started my bookkeeping business; specifically Xero certified, because that’s what I use and prefer.

It's free to do. You don't even need a client anymore. You're going to not have to watch a ton of videos; they teach you in different interactive ways that are easier on the eyes. And once you're certified, not only are you going to have learned things by doing the certification that you wouldn’t have known about the platform without it, but once you’re Xero certified, you’re considered a partner.

Once you’re a Xero partner, you’ll have access to much cheaper partner plans.

That means that you don't have to pay so much for QuickBooks, and you can still buffer that fee into your price the same way that you’ll buffer in bank fees.

Originally, I was paying on the business owner plan, not knowing that there were partner plans. I was overpaying, basically. Plus, you get discounts off of subscriptions when you hit certain levels, and you get marketing funds.

It’s not a hard certification. I did it in a night or two. I renew it in a few hours a year, and it's totally worth it.


5. Get Company Computers

Number five isn’t fully necessary for starting your bookkeeping business, but I do wish I’d done it sooner: I wish I’d gotten company computers for my employees right from the get-go.

I have two people who are part-time employees in my bookkeeping business, and I wanted to give them a tool that allows them to work better. It helps them feel valued and appreciated, and it equips them to do the job efficiently.



6. Don’t Worry About The Audience Numbers

Last but not least, I wish I would have put less focus on growing an audience and more focus on engaging with people on a deeper level when I started my bookkeeping business.

I used to think I needed to be at 10,000 followers on my Instagram, because in those days, that was how many you needed to put links in your stories.

I really thought this would matter, but it doesn't. I’m not even at 10,000 followers now, but that doesn’t affect how my bookkeeping business is doing.

In a bookkeeping business, you just need to convince about twenty to thirty people to convert in order to have a fully booked roster that surpasses your corporate salary. You do not need 10,000 followers for that. What you need to do is have deeper conversations and connect with people on a deeper level to bring them in.



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).  

If you have enjoyed this post, head on over to Instagram, share your IG stories, and tag me: @orderlyaccountingbykatie

Xero partner program: https://www.xero.com/us/partner-programme/sign-up/

Learn about Kajabi: https://open.spotify.com/episode/4BrmXnsZFFOi8UXNwdxrxL



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