Is It Possible for a College Student to Start a Successful Bookkeeping Business?

babs for bookkeepers podcast Dec 06, 2021
start a business in college



I’m excited for you to listen to this episode of Profits + Prosecco Podcast! I’m getting into what I would do differently in college knowing what I know now about bookkeeping. Taking a look back at my college experience, I’m sharing what I would change if I could go back and redo the college years all over again.

But before we dive right in, welcome to the Profits + Prosecco Podcast! I’m your host, Katie Ferro, CPA, reformed rule follower, creator of Booked Out Bookkeeper, mom to 3 little ones, and Kajabi enthusiast.

This podcast is for entrepreneurs who desire to change their life through their profitable business, and for bookkeepers and accountants who want to escape the 9-5 and start a simple scalable bookkeeping business like I did. 

Bookkeeping increases profits and profits change lives. So pop some bubbles and let me show you how!

Today’s post was inspired by a conversation I had recently. I was asked what I would do differently if I knew the potential of bookkeeping when I was in college. This is such a great question that I decided to share the full answer right here!



My College Experience

When I was in college 2004-2008, I had a scholarship plus a little extra but not enough to live on and cover all my expenses. I basically worked full time throughout my entire time at college. I worked afternoons and nights in a restaurant setting. I was going in the early afternoon and then worked till 2:30 AM. I would wake up the next morning and go to school. 

If I was doing college again, I would have started my business in school and just focused on slow growth. I could have used my job at the restaurant as a place to network and find potential clients. If I kept my other job, I could be very picky about what clients I took and make sure that I wasn’t overloading myself too quickly. 


Prioritizing Learning and Growth

My main priority would remain my degree, even though you don't need a degree to have a successful bookkeeping business. Even though your bookkeeping business could surpass your corporate salary, if I were a college student, I would be busy in that period of time, still doing as much as possible in my early 20s or even before in order to build that solid base for what I really wanted out of my life and my thirties. 

I always knew that in my thirties I wanted to have kids. I had my son right before I turned 30, so I was apparently very, very serious about that goal. I made that happen, and I knew that I wanted three kids. I made that happen. In college, I was trying to get myself to that point. I just didn't know that there were ways to do it with a bookkeeping business at the time.



How I Would Have Structured My Bookkeeping Business

I would build my bookkeeping business very slowly while working elsewhere, and probably as my bookkeeping clientele grew, my hours at my other job would drop. I would be balancing school, my job serving, and my bookkeeping business. I would work somewhere where I could make good money, which is the service industry, and it's fun and you meet great people. And I would be talking about my business and growing it, and I would be working towards my accounting degree.  

I would probably maintain all the clients myself until I reached my personal capacity on bookkeeping, probably while removing the serving job completely. I would end up replacing my job and bookkeeping would then surpass the money that I made as a server, and I would do it myself until I realized I can't do it myself anymore.

I would cram all of my clients probably into one week, maybe two max. I would make sure that my priority stayed my accounting degree because that's what would ultimately make me much more proficient and have so many more tools in my toolbox to be able to grow my business exponentially. 


Working for a Firm and Keeping Your Own Clients

I would actually go on and get my master's degree. I would still work at a CPA firm and I would still get my CPA license. I want to elaborate on that and say that I would be mindful of a non-compete. If I were working in a CPA firm, I would read it. I would understand the agreement. I would make sure that if it wasn't something that I agreed with, that I was open and talked about it, I would see if there were ways to make it work. 

This could be a whole separate episode, but I don't want to skim over the fact that I would be paying attention to a non-compete, and ultimately I would quit my job at the end of all of this. But I wouldn't replace my hours and so I would travel abroad like crazy, or I would run both and hustle to build wealth before I built my family.



Is It Possible for a College Student to Start a Successful Bookkeeping Business?: The Bottomline

I want to go back to the fact that this is all based on me, who I am, what I wanted. Based on what I know now, these are things that I would have focused on during that time. 

I would love it if you would tell me seriously two things: what your biggest takeaway was and what you would do differently. If you're already out of college, what would you do differently if you knew what was possible in a bookkeeping business? 

I hope you enjoyed this post! If you're looking for more insight on how to become a bookkeeper, enroll in Become A Bookkeeper (BABs). If you checked off a lot of those traits and you’re interested in the next step this course should definitely be it!

Or, if you’re confident in your skills as a bookkeeper and want to learn how to grow and scale your bookkeeping business, you can apply for Booked Out Bookkeeper (BOB).

If you enjoyed the episode, please take a second to rate and review. Each review helps us reach and inspire more entrepreneurs and bookkeepers just like you. 

Don’t forget to take a screenshot, share it in your Instagram stories, and tag me at @orderlyaccountingbykatie. Cheers to your inevitable success and I’ll see you in the next episode!