The Backstory of Become a Bookkeeper: Part 1Feb 12, 2024
Let's talk about BABs, baby.
This year, I am going to be revamping Become a Bookkeeper (BABs), my program that teaches the technical skill of bookkeeping for those who desire to start their own bookkeeping business.
To explain what led to this revamp, I'm going to be taking you all along for the ride and sharing the backstory of Become a Bookkeeper: how I created it, how it started, what it is, and what it’s going to become.
This will be Part One of a series focused on Become a Bookkeeper, because revamping this program is a big undertaking, and I want you to understand the nitty-gritty details of what we’re doing and why we’re doing it.
The Become a Bookkeeper backstory begins five years ago, all the way back in 2019…
It’s wild to me when I do this math, but Become a Bookkeeper was created at the end of 2020 and finalized in the beginning of 2021. That means Become a Bookkeeper has been around for over three years now.
As of January 30th, 2024, it had 257 students in it, which is no small feat, considering I'm just a mom at home with three kids.
This is not some major corporation’s program. It’s just me. So I want to really celebrate those numbers first and foremost, but I also want to give the program the credit that it deserves, because it not only has great numbers…it also has a high completion rate.
People from all different levels are continuously joining and completing Become a Bookkeeper. These students may have no experience. They may have some experience. They may be a CPA. They may have a bookkeeping business. They may even be hiring and want to use Become a Bookkeeper to bring their employees up to speed, which is something that I just did myself. But regardless, they’re all finding value in it.
I know this because people not only complete it, but they also tell me all the time that they refer back to it. So with 257 students, plus people who come back, you can see how big of undertaking revamping this course is going to be.
It’s not because the course is bad; the course is incredible. We're just going to bring it to the next level, and we're going to bring it current.
While I created Become a Bookkeeper in 2020, the seed of the idea was suggested to me by a coach in January of 2019.
In early 2019, I was at the first business-type retreat that I had ever been at, and I was just beginning to work on figuring out what my business would be. I had this itch to create a business. I had a couple of bookkeeping clients, but they were not intentional. They just came to me over the years looking for help, and I was able to help them.
But in 2019, I was at what I would have called capacity then. I didn't want to take on any more clients, because I couldn't see how that would fit into my life at that time.
My son had just turned three. My daughter was a year and a half. I had just had a miscarriage four months prior to that retreat, and I was still very much desiring a third baby.
So I had little ones at home, I understood my capacity, and I didn't even want to take on more bookkeeping clients, let alone take on any additional projects. That changed quickly thereafter, but at the time, I hadn’t figured out how I could scale yet.
Then my coach at the time told me, “You know, you should be teaching bookkeepers.”
My immediate reaction? “HECK. NO.”
My brain immediately pumped the brakes. I thought that statement was really oversimplified, and there was no way I could actually do that.
My brain immediately went into creating reasons why I couldn't, and why I shouldn’t even try.
Now, I was not wrong for those thoughts. I understood how difficult accounting could be, and I knew what it took for me to even get to the point where I was able to handle the few clients I had. I simply didn’t know how to expand my capacity beyond that.
However, two weeks after that business retreat, I came home and took a pregnancy test that ended up being positive. I was pregnant with my youngest.
I find that stuff falls into perspective when you're pregnant, especially when you already know what you're in for (to an extent).
I had two young kids already, so I knew a bit of what I was in for with my third…and I knew that I either needed to find a path in business, or I needed to stop trying.
All of the sudden, I got laser-focused. And within just a few short months, I grew my bookkeeping business from five clients to eighteen clients.
How did that happen so fast, when just a few months prior, I was so sure it was impossible? Because with the motivation of that timeline, as well as my desire to keep moving with my business, I was able to see where I could make shifts in order to make it work.
I figured out how to laser in, how to set pricing, how to pitch, how to package, and how to get clients signed. I also learned how to start delivering, hiring, training, and all of those things to grow my business.
So the big doubts—my capacity and my ability to grow my business—were suddenly no longer doubts. I realized that I had plenty to share with people like me who were also in that stage, because it turns out that finding, signing, and serving clients was what plenty of people who already had the skills and knowledge of bookkeeping and accounting struggled with.
I could absolutely share a ton of value on those topics, and it would be relatively easy for me. Which led to…
I launched that first program—not Become a Bookkeeper, but a different program which is now called Life by the Books—with an infant over my shoulder at nine o'clock at night on a Facebook live in a Facebook group of seventy-five people. And that night, six people trusted me enough (wearing spit-up on my shoulder and all!) to join that program.
That was the end of 2019. So about one year after being told I should mentor bookkeepers, and me being so sure it wasn’t possible, I actually did the thing.
Those six people all still have successful bookkeeping businesses if they wanted them, by the way. I think one person ended up pivoting, but for the most part, we got all long-term bookkeepers from that program, which is amazing to see four years later!
This upcoming year (2024) will be the first year of intentional growth in my bookkeeping business in some time.
I haven't been trying to grow the bookkeeping business since that original push to get me to eighteen clients, and I've still grown. I have over thirty clients at this point, and that growth happened while being very selective about which clients I was going to take.
Now I'm going to start getting back into that growth stage, and it should be really fun. But for a long time, I simply maintained the bookkeeping business while I continued to help bookkeepers on their soft skills…and while I juggled the chaos of 2020.
I have always been careful to monitor my own capacity. It's something that I'm constantly checking, because I am very reluctant to commit to things I’m not certain I can execute to the best of my ability.
I say that to explain that I knew that taking on Become a Bookkeeper—which was about teaching actual bookkeeping, not the soft skills related to finding clients and such—would take a ton of capacity.
Building Become a Bookkeeper would be way harder than doing the books myself. It would be way harder than teaching soft skills to people who already knew bookkeeping. And I knew I could have kept only offering Life by the Books and called it a day…
So why didn't I?
First of all, I just kept getting asked. I was selling people on the idea of a bookkeeping business. They could see other people getting real results. They were listening to the stories on my podcast. So the people who had bookkeeping skills were joining Life by the Books…but for the people who had a gap in their skills, had a case of imposter syndrome, or simply didn’t have any experience with bookkeeping, there was nowhere for them to go.
That didn't feel good to me, because I believed I had what it would take to teach them that skill.
I felt like I was leaving people behind when I didn’t have to; I wanted to bring them along for the ride.
So at the end of 2020, I started getting very serious about it. My little one was over a year old. My bookkeeping business was established. Life was starting to open up again after COVID. So I started to brainstorm how I could execute on that desire…and that’s when Become a Bookkeeper was finally born.
Stay Tuned for the Rest of the Story!
This has been Part 1 of the Become a Bookkeeper backstory. But the tale doesn’t end here…over the next few weeks, you’re going to hear all about the journey Become a Bookkeeper has been on, as well as where I’m taking it next!
Want a peek behind the curtain into what it really takes to have a simple and scalable (and successful) bookkeeping business? Get access to my free, on-demand four-part series, 6 Secrets to a Simple, Scalable Bookkeeping Business: www.katieferro.com/6-secrets
Need to boost your bookkeeping basics? Join BABs now: https://www.katieferro.com/become
To browse my workshop library and find more resources for your bookkeeping business, visit https://www.katieferro.com/coaching now!
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