The Missing Piece Part II: How to See The Whole Picture Before You Become a Bookkeeper

podcast Apr 24, 2023



Today, we're going to cover the second part of my three-part mini-series, The Missing Piece! 

In this series, I’m breaking down the three different phases in my program Become a Bookkeeper. This program teaches the technical skill of bookkeeping from the ground up, starting with the foundational knowledge before moving into the next two phases. The second phase is the Shadow phase, where you get to watch me do the work, and the third phase is Apply, where you get to test your ability to do the work. 

Last time, we focused on what happens when you don't understand the principles of accounting, bookkeeping, and tax. So if you missed that one, you're going to want to go back to the first part of this series.

Today, we're talking about what the Shadow section in Become a Bookkeeper looks like, why I created it that way, and why you may be having trouble getting the opportunity to learn under another bookkeeper outside of a program.



Left on Read? Here’s Why

A very common thing that ends up in my DMs is a bunch of messages from people looking to be mentored by another bookkeeper; not in the way that I coach, either. They often send me messages asking if they can work for me for free in order to learn rather than paying for my program. 

These messages usually sound something like, “I’m interested in starting a bookkeeping business. I really would love to learn under you. Can I work for you for free?” 

Typically I'll just say “No, I'm fully staffed right now,” if I have the time to answer. But other times I don’t even have time to do that much, and I end up leaving them on read. It’s never meant to be mean; I try not to do that to people, but lately the volume of all kinds of cold pitches in my inbox has grown exponentially.

So if you are a person who is asking somebody who has a bookkeeping business to let you work for them for free in order to learn, and you're hearing crickets, let me tell you why.

One, the person that you're asking is busy. They're not trying to be mean and ignore you, but they're at a stage where they have a lot of communication going on. It's likely the person that you're messaging has to prioritize where their attention is going, and unpaid, unsolicited pitches are going to make their way to the bottom.

Also, they’ll be picking up on your lack of experience and a lack of confidence. For me, if somebody says, “Hey, can I work for you for free? I don't know what I'm doing, but I really want to learn,” it's not landing with me. What I'm hearing is that you don't know what you're doing, you're not confident in your skills, and that's going to mean a lot of time taken away from me.

When I’m running a business, my priority has to be devoting my time to my paying clients, my team, my family, my household, and myself. Responding to cold pitches is going to end up near the bottom of my priority list, and I’m probably never going to actually take one on.

The reason why nobody wants to take you under their wing for free is because it's not in the best interest of the person that you're pitching. They understand that they're going to have to start from the basics with you, and that takes a lot of time. It's actually not easy to just sit down and explain.

Beyond that, they also know that the reason you want to do this is because you want to start your own bookkeeping business. That means you're not going to stay on with them for the long haul, so they’re never going to see an ROI on the time they invest into your education.



Become a Bookkeeper: The Shadow Section

This is why in that second phase of Become a Bookkeeper, the Shadow phase, you get the experience of working under somebody else without having to cold-pitch your way into it.

The Shadow section of Become a Bookkeeper, as it stands today, is ten hours. When you think about how much time you’d spend working for free under someone else to become a bookkeeper otherwise, that’s a very low number. 

What people learn inside of Become a Bookkeeper is actually deeper than what my team members learn. So if you don't know what the whole picture looks like, this a great way to see it and know that you know that you KNOW what it looks like.

Your desire to see the whole process is good. It means that you care. It means that you want to be prepared before you become a bookkeeper, and preparation is important. You need to know what you're doing. 

So, yes, there’s a reason why no one wants to be your mentor. But the good news is that everything you need to become a bookkeeper is covered in the Shadow section in depth. It’s a really good, solid program with a really well-thought-out, intentional framework focused on what it will take for you to see the whole picture of the bookkeeping process. 

Within Shadow, you get to watch me go through the process from the ground up. We start at the onboarding call, then move on to connecting things, pulling in history, deciding what the start date is going to be, asking the right questions, how I asked those questions, tying everything to the tax return, sending out an email to let the CPA know what’s different and what I did about it, and then deferring that to them.



When You Can’t See The Whole Picture

So when you haven’t seen the whole picture before you become a bookkeeper, you may realize right at the cusp of starting that you don’t know what this takes, and it would be so much faster and so much more comfortable if you knew what you were getting yourself into. If you could be a fly on the wall behind the bookkeeper that you aspire to be, if they held nothing back and showed you the entire process so that you understood not only what was happening, but why it was happening and how it played into the bigger picture, you’d be set to finally become a bookkeeper without fear and uncertainty.

When that gap is filled, you're finally ready to talk about what you do and start taking clients. You're not afraid of having the sales conversation, and you're probably really excited to put your new knowledge to the test and get to do that work and reap the rewards. Not only that, but you will have condensed the amount of time that it will take you to start making meaningful momentum in your business.

This concludes part two, but stay tuned for part three, where I’ll go over the very last section in Become a Bookkeeper: Apply.  



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

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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