Virtual Bookkeeper Biz

The Ultimate Resource for Virtual Bookkeepers

Secrets to Running a Successful Virtual Bookkeeping Business

4th in a series of 8 week posts

Tech Tools

There are many tech tools that will greatly assist you in being more efficient and professional in your Virtual Bookkeeping Business.

IT & Hardware: Just because your Virtual Bookkeeping Business is based from home, doesn’t mean you need to be stuck at home. Using a laptop and smartphone can help you run your business from anywhere. Choosing the right equipment and service can create flexibility and accessibility while attending to the needs of your family. I can get a lot of work done while my husband and I are driving to my kids’ events.

Your Core Accounting App: You will no doubt need a core accounting app when it comes to setting up a Virtual Bookkeeping Business. There are several cloud accounting platforms that give you robust capabilities and oversight of your financials. Any size practice or business can use them, so they will scale with you.

Your Project Management App: Develop work flow then use a project management app to keep up with all the work that need to be done for your clients and yourself. Use it to set priorities and efficiently manage projects

Your Communication Apps: Communication is critical when it comes to being efficient and building trust with clients in a virtual setting. Video conferencing apps and messaging apps allow you to converse with your clients.

Your Cloud Storage Apps: Do not underestimate the value of document management and filing, especially if your goal is to be paperless. There are many cloud storage apps where you can keep an archive of files that you and your clients need to access from anywhere and update in real time.

Your Calendar Scheduling Apps: Setting up a calendar scheduling app was a game changer for my Virtual Bookkeeping Business. Before there were many emails or text messages trying coordinate meeting times. Now a link to schedule on my calendar is sent. The prospect or client can schedule at a time the works for them. My calendar is set for the times I am available to meet.

Your Timekeeping App: Using a timekeeping app diligently will help you track the time you are spending on flat rate or hourly projects. Then you can measure if you priced your projects correctly or the scope of work is increasing, and you need to raise your price.

Your Work Flow: You cannot underestimate the importance of clearly defined systems & process. There is no app or software take the place of you developing a solid workflow. From the very early stages with any new client, it should be clear that your Virtual Bookkeeping Business uses an established workflow. Your process should follow best practices, use specified apps, and include what your client can expect to happen when they work with your Virtual Bookkeeping Business.

Secrets to Running a Successful Virtual Bookkeeping Business

3rd in series of 8 posts

Setting up

Setting up your Virtual Bookkeeping Business right from your home sounds simple enough.

Designate your Work Space. Setup a place in your home where you will work. Use what you already have in your home to establish your area. Ie repurpose a desk or table and a chair.

Gather your Equipment & Tools. Most everyone has a computer, a smart phone and internet connection. This is all you need to get started.

Choose your Accounting Software. Decide on what Accounting software you want to work with. Sign up for the partner programs, training and get the certifications.I would suggest specializing in one specific accounting software especially when starting out.

Identify your Ideal Client. When you start out you may want to work with anyone who will pay you. You will quickly learn that not everyone out there is a good client for you. The better you can identify the types of business owners you want to work the quicker you will be able to grow your Virtual Bookkeeping Business.

Decide on your Fee Structure. There is no hard and fast rule for what you should charge. When prospects contact me I do a paid discovery call and give them an action plan the includes my price. This price reflects the amount that is worth my time to do the work. Pricing is an art form.

Build a Solid Infrastructure. Developing a work flow for your Virtual Bookkeeping Business will be the key to your success. You need to develop systems & processes for everything i.e. onboarding clients, invoicing, doing the client work, scheduling calls, etc. The good news is that there are many apps that can help you manage your business. I suggest you keep it as simple as possible.

Buy business insurance. Once you get client get business insurance; your homeowner’s does not cover your business.

Finally, never stop learning. Seek out new opportunities to grow your business by learning new skills.

Secrets to Running a Successful Virtual Bookkeeping Business

2nd in a 8 week series of posts

Lessons Learned

Avoid making these mistakes. Many of which I had to learn the hard way.

Keep your office infrastructure distinct from that used by other family members . Have your own space / desk that know one else in house uses. This includes your own computer or laptop. Lock it down with a password to ensure no one else has access.

Be careful of tunnel vision.  I am a very focused person when I work and have issues with tunnel vision. Spending time away from my business energizes me and helps me set more realistic expectations with my clients.

Excellent communication is vital to your success. Establish the way and how you communicate with your clients. I rarely use my phone. Using tools such as video conferencing software, calendar scheduling, chat apps etc., to work with your clients will help you stay in contact with your clients.

Make sure to schedule conference calls at appropriate times. Do not schedule calls when you know there will be distractions in the home.
ie. when the kids get home from school, when there are visitors staying in your home, during the time the gardener is working, etc. Use a calendar. Put all your family obligations in first, then schedule your business work. Finally follow your calendar diligently.

Isolation can be a negative side effect of working from home, so if you face feelings of isolation, be ready to fight back. While this has never been an issue for me, I often talk with people who feel they are isolated. However, the feeling of isolation can lead to poor business decisions and depression. Try joining a group online or offline where you have similar interested that meets regularly. This will give you the opportunity to network and a group of people to test a few ideas. Even though the isolation feeling is not an issue for me I’ve found that these activities enhance my business and increase my quality of life significantly.

Next week – Setting up

Secrets to Running a Successful Virtual Bookkeeping Business

1st in a 8 week series of posts

Getting Started

Create a work environment you feel good in.  Find a space that is clear of clutter and limited distractions. My footprint in my home is no more that is 6’ x 6’ by design.

Keep your overhead to a minimum. You probably have everything you need already to get started. I started with a 3 year old laptop, an iPhone 4, WiFi, a QBOA account, an Upwork account and bookkeeping skills. It was over a year before I upgraded any of my equipment and purchased additional software.

Create a strong team. Focus your business on your areas of expertise and strength and hire experts to help you with your areas of weakness. Hire consultants to teach you the skills that our outside of your specialty. Be very diligent about who you hire and make sure they are a professional with proven success.

Work where you’re most productive, even if it’s outside of your home. Working from your home may not be the best place where you can be productive. If you are easily distracted by laundry piling up or dirty dishes then find another option. There are many low cost coworking options.

Work on your business, not in your business. It is essential to make time to work on our business. That means focusing on the finances, the marketing plans, the vision and strategy, the systems and processes that provide the infrastructure for our businesses to be not just successful, but thriving and sustainable. I treat my business as a client and schedule time just as I would with any of my clients.

Have the attitude that you work from home, not at home. Your Mindset is everything to being successful in creating your Virtual Bookkeeping Business and working from your home.

Don’t hide it, flaunt it! As you start to build your Virtual Bookkeeping Business let people know that you are a Professional that works from their home. Your confidence and professional behavior will reassure potential clients that you are the person that can get their bookkeeping done.

Don’t forget that looking professional is still important.  I cannot stress the importance of this every day. It helps your Mindset to stay in the work zone if you when you shower, dress, brush teeth. brush hair, etc. You never know when you may need to get on a video call.

Avoid starting Virtual Bookkeeping Business before you have the necessary bookkeeping skills to work with business owners. Nothing kills someone’s reputation faster than selling someone a solution then not being able to deliver. There are many ways to get the skills needed to get started. By the way just because you have an accounting or finance degree does not mean you have the bookkeeping skills that business owners need. I have all those degrees and even some of those letters. When I got serious about starting a Virtual Bookkeeping Business I went to work for a business that fit my ideal client criteria at $20 per hour. It took me18 months of working and learning ay my 8 hours a day M-F job and then another 6 hours on my business when I got home, plus 14 hours a day on the weekend until that job was holding me back from generating more revenue.

Have a plan to tackle your top priority. Establish a work schedule and make getting business your top priority each day until you have business. You do not have a business until you have clients who are paying you. Then do everything that generates revenue first every day. Remember that it only takes $274 a day, every day to generate $100,000 in a year.

Get organized. Organize your files—both in your computer and your paper files—so that everything is easy to find. If your goal is to be paperless, then start scanning all the documents. Then set solid systems & processes in place so the majority of the documents you need are coming to you in digital format. I have been paperless from day one

Know what you’re signing up for. Too many people who start a Virtual Bookkeeping Business from home and expect the clients to just flow in—so not the case, Solid skills in business development, lead generation, sales and closing are vital to ensure success.

Be honest with yourself. Not everyone is capable of working from their home. Be honest with yourself about your work habits and what makes you happy before you decide to start a Virtual Bookkeeping Business from your home. Having the support and help from your family will make all the difference. In my case my husband and kids stepped up and take care of all the family chores so I could focus on building my Virtual Bookkeeping Business to support our family.

Next Week – Lessons Learned

The Mentally Strong Virtual Bookkeeper

You’ve no doubt heard a million times that you should exercise. But how many people have suggested that you become more mentally fit?

I’m not just talking about doing a crossword puzzle to combat dementia — I’m talking about becoming mentally strong. When you do, you’ll be better equipped to regulate your thoughts, manage your emotions and boost your productivity.

Here are few things you can do to be a mentally strong Virtual Bookkeeper:

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Declutter Your Mind So Ideas Can Flow

Brilliant… Poof! It’s Gone.

How many times as something like this happened to you? You’re taking a shower and suddenly the perfect solution pops into your mind. This solution will solve a major problem with your client or  moving your Virtual Bookkeeping Business forward. You toss it around in your mind, thinking about how happy your client will be once you present this to them.

After you towel off, brush your hair, brush your teeth, get dressed, you grab your laptop and … it’s gone. You can remember a tiny bit of it, but not all of the details. This will never work in a presentation. You have struggled to remember the idea, but it just does not come to you. You may even briefly consider stepping back into the shower, but you know that won’t do it.

Here is a way to start to Declutter Your Mind as you are working with clients and building your Virtual Bookkeeping Business:

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Blogging for your Virtual Bookkeeping Business

A blog helps you communicate with clients and prospects for your Virtual Bookkeeping Business. Even if you already use social media, it’s great to have a blog too.

Blogging is about branding, marketing and communications
Blogging is one of the most effective ways of communicating with clients and prospects. It can also enhance brand awareness, and market yourself to a wider audience.Used alongside social media, a blog can improve your reputation and boost traffic to your website. That’s a lot of return for such a small investment of time.

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5 Areas You Are Wasting Time In Your Virtual Bookkeeping Business

I am all about balancing  my Virtual Bookkeeping Business  and family.  In order for me to do that, I have to be extremely efficient in my time.  I’ve got to be able to get in, crank out productivity and then completely unplug to be present with my family.  I did not start out this efficient in business.  But over the years I have learned to watch out for my time wasters.  Time wasters are tricky in business, because unlike time wasters in your personal life, they appear like you are working.  But anywhere you are spending lots of time with low return is a time waster.

Be on the lookout for these common time vacuums.  They will suck your energy and leave you with a cash void.

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5 Tips on How To Start a Virtual Bookkeeping Business

Are you looking forward to starting a Virtual Bookkeeping Business but have no idea how to go about it? If so, this post is for you.
Most people who have the desire to start their own Virtual Bookkeeping Businesses but don’t know where to begin. Also, they do not understand how to attract quality prospects, which has made the whole job of sustaining a Virtual Bookkeeping Business a bit trickier.
If you believe you can start and manage a successful Virtual Bookkeeping Business then these tips will help you kick-start your business.

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