Start Your Own Bookkeeping Business

Start Your Own Bookkeeping Business – Episode Repeated: This episode was originally published on July 14, 2016, but it’s popular among our Growing Your Podcast community, so we’re bringing it back. Comment below to let us know if you’ve listened to the podcast since this episode aired.

Meryl is a Chartered Accountant who worked in commercial accounting roles and as an auditor and lecturer before a friend and co-founder challenged her to play redefine the future of bookkeeping. Seven days and a thousand dollars later, Bean Ninjas was born and has since gone from strength to strength. Along with Bean Ninjas, Meryl also runs her own consulting business, MCJ Consulting, where she helps implement cloud accounting in businesses that need to make changes.

Start Your Own Bookkeeping Business

Start Your Own Bookkeeping Business

Meryl had worked in commercial accounting roles and as an auditor and lecturer. He was tired of working late nights and weekends really no matter what he did. So he started MCJ Consulting to help meet his lifestyle needs. “The first year after starting MCJ was great,” Meryl said. “Lots of projects to explore and enjoy, but then I wanted to add MCJ.”

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In his line of work, he did many projects of the project management type. For example, he would work with a company that had acquired a new payroll software, and Meryl would help ensure that it was integrated with other financial systems and then train other employees to use it properly. So it was difficult to find the right staff because of the variety of projects he did. Meryl visited India to see if she could outsource some office work. He built a small team of dedicated professionals in India and started a recurring revenue/subscription business.

He would deal with clients one-on-one, and the on-boarding consultation process could take time to get those clients to switch to the cloud-based tools, Xero, and other add-ons he used. He would then have the back office team do a monthly report. But it would take months to get clients from the initial stage to where the team processed their reports.

Meryl says that before moving to a recurring revenue approach, “cash flow was unpredictable. It was difficult to manage the sales pipeline – to complete one project and have another one ready and ready to go.” So from a cash flow perspective, recurring income services were more predictable and also meant more stable work for our staff.

While MCJ is a consulting agency, Bean Ninjas is a bookkeeping business. Meryl and Ben met in an online tutoring group, not even dedicated to accountants in particular. Both had followed Dan Norris’ “7 Day Startup” movement, which suggested that you could launch and launch your own business in just 7 days and be successful. That drew Meryl and Ben.

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When Meryl started MCJ, she had no business partner and never expected to have one. Meryl’s parents ran an engineering business, and one of the first pieces of business advice her father gave her was to never have a business partner. However, he has been very happy to have Ben as a co-founder. They had the same dreams, skills and visions and were better together.

“Ben and I only met face to face once, but we had been working together for a few months before.”

They shared some clients and worked together on some of their projects, so they knew how they worked together. They also took the time to have difficult and detailed discussions before signing the agreement with the founders.

Start Your Own Bookkeeping Business

Bean Ninjas was launched in 2015. Although Meryl and her business partner, Ben McAdam, are accountants, they decided that bookkeeping was a repetitive process that they could train their people to do.

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In the first six months, Bean Ninjas had 15 customers, but in the next four months, they got almost 40 customers. During the first 10 months of operation, they got more than one customer a week. What happened in the last four months to help your customer base grow significantly?

Most of their work came through word of mouth referrals. It takes time to build the kind of trust necessary to get those kinds of recommendations. Most of their clients’ work comes from online communities, which is their target market. Meryl spends little time trying to add value to these communities. The best thing you can do when trying to build your customer base is to think about how you can add value to your community.

For example, Meryl wanted to see people in her online community asking for feedback on a new website they had created. He visited their website, took a good look at it and gave them feedback on what worked and what needed improvement from his perspective. Likewise, if someone posted their new book online and asked for a review, they would read it and then tell them what they liked about it and what could be improved.

Where does Meryl find the most valuable, vibrant communities? He says he is part of several paid communities. One is a Facebook group—Dan Norris’ 7-Day Startup Program, and the other is called Dynamite Circle—where she met Ben. He is also a part of several Facebook pages for bookkeepers and accountants. He is also not a free participant. He is very active, he spends an hour a day just keeping up with these groups. He has also started his own group which aims to bring accountants and accounting professionals together.

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What’s important about these groups is that he didn’t just join and immediately start talking about his product. He joined and took time to build relationships. Building customer bases takes time, because you have to build personal relationships first. Cold calling? Knocking door to door? Cold email? They didn’t work for Meryl. He focused only on building relationships, one conversation at a time.

One of the ways you can add value to your community is by providing needed content. Meryl does this by writing articles/blog posts. Her usual process involves brainstorming ideas and using Trello to document her blog ideas. If you’re interested in content marketing, the first thing you need to do is create a content strategy for what you’re going to write. For Meryl, her strategy/goal is to educate others about accounting and bookkeeping or overall business growth.

One of the most successful pieces of content that Meryl puts out is the Bean Ninjas Business Report, where they report on how well the business is doing. The report details their recurring revenue, conversion rate, customer satisfaction rating, etc. The report is an honest and transparent assessment of what is working and what is not.

Start Your Own Bookkeeping Business

We covered a lot of great information in the podcast. If you want to dive deeper, be sure to check out the full episode! To learn more about Meryl, her company, and 7 Day Startup, connect with her on LinkedIn!

Start Your Owntax, Accounting & Bookkeeping Business

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Bookkeeping Business Plan

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Get workflow software that helps you make sure nothing falls through the cracks. See why over 7,000 accountants and bookkeepers use Jetpack Workflow. Start your free 14-day trial. As a bookkeeper, you play an important role in the success and organization of other businesses. When you start your own bookkeeping business, you’ll want to start from scratch.

A good layout will ensure that you look professional to future clients. Plus, it will allow you to focus on the work you love—bookkeeping—instead of fixing problems at the core of your business.

Start Your Own Bookkeeping Business

Good news? It doesn’t have to be hard to get started. There are many ways to start a bookkeeping business, which can make the process overwhelming. Through my own experience in starting my own business, as well as extensive research into starting a bookkeeping business, I have broken down the process into 9 simple steps.

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Although a license or certification is not technically necessary to get started, it shows your clients that you have the knowledge to take care of their finances. In addition, you will feel more confident and have the necessary skills for the role. There are a few ways to exercise – either through one

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