So, you’ve studied hard and passed all of the accountancy and bookkeeping qualifications that you can find. You may or may not have found work… and now, you want to take the next step … which is to live the dream and branch out on your own, and to work for yourself… but where do you start?
Having recently attended a focus group for those who were self employed bookkeepers and accountants, it was quite fascinating to listen to the stories of how people had first began… there was one lady who was in her fifties, working as a checkout lady at a household name supermarket… she went for a job internally, and didn’t get it. She was so disillusioned with the whole thing that she quit that same day and went back to college to learn bookkeeping! She got some work experience with a local firm of accountants for 2 weeks and did not expect at all to be offered ongoing work with them – and that’s how she got started…
Another participant shared his story of how he used to work for one of the ‘big 4’ accountancy firms in the city of London. He was doing audit and taxation work, but would find clients on the side to service at the evenings and weekends. It got to a point whereby his superiors called him in and asked him to bring his client database over to the company – they wanted all the names and addresses. He refused and said that none of the clients had come through working for them – and at that point, he left, as his clients were taking more and more time to service, and he was routinely working 60-70 hour weeks. Subsequently, he’s still working those long hours as he is a one-man band and refuses to relinquish control to anyone else.
And then there was another lady who ran a bookkeeping service. She had a small team of 6, and they were working flexibly between home and the clients premises. Leads were coming into her from a website called Work as a bookkeeper.com and in addition to building her firm like this, she often had referrals and recommendations coming in from word of mouth clients.
When the group were asked about how most of their business was found, surprisingly very few said advertising or marketing! The majority of new business was coming in from referrals and introductions.
So, the moral of the story, is that you are never too old to start. You can build up alongside a part time job, or you can just go for it. You can remain a one-man band or you can branch out and have others help you so that you can grow the business and maintain a healthy work-life balance.
It has to be said that one of the major benefits of doing the bookkeeping for small businesses is the flexibility of your working hours; And these days with online accounting systems getting increasingly sophisticated and better with automated processes – working flexibly from home and getting the job done quickly is getting easier and easier.
If you are a bookkeeper in the UK and are looking for more clients, or a way to increase your client base, take a look at www.WorkAsABookkeeper.com