How to start a bookkeeping business (from home, with no experience?)

I interviewed 3 people who own successful bookkeeping businesses, and they share how you can get started in a bookkeeping business.

Updated September 16, 2021

Written by

Benjamin Davis


Experts interviewed:

Vinita Chaudhary - Owner, Jain Consulting in Cary, NC

Cheri Bell – Owner, Celtic Bookkeeping and Tax Service in Cayce, SC

Jordan Ilderton, Owner, Ilderton Bookkeeping in Charleston SC

NOTICE: This is a long article. You can skip directly to the guide if you prefer.

The bookkeeping industry is a strong and reliable source of income for those who operate in this industry.

Many bookkeepers offer additional services, like payroll, to their clients, which helps boost their overall income.

I interviewed three people who own successful and well established bookkeeping businesses, and asked what you should know about how to get started in the business, and how to run and grow your business.

I wanted to start by understanding how these three successful founders came into the bookkeeping business, including what experience they had, and how they got their first few paying clients and started to bank some real income.

So I asked my three founders – how did you get started in the bookkeeping business?

How did you get started in the bookkeeping business?

did you work with someone as a bookkeeper before? or did you just get started on your own?

Vinita: So, while working as a CPA, we were doing tax filings. And a lot of times, when we have to go back and reach out to the accountants, we would see a lot of discrepancies. And then clients having to coordinate between the bookkeeper and the CPA for taxes, so we thought that if a CPA can do both – bookkeeping as well as taxes – it will help the client a lot. So, we picked up both things, and started doing bookkeeping as well.

Cheri: I had a couple clients that had just really atrocious books and didn't know what to give me and how to handle it when I was filing their income taxes. So, I had been doing some bookkeeping with a national firm that I used to work with that got me started doing taxes. And I just said “Well, you know, I can add this on to what I’m doing.” So I started offering bookkeeping services too. At one point, I did grow the bookkeeping side to where I had 27 clients and it was just me by myself and it got to be a little overwhelming. So, I slowly started getting rid of the difficult clients.

Jordan: So, my background is Accounting – I’m a CPA – and a friend of mine, after I had my first child was like “we're always looking for bookkeepers. Why don't you start a bookkeeping business?” and I was like “Great idea.” And it actually was what I should have done all along. That's just the way my brain works, and I loved it and didn't need my CPA to do this – but you don't always take the straightest route!

So, that's how I ended up there but it's been a great thing for me.

Tip: You don't need to be a CPA or finance professional to get started in the bookkeeping business. Two of my experts are CPA's, but, the other started out doing taxes and then just added bookkeeping to the business. The demand for bookkeeping is so high that there are just not enough bookkeepers to service clients, in most areas.

It's not unheard of for people to start a business in and industry that they haven't worked in previously. In fact – in speaking with hundreds and hundreds of business owners during the course of my work, I would say that's the most common way that people get started in any business.

They usually imagine a life for themselves, owning and operating a certain type of business, then they get out and make it happen.

I wondered about the background you'd need to start a bookkeeping business.

What training, what skill, and what experience is needed? Could you hire experienced people to help you?

I asked the three successful business owners:

Do you need to already be a bookkeeper to start a bookkeeping business?

can you start a bookkeeping business with no experience? could you start out by hiring skilled bookkeepers?

Vinita: You don't need to be a bookkeeper. You can absolutely hire a bookkeeper to work with you. Any business owner can be an entrepreneur. He should know how to manage the staff and manage any hurdles coming at the business, and then hire the right people to run the business.

Cheri: for me personally, I think the person starting the business needs to have that training and have that knowledge so that if they do hire someone, then they know how to guide them. Because if they hire someone, and they get stuck (because we all do!) and they come to you and say “Hey, I need some help” and you look at them like a deer in headlights – it might be kind of hard to go from there.

Jordan: For me, I was 'the bookkeeper' and, I guess, I couldn't imagine doing it a different way.

But to jump in and start a bookkeeping business and hire bookkeepers, that would work too as long as you have someone who is accounting oriented to really make sure that everything is getting done correctly because if you're just hiring bookkeepers, you're really relying on their skills. And so, I think, having someone that knows what they're doing with the books to just kind of check on things – I think that would be important like a manager or supervisor who was keeping an eye on everything.

Tip: I wrote the worlds easiest step-by-step guide on How to Start a Bookkeeping Business. You can check it out >here<.

So my three founders say roughly the same thing – a background is helpful, but you don't strictly need experience in the industry as long as the people you're hiring from day one have the skill and ability to do good work, reliably.

I wondered if there is a formal training program – something like a federal accreditation – for bookkeepers, or, if it's not a formal qualification process.

I asked my three experts what type of qualification is needed for a bookkeeper.

What qualifications do you need to start a bookkeeping business?

Can you take a training course online or at home? is there a higher level degree required, like a masters?

Vinita: There is no minimum qualification required in US to do bookkeeping.

One important thing is – you have to know the software you're using as well as some basic accounting knowledge because you don't want to start your bookkeeping business and mess things up to the point where you cannot find the solution for yourself. So, knowing basic Accounting like any course in community college, knowing the first level accounting stuff and some software. Having the knowledge of both is the best to start with, if you're getting into the bookkeeping business.

Cheri: There is not really a formal qualification. Now, they do offer bookkeeping courses to where you can become a certified bookkeeper – but you do not have to have that in order to offer bookkeeping services. You just need to have a little bit of knowledge and a brain.

Jordan: There's no great bookkeeping certification. I feel like a lot of people get the QuickBooks Pro Advisor certification, which is a really good certification and that kind of gives you a little more status. And then also just getting certifications in any other software that you use – like Gusto is one of the popular payroll systems.

I think it's good to get the certifications that are offered. People like to hire me because I’m a CPA so that really sets me apart but as long as you do good work, it might not matter.

I think having the Pro Advisor or something like that is a good thing to have.

Tip: There's no substitute for good old-fashioned research. Just about everything you'll ever need to know is available online for free, and if you're still stuck, consider a resource like to book a paid phone call with an expert advisor who can probably help you in just a few minutes.

As we heard from the experts, bookkeeping is not a business that requires a formal degree or any type of qualification. They all seem to say the same thing – which is – as long as you get some training so that you know what you're doing, you're good to go.

Starting a business can take a little cash, and most of the time, people are either using their savings or their credit cards to start their bookkeeping business. How much exactly should you expect to spend on starting your bookkeeping business?

I asked my three successful founders: 

How much does it cost to start a bookkeeping business?

how much do you need to allocate? and where does that money go?

Vinita: So, I would say minimum to get started in the bookkeeping business – if you're hiring someone right away to help you – $5,000 to $10,000 is good to start with. You do not need much else.

Then you'll need to own or have access to the common software (Quickbooks, Freshbooks, Xero) too because if the clients give you their software files or data, you need to be able to add them.

Then you need either a desktop or laptop, and obviously internet. Also I would say you need some type of secure portal to exchange information and files with the client.

Cheri: Well, to be honest, I started my business, the tax business and the bookkeeping business in the spare bedroom of my home and I literally opened the bank account with the bank requirement of $25. it's more software, it's more having a computer. Some people may even do it old school and do it on a spreadsheet but today everything is computerized. You just need the essential things – a computer, an internet connection, and the software you're using.

Jordan: I’d say could start pretty lean. I did some of the math and it’s between $2,500 and $3,500. That includes having a laptop, having a second monitor, having QuickBooks software, having a website, having liability insurance and having Sharefile or some other secure document sharing software. Obviously, with all of those, there's a huge range – with computers, and then also if you get someone to do your website and all of that. So, it could really be more than that but you could be pretty lean and with just a few thousand dollars, you could have a good start.

Tip: Most of the software you'll need (Quickbooks, Freshbooks, Xero) allow free trial signups on their website, and they each have good resources available to help you learn the ins-and-outs of the system. You could start learning by signing up for a free trial, and use some dummy data and get some hours of practice.

Once you get the basics together – a computer and your software – and then you get one or two clients, you'll be earning an income almost right away.

The bookkeeping business has such huge demand for services that it's not likely to take you very long to get as busy as you want to be with the amount of work that you'd like.

I asked the three successful bookkeeping business owners how much you might expect to earn as you get started in this business, and as you get more established.

How much does a bookkeeping business earn?

is it a profitable business to start? can you expect to replace your full time income quite soon?

Vinita: If you even get one or two good clients and you run as a full-time bookkeeper – but distribute your time both ways and make sure you're doing the important things – you can run with that, and make start of making about $4,000 income monthly.

Cheri: I would have to say, of course, it depends on the number of clients you have and what you're charging each client because each client is going to be a different cost based on what you do for them – are you doing just bookkeeping, are you doing bookkeeping and payroll, are you doing bookkeeping, payroll and payroll taxes? I mean, monthly rate that you charge that client goes up or down but I would say after you get your clients, you could be looking at anywhere from $3,000 month to $10,000 a month income.

Every state is different for what you can charge and what people will pay.

Jordan: I think for just like a person doing it by themselves, you could make easily $3,000 to $6,000 a month or more. And this is just working by themselves, maybe not even working full-time.

Working full-time, I just have never done that. So, working full-time, you will make more. It just depends on how you bill. A lot of people, when they start their business, they bill hourly and I get it. I did the same thing because you don't know what else to do, and at that point you don't know how to gauge how long it's going to take you to do it, so you bill hourly and you could charge $45 to $55 an hour.

But once you know how long it's going to take you just by estimating, you can do an agreed upon rate. And so, you charge $500 dollars a month for a set of agreed upon procedures. And, of course, you get more efficient and you get faster. And so, you get paid more per hour whereas with the bill by the hour, you actually get paid less as you get faster. So finding that sweet spot in charging the agreed-upon work is important, so that you can really make more for the hours that you work.

It's clear that a bookkeeping business can bring you a good income – and you don't need a huge number of clients to replace your full time income if you're starting as a side-hustle.

The answer seems to be – you can expect to earn anywhere from $3,000 to well over $10,000 – depending on how much you want to work, and what you're charging for your services.

But – to earn some money, you'll need clients.

I asked my trio of successful founders:

How do you get bookkeeping clients?

are you advertising the normal ways? is there something that works really well?

Vinita: Google ads are good for getting clients, and I also use Bark, which is a service that helps people find a bookkeeper near them. I use that to get the leads, it's very helpful. You get the leads all over the US as well as outside the US if you want them. And then the second method is applying directly via Indeed as a bookkeeper. You get small part-time jobs right away.

Cheri: I tried to do Yelp, but didn't continue. It was not worthwhile. I think I lasted about two or three weeks. It just was very demanding time-wise.

When I first started my business in 2007, I did one magazine ad with some friends of mine who also had a tax business. We all worked together. So, we wanted people to know where we were and that we had left the company that we had all worked for. So, so we did a front-page ad and that got it started. We took our picture. We plastered it on the front of this magazine called Mint Magazine. At the time, it was huge and went to every household in the area. It cost us a pretty penny to do it but it was worth it because, like I said, I’ve been very blessed and my business has grown every year and while some companies take dives in their numbers, I generally gain about 10 to 20 new clients every year, and don't advertise at all now.

Jordan: My very first client was a cold call. There was a business opening in our neighborhood and she had a sign that said she was opening soon and I was like “This looks like a really cool business.” So, I contacted her and said “You're starting your business. Getting your books good from the start is very important. I can help you set them up and do it monthly” and she said “Yeah, okay.” And so, that was my first client. And then my second client was a girl I knew from high school but I met with her CPA, and then from her CPA, they referred people to me. A lot of times, if you're just doing the bookkeeping like I was, you contact their CPAs if you have any questions about how something should be handled, and you're in communication with them and if they like your work and know you and trust you and you answer their emails and calls, then they'll always send more work your way.

I’ve never done Facebook ads or Google ads. I have a Google and a Yelp page but I haven't really done just like straight advertising. I have social media and I would try to post helpful things and educate people and then say “Contact me if you have questions” or just kind of be out there. I’ll give my business card to anyone with a business. So, if I use their services and I really enjoyed it, then I’ll tell them like “Hey, you did a great job. I like working with good business owners and here's my card. If I can ever help you with anything, I’d love to talk.” And so, that's actually been a good way to get business. And then the QuickBooks Pro Advisor, they have a search engine. And so, you have your profile online and you have the services you provide and people do actually contact you through that.

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As you're getting established in the industry, you'll have leads coming in. People will be enquiring about your services, and will be asking you to help them.

Turning those enquiries into paying clients is the next task in front of you. Sometimes, that's pretty simple – just be helpful and answer their questions, and they'll use your services.

I asked my three industry experts – how do clients decide which bookkeeper they're going to hire?

How to make sure a client chooses YOUR bookkeeping service?

what do clients really care about? what are they looking for in a bookkeeping business?

Cheri: It's a little bit of everything. I have had clients that they just don't care about price, they want it fixed, they want it straight and they want to have a life again. I have had clients that have come to me, they want somebody that's organized. They do come in and look at my desk which, a lot of times, it's not the neatest but it is organized chaos but they're just looking for someone to be better than who they had. And then I’ve had people come to me because with the service they were using, they keep going up and up on their prices and that's not really something that I do. If I don't change my service, then I don't go up on their price.

Vinita: I think clients choose mostly based on your prior experience with how you can manage the books and what all you can cover, whether you can cover payroll a bit, if you're covering sales tax, so those things and then consistency – how often are you doing the books. Is it like once in a week or like every day. All those things are important to clients.

Jordan: I mean, obviously, the price matters – and I think bookkeeping is one of those areas that if it's not valuable to them, then you probably don't want to work with them. Then they should just do kind of like an automated thing. But if it's valuable to them and they want to make sure that if they have any questions, they can call you … a lot of them, their CPA file their taxes and that's it. And so, with the bookkeeping, they want the monthly reports and then if they have a question about why were expenses so high or something, you're available, you're a real person and you can answer their questions and you respond to emails – and things like sales tax, you file it on time and you show them the numbers like “Okay, this is what I came up with and why. Let's look at it together and make sure it's right” and then it gets submitted. And just making sure you're in communication, I think, is a big thing for people. They just want a real person.

Tip: The worst thing you can do is offer a 'cheap' service. You'll get no money, and your clients will be the wrong type of clients. You want clients who value your service. I've dedicated a whole chapter in my guide (available for sale, or for free here) to the topic of setting your fees properly.

As you start dealing with incoming enquiries from clients, you'll need to know what to charge them.

Some bookkeepers charge on an hourly basis, some charge a flat fee on a monthly basis for a certain amount of work, or a certain 'to do' list.

I asked my three successful founders what they thought is the best way for a new bookkeeping business to think about setting their fees.

What should a new bookkeeping business charge? How do you set your fees?

is hourly rate the best way to charge? or a monthly retainer for a certain schedule of work?

Vinita: A lot of clients want to go fixed price because they don't want to pay untracked hours for bookkeeping because – in their mind – it's not giving them a financial boost in their business. The best way to set your fees is to review their books and see how much time you will take, as well as the client's budget. If the client’s budget is not permitting you to do hourly, then it has to go to a fixed rate.

I have seen the basic hourly rate ranging from $22 up to $45 or more. Any additional services, like as a CPA if you are bringing tax into the equation, then they can charge more, which ranges from $75 to $125 or more.

Cheri: That is a really difficult thing especially for me. I try to set it to where I have a setup cost and then a monthly cost. It's going to include getting their books set up, getting it started depending on if it's a brand-new business, if it's an established business, what do they have, what do they not have in way of EIN numbers. Some people just are still running socials. They don't understand that's not a safe thing to do in today's time. So, you have to establish an EIN and sometimes if they're doing payroll, you have to establish the payroll withholding numbers and stuff like that. And then I’ve had clients come in and they want the service but then they want me to get them totally caught up and it's two or three years I’m catching up. Well, that's a completely different cost because that's not going to be part of my setup. That's going to be a bookkeeping fee that's an hourly rate and then I will tell them “I will get you caught up and then we will go into the monthly but this will be a different fee”.

I generally charge anywhere from $25 to $75 an hour to do the catchup.

Jordan: I think definitely starting with hourly is a good way to do it. I think it gives you a bit of flexibility as you're learning, then you can kind of build into it and then switch over. So, maybe start and do it by hourly and then say “After two or three months, I’m going to switch to agreed upon procedures.” And that way if you really don't know how to price it, then that will help you. And then, switch to those agreed upon procedures and be very clear about what's included and what's not.

And I also started doing assessment fees. So, if a business comes in and they already have their books set up and they're asking you for a quote, I would say, don't give them a quote until you look at their books and then charge a certain amount to look at their books because those are going to show you who's serious and who's not because you might look at their books for free, quote them a price and you wasted however long, 30 minutes, looking at it and they're just trying to go for the cheapest person whereas if you charge them to look at their books, then that shows that they are serious and that they will probably pay you what you're worth.

It's useful to have a look in your local market and see what other bookkeepers are charging. You don't want to be on the cheap end, but if everyone else is – for example – around $35 to $55 per hour, set your fees at somewhere around $48. People are already paying that, and more. So, charging any less is just telling clients you're not valuable – and that's the wrong message to send!

t can be tempting to start buying things – new computers, or services, or things to use in your business – once the cashflow starts coming in.

I asked my three founders whether there was

What is the biggest waste of money for a new bookkeeping business?

is there something that sounds like a good idea, but you should just avoid?

Vinita: I spent a lot on software for automated emails. We started using Mailchimp and some software Clip. They charge weekly but we do not use it. Until and unless your process is set up – and you know who is doing that work, you get so busy doing the client work that you cannot do marketing. So, one or two persons in the bookkeeping business cannot keep up with marketing. They would be doing it almost full time. So, it's no use buying the additional software.

Cheri: Let's say people just need to be real careful when advertising. There are companies out there that will say “Oh, well, if you give us this much money, then we can do this, this, this and this” and then you're like “Okay. Well, that sounds good.” And then they go and do it and then they get into it and it's like half of what they were promised. And then it's like “Oh but we didn't say that, you know. You need to go back and read your contract.” I did get into a situation like that. So, I do speak from experience where I had a company, I gave them a good bit of money and then they didn't deliver on what they promised and then they kept asking for more money, more money. And then when I didn't renew with it and I finally got out from underneath them, they got really ticked off with me and I’m like “Hey, you're not delivering what you claim you're going to deliver. I’m not made of money.”. So just be careful what you're signing up for.

Jordan: There was a certain software I bought. And this wasn't for bookkeeping actually. This was for advisory stuff and it was antiquated. It was a waste. So, that might not be the best answer. Also at one point, I did buy a filing cabinet because I was printing off bank statements and stuff so that I could do my bank recs. And then I was like “This is crazy.” And, of course, I was like all online and paperless after that.

Also continuing education. If you do have a certification, continuing education can get really expensive. And so, if you look, you might be able to find ways to do it for free or for less expensive. Doing the online ones, doing the self-study, I think that's a good way to save money because the continuing education can really get expensive.

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Each of the three industry experts I interviewed had built for themselves a nice business, and they are operating exactly the way they want to be operating.

I wondered what a 'day in the life' looks like, once you've got a successful bookkeeping business established.

I asked my three founders – what is a typical day for you now?

What is a typical day for a bookkeeping business owner?

is it busy all day every day? is it an enjoyable business? how's the work/life balance?

Vinita: Mostly, in the tax season, yes, we have to work 12 hours a day. Other than that, I would say I do not work more than six to seven hours a day. It’s easy enough work.

And we're working onsite at a clients place about 50% of the time, and the other half is at the office or from home.

Cheri: It really depends on what kind of mood I’m in. I still am very much working for myself. I have actually started another business which is a non-profit and I’m running them together but I still enjoy a lot of growth. Some week I’ll put in 30 hours. Some weeks I put in 60 hours. It still just depends on demand and how busy the weeks are.

Jordan: A typical day for me now is a little different than it was before but typically, at the beginning of the month, everything starts over. So, you're pulling bank recs, you're pulling point of sale reports, making sure everything's entered and then filing sales tax by the 20th, clearing up any questions with the clients.

And then once everything is entered and reconciled in QuickBooks, then you send the reports.

So, there's just kind of a flow to it – each day might be a little different but there's a cadence to the month.

When it's the end of the month, you're like “Oh, I can kind of take a break and do some continuing education or catch up on something else.”

And then the month starts over and it's like everything starts over again. And so, just depending on the day as it gets through the month – like by the 13th, I like to have the business owners approve their sales tax.

And so, if they haven't done that, then I'm going back and making sure it's approved before I file it.

There's just a flow that every month you kind of get into.

The lifestyle in this business seems to be whatever you want it to be. If you want to work more hours and make a better income, that's what you can do – but even part time hours will have you earning a very good salary for yourself.

I wanted to know if the industry had shonky operators, or if other bookkeepers were taking nasty shortcuts.

I asked the experts:

What sort of CRAZY things happen in the bookkeeping industry?

are there shady operators doing subpar work? or is it all 100% professional, most of the time?

Vinita: I think they're pretty good. All the bookkeepers I see usually are doing the right stuff but the only thing is sometimes they're taking on a lot of clients and are not able to complete the work – that's where the gap is. And that's why we get other clients always complaining that “Oh, my bookkeeper is not responding. They're not indicating that the book’s up to date.” That's a mess. Do not take more than what you can do.

Cheri: I’m sure there is some madness that goes on, but I don't let myself worry about who else is out there. I know the service that I provide is quality and I worry about me. If I had the time to worry about what everybody else was doing, I probably would be much more grey-headed than what I am.

Jordan: Definitely with the hourly rates. That to me is the madness, charging by the hour.

Because it doesn't matter even if you charge a high rate, you're going to get faster at it and you're never going to be able to make more than the hours that you work. You could work more than 40 hours a week, you could work every minute but you want to be able to build your business and take on more clients and not have to fill up every hour. And so, I think it's a good thing to do in the beginning when you're pricing and you can't really jump into someone's books and know how long it's going to take you. So, I think it is beneficial there but just for these people that years and years later they charge by the hour, yeah, that's crazy.

And people, when they come to you, it's hard for them to understand like “Well, my old bookkeeper charged this per hour and you're wanting to charge this for the agreed upon procedures, so, what's your hourly rate?” and it's like “Well, it doesn't matter how many hours I work. It's the value that I’m providing” and kind of reprogramming and kind of teaching people that it is a value for service.

It's not just like get it done, pay by the hour. And that's what I’m trying to build and communicate. And I think in the industry other accountants and bookkeepers are trying to do the same thing, not just be thought of as like an hourly hired help person but someone that brings value to their business.

The age old wisdom of just 'doing good work' seems to be the key to success in the bookkeeping business, also.

As with any business, it's always easier to get more from your existing customers than it is to find new customers.

I asked my three experts what other services they can offer, in addition to just bookkeeping, to increase revenue?

What additional services can a bookkeeping business offer?

often, a business can earn more from add-ons and extras than their main service

Vinita: For a lot of clients, add training to their businesses. They will train for the bookkeeping. I have seen one or two helping to do taxes. It’s an easy add-on that you do keeping and taxes.

Cheri: Believe it or not, it's going to be payroll. A lot of people think payroll and bookkeeping go hand in hand but they don't. I have 'just bookkeeping' clients and I have 'just payroll' clients but I also have bookkeeping and payroll clients. So, it just really depends on what you're willing to get into and what you want to offer.

Jordan: Yeah, I think definitely add-on services like the payroll, and even doing more things within the business like invoicing for the client or doing their payables, definitely at the end of the year, the 1099.

Those aren't usually part of the monthly bookkeeping. So, that's like an extra thing that you do and it's kind of a completely separate engagement and it's filled separately.

And sometimes ad hoc reporting – giving them more reports like a receivables ageing report or just a little bit more than the typical balance sheet and P&L, maybe some information about customers or anything from maybe their point of sale but, again, you want to make sure that you're getting the value for that. Generally just looking at their business and kind of looking at “Is there anything else I can do to help that they don't have time to do or that no one in their business has the capacity to do?”

Tip: Knowing exactly when and how to offer an extra, an add-on, or an up-sell can mean the difference between almost nobody saying yes, and almost EVERYBODY saying yes. I have dedicated an entire section in my guide to the topic of selling the easy way – you can check it out >here<.

Advice for starting a new bookkeeping business, from industry experts

the three successful founders share their keys to success in this industry, based on their own experiences

Vinita: The first thing is definitely having the concepts clear if you are doing the client's book because if you mess it up, you are messing up with the financials of any of the client as well as you will be answerable to the higher authority to meet the compliances. So, getting your concepts clean or letting the client know that this is the scope of the work.

Second one is the scope of the work. You tell the client very clearly “This is what I will be doing” and sit down and make sure they understand it, to avoid any confusion.

Cheri: I would say the most important thing – something that I’ve learned over the years – is to make sure that you maintain control, instead of handing it to your client. You're there trying to help that customer and that customer came to you – but don't let that customer control you. I’ve had customers that they do payroll and they'll have people that are on 1099s and they'll say “Hey, so-and-so needs a W-2. Can you create a W-2 or can you create pay stubs for so-and-so because they want to buy a house” or “they want to buy a car and they have to have proof of income.” Nope, sorry. That person's not on payroll and what you're asking me to do is fraudulent. And you got to stand your ground because they'll come up with every excuse under the sun as to why that needs to happen and why you need to do this for them.

And that is the biggest thing is integrity is who you are. If you are going to do something that is not right, then you're going to get every Tom, Dick and Harry that doesn't do things on the up and up and that is your reputation, that is your name and your company. And you don't want to be known as the one that will break the law.

Jordan: I think – know that you're going to grow and change and that what you might be doing now and what might be working now doesn't have to work or be that way forever. You can start off doing things a certain way with your billing, with your engagement letters and know that that can change and be open to communicating that to your clients and not being afraid to change things on them.

The second thing I would recommend is hiring help. And I didn't do this for a very long time, getting some other bookkeepers working with you so that you can grow, getting like a VA or somebody that can take the back end of the engagement because keeping up with engagement letters and onboarding is a pain. It's a lot of 'check things off the list', follow up, we need access to their bank, we need access to their credit card, etc, etc, etc. And just having someone kind of take that role is a huge help and one that … yeah, it's a cost but it's going to help your business grow.

And then the third, I think, is just be organic about it. What you put out there on your website and online, just make it true to who you are, the value you're trying to provide and you'll attract those right people. You don't have to think like “Oh, I’m a bookkeeper and my website has to look like this and I need to look serious.” Just let it organically be you and you will attract the people who are meant to work with you.

The bookkeeping business is one of the best I've covered so far. It ticks all the boxes, in that it's something you can teach yourself and learn online, it's a very low cost startup, there is a huge demand for the services, and you can make a very good income working flexible hours.

I have spent over 100 hours learning everything there is to know about the bookkeeping business, by talking to industry experts and bookkeepers. I have compiled it into the worlds most useful guide, How to Start a Bookkeeping Business. You can check it out here.

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