One of the advantages of being a bookkeeper is that you’re selling a service to a captive audience. In other words, every business has bookkeeping needs. It’s not something that’s optional. This means you’ll never hurt for work. The question is, how do you turn your in-demand skill into a lucrative career and boost your income as a bookkeeper?
Try These Income-Boosting Tips
When you’re first starting out, there’s a lot of room for growth. Taking your income from $25,000 per year to $50,000 per year could be as simple as making a couple of tweaks to your approach.
While every bookkeeping business is going to be unique, here are several income-boosting tactics we highly recommend prioritizing.
- Focus on Skills
It’s easy to assume that the only way to grow is by investing in tools, software, and infrastructure. However, the opposite is often true. Bookkeepers who keep things lean in the early days are often the most successful. This is something Ben Robinson, founder of Bookkeepers.com, is a firm believer in.
“You don’t need to rent expensive office space and spend a fortune to launch a bookkeeping business, “ Robinson informs new bookkeepers. “We’ve created courses and resources at Bookkeepers.com that have helped thousands of people start their bookkeeping business from home.”
Skills beat out gimmicky tech every day of the week. Yes, there’s a time and place for automating with technology, but you must have a solid foundation of real-world bookkeeping skills in order to be successful with it.
Learn to Find Clients
Client acquisition is a big part of being successful in this field. You can’t get too comfortable with one client. Doing so puts your income at their mercy. Learning to proactively find new clients will serve you well. Certainly, outside of a formal ad and content strategy (which requires a fairly significant investment), there are a couple of really powerful strategies that work:
- Organic networking. An emphasis on networking will take you further than almost anything else. Join as many local business networking groups as you possibly can and make your presence known. Every person in these groups should have a need for a bookkeeper. As you build relationships, you’ll pick up business.
- Referrals. Your existing clients are your best source for new clients. Don’t be scared to ask for referrals. The key is to be specific when you ask. A generic “who do you know” approach won’t work. Use closed questions like, “Do you know anyone who started a business recently?”
These might not sound like the sleekest or sexiest approaches, but they work. And unlike advertising, which requires you to spend a lot of time and money before seeing any results, these two approaches are essentially free. They can serve as the backbone of your client acquisition strategy.
Charge Higher Rates
This sounds obvious, but how many times have you done it? Most bookkeepers are afraid to raise rates because they’re afraid they’ll lose a client. But the reality is that no business owner wants to swap bookkeepers. It’s a strenuous process. Plus, everyone is raising rates in this economy, so it’s not like you’re going to appear unreasonable. The key is to justify why you’re increasing rates and to focus on the value you provide. A small 10 percent increase in rates could help you generate thousands in additional monthly revenue, highly boosting your income as a bookkeeper.
Efficiency is very important. The more efficient you are, the more clients you can take on. And the more clients you take on, the more your revenue increases. Indeed, one way to enhance efficiency is by systematizing anything and everything.
Systematizing looks like creating documented step-by-step processes for any sequence of actions that you perform multiple times in the same month. Once you create a process, you can then look for ways to automate with various tools or applications.
Adding it All Up
When you boost your income, it does something to your motivation and drive. You start to feel rewarded for all of the hard work you put in. That creates a positive feedback loop that further enhances your drive to succeed.
We recommend you start by focusing on just one or two of these suggestions. Then, as you see results, start to expand your focus and implement more of the tips outlined above. Steady, incremental growth is the key to success in this space!