Originally posted in FDS subreddit. All rights reserved to u/_Lessthanadollar on reddit.
In a Bad Situation and Can't Get out Because of Finances? Consider Bookkeeping (Don't Laugh)
When I left my kids dad I was in a bad way financially. Luckily for me, I picked up some bookkeeping skills along the way that I use to feed myself and my kids. I figured if it can help me, maybe it can help someone else out there. Here are some things I learned along the way:
Do I need to be good at math?
Thank god, no. Math and I have a strained relationship. Can you use a calculator? If yes, then you're good.
Do I need a college degree or certification?
Nope, but I'd recommend getting the ProAdvisor certificate through Quickbooks (its free!). All other programs are a waste of money.
There's not enough bookkeepers out there, and good bookkeepers are worth their weight in gold
Low barrier to entry - no certifications or degrees needed
Flexible - you can do it anytime, anywhere. You can move it to different cities. You can grow bookkeeping into other services.
You get to work for yourself and charge what your services are worth. In a high COL area, that could be between $50 - $100 an hour.
But I don't want to be a bookkeeper forever
That's the great thing - as soon as you get your feet under you and can branch out, you not only have a source of income if you want to go to school for [whatever], but you can keep it as a side hustle after you start your career in [whatever].
How do I get started?
My favorite book for learning accounting concepts is 'The Accounting Game' by Judith Orloff. Sign up for your ProAdvisor account with Quickbooks. Watch videos on YouTube (Hector Garcia is a really good place to start). If your library has access to Lynda, take their accounting courses (once again, free!)
There are really good books out there too on building a bookkeeping practice (that I wish I had when I started out). My favorite is 'How to Open your Own in-home Bookkeeping Service'
Anything else I should know?
- Avoid male clients over 50 (plus software developers and engineers) - they think they know everything but usually they just talk loud.
- If someone thinks you're too expensive, that's fine. Just like FDS, don't lower your standards for a cheap-ass client. They'll make your life miserable.
- Find a niche in what you know. Worked in restaurants? Focus on restaurants. Worked in small retail shops? Focus on small retail shops. I have friends that were able to use the background knowledge and understanding the culture to develop entire practices in one small area.
I thought of some more stuff...
- If you decide to offer payroll as a service, just use Gusto. Its what mostly everyone else uses for small businesses and will save you a lot of headaches
- I hate networking, but I love meeting new people... I thought networking was being all schmoozy and shit, but really its just meeting new people, telling them what you do and listening to what they do (its like dating, but better because most of the time the other person is interested in you as well). You're not going to like everyone you meet, so they're not in your networking circle. Only 20% of the people you meet will send you work, so just keep in touch with them.
- Join a bookkeeper meet-up in your area. At the very least, you won't slowly be going insane thinking that you're alone in your particular bookkeeping problems. At the most, you can get new clients - not every client is a good fit for every bookkeeper and they tend to pass them along to people they know. Its worth getting a caregiver once a month for these meetups.
- Quickbooks offers bookkeeping services to its clients and they always need people for the contract work - it doesn't pay well, but it could be a good place to get started when you're first hustling for work.