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The One About OOO
As a very small bookkeeping firm, I have some mental hang ups about creating an Out Of Office (OOO) responder in my email. Does anyone else?
“Officially”, I try to only do client work on MWF mornings, and not even all the MWFs.
But, let’s be honest, I often work a little at 6:00am, too.
And then I might work a little on Saturdays.
Sometimes I work from the parking lot of my kids’ basketball practice.
So on the one hand, I feel like I’m not really ever “Out Of Office”, because it is not clear when I’m “In The Office”.
I think this is a fallout of the “side hustle” mentality. If I worked a job or if I worked full time (or even consistent) hours in my company, I’m certain I wouldn’t feel weird about it.
But I was most definitely OOO for the last 8 days.
My father came to visit us in Virginia. He and I chaperoned a field trip for my 5th grader. And while he was here, my husband and I left for 3 days to go house hunting at our next duty station. And when we returned, we spent the remainder of his visit doing a long list of house chores with my dad (he is one of those putter around type of dads). I was not able to do much client work at all over the last 2 weeks.
But I’ve never set an OOO message since I opened my business. I can go days without getting an email from a client. But everytime I know that I have a stretch of days that I don’t want to work and that I should set an OOO, I regret NOT setting one up. Literally every time.
Why am I so stubborn!?! Putting it here in writing so hopefully I will never NOT do this again.
This is OOO condundrum just another example of how the more I (and you) can treat my side hustle like a real business, the better things will be. We need to (ethically) act bigger than we are. Credit to Tyrone Gregory, The Self-Employed Tax Guy, for teaching this concept.
Here are some inexpensive ideas to help you act bigger than you are:
Domain email address
Calendar scheduling link (with LIMITED availability and ideally not same-day!)
Paid diagnostic reviews before pricing a prospect (this is putting on the big girl/boy pants, y’all…learn how here)
A library of a few videos with the most common questions you will be asked (e.g.)
Directions to invite an accountant to a bookkeeping software
Reusable/generic welcome message you include in any early communication with clients (proposal, or engagement, or kick off, etc)
Use the free scheduler in your email to schedule emails to be sent a “normal” time (like not on Saturday morning at 6:00am when I’m prone to writing emails)
Related to sending emails, even if you write your reply immediately, schedule it to be sent later that day or the next day
But you want to know another way to act bigger than you are? Not take just any client that comes though the door. The best pros don’t even talk to a prospect if he/she is out of scope, even though it means lost revenue.
And I truly believe that a fantastic way to create a narrow scope for yourself (a.k.a. A Niche) is to only work in one General Ledger. I think it is wiser to niche in a SOFTWARE before niching in an industry.
Put another way, if you are only going to have 6-8 clients, I think it will have a far better payoff if all of those clients are on, say, Xero than if they are all chiropractors that use 3 different GLs.
So learn about Xero for free on March 22. 👇
Deals Deals Deals
💰 The Ambitious Bookkeeper, Serena Shoup, (who is perfectly named because her demeanor is so serene!) is starting a new cohort of her ELEVATE program where she takes experienced pros and teaches them to offer (lucrative) CFO/Controller services.* Use discount code KATE to save some $$$ (discount code works on all of her courses).
💰 The Fast & Easy QBO ProAdvisor Basic Cerfication Prep Course* is only $59. That’s a savings of $100! Use code SPRING100. Then make sure you subscribe to her YouTube channel* because there is no one else out there creating as many practice exercises for you to truly become a QBO master (reminder: getting the ProAdvisor Cert does not mean you are a master).
Please always send me any news of deals that you hear of that others might benefit from.
Be There or Be Square
Items with a “+” are hosted by me. All these events can be viewed and registered for in the DESCRIPTIONS of each event on the Bookkeeping Side Hustle Calendar.
📅 +Mondays in March: Bookkeeping Side Hustle Community Co-working Hour. Join me on on Zoom every Monday at 11am EST and do some work. Zoom link (password: HUSTLE)
📅 March 22: Intro to Xero. Join Xero for a demo of the platform and learn if you want to start serving clients on Xero. Register HERE.
📅 March 27: Workflows Made Simple 5 Day FREE Challenge. This 5 day challenge is meant for bookkeepers and accountants from all stages that want to learn how to document and extract workflows, set big goals, organize their tech stack, bring all their workflows and tech stack into a project management system to help them move faster. Sign up HERE* for free.
📅 March 29: Top Time-Saving Hacks for Accounting Professionals. I’m on a panel put on by new free accounting community called The Grove. Advice about time saving TECH hacks is not my strong suit, but I do have some things to say about how to get a lot of stuff done. Register HERE.
🌶️ What does your typical day look like as your own boss? Laurie Ann is curious what that balance looks like.
🌶️ Have you ever had a potential client NOT let you see the books so you can give a proposal/price? Lynell Lacks-Freeman is wondering if she needs a crystal ball.
🌶️ Joseph Powell shares that he left public accounting to start his own bookkeeping business and offers assurance to all of us that the clients really are out there! He just signed one for $1,200 per month!
Help You Hustle
💪 Get Clients On Upwork. The first installment of the “Get Clients” series was about using Upwork to build your business. Serena Shoup and Michael King gave tons of useful information and advice on how to best use Upwork. Some of the 🔥 parts of the interview were the following:
Michael mentioned using video to splash your brand and company name and resources in your video background.
Serena’s shared her story of how she set up templates so she could apply to postings from her phone while nursing her baby.
💪 Replay of the “QBO or Xero Or Both” webinar where Hector Garcia (Team QBO) and Amanda Aguillard (Team Xero) tell the world why they believe their chosen bookkeeping software is the best. I believe with all my heart that you need to bick ONE general ledger if you plan to only serve a handful of clients. Consider this replay a “must watch” for new bookkeeping entrepreneurs.
💪 Ignition is accepting nominations for their annual Top 50 Women in Accounting Award. Nominate a woman in your network here.
💪 Cassandra Lane started a Facebook group for folks studying for the Intuit Professional Bookkeeper Certification. Remember, this is the certification that helps reduce the work experience requirement for the QuickBooks Live part time jobs at Intuit*.
😻 Still time to enter the bracket for “March App-ness” for our industry. The grand prize is a trip to Hawaii or to Disney Institute. You can nominate Bookkeeping Side Hustle! Let’s have some free fun!
More posts were add to the Job Opportunity Guide in the Facebook Group. Be sure to scroll down to Guide 2.
💼 You can also watch this short reel video to learn how to access it.
💼 Remote jobs, part-time jobs, a one time job, a QBO-experienced job and more were listed. Be sure to check it out.
💼 Also, Upwork has some postings that are pretty much like jobs, too! Watch our Upwork interview!
Don’t forget the standing opps on my Find A Freelance Job article. 1099 and W-2 opps.
Kate Builds In Public
🎢 I decided to add an additional time slot to my FreshBooks Office Hours. I might have jumped the gun, though. A client (one-on-one training) said he would join my FreshBooks Office Hours but said my Tuesday afternoon weekly slot wouldn’t work for him. Several current members have already expressed desire for a morning slot. So I told this gentleman that he was the tipping point for me to add 2 additional hours per month, on Wednesday mornings (1st and 3rd Wednesday).
But he hasn’t accepted my engagment and recurring payment to join but I already officially opened up the 2 additional hours per months to the rest of the group. Who’s the schmuck? Me. It’s me.
🎢 Remember my potential clean up client I mentioned last newsletter (my highest ever proposal)? Well I saw she created an employment ad on LinkedIn for a part-time “financial analyst”. Guess that is a “no” for my proposal, then. Whomp, whomp.
I ended up following up on that proposal. She responded that she wanted to know what it would cost to just do 2023 because they could “do 2022 by themselves in excel”. My response was that I’d only consider doing it if we started a brand new FreshBooks file with a start date of Jan 1, 2023. I hear from the real pros that it is possible to clean up only a portion of a bookkeeping file, but I do not know how to do it. I can only do bookkeeping in pristine files. Messy history confuses me.
🎢 So, I’ve been charged a fee for my own Gusto account the last 2 months. I was sure it was an error, but it is apparently not. I don’t meet the qualifications for free payroll because I did not add a new client to my client list in the last 12 months. I see in my portal that I’m credited with 2 new Gusto subscribers, but because I got the referral gift card and didn’t actually sign them up as one of my official clients in my portal, I have not met the requirement for free payroll for accountant users. And I’ve been paying contractors out of Gusto, so my Gusto is not super cheap either. $0 to mucho $ is a tough pill to swallow.
Do all payroll softwares only give free accountant access for 12 months unless you sign new clients each year? Makes me wonder if General Ledgers might start having limits on free access for accounant users. I mean, that free QBO Plus we accountant users get is pretty darn rich. I’ve often wondered if some folks abuse the QBO Accountant Portal to get free QBO and aren’t really practicing bookkeepers at all.
🎢 My calendar has been mostly closed because of my father visiting and my house hunting trip. But I did take one prospect call. The gentleman said he was considering moving from QuickBooks to FreshBooks. Turns out it was from QuickBooks DESKTOP. During our call, all he did was complain about montly subscription costs. So now I have a new selection criteria because I can tell that anyone who contacts me to move off of QBDT is just going to be grumpy. 🚩🚩🚩 Now I have to figure out how to discern that from my prospect intake form so I can cancel the call before it even starts.
🎢 I’ve been working on building a sponsorship page on the BSH website. I think it is important to show value to potential sponsors as I try to bring you the best deals, discounts, apps, etc. So, if you FIND value in the BSH Pub, will you leave a comment below so I can add it to my page to show potential sponsors?
From The Vault
⚡ Notice we have a new classified ad this week. 👇 Joining Breakaway Advisors is a way for you to have your own business, but also have a built-in support system. Yes, click on that ad to learn more, but you can also watch my interview with them from last spring. Bring joy to your business and don’t do business alone.
Interested in having ad in the Bookkeeping Side Hustle Pub? Click HERE for more info.
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