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The One With 10,000
I'm afraid I'm never going to hit 10,000.
No I'm not talking about a $10,000 cleanup (I probably won't ever want a cleanup project that should be priced that high).
No, I'm not talking about 10,000 subscribers on my freshbooks tutorial channel (I only have 492 subscribers and it is one of the most disappointing things in my life right now).
I'm talking about 10,000 hours of bookkeeping work. I will never get there.
In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell popularized the idea that it takes 10,000 of practice/work to become a true expert at something. The idea has plenty of critics, but let’s just assume he is mostly correct.
Here is how long it takes to get to 10,000 hours.
40hrs per week ~ 5 years.
40hrs per month ~ 20 years
20hrs per month ~ 40 years
And that is actual work. So for bookkeeping, that would be hands on our computers dealing with our apps and bank feeds and credit card statements and broken integrations and zapier, etc.
In-person networking and building our websites and listening to training on sales aren’t really going to help us become world-class at the QuickBooks/Xero/Sage clicks and the Debits & Credits.
It is really hard to become a true expert and feel like a true expert and make money like a true expert when you don’t have that much “butt in seat” experience. You can still be a good bookkeeper, but your income will be more like that of an amateur rather than a pro.
Pros make lots of money. Amateurs, not so much.
There are weeks when I look at my return for my effort and I'm definitely paid like an amateur. And that is because any unusual situation will require a lot of time to understand and correct.
Here are some ways my amateur status has shown up just in the last 2 weeks.
A client’s vendor put in their wrong SSN for a 1099 into my W-9 collection software (Track1099). When she was filing her taxes, she reached out to have it corrected. I’ve never issued a corrected 1099. 🤫 Do I need to fix this? Yes. Will it take me a (relatively) enormous amount of time to really figure it out and will I have low confidence about doing it the entire time? Also, yes.
The Gusto Journal Entry mappings in one QBO file quit working. Do I understand why they broke? No. Do I often deal with broken Gusto mappings? Basically never because they usually just always work in the few files I have connected to Gusto.
In my own QBO file my monthly deposits from QBO payments stopped mapping. Did I change anything? Not one dang thing. Have I fixed it yet? Nope. Will it take me a long time to fix? Probably. Will I remember how to do it if it ever happens again? Probably not.
A pro with a lot of hours under their belt would be able to handle each of these problems in less than 10 minutes.
I write this as a cautionary tale to not over glamourize the idea of a side hustle, especially if you come at this profession with zero background like I did. As long as I only serve a few clients, I am accepting the tradeoff of never getting close to enough hours of experience required to become a true bookkeeping pro.
It makes me very thankful that we have supportive communities like the Bookkeeping Side Hustle Community where we can get advice about how to solve these pesky, joy-sucking problems and get back to having smooth clients and processes.
We also have apps like Financial Cents that can help us document our processes, even the rarely-encountered problems like “How To Issue A Corrected 1099”. Be sure to check them out and leverage their tools to help you on your journey from amateur to pro. 👇
Deals Deals Deals
💰 The QBO Gym is a place to get hands on practice using QBO. The beta tester price is currently $30 and will go up in March. The best way to get in on the beta price is to join their free Facebook group and say you are ready for the practice lessons in The Gym*.
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 February: 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).
📅 February 21-23: Profitable Bookkeeping Conference. If you want to get better paid for your hard work – if you want to be able to price your bookkeeping services confidently – this is the training to unlock the secrets. Oh, and it is FREE. Register HERE*.
📅 +Feb 22: Get Clients on Upwork with experts Serena Shoup (The Ambitious Bookkeeper*) and Michael King (The CFO Accelerator). These two have been around the Upwork block.
📅 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 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.
🌶️ Hannah Labadorf is curious what marketing strategy has be the most beneficial for you?
🌶️ Flor Sanchez wanted the pros and cons of owning your business vs. working for someone. What are your thoughts?
🌶️ Do you have disability insurance? Have you though about what would happen if you could no longer run your business? Chime in on the thread. And if you have a referral for an insurance expert who I could teach our entire community, please comment below and make an intro to me.
🌶️ What would you do in this situation? Veronica Ewing has a client in a cash flow crunch who asked for changes to the payment terms. How would you handle this? This is a tough one.
🌶️ Juliet Aurora, former Intuit Firm of the Future winner, has invited everyone to a free coaching series that includes a live Q&A with the business coach. Details in this post. I just want to say that I kind of think of her as a regal and brilliant business queen. If you want a FIRM, pay attention to her.
Help You Hustle
💪 Many of you are job seekers. While it is not my personal path (not today, at least…maybe tomorrow 🤣), I want to help you, too. So watch the replay of the Job Search Tips interview with Roger Knecht.
If you like what Roger shared, you can access Univeral Accounting Center’s free Finding Employment with CONFIDENCE* course for more technical support with resumes and cover letters and interviews.
💪QBO, Xero or Both? - What Every Firm Leader Needs to Know. Amanda Aguillard (Xero) and Hector Garcia (QBO) will explain why they prefer their chosen general ledger. Register here.
Also, no one asked me, but if you have a part-time business with just a handful of clients (a.k.a side hustle), I sincerely think you need to pick only ONE general ledger.
💪 Did you know you can access the LinkedIn Learning resources for free from your public library membership. Props to Alison Ball sharing this on LinkedIn. They sure do have a course on EVERYTHING in LinkedIn Learning.
💪 Hector Garcia was tired of explaining the differences between QuickBooks Technical Support vs Bookkeeping Support vs QuickBooks Training vs Bookkeeping Services. So he shared this article (partially written by ChatGPT) in this thread in his Facebook Group (which every single QB User should be in). He is basically telling all of us to tailor this and put it on our own websites, y’all.
🙏 Please participate in Accounting High’s March Appness contest. The Bookkeeping Side Hustle Community is in 13th place. We should be #1! All you have to do is vote for your favorite accounting “things” (apps, communities, podcasts, etc).
😹 A few Valentine’s for the bookkeepers in your life. Saw these from the FreshBooks social media team. Maybe save these to send to clients next year???
💼The job opportunity list in these newsletters was getting LONG…which wasn’t all bad, but we needed a better way to consolidate them.
So, moving forward, jobs posted in the Facebook group will be added to the new Job Opportunity “Guide”. Jobs will be listed there, and after a month (or so) they will be removed from the Guide. The Job Opportunity Guide is Guide #2. Please give feedback if this is a better way to organize and share the jobs with y’all.
💼 Found a new job board called Red Balloon. There are a few accounting jobs listed. This job board company is very upfront about their “why” for creating this job board. They are all about “freedom to work”. I’m sure this will resonate with some readers. Just move along if you don't align with them.
Don’t forget the standing opps on my Find A Freelance Job article. 1099 and W-2 opps.
Kate Builds In Public
🎢 New bookkeeping business activity in last 2 weeks (exclusively FreshBooks clients):
I have 1 new training client ($250 for 2 hours)
1 new diagnostic review ($250 and took only about 2 hours to complete because I think I finally have built a template to do diagnostic reviews for FreshBooks files).
In that diagnostic review 👆, I quoted my highest clean up rate yet. $3793. I’ll let you know how it goes.
If you don’t know about diagnostic reviews, watch this.
🎢 I am continuing to try a “free Q&A”. I did a few of these around the New Year and did one in January. Well, February’s had 3 registrants but 0 attendees. 😞 My kids were sort of hovering around me as I was waiting for someone to show up, and I got lots of “it’s ok mommy” that afternoon. ♥ Disappointing business outcome, but good family conversations.
From The Vault
Letters To The Editor
✉️ I love that you are so authentic, you want people to learn and you are incredibly supportive. I love that you post people's jobs. Seriously, I look forward to this and Seth David's newsletter each week and blow off the rest. :)
~Rachel Barnett, Gentle Frog, LLC, Top 100 ProAdvisor.
Thanks, Rachel. Your feedback means a lot. I know I’m in good company being compared to Seth David’s newsletter!
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