Please tell us about yourself
I am a former banker for 13 years turned bookkeeper/business consultant in the past 18 months. I have a wife and 3 boys at home, ages 6, 4, and 2. We live in Rowley, MA, about 30 miles north of Boston, just south of the NH border.
What is virtual bookkeeping?
Great question. It is a profession that has really come to life in the past 5-7 with the rise of cloud-based technology. In the past, traditional bookkeeping has been done on site through various types of software. It usually involved data entry and the producing of reports for the business owner.
Recently, with cloud-based software, it has allowed the bookkeeper to be completely off-site and it has automated most of the data entry which used to take most of the time.
The term bookkeeper has evolved into a consultative role in the business, allowing the business owner to receive the same reports as before, but now with a trusted source that can now help them decipher and translate a lot of the numbers that make the business run.
The profession has now become more forward-looking than ever before.
Why and how did you decide to pursue this career?
I feel this career has chosen me more than anything. I started out by just taking on a couple of clients to help close the gap on some budget shortfalls we were having at home. I started to look into ways to make more money when my wife and I found out we had an ‘unexpected blessing’ (our 3rd child) on the way.
Shortly after that, I had more clients than I could service and still keep my full-time job as a banker. We made the decision for me to go full time in my business because of the time freedoms it allows.
It has since evolved into a thriving business and I feel that the sky is the limit at this point. And there is no looking back…
Why did you choose Bookkeeper Business Launch?
I chose it because I did some research and found that BBL had stellar reviews. Plus, it was one of the few courses out there (in fact, it was the ONLY one I found) that taught the skills to be a bookkeeper as well as the skills to run your own business.
I have since discovered that BBL offers way more value than I ever thought possible. The resources it provides are unmatched and I could not be happier for the decision to buy it.
The community that BBL has developed is second to none. I utilize this resource every single day. The community is about 5000 strong. I have made many friends through it and we all lean on one another for best practices and encouragement. I believe, this is one of the biggest reasons BBL is so successful.
How long did it take you to complete the course?
It took me about 2 and a half months to finish the course.
How long after completing the course did you obtain your first client?
I had my first client committed before finishing the course after letting my personal Facebook friends know that I was able to help business owners with their books.
Have you made back your investment?
100 fold. I made my investment back in the first 2 months in business. Since then, I have grossed over $100,000 in revenue.
How much do you make a month? Do you work part time or full time?
Currently, I do work full time. I am actually looking to hire someone to help me with the work. I average about $6500 month in revenue.
What are your expenses (business-related expenses)?
I have accounting software fees that run about $500 month. This expense has grown along with my client base. I also have had to rent some office space because of my kids’ daycare situation. That is about $500/mo.
I also have some networking and business development expenses that run about $100/mo. I started out with my home office which was no expense.
What are your duties? Can you describe a day in your life?
I start out each day by seeing what appointment I have coming up in the next week and I prepare for them. That includes going through their books and categorizing everything the software doesn’t.
I then will look into the numbers of their profit and loss statement and balance sheet and prepare talking points that the business owner and I will go through during our next meeting.
If I don’t have any appointments coming up, I go through each and every client and work to keep the work up to date, so that when it is time for our meeting, I don’t have to spend a lot of time preparing.
I also do things like payroll and accounts payable in which I pay business owners’ bills for them. This is usually a weekly task that we need to keep up with.
Lastly, depending on the day, I have various networking events that I attend that help grow my client base.
What is your least favorite part/hardest part of being a virtual bookkeeper?
The hardest part is when business owners don’t get the information that I need to properly keep their books.
With technology, it is certainly easier to get those items needed, but there are still owners that I have to contact to get information to me.
What is your favorite part of being a virtual bookkeeper?
My favorite parts are meetings with business owners and networking. There is a lot of responsibility because business owners rely heavily on the information we provide. But, when you provide them useful insight, it is powerful because you can see that it really makes a difference.
Plus, networking with other business owners is great because you learn so much about them and how you can really help them.
I also enjoy the time flexibility it gives me. I am not working any less than I did as a banker, but I can now do it on my own terms, just as long as the work gets done.
And with kids and family activities, it allows be to be much more involved and present in my family life.
What traits do you feel are necessary to being a good, successful virtual bookkeeper? Which ones are taught and which ones are inherent?
I feel that it is necessary to be very well organized and to have a way to document, and most importantly systematize everything that you do. I believe this is inherent but it can also be learned.
I spend a good amount of time studying ways to be more efficient and organized, for my, and my client’s sake.
Most importantly, the best trait to have is the ability to listen and collaborate. When meeting with business owners, they like to talk about their business, so we let them talk about it. We can then collaborate with them on how to make their business even better.
Do you have any advice for someone considering this career?
If you are considering this career, it is important to realize that you can make it what you want. If you want to just make a little extra money on the side and keep your full- or part-time job, you can.
If you want to create a thriving business for yourself, you can.
If you want to establish an empire with a big client base and multiple employees, you can.
It is all about what you want and what you are willing to work for.
Also, I would consider having way to systematize everything before bringing clients on. It will take practice and probably a few clients to establish those systems but take the time to really document what you do for each client so that the work becomes easier and easier as time goes on.
Be willing to make mistakes and learn from them. You will stumble, and that is ok. Just as long as you, and your business owner know, why it is happening. Always be improving.
Any final thoughts?
BBL has given me something that I have wanted since I started my first ‘business’ when I was 20. I have always wanted the ability to be my own boss, make my own decisions, and determine my own legacy.
It has allowed me to be a more present parent and lead my family in the way that I have wanted to.
I am in the process of developing a strong and profitable business and I am so excited about the future and where this is going to take me. Ben Robinson has become a personal mentor of mine. His willingness to always give more has been amazing. I can’t thank him enough for the opportunity he has given me.
I am the father of 3 handsome boys, husband to an amazing and supportive wife, and the founder of Watch My Green.
For more than twelve years, I’ve gotten to serve all kinds of consumers and small businesses as a banking and bookkeeping professional. Believe it or not, talking with big and small businesses about their numbers gets me excited!
I like to think that my own love for tracking money invigorates others to become more financially fit. We all want to be fiscally fit, but most of us have learned to think of money as something dry and painful. At Watch My Green, we’ve unlearned that way of thinking, and we can help you do that, too.