Running your own business can be challenging and rewarding in equal measure. The first step to starting your own freelance business is to find a skill that is in demand and then market yourself to potential customers. Bookkeeping is one skill that companies will always be looking for.
Every company requires a bookkeeper to manage their accounts and they don’t always have the skills in-house to be able to fulfill the demands of the role. As a result, many companies will outsource their bookkeeping to freelancers. This makes it a great opportunity to build your own career and take control of your work/life balance. But how are you supposed to get started with a freelance bookkeeping service? We have a few ideas…
It’s not enough to have a head for numbers and a basic grasp of bookkeeping software. If you want potential clients to take you seriously, you have to get qualified. You can take an intensive bookkeeping training course over the space of 5 days or 10 weeks. After this, you’ll have a nationally recognised qualification that will let potential clients know that you are experienced and knowledgeable.
Advertise your services
There are many ways to advertise your services, from freelancer websites to social media. Getting your name out there on a platform like LinkedIn or Twitter is easy and free. You could also create your own website or advertise on sites like Gum tree. Local Facebook groups aimed at small businesses are also a great avenue for generating business. And finally, don’t forget to let your friends and family know that you are looking for freelance bookkeeping work.
Land your first client
Sooner or later, you will land your first client. It’s best to put planning processes in place before you start working with your first client as it will give them confidence that you are a professional. First off, you need to decide if you plan to charge by the hour or on a monthly retainer. With a retainer, you can guarantee that you will have the same income every month.
However, if you end up doing more work than expected, this can eat into your hourly rate. With hourly billing, both you and the client will know what to expect, so there will be no surprises when it comes to sending invoices at the end of the month.
Once you have a few happy clients under your belt, you should start to think about leveraging this to drum up more business. One of the best ways to do this is to ask for testimonials you can use on your website and social media to help build trust.
You can also ask your clients if they would be happy to recommend you to other business owners they may know. Unless they are worried about another company stealing all of your time, most will be happy to do this. If they are worried about another company stealing your time, it might be a good time to discuss increasing your workload.
Expand your business
There will come a point in your business where you will have to decide between turning away new clients and taking on some extra help. Once you have a healthy and thriving company, you might want to consider hiring a junior bookkeeper or some administrative support.
This will free up some of your time to focus on new business development or improving the services you offer your clients. Before long, you could be running a small bookkeeping agency with several full-time employees.
Don’t neglect your own accounts
You’d be surprised how many bookkeeping freelancers don’t apply the same stringent record keeping to their own accounts. As a freelancer, you will be responsible for your own tax and national insurance contributions. This means you need to be diligent in recording your own freelance income in addition to your business expenses.
Starting your own freelance bookkeeping service might sound like an insurmountable challenge, but the rewards can be incredible. You’ll be able to work from anywhere in the world with an internet connection. You’ll also be able to set your own hours (within reason) and take control of your earnings like never before. If you have the entrepreneurial spirit, it’s worth taking a chance on yourself.