Whether you’re a newly minted entreprenåeur diving into the world of freelance bookkeeping or a seasoned bookkeeper looking to grow your business, finding clients can be a tough job. This is especially true following the long-term impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, which drove a majority of businesses online and left many bookkeepers scrambling to develop their online presence.
But don’t be discouraged! Building up your client base may seem like an impossible task at first, but with the right tools under your belt, you’ll be attracting new clientele in no time. Today we’ll take you through the best strategies to get new bookkeeping clients.
Five easy steps to get bookkeeping clients
Step one: Identify your audience
Before you can start your search, you’ll need to know what kind of client you’re looking for. Identifying your target market will not only help you find your most ideal clientele, but also help them find you in the long-run!
To do this, you’ll need to decide whether you are looking to specialize in a specific industry or provide services to a more general client base. There are benefits to both – sticking to a specific niche service (i.e. payroll) or industry (i.e. retail stores, restaurants) helps potential clients determine whether you are the right fit for them, while remaining in the generalist pool widens your scope of prospective business.
Step two: Develop your online presence
There are a plethora of social media platforms available to help craft your online presence, so how do you choose which one is right for your freelance bookkeeping business?
We recommend you start with Facebook. Facebook offers a number of great tools to support freelance business owners. If you haven’t already, you’ll want to take a moment to check out Facebook Business Pages. You can use your page to promote your service offerings, share useful bookkeeping tips and relevant posts, and grow your following.
If you already have existing clients, it’s a good idea to encourage them to visit your page and leave a review – it will help generate positive feedback about your services and attract new business. Make sure you also include links to any other social media platforms or external websites where new and existing clients can find you in the “About” page.
Another great resource is LinkedIn, otherwise known as the world’s leading business social networking site. With over 722 million users, there are many reasons why LinkedIn is the go-to site for professionals looking to build their network. Help clients find you by interacting on posts and in relevant groups, or take the first step and reach out to potential clients to introduce yourself. If you’re having trouble getting started, Hootsuite has a great guide to help you create an attractive page.
You may also want to look into creating a Twitter, blog, podcast or YouTube channel where you can share helpful bookkeeping knowledge and tips, showcase your skills and establish your reputation as an expert. And don’t forget to re-share your content on your other social media pages!
Step three: Get certified with an accounting software
In the world of freelance bookkeeping, it’s difficult to stand out amongst the thousands of other qualified professionals out there. Set yourself apart by getting certified by your accounting software of choice. Most people will be familiar with QuickBooks, so we recommend joining the QuickBooks ProAdvisor program. This is a completely free way to let your clients know that you’re an expert user of QuickBooks’ products. Being added to QuickBooks’ Find-A-ProAdvisor Directory will also help generate a few leads every month.
Step four: Network with professionals
The struggle to find clients isn’t unique to bookkeeping – all professionals in the service industry will go through this at some stage in their career. This also means that all professionals will likely understand the value of a referral. By building relationships with local professionals in similar or complementary industries, you will open yourself up to an even wider avenue of opportunity.
Once you’ve made the connection, what comes next is totally up to you:
Offer to trade referrals – Perhaps your new professional connection knows someone looking for a freelance bookkeeper. You can repay the favour next time – working together to grow your business is a win-win strategy!
Offer subcontracting – If you’re starting out and looking to gain some experience, reach out to some well-known local bookkeepers and offer to take on some of their workload. This is a great way to get your name out there and potentially find your first client.
Offer referral incentives – You may want to reach out to professionals and offer complementary services in order to give them a taste of your offerings. Satisfied clients are likely to want to spread the word of your great work within their own networks – especially if you offer discounts or additional services in return.
Step five: Attend public speaking events
A great way to establish your credibility and build your reputation as a reliable bookkeeper is to share your expertise at business-related events such as conferences, seminars, business training sessions, trade shows, and webinars. Public speaking may feel intimidating at first – but fear not. If you start by volunteering for smaller guest-speaking opportunities, you can gradually grow your presentation skills until you feel ready to attend larger-scale conferences.
If you enjoy public speaking, we also suggest starting your own webinar. You’ll want to speak on relevant topics that you have experience in. For example, you may want to educate your audience about receipt management – a task that can easily get out of hand without the right tools. This is the perfect chance to introduce and walk your clients through any useful, bookkeeping-related software applications, such as Shoeboxed — a receipt management application that turns your receipts and business documents into digital format. This will not only help your clients manage their own businesses easier, but also streamline your bookkeeping process in the future!
Once you’ve chosen a topic, make sure you do your research, include numerous interactive opportunities and create engaging visuals so your audience will want to attend your future events. To garner an audience, reach out to your existing client network and promote your event on your social media pages. This is a great (and free!) opportunity for current and future clients to tap into your expertise.
Get started – Start searching for new bookkeeping clients!
Phew – you made it to the end of our guide! With all of these strategies in hand, you’re almost ready to take on the task of getting new clients for your freelance bookkeeping business. Before you embark on your journey to success, we want to remind you that you do not need to use every method we’ve suggested – especially not all at once! You also don’t need to do steps 2 to 5 in order.
Give this article another read, think about which methods will work best for your business goals and then, when you feel ready, get the ball rolling. You can do this!
Shoeboxed is a receipt management application that turns your receipts and business documents into a digital format in just one click by taking a picture straight from your smartphone or scanning a pdf. It automatically extracts, categorizes, and human-verifies important data from your receipts so that you can go over and check your records anytime with ease.
Shoeboxed ensures you always have your receipts securely stored and ready for tax purposes. More importantly, Shoeboxed helps you track mileage using your phone’s built-in GPS for unmatched ease and accuracy. Access your Shoeboxed account from your web browser or smartphone app. Stay audit-ready with Shoeboxed for FREE now!