Episode #020 The Bookkeeping Project Part 4

Amy talks about the difference between being project-oriented and routine-oriented, the benefits of a simplified business plan, and how looking at the big picture in YOUR business can make all the difference.

The real message of this story is: “Look out for our new STP training and service. And don’t forget, there’s a brand-new premium version of The Bookkeeping Project!”

Podcast Info

Episode: #020

Series: General

Host: Amy Hooke

Guest speaker: None

Topic: The Bookkeeping Project Episode 4

Read transcript

Good morning. Welcome back again. Hope everybody's had a happy Easter and a nice rest over the Easter break or, for those of you who didn't have a rest, hopefully, you were nice and productive and got things done.

My plan was to declutter my house and guess what? I have not decluttered my house yet. But I have made a comprehensive plan on how I'm going to approach the decluttering of my house.

So I've been playing around with a software. You might've heard of me going on about this. It's called Airtable and their tagline is, “Organize pretty much everything.” Or something like that.

What I've done is I've gone room by room and I've created a little- It's sort of like a spreadsheet/database/task management tool and I've gone through and I've listed everything.

All of the major things that we own in the house into this little database and I've categorized it by room and I've put in how much we've paid for it and I've put which items I'm going to sell or hard rubbish or donate or whatever I'm going to do with those items. So that's cool.

Now, it might sound a little bit silly. The fact that I plan to declutter my house and now I've ended up making a spreadsheet about how I'm going to do it. But, actually, there is method to my madness and I know, for me- I don't know what you're like when it comes to projects.

Decluttering your house is not a task. It is a project. It's a project that has a beginning, a middle, and an end. It probably takes- I don't know how long it takes. I guess it depends how cluttered your house is.

For me, I estimate this will be a quarterly project for our family. Even though it sounds a little bit silly that I said I was going to start decluttering my house and I made a spreadsheet/database about how I'm going to do it, the important thing to note here is actually that when it comes to projects versus everyday tasks which are routine, it is actually good to have a plan.

And, so, obviously, in a bookkeeping project, which is what we're talking about today, in case I haven't mentioned. Today's the fourth Friday of the month so we're going to be talking about The Bookkeeping Project.

And, so, that's what I'm going to be talking to you about a little bit today about the benefits of planning and doing things in the right order which is something that I go on about all the time.

Then I'm going to give you a little bit of an update on what's been happening at Off the Hook Bookkeeping. So, for me, there's a couple of new clients and partnerships in the park line. A couple of automations and integrations going on. A little bit more digital marketing as usual. And setting up my STP processes.

We're going to be talking about all of that today. And then, also, I want to talk to you about the new premium version that I've created of the Off the Hook Bookkeeping project for those of you who want a little bit more from me.

Let's just talk about projects really briefly and I think I might do a whole episode on this because it is a great topic to focus on and I know, for me, I am a projects person. I like to do-

And I guess the difference between a project person and non-project person are people- There are people who like routine. They like their regular routines to just tick along nicely. They do the same things week in, week out. And, for me, that makes me want to cry.

I'm one of those people who I like to let things- I like bigger projects with lots of different elements to them. Something that I can really spend time designing and then going through an implementation phase.

Normally, for me, that's why I love rescue jobs so much. But once the bookkeeping gets up to the routine, every day, recurring week in, week out, sort of stuff, I do not enjoy that.

So what I like to do is do a rescue job and get everything set up nicely, get all the systems set up, and then get out of there. Give it to someone who enjoys routine.

Obviously, we're all made differently and, so, some of us will be completely relating to enjoying the routine, every day, day in, day out, processing and the repetitiveness of that. And then there'll be others who just, like me, tend to cringe about those things.

What tends to happen is, if you're one of those people that enjoys projects, what happens is it could be tempting to actually force things to become projects by procrastinating.

I know, for me, that people who enjoy routine, they like to stay on top of things and do things on a regular pattern. But people who are not wired that way, they tend to like to save things up.

Often people that have that project wiring tend to struggle a lot more with procrastination. I think, for me, when I actually recognized this, when I realized there was a difference, I thought, “Oh my gosh. That's actually me.” Then I started to realize, “Okay. What I like to do is work really hard and be very busy and then I like to have a lot of down time.”

I think bookkeeping is a great profession for that because you've got your very busy times and then sort of a lull after all the basses are lodged and everything.

I guess it suits both personality types but it's just about recognizing how your brain is wired when it comes to your business. And, so, I think the people who enjoy the routine stuff, I think it's something that people in that space might struggle with.

This is not based on any scientific research, it's actually just really my opinion and my observations based on the people that I've worked with. But the people that love the routine, every day, today stuff, don't necessarily enjoy planning for the bigger picture. They find it overwhelming to zoom out and have a look at the bigger picture and they find it hard and they find it overwhelming.

Often these people are having trouble to step back from working in the business or working with the clients and doing client work for them to stepping out and working on the bigger picture which is to work on their own business.

Whereas the people who love projects, they love looking at the bigger picture. They like to zoom out and have a look at where things are going and maybe it's the other way around.

I know it definitely is for me to zoom back in and kind of work on the daily routine. I much prefer working on the business than in it. That's just the way that I'm wired.

I think, because of that, that's the reason that I've been able to help the bookkeepers that I'm working with because what we're doing is we're working on our business plans.

For those of you who have just joined The Bookkeeping Project, I decided to start my business again from scratch and, this time, to let everybody kind of watch in what I'm doing and copy what I'm doing and have some of the templates that I'm offering and that kind of thing. Just to get an insight, inside picture into what happens.

But also the way that I'm setting up my business this time around is because I now recognize that I am that big picture person and I realize how getting myself bogged down in the bookkeeping work is not going to be productive in terms of running the business.

I'm coming in as a business owner, not as a bookkeeper, even though my profession and my background is in bookkeeping. So I now want to be a business owner. I want to be off the tools. I want to be managing the team. I want to be connecting with clients and focusing on the business development side of things.

And then, obviously, the other part of what I do which is running Savvy and to be helping the people who are in The Bookkeeping Project. So that's what I want to spend my time doing.

I have a job description. I guess that's another thing I could add to the list to talk about today. Let's see if we have time. I'll definitely talk about that another day. I do that with all of my columns.

I get everyone to sit down and write down all of the tasks that they do in the business and I've done this myself recently. I do it on a regular basis because those tasks do start to creep back in.

But what you want to do is you want to make a list. So this is for all of those people in the move-up stage. The people that are wanting to extract themselves from the operations of the business a bit and start to hand over to their team.

You need to make a list of every single task that you do throughout your week and throughout your month and throughout each quarter and then work out what are the things that only you can do and start to build yourself a job description.

I've done that for myself so I know that I'm very well aware when I'm doing someone else's job. And, so, from there, you can start to build a plan. You can start to divide up those tasks into what only you can do and then what are the things that a junior bookkeeper can do or anyone who doesn't have a high level of skill and then what are the things that you require a specialized person to do?

That will give you three job descriptions for three different levels of people. It'll be yourself and, I guess, you could probably extract a few other roles in there as your business grows.

You may have a dedicated person who just focuses on your business development. Just because you're the business owner, doesn't mean that you have to be the only one focus on that. Even though I oversee the lead generation in the business, in both of my businesses, and the marketing strategy.

I have other people working on that. But I'm very clear about what my role is and I've talked about that in past podcasts as well.

So, anyway, let's get back to the business plan. Why you need a business plan.

If you're one of those people that loves the routine and finds it hard to zoom out and look at the big picture, you need a business plan because it's going to help you to be able to zoom out. Even if it's just for a sort time because you need to sit back and think about your goals.

If you just focus on your clients all of the time and only ever work on their business, they're going to be improving in their business and your business is going to be staying in the same place.

Obviously, you might grow and get some more clients but you're still going to be in that same position. You're still going to be the person that's doing all of the work or maybe all of the work still coming through you or whatever it might be for you.

To be able to have a business plan is going to help you a lot. I'm not talking about writing a novel. The Savvy business plan is super basic. The reason it's so basic is because I'd include in it what you actually need to include.

You could Google business plan template. You could get 100 different templates from online and I guarantee you they'll probably all be the same. They'll be these very detailed things that talk about executive summaries and there'll be these detailed budgets and forecasts and all those sort of things.

I can tell you those types of business plans are designed- Well, firstly, they're very generic. They're designed to cover every kind of possibility regardless of what kind of business you're in so they're not niche. They're not tailored.

Also, business plans are often used for specific purposes. You might need a business plan if you want to get some finance from the bank or you're wanting someone to invest in your business and that's probably not you.

Bookkeepers aren't really out there looking for investors. Okay? You might need a business plan if you want to sell but there's so many different things that you could put in your business plan.

What I've done is I've gone through and worked out what is important. What are the things that you need in your business plan to be able to take some action?

Now, of course, some people have even said to me, “Could I get a more detailed business plan where I can put in this, that and the other and put in all about my operations and all this kind of thing?”

So my business plan is not an operations manual. An operations manual is different to a business plan. The business plan is the snapshot of where you want to get to and how you're going to get there and the steps that are involved in that.

And, so, I'm on a mission to get- I want every bookkeeper in Australia who's running a business to have a business plan because, according to the ICB, they took a survey. It was in 2014 or 15, where only 20% of bookkeepers running a business had a business plan.

I thought, “I want that to be 100.” If you're running a business, you should have a business plan. To me, it doesn't really make sense to not have that.

It does make sense because, of course, when I first started my business, I didn't have a business plan. For a time, for a number of years, I followed somebody else's business plan which I felt was way too complicated for what I needed.

And, so, I've come back to the drawing board and I've just had to kind of extract everything out of my brain that I learned back then about how somebody else ran their business. I thought, “How do I want to run my business.”

And, so, the business plan I've put together is just a framework that you can use to explore what you want and that's why there's so little detail in my business plan. You might go, “Oh. I want more details.” But this is going to be good for you.

I'll put a link to the business plan in there and, really, I encourage you to join The Bookkeeping Project. The free version is still available and will always be available even though I have created a premium version which I'll talk to you in a little while.

And, so, the people who are really into the routine every day stuff and you're having trouble zooming out. Grabbing a business plan and actually making a start on that. This business plan is free. I don't charge anyone for it. You can just start working on it and you can listen in on The Bookkeeping Project.

I've done a couple of webinars where I talk about various aspects of the business plan and you can start to work on yours. And, so, my goal- I haven't really set a deadline. Let's pick a number out of thin air.

Let's say 2021. I want that survey result by the ICB, I want that number to be increased. I think at least 50% in the next two years. Let's just put it out there. Okay?

I didn't even know the ICB don't even do that. That question in their survey anymore so I don't know how we'll figure that out but let's just say that's what's happening.

I've had hundreds and hundreds of people go through the Savvy business plan now through The Bookkeeping Project which is great. We've got nearly 500 people in the program. To me, that's really exciting to be able to make a step forward in the bookkeeping industry.

For those of you who are like me, you love the big picture, you like to maybe procrastinate a little bit to make things a little bit more exciting to give you the motivation to be able to work on those projects that you need to get done, that business plan is also going to help you a lot as well.

Because it's going to help you just get the information out of your head. I know you have a lot of information in your head about how your business runs and what you want to do with your business but the information needs to come out of your head and go into a framework.

This business plan is for all stages. It's for start-up through to wind-up stage. It's for anyone who is a project person or not a project person. It's just for anyone. If you're a bookkeeper and you're running a business, it's for you.

It's got little tips all the way through it. It tells you how to fill out each section. It's got detailed information about how you can complete the business plan so you don't even need my help.

Obviously, some people do like to come and get my help because what I do is I ask very probing questions into each section to get you really thinking deeply about what you want and where you want to go. Some people want that and some people don't.

That's very cool. Working on that business plan is going to help you. I don't know. Business plan. Everyone has on their bucket list, business bucket list, to have a business plan. Once you've done it, you've done it.

You don't have to make a big deal about it. I think just download the template and just start brainstorming some ideas. You only need to set aside an hour a week to be able to do it.

What else is exciting that's happening this month? Obviously, last month- Sorry. Last week, I did an interview with Katrina Spinazzola and MC Switz who have put together STP processes for their business and the three of us have formed a partnership.

They offer a DIY package and I implement it for our clients that are too busy to implement it. So that's kind of exciting.

If you listened to last week’s topic, we talked all about how STP is changing the bookkeeping industry and the way that payroll is processed. I just learned so much during that session.

MC and Katrina are very knowledgeable ladies and kind of opposite in terms of the way that they do things. Yeah. Just so knowledgeable about payroll and STP and it's very exciting to be able to work with these ladies and to have them work with the members of The Bookkeeping Project as well.

I mentioned at the start that I've got three new clients in the pipeline so that's very exciting. I've been working on generating some new leads for the business through Facebook and Google AdWords. This month, we've had three. Yeah. Three people come into the business who we are in the process of just scoping out their jobs at the moment. So that's very exciting as well.

That's actually been quite fun because I've got a digital marketing person who's one of my employees and we're working together. We're building a couple of different, I guess, ways of promoting the bookkeeping services.

We've just launched only one of those so far but we're building a couple of others which, hopefully, at some point, we'll be able to share that information with The Bookkeeping Project members. Especially the premium members will be able to get access to some of our marketing funnels which is exciting.

It's funny because I always enjoyed- I loved bookkeeping my whole life and then when I started my business I realized I actually like selling bookkeeping more than I like doing it.

For me, it just made sense to be able to help other bookkeepers to find new clients and to be able to put systems in place to allow them to generate leads and to scale up their business. So that's very exciting.

In the background of all of this, I've been setting up some automations and integrations. For those of you who haven't discovered Zapier yet, Zapier is a little software program that sits in between two software’s that don't integrate and allows you to create triggers.

For example, when somebody comes to my website and they fill out a form, then Zapier creates a trigger so when that person books an appointment, Zapier might tell my CRM that the person's booked an appointment and then it will stop sending them reminders and that kind of thing.

There's lots of different things you can do with that. I've been setting up some automations. Most of you in The Bookkeeping Project should know that I'm using Active Campaign which is not the most amazing CRM in the world, to be honest. Although, apparently, they're working on the CRM side of things which will be amazing.

But for what it can do for the price point is very good and, so, I've been in the process of setting up monthly reminders, recurring reminders, for people to put in their paperwork and recurring end of quarter reminders as well for the basses and that kind of thing. So that's been fun.

What else have we been working on? Yeah. Job descriptions. I already mentioned that. I think I'll do a whole episode on job descriptions. I'm sure there's so much. Everything that I talk about in the business, I could go a whole episode on it. Yeah. I think that would actually be fun.

I will talk a little bit more about getting those job descriptions in the future and I will talk more about being a project person versus being someone who's more routine and task oriented. I think that will help people regardless of which side of the fence you sit on there or maybe you sit right in the middle. I don't really know. But I think that would be very helpful as well.

Yeah. The other thing I wanted to talk to you about is the new premium version of The Bookkeeping Project. I've had a lot of people asking me, “Is there one place where I can have access to everything that you teach about?”

So I have put that together and that is part of the premium version so I'll include a link to that. It's a very affordable monthly fee to be able to join in to that.

So, basically, what I do is every week when I record lessons and create templates, I put them all into a knowledge base and, so, our premium members, they have access to that now. They're able to go in there at any time and search by whatever topic they're wanting to learn about and the way that I'm doing it at the moment is just basically on a-

As I'm implementing it in my business, I'm putting the information into the knowledge base and then, also, I'm prioritizing things based on the demand by our actual members.

So as the members come through and they say, “We need this.” Then I'm just creating that for them and adding it in there. So just putting that as a higher priority because they've requested it.

Because I figure I could sit there and try and guess what you all need help with but I think it's better if you tell me and then I'm able to respond to that. Otherwise, you might find yourself waiting.

The Bookkeeping Project is going for 12 months so we're up to April now so we're four months in and, so- Just me trying to calculate in my head. We've got eight months to go. So some people might want a particular template now and they don't want to wait until month 12 to get that.

Yeah. That's how that's working there. You can join that. I've created a few different levels. There's the basic level which includes the knowledge base and any paid webinars that I do. You get to come to those.

Then there's the next level up where you get access to all of my online pricing training and all of those kinds of things.

And then, from there, it goes up to a new level where it includes mentoring as well. For those who are wanting either fortnightly or monthly or quarterly mentoring, then you can join that.

Then I've got some premium, I guess, high level packages where people are able to just pay a set monthly fee and I will literally just implement for them. So the things that I'm implementing in my own business, I can actually just set it up for you because I know some of you don't have time to be watching DIY videos and that kind of thing.

Obviously, the DIY stuff is really great for people at the start-up stage and who don't have a bigger budget. I guess I've created that in a couple of different levels so that it suits whichever stage that you're at.

If you're wanting me to come in and set up your sales processes or you want me to set up your AdWords, marketing, lead generation funnels, or your website or anything like that, you can join in one of the- Yeah. There's a package that actually includes all of that. You'll be able to see all of those things.

Oh yeah. That's right. I forgot about a partnership. I've also come up with- I shared this a couple of months ago. I met an accountant at a women in business lunch and, yeah, I met this accountant.

I've gone there and met with the practice manager down at their practice and, so, we've formed a partnership with that accounting firm so they're going to be referring to us all of the walk-ins.

They have a lovely office in a nice prominent position in a really good area where there's lots of businesses and they get a lot of walk-ins and they don't want to offer bookkeeping services anymore because it doesn't fit their business model and it's not in the best interest of their clients.

So I've been able to make a partnership with that. So that's really great. For those of you who are looking for different ways, there's lots of different ways you can find new clients. Obviously, partnering with accounting firms is a good one.

Although, we've all experienced in the past- I haven't personally experienced it but I've heard so many people talking about it of accountants taking their clients and things like that.

But by being able to find an accounting firm that recognizes that it's not smart for their business model. Maybe for some accountants it works but this accounting firm, they definitely know that accounting is not their niche. Sorry. Bookkeeping is not their niche. It'd be silly if it wasn't accounting. Wouldn't it?

Yeah. So that was really exciting to be able to go down and meet with them and to be able to have an accounting firm that's willing to say, “You guys are going to be our go-to bookkeeping practice to be able to refer our clients to.” So I'm really looking forward to getting started working with them.

Anyway, I think that's probably all I need to talk to you about today. I didn't really have a huge list. I guess I'm still recovering from our holiday. For those of you who have kids, we all know that public holidays are usually a little bit more demanding than actually going to work.

I'm now having my post-holiday holiday. So, I'm taking a couple of days off during the week this week when the kids are back at day care so that I can have a little bit of a think about the bigger picture for myself.

Obviously, I spend a lot of time working on my business and working on my business and just to be able to take a step back there. I've just jumped in to do the podcast even though it's technically in my last day off on my little mini holiday at home. Which has been really good.

It is actually nice. I know, obviously, holidays can feel like a great time to catch up on work but it is actually very nice to be able press the reset button and catch up on a little bit of sleep and catch up on a little bit of reading and just to be able to take it easy without demands coming from every direction so yeah.

Obviously, it's important to have a little bit of down time so, hopefully, you all got some down time on your Easter break and, if not, hopefully, you have some scheduled in for later on in the year.

Anyway, thank you again for joining me and for those of you who have not yet joined me in The Bookkeeping Project, I will put the links in the useful links section and, as always, I love your feedback, all your questions, or even your suggestions.

So if you've been thinking, “Oh, I'd love to hear about a specific topic.” Or if you want to just give some feedback about the podcast itself, I'd love it if you could go onto the Apple podcast app and leave us a review.

We don't have any reviews on there. People tend to send me emails and tell me how much they love the podcast which is really nice. But if you feel like giving some compliments in a public sphere, I would also very much appreciate that.

Also, if you have a great story to tell. Something inspiring. Something challenging. Anything that's been related to your business or your life around your business lifestyle. Anything like that. If you've got a story that you'd love to share with others, please also get in contact with me.

There's a contact form on our website which is thesavvybookkeeper.au. You'll be able to do that there. For those of you who are interested in getting access to the online knowledge base for The Bookkeeping Project, check out our new premium version and the various levels included in that and I will see you all next week. Thanks again for listening. See you.