While we’re obviously big fans of proofreading here at PA, we know it might not be the best gig for everyone. And that’s okay!
For example, if you’re into proofreading NUMBERS instead of words, bookkeeping could be right up your alley.
And if you’re interested in checking out what it takes to become a successful work-from-home bookkeeper, read on.
We’ve showcased Ben Robinson, the founder of Bookkeeper Business Academy, on the PA blog before. We’re huge fans of Ben and the amazing work he’s doing helping students become work-from-home bookkeepers. We love him so much that we’re featuring his course on the blog again — but this time, we’re hearing from one of his very successful graduates.
Callie Sitek is the mother of two little ones and totally kicking butt as a work-from-home bookkeeper. She is one of over 100 graduates of the BBA program, and her success is a true testament to the quality of the training. (Way to go, Ben!)
If you want to see Callie’s entrepreneurial spirit in action, check out our interview below. It’s a goodie 🙂
Welcome to the blog, Callie! To kick things off, what were you doing before becoming a work-from-home bookkeeper? What did your life look like?
Before becoming a bookkeeper, I was a virtual assistant, so I already had my foot in the virtual world. But as a VA, my income was severely capped as the norm is still pay-per-hour-style billing. I had trouble finding good, quality clients, so I only had so many consistent paid hours per month. I was always searching for a new client.
To fill in, I would do little data entry jobs that basically paid $1/hour. Yes… that’s a real thing. And yes, I did it because I was desperate!
Wow, $1/hour?! Yikes! So why did you decide to become a bookkeeper?
I’ve always had bookkeeping in the back of my mind as something I would like to learn to do. In my VA business, I realized the struggle was real for business owners to blindly try to figure this out on their own. I actually tried to teach myself with a book I bought but was so confused I just quit.
Knowing how difficult it was to figure this out, I realized that it could be an amazing opportunity to serve clients in a way that would bring me more joy and offer something of true value.
Love that concept! When you decided to start learning to become a bookkeeper, what was going through your mind?
Well, like I said, I tried to learn it on my own and failed miserably. I should mention here that I am usually the type of person that can teach myself anything… guitar, violin, bass, piano, crochet, knitting, oil painting, languages, etc. But for some reason, this just wasn’t clicking.
I knew if I was going to do this it definitely needed to be a program of some sort (being taught to me vs. self-learning) and completely online since I was a stay-at-home mom to my brand new baby and 2.5-year-old. Luckily, I found Bookkeeper Business Academy; it fit the bill to a T.
Did you know everything going in? If not, were you able to grow and add skills you didn’t know?
Haha, I knew NOTHING going in. I had tried to do my own bookkeeping as a VA, but it was just a mess because I had no idea what I was doing. On the business side of things, I knew the basics of having a business, but not a successful one. I had no clue how to find clients or market at all.
The course taught me everything I needed to know. From Day 1 I was learning new skills all the way through the end of the course. And to be honest, the learning hasn’t stopped!
How did learning new skills impact your earning potential and chances of getting clients?
Immensely! As a VA, the highest I could really hope to charge was $45/hour, but even with that I had no idea how to get clients.
As a work-from-home bookkeeper, what I make per hour doesn’t matter to the client because they are paying a fixed price. In this business, the per-hour rate has always come out to over $60/hour and varies depending on the service I’m providing.
Can anyone who knows how to use a calculator make money as a work-from-home bookkeeper?
Using a calculator is such a small part of bookkeeping. It’s more like a giant puzzle and figuring out where each piece goes. The catch is that you have to know where to put each piece; it isn’t as simple as some would have you believe. There are nuances that you don’t know you don’t know… does that make sense? Basically, you need help along the way to ensure you are ready to take on a client and not mess up their books!
Tell us about the training you did to start your bookkeeping business. What did it include?
As I mentioned before, I found Bookkeeper Business Academy just as the founder and instructor, Ben Robinson, was launching the first class. I was afraid to jump but knew I had to do something different. I couldn’t go on working full-time hours for barely any pay.
The course is set up in two tracks. Each week I learned a bookkeeping lesson and then a business and marketing lesson. Then I implemented what I was learning before the next week’s lessons. At the time it was just live training calls; now it’s developed into multiple videos per module, extra bonus trainings, weekly Q&As, and an amazing Facebook group full of students who are behind you, similar to you, and ahead of you in this journey.
I think we already know the answer to this, but was the training worth it? How did it impact your ability to secure clients?
The training was definitely worth it! I’ve made my money back several times over!
Securing clients is a little more tricky to measure return on investment. The trainings are sound, but you have to actually implement them, putting in the hard work, to get clients. I’ve seen many students take the course and then lament that they can’t find any clients, but when I ask what marketing they’ve done they’ve used one tactic one time and didn’t see results, so they gave up.
You can’t have that mindset! You have to be ready to try, then try again, and again, and again until it works and then try again all over again! This isn’t a magic pill, but if you’re willing to put yourself out there and connect with people, then you WILL get clients. Many other students are having the success finding clients.
Last week I closed two new clients, and this week I have two new consults. The week after I have two more. I’ve done the work and now I’m reaping the rewards.
What does your life look like now? What are you able to do now that you weren’t able to do before?
My business began to grow too much for me to continue keeping my youngest at home. I’m able to afford out-of-pocket daycare for him which never would have been a possibility before. We’re paying off our debt slowly, but surely. And next month I will be paying myself more than my husband makes at his “normal” job at a local college. I couldn’t have imagined I would ever get here, but here I am with even bigger and outrageous goals than ever!
Wrapping up, do you have any advice for wannabe work-from-home bookkeepers?
It’s definitely worth it to take a course that will help you bypass the trial and error and DIY learning. That could take a long time!
It’s also important to pick a program that offers lifetime access and support since technology is always changing and you never want to feel on your own when you’re faced with a situation you don’t know how to handle.
Bookkeeper Business Academy has both of these 😉
And one last piece of advice: really evaluate whether you are an entrepreneur or a worker bee. They are two different types of people, neither better than the other, but different nonetheless. If you’re a worker bee and you try to start your own business, you will feel frustrated because the creation part will not inspire you and getting clients will likely be terrifying. On the other hand, if you’re an entrepreneur and try to take a job for someone else, you’ll always feel unfulfilled and confined to a box. Be willing to recognize which type of person you are and then BE YOU!
Wasn’t that inspiring? We love that Callie is in total control of how much money she makes as a work-from-home bookkeeper. You can’t get that at your “normal” 9-to-5 gig! If you’re looking for a WFH job that requires solid skills (no MLM schemes here) and the freedom to set your own hours and income, bookkeeping could be for you.
Do you think you have what it takes to be a work-from-home bookkeeper? Or maybe you’re on the fence and aren’t sure if it’s right for you? Either way, don’t miss out on Ben’s FREE starter course to learn more!