If you’re an accounting or bookkeeping professional like myself, then you face some challenges when it comes to growing your practice. This applies to many service professionals of course.
One of the greatest challenges we face is in terms of how we trade our time for money. The fundamental flaw in this model is that we have to keep showing up and reinvesting our time. You’re better off writing books about your topic. Do the work once, get it published, and then it keeps paying for itself over and over again. It’s hard to get a book to go viral these days, especially with self-publishing being so easy now. What other options do we have?
The simple answer that I have come up with is to produce content. You’re reading an example of that right now. How then to get that into a revenue producing model? Let’s look at some other examples of building multiple streams of income without losing focus. Then we’ll come back to why I think everyone should be producing content, or producing more of it, and using in ways they haven’t before.
We work with many software applications, and the more we move into the cloud with our practices, the more applications we have to learn and use in order to serve our clients effectively. Our clients will look to us for solutions. Since the firm of the future concerns itself so much with cloud based software, and that means learning more applications, we will want to start narrowing our focus onto specific industries.
What might this look like? Let’s say you want to serve Architects and Engineers? In order to do that you’ll have them in QuickBooks as their General Ledger (GL) or main accounting product. Then you’ll need add-on software to better manage clients in that industry. This means you’ll choose a product like Archioffice, Engineer Office, or BillQuick, depending on the needs. Of course I am going to use US as the example.
Now you have a stream of revenue from providing accounting and bookkeeping services to architects and engineers. You’re still trading your time for money, but at least we have one stream. If you are going to specialize in serving architects and engineers, then you’re going to be recommending Archioffice, Engineer Office, and BillQuick to almost every one of these clients. Did you know that you can be compensated for making those referrals?
Now, many people in the accounting profession balk here. They say that they won’t accept commissions or referral fees because of integrity. Let’s talk about that for a minute (and I would love to hear from you in the comments below). It lacks integrity if you’re referring people to purchase a product that you know nothing about, or worse, you don’t even like it. On the other hand if I know that I am going to refer people to sign up for Archioffice, Engineer Office, or BillQuick ANYWAY, and the company is willing to compensate me as a way of saying thank you for the referral, why WOULDN’T I do that? That high moral ground you’re standing on is going to cost you a lot of money. I would argue further that getting involved in a relationship like this with a company whose product you LOVE actually ADDS integrity. Now you have an even more vested interest in making sure you know every nook and cranny of what that product does so you can better serve and support your clients.
Now we have a second stream of income. The idea here is to really partner with the companies whose products you love. Then serve the clients who need them, and make money on both sides – serving the clients, and selling the product. Just make sure that you never refer someone to buy a product that they don’t really need, and your integrity will remain in check. I promise.
Now a word about the “focus” part. It should be obvious by now. Adding this stream of revenue is only a matter of doing what you are already doing. You just have to take the time ONE TIME to get signed up for a partner program. Then that one effort pays for itself many times over. In this example I’ve shown you what it looks like
In an upcoming post we’re going to look at how to use social media to bring in clients based on the industries we want to focus on.