Posted on 1 Comment

You can start a bookkeeping business alongside your job

Starting a bookkeeping business is a learning process

Thinkink about starting your own business and want to learn from small business mentors and other entreprenuersWhen I started my first business I was in my early twenties and I knew that I needed to be available during normal business hours when customers made enquiries so I jumped off the short corporate journey I was on and worked full time in a bar – 4 long shifts of 10 hours, including weekends. It was a big change in mindset for me (admitting I had failed in the corporate race) but it gave me the time and money to learn about business and what having a business is like. It’s the same for a new bookkeeping business.

Finding the time

Time management is tough when you are a mature person: family, kids, school, part-time work and studies are common for many people in their thirties and forties and sometimes this is enough to stop people before they even get started. Despite the continual pressures on your time it is possible to fit in a new business and it’s centred on finding your productive time or available time.

Some people use mathematics to find available time – 168 hours in the week, then block out things like travel time, work-time, study time etc, but I think you’re best off finding the time where you can get into “the zone”, after all you’re exploring, practising and researching something that will result in you being able to earn money close to home or even by working at home! For early risers this time is first thing in the morning while you’re drinking a strong coffee, for others it will be at night after the kids have gone to bed and for some it will be on the weekend when you’re not really doing much else. Most people living in the big cities have a long commute into the city and often this is a good time to study, read and research. You only need a couple hours a week to start imagining yourself in your new business.

Keeping track of your tasks

OK, so you managed to find the time – most people can find the time if the task or project they are working on is important to them. The next thing is how are you going to keep track of what you learn and what you need to do? My first real success in this area came when I listened to a Jim Rohn audio cassette (yup) where he talked about the value of a journal filled with empty blank pages and how that journal was more valuable than a book filled with details about someone else’s life. To reward myself for writing in it, I’d treat myself to a coffee at a cafe and to this day I write in a journal most days of the week – particularly at the beginning of each week – I don’t go out to drink as many coffees though.

This practice taught me that every obstacle can be over come and every goal reached, it’s just a matter of figuring out how to do it. This practice also helped me understand what I was working on better because I would spend the time to make a note of the biggest challenges.

I’ve used a number of different software programs and services to help me manage tasks and time, including:

  • Google Apps Tasks
  • Google Apps Calendar
  • Asana
  • Basecamp
  • Time Meter

I use my journal to write down goals for the week for myself and for my direct team and I refer to it several times a day during the entire week. Throughout each day and at the end of the week I put a big tick next to everything that was completed and if there are things that I didn’t complete I don’t kick myself about it; I just re-write it as a task for the next week (or realise that it wasn’t that important).

Be accountable

jim-rohn-inspiration-for-starting-your-own-bookkeeping-business-and-setting-and-achieving-goalsA big reason for my maintaining the use of a journal was to have a record of the work that I had DONE as much as what I’d planned to do. One of the worst feelings I can imagine is having so much going on in my mind that I don’t know which way to go or where to start and by going through the process of journaling and setting goals I am able to gain clarity and set some simple achievable goals. Many of my goals are to simply learn more about the task that I am working on or understand something that a member of my team is struggling with.

Lately we’ve made some big changes to our Enrolment Voucher System and it has involved connecting multiple different online services together in one solution. Some parts of it worked smoothly while others were a real struggle so I wrote that down as a goal to research and we ended up finding a solution EVERY time. This system enables us to provide low cost courses to our corporate training clients so it’s very important to us.

It’s not about busting your balls for not finishing a task on your list, it’s more about remaining on track to achieve your goals and keep moving forward constantly in the direction of your goals.

Do something you love doing

Am I really doing something I love doing? More than anything I would like to be swimming on a clear beach, sun bathing, drinking something alcoholic (but in moderate proportions of course), then eating something and then having a rest 🙂 But as far as work is concerned I work from my home office and choose my own hours and have a team of people who do the same! It’s something I’ve wanted to do ever since I closed my last physical training centre in Dee Why in 2006!

When I hear these words it’s more about managing the tasks that you don’t like doing (you’ll be glad to hear that most business owners hate doing their bookkeeping and would rather find a good local bookkeeper 😉 and focusing your time and energy on the things that you like doing. The stuff you don’t like often still needs to be done but you can always find alternative ways of solving the problem. You can

  • find someone who prefers to do that work and delegate it to them,
  • do the work first thing in the morning to get it done and over with, or
  • find a way to automate or systemise it.

Start a bookkeeping business not a franchise

Pre Qualify Now to start your own bookkeeping business

Challenge yourself to grow

This one is the hard one because it involves making yourself do something you don’t want to in the hope you’ll be able to achieve something you don’t think you can achieve. This is the step that often requires the help of a business mentor or a coach and some people buy into a franchise in the hope that the system of the franchise will enable them to just do the work.

One thing I have learnt for sure though is that if I didn’t make a start I wouldn’t be doing what I am doing today. When you start on your journey of having your own bookkeeping business you change personally because of the challenges you face and what you learn along the way often changes the direction your business takes or the services you want to provide.

[box type=”info”] The learning and researching stage is so important because this stage pushes you out of your current patterns and opens your mind to the endless possibilities.[/box]

In business to help others

This is one of the most important things to keep at the front of your mind when you’re starting a new business – that only when you are helping to solve other peoples problems are you going to be of any value. When you maintain the positive thought that you are actually in business to help someone with their problems it’s easier to focus on solutions for your clients rather than what YOU want right now and that is the moment your challenge will begin to show results. It is often the moment when you go from the “I want/need $X per hour” to “I can help a business do XXXX better and save them XXXXX” – you can fill in the blanks yourself.

I wrote this blog after listening to stories from different people, most of them currently working in the corporate world where they deal with long commutes, frustrating traffic, childcare costs, politics and deadline stress, under-staffing etc. These people are very experienced and their knowledge would help growing businesses closer to where they live but these people still have to manage the transition while still paying their mortgage. To these people I say “Start now and with a little bit of time each week you can have a business and potentially even new clients within 3 months, while clearly defining how you’d like to work the the type of clients you want to work with”.

Here’s to your success 🙂

 

Posted on 1 Comment

Why Are So Many Mums Starting Their Own Businesses?

Men vs Women

Dreaming about setting up a new business startup
365_The_Daydreamer_(6517625965).jpg

There is a fairly significant gender imbalance when you look at the people holding executive positions in the corporate world. Sure, there are the Gail Kellys and Marissa Mayers, but men in managerial positions in the workplace still outnumber women two-to-one. Many people would contend that this is something to do with sexism, but sexism, gender inequality – whatever you want to call it – only tells part of the story. In order to understand why there are so few women in executive leadership positions in corporate Australia – and why more women are becoming small business entrepreneurs, instead – it helps to start from the very beginning.

When women enter the workforce, their participation rates are typically the same as they are for men, hovering at around 75 percent; in some industries, particularly clerical and administrative ones, women far outweigh men in the workplace. But despite this, and despite women being better educated (just 30 percent of men hold a bachelor degree, while 42 percent of women do), men continue to progress in their careers, moving from entry level and administrative roles through to managerial ones, while women don’t.

In fact, the decline in the number of women holding managerial positions (34 percent), compared with men (66 percent) is significant. Looking at those numbers alone, it’s easy to write this off as sexism, as men being promoted over women, but the truth is that the decline in women in managerial positions is commensurate with the overall decline in women in the workforce, period.

So where have all the women gone?

Well, at the risk of coming off as a bit 1950s, they’ve left work to raise their children. The reason they haven’t returned to their careers, though, is not for want of trying. It’s because being a working mum is a logistical and, as a result, professional, nightmare. To start, there’s the distinct lack of affordable, high quality childcare, which has reached such a crisis point that the Federal Government, on the recommendation of the Productivity Commission, is trialing a nanny subsidy scheme, which would allow families to receive a government subsidy for the cost of hiring an (approved) nanny to care for their children.

That scheme, which commences in January 2016, will involve 4,000 nannies and up to 10,000 children and, if it passes the pilot stage, is estimated to help the 165,000 Australian parents who can’t work or can’t work enough due to problems accessing childcare. But all the childcare in the world won’t make up for a generally inhospitable workplace culture for working mothers.

Even though almost all Australian businesses are supposed to offer flexible working arrangements for parents, none of them actually have to practice it. As long as an organisation doesn’t blatantly discriminate against their working-parent employees, they’re well within their rights to tell mums requesting flexible working arrangements (such as, starting and finishing later, working one day from home, etc) that their request has been refused due to one of the following reasonable business grounds:

  • The requested arrangements are too costly
  • Other employees’ working arrangements can’t be changed to accommodate the request
  • It’s impractical to change other employees’ working arrangements or hire new employees to accommodate the request
  • The request would result in a significant loss of productivity or have a significant negative impact on customer service.

Women are more entrepreneurial than men

This is not to say that gender inequality doesn’t figure in the underrepresentation of women in the workplace, because it does; certainly with respect to wage inequality. Although, to be fair, it’s not always men that create inhospitable working environments for women with kids. There’s often a lot of girl-on-girl crime going on here, especially when it comes to mums requesting for flexibility that isn’t also extended to women without kids.

Nevertheless, in the stuffy, old corporate world, usually controlled by men, biology means women nearly always start off on the backfoot. But it doesn’t have to continue to be the case, especially not today. With a society that’s never been more interconnected, thanks to changing technologies and greater access to high-speed internet, women have a greater opportunity to use their skills and talents to launch their own businesses, and to operate them from home.

Mia Freedman is probably Australia’s best example of female entrepreneurship. She’s the publisher of the Mamamia Women’s Network, this country’s fastest growing and most popular network of women’s websites. Freedman launched the company’s flagship website, Mamamia, in 2008 as a personal blog she updated from her kitchen bench – and sometimes her couch – after she left a career in women’s magazines; today, with iVillage and theglow.com.au, Mamamia now reaches 5 million unique readers each month.

But Freedman isn’t the only mumpreneur. There are scores and scores of women launching their own businesses. In the last five years, the rate of women starting businesses increased 7 percent, compared to 1.9 percent for men. In NSW alone, women make up one third of the state’s 650,000 small businesses, according to data from the NSW Department of Trade and Investment. And with the Government’s $20k immediate tax write-off for asset purchases, there really has never been a better time to start your own home-based business.

Are you the next mumpreneur?

start a bookkeeping business
Business Opportunities for Ordinary People

EzyLearn has a long, proud history of helping mums to reenter the workforce, and we’d like to continue that tradition by helping more mums to start their own home-based businesses. Whether you’d like to use your talent and expertise to start your own bookkeeping business or work as a freelance blogger, writing posts – just like this one – for other businesses, we can help.

We’ve recently created two new courses – one on content marketing and another on blogging for business – in addition to our other suite of training courses that includes our small business StartUp course as well as our flagship MYOB training courses, which can each provide you with the skills you need to start and operate your own home-based business as a remote or contract worker. We’ve also started the StartUp Academy with a number of business opportunities available to help self-motivated people to start their own businesses, across an array of industries and professions.

Posted on 1 Comment

Becoming a National Bookkeeping Bookkeeper

Starting a Business as a Bookkeeper is about Business Knowledge, Skills and Support

start a bookkeeping business
It can be daunting knowing where to get your first clients when you start your own business.

It’s not easy starting out as a bookkeeper running your own business. We think our partnership with National Bookkeeping is going to help you get underway.

If you’ve subscribed to our blog and followed our recent posts, then you probably know that EzyLearn has partnered with National Bookkeeping.

National Bookkeeping can now administer training courses to their new licensees, along with a range of other perks and benefits to help you launch your own bookkeeping business.

Becoming a National Bookkeeping Licensee

To begin with, as a National Bookkeeping licensee, you receive access to all of the EzyLearn training courses, including any new courses we develop in the future.

This means that in addition to our MYOB training courses and our small business management course and our WordPress training courses, you will also have access our new content marketing course along with any other course we develop in the future.

All the training you need under one roof

We made a commitment to give National Bookkeeping licensees access to our full suite of training courses because we’re big believers in continuing your professional development by constantly updating your skill set, whether it’s by learning how to use new software or getting training in new areas of study – like content marketing.

So straight off the bat, by becoming a National Bookkeeping licensee, you’re getting access to thousands of dollars worth of training courses as part of the license fee. The way we – and National Bookkeeping – see it is that the better skilled you are, the more chance your business will have at succeeding, which is a goal for both EzyLearn and National Bookkeeping as much as it is for you.

What do you get as a National Bookkeeping Licensee?

You also get the infrastructure you need to get your bookkeeping business off the ground included in the license fee. This includes:

VoIP business phone number: You can give out a landline telephone number (rather than just a mobile number) and configure it so you can use special in-dial marketing numbers to see where your calls are coming from, which is very useful to tracking your marketing activities. You can learn more about VoIP at the Virion website, who are also working with National Bookkeeping.

Business templates: Whenever you commence work with a new client, you should always have some kind of agreement in place to protect both yourself and your client. For an independent contractor – which is how National Bookkeeping licensees will operate their businesses – the most common kind of agreement you’ll use is the professional services agreement. But we’ll also give you access to other kinds of business document, such as intellectual property agreements, that can be easily modified, should you need them.

Bookkeeping business plan: In addition to the small business management course, which takes you through the process of creating your own business plan, National Bookkeeping will also provide you with an easy-to-modify business plan, developed especially for home-based bookkeepers, which you can tweak to suit your business needs.

Sales training and business coach: Even if you’ve worked in sales in a previous occupation, every new business owner can use sales training and that’s largely because as a business owner the sales process is different to when you’re working as a sales person for a large company. When you’re just starting out, the goal is to get clients – so is working for free or cutting your rates is a good way to establish yourself? The National Bookkeeping sales trainer will take you through the many common scenarios new business owners face in relation to getting clients, as well as ways to build your business through word-of-mouth referrals. You’ll also have access to your own business coach to help you keep on track to grow your client base and build a successful business.

Marketing materials: National Bookkeeping will also supply you with your own business cards, brochures, and marketing and sales collateral that you can distribute throughout your business networks and to potential customers.

What you need to do now?

Aside from registering your interest with National Bookkeeping there are a few things you will need to do in order to become a home-based bookkeeper.

Get a Cert IV in Accounting or Bookkeeping: Although you don’t have to get a Certificate IV in Accounting or Bookkeeping, we highly recommend it. Without a Cert IV, you cannot provide BAS or GST services, which are a major component of the tax process. By being able to provide these services, you make yourself infinitely more valuable to your clients, as well as accountants with whom you’ll be encouraged to network and make contact with. You can get a Cert IV in Accounting or Bookkeeping from most RTOs or TAFE.

Obtain an ABN: Every business must have an Australian Business Number, which must be quoted on your invoices. If you don’t have an ABN your clients are legally required to withhold 49 percent of your payment and send it directly to the ATO, who’ll hold it until you file a tax return for which you’ll be required to get an ABN. Thus, it’s better to get one before you commence trading.

Get in the zone: The decision to start and operate a new business is not one that should be taken lightly, so it’s a good idea to get mentally prepared beforehand. Read up on what it’s like to be a home-based office worker, get on Meetup.com and do some networking with other business owners who can share their tips, advice and wisdom on the new business journey with you; and just generally ready yourself (organise your home-office space, for instance) for diving in and taking the self-employed plunge.

But first…

If you would like to learn more about the National Bookkeeping licensee program, visit the National Bookkeeping website, read their FAQs page or get in contact with their team to discuss the opportunities available in more detail.

Otherwise, if you have all the information you need and you’re ready to get started, register now at the National Bookkeeping website and begin your bookkeeping journey today!

Posted on 2 Comments

FREE Guide on Becoming an Independent Contractor

The Contractor versus the Employee

Receive the free guide on starting a business from home as a remote contractorIn a recent post, I talked about EzyLearn’s latest venture, the StartUp Academy, which helps people start their own home-based businesses as independent contractors. The StartUp Academy is something I’ve been working on for sometime after I noticed a compressing of regular salaried jobs – sometimes it was the consolidation of two jobs into one but most often, entire jobs were being outsourced to consultants and contractors.

New technologies, new opportunities

There are many business analysts and economists who see the reduction of permanent jobs as a bad thing – and to some extent, they’re probably correct – but I saw it as an opportunity. New technologies have made it easier for people to work at home, wherever their home may be – a city, a beachside town, outback Australia – so long as they have access to a reliable Internet connection.

Now, people who have previously been excluded from the job market have an opportunity to earn an income. That’s great news for workers and for the economy, and it’s why the government has spearheaded a move to encourage working from home, or teleworking as it’s officially known, among businesses and their staff.

EzyLearn’s a Telework Partner

I joined the Telework Partner Program with the Australian Government a few years back and even presented a seminar at the Reinvent Your Career Expo, because I really see contracting as the future for many professions. I launched the StartUp Academy, because I wanted to help people make the transition from salaried employee to independent contractor and even more importantly remote contractor.

Build credibility, reputation and trust

This brings me to the reason you clicked on this blog post in the first place: that free guide on becoming an independent contractor. Before you can start providing services to clients as an independent contractor, you need to set yourself up. As an independent contractor, you can operate your own business as a sole-trader (or a partnership, company or trust) and as a sole-trader, you have certain responsibilities you didn’t as an employee – you have to determine your own charge out rates, manage your own superannuation, make provisions for your annual and sick leave, and so forth.

Tips, hints and advice from REAL contractors

I spoke to a number of independent contractors, consultants and freelancers to find out exactly what they wish they had known about starting out as a contractor before they started out. Based on their comments, observations and advice I put this guide together for you, which you can download from the StartUp Academy website, absolutely FREE.

I hope you find it useful, and if you’re reading it over the summer and weighing up your options for the new year, you might want to consider one of the business opportunities available at the StartUp Academy for 2015.

Posted on 2 Comments

The National Bookkeeping license fee is 100% tax deductible

Costs of starting a business are tax deductible

become an independent contract and start a bookkeeping businessIf you’re subscribed to this blog and you’ve been following our recent posts, then you should be aware that we’ve recently partnered with National Bookkeeping to deliver online training courses to their new licensees. We’ve also been writing about the $20k tax breaks introduced in the recent budget, which allows businesses to immediately write off asset purchases up the $20k as a tax deduction (rather than being depreciated over time).

While we caution you to be prudent when it comes to making business purchases, if you had been thinking about becoming an independent consultant and starting a home-based business and needed to make any purchases – office furniture, technology, a training course – now’s the time to do it.

Now that we’ve reached June, there are just a couple weeks left of this financial year, which means that any business purchases you make between now and June 30 will immediately go toward reducing your taxable income for this current financial year. This even includes the cost of becoming a National Bookkeeping licensee.

A tax-deductible license fee

Typically, when you buy a franchise or become a licensee, the franchise or license fee you pay forms part of the cost-base for your franchise or licensed business as your capital asset, and cannot be claimed as a tax deduction. However, because EzyLearn is a partner and is providing its entire suite of training courses to new licensees, the fee to join National Bookkeeping is technically considered a self-education expense.

Self-education expenses, when they directly relate to your business, are a hundred percent tax deductible. If you register before the end of this financial year – that is, June 30 – then you claim it as an immediate tax deduction, and reduce your taxable income by $1,600 straight off the bat – and that’s not to mention any other asset purchases you make, like new cars, office furniture, technology and the like.

Aside from being instantly gratifying to be able to claim a business expense back right away, it’ll also mean that you’ve technically started your new business in the black as opposed to in the red like new most businesses do. So whether the license fee results in a bigger tax cheque this year or just reduces the amount of tax you have to pay to the ATO, it’s still money in your pocket that you can reinvest into other areas of your business.

Register before June 30 to avoid starting your business in the red

One of the biggest hindrances to growth in the first year of business is poor cash flow, and unfortunately many small businesses experience poor cash flow in their first year of trading. It typically occurs when a business makes a number of, albeit necessary, business purchases that leave them cash strapped until they can file a tax return at the end of the financial year. As a result, it makes it difficult to spend money on marketing or to hire a contractor to carry out work you’re not skilled for – developing a smartphone app for your business, say.

As a result, you either miss out on investing in opportunities that will help to grow your business in the long term, or you wind up trying to muddle through it yourself, which is both a waste of your time and is also false economy, because you’re losing money by not attending to the tasks that are going to generate immediate revenue (completing someone’s BAS, for example).

Even though becoming a licensee is a low-risk new business option, which usually includes most of the things you need to start and grow your business during its infancy, like sales and marketing collateral – in fact, National Bookkeeping licensees will want for nothing as nearly everything, with the exception of an ABN and Cert IV accreditation, is included in the license fee – there is some flexibility to how you operate your business, which means that if you decide you want to branch out and offer content marketing services, you may need to regularly work with a designer or developer.

You’ll need money to pay them, and if you want to keep up a good relationship with your suppliers, you’ll want to pay them quickly and on time. Ideally, your end client will do the same for you, but oftentimes they don’t. If you’re always waiting to be paid before you can pay your suppliers, it’s not going to foster good relationships with either your client or your suppliers.

Start your National Bookkeeping business in the black

So that’s why it’s a good idea to register with National Bookkeeping and become a licensee before June 30. It’ll mean being able to claim back the entire license fee this financial year, so you can give your business the best change at growing and becoming a success from the very start.

As a National Bookkeeping licensee, you’ll receive full access to our entire suite of training courses, including our small business management course, which covers all of the important aspects of operating a small business, like developing a business plan, managing the financials, and researching the market – in this case, useful if you decide to offer additional services, besides just bookkeeping.

You’ll also gain access to any future courses we develop, and we currently have a content marketing course in the pipeline. I’ve mentioned in a blog post already that content marketing has become a real focus for many businesses now that they’ve come to realise how important it is to engage and interact with their customers online.

Develop your skills to expand your business

The content marketing course we’re developing is designed to give people the skills they need to start their own home-based content marketing business, which you may decide to utilise by expanding your services beyond just bookkeeping and operate a business that offers a Complete Business Operations service to other businesses.

For a lot of medium-sized enterprises – a plumbing business, for instance – that has a number of staff or contractors and struggles to keep up with the administrative side of the business, being able to deal with just one business would be far more convenient than having to engage each one separately – a bookkeeper, a virtual assistant, and a marketing agency.

But then again, you may just decide to take the skills you’ve learned, create your own content marketing strategy for your business, and implement it yourself. It’s up to you.

Achieve success through education and flexibility

National Bookkeeping and EzyLearn wants you to have the best chance at succeeding in your business venture, and we believe that the best way to achieve success is through education, and that the more skills you have and knowledge you possess, the more likely you are to achieve it.

I honestly, don’t know many other franchises or licensed businesses with that level of commitment to education, nor to the flexibility that comes with it. So if you would like to start a home-based bookkeeping business, but want to have the flexibility to expand you services beyond just bookkeeping, while also having the security that a licensed business offers – an established business model and name, access to infrastructure, training, and coaching – then it’s worth your while to look into being a licensee with National Bookkeeping.

Visit their website for more information, contact the team, or if you’d just like to get started today – before June 30 so you can claim your licence fee back right away – register your interest online.

Posted on 1 Comment

How much should a local bookkeeper charge?

What is a local bookkeeper worth?

I recently wrote a blog post about whether bookkeepers could also provide marketing services to their clients, which I also touched on in another recent post about starting a bookkeeping business and the need to be diverse in the services you offer as an independent contractor. While brainstorming with Ray from the Startup Academy about the services bookkeeper charge and the rates they can earn we discovered that there is a huge variety of services that a bookkeeper can offer and as a result their rates differ.

What does it take to be a registered BAS agentWith cloud-accounting software like Xero and MYOB using automatic bank feeds (also SAASU in their new announcement with Westpac), a lot of the data entry work involved in bookkeeping is reduced because bank statement entries can be automatically matched to transactions in the accounting software. What was once a time-consuming and sometimes complicated process has now become much simpler, and many business owners can manage the data entry themselves. What a business owner can’t do, however, is file their quarterly business activity statements (BAS) because a registered BAS agent must complete those.

Some local bookkeepers may have very low rates

It’s not uncommon for a local bookkeeper these days to charge between $16 and $20 an hour if they only provide data entry services and can complete the work from their home office. Registered BAS agents can charge a lot more than that because they have to go through rigorous training – which includes a certain number of hours supervised by an accountant – before they can be accredited to provide BAS services.

But what about bookkeepers who have a background more diverse than just accounting or finance? There are many bookkeepers who have held vastly different professions in vastly different industries before they started their own bookkeeping business.

Most new bookkeepers have diverse working histories

Since we started offering our MYOB training courses, we’ve found that many of our students initially wanted to know how to use MYOB so they could look after the accounts for their family business and then later decided to work full-time as a contract bookkeeper for a number of clients.

Most of these new bookkeepers previously had careers in sales or marketing prior to starting a bookkeeping business. By combining these skill sets, these simple bookkeeping businesses could offer turnkey business solutions to other small businesses, such as complete operations management services.

Turning modest hourly rates into sustainable wages

The price you charge for goods or services should always include GST.
The price you charge for goods or services should always include GST.

In doing so, what would have been a modest hourly rate as a bookkeeper, can be transformed into a sustainable wage that will support a whole family. For people of a career change, creating a full service business is the best way to make you more valuable to clients.

That’s why, when we partnered with National Bookkeeping, we said we’d offer our accounting and office productivity training courses as part of the licensee agreement because the more diverse and better skilled a business owner can be, the better chance they’ll have at succeeding in their business.

Possessing the skills you need to understand what’s involved in managing a small business is not only useful to your clients, it’s also useful to you; you’re also running a small business, after all.

Leverage your previous work experience in your new venture

Don’t estimate the value of your previous work experience. A background in marketing, for instance, means you understand consumer behaviours, your know how to package products or services so they’ll sell, and you have a strategic mind. These are invaluable skills to bring to any business, so leverage them.

Package your skills, whatever they may be, and develop a truly unique business offering that will help other businesses become more profitable, as well as your own. A full-service Small Business Operations and Management business, for instance, could easily charge their clients upwards of $65 an hour for one of their consultants (you) to manage the bookkeeping and other business operations for a client.

The demand is high for bookkeepers

It doesn’t matter if you don’t know how to use MYOB or Xero. Just take one of our MYOB or Xero courses, which teach you the fundamentals involved in managing a business’s books and then use your bookkeeping services as a way to get your foot in the door with clients.

As I mentioned in my post on starting a bookkeeping business every business has to file a tax return so it’s vital that they keep their bookkeeping up-to-date. Most businesses won’t think they need someone to manage the operations of their business, but they will concede they need a bookkeeper. It’s bookkeeping that will deliver the leads you need because it’s such a highly sought-after service.

Even though a local bookkeeper may only charge modest rates for their data entry services, a more far more experienced, diversified bookkeeping business – or full service operations management business – would earn significantly more for their services.

If you’re thinking of starting a bookkeeping business, you should consider becoming a licensee with National Bookkeeping, where you’ll receive access to EzyLearn’s Word. Excel, MYOB and Xero training courses, as well as any future ones. Alternatively, to learn more about starting a bookkeeping business or about working as a local bookkeeper, continue reading our blog.

Bookkeeping work and pay rates

By the way, if you want to take a look at the indicative pricing for certain types of bookkeeping/accounting tasks, read the Natbooks page about bookkeeping rates.

Posted on

You’ve Already Got a Business Coach – YOU!

being your own boss
Every time you set goals and generally act like a boss, you’re serving much the same function as a business coach.

Ever since EzyLearn’s early days, when we still had our training centres in Sydney, I’ve always gained a real buzz out of helping our students start their own businesses. I still do, which is why I recently presented a seminar at the Reinvent Your Career Expo and why EzyLearn has partnered with the StartUp Academy.

The StartUp Academy is a start-up incubator for entrepreneurs who want to work in industries currently experiencing rapid growth — like the work health and safety industry, for example — but who also want to have balance in their home and work life; to be their own bosses.

EzyLearn has chosen to partner with the StartUp Academy because I love the idea of giving entrepreneurs the support they need — not just to start their business — but to continue to support and coach those entrepreneurs, even once their business is established.

Training and Coaching

In many ways, I see this as an extension of what we’re already doing at EzyLearn, but with the focus on business coaching. I’ve never really considered myself a coach, even though I am in the training business and love helping small businesses, whether in bookkeeping, website design, administration, or any other field, to become more profitable and successful. The more I think about what coaching is, though, the more I realise many people are already business coaches.

Just this week, I sat down with one of my employees and we nutted out a plan for the week, which included some goals we wanted to achieve and strategies for achieving them. This is coaching. Being a boss and setting goals for your business, yourself and your staff (if you have any) — and then holding yourself accountable by ensuring you achieve them —  is business coaching.

Bosses are Business Coaches

A fundamental part of being a successful business owner is planning and setting goals, which is something I’ve talked about on this blog before and which we cover in the Small Business Management course. If you can set goals for your business and work out strategies to achieve them — and then ensure you achieve them — you’re not just your own boss, you’re also your own business coach.

Perhaps the hardest and scariest part, though, is the start-up phase. Not every business owner hits the ground running. In fact, most entrepreneurs don’t. The StartUp Academy knows that most entrepreneurs, when they have to go it alone, make mistakes, which is why they provide all the training and support entrepreneurs need to avoid most of the mistakes new business owners make.

***

If you’re reading this blog, it’s because you’re interested in the idea of being your own boss, and you’re not one to shy away from setting goals and being responsible for achieving them. So if you’re looking for a low-risk business opportunity, I recommend having a look at the opportunities currently being offered by the StartUp Academy, and perhaps one day we’ll get to work together.

— Steve Slisar: CEO, EzyLearn

Posted on

Affiliate Marketing: Partner with Us to Start Your Own Business NOW

start your own business
You can build your own business by promoting ours’ through becoming an affiliate partner with EzyLearn.

Start a Computer Training Business

Do you want to start your own business? Perhaps a home-based business? At EzyLearn, we’re passionate about helping people follow their dreams and start their own businesses. At the moment, we’ve got a host of opportunities available to people who would like to partner with EzyLearn and start their own home-based business with a focus on Bookkeeping.

Start Your Own Bookkeeping or Digital Business

We’ve already helped a number of our students go on to start their own home-based bookkeeping businesses, virtual assistant businesses and even MYOB training businesses using our EzyLearn training vouchers.

Start a bookkeeping business not a franchiseAnd we’re also helping our students start their own digital marketing business by becoming an EzyLearn affiliate marketer and joining National Bookkeeping. Not only can you earn a commission by selling our online MYOB training courses, but you can earn a good hourly rate by helping them through the training material or using MYOB in their own business.

How Does Affiliate Marketing Work?

Affiliate marketing is a great way to earn a commission by recommending a product or service to people within your social networks. Amazon was an early adopter of affiliate marketing programs, which was later championed by Google and its Google Adsense platform.

As an affiliate of EzyLearn, you earn a commission for promoting our training courses through your website and social networking platforms. Ideally, an EzyLearn affiliate will have already completed one of our training courses, such as the MYOB training course, which you can then honestly recommend to your contacts.

We’ll give you a unique URL so you can track when someone clicks on a link to a training course you’ve promoted and track your commissions.

***

If you’re looking for a way to branch out and start your own business, bookkeeping is a great start and when you join National Bookkeeping you can choose to also become an EzyLearn affiliate and start earning commissions by promoting our MYOB courses. To learn more about National Bookkeeping and starting a home based business providing bookkeeping services, training and support visit our MYOB Training course affiliate.

Click here to submit your review.


Posted on

Want to Earn a Thousand Bucks for Giving a Referral?

referral marketing
We’ve come across a great new referral marketing website that will pay you a grand for referring a colleague.

We’ve published numerous posts about referral marketing, which is an invaluable and cost effective way of marketing your business. In particular, we talked about LinkedIn. This is something that I, Steve Slisar, CEO of EzyLearn, am a big believer in — and so is small business marketing guru, Michael Griffiths. (You can learn more about using LinkedIn for referral marketing by attending one of Michael’s Sydney workshops.)

Peerbrief – One Grand up for Grabs

Recently I came across another great tool independent contractors can use to find work, and it’s based on referral marketing. It’s a new crowdsourcing recruitment and candidate referral website called Peerbrief, which was founded by Rob Fanshawe, a recruitment expert with 15 years industry experience, and who previously founded and directed 33 Talent in Sydney.

Peerbrief offers two services. The first is free for referrers – that is independent contractors, consultants, remote workers, and so on – to join and you’ll receive job alerts matched to your professional experience from potential employers. If, however, you know someone who is better matched to that job, you can refer the job to them – if they’re hired, the employer pays you $1,000 for your trouble.

The other service offered by Peerbrief is a subscription-based software service, which allows companies to set up closed referrals so their employees can refer candidates for jobs.

Referring the People in Your Sphere of Influence

If you’ve ever worked in a large company before, then you’re probably aware of the incentives they give employees for referring friends or colleagues for positions going vacant. Peerbrief works off same principal, and rewards people for referring their contacts for work.

At the moment, Peerbrief is working with three industries – tech, media, and marketing and advertising – so if you have previous experience in any of these industries, I recommend you (and your colleagues) join today and get referring!

All of that being said, I would caution not to put your eggs all in one basket. As these types of services gain more popularity, the work tends to become harder to come by as employers have a greater pick of potential hires. This is why I still recommend LinkedIn and face-to-face networking events as a way to grow and develop your business.

***

As always, I think it’s best if you have a number of marketing strategies on the go at once, as often, it takes a while for them to gain traction. If you have many plates spinning at once, so to speak, you’re less likely to find yourself in the midst a dry spell. If you’d like to learn more about how to effectively market your business, there are two marketing modules in our Small Business Management Course. Visit our website to enrol or learn more today.

 

Posted on

Getting the Accreditation You Need for MYOB and Bookkeeping

MYOB bookkeeper
You don’t need to be a BAS agent to be a successful and profitable bookkeeper.

The reason many of our students complete our MYOB training courses is because they’re looking for a new job, and so we’re often asked if our MYOB training courses are accredited and whether they come with a certificate. The answer to this question is a little more complicated than it may seem, and here’s why:

Bookkeeper vs. BAS Agent

When we first started our training centres in 1999, you could learn how to use MYOB and then go out and work as a bookkeeper, providing all sorts of services to clients such as data entry and BAS – then, this type of work wasn’t regulated.

In 2010, the Australian Tax Laws were changed, so that bookkeepers now had to be accredited BAS agents, which required a minimum certification of a Cert IV in Bookkeeping, and registration with a professional organisation, such as the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers or the Tax Practitioners Board.

Nationally Recognised

Training courses, like a Certificate IV in Bookkeeping, are nationally recognised certifications that are provided by a registered training organisation (RTO), where the coursework is tailored to meet the national training framework. This ensures that the training material delivered to students is as consistent as possible, to ensure each student, graduates with identical skills, regardless of the institution they studied with.

What’s important here is that an RTO delivering a Cert IV in Bookkeeping is training students in the intricacies of bookkeeping and tax law, rather than teaching students how to use the software, like MYOB.

Accredited by ICB

There are plenty of RTOs who will train you in the ways of Australian tax law, bookkeeping fundamentals, and the like, but very few who can give you specialised, in-depth training in MYOB that you can complete at your own pace.

If you’re going to be a bookkeeper, understanding your clients’ accounting software is a huge part of the job, and that’s why we decided to continue to provide software training in MYOB, and other accounting packages that have since arrived on the market, such as Reach Accounting and Xero.

Because we believe in staying up-to-date with every aspect of the bookkeeping industry, we’re also accredited with the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers.

EDITED: In 2018 EzyLearn management made a decision that it is better to spend money on course content creation and student support than remain an annual membership with ICB. Read more.

You Can Still Be a Bookkeeper

But that doesn’t mean you can’t be a bookkeeper if you don’t have a Cert IV in Bookkeeping — because you can! It simply means you can provide the valuable data entry services to clients as an MYOB bookkeeper, without performing any BAS services.

***

If you’re thinking of becoming a home-based bookkeeper, it’s vital you understand MYOB and all of its functions, so find out more our MYOB training courses — or our other cloud-accounting courses by visiting our website.

Posted on 3 Comments

Reinvent Your Career, Become an Independent Contractor

Who wants to work from home?

Ever since we started offering our MYOB training courses online, thousands of students have enrolled and learned how to become MYOB bookkeepers. Many of those students are mums, who were looking to become skilled in a job they could do from home.

In 2012, we added the Small Business Management and Start-up course to our online training platform, to help students to learn a new set of skills that would help them start their own businesses as independent contractors, so they can earn more money, work their own hours, work closer to home, and spend more time with the kids.

If you read this blog regularly, then you might recall that EzyLearn is a Teleworking Partner, an initiative of the Australian Government to get more people working from home, which I am a big believer in. In fact, many of EzyLearn’s team members are independent contractors, who regularly do their work from home.

Come to my Work-at-Home Seminar

So I am thrilled to announce that I will be speaking at the Reinvent Your Career Expo at the Sydney Showground in Homebush this August 30th and 31st! If you are in Sydney, I’d love to see you at the expo, where I’ll be speaking about EzyLearn’s transition into an online business, how we work with remote workers, and how you can find employment as an independent contractor.

Start a home based small business in bookkeeping, WH&S Safety and website design

I’ll also be talking about some other ‘turnkey’ opportunities we have available for entrepreneurs who want to start working straight away in the areas of work health and safety (contractor management), bookkeeping, and WordPress website design and internet marketing, as part of our soon-to-be announced Startup Academy.

For more information on the Reinvent Your Career Expo, you can visit their website, otherwise I will post an update in blog post shortly. I look forward to seeing you all there!

Posted on

So You Think You Can Be an Entrepreneur?

entrepreneur
Entrepreneurs are strong-minded individuals – but we’ve found there are at least 5 other qualities they tend to possess that leads to their business success.

In running our Small Business Management Course and MYOB Training Courses, one of most common reasons we find that people want to start their own businesses is to be their own boss. This is a perfectly understandable sentiment — but it’s not necessarily conducive to making a small business work.

Entrepreneurs are known to be people who manage starting up and/or bringing to fruition their own businesses and ventures, but entrepreneurs are a certain breed and as many find out the hard way, self-employment is not for everyone.

The Qualities of Entrepreneurs

Mental Fortitude

Even just having a brilliant idea and passion isn’t quite enough — although they’re two fantastic qualities to get you off to a flying start. To start your own business you need to be mentally strong so you can face the various disappointments that sometimes come with self-employment and come out the other side.

We have found in our experience that mental fortitude seems to go hand in glove with 5 other qualities possessed by successful entrepreneurs:

1. You don’t waste time with self-pity: entrepreneurs don’t have the time to waste feeling sorry for themselves when something doesn’t work out the way they hoped — they emerge from trying situations with self-awareness and gratitude and soldier on even after a failure. Indeed, I’ve heard one successful entrepreneur say that in order to attain his successes, he probably first failed more than anyone he knows.

2. You don’t give away your power: entrepreneurs avoid spending time with people who make them feel inferior because they understand they’re in control of their actions and know that their strength is in their ability to manage the way they respond.

3. You’re excited by change: entrepreneurs embrace change — and in some cases, even seek it out. In fact, becoming complacent is probably one of their biggest fears and so they seek out new challenges regularly.

4. You don’t make the same mistakes over and over: a good entrepreneur takes full responsibility for past behaviour and is willing to learn from mistakes. They don’t repeat the same actions, hoping for a different result.

5. You know the world doesn’t owe you anything: So the economy is bad — that doesn’t mean anyone owes you anything, least of all a living. Entrepreneurs know this; they know that their success is entirely dependent on their drive, ambition and motivation to do well in their lives and careers.

***

So do you feel you have what’s needed to take the plunge and start running your own, or someone else’s, small business? Perhaps you believe you have the mental strength to succeed in your own venture but could do with some more direction by others who have proved they have what it takes to launch and maintain successful businesses of their own?

Then take a look at our Small Business Management Course — it takes you through every aspect of managing a small business and introduces you to successful entrepreneurs and like-minded business people: invaluable resources for seeing to it that you can truly succeed in your own small business. What are you waiting for!

Posted on 1 Comment

Is Google Your Sugar Daddy?

google marketing networking
Show Me the Money: A thorough understanding of how to use Google can help you – and your business – earn more.

We been speaking about referral marketing a lot lately, and in a recent post about marketing action plans, we talked about why you should include referral marketing and/or networking as a marketing strategy in your marketing plan. That may seem silly to some people, since networking doesn’t always translate to sales straight away, but we’ve discovered another reason why you should include it in your marketing plan: Google!

Google Outlines My Referrals

We were recently at our web stats using the Google Analytics app for Android, when we discovered that even Google separates the traffic to your website from other websites as ‘referrals’. This really highlighted the fact that you can be receiving referrals online from any news or content you make available on the web.

How to Create Great Online Content

The most accessible way to create good content online that will drive independent referrals for your business is to maintain a blog. If you publish a few posts each week that are highly relevant and highly targeted to your readers (your customers), the more likely they are to tweet, like or share your content with their friends, families, and colleagues.

Use YouTube

You could even take it a step further. Maybe you’re an IT consultant and you’re looking for other ways to connect with your customers and provide them with informative content – why not create a few YouTube tutorials that you can embed in your website and share on your social media platforms. With a little care, and some thought to the execution, you’ll set yourself apart from the other IT guys who only talk in gigabytes and mainframes.

Move Up the Google Rankings

The other upside of creating regular content is that you’ll move your way up through the Google ranks, which in turn, will bring you more referrals from Google, too. SEO also plays a big role in your Google rankings, but only so long as you’re creating the content people want.

If you truly want a Google Sugar Daddy, then you need to keep pushing relevant, informative content online, so you can engage with your customers and clients online.

Thinking about starting your own Bookkeeping business – or any other kind of business? We cover more about the powers of Google and how to market and advertise your business in our Small Business Management Course

Posted on 1 Comment

But Networking Isn’t Making Me Any Money! Putting Together a Marketing Action Plan

marketing action plan networking
With a Marketing Action Plan, you’ll be able to isolate which marketing strategies are working best for your small business.

In the marketing module of our Small Business Management course, our students learn about marketing action plans, and throughout the course come to create their own marketing plan for their soon-to-be business. We also talked about referral marketing and networking in our last post, in which we outlined what every business should be doing to grow their customer base. For this reason, it should also be included in your marketing action plan.

What IS a Marketing Action Plan?

A marketing action plan sets out all of the marketing strategies for your business, including your goals and how you intend to achieve them. For consistency, and so that you can see and measure how each of your strategies have performed, we recommend that you include any of your networking activities in your marketing action plan.

Aside from being able to isolate what strategies — networking, advertising, email newsletters, etc — have performed the best at delivering your marketing goals, including your networking activities in your marketing plan, with a schedule, will also help to keep you accountable and ensure you actually put the time into networking.

The Money Comes Later

Because networking is often seen as not being immediately revenue generating — after all, many times you’re drinking tea and coffee and eating biscuits, while you chat with other business owners — it can be tempting to let your networking go by the wayside. But you shouldn’t — just as you shouldn’t let your other marketing activities go by the wayside, whatever they may be.

Share the Load

It’s also good to include details about each of your marketing strategies, so you can delegate it to another member of staff to project manage. So if one of your marketing strategies was to send a weekly email newsletter to your database, you could include information about the copywriter you’re employing to write the copy and the information would need to be sent to them each week.

You should also include the cost of employing the copywriter and the cost of distributing the emails each week. We use Feedburner — our preference for a variety of reasons; namely, because it’s free and we use it to distribute our blog. Feedburner also comes with the stability of being a Google product (we’re currently creating more content for a Google course, by the way). Learn more about Feedburner in our WordPress training course.

By including this information, you’re able to accurately measure how successful your newsletters strategy has been compared with, say, advertising in your local paper. Since you’re also including your networking activities, too, also include any membership fees or the cost of meals in your marketing plan, too.

Continually Changing

Just like a financial plan shouldn’t be a static document, your marketing plan should also evolve with your business as you grow and develop your customer base — and even your product and service offerings, too.

***

If you’d like a step-by-step guide on creating a marketing plan for your business, we cover marketing plans in our Small Business Management course, in addition to financial planning, web design, and other important aspects of owning and operating a small business.

Posted on

Pricing: Are You Being a Con Artist Without Knowing It?

It doesn't pay to sneak around your pricing; stating it up front is a better way to go.
It doesn’t pay to sneak around your pricing; stating it up front is a better way to go.

A short while back we wrote a post about why your final price should include GST, and just recently we talked about how you should structure your prices, so we thought we would add to these and talk about whether you should make your prices freely available on your website.

The internet has changed the way we do many things. It’s changed the way we bank, communicate and work, but if there’s one thing it’s almost entirely revolutionised it’s the way we shop — particularly the way we shop for professional services.

Divulging Your Prices

With the internet at our fingertips — on our computers, smartphones and tablets — we can quickly search any business, any time we like. It’s the first thing most of us do before we pick up the phone to call that business, so it makes sense to provide as much information on your website to encourage people to actually make that call.

Yet, many businesses do not. The most common thing missing from a company’s website: the price. This isn’t uncommon in professional services sector. But it doesn’t mean it’s right, either.

There is not a single business that doesn’t have a basic price structure set out for each service they offer, whether they’re an accountant or a plumber — and, frankly, any business that doesn’t is not a very successful one.

Subject to Change Pricing

Even if your prices are subject to change based on the additional services your clients require, put that basic price on your website and mention the fees for each additional service.

You’ll not only establish a point of difference between you and your competitors, but it also demonstrates transparency. Your potential customers know that they’re not going to get a different price depending on the time of day or day of the week they call you.

***

At the end of the day, unless you’re hiding something, there is no reason why you shouldn’t put your prices on your website. We cover pricing in depth in our Small Business Management Course.

Posted on

Working For Free: Why You Should Give With No Expectations

There are benefits in working for free, on occasion, in small business.
There are benefits in working for free, on occasion, in small business.

In a recent post we talked about the times when businesses should work for free, which we referred to as ‘added value’. We cover value-related exercises, such as determining and setting your prices in the module of the same name in our Small Business Management Course. Sometimes working for no charge at all and outlining where this so (that’s important — people need to be informed that you’re doing something for nothing otherwise they mightn’t know!)  discourages hagglers and nuisance clients always looking for a discount at every opportunity.

At the Beginning, When Things Were Free…

It’s not uncommon to see companies offering their products or services for free when they’re first starting out or launching something new. When that company or product becomes more established, however, they tend to become less inclined to offer than service for free.

But every business should devote a certain percentage of their time to working for free, whether it’s each week or month or quarter — take the time to give.

Why Working for Free Works

Aside from doing something nice for the sake of doing something nice, which is valuable in its own way, there are a couple of reasons why working for free can be invaluable to your business:

  • Those who can afford it won’t accept your work for free, because they’ll want to call on you again. There is the perception that larger businesses get ahead by using smaller ones and not paying them, but this isn’t always so. Most businesses, if they can afford to pay you, will.
  • Those who can’t afford it will never forget you, and they’ll tell anyone who’ll listen about the work you did for them. You can’t buy this kind of good publicity for your business, and though not an entirely altruistic reason to work for free, it’s still a good one.
  • You’ll learn about yourself and your business. When you’ve been in business for a while, it’s because you’ve found a formula that’s proven successful in the past and you’ve continued to replicate it. When you work for free, there’s the opportunity to try things you haven’t done before, and the things you’ll learn will prove invaluable to you and your other customers.
  • You can be creative. As we’ve just said, you’ve been in business a while, you’re successful, you have money to pay for the quick, easy, mainstream fixes. When you’re working for people with a limited or no budget, you need to find other ways of doing things, and there’s no reason why you can’t take those ideas and use them in your business.
  • More than likely, you get to feel good about yourself. How you feel about yourself and your business and what you do is important. It’s the reason you get up in the morning, no?

***

Believe it or not, in business, not everything needs to have a dollar value attached to it. Sometimes the only reason you need to give something to someone is for no reason at all. Find out more about how to set your fees and charges in your small business by reading up more about our Small Business Management Course.