When it comes to work-from-home opportunities, there’s plenty of attention paid to things like affiliate marketing and e-commerce. That makes good sense since those have been reliable ways to earn money for a long time now. They also have fairly low barriers to entry and just about anyone can get started in those fields with very little training.
They aren’t, however, the only ways you can earn money without stepping foot in an office. It’s also possible to start your own home business providing vital support services to other organizations. One of the most lucrative ways to do that is to start your own home-based bookkeeping business. These days, advances in technology have made it possible for just about anyone to do it—even if they have no prior experience in the field. Here’s all you have to do to get started.
Choose a Cloud Accounting Platform
The primary reason it has gotten so much easier to start a home-based bookkeeping business is the fact that the tools you’ll need to do it have become far more accessible. Today, via one of several cloud-based accounting platforms, you have access to the kind of world-class tools that used to be found in corporate accounting departments or large accounting firms. The only difficult part is to choose which one will be right for your needs.
For new bookkeeping businesses, the two most popular options right now are QuickBooks Online and Xero. They both feature low monthly fees and enough features and options to cover the vast majority of use cases. The differences between the two can be significant, though, so you’ll want to study an in-depth comparison of the two platforms to make an informed decision on which to choose. Once you decide and sign up, you’ll be ready to take the next step.
Gain an Applicable Certification
Although anyone can be a bookkeeper, most businesses will be hesitant to trust you with their books unless you have some kind of credentials to indicate you know what you’re doing. Fortunately, getting them isn’t as hard as you might think.
If you’ve chosen to use QuickBooks as your new business’s platform, you can earn a certification from Intuit that will teach you the basics of using it, as well as get you into a directory of certified professionals that will help you to attract your first clients. If you’ve gone with Xero, you can take your pick of several online certification courses that will get you started. It’s important to remember that getting certified won’t guarantee you success, but it is a prerequisite to building a successful home-based bookkeeping business.
Start to Market Your Services
At this point, you will have everything needed to get your home bookkeeping business off the ground, except for one thing: customers. To get your first customers, you’ll have to create and execute a marketing plan that’s tailored to your local market. In general, this begins with creating a pricing structure that is competitive enough to attract business in your area.
Most small businesses will expect to pay an hourly fee for your services, but it may be beneficial to create a flat-rate pricing system to attract cost-conscious companies. To figure out a price point, try to get quotes from other local bookkeeping services and use them as a guideline to what your local market will bear.
With your prices set, a good beginning marketing strategy is to conduct a direct-mail campaign to get your business’s name in front of as many small business owners as possible. It may also be a good idea to join your local chamber of commerce, as they may connect you with other business owners that need your services. While you’re waiting to pick up clients, don’t be afraid to turn to sites like Upwork or FlexJobs for some extra income as you get up and running.
A Home Business You Can Count On
The best thing about starting a home-based bookkeeping business is that it’s a service that every other business needs, so it’s almost impossible to run out of work if you’re good at it. As work-from-home opportunities go, it’s one of the most stable and reliable income sources you’ll find. Plus, once you’re up and running you can set reasonable hours for yourself and you won’t have to worry about having to put in extra time when things get slow (especially if you work for flat-rate, monthly clients).
The bottom line is simple. If you want to earn money from home in a reliable, repeatable way, consider starting a home-based bookkeeping service—you’ll be happy you did it.