EP01: Debbie Roberts - The Power of Systemizing Your Bookkeeping Business

Debbie Roberts.

During her over 30 year bookkeeping career, the Australian made every business mistake in the book.

But, the key was she learned from them and the global bookkeeping community would benefit.


Thanks to Debbie's chance meeting with a business coach, Peter Cook, at a networking event in the early 2000s, he'd suggest she use all her learnings to create systems in her business.

Eventually they'd form a company called Pure Bookkeeping then develop The Pure Bookkeeping System which is helping hundreds of bookkeepers over 3 continents.

Today, Debbie is an inspiring success story after selling her original bookkeeping business for a high 6-figure amount in 2014.

In this  interview, you’ll learn...

  • The one question that Debbie asked herself every time she made mistakes with her business

  • Why it's crucial to have systems in place before hiring new staff

  • And why it's critical to not be afraid to communicate with current clients when changes in your business are on the horizon

To find out more about Debbie and Pure Bookkeeping, you can visit any of the below:


Connect with Debbie on Linkedin: https://au.linkedin.com/in/purebk

This episode was voted as one of the TOP 5 Interviews to Help You Get Freedom in your Bookkeeping Business


Michael Palmer: 01:12 Welcome everyone to the first episode of the Successful Bookkeeper podcast. My name is Michael Palmer. I am the author of the Successful Bookkeeper, a book which is a brand new book coming out this fall in 2016 and as well, I'm a business coach for bookkeepers. The goal of this podcast is to help bookkeepers find great clients, hire the best bookkeepers, and increase your profitability, but more importantly, it's about assisting you and discovering the freedom and life you truly want and as well deserve. So let's begin. I've got an amazing guest. Her name is Debbie Roberts. Debbie Roberts is the co founder of the successful company, Pure Bookkeeping, which I am a partner as well with Debbie and her co partner, Peter Cook. She has over 30 years of bookkeeping experience and has made every single mistake you can think of along the way, but she used that information and knowledge that she captured while making those mistakes and those successes along those 30 years in the industry to catapult herself and her business to amazing success. We're going to get into a whole lot more about Debbie's experiences and what's made her successful along the way. And we want to welcome you on this journey. One other thing I want to say about Debbie Roberts is she is a co author of the book e-Myth Bookkeeper and she wrote that book with Michael Gerber and as well her co founder of Pure Bookkeeping, Peter Cook. So there is a wealth of information here that we're going to be discussing and I really want to invite you to the podcast. Debbie.. 

Debbie Roberts: 02:51 Thank you so much Michael. That's a wonderful introduction. I'm so excited to be here. 

MP: 02:56 Yes, well I'm looking forward to it. I, the listeners are gonna just fall in love with, uh, with you and everything that you've done. So as I mentioned in the Intro, Debbie, you've had quite a journey on your road to success. Tell me a little bit about how you got started in the bookkeeping industry. 

DR: 03:14 Yes, I'm, look, when I was a girl, uh, went straight out of school, um, I started, uh, in accounts payable and uh, that was, that was the ran 1980. Um, so quite some years ago now, and I was promoted through, uh, the business that I was working for at the time and became a bookkeeper then back in those days. And until actually until 2010, the bookkeeping industry wasn't regulated. So it was an experience you learned on the job, how to do bookkeeping. And my journey then over the years was, uh, having three children along the way. I continued doing bookkeeping part time for many years and I had one client, uh, that who I worked for him as a, as an employee. In fact, when I sold my business in 2014, he was still one of my clients. So that's was 27 years or something. 

DR: 04:19 Um, yeah, that was a long term relationship, that one. And I was so grateful for that job actually because I had two children and in those couple of years, two or three years, I was full time at home and I wanted to get back. I wanted to keep the finger in the pie if you like, because I figured that if I was out of the industry for too long it would be too hard to get back in. So I found this job with this doctor and stayed with him for all those years and it was a day, a week job and it really was the thing that kept my experience going, kept my confidence going and I did other things along the way. Then I ran a craft market where I had stalls of about 150 to 200 store holders. I ran that for six years. So I did lots of lots of different things along the way. But I always had bookkeeping. That was my bread and butter if you like. The other things were just for fun. And what happened was over a period of time, and as the kids got older, I was available for more work. And I started telling people that I knew, I told all my friends that I was thinking of starting my own business and they are all very supportive and I got referrals from that and it's slowly built over the years. 

MP: 05:44 Wow. Well, I mean when I hear, I mean I, I know your story and I think when the listeners hear your story, they're going to get a sense that, you've got an entrepreneurial spirit because of what you took on when you were raising a family, yet you were involved in bookkeeping and as well, you, you opened up a craft market. And I know that craft market was extremely successful and you learned a whole lot about building an audience, really, uh, of people that know you and love what you do. And, that was that craft market. So, tell the story a little bit about how, you know, when you first got involved in having that business for yourself, your bookkeeping business, what was that experience like? What was it? Because I think there's going to be listeners, people who are just starting their bookkeeping business. There's going to be people that have been in the business for a long time and there's people who are thinking about actually starting a bookkeeping business. So I want to capture some of what those feelings were, some of your fears and as well, you know, the ups and the downs. A little bit of getting started. 

DR: 06:46 Yes. Yes. That was, it was actually a really important part of mine, my story really because it was a difficult decision to start my own bookkeeping business. I had a family, a husband, very supportive husband and he was working full time so I wasn't the breadwinner of the family, but nevertheless I was still contributing to the income. And over those years when I mentioned, I was an employee for that one doctor will, I picked up other jobs as employees and I was working, I got to the point where I was working basically full time. Um, so five days a week and I started, it was in, uh, in Australia. We had the launch of GST, um, in the year 2000, and it was in the years or the year or two just before that where I was hearing about this, and people were saying, you should go out on your iron and start, now is the perfect time with the change of our tax laws. 

DR: 07:47 But I didn't have any confidence, although I'd been bookkeeping already by then for a number of years and my employer was very happy with the work that I was doing. I didn't have any confidence in myself. It was reassuring to me that I always had someone that I could ask a question and I thought if I go out on my own, that I'm out on my own. Who do I ask questions and, and how do I get the information and mortifying? What if I stuff up? That was the turmoil for me, that for a couple of years really will, I won't tie our demo. It's risky. What happens as a state if I step up and they know I lose my clients and then I've got no money and I just went round and round with this over and over and then I decided that I would do it gently, then it seemed to be the safest way for me that I felt comfortable with. 

DR: 08:40What I decided to do was I cut down my full time job to four days a week. And um, I use that, uh, that extra day to start telling people that I know. I decided that, yes, all right, I'll give it a go, but if it doesn't work, then I've still got my day chops. So it felt like a safe option. And one of the first people I told actually was my chiropractor, who is a friend of Mullen and I would go to him for an adjustment every month and he'd for about a year before this time, um, he kept saying, to be deep, you've got to go into business. That's where the, where your future is. You're not, you don't have a future just working for someone else, you really end. He would just be pestering me about it low and go open your employees. Just stop already. 

DR: 09:28 You know, cause I didn't know if that I was too, it was too scary and he was pushing and pushing. And then finally when I made the decision that all right, I'll give it a go but I'll do it on my terms. I'm not going to burn all my bridges. I went to him and I said, well you Paul, you'll be pleased to hear I've made the decision to grow my business. And he, he reached into his wallet and pulled out a business card and he said, great, there's your first referral. I was just waiting for you to start. So he was a great supporter and always has been, um, of me and of this journey that I was so on. And I, cause that was, I thought, oh Crikey, I've got to get into it now. I can't, I've got to do what I said. 

DR: 10:10 All right, I'll start. And the interesting thing about that is that when I made the decision, the doors started to open and it's quite interesting watching it happen because I started noticing things that before, I didn't notice, for example, that a job I had with the doctor, his daughter was the receptionist. So I was the bookkeeper, she was the receptionist and we work together every Friday and her husband was in business. And once again it was random, about that same time, 2001, um, after GST came in. And it really was quite a difficult time for business owners in Australia because of the change of the tax laws. And they were all confused and making a mess of everything. And, uh, she said to me, look, my husband's really been struggling with this whole juice tea stuff. Do you think you'd be able to help him? 

DR: 11:02 And I said, well, I can, I'm happy to have a look at what, what he's doing, um, and see if I can help. But it would have to be at night because I still had that day, that four days a week that I was working. And it was only one day a week that I had to work in my own business. And so I said it had to be at night or weekends and so he's going to have to work around me with that. And she said, that's fine. He's just tearing his hair out. So I met up with him and he was using a software package that I wasn't familiar with, so I had to teach myself that I would say it's NYOB. So it's a very, uh, it's one of the leaders in the, um, in the industry actually in Australia. So I thought, oh, well this is maybe something I need to learn anyway. 

DR: 11:46 So I taught myself over the next year. I taught myself part time how to, how to run this software. And slowly I got his hands into order. Obviously I didn't charge him for any of the time that I was learning. I just charged him for the time that I was doing his bookkeeping. He was that sort of erect lo and behold, and more surprising to me than anybody else. I actually did seem to know what I was doing and I was able to clean up his mess and, and he was a, a long term client as well. And then I stopped. I just started noticing other things and I would just talk to other people and they'd say, I'd say, how are you going with your bookkeeping due? Who looks after your bookkeeping? And they'd go, Oh, I'm tearing my hair out. Yes. And I'd give them my business card and get more business that way. 

DR: 12:32 So, but I worked all only at nights and weekends. I still kept my day job and I did that for about 12 month-ish, 12 to 18 months. And by that stage you can imagine how busy I was. I was coming home from work, I still had teenage children, young, young, secondary school, two children at that point. And I would come home because I was working school hours then as well. And I pick them up from school and we'd do after school activities. And then I cooked dinner and then I'd go into my office and I would work until midnight and then the day would start again the next day. So it was pretty crazy. It wouldn't have worked without the support of my husband Neil, because he picked up whatever fell through the grapes and was very supportive. 

DR: 13:32 so at that time, then I realized I just slowly as I got to, when I got caught more confidence with what I was doing and I realized that, did you actually do know what you're doing? I think it's safe enough now. And in fact, you need to get rid of the day job. So I gave my notice and quit that job. That gave me a breather because I pushed all my clients. I was working at nights and weekends into the day and I was then in a position to be able to grow more. And that's when I started to, I joined a networking group. Um, hadn't heard, I didn't even know what networking was. That's how naive I was about business in those days. Um, I've heard about it, but I didn't know if it was important to network. It's, it's funny now when I think about that, but I had a fairly, you know, protected, isolated, uh, upbringing I guess, uh, in a lovely, um, loving home. 

DR: 14:30 And I just thought I'd just get a job and then live happily ever after. But my story ended up being something else still living happily ever after, but not just, just in a job. And, and so I, I started a, this networking group that would've probably been, I expect about 2001, 2002. And that's where I met Peter Cook who, um, who is, who was a business coach and he was starting his coaching business. The issue that I had building up to that for six months or so building up to going to that networking group was that I was already full up so bad 18 months after I started my business. I was full up and I thought our, my solution was, um, I'll, I'll just put on another bookkeeper that would make sense because they'll, I'll be able to keep them some of my work. 

DR: 15:23 And then I thought, hang on, that's, that's a bit scary because I've just spent, every single client that I put on was a rescue job or that someone that's in a mess and it was largely, sometimes it was caused by the business owner thinking they could do it themselves, but I lost count of the number of times that it was because of a bookkeeper who didn't know what they were doing and they completely stuffed up and I had to go in and clean up all those messes, what I call a rescue jobs. And I thought none of this seems to be a lot of bookkeepers out there that actually don't know what they're doing. So that's probably not the answer then. I'm not sure what the answer is actually now. So I'll just work. Then I'd got too busy and I just, my solution was to work harder and faster and longer. 

DR: 16:11 And that Michael Gerber who wrote originally the e-Myth says that's being a technician. And if you're a technician working and growing your business, then your boss is a lunatic. And because all your only solution is to work harder and faster, longer, and that will kill you if he, if you don't learn management skills and, and leadership skills. So I had this battle for six months before I met Peter Cook. I didn't trust any other bookkeeper because I've cleaned up messes, but I didn't know what the other solution was. And I, it was something that I was almost meditating on. I thought there's got to be another solution. What is it? What is it? And then I met Peter and I thought, oh, the business coach, I've heard the business coaches help businesses solve problems. I've got a problem, maybe he can solve mine. And I spoke to him about my, my problem and he said, great, let's, let's have a, have a session. 

DR: 17:07 We'll see if we enjoy working together. We think that there's something, there's a connection there. And see if I, if there's something I can do to help him. And we had that session. And in the very, very first session I had with him, he said, after I've just went on and on about all my issues, he said, do you think if you took everything in your mind, everything you know about bookkeeping and wrote it down and taught someone else to do that, to follow that system, would that work? And I went, oh, well, I hadn't actually thought of that. I, I mean theoretically that, that sounds logical and it actually sounds any so awry. Let's work on napping. And that was the beginning of our journey. And I was with Peter, he was my business coach for 10 years and gave me invaluable insight into so many things. 

DR: 18:04 He's, um, I credit him actually for my success. Um, I think without him and his insight and his strategies to break through the issues. And we all would come together every session with an issue and we would do a brainstorming as I have, but this like, oh no, I don't know. Normally, you know, backwards and forwards. And we would come up with the solution and I'd go away and implement that comeback. How did that go? And each time we would go do that. And when you've got a business that's growing very fast and you need to put on sale straight away and there's a whole bunch of issues and not enough systems, there's things that are going to fall off. The wheels are going to fall off, which they did constantly. And you mentioned, Michael, that I made every conceivable mistake that you could possibly make. And that is absolutely true, that the great thing about, and this thing I am proud of my journey, is that I learned from those mistakes and I, my mantra was, whenever a mistake happened was what system do I need to put into place to make sure that doesn't happen again? That's how the system's developed over really over 10 years. And the end, actually the beginning of the Pure Bookkeeping System. 

MP: 19:21 Fascinating. And you know what Debbie? It's, um, you know, I've known you for some years now and you know, I think looking back to when I first met you, I think what occurred to me was that you realize something pretty early on in your business career, being on a solo bookkeeper and working for yourself was that you weren't going to be able to do it alone. You didn't have all the answers. And I think that's the key to your success is that you're a lifelong learner. You are highly committed to excellence in your, in your life and in your business. And you realize it's like, I don't know what the answer is, so, hey, why don't I go find out who might have some answers for me? And I think that's, you know, I talk about when I'm talking about you and I'm sharing with other bookkeepers who want to be you, it's really, you've got to get that you don't know everything and you really shouldn't try and do it alone. 

MP: 20:19 Find, you know, success always leaves clues. So find out who's doing it well, who's doing it really well, and, and figure out what, what is it that they're doing, what's working and, and do it that way. And you've, you found a really a great coach, a business coach. I mean, Peter's highly accomplished, highly educated, extremely bright and extremely committed to helping small businesses win because he's so passionate at about small business and medium sized business being the lifeblood of, of your country in Australia. And I know we feel the same way here in Canada. So you, you know, in a way people say, oh, Debbie was lucky to meet Peter, but you created that luck. You created that opportunity by going out and searching for that answer. Yes, yes. You know, I, I, uh, I think it's you, you created this business. You've worked with Peter for, for 10 years. Tell us a little bit about, when you met Pete. How long did it take you to get to the level of success that you got your business to and that you operated at for some years? Tell us a little bit about the outcomes you produced. 

DR: 21:23 Well that was a, that was a journey. Um, I would say it took about six years to get to the level where we had the right model. We had all the, all the ducks in a row, if you like. We had the right model, the systems were good that we had them all documented. We had everything from how to recruit to the marketing systems and, and how to train the new bookkeepers, all of those sorts of things. And I reckon that took me six years. That's as the business is growing. So you know, putting on what we call a belt a year, which is moving up through the white belt to black belt. You may want to talk about that at some stage in the future as well, Michael. Yeah. That really. Yeah. That, that was a, is that an excruciating journey in many respects and several times, uh, I had a conversation with Peter, is this actually worth it? 

DR: 22:20 Is it, is this going to work? Can, is it possible? Is it even possible? And, and there, you know, that was when the, the self doubt would come in and you think, ah, haven't I tried everything? Having all the, what else do, how many more lessons do I need to learn? You know, like that's when you're feeling down and your things that are just not going right. And there were many times like that as I was growing my business and really actually why I'm so passionate about the bookkeeping industry now and still involved in the bookkeeping industry because I'm showing to educate and pass on share information of Nigeria county with bookkeepers when they're coming on board and as they're growing their business to help them avoid the pain that I went through. I, that's, that's actually why I'm so passionate about it. It wasn't easy doing what I did. And, uh, and there are easier ways now. There are easier ways of doing it. And I think my story, if people had nothing, I hope they hear that they don't have to reinvent the wheel. The point that you made about searching for the answers, there are answers out there, there are experienced bookkeepers who are starting this journey in a, been in this journey for some heats. And that's, that's what I'm passionate about is passing that on. 

MP: 23:49 Yeah, absolutely. And I do want to mention a little bit about what you said, black belt so that the listeners know, um, you wrote, uh, I mean there's a lot about it in e-Myth bookkeeper about, uh, going to from a white belt to a black belt as a bookkeeper. And that's the journey from $100,000 a year to $500,000 a year. And you made it to a very strong black belt and beyond, uh, which, which I think is, is quite something. And, and again, success leaves clues, but this whole concept of belts really originates from an analogy of martial arts. So if you think of karate, they have white bow, Yellow belt. And the reason why that exists is because the U.S. military needed to train their soldiers in karate. But before they used to only be a white belt in the black belt. Well, there's a big gap between if you're a white belt, well how do you actually get to become a black belt? 

MP: 24:43 You don't want to make black belt moves as a white belt and vice versa. So there's a progression. So, uh, yourself and Peter created this progression, this journey, this roadmap, this blueprint to move people from a white belt below white belt and right up to black belt in that every step along the way, there's something very specific that you need to focus on and do in order to progress as fast through those belts as you can. And that was the idea is they want it to be able to bring their soldiers, the U.S. military wanted to bring their soldiers through that education really quickly. So it's a fantastic analogy and really a great way to illustrate and give people a visual of where they can go and how they can be more successful a heck of a lot more quickly. So we're going to talk a lot more about it on this podcast for sure. 

MP: 25:33 And if people, if the listeners want more information, it'll obviously, uh, you're gonna want to read e-Myth bookkeeper. I mean it's, it's the book for a roadmap and how to build a successful bookkeeping business of a highly profitable bookkeeping business. And, and of course there's a heck of a lot, I think it's like 30 chapters full of great content from you, from, from Michael Gerber. So it's an awesome book and we're going to have you back again and again and again, Debbie, because you've got a wealth of information that I think is super valuable for our listeners. Now, you know, every single podcast, Debbie, I'd like to get, you know, what are, you know, this whole concept of, you know, you started and it was like a, it kind of had fear about starting your own business and it's, we really talked a little bit about the infancy of your business. Now there's some things that you need to do when, if you want to go from say, or if the listener is a white belt, what are the three things that you would recommend for a white belt? That's just starting to listen to this podcast and thinking and what would you recommend to them to do first? And so they already, we're assuming they're already up, so they're the, they can't fit in any more clients. They are considering recruiting. 

DR: 26:44 My advice is that you need to document the systems in your business system. It is all about the systems before you recruit. You need to think about conversations that you're going to have with your existing clients. That is a big aspect of handing over. Um, I know for me that conversation was really difficult because I didn't prepare my clients because I didn't really know how big I was going to grow my business. All I wanted to do was my big guy actually when I first started was to replace my income from my day job. And that was, you know, that wasn't that big really. But I was pretty, pretty proud of myself when I was actually able to achieve that. But what the problem I had was that when I put on clients, I said, I'm Debbie Roberts, I'm going to be your bookkeeper and this is what we're doing. 

DR: 27:48 And things like that. I didn't mention anything about growing my business and handing over to another bookkeeper. There was no expectations set around that. So it was actually quite laborious and excruciating extricating myself from the clients. So if you're at white belt now and you are thinking about recruiting, my recommendation is to have conversations with, with each of your clients and explain that your business is growing. Um, explained that at some time in the future you will be handing over to another bookkeeper. The more systems you have in place, the more reassurance they will have. They will feel because you'll be able to say, because of the systems that I've put in place, I'll be able to guarantee the quality of the work and I'll be supervising them and things like that. When I had to do that with my clients, it took me 12 months to go around to meet with every single client because by then I had lots of clients and have that somewhat difficult conversation. 

DR: 28:58 And I say it's somewhat difficult because every client wanted me. And when you think about it, it's understandable. They came from a mess. So I, I cleaned up their mess. They didn't know what income, they didn't know what the turnover was. They were dead as that where they didn't know that, how the money, their cash flow was atrocious, all sorts of things. They, their business was in a complete mess, so in the dark and then I came along, you'd rescue them from that and then everything's been smooth sailing and then I turn around and say, hey listen, I'm going to put another bookkeeper in in the future. You can imagine. I can understand why they would feel nervous about that. So when I had a conversation with them, most of them, I was able to inject all of them. I was able to turn around. The reason I was able to turn them around. 

DR: 29:47 There's a couple of reasons. One was because I was completely convinced that this was the right decision for my business, so therefore I was strong about that. I understood and I had empathy with how they felt. What I was going to reassure them about was that they haven't lost me. I'm still there. I'm going to come in on a monthly basis and do all their reporting. I'm going to discuss their financials with them. They haven't lost me. I'm just getting someone to take care of the day to day data entry and reconciliations. So if you and I are at that stage where you're ready to recruit and you haven't had the conversation with your clients, start doing it now. And also by the way, if you're just starting up, you're in a wonderful position where you don't have to undo anything. You just take my advice and every client that you put on, speak to them as if you already have stuff. So go in there saying, this is me. These are my qualifications, this is what I'm good at. This is what I'm going to do for you. These are the benefits, this is what it's going to cost. But also as I've grown my business and I've put on staff, sometime in the future I will be replacing myself. So you're setting the expectation from the start and then you don't have to have that difficult conversation with them down the track. 

DR: 31:19 There was one time I was putting off cause I did put up having this conversation, which is why I took 12 months. Uh, this, it was actually this doctor that I just referred to earlier and I like I'd been with him for 12 years or something, but at that stage, and I said that I'm going to replace myself with another bookkeeper and he was there. But that's what I had to say. But I kept putting off saying there because I thought there is no way he is going to accept this and what am I going to do? And I spent six months creating the conversation in my head he's going to say this and when he says that I'll say that. And then he'll, he'll come back at me and he'll say this and he might even get angry and what am I going to do then? 

DB: 32:01 And I was backwards and forwards and I created a whole pain my head. It was brilliant actually. And Pete kept me accountable though I've got to the stage of my business where I had to be doing zero bill keeping hours. My time is more valuable and that's when you're getting to around about blue Bouche on that. That does vary depending on your personal circumstances. Sometimes you'll do less bookkeeping earlier because it fits in with your family lifestyle and you'll sacrifice some profits if you do that. But, sometimes it works that way as well. So it was a roundabout blue belt that I needed to get down to zero bookkeeping hours and I was resisting talking this doctor and he was the last one I needed to speak to. And in fact it was such an important KPI, key performance indicator, which we were tracking every month that we track that on this spreadsheet, how many keeping hours as Debbie doing. 

DR: 32:54 And he'd see on the spreadsheet that there was still bookkeeping hours day and he'd say, why? We said you were going to get to zero bill keeping hours by this date. And I would argue that that's the doctor and I look, I don't have, I haven't got time. And he hasn't got time and I would make up excuses not to talk to him. And anyway, I got to the stage where the pain, I couldn't stand going back to Peter one more time and saying, no, I still haven't spoken to him because he asked me every time. So I decided that I'm going to have to just suck it up and explain this to this doctor. And so he came in, the Friday was there, it was all quiet in the surgery. He walked in, he was all quiet then I thought this is effective. You're going to have to get brave and go in there and tell him and just whatever happens next big they prepaid. 

DR: 33:49 And so I went in there and I said, Oh Tony, there is, um, I just want to talk to you about something. As you know, I've been growing my business and which is great. I've got to the point where I'm, I've recruited some bookkeepers and I'm actually going to replace myself with another bookkeeper. I've got someone in mind of chosen who is specifically for you and I'm going to guarantee the quality of the work. And I'll supervise and do a handover and things like that. And then I've waited for this whole tell you stuff that was going to come and he said, oh, okay. Um, so when is she going to start? Oh No, wait. Oh my goodness. Hang on. I'll just spent the whole last six months delaying having this conversation because I thought you were going to get upset about it and you get, you know, no, it was all fine. 

DR: 34:40 He understands business. He trusts me. Um, he, I said I was going to guarantee the quality of the work. So he trusts me. And that's what you find with your clients that even though they may resist you handing over to another bookkeeper that have you gone ahead the systems so that they will follow the processes and you do need to, if you're making a promise, you're going to guarantee the quality of the work you will, you move mountains to make sure that that happens. And, and so once you would extricate yourself from these clients, then every new client that you put on after that, you set the expectations at the start that you are going to replace yourself in the future when the time comes. 

MP: 35:24 Fantastic story. And I think, you know, Debbie, you grew your business to 12 bookkeepers. You were a black belt, uh, which is, which is over 500,000 in revenue. Um, you were, you were up to five, six weeks vacation away from the business and the business was, was running because you'd put a second end command in place that would take care of everything. Um, I mean, it's a phenomenal story and it really is, you know, it's a bookkeeper's story, but it's, it's a phenomenal story from a business standpoint and what Michael Gerber toxin and EMF is the entrepreneurial myth, right? Is that you want to have more freedom. You want to make more money, you want to have more fun. So you open up a business for yourself instead of doing the work for someone else. And it's absolutely the complete opposite of that. And you early in your career and in your business said, you know, I don't want to live a life where I'm working my fingers to the bone and I'm being pulled away from my family and I've got to figure this out. 

MP: 36:21 And you went and you did that. And so what I've heard, and I think that what should be blatantly obvious through this whole episode of the Successful Bookkeeper podcast, is that what separates you from the thousands of other bookkeepers out there who haven't created this is, is your mindset. Even though it was uncomfortable, you had a coach that helped move you through that and move you towards, Hey, you know what? You committed to this. You, you've got to do it. And then you discovered, it's like, you know what, this, all of the fear was just simply inside of your mind. So I think that's fantastic. And it's a real great introduction to you who is the subject of the book, The Successful Bookkeeper. Uh, and really this whole concept of growing a six figure and beyond business as a bookkeeper. What a lot of people don't know, even if their bookkeepers, what they don't realize is that this is an incredibly lucrative business if you get it right and it's a, an extremely honorable business because you're helping business owners be more successful by understanding their finances, which are the most important piece in any business, you're helping them understand their finances, which enables them to grow more quickly, more securely, and, and provide for their families as well as for the multiple people that probably work for those businesses. 

MP: 37:41 So we're particulars don't realize is that they're actually making a massive difference if they do a really great job for their business owners, they're not just impacting one person and just collecting a bunch of data, they're actually changing lives. And so I think the more you realize that the more, uh, bookkeepers will actually have a good time and actually know how valuable they are and be able to make a really great living and a great business and actually make a massive difference. So I'm really excited about this podcast. I'm excited about having you back. Um, and we're going to have you back on the next episode 100% to sort of continue the song cause there's a lot that I want to talk about and get into these, this whole concept of systems. But Debbie, thank you so much for joining us on this episode. It was great having you. 

DR: 38:27 Thank you so much Michael. It's very exciting. I look forward to the next one. 

MP: 38:31 Yeah, absolutely. Well that's it for our first episode of the successful bookkeeper. I again, I want to thank you, Debbie, for being on the show. Um, we're, if you go to the SuccessfulBookkeeper.com, uh, you'll be able to find the episode. This episode. We're going to have a whole bunch of notes. We'll have, um, some information, some links to how you can get in touch with, with Debbie and communicate with Debbie as well as leave us, you know, questions or things you want to know more about as well. We'd like to point you to the successful bookkeeper.com/reviews. We'd love for you to subscribe to this podcast on iTunes rate and review us. Let us know what you think. Um, we're really excited about bringing you the resources and for information that's going to help you be more successful as a bookkeeper and do the great work that you're doing. So that's it. Thanks again and goodbye.