EP131: Gabrielle Fontaine – How To Succeed As A Virtual Bookkeeper

Working virtually is the new reality.

As the years fly by, it’s become increasingly popular.

Our guest, Gabrielle Fontaine knows all about it.She is a freelance bookkeeper who is an expert in working virtually.

As the owner of BookkeepingDirect, she had a 100% virtual bookkeeping service since 2003 as an Advanced Certified QuickBooks Advisor.

She is also the author of the blog, The Freelance Bookkeeper which provides practice building tips and training programs for startup bookkeeping firms and virtual bookkeepers around the globe.

During this interview, you'll discover...

  • The different challenges virtual bookkeepers face

  • How caring about your virtual clients can improve your relationship with them

  • How doing something that scares you every day can make you successful

To contact and learn more about Gabrielle Fontaine, click here.

To learn more about BookkeepingDirect, visit this link.

For Gabrielle's LinkedIn page, check this out.

For her Twitter page, investigate here.

For her Facebook Page, go here.


Michael Palmer: 01:15 Welcome back to The Successful Bookkeeper podcast. I am your host, Michael Palmer, and today's show is going to be a fantastic one. Our guest is a freelance professional bookkeeper and advanced certified QuickBooks pro advisor at bookkeeping direct, which is 100% virtual bookkeeping service firms since 2003 she is also the author of the blog, the freelance bookkeeper, Gabrielle Fontaine, welcome to the podcast.

Gabrielle Fontaine: 01:44 Thank you, Michael.

MP: 01:46 It is great to have you and I know you're also in the top 100 of the QuickBooks pro advisor program. Is that not accurate?

GF: 01:55 Yes it is for 2017 and 2018

MP: 01:59 Beautiful. And I'm sure there is a long list of other accolades that we could put into your bio and that's why I was so excited to have you on the podcast. What those things need to me is that you are passionate about what you do and you have spent a lot of time, in fact probably close to a lifetime working at being who you are today. And so before we get into all the knowledge and wisdom you have about this industry, tell us a little bit about your career leading up to this point.

GF: 02:28 Well really I started off with, well we used to call it many years ago, started in 1990 so I'm old with a secretarial service and then later they were called, um, administrative support business, you know, cause nobody wanted to be called a secretary. Basically, my business was focusing in on transcription. I did a lot of transcription for the insurance profession and I had employees and subcontractors and so forth. And I also some bookkeeping on the side. Mostly accounts payable was the focus. But I did full charge bookkeeping for a few clients. And then I also did professional taxes with that. Um, so I dabbled, I guess you'd say in the accounting side, but it was primarily a, you know, secretarial service slash transcription business for many years. And then I sold that business and relocated. And then when I relocated I decided, okay, I can go get a job or I can start a new business.

GF: 03:34 And I decided that I would start a business and I had the romantic idea that I was going to be in the bookkeeping world more and clean up QuickBooks books. You know, I became a pro advisor and, and all those things. And that was in 2003 when I, but I also decided I would do it totally myself, no employees, and be a highly paid consultant. That was the original plan. Uh, but then it morphed into what happened is I learned that I learned Internet marketing and I started with a blog that was a video blog that taught, you know, practical ways to help business owners use QuickBooks to improve their business. And that attracted plenty of business. I got lots of business from that, but I also attracted a lot of bookkeepers. And then also I found that business owners wanted me to train them as opposed to fix their books.

GF: 04:28 And then once you train them, ultimately you know you're doing cleanup work and you end up getting the bookkeeping work. So that's how it all kind of morphed. Hopefully, that's helpful for others to see a path that they can go in. But it turned into bookkeeping. I still do a lot of consulting and in fact I do more consulting now than ever, but it also was where my blog, the freelance bookkeeper was born. I created that because I was attracting so many bookkeepers who wanted to work virtually like I was working and they wanted me to teach them how to do that, but they were doing it on my blog, which was confusing to the business owners. So then I started a separate blog for them, which is how the freelance bookkeeper was started. So big long history there, but it was, I say I was the accidental trainer and a thought leader in the bookkeeping world.

MP: 05:24 Wow. I love that journey. It's so interesting. So, so many I think unique to the industry experiences that you brought together. I mean learning Internet marketing, having another business, transcription, business administration, that sort of thing, and then bringing it to where you are today. Yeah, I can see why that would have been really valuable to your business. You went virtual, so you were, you focused more on virtual bookkeeping. What had you make that decision to do it that way?

GF: 05:53 Well because in my transcription business before I it, that was about the time where the administrative services was becoming virtual assistance and back then nobody knew what virtual assistants were, what they were, were, you know, secretarial businesses that then went online. So I was aware of that and I guess in a crude way, in my old business I was semi virtual in the sense that I did not go to my clients. Most of my clients were local. I did not go to their location to do the work. They came to me or they sent in their information and that in a sense was the beginning of virtual. So I knew that when I sold that business and then relocated, I went from the Boston area to Philadelphia. When I went there, I knew that I had the opportunity to work through the Internet and work from home because I left out.

GF: 06:52 When I originally started my first business, it started as a home base business. But then as it grew I went to, you know, a main street location, commercial office, had employees and all that. So that then when I sold that and then relocated, I knew I wanted, if I was going to go start another business, I wanted to be home-based again because I tasted both and I wanted it to be through the Internet. I did. There was no way I wanted to go to client's location or have them coming to me because when I had the home base, I did have clients coming to, you know, I had it set aside from my house, but people in some ways it's still the same, but it's better now that people, when you're home-based think you don't have a real business. And then when I went off as base, there was a big difference so that I knew now I wanted it to just all be through the Internet so that they didn't really, it didn't matter whether it was home-based or had an office, so that's kind of the thought. It was a conscious decision, but it was with the intention of staying Solo, which now if we were going to zoom up to, right now I do have a VA that helps me. I have some, a virtual contractors that help me, but I, that's what I need to be doing now because I need to have more of a virtual team. But the good news is we can do that nowadays. Back in 2003 that was a little bit of a challenge.

GF: 08:11 Well that was my, Mike, as you were speaking as my, my thought is starting a virtual bookkeeping service from and 2003 would be very different than today.

MP: 08:20 What are some of those differences and what, what, what's that journey been like?

GF: 08:26 Well back then, and of course I remember at first like webinars were cutting edge and new and it was only usually in large corporations but into, it was doing it for the pro advisor program using Citrix. And when you were a pro advisor back then, it also included that you got, I don't even remember what it was called now, but it was like the remote access through Citrix where with your clients you could connect to their computer and then their computer and we still have that technology now, but back then that was kind of like the only way because it was all desktop software. There was no cloud-based software. So you had to either go physically to a client's location or you did the bookkeeping on your own computer and then the clients never touched it. You just gave them reports, which again, nowadays there are still some clients that don't want access at all to their books.

GF: 09:20 But usually it was the client that had, and I'm in the QuickBooks world, so they would have QuickBooks desktop on their computer. They want you to do their bookkeeping. The only way you could do that virtually was with remote access. And at the time Citrix was pretty much the only game in town. There was also, um, go to my PC was another option. The downside with a lot of those is that it's called attended access so that the client had to, you know, you had to set up an appointment or a time so that you could log onto their computer and then you're operating their computer remotely so the client can't use the computer. Also, from a security standpoint, it's not so great because it means somebody, if they, if it's in their office and anybody else's around, they could see what's going on and they might be seeing the financial stuff that's going on and that's not great security, but that's how it all started was with remote access. It was before there was any cloud-based program.

MP: 10:20 It's amazing just to hear that, and I'm sure there's some listeners listening going, gee, those were simpler times. Let's go back to those times.

GF: 10:27 In some ways there were other tech channels, a lot of tech challenges with the client. We'll forget and turn off their computer. It was hard to print things because you, if you needed to print you or you'd be printing in their office, but you needed something where you were. So there were a lot of little glitches that would get there. The log me in later came in and you always wanted unintended access and then that was much better. Um, but it's still you are taking over a computer for the client and I know that there are still some bookkeepers who are using this technology.

MP: 11:07 Absolutely. The way we see the conversations actually in the Facebook group. In fact just recently where there was someone on there that said that they're never going to switch now. Never say never, never going to switch from desktop and they're using, you know, there's better technology, all sorts of different things that they can do to have a desktop version B for in the, in the cloud and be virtual. Right. Just to get it just interesting, right. There are two different really two different products and they do different things. They have it, you know, the outcome is the same, but getting there is, is, is different. So that is a lot about how before we got on to this interview, you and I had a conversation about the, the rate of change in the industry. Now looking at today with the way things are today and operating as a virtual bookkeeper, do you see as the challenges that you're facing right now?

GF: 11:56 Probably the biggest challenge I guess I face it as well, but I, but I think all bookkeepers who are embracing the virtual face, this, it's the technology is changing so fast that to try to keep up with it and try to stay on top of maximizing the benefits for yourself and your client that you need, you have to put aside time to be learning it and when you're busy already that can be a challenge. But I think it's essential in order to, to keep up because times they are a changing times, they are changing and it's accelerating. I mean I just came back, uh, at the time of this recording I just came back from QuickBooks connect and we're seeing the next level of technology that is amazing coming in and we're going to have to, all of us, uh, self-included. I've got a little bit of a jumpstart on this, but we need to change the skills that we, we offer our clients to stay relevant. And there are several different paths that we can take depending on what our goals are in our business. For me, I'm going down the advisory route. So as I mentioned earlier, I'm doing more and more consulting and that includes, you know, being more of that trusted advisor and what is most valuable to the clients. So that adds a whole new layer of skills and learning besides the tech. So I'd say that's the biggest challenge is just, you know, keeping up and learning while still getting the work done.

GF: 13:35 It is, and, and I remember working back while it would have been back in a similar timeframe, 2006 with salesforce.com there was that they were running to get to monthly update software updates. And it's interesting how now today in 2018 they're almost at like weekly updates. It seems on all of these different software programs which provide it. So it's a challenge for the users. It was back then it was like, Yay, updates please. You know, like at what used to be like, well we have an update coming out in the next three years. Right? Hey. And then it was like, wow, once a year and then monthly it's like Yay. More updates more at the end. Now it's like, Hey, slow it down. Like moving my cheese every day here. What's going on?

GF: 14:22 That's a fantastic point because that is a difference. And I bet some of the bookkeepers and accountants that dig their heels in and say, I am not moving off of desktop. I am sticking with desktop. And part of that reason is an advantage to desktop software is that we are in more control because you upgraded when you were ready to upgrade, but when you go to the cloud and using cloud-based software, it, it upgrades and they don't even necessarily tell you about it. I mean with QuickBooks you can just go in and like, oh look at that. There's something new. So you have no, it's almost no warning. Only when they do major changes do you usually get told that there's, something's going to change, but yeah, that it's a package deal. Everything's a package deal.

MP: 15:05 You got it. You got it. Now you, you mentioned that you're moving into advisory services. What and really the learning, the key learnings that you're going to have to go, and that's a big challenge is you've got to learn new things. How, how do you see that if, if our listeners are listening to this and thinking, well, Gee, I, I too want to do that. What's your advice to them to prepare themselves to be able to take on an advisory role like that?

GF: 15:33 Well, damn boy, there's a lot that I could say to answer that, but you have to realize that because we are working and as bookkeepers, we are the closest I believe to the business owner. Even closer.

MP: 15:46 Yeah. Here, here, here, here. Let that be heard across the industry. I, you're the first that said that in the podcast. I absolutely love that.

GF: 15:58 We are. And therefore we also, this is where all my marketing comes in because marketing has a very big learning curve as well, but marketing is all about psychology and influencing. Now with money, money is very emotional. People are you, they're running their business, the business owner, this is their baby and it's how they're living. It's the money. So it's very emotional as bookkeepers, we are there helping them with the most vital thing in their business, their cashflow, and you know, the financial health of their business. Most of us don't realize what a position that is. So I think we all can move and oh, it's morally should move more to advisory because our clients already trust us and we can give them small bits of advice. Even if they don't look at us as an advisor, we can help them recognize the value that we have to offer by simply making small suggestions that will have a material impact on their cashflow, on their profitability.

GF: 17:10 Those are things on their taxes. Those are things that the business owner really cares about. And despite the heat I can get, the vast majority of accountants do not do that for their clients. They see them once a year after the end of the year, do their taxes when the business owner can't do anything to improve their tax situation. And because the accountant is slammed during tax season, they're not giving them any recommendations on how to run their business more profitably and fix their cashflow. They're just trying to get the tax returns done. So I think that it's a prime opportunity for bookkeepers to step in and become more of that trusted advisor by just looking at ways to help improve cashflow, reduce taxes, improve profitability. Those three things you're not going to get your clients not wanting to hear about. So I'd say start where you are and start doing that and then build it up until you feel more confident and getting good results for your clients and then you can spin it off as an additional service to the bookkeeping.

MP: 18:27 So well

MP: 18:28 said. I absolutely love that. You know, I would say that a question would be, you know, how do you start having those Katia start making those little advances for and improvements for your clients. If you're, if this is not something you're doing now and you want to start doing that, what's, what's that first step look like? I can tell you the easiest way is when you've done the reconciliations so that you know now the books are all complete for the month. Run the reports and don't just run the reports and hand them over to the client, you know, email them to the client. Where you want to do is, first of all, yourself, take a little time and analyze and take a look like what's good, what's going well in the business, what you know, what road are they going down that could be dangerous in time.

GF: 19:17 I think a lot of bookkeepers don't stop to think about what are the numbers mean. They just wait until it's balanced and then they're onto the next, take a couple of minutes and take an interest in the financial wellbeing of your client on your own. And then if you notice something that you think they would want to know about, you know maybe there's a lot of spending on their subscriptions are getting pretty big. You know you see a trend that it's getting pretty expensive. Maybe there's some fat that could be cut there. You could mention it that you've noticed that to the clients. So I'd recommend that if you notice things, note it down and then however you're communicating with the client, you should be having regular meetings. Maybe it won't be every month. I know that can be a challenge because sometimes the clients that like I don't have time, I don't want to talk, but in some way that is quick and easy.

GF: 20:11 You want to have a meeting at least quarterly, I'd say with your clients to just sit down and tell them some of the things that you've noticed and you could also do it if you're truly working virtual and your clients are only, it could be local to, you can make a short video and do this to just point out certain things that you've noticed and give it to the client and watch their reaction. I do recommend first though, just have a meeting with them to let them know what's going on in the books and then also ask them questions about the business. Some things that maybe you don't understand or it could be just how is it going? Are there goals that you have for next year that you'd like to reach in your business? Start showing more interest and be curious to learn more about the business itself and it just takes a couple of questions.

GF: 21:05 I've done this. And it is amazing that the, because the business owner doesn't have anybody really to talk to generally even their spouse, unless the spouse works in the business, nobody else understands because they're entrepreneurs and the vast majority of the population are not. So they're happy to have someone who already understands their business, you know, at least financially being curious and wanting to know what's going on in the business and asking them about their goals or things they want to improve in the business with the thought of how can I help you? How can I support you to reach that goal? The client will blossom. They'll start telling you about things that you never knew about in their business. And the key part is because you care, because you're interested, their subconscious trust of you is going to grow and you will now be stepping, morphing into that role of advisor, and you'll find that the client will start to come to you to ask for your advice on different things that they're doing in the business.

GF: 22:12 But it starts with simply looking at the financials and looking for patterns or ways that you think that they could become stronger financially and then mentioning it to them having a regular meeting at least quarterly with the client. It doesn't have to be long, but just something to kind of give them an update on what you see going on in the business and then ask them, kind of compare notes with them. I work very collaborative, so I, of course, I always want it to be like they see me as a partner, not as, you know, a hired hand, so hopefully that helps.

MP: 22:43 Oh, it's music to my ears. I mean, when you think about, I'm sure when, when your clients get the bill from you, it's not one of the bills that they just regret having to pay because you, you, you, you're exactly. You are in an investment into their business. Like hiring a business coach, right? When people are hiring a business coach, you know, there's that connection. It's like this person's helping me get to what I want to get to. If you can be in that same or similar vein, you're, you're going to be in much better a retention of your clients. But we had some fun, actually, a little bit of fun with this conversation is, uh, recently we were at a conference, we were giving away tee shirts and the tee shirts said, I show you the money. And, and that was a play on words from the movie Jerry Maguire which is, you know, in the scene with where he's like, help me help you, you know, help me, help me, show me the money.

MP: 23:36 It's like, help me show you, you know, so I can show you the money. And essentially, uh, what you're saying is, is there, right bang onto that as that your, that person that's there, that's there to help show the money that's going to end up in their bank accounts and you're going to provide the education for their kids, all these wonderful things that this entrepreneur is doing, all this hard work to get to, you become the bridge to actually really helping them get there. And there's a few I think in the industry that are really helping small business owners do this. And so this is, I love that you brought this up. I think you're a pro at this. You, the language you're using, how you're approaching this is absolutely beautiful because we w you know, one of the things that we're passionate around here in The Successful Bookkeeper community is helping small businesses thrive.

MP: 24:27 When we do that, we're, we're moving the world in a better it into a better direction. So, uh, love that and you've provided a really clear access to just everybody can start doing this right away. Start positioning this with your clients and help, help them understand how you can help them and they will start to warm up to you. I, I remember the story of a man, a bookkeeper at a conference and she was talking about how she approaches her clients and as an entrepreneur myself running a business and all that good stuff, the way she was talking about how she treated her clients, I literally wanted to hug her and put my head on her shoulders. You know, it's just like this feeling of someone totally getting where I'm at and getting what I'm dealing with is so powerful.

GF: 25:15 Yes. It's the exact, that old saying that they don't care how much you know until they know how much you care.

MP: 25:21 The magic ingredient is caring. Totally agree. And you know what? This community, I have not come across a community other than the healthcare community that cares as much about what they do and who they do it for. There's so many caring people out there. So if you're one of those people, if you actually care about what you do, this is going to work for you and work well. It's just we need to get them to understand all your knowledge through this opportunity of having them actually get that you actually care. I think. I think that a lot of the clients out there and the bookkeeper's working with them, they're not putting this out there to their clients, so they don't even know they're invisible. Right. And that's, that's a, that's a dangerous place from a business standpoint, not commercially smart. As my, one of my mentors says, Matt Church says, you know, commercially smart, be commercially smart and as well it's not fulfilling because you're actually not able to be reward at an a and appreciated for the good, the goodness that you're doing for these clients. And that's, that's leadership. So if someone's, what can you say about stepping into that leadership position really in role of starting to say, Hey, I see something that's not going well. What do they have to overcome for themselves to start doing this?

GF: 26:44 Well, of course, that comes to confidence and you recognizing your own value. But it also comes to putting yourself in the shoes of the business owner. If they're hiring someone with your skills that they don't have your professional financial skills, they're going to be looking to you to lead them, to advise them, to show them the way to have clean books so that they can sleep well at night. So we need to step into that leadership. If we act as though they are a boss and we are an employee and we're just waiting for them to tell us what to do, that's when they're respect of us will go down and I would say it's a downward spiral for us, our own self-esteem and our own self-worth. So it's being willing to stretch your comfort zone to take the lead, be proactive and trust that you have knowledge and abilities that your client does not have that's valuable to them and then just do it because the learning is in the doing.

GF: 27:49 That's always what I teach on my blog and in my programs is that we can learn academically. But the way that we get the confidence and that we really see our own value is just by doing it. And it starts with small, small baby steps. You know, I love that expression from Eleanor Roosevelt that says that you should do something that scares you every day and I think that should be in little increments. And then what you'll find over time is that you'll realize I really am valuable to my clients. I really do have knowledge. And skills that can make their business take off and then I can be well rewarded for that in the process. Building that win, win upward spiral.

MP: 28:41 Wow. That is, it's brilliant. You know, very clear. This is not your first Rodeo you, yeah, you have, we've, you've not only built your own businesses and you're onto your second successful business as a virtual bookkeeping services firm, but as well you've started the, the freelance bookkeeper blog, which helps a lot of bookkeepers and you coach and mentor a lot of bookkeepers. And so you, you really get where they're at. Not only do you get where they're at, you've been there, you're doing it yourself. So we have listeners that are come from every stage of the business from, I'm thinking about starting a business to just started to, I'm tearing my hair out to, I gotta hire staff to darn these staff. Right, right. So there's, is there some common themes around that journey and I think you just mentioned one of them, which is the mindset and and, and understanding your own self worth, but from you coaching and mentoring and working with bookkeepers for a long time now, what are some of the key things that you've seen people do to be more successful or take to be in a position to be able to take bigger risks every day or you know, what was the quote again that you said from Eleanor Roosevelt?

GF: 29:56 It was do something that scares you. Yes, every day.

MP: 29:53Every day. So what, what, what are some of those things that you've seen through your journey of what are the things that scare them?

GF: 30:05 I say it's baby steps. You and I always say start where you are right now and then do something small that scares you. And usually, that means being more proactive. I mean, the example is if you're not regularly meeting with your clients, start meeting with them at least quarterly. And even if you get pushback with them because your intention is to help them. But that might scare you or making a wreck. I hear this one all the time with this whole idea of going to a more advisory model, and I've heard this from CPAs as well, that they say, oh, I don't feel it. It's my position to tell my client what to do in their business. That's up to them. I, I'm just doing the bookkeeping. And in that thought pattern is that you don't value what you can help them with.

GF: 30:58 But it's, it's more like seeing a disaster coming and saying, oh well it's not my job to, you know, tell somebody that you know, a tornado is coming. Um, no, we need to step up and care and help. But it starts with just doing little things, something every day to move forward in the direction of the way you want your business to go. That also benefits your clients. So it's, it's the baby steps of just get the practice of doing, not always all the learning, it's the doing of implementing what you learn quickly and even if it scares you, but do it a little.

MP: 31:36 Excellent. And I'll add into that persistence and what I see and hear a lot is, you know it didn't work right? It's like they said no, they turned me down and if, if it's common, common, common even in, I mean we can talk about sales, right? It's like why is that? I said, I sent them the email. What is going to add? And I never heard back. It's like you know that in today's world it's like there's like eight followups that need to happen on average before a sale happens. I'll probably not in this industry that it would take that many, but these are entrepreneurs that are, you know, busy. They get lots of emails there. They may have missed the email, all sorts of different reasons why that would've happened. So asking a client to meet and them selling, turning you down it, that could stop and has stopped so many.

MP: 32:25 And so it's like, good. Guess what? Gabriel's doing it. She's been doing it. It's working, it's working great. Her, her customers love her. You too can do this and it won't go. It won't turn into awesome for step. It'll take those baby steps. There's like when we say baby steps, it's like, yeah, there's a lot more for those steps required, isn't there? So, uh, I think taking your, your advice here and actually just going in and keep doing it, it will work. You might not be good at it. You might not have the right positioning, the right conversation, the right script, whatever it is. Go to your communities, go to the, your support groups. You can do this. But if you're trying to do it alone, you're going to get stopped. And that's the one thing that I want. I don't want any of our listeners to get stopped on their journey to being more valuable with their clients.

MP: 33:14 And you brought up a good point that, you know, might get told, okay, go have a meeting with your clients. And then the clients will push back and say, no. So you need to have a plan B. If the purpose is to show the client how you can benefit them in baby steps in little ways, if they're pushing back and say, no, I'm too busy. I can't meet with you. I don't have time, just send me the reports. It's fine. So then do a little video. If there's an app, which here's your little takeaway, there's an app that I learned about recently, if you haven't heard about it called loom, l o m that is free and it works through your browser that you can make a video, you can do it, it can be you talking at a Webcam, it could be just a screen capture video or it could be a combination.

MP: 34:01 But you could say in a short video, you know, five minutes, a five-minute video talking to your client as though they were sitting right in front of you. And then go through and show them the reports. You wouldn't even have to go on camera, but they would hear your voice and you can send that to them and say, Hey, I know that you were so busy, but I really wanted to share this little information that I found that I thought would be helpful to you in your business. Send him the video. I bet you they will be delighted and loom makes it really easy. So the point to bring back, I mean, that's a material thing you could do, but the point to bring back is if you try something and you get pushed back or it doesn't work, have a plan B. Remember what your purpose is. And also remember what Michael Just said, that you know, it's gonna feel uncomfortable at first, but that's okay. It's, you're growing. So you learn by just trying different things and seeing what works.

GF: 34:59 Well said. And you know, it, I think of an experience that I had where it was our very first seminar. It was a seminar talking about the pure bookkeeping system. And I invited a whole bunch of bookkeepers. There was like 20 bookkeepers that came to learn about this and nobody was interested. I was like, oh, like and you know, went to my business partner, Peter Cook and said, you know, nobody, you know, I was, you know, upset, you know, like disappointed. It's like I blew it, right? And he says, it's fine. You just, nobody any value. And as hard as it was to hear that it was just simply, it's not that anything was wrong. I didn't do anything wrong, I just didn't do the right things. Right. And so I think in selling, I think in, because this is sales, to get time from a business owner and to show your value, you need to sell them on your value and they have to see the value.

GF: 36:00 So it's like, it's gonna take a few times. And I've been presenting and selling and doing all sorts of things. We're a great part of my life. It's been a growing businesses. It's necessary. And yet still at the age of, I think I was a 40 years old at that time, I failed horribly. And if I didn't have the mentor and the support from other people to go, hey, either I go and have a plan B, like you say, where would we be? We wouldn't, we would never have gotten a customer. And so that's, I hope, I hope a personal hurt story that can help others have the, the just the, it's like, yeah, you know what, that hurt, rejection hurts. But it's, it's just, it can be changed and turned into success and, and, and great success by just keeping at it and going through the pain and getting to what actually works and, and showing value.

MP: 36:53 Yes. Perfect. That's exactly right.

MP: 36:56 There's so much noise out there around what can be done and how you can do is like fast and you know, when you get down to it, it's like, hey, you said there's simple things at work. You know what works for your business because you're doing it. And I find that when people are talking about all these like Ninja moves are like magical stuff, you know, instant customers. It's like, you know what? Those are people that are selling you stuff that they don't have never done it.

GF: 37:23 Yeah. And that's what my concern is because I mean both you and I know accountants and bookkeepers. What happens is they realize now they have to do all this content marketing, online marketing. Right now it's mainstreaming. You kind of have to in social media, all of that. And they buy all the courses and learn whatever, but then they realize they can't do this and they don't have the skills to do it. And so then what did they do? Turn done for you marketing that are coming into the profession and the done for you. People are doing cookie cutter and it, they don't really understand the profession. They're certainly not customizing it for each business, which is the whole point. You're building a relationship, right? And they're trying to fame that and it just, it's bad.

GF: 38:07 And, and a lot of people are getting taken for a lot of money. MP: 38:10 Yes, exactly. Which is, which is unfortunate. And I've, I've heard like I've heard and seen and met people that have spent money that would make you nauseous. I mean, it's, it's more money than, I mean it's down payments on homes, uh, yeah. On, on absolute rubbish. Uh, which, which is, you know, it's, it's where, this is the thing we, we want to help people realize that. And you know, you get down to the basics, the basic still work and baby steps. Same thing, right? You're not good at it. Just baby steps get a little bit better and all that.

GF: 38:44 I've, I've heard this from other speakers, but at QuickBooks connect I went to Paul shrimp links, which I had just met him cause we had so many from England there, the UK and he did a, a fantastic presentation that the whole point of it to come away from is we need to change the way we've been doing things. But the way he, he said is because we've got ingrained habits, you know, of how we've always done things and we can't keep doing that or it's not going to work. So he did, and I've heard this before, like when you clasp your hands together and then you know, fold them out, almost like you going to pray or something, which thumb is on top, it's probably your dominant hand. And then he says switch it so that your other, you know, you move your fingers and switch so that the other thumb is on top.

GF: 39:27 When you do that, it usually feels uncomfortable but the better one. And he also said, you know, if you wear a watch, take it off, put it on the other arm, and then just kind of see how that feels. And then the best one to me of all is fold your arms, seek notice which hands on top of which hand is tucked. And then he says, switch it. And that's the one that's hard. That one's really hard to do. And then, you know, just sit with that for a while, see how it feels and it feels uncomfortable. You're probably real clumsy doing it. That's exactly what has to happen when we change is we have to accept. It's going to take us long where exactly what you said, we're going to fail. We're going to have all that. But know that you have to change, you have to change your patterns in order to get to where you want to be. And I just thought that was great because it's so easy to remember.

MP: 40:22 I love that. That's useful. Well, it is. It's really valuable. And I, I remember at boat, well about six, six months ago, a person showed me how to tie my shoes differently. Can you believe that?

GF: 40:35 Yeah. It was like, there's one way. It's like if I had the way I was tying it as I was going over, and I don't know if this is going to translate in a podcast, but I'm trying the, the loop. So I got the loop and I'm putting the, I'm gonna make the other loop. I'm going over top of the loop. If you go underneath the loop, your shoes will not come on tide. Very unlikely. Very unlikely that they'll ever on come to, as you saw my shoe was untidy, came over to me and he said, look, I will, I will show you how you will never have your shoes come on tight again.

GF: 41:05 And so going underneath the loop and tying it for whatever reason, maybe it's like turning into a sheep shank or I am a past boy scout. So I don't know exactly what that nod is, but shame on me. I lost my badge now. But, um, it, it to do that took me a long time to actually get better at it and actually remember to do it each time. But now that's the way I tie my shoes and yeah, because there was like, hey, there's just going to be this benefit at the end. It's like I don't, I hate tying up my shoes. It's just kind of, I don't know why that's such a problem, but you know, I was like, oh, it's just like bend over and tie him up. But in my shoes never come on tide anymore. It's wonderful.

MP: 41:44 Yeah.

GF: 41:45 Yeah. See it. It's great. And it's changing what it is. It's just the way our brain works. The brain tries to create automation, if you will. You know what to make a pattern so that then you don't have to think about it anymore because you're in a computer terms, you're ram, you know, you're conscious where you're making decisions and so forth. We only have so much mental energy and we can burn through it pretty quick. So that's why your brain tries to create all these patterns that run in the background, which are the habits. But when you change your habits, that's where the power comes in. But it's hard to change habits and that's exactly, you know what we're talking about. But we need to do it in the business and that's, it's hard. But if we stick with it, that's where the points you brought out about, you know, just try it one giving up too early. You have to be tenacious, you have to be sticking with it. And I have to say that too, that that's part of the reason I think I've had success is I figured out that I'm just so stubborn, tenacious that I will figure something out. I will get it done. Whereas I think other people will tend to give up quickly. I didn't say that.

MP: 42:49 Absolutely. Why you've been successful. Absolutely. Why you've been successful. That's wonderful. Wonderful conversation. I have a feeling that we could probably do about 20 different episodes with you and we're, we're getting up on time and so I wanna I wanna make sure that, uh, our listeners know where they can find out more about you and get more of this wonderful knowledge that you have. What's the best way for them to do that?

GF: 43:14 The best way is to just go to my blog, which is the freelancebookkeeper.com and if you want to bypass the opt in, because that's just to get the notifications at the base domain, just put a forward slash blog and that takes you straight to the blog and you can look around and see the different articles that are there. We talk a lot about the tech of course, but then also the marketing and how to attract more clients is a big one. And then some about workflow in your own internal workings as well. But of course you've mostly got that handled if you're using the pure bookkeeping system. I'm sure.

MP: 43:51 Absolutely. Well, you know what, that sounds excellent. And I think having more information and more access to thought leaders like yourself, this is what every business owner needs to have his input and information of people that have gone and done the work and then are now sharing it back to the community. So thank you so much for your generosity and sharing your wisdom and experiences with all of our listeners today.

GF: 44:05 Well, thank you, Michael, for having me on the show.

MP: 44: 08 It's been our pleasure. And with that, we wrap another episode of The Successful Bookkeeper podcast. To learn more about today's wonderful guest and to get access to all sorts of valuable free business resources, you can

MP: 44:32 go to Thesuccessfulbookkeeper.com. Until next time, goodbye.