It lives within many business owners who are struggling to make revenue.
When the panic heightens, they're likely to accept any clients that walk through the door.
But, here's the thing, not all of them are a fit.
In fact, by agreeing to help those bad apples, they sometimes end up costing you more in the long run.
So, why don't bookkeepers say NO more often?
Well, it's likely because of FEAR.
Many don't want to lose the income.
Our guest, Megan Goodall of Bastion Bookkeeping is the classic example of how you shouldn't let fear paralyze you when it comes to recruiting new clients.
She's realizing the magic formula is about knowing what you want your life and business to look like FIRST then finding the customers that will support your vision.
During this interview, you'll learn...
How to create the standard you want for your ideal client
How to nurture good relationships with prospects in your local community
The power of having a business goal and chipping away at it every day
To find out more about Megan, click here.
To connect with her on LinkedIn, visit this link.
You can also email Megan at email@example.com.
Michael Palmer: 01:08 Welcome to The Successful Bookkeeper podcast. I am your host, Michael Palmer, and today's show is going to be another great one. Our guest is the owner of Bastion bookkeeping, which is based in Fort Bragg, California. And she is a pure bookkeeping licensee with her company. She strives to strengthen, preserve, and enrich the quality of service that is provided by small businesses. Megan Goodall, welcome to the podcast.
Megan Goodall: 01:35 Thank you, Michael. Thank you so much for inviting me to come on and share a little bit.
MP: 01:40 I just love how you are out there battling to build your business and sharing where, you know, you've been sharing with me and our community about what's worked, what's not worked. And I just thought you'd be such a great person to have on the podcast to share your journey and you know what's worked and what hasn't worked. And, and so we'll let the audience get to know you a bit and then get into, uh, get into the details of what you've been up to.
MG: 02:08 Oh, great. Okay. Well, I am fairly new to being a business owner. So recently started up just at the beginning of the year, mostly with the purpose of having a desire to be home with my boys and still fulfill that internal need to give back and do something that I'm skilled at. So that's pretty much the reason why the business came to be. And in January, uh, it became open to the public and I started putting the word out there. And just as you mentioned, I've been in the battlegrounds of trying to learn and master the skill of bookkeeping to be an expert in it, to do it to the best of my ability to provide the best service I can to every client I serve. And on top of that as well, managing the home life and the entrepreneurial world, a whirlwind I should say, of trying to market and push yourself outside of your comfort zone, all those things. So it's, it's definitely been a wild experience.
MP: 03:07 Well, I'll say, you know, my hat is tip to you. You're a person that's taking a risk, right? And it's a, it's for the betterment of, of I think the business community. And it's not an easy pathway as we all know in the listener knows. And, and it's great to hear the story. So let's hear a little bit about you. You, your, I actually read that you're the data of a number and charting Geek, you know, tell me a little bit about that.
MG: 03:35 Yeah. My, my past life career before having a family was in the behavior and analysis field. So I did a lot of, um, data collection and evaluation and putting together all the puzzle pieces and missing information all through numbers and I create charts and graphs and beautiful things for myself and others to look at and then explain those. And I just, my past career I fell in love with, with that experience of data collection and evaluating that and the puzzle that needed to be solved. So with that, this, this career change really complimented and really showed me that, um, I can stay at home, I can do something that is really worthwhile and that benefits my local economy, benefits other local economy economies since I am a virtual bookkeeper, but then also still get that problem solving and puzzle puzzle making 'em aspect of my personality that I love to, to use.
MP: 04:38 Beautiful. Well, that's a natural fit, I think for the industry. Uh, which is, which is awesome. And then you decided to get into business for yourself. Why did you choose bookkeeping?
MG: 04:50 That's a great question. I, I stumbled upon it recently. You actually had a gentleman that you interviewed, Ben Robinson who has the bookkeeper business launch. And I stumbled upon his educational program and when I had done that, I, I evaluated whether or not this is something that I would be interested in. It's something I could do at home. And like I had mentioned just earlier, it's, it involves numbers and finances. So it was a, it was a good challenge. And my husband and I talked about it and just decided, well, let's go ahead and, and learn about this. And if anything, my husband, he works within a family-owned business and will eventually be the sole owner of that business. So if anything, this will, this will help in the future for me to come alongside him and support him. So once I had gone through, um, learning about bookkeeping and seeing how it really connected with my personality and my interest and also, uh, learning that it can be a business and I can actually do this from home and I can fulfill all these little, little pieces of desires that I had and make it a home.
MG: 06:00 That's really what led me to, and I talked to my husband said, you know, this is something I think I can really do and I think I can do it well. And he's like, I agree. Let's, let's go for it. And so that's, that's the beginning of the journey.
MP: 06:13 Beautiful. So what, what's it been like so far?
MG: 06:18 It's been a roller coaster. So I'd say there are some days, weeks, months where I feel like an impostor just because this is a complete career shift for me. Just feeling as though I don't really know what I'm doing, but I really want to know what I'm doing. So constantly seeking out support, which is why I connect in the Facebook communities a lot to try and soak up. Um, you know, seasoned individuals in the, in the field try to soak up their information and their wisdom as well as doing a lot of research and using the pure bookkeeping system to go through and find answers to what I need. So it's been a roller coaster. And then there are other times where I, I really feel like I'm on it and I got this and I surprise myself thinking I know what I'm doing. And that's such a rewarding sensation to feel competent in your abilities and not feel as though you're not, uh, you're not sure what you're supposed to be doing next. So it's definitely been a roller coaster and I'm loving it though. It's, it's a, it's a fun roller coaster.
MP: 07:33 Yeah, you really point out what I believe to be one of the big enemies to the small business owner and that's doing it alone is when you're doing it alone, you're really limiting yourself in terms of your ability to learn, to learn what works. But also on that psychological side of having confidence in the moral support to go out and to keep doing what you're doing and how to stay positive. And it sounds like you're staying positive by interacting with the Facebook group and with your family. I mean you live in a family of, of of small business owners. So you know, that could be both a benefit and constrain I'm sure at times. What's that been like? Now you've, you're building your business. What's it been like for your children?
MG: 08:21 That's a great question. So my children are very small and it's, it's a blessing. And then also that, um, that, that curse of wanting to make sure I don't neglect them in any way, but also a blessing in that I get to, to make my own schedule and they get to grow up learning how to work within the boundaries of my work hours and, and that kind of thing. So right now I do share a property with family. And so I do have the benefit of being able to, you know, a schedule R r connect our schedules together so that my kids can go and spend time with the family while I focus on work for a chunk of time. So I have that going on and that's, that's been really good. But it is, it is a balancing act and it is a challenge at times. And I really soak up when I hear Debbie talk about, uh, her beginning stages of business right where I am.
MG: 09:19 And also balancing, you know, life with, with kids and family. And I've talked to her about this, um, in the past multiple times. And so it's, it's always an evolving process, I should say. Every day does not look the same since my little ones are really small, but it seems like it's unfolding and it's, it's becoming what I want it to be. And I think as long as I keep in mind my perspective and the reason why I'm doing this, that I can really balance it to the way that I want it to be. And to have a successful business as well as teach my children something super valuable about the entrepreneurial ship, about, um, finances because of being versed in that and about, you know, family unity and how that comes first at the same time.
MP: 10:08 Beautiful. And I, I think that's really cool that you can live on the same land as other family members. I mean it's a, it's a, it kind of reminds me of going back to the basics, if you will. Pretty exciting there. So I've also had a look at your, your, your website and uh, for your bookkeeping business. And I think it's incredible, you know, can you share the history of your website? How did it come to be about and uh, what we are learning is building it.
MG: 10:38 Oh Gosh. I um, I use Squarespace and so they have a very templatized, um, you know, options so you can just pick one and kind of plug things in. And I found, I found that as I was going through the template, I had other things I wanted. And so I turned to my husband who's a technology first individual and he helped me a lot with my website and trying to make things away. I wanted it to be and make my website vision come to be. And so I appreciate that. I'm, I am by no means a graphic designer or a website builder. And so I always, um, uh, really appreciate when people compliment my website cause I still feel that there's so much more that could be done to better it, especially when I look at other people's websites. But really it was just following the steps in Squarespace and trying to, to think about how I wanted to present my brand and present myself and all onto, you know, a screen. So between my husband and I, we were able to do that. That was great.
MP: 11:45 Beautiful. I think it's great. And it, you know, a, I've seen a lot of websites for bookkeepers and what I love about yours is just the instant call to action and a statement that a reader who would be your ideal client reads. It is a statement of benefit creating a thriving business through growth. And profitability. Discover how I can help your business. Learn how beautiful. Simple. It's beautiful. It looks great. And I encourage all the listeners to go and have a look at a site that really is simple, well done. And what's so exciting is that in this day and age, it doesn't require $10,000 to build a site like this. 10 years ago, this site would have been a $10,000 site in my opinion. So well done there. You know, Megan, you've been out there as, as we said, we started out, you're on the battleground and I've watched some of your comments around your prospecting like you've had in the last, this was opposed a couple of weeks ago, past three weeks, I've had six prospect conversations, you know, six prospect conversations. That's great. You know, you're out there getting there. Can you share what you've been up to to get on to these conversations?
MG: 13:01 Yes. So alongside that roller coaster, I've adapted and changed my marketing techniques and my, as a new business owner, not, not being fully aware of who my target market is and really trying to unfold that and, and embrace that. So I have just been kind of, I dabble here and I focus, you know, a lot in one area. Um, meaning like Linkedin, I was focusing on for a long time and obtained a client from that. Um, but I really felt that there was a piece of me missing where I really wanted to impact the more local economy and not that spark. Um, I believe rooted in my initial stumbling upon the successful bookkeeper podcast, which I listened to every time it comes out. Uh, like yes, yes, I'm a big, big fan. Um, and the pure bookkeeping system really focusing on the local, uh, individuals and business owners and not neglecting them.
MG: 14:02 And so I really decided that I wanted to focus in that area. And, um, through collaboration with multiple people, including yourself and Debbie and just doing more, um, research via Facebook and to the resources I have available to me at the book, P bookkeeper, business lunch and pure bookkeeping coming together with some new marketing techniques to focus in the local area. And so I have been doing that and that has actually bloomed my business tremendously so far. So within the last three months I'd say is when I really decided, okay, I'm going to focus purposely in the local community and let people know I exist and that I'm here and I'm here for them and I want to help there be successful and sustainable and kind of a, uh, you know, lower economy economic area. And when I did that a really, really, I started getting a lot of interest from different people in our local area.
MG: 15:06 So that's really my techniques as far as what I have been doing specifically. I focused on connecting more with the local chamber, was going to networking groups and connecting with a, a, uh, small business nonprofit that focuses on strengthening local businesses. And I'm teaching workshops through them. And I am trying to gain insight from them as well as how I can help other businesses and they've been a big referral partner for me. And then also reaching out to the CPAs. And, um, now that my name has gotten out there a little bit more and I'm hearing people say, I heard of you through so and so. People I don't even know who apparently have heard about me from other people or have looked at my website and came up with an idea of how they think I am, um, based on the website. So then they, they refer me to somebody that they're having a discussion with about their business finances. So all of that together is kind of helped me increase my prospect connections. And, uh, that's, that's been another roller coaster.
MP: 16:23 I have just a, you know, I'm just, just inspired by the story and, um, it's like the person at the, a side of the marathon, you know, cheering, go, go. That's awesome. You're doing great. You know, you're just hitting all the notes here. You're, you're out. Uh, connecting with people in your community. And you know, I've sat in the past that I consider bookkeepers to be small business heroes. Now my wife, you know, she says you can't call people heroes and you know, hearers or people save lives and you know these different things. And I say no, a small business hero is different. You are a small business hero and everyone listening, you are a small business hero. And why I say that is that there are owners of businesses out there that desperately need you and they don't know that you exist.
MP: 17:17 And so you're doing, you're getting your superpower to be known in the community and you're doing it. Something that I haven't heard that many people do it this well, you're at a nonprofit that helps small businesses and businesses in the community thrive. You're not just going there and saying, Hey I can, I can, I have a service. You're going down there. You're learning from them. But you're also providing experience and knowledge to them to help other people. I mean, it's like if we had doctor Ivan Meisner who business networking international, he would be clapping and applauding saying, that is what we're talking about when we say givers gain. Think first of how you can help somebody else and the value will be there and people will find and work with you. So I just, I just love it. I love the story and I think today in our digital world that we live in, we think, oh, we've gotta be digital.
MP: 18:12 We gotta be, you know, marketing ourselves all over the planet when if we just stop and walk out our door, there's probably a handful of, or handfuls of people that we can help right in our backyard, which is so exciting because that's really what's needed in our communities as well. And it's working, which is even more exciting. And I, you know, I think it's an encouragement for the listener to get out there and your community doesn't need to be difficult. Just go out and meet people, say hello, provide service, provide value. Now when you put up this post, you had mentioned that hey, you know, I'm out there meeting with people and uh, my success rate isn't as high. You weren't, you weren't converting these prospect meetings to the number of clients that you'd like and it was low in your opinion and there was a big long conversation in our community. Uh, this was in the pre bookkeeping inner circle community. What did you learn from that conversation and how did it change? Because I see you posted yesterday that you've, your, your conversions have gone way up.
MG: 19:16 Yes. When I, when I posted that I, I wanted to see where I am in line with, with other individuals that are in the race with me and where I live, there's a certain platform that's used. Quickbooks desktop is, is the primary platform that is used by a lot of business owners and that's great. That's perfect. But as a virtual bookkeeper and somebody whose priority is, is being at home, I am limited to QuickBooks online, which is not a limitation in any way, but it is for a lot of business owners locally. So I have to have this passion in this selling, um, if you will to try and convert them to feel confident in me so that they'll transition over to QuickBooks online and letting them know that I'm their biggest cheerleader and I am gonna walk them through every step of the way.
MG: 20:06 And so within, you know, within the last, when I posted that that particular post, within the last three weeks, I had six different prospect meetings. Two of those I found were just not interested at all in converting over to with books online. And it was an encouragement and discouragement and encouragement because I knew within the first few minutes of talking with the individual that they were not a good fit for me because of where my business direction is going and where they wanted to keep their business. So I was encouraged in that I have confidence in myself to let go of a client instead of being in that, that whirlwind as a growing business owner of wanting to latch on to everybody and not let them go, being okay with saying, okay, you are not a good fit for me, letting me find you somebody that would be a perfect fit for you.
MG: 20:55 So Debbie had pointed out, cause I was calculating in those, those two, she had pointed out that you actually only had four prospects that were, we're really interested in your services. Right. Cause they were interested in, in going with QuickBooks online and they really wanted, they're ready to sign on with you. So yes, out of those four, um, now two of those have signed up and one of them has committed to signing on, um, at the beginning of the year. So that's w has been encouraging to me to see that. Okay. Like Debbie mentioned, it starts off looking kind of dull, but then they trickle in because they start to stew on the words that you've said, the selling points that you've made, the values that you brought to them, and you presented to them, they start to stew on that and it really becomes an invaluable service to them. And they come back to you and say, you know what? I can't go with anybody else because there's nobody else in my community that's offering what you offer. So I want you to do it. I don't care how much it costs, I will pay for it. And so that's, that's been really enlightening and a learning curve for me to realize. I, you know, to do what you have already, you say all the time in your podcasts, you are valuable and you are worth it. So
MP: 22:09 I love it. I love it. You know, it's interesting in that you said, I'm not a fit for the, or you said they're not a fit for you. Right. And, and that's something that, that everyone, I think there's power. When you know what you want, you create a standard and you stand by it. You hold the line. And what happens when you do that? At first, it's going to the universe if you will. We'll test you. Now I say the universe, some people might not relate to that kind of language, but you know, I don't know what other languages to use, but you know, it's like this test we go through these tests in life. If you're an entrepreneur, you know you're going to get tested because the universal test you are you really wanting this, how bad do you want this? And you will go through tests.
MP: 22:59 I mean there's no entrepreneur has ever met that has not been tested. And it goes for everything in our lives. And so, but when you get really clear about what you want, you're able to say no and no is powerful because that creates a space for yes. And so whilst I think there's a, maybe a tweak on the language is that everyone that's listening, let's look at it from the perspective is that we are not a fit for them because we're the ones that hold the standard. We're the ones that create what we want and so, therefore, we're not a fit for them because they need something else. You see how it's a shift from, they're wrong to actually make them right and it's perfect and both win. So I love that you've created the standard and that you're holding to it. You've decided that you want to have a business that gives you the freedom and flexibility to work from home so you can be around your family.
MP: 23:56 There's going to be some sacrifices to that in business, but there's also going to be a lot of benefits and you're holding the line on it. I love that. You're also, I think, working on your sales presentation. Now what I want to bring highlight here is that we've talked about is that you actually, you're not just going and meeting with people. You've actually prepared. You've got a presentation. Can you tell a little bit about that in share with, with the listener about what it's like to actually have a deck? Cause I, I know with the pure bookkeeping system, we provide you with a presentation deck that you go through and Debbie's coached you bet on getting your, your sales presentation down and you've worked at that. Share a bit about that.
MG: 24:38 Yeah. So in the beginning, just like when you're learning anything, you kind of follow the template and it's a little bit shaky and then as you grow and you get more comfortable, um, I've adapted it to my own style, to my own personality. Uh, and I, I do a little bit of recon on each business before I meet with them. And so I can, I can, um, bring that into the presentation as well. So any, any target points that they have, um, then I like to highlight that. So if they are somebody that's really big on customer service, then I like to make sure, um, I touch on that with them, that that's a big, strong, a big point that I, I like to, to bring a value to them as well as to have strong customer service as a, as an example. So yeah, it's, it's been a learning process and me still, I feel like it's still unfolding and I'm still getting more comfortable with it.
MG: 25:35 I have to adapt it because now because I have changed things, I'm focusing on local, I'm meeting people in person, which changes the presentation. I also meet people by a zoom call through video conferencing. So I share my screen. And so the feel, the feel of that is a little bit different than it is when I'm in person and I'm just, I'm still learning the process, learning how, how to do it best. It's unfolding. But it's definitely, I think from me tailoring it to, to my own personality. My own speech has been a big benefit in how I sell myself or how I present the value that I bring to their business.
MP: 26:17 That's beautiful.
MP: 26:25 and that's exactly what it should look like. You should take something and shoot you and you should first learn what someone else's done and then you should recreate that and do it identically to that. And then the next step is to make it your own. And when you make it your own, you're actually now creating your own presentation, your own way of doing things. And that's, that is beautiful. The key message here is that it doesn't happen. It happens through taking steps, taking actions, practicing learning, modifying, uh, what you're very early in and you're already at a very high level of conversion rate. Your conversion rates very good and it's going to get better and you're going to get more confidence. And with that confidence, your conversion rate will go up. You won't likely do anything. You'll say the same things, but yet your conversion rates will go up.
MP: 27:21 You'll start to say less and your conversion rate will go up. It's because people don't buy the words on the screen. They buy the delivery of the words on the screen. They buy that, that, that deep confidence, that deep beingness that you're being, you know, there are stats out there around communication, right? How much communication is verbal. It's very low. It's like 7% or some low number. And the other, other, uh, percentages, the 93% comes back to body language tonality. Just the delivery of how you're saying what you're saying. So practicing and getting comfortable with it. I, I just gotta say for everyone, and, and for you, Megan, great job for everyone. Don't get to Sturridge the fact that you're doing it means you're one step closer to actually mastering it. And when you master this, when you get good at this it becomes very easy.
MP: 28:14 And you can see, you can sell anything. You can sell yourself, your business, uh, you can sell change for your clients. What you're doing with QBO, QuickBooks desktop and, and want to convert them to QBO, that's selling. You have to sell people on this future, this new future that you are proposing to them. Now you're doing it because you have an, what's that called a, um, there's an incentive to you to do it because you want freedom and flexibility, but there's also a benefit to them. That's why it works. Right. You know, and so just love it. And the messages for everyone is get out there, do it. Prepare, take the actions, stretch your comp stretcher a stretch out of your comfort zone, which will lead to more confidence.
MG: 28:59 Yeah, absolutely. I couldn't agree more.
MP: 29:01 Yeah. So, you know, we're, we're almost up on time. What, what would you say to the person that is like yourself, who are maybe getting started? Um, what, what would be your recommendation to them?
MG: 29:15 My biggest recommendation, I think it would be too, to make, do something every day to make baby steps that push toward a bigger goal or to prepare you for something that's outside of your comfort zone of you, as you just mentioned. But every day to be working a little bit on your business, not just in your business and vice to make sure you're working in your business so that you are bringing value to your, to your clients. And not overspending time on working on your business. And that's just because of my own personal challenges of trying to find that balance of working on my client books to bring value. And at the same time working on my marketing and my sales, which obviously is, you know, as an introverted individual that's a lot scarier for me to do. So going face to face with somebody and doing a presentation is a lot scarier than me putting together a website and throwing some content on there.
MG: 30:18 So I just making baby steps and saying, okay, today I'm going to go and I'm going to branch out to somebody that is going to be able to support me. For my particular situation, it was a local nonprofit business that focuses on helping other businesses connect with them, get support from them and at the same time bring value to them so you can bring value to their customers. And so that would be my biggest, my biggest suggestion. Just push forward and make sure every day you're doing, you're doing a little bit to move towards your goal.
MP: 30:52 Beautiful. Well said. You're well on your way. It's exciting to see. We'll check back with you in the future. And for the listener, if you are interested in creating a business of your dreams to get getting your business to the heights that you want to get it to, whether it's improving your productivity, whether it's increasing your profits, whether it's scaling your business, to being able to have staff, whatever it is, we certainly want to get in touch with you, reach out to us, go to Purebookkeeping.com connect with us. We'll share and help, help you understand how we can help you do the things that Megan's doing in her business. Megan is in an area that you see is in a remote, somewhat remote area, and yet you're, you're growing your business and what you didn't know was that all the clients you need are really just right under your nose, in your local community. Uh, and still all those other people out there in the digital world are still there waiting for you, but you can get there so much more quickly when you just look outside your door. So what a great message today. Megan, it's been great having you on the show.
MG: 31:58 Thank you so much. I appreciate the invite.
MP: 32:01 Absolutely. Now before I let you go, where can people find out more about you and if they want to connect with you and network with you, what would be the best way to do that?
MG: 32:11 I am on everywhere so you can find me. Just go directly to my website, Bastionbookkeeping.com you can also look me up on LinkedIn and we can connect on there. And um, as Megan Goodall, you can shoot me an email even. I'm happy to answer questions or even just connect on a phone call for anybody that's in a mutual spot as myself and needs that may be an accountability partnership or just need some encouragement. I'm happy to connect with other people because I need the same things. So you can email me at Megan@bastionbookkeeping.com. Those are great ways to connect with me.
MP: 32:47 Beautiful. And we'll put all of those links into the show notes. If you're on your iPhone or podcast, if you just scroll down, you'll be able to see those links and click over to get where those are. Well, again, Megan, thanks for being on the podcast.
MG: 33:03 Thank you.
MP: 33:04 That wraps another episode of The Successful Bookkeeper podcast. To learn more about today's wonderful guests and to get access to all sorts of valuable free business-building resources, you can go to Thesuccessfulbookkeeper.com until next time,
MP: 33:16 goodbye