These are some of the applications that are out there and within reach to streamline your business and make it grow.Seth David, Chief nerd and President of Nerd Enterprises, Inc., built his company through his confidence of making training videos which created a powerful online lead generation engine that has people calling him for his services.
Today, Nerd Enterprises, Inc. is one of the leaders in the small business accounting world in online training by offering courses on a wide range of software products.
During this interview, you'll discover...
The importance of producing great content marketing
Step-by-step actions on how to manage your business and gain more profit
Tips on how to network more effectively
To learn more about his website, visit here.
For his LinkedIn, click here.
For his Facebook page, click this link.
For his Twitter, explore here.
For his Google+, discover here.
For his Youtube channel, check this out.
Michael Palmer: 01:22 Welcome back to The Successful Bookkeeper podcast. I am your host, Michael Palmer, and today's show is going to be a good one. Our guest is the chief nerd and President of Nerd Enterprises Inc. It's a company that provides consulting and training services and accounting and software. The consulting services range from basic bookkeeping to CFO services such as financial modeling. It is also one of the leaders in the small business accounting world in online training offering courses on a wide range of software products. Seth, David, welcome to the podcast.
Seth David: 01:56 Thank you so much for having me and thank you for that amazing introduction. I have to get a copy of that for future.
MP: 02:03 Just we'll give it to you. You can use it wherever you like and it's a, it is really our privilege to have you here and thank you for giving up your time. I know you're booked pretty much solid, so it's great to have you.
SD: 02:15 Well, I am going, to be honest. It's great to be booked solid. Right. I hate to have the opposite problem.
MP: 02:23 Absolutely. Well, hopefully, we can share some of the knowledge and techniques you use to be booked solid. And before we get too far along the path, Seth let our listeners know about yourself, your career path before and leading up to Nerd enterprises.
SD: 02:38 Sure. I'll give you the 62nd version, maybe a little more. Of course. I started out, actually, I shouldn't say of course. I actually started out as a computer science major out of high school and then actually left school and got my series seven license, became a stockbroker, worked literally right off Wall Street. I took the subway to Wall Street and walked down to the water and I worked for prudential securities right there and again, long story cut, very short. Eventually went back to school and got my accounting degree and my plan was originally just to get this degree, to have something to fall back on, but I had every intention of going back to the stock market. But along the way I said, you know what? I've put a lot of time and quite frankly my father's money into this education so maybe I should give it a shot. And so I did and I got a job out of college at Pace University, which is a New York uh, auditing for a government program through Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Wisconsin. It's going to sound very intermingled and weird like why w blue cross and Blue Shield of Wisconsin. Well, they had won the contract for doing the Medicare and Medicaid audits in our region in New York and it also happened to cover Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, which wasn't terrible to have to go there.
MP: 03:50 I don't know for sure.
SD: 03:52 So did that for a couple of years. Again, a very long story cut. Very short time to change my life and it's one of those, I wrote about this recently. I got to a point in my life where I said I have to change one thing, which was everything and moved to California in the process. Thought I was going to be here for just six months, about three months. Then said, you know what, I need to stay here. This is where it's at for me and if I really want to keep the changes that I'm in the process of making in my life, that's the best move. Rather than going back to New York and sort of falling back into old patterns and habits. So I decided to stay. That was in 1999, got an attempt job here through an accounting placement firm and worked for a hedge fund for a bit and then got an attempt job for a big publicly traded corporation called The Veterinary Centers of America and it worked.
SD: 04:40 There's a senior revenue account there for a number of years. Then I moved onto a CPA firm that specialized in bankruptcy and during my time there I was doing taxes for escorts and things. But more than that, because of my particular areas of expertise, which has to do with excel and data analysis and those sorts of things, they had me working on some major bankruptcy cases and cutting up data in excel and I had written some macros to make it happen a little faster, a little more automated. Ultimately we needed to cut this data up to provide reporting to the Securities and Exchange Commission to help aid in their case against these people who committed fraud. So interesting work, but sort of dismal at the same time, again, a CPA firm specializing in bankruptcy, not the brightest spot on a timeline or a tie or lifeline of a business, Right? And overtime, and that Kinda got to me, actually I remember thinking at one point, you know, I'd much rather work with startups where it's new and exciting and we're growing and we're living rather than, you know, doing those sort of equivalence of hospice for businesses.
MP: 05:45 Right. Yeah.
SD: 05:46 So, you know, and during that time, at that CPA firm, I also found I couldn't stand working for somebody else. I hated it. It wasn't great at first. And then over time, you know, it would just, it would be kind of the same old, you know, I usually get along great with my boss at first and then things would happen. And you know, it was like a question of I, you know, who's right, who's wrong? I don't know. Probably both of us, you know, I have to own my part in things. Of course, that's one important thing I've learned along the way is owning my part in things. But at the end of the day, you know, I felt I wasn't getting the trading I needed and then the employers would get frustrated with me because I, I didn't know how to do things that I, in my view, again, I wasn't really properly taught to do, you know, their idea of training at the CPA firm for how to do a tax return for an s corp was here's a file.
SD: 06:28 You've seen the tax software on people's computers here in the office, right? And I said, yeah, it looks like you're using let's sir. And he said, yes, let's Sir go, it's on your computer. Go run it and do this tax return. That was literally my training.
MP: 06:41 Wow.
SD: 06:42 So anyway, and frustration mountain. And ultimately it led me to say, you know what, maybe I'm better off on my own. I started putting ads on craigslist. I started getting clients to hire me to help them design spreadsheets for different purposes that they needed. And eventually, that morphed into actually doing, you know, bookkeeping services and those sorts of things. So the name, Nerd Enterprises, came into play because in the beginning, especially, I'd be working on some projects for a client in many cases, writing very complicated formulas to accomplish what I needed to in Microsoft Excel. And I'd get all excited, I'd be doing this from home.
SD: 07:18 So my wife would be there and she would hear me getting all excited. And you know, the comic frequently came out, you're such a nerd. Right? And so when the time came to, you know that I said, I'm going to start my own thing and what do I want to call myself? I was also working closely with an accountant who was kind of hired as a consultant to be a manager at that CPA firm. And he and I got along very well and I had talked to him at one point and he was like, I would be more than happy to join forces or you and create our own firm and you know, we could call it like superior accounting or something like that. And I was like, no, that's not me. I don't want to be called Superior Accounting. To me that's pompous and you know, and that might not be literally what he intended to call it, but the point is he wasn't on board with the whole dirt enterprises concept.
SD: 07:59 And I like that because I thought that that spoke very well to who I am as a person. You know? And I used to have a tagline saying a funny name, serious business, and I thought that just perfectly under squirted. You know, I can be lighthearted about this stuff because I like to have fun while I'm doing what I'm doing. And I think it should be fun. I think a lot of people think of accounting as boring and part of my mission was to set out and prove that it doesn't have to be boring. It can be a lot of fun. It can be really exciting when you look at things from the right perspective. And at the same time, I know when it's time to get
SD: 08:29 serious and take things seriously. So that's my story in a nutshell.
MP: 08:40 that's cool. You know, there's some interesting, some interesting points out of that, that story and the one that you've just mentioned is being true to what you want. Like you went through kind of a, a transformative I guess, period in your life. And I, I guess it was late, was it late nineties where you're like, okay, I'm moving away from all of this, I'm going to California. And that a line from Led Zeppelin song.
SD: 09:05 Oh sure.
MP: 09:06 Yeah. So going to California, Eh, with flowers in your hair and you, you got there and you said, I'm staying here and, and you stay true to that. And then you said, look, this working for somebody else's and working for me, you left and you, you stay true to that. And then even along with the name, it's like, no, nerd enterprises, this is me. And, and so it's like staying true to what your intuition is telling you and what were, what's moving you. I think that's really cool. Part of it. And the other piece there is you, you're having fun, you know, really show. That's one of the reasons I, I came across you. I mean, I, I bumped into you online searching around and I was watching one of your shows and I thought, wow, how cool. You're having fun. And it really came across that you were having fun in your business while helping people and giving people information and, and making a difference, but for people. But it's your business and you're actually having fun in your business. I think that's a big takeaway that often people get to the point where it's no longer fun and then it just becomes a job that you're, you're working. And even if you're working for yourself, it's now you're working and doing something that's no longer fun and, and a, I think that's an inspirational thing to think about for our listeners. Bring some fun, bring what's true to you and, and let that be the course that you take seems to be working for you.
SD: 10:38 You know, I always say to people, and this is going to sound a little harsh, and it's sort of meant to, if you're not absolutely having a blast getting up and doing what you're doing every day, then it's time to go do something else.
MP: 10:39 Mm. I don't think that's too hard. I was high. I was looking for, I was expecting something super harsh that's like, yeah, we don't, we only have so many years to live our lives. And so if you're not happy, there are so many other options. But that's, I think where people get stuck is that when you're doing the things that you always do when you do them every day, and I've been in this situation in my life where I was in a job that If I didn't like and I, I really found myself thinking, Gee, what this is it? Like what will, what will it be outside of that? And I was relatively lung young at the time and, and yet I was fortunate enough that I had people in my life go, what are you talking about? Like there's like a very big world and yeah, just, it was just because I kept doing it and that fear of, well, what's, what's out there? I don't even know what I want really. I just know I'm not happy here. But moving from that to just taking a risk and say, okay, well let's break this all apart and go see what happens. What's the best thing I ever did?
SD: 11:42 Yeah. Yeah, so I'm glad you said it wasn't harsh. I think some people feel like I'm being harsh because I'm telling them to change their careers or change their job or whatever. It doesn't mean you have to change your career. It might just mean you have to things up a little bit. Do something different. I mean, the reason you found me for example, online is because of something that I did not count on. I started making videos to answer the questions that I was getting asked all the time by clients, bookkeepers over and over again and I thought, I need a way to streamline this. It's funny because that takes me all the way to where I'm at today with everything. You know what it's like today because today it's really all about constantly working towards finding ways to better automate processes and get things done more efficiently, which became especially paramount when we got into this realm of value pricing or flat rate pricing because now that I'm charging a flat rate every month, my job is to get this done as quickly as possible without sacrificing an ounce of quality in the process.
SD: 12:43 Right? So that's important. And going back then to what I was doing, even back then I was already, I wasn't thinking about it this way, I wouldn't have articulated it quite like this, but I was already just automatically thinking how do I make this process faster? Because I recognized that I was spending a lot of time writing out essentially the same emails, answering the same questions over and over and over again. And I just said, and I love this line. It always comes back to me because it's been part of into its original taglines as a company, you know where I stop and find myself thinking there has to be a better way, right? Their mission statement was something like, our goal is to improve our client's financial lives so profoundly they couldn't imagine going back to the old way. Right? And My tagline is a derivative of that.
SD: 13:26 It says, our goal is to improve our client's life so profoundly they couldn't imagine working with anyone else. But to me it's a constant, it's a constant. I'm always thinking of ways to streamline things. So I started making videos because I said if I have a video that answers the frequently asked question, which that gives you a clue by the way of where to start. If you want to do something like this, if your listeners want to do something like this, go to your FAQ page and look at the questions you have on there and start making those videos. Because now when somebody asked me that question, hey, how do I book an NSF check in QuickBooks? I can just say, here's a video explains it better than I could ever do in an email. And it's visual. You get to see it rather than just read it.
SD: 14:03 Right? So that's been kind of without realizing it all along. What I've done is constantly looking for ways to streamline or automate processes and that's why you found me because ultimately and unwittingly that process of creating those videos that were designed to make my life easier, it turns out also made other people's lives easier because people were responding to my videos and saying, hey, I like the way you explain things. And it's funny because my mom was a teacher and growing up I think she would have loved to see me become a teacher. But honestly, I shied away from it cause I was like, teachers don't make enough money. You know, they should make much more money than they do in my opinion. But that's the reason I tried away from that career. And then years ago, well into my Nerd Enterprises, stage of life and aunt of mine who is also a teacher her whole career down with me.
SD: 14:51 Late one night we'd been to a family wedding and we're sitting in her kitchen just having tea kind of winding down after the wedding. And I happened to have my laptop there. So I open it up and I'm doing things in WordPress actually on my website and I noticed she was paying attention, which surprised me. I wouldn't think she would have been interested in that, but as long as I had her attention, I actually started explaining to her what I was doing and I was surprised that she was having, here's a woman who I think at the time was in her late sixties maybe, you know, retired. I was shocked that she was actually interested in engaged in me showing her stuff about WordPress. The next morning I'd get up for staying at their, at their place at night, come the next morning into the kitchen having breakfast, and she gives me this very stern look and she says, I need to talk to you.
SD: 15:34 And I thought she was mad at me about something, so she really had my attention. She says I think you've missed your calling. You should've been a teacher. You shouldn't be doing this stuff. And I said to her, I call her aunt Ricki, her name is Renee, but we've always called her aunt Ricky growing up. I said, aunt rookie, actually that's exactly what I do is I teach people and it started with creating those youtube videos and using them to teach people how to do things that I didn't want to have to keep explaining over and over again. Turns out this is the unwitting part. It created a powerful online lead generation engine that has people calling me every day mostly to hire me for services or training and once in a while somebody says, hey, would you like to be on my podcast?
MP: 16:20 Beautiful story. I absolutely love that. It's interesting how life sometimes our skills and the things that we like to do, they know no matter how much you resist them, they end up coming, coming forth and so you're doing it and you're doing a good job of it. And I love the piece about lead generation, how this is bringing business into your, your company now I would say it's uncommon in the industry, right? What's, what's in the way of people doing this for themselves and making a go of it. What do you see as the barriers or challenges ahead for them?
SD: 16:58 To sum it up in one word, and then, of course, I can expand confidence. I really think that's the biggest blocker or lack of confidence. Right? And that's based on the feedback. I talked to accountants and bookkeepers seemingly all day every day now. Um, because that was the other thing I didn't expect. I thought these videos were for business owners, but it turns out a lot of accountants and bookkeepers also like to watch my videos because they learn how to do this stuff so they could better serve their own clients. So a little did I know I was building up a community of accountants and bookkeepers who actually liked what I was doing. So when I talked to them, and I talk about this topic of creating content because here's what happens now I get the call or the email or the form filled out on my website and they say, Hey, I would love to learn more about how to do what you're doing.
Speaker 1: You know, I want to be able to do what you've done. Right. And I have a saying that I use from where I come from in another part of my life, which is that if you want, when somebody has, you have to do what they've done, right? So the beginning of that conversation will then start with me explaining, well, if you want what I have, if you want to be able to accomplish what I've accomplished, if you want that online 24 seven lead generation engine that brings the business to use, you don't have to go looking for it, then you have to produce content. It starts there and that's when all the pushback starts, right? I don't want to turn on, my camera doesn't have to, right. The beauty of what we do in our genre, specifically when it comes to creating content, is that you can simply share your screen and give a demonstration.
SD: 18:23 Oh, but I'm shy, right? That's the next thing I'll hear. And the best answer I have, again, maybe it will sound harsh, maybe you won't, but the best answer I have is getting over that and just make your first video or record your first podcast. And once you start doing them, you'll get more comfortable with them and then your confidence level increases and take a risk and put the stuff out there on youtube. Let people criticized because they will, but use that criticized to your advantage. Use that criticism rather to your advantage. I used to get so offended when people would criticize, you know, and we have trolls out there who their only purpose is to get a rise out of you. And even them, I would look at their criticism from a constructive standpoint. I would simply make the choice to do that because I would say even if it wasn't well-intentioned criticism, I can still use it to improve, right? Just because they were trying to be deliberately mean. It doesn't mean I can't take it to heart and say, what can I do to make my content even better? And when I started learning to adopt that perspective on things, the criticism no longer bothered me. In fact, I welcomed it. I prefer the negative comments over the positive ones on a certain level because again, the negative comments are the ones that really do help me improve. The positive ones just reinforced that people already love what I'm doing. Get it.
MP: 19:39 Hmm.
SD: 19:40 You know, like that patrols are really easy to get a rise out of. You can easily flip the script on them. Sorry, I didn't mean to cut you off.
MP: 19:47 No, no, I was, I was gonna ask Ellie actually ask about the trolls. It's just so interesting that the name, I mean the name of it, I haven't heard the word troll in a while and uh, it's like, yeah, I often don't read comments on websites because I just don't want to read troll stuff. Right. And it just seems to be so many times it's the majority and for those that don't know what a troll is, it's one of these people that just say negative things and, and really are not that constructive. Typically. I mean, there are some people who maybe are constructive and we wouldn't call them trolls if they were, their point was, was accurate. But I like the way you, you've handled it and I think that's for anybody that's going to go online and expect the trolls. In fact, the more channels you have maybe a good indicator of your success, right? They are actually paying attention and finding you. I mean, if the trolls can find you, that's, that's one check.
SD: 20:42 Are you happy? They're throwing you and not someone else. Right. And here's the other thing, and this is what I've often shared with people, because again, we're coming, we're talking about the concern people have, the hesitation they have in creating content. One of which is, I don't know what about the negative feedback I'm going to get. It's going to be, you know, it's going to be bad for me. It's going to be insulting. Actually, youtube, you know when you watch a video on youtube, it will give you at the end related videos along the sideline, right? The related videos that it's giving you are based on activity. In other words, they're videos that are on a similar subject that are getting the most activity. The most comments let's say are the ones that are most likely to appear in that sideline of related videos. Youtube does not gauge whether the commentary is negative or positive, it just gauges that there was commentary and it assumes, okay that commentary means there is an activity which means this video is already getting attention.
SD: 21:35 So let's promote that video to see if we can get it to get even more attention because the heart pumps blood to itself first. And that's YouTube's way of keeping the traffic in their world. Right. So with that said, I have a great story that I can share if something I did recently with just such a troll and eventually in our dialogue he even admitted straight out like, come on, you know, react. I'm trying to get a rise out of you cause I wouldn't give it to him. And what happened was, cause I understand what I just described YouTube and as I said a few minutes ago, it's actually very easy to turn the tables on trolls because they tend themselves to be emotional. The kind of stuff they're doing is the kind of stuff that would easily get a rise out of them, which is why they get even more frustrated by the way when you don't react to it.
SD: 22:21 So this guy had come onto one of my videos. I wish I had made a note of which one it was cause I would love to be able to find it and share this. But anyway, he comes on to one of my videos and calls me a fat f word in the video, writes it out again. I clearly tried to get a rise. I mean by this time I knew what he was doing. So I wrote a very simple short response. The best responses are just short little like two or three-word responses. So I wrote back, tell me how you really feel.
SD: 22:48 So I got a novel, right? I got this whole thing that he goes into. And the guy was actually very funny. I'll give that to him. He was actually, what he wrote was really funny the way he kind of went about what he was writing and then came back to say, yeah, but you're still whatever, you know. So the last response I wrote to him basically said this, I love you from the bottom of my keyboard. Every comment you write results in additional activity on my video here, which causes youtube to promote my video. So thank you. And I ended the comment with that and he never responded again cause I honestly don't think he recognized what I was doing as there wasn't actual, you know, sort of a thought process behind what I was doing. So that's my message to everyone. If you're worried about getting negative feedback, embrace it, don't worry about it because it's a perfect opportunity to get Youtube to promote your video because to ask,
SD: 23:41 Yeah, those people are really easy to get arrived out. That's why they do what they do because expect it's going to work on others and usually an often does, but you, you know, over time, of course, then you learn to get a thick skin. And like I said, the best way that I ever learn how to deal with it was by learning to embrace the negative feedback. And regardless of how it was intended like I said before, use a constructively anyway and the, in a way that's the best way to get back at them for being me in any way, right. Is to take what they had poor intentions with and use it constructively and just say thank you for the feedback. I'm going to take that into consideration and see how I can improve. And I have, I've actually improved a lot because of negative feedback that I've gotten that I didn't feel as well-intentioned. But again, it didn't matter. All that mattered was that I use it to improve myself, right?
MP: 24:35 You know, I, I love that. And it's, uh, I think it's encouraging and for the listener is get out there and, and have a go. And you know, what, if there's, if there's things that you like and people that you, like, if you're watching Nerd Enterprises comment, I mean this is helping, helping to promote, you know, I didn't actually know that that was part of the deal, but you know, that little comments just to even say, hey, I really like this, that that is improving and it, you know, counteracts the trolls out there, which listen, a lot of what you do is completely free. And you know, I think it's up to our audiences too to know that and to, to make sure you acknowledge and you know, uh, pay it forward if you will. SD: 25:20 Right, right.
MP: 25:22 So, Seth, I was actually going to ask another question cause I think that was a great tip.
MP: 25:25 I mean, being valuable to your customers through the, you know, doing something like a video or any kind of content. I guess to answer more questions, be more valuable is only gonna lead to good things for your, for their business, for their confidence, for their, for the life really. Now you've done other things. And I think one of your other superpowers that I've sort of picked up is, you know, you, you like doing it the smart way, the fast way, and if there's a better way, let's figure it out and do it. What have been some of the things that you've really embraced in your business for your clients that have been faster, better, cheaper, all those good things?
SD: 29:59 So, you know, it's interesting. I as recently as yesterday, as of the time we're having this conversation, I realized people are going to be listening to this perhaps much later down the road. But as recently as yesterday, I learned something very interesting. And you know, I have this group called Accounting Business Academy. That's where I sort of mentor other accountants and bookkeepers and we have two calls every week. And our call yesterday I was demonstrating how I use a product called active collapse, which is a project management application. It's not necessarily widely known about the accounting industry. I learned about it because somebody used it with me. Somebody actually sent me an invoice out of this product. And what really impressed me was it was clear that it was sending automatic followups to attempt to get me to pay it. I'm like, wow, that's cool. That's an automated process that would make my life easier if I could have something that would automatically send out reminders so I don't have to go in and click and look at my aging and all that does it does my collections work for me, so that got me to look at the app.
SD: 27:01 Long story short, I didn't decide to use it for invoicing. I have other, what I consider better methods for that, but I did fall in love with it as a project management tool and I've gotten a lot of people turned on to it and what I learned yesterday was that it's not just about using the product because in my view this product is very easy to use. It's beautiful out of the box project management app. You can easily create your projects, you can categorize things, labeled things, you can organize task lists and then tasks within them and has a great discussion area and note-taking. It's all out of the box. Beautiful project management in my opinion. So I didn't think of it as something that was that difficult to use, but somebody pointed out because yesterday I was showing my group some of the things that I do and some of the ways that I use it and that's the key, right?
SD: 27:45 There are the ways that I use it and that's what they said they really wanted to learn from me because yes it was agreed. It's basically out of the box easy enough to figure out how to use. But one example of a tip I showed them that they loved, and you know the premise of this is that I'm also all in with Google Docs. I don't really use Microsoft products anymore unless I really have to. I use Google sheets and I use Google docs for my documents and they know this cause that's kind of what I'm teaching them. And so I showed them how in a client's project and active Collab, I create a task list and I call it to reference. And one of the tasks that I put within that is not really a task per se. It's just a reference point where I create a task because it's just a vehicle that can be used well for this.
SD: 28:29 And that task is entitled Google Docs. And within that, I have both the link to their Google docs folder on the web as well as the file path. So that same folder locally on my computer. And the point I made when I demonstrated this was that I said, I said, so this way active collab becomes command central for managing everything having to do with that client. I don't have to clutter up my browser bookmarks with different bookmarks for each client. I just know that when it's time to work on that client stuff, I go to their project and active collab and in that reference left that reference task list, I have everything I need so that in a click I can get to where I need to. And I guess in the bigger picture it's processes like that that enabled me to get things done very, very efficiently and quickly.
SD: 29:17 So again, because I'm charging flat monthly fees, that's become really important that if you want to look at it in terms of an effective hourly rate, my effective hourly rate, if I actually took the time and I don't, I don't track time anymore. That's another big burden I've taken off my own shoulders and that of my employees. We don't track time cause there's no need to. Um, but if I were to track time, I know that my effective hourly rate based on the flat monthly fees that I'm charging will have gone through the roof compared to what I used to charge when I did charge by the hour.
MP: 29:48 Excellent. That's exciting. You know. And what was the, this particular app that you were talking about? Can you say it again and we'll, we'll have a link to it in the show notes.
SD: 29:58 Sure. It's active Collab, like active collaboration.
MP: 30:02 Beautiful. And now it sounds like there are lots of lots of things that you're sharing, like this example of new technology, not only what it is, but how you're using it. Uh, tell us a little bit more about nerd enterprises and some of the things that our listener could go over there and, and uh, and get some value from.
SD: 30:21 Sure. So I want to say something actually before I dive into that about, because when you go to my website that of course, it's at nerd enterprises.com. It's funny, I was just checking cause I have the site up while we're talking and I'm shocked. I don't actually have an active collab on the partners' page. So I have a partner's page. So if you want to kind of get a look and I'm going to fix the act of collab thing right away on that partner's page, you'll see every, pretty much every app that I use and love to use, right. And many of these are affiliate links. If there's an affiliate program available, and I know I'm going to put the app on here anyway and then I'll ask or I'll research, is there an affiliate program? If there is, why not? I'll stick that link on.
SD: 30:58 So just be on notice that some of these links, if you click on them and sign up, I do get paid but that's not why I put them there. I put them there because these are the apps I truly love to use every day. So with that said, that's a place you can go to see all the apps. I recommend also in terms of the services that we offer, much of this has evolved and it's evolved based on what people have asked me for. Right. Whether directly or sort of by default. And what I mean is, and, and I want to draw on something I learned a long time ago, I was reading this book, it was called multiple streams of income and this was when the Internet was still pretty brand new. The author is a guy by the name of Robert Allen. He has since written another book called multiple streams of Internet income.
SD: 31:41 And even that book is already a little dated. But the, what I took out of his first book was that he was, you know, the Internet wasn't, it was already in existence. It just wasn't like it is today where it was that easy to create online presences. And it was before social media and all that. So he was really focused on the email list and he gave an example of how the best way a marketer can and should market and like it or not, bookkeepers, if especially if you're a solo entrepreneur and you run a small little practice, you are a marketer. In addition to being a bookkeeper, you have to be because that's the only way you're going to grow your firm is to start thinking of yourself as a marketer. Until you can afford to hire a marketer. And even then you want to have some knowledge of this.
SD: 32:21 So when he said as a marketer, is that the best, the most effective way you can market anything is reach out to an audience, which means first you have to build that audience. And this stage content is a great way to do that. So once you've built the audience, you reach out to them and in effect, you survey them and say, what do you most need from somebody like myself? Of course, you put it more eloquently than that, but you serve them to find out what are they looking for. And in the same survey, you add questions aimed at getting a sense of what they would typically want to pay for something like that, right? And so you gather that data, you analyze it, and then you figure out a way to offer them exactly what they're asking for and you price it somewhere in the middle of what they're asking for it.
SD: 33:01 Assuming that that's reasonable enough for you in terms of the resources it'll require of you to provide that. So we just think about it, it sounds so simple, but it's actually brilliant, right? And social media these days makes it really easy for us to gather that exact kind of data. So I say all that to point out that when you go to my site and you look at the services that we offer, all of this at this point has evolved based on what people were asking me for. So yeah, we still do the accounting and business consulting. In fact, I had shied away from that for a while because I really love to do the training. But then I said a couple of years ago, I said, you know, all this stuff I'm teaching others to do a, I don't want to be one of those people that 20 years from now haven't had a client of their own in 20 years and still claims to be able to show people how to do this stuff is there are people like that out there and I don't want to be one of them.
SD: 33:48 So I always want to be able to say, Hey, I'm not just teaching you how to do this based on conjecture. I actually do it myself and I know what you're facing every day because I'm in the trenches right there with you. Right? So that was important to me. So I, I just, and I decided, plus with all this knowledge that I've gathered that I'm using to teach others, why not do it for myself? It's actually a great way to make money. So, so accounting and business consulting are actually, I want to say it has been renewed as a very significant growing area of our offering. And then you'll find the subscription-based training on the one to one training. The one-to-one training has been my core competency for many years now because it started with making videos, answering people's questions. And like I said, I surprising to me, I had accountants and bookkeepers who liked my stuff and we're learning from it.
SD: 35:36 And then they would ask me if I could train them in a one on one session. Because the typical scenario is they've got this client, they told the client, yeah I can do all this. But now they realize they're in over their heads because they really didn't have the experience that they needed to know how to do all of this. So now they hired me and I used to tag it under the heading of, you know, get training from me so I can help you keep the client. Right. And One bookkeeper reached out to me and said, that line that you had on your website was exactly what got me to call you. You know, so again, marketing, getting inside your prospect's head and tell them that you can give them what they need, what they're looking for, and ultimately what was the pain. She was afraid she was going to lose the client.
SD: 35:14 And so I, I mean I touched exactly on the right point and I did provide her with the training to help her keep the client. So one to one training, big area. It was again originally aimed at business owners and that's still a big part of what I do is I train business owners that watch my videos on youtube gets stuck and they say, you know, rather than figure this out myself. And it was great as test videos are, I have very specific contextual questions that I can't ask on youtube and a comment. So let me hire yourself for some one-on-one. It's worth spending the money to shorten the learning curve. Right? So, and then the subscription-based training was just a way of duplicating myself. And I said again, I learned from the same guy, Robert Allen years ago, that you want to create residual sources of income.
SD: 35:55 So because one of the classic problems in the accounting world is that we have to keep showing up to earn a dollar, right? The classic model in our world was I go out, I build by the hour, I have to show up, go see the client. Even now if I'm doing it remotely, I still have to show up and put in the time to earn the money and then I send them a bill, right? So again, what I learned from marketers, and I've spent, you know, I didn't formally train in marketing, but I've studied marketers and I've read a lot of books and learn from them. And I've, so I've learned how to kind of think in terms of, especially when it comes to growing your own business, especially if you're a small practitioner and you don't have the budget for a big marketing team, then these are the kinds of things, if your intention is to grow, that you'll want to start learning how to do.
SD: 36:38 And so one of the things was I need to create residual sources of income, passive income. So that, and it's funny because this comes full circle now to how we do our consulting services, right? We're again, it's flat monthly fees. So you know what that really is. It's a subscription, right? So because of value pricing and charging flat monthly fees, what I've realized is my job now as the chief op, the chief nerd at Nerd Enterprises is to create annuities. And that way whether it's consulting or an actual subscription-based training plan, the only thing that's really not subscription is the one to one training cause that's one time they're going to pay for an hour session or they're going to pay for a 20 hour plan and then use that up and then they decide if they need to re-up. So that's the only one that's really non-subscription.
SD: 37:26 Everything else up a subscription. Even the consulting clients and I should say, and especially the consulting clients and in fact, I've eliminated invoicing from my whole practice. I do not invoice clients anymore because they're on a subscription. So when the time comes I have them click onto my website. There a product that I've created that creates a monthly recurring subscription so their card just gets charged every month for the fee that we've agreed upon. I don't need to invoice them. Invoicing in itself is a clunky, slow process. I hated it and I was, I'm so glad I didn't
SD: 37:57 eliminated from my life.
MP: 38:00 Good for you.
MP: 38:04 You know, you've, you say you're not a marketer, you, you've done a very good job of it and uh, I'm excited to watch where, where you had in the year to come and years to come. That's such an interesting take, a different take than many of our guests on your business and, and what you're doing. It's been, it's been great having you on the show, Seth.
SD: 38:25 Thank you. And then if I could throw one more thing in there because you actually mentioned this to me before we sort of went live, so I wanted to touch on it. You mentioned that we also have a media production and content offering. This is a very specific example of me creating a project based on what I was being asked for. It was never my intention to work with app developers, but app developers started reaching out to me again because of what I've created on Youtube and saying, we would like to leverage your capabilities with respect to creating content and videos and we'd like to have you do it on our products. And so that's where that whole media production and content service offering on my website came from. And so that's what I do. I don't have a lot of clients in this venue.
SD: 39:07 I don't necessarily want a lot of clients in this venue because of to do this kind of stuff. It uses up a lot of my own resources that quite frankly, I'd rather use to produce content for my own company. But if they're willing to pay what I'm asking for, I'm willing to do that. And by the way, real quick, I'll end on this note. That's where I sort of depart from the philosophy behind value pricing as I understand it, because I don't necessarily price based on what I think the value is to the client. I don't necessarily care about that. And I'm very outspoken about this and I love Ron Baker and Ed class who I view as the sort of godfathers of value pricing. Um, but my approach towards pricing to parts from there is in this part specifically where I don't price based on value, I price based on supply and demand and more than that I price based on what gets me excited to do the work.
SD: 39:57 So when I come up with my pricing it's a little bit, I think it's easier actually to come up with my pricing on that basis cause I can, I can decide what I'm offering in a plan and I can look at what I'm going to offering and think in terms of what it's going to take to get all that done each month. If we're talking about bookkeeping services and I can put a price tag on that and then step back and ask myself when I think about a client coming in and paying me this amount every month and knowing what it's going to take to get the job done, does this get me excited? Do I feel excited because I know I can get in here and streamline this and get it done really efficiently without sacrificing quality? If the answer's yes, I'm good with the price, if the answer's no, then I probably need to raise the price up a little bit. And I have a process where we start with what your goal is in terms of what you want to make dollar one gross every year. And from there we back into what your pricing plans can be. So, and there's a blog post out there about that on my website. So anyway, I wanted to make sure I mentioned the whole media production thing cause you had asked about that.
MP: 40:52 Yeah, absolutely. Thank you, Seth. And we'll have how all those links in the show notes. But uh, you know what, we'll love to have your back when you're up to new things and, and uh, I'm sure, I sure it won't be that long into the future.
SD: 41:04 Actually, I would love to come back. Thank you so much for having me. It's been an honor.
MP: 41:08 It's been great having you. Well, that wraps another episode of The Successful Bookkeeper podcast and what an interesting podcast episode it was. To learn more about today's guest and to get access to all sorts of valuable free business-building resources you can go to Thesuccessfulbookkeeper.com until next time, goodbye.