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Are you making this mistake? (Part 1)

Updated: Apr 1

In today's blog, I am going to start by telling you a few things: it's fairly early on a Tuesday morning when I'm writing this and the tradies will be at my house soon (as many of you know, I'm renovating my home). The other thing is, I'm sitting here and I'm sucking on a lozenge because I have picked up another little cold, which is really frustrating. And, I wanted to share a little vulnerably – but very much to serve you – that one of the things I'm doing around my health is levelling up my mindset.

I prioritise myself and my health above all else. I put myself first – my physical, mental, and spiritual health. I learned years ago the hard way that if we don't put ourselves first, if we put our kids first or anyone else first, then we can't show up in a way that is best for them anyway.

bookkeeper reviewing possible mistakes

I absolutely prioritise myself and my health. However, I have fallen victim (if you put it that way) to a few things, and a good friend of mine who I call one of my "one-inch friends" talked to me about this.

My one-inch friend concept comes from Brene Brown who says: "Get a 1x1 inch piece of paper and write down the names of the people that you can rely on to be very honest with you, even when it might be hard to hear."

So I call these people my one-inch friends, and I am privileged to have quite a few of them in my life. Now, my one of my one-inch friends, Julie, said to me recently gently that she felt I should level up my mindset around my health. She didn't put it that way, but that's exactly what she said. She said to me, "Jeannie, your mindset around everything is extraordinary." She calls me like her sage, and she said, "So why is it that your health is different to that?" And these things are confronting to hear. This is why they are our one-inch friends.

So long story short – my mindset around my health that I decided to adopt was that perfect health radiates from within me, and I spontaneously heal.

So I'm turning up today with that mindset, and I am very happy to say that I'm getting through this little cold in record time. The reason I'm sharing that with you is because as a coach in The Strategic Bookkeeper Transformation Program, or even outside that, when I talk to you right now, I want to remind you that there are three things that are really heavily involved in you finding success in your bookkeeping practice: Mechanics, Mindset, and Productivity.

I'm sure there are lots of other things, but when I observed the tribe members in my program in the early days – who was getting results, who was struggling more – it wasn't just the mechanics because I gave everyone the same keys to the kingdom and everybody comes in ultimately with a very similar starting point.

We can all say: "Oh, I'm busy... I'm this... I'm that..." I know that we are all the same "busy", but some of us found a way to get there and I truly believe, or should I say in my experience, I know that beyond the mechanics (which is the things that you need to do), it's your mindset and your productivity that makes the massive difference.

For example, if your mindset is "I can't, and I don't have time and I feel overwhelmed",

then my clients won't accept a price rise.

Whatever your mindset is, that completely holds you back.

I don't care what I give you in terms of mechanics, your mindset will prevent you from finding success.

And I wanted to share that this morning, I've been inspired to do this post from an email that I got yesterday. I got this email from a beautiful bookkeeper who's not in the Transformation Program, and she was telling me how busy she is and how she's killing it in her practice. She's got about 4 staff and they just can't keep up with demand and all this.

Honestly, I knew in my heart, I knew from all my experience, this was a busy bookkeeper, not a thriving bookkeeper.

So I simply asked her some questions. Sure enough, the responses have told me that she's very busy – but is she really achieving the work smarter rather than harder in practice?

Is she achieving the time wealth? Is she achieving the income and lifestyle that I help bookkeepers achieve when I help them with the mechanics, their mindset, and their productivity?

So what I wanted to do in today's read (which I may end up breaking this into a little series of posts with such a huge subject), I want to ask you if you are making this mistake, or more broadly, "Are you making these mistakes?"

We are going to dive into a bit around client attraction because when I survey bookkeepers, 50% of them say "I need more clients". It's definitely something that bookkeepers focus on when actually that is just a piece of the puzzle.

Now, I said to my one-inch friend, Julie, "Honestly, I know in my heart that the first person we ever need to find the courage to be honest with is ourselves – and it is hard". And so, I'm going to ask you to find the courage to be honest with yourself, which is very hard for all of us, and to truly ask yourself: "Am I the busy bookkeeper?"

Because, what I'm going to share here, we've all been there – including me. And today, I'll share with you the mistakes and misconceptions that you might be making in order to direct and redirect you. And, I'm going to refer to the mind map below, which I call the big picture for bookkeepers.

the strategic bookkeeper mind map

On the left hand side, it's got everything that you really need to have done and ready and sorted, before you even answer the door to a prospective client, and arguably answer the door to an existing client with new needs. Then, on the right hand side, there are all the other pieces of the puzzle that you need to have in place in order to nurture that prospective client or client to onboard without price as a priority.

Now, those sentences that I just said there, they were really concise and short – but let me tell you right now, it was like me giving you a novel. So if you want to go back and read this again, I would actually really encourage you to. The ability to find onboard and retain clients without price as a priority – it's not just a throwaway line. It is like the Indiana Jones movies when he's searching for the giant diamond or whatever it is, when he's risking his life and he's doing all these crazy things and he keeps going relentlessly. It's like, nothing will stop him looking for this diamond.

Your ability to find onboard and retain clients without price as a priority is like that diamond that Indiana Jones would do anything to get – it's kind of like the elixir of your practice, which probably leads me into the mistakes and misconceptions.

Mistakes are acting wrong, and misconceptions are thinking wrong.

And if we are thinking wrong, we tend to act wrong.

And with find, onboard, and retain clients without price as a priority, the mistake that bookkeepers make (that I made in the early days too!), is not understanding and truly focusing on what's really required to make that happen.

What bookkeepers often look to do is to find new clients, and then to onboard those clients, and to do that using what I call the employee mindset and a math equation as pricing. Then in terms of retention, there are so many pieces to this puzzle, but if we come back to the three parts of the buying decision – relationship, convenience, and price – you need to be a 10 out of 10 in relationship.

Because one of the mistakes that I made early on, I was able to lose a client when somebody else came along and impressed them more, dazzled them more, and gave them something that was maybe perceived as a dollar cheaper. It was believing that retention will just happen because you're a great technician.

I guess the first mistake is really around going to market in your practice without

a rock solid understanding of what it means to find, onboard, and retain clients without price as a priority.

In order to expand on the mistakes that you might be making in regard to exactly what I just shared, I think the best way that I can do that is to share what I do, and what the tribe members are doing.

We are seven months in to opening the doors to the program, and a lot of them have been with me the whole seven months, but we've also got newer tribe members. And so I'm going to share this with you as I seek to help you with the mistakes that you might be making, so I can direct and redirect you.

My job as a coach, and it's something that I really believe and know in my heart, is to direct and redirect you. I've done it with business clients, and now I do it primarily with my bookkeeping clients. I'm giving you fresh direction, so it might be something that you really don't know.

For example is the customer journey. You come to me (just like the bookkeeper who reached out to me by email) and you've got a lot going on in your practice – you're doing this, you're doing that. You tell me what you're doing because you still have a problem.

Like the bookkeeper I did the hot seat with, she had so much work and therefore, a capacity problem.

However, all of the work wasn't really translating into the dream.

The dream becoming a nightmare rather than a reality. So, when she came to me, I checked her practice audit first, because when you come into the program, you complete a practice audit for me in a Google form, and then I've got all the results in a spreadsheet so that I can – at any time – look at what was happening in your practice at the beginning.

And if we do hot seat, it's really helpful as well. I was able to analyse her practice before we caught up, and it was clear to me – as a coach sitting on the outside of her practice – what she needed to do. But, during the hot seat, I went down a rabbit hole on one particular subject, and that was a client that she was working with that had not been paying her, and what was going on there and why. Then the other rabbit hole we went down was the staff that she was considering recruiting.

Now, long story short, in terms of direction and redirection on the client – that was problematic. The reason I focused on that is to change her mindset. Her mind and her behaviour around that client was going to change her mind and her behaviour around everything. I knew that. So what I had to do was redirect her, and then the same on the staff she was about to recruit (to be honest, it was going to be a disaster).

She knew all the things that I told her and showed her. She tended to have in her heart and her gut, and that's what happens. Our gut doesn't often steer us wrong. I know when I'm talking to bookkeepers that aren't in the program, deep in the pit of their gut, they know they should join – but they develop a case for why they don't need to. Our gut doesn't often steer us wrong, and I just wanted to digress into this direction and redirection because that's why I'm here – to give you direction, and more importantly, redirection.

I think of it this way: if you are headed in a specific direction thinking that you'll get there, but then you are veered off course, my job is to steer you back on course

in the direction of income and lifestyle, of a thriving practice with delighted clients, and your dream on your term.

So going back to some stories of me, of the tribe, and how we get this find onboard and retain clients without price as a priority to help you with the mistakes you might be making...

Just by looking at my mind map above, I've got kind of a the top 12 mistakes that you could be making, because success is a lot like a jigsaw puzzle. And one of the first mistakes that I see bookkeepers make (that we get the tribe to not make anymore)—

the employee mindset and a math equation for pricing.

The second podcast that I ever recorded is about pricing and employee mindset. If you haven't listened, I recommend that you do. To give you an example of how my tribe gets this right, when I have a tribe member come in to the program, I do ask them "have you listened to that podcast?". If you haven't, you're going to take that action because we're not going to be surprised by the results we don't get, from the work we don't put in.

So listen to that podcast, and with the tribe – definitely the ones that get the best results are putting in the work. So they get the Pricing Academy which is a foundation member bonus, and otherwise available for purchase standalone. So, once you get the Pricing Academy, which has my productised services, you also get my thought leadership around outcome billing.

I often hear bookkeepers talk about value billing or fixed pricing. Honestly, these are phrases coined by suppliers and alike, and accountants. I'm talking to bookkeepers, and I'm a bookkeeper who's been there, done that. Now, I want you to read this: Outcome billing.

In my tribe, we have like a mantra – we sell outcomes, not hours. We are outcome billing. You will not hear anyone in my tribe talk about value billing. Can you tell me what value billing is? Because I used to feel like it was the emperor's new clothes.

The absolute first thing is to move away from your employee mindset. Let's say, as an employee, you were getting paid $30-40 an hour, and then you can double that rate. Amazing. Oh my goodness, right? That's employee mindset.

The entrepreneur mindset is completely different to that, and it's multi-faceted. And I did another podcast on that called The Entrepreneur's Journey. So the entrepreneur's mindset – which is always evolving – when you have had 35 years in employee mindset being paid an hourly wage, this will not happen overnight or even in a year, but you will begin the journey and you'll rock it and kill it, then you'll kill it and rock it even more in the years to come. However, one of the foundations around pricing when it comes to the entrepreneur mindset is to sell hours, not outcomes.

To actually focus – in a linear fashion – it is to build a thriving practice, before you seek to delight clients, and certainly, before you ever get the privilege of living your dream on your terms. And a thriving practice is one where you have a smart strategic pricing strategy, which has got productised services and minimum charge-out values, and where the hourly rate is not a math equation.

For example: you had one client getting one type of productised service. If you were to break that down hourly, they might be paying you 2, 3, 4, 500,000, or $2,000 an hour. If that makes you go, "Oh my god, that makes me sick in the stomach, I don't understand that", then I want to tell you, you probably have some form of employee mindset going on, and that's the first thing that you need to think about.

When you engage a real estate agent to sell your home, they charge you a percentage of the sale price they are charging you for the result that they get. As an entrepreneur, your job is not to sell your time or your hours, and that's actually not what your prospective clients and your clients want either.

I can tell you right now –

what they want is they want you to help them.

If you think of just reconciling the bank account is helping them, well, then you've got a little bit of a ways to go and I'd love to be the person that helps you get there.

Well, I've sat on this first misconception for a while. This first misconception is such a foundational piece, and I want to continue these posts week on week as we explore a bit more of these mistakes relevant to finding new clients – which, as I said, 50% of bookkeepers are going to tell me that's what they need. Where diving deep relevant to that, but also relevant to how you actually build a practice where you are working truly smarter, not harder.

And that means, doing a certain amount of work for a massive result.

Because, I can tell you right now, the bookkeeper who emailed me, bookkeepers all over the world and myself in the early days – I have had eight staff before and done the same profit as I can do with two staff. Working smarter rather than harder.

I am going to wrap up this blog with a couple of things. So, action plan – your action is to absolutely listen to these two podcasts: Unlock the Power of Strategic Pricing

Tune in to those two podcasts, grab my mind map, and be honest with yourself and ask yourself, if you really understand all the parts of the mind map and whether you have got all of that ready. If you haven't, then, what action are you going to take?

When I got this email from this bookkeeper, I asked myself, "What is it that I'm not conveying about the Transformation Program that doesn't help this person see that it is the answer to all their problems?"

I don't know whether it's because they sit in a place of not being entirely honest with themselves and wanting to believe that they can keep working and working and working. I'm imagining that kind of trudging and trudging and going and going, then one day it'll all fall into place, because this bookkeeper's email tells me a million things that this person's trying to get right. Everything that this bookkeeper's trying to get right is served up done for you in the program.

So I ask myself: What's holding them back?

Is it that I'm not conveying what's inside the program enough or properly? Or is it more that they don't believe that they need it , that they can actually build all these things themselves? And if that's the case, it's a misconception that I totally relate to because in the early days, I did seek help.

As you'll read in my book, I thought I found help and it was never the help I needed and I had to do it myself in the end anyway. My first five years were my f*ck up years, and I look at bookkeepers and I think I know what they're headed for. They're headed for getting 2, 3, 4, 5 years more in and turnover having gone up – but their time wealth and their income not being where it should be or could be. That leading to those feelings of the dream just not becoming a reality. And so that other action is around being honest with yourself, okay?

The way I see it, you've got two options: You can do it alone to try and save some money, or you can back yourself and go for it and join my tribe. And let me tell you, we are knocking it out of the ballpark. That's not a sales pitch. That is me serving you, dare I say courageously to find success.


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