In this solo episode, I’m addressing some fears that many of us have about starting or growing our own bookkeeping or accounting businesses. I’m even sharing a funny story of my own ridiculous fears.
Many of the fears we have hold a common theme:
Fear of failure or not knowing enough.
Hit that play button to hear my take on these fears and how to reframe them.
Resources + Links Mentioned: The Bookkeeping Client Closer
Episode 29 - Scaling Back to Scale up
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[00:00:00] Serena: Not too long ago. I planned to attend an in-person women's a business networking event at a local wine bar. I actually had 100% intention to go all day that day. But when I got there, I walked in, looked around at everyone talking and chit chatting, and then I realized I don't have my ID. I guess I better go back to my car to grab it just in case.
[00:00:26] Um, who who was I kidding? I know I look a little young, but I'm at a women's business networking event. I'm probably not going to get carded. So I went back to my car and then I climbed in and drove off. Just talking about this makes me sweaty, but also makes me laugh today. I'm going to talk about overcoming fears, something I clearly need help with still.
[00:01:21] Serena: A few weeks ago, I out a poll on Instagram asking people which fears are holding them back the most when it comes to their businesses. So let's talk about that story I shared in the intro. I know some things about myself. I don't like big crowds when I'm alone. I had originally planned to meet up with another business owner and going together, but she ended up not being able to come. Was she having the same fears as I was? I'm not sure it would sure. Be funny though, knowing that it would be better to go with a wing woman. I still tried to go alone. Obviously it did not work out. So if you're the same as me or don't even have the means to be able to attend local in-person events, maybe you don't have childcare. You don't have a vehicle. It's okay. There's tons of other options for finding clients and connecting with people. I've been doing it since I started my business nearly six years ago, and this was only the second in person event for business owners, not counting the bookkeeping conferences that I've gone to. You don't need these to succeed.
[00:02:24] I've used Upwork, Facebook groups, virtual events, joining other online courses and programs to find clients. And honestly, I didn't do that to find clients. It just happens. However, if you want to try to do in-person events and you have the same anxiety about crowds and people, as I do definitely get someone to go with you. Heck, I bring my husband to bookkeeping conferences with me. He's my wing, man. If I get to the point where I'm all peopled out, I know he can carry the conversation.
[00:02:55] So now that I've shared with you, my biggest anxiety going to in-person networking events alone, I'm going to share some other fears from those of you who answered my question on Instagram. And I'm going to maybe give a little bit of advice here, and that's why you're listening to the podcast, right? With a lot of fears, a question I usually ask myself, but clearly didn't in the case of my escape from the networking event is: what's the worst that could happen in reality? So after I share each fear that people submitted, I'm going to ask that question.
[00:03:30] So let's ask that question to myself right now. What would have been the worst? Possible scenario that could have happened for me going into that networking event alone? Well, I can tell you what was going through my mind was like, I'm here alone and no one even notices me. I don't even know where to stand. I must look so dumb. That was literally the worst that could have happened. And I decided that I didn't want to deal with it. So I left, but the funny fear aside and talk about some deeper ones that you all shared with me, and you might notice some common themes here.
[00:04:07] So number one, not having enough knowledge or being less knowledgeable than your peers. I'm going to this one in two sections. So the first section not having enough knowledge. There's always going to be someone smarter than you. It's your job to put yourself in the room with them, even if it's online, this is where it's really helpful to have a mentor or a biz bestie to bounce ideas off of when you're a little unsure of something and commit to continuously learning and growing, you'll never feel 100% ready and you'll have to research things and questions that your clients have, but then you'll have that in your tool belt for future clients.
[00:04:49] In the case of not having the knowledge to do what clients need, it could end badly. Sure. But if you promised an outcome that you couldn't fulfill or say your bookkeeping was so bad that they fail an audit, lean on your integrity. If you absolutely know in your heart that you have no business doing something, don't agree to that scope of services, refer them out. And if it's something that you feel a little uncomfortable with, because you're unsure of yourself. The worst that could happen is you make a mistake, you catch it, you own it, and you move on. You'll never make that mistake again.
[00:05:27] Now let's address the second part of that fear being less knowledgeable than your peers comparison is a slippery slope, my friend. And if you find yourself comparing yourself to others, none of us are immune to this by the way, catch yourself, and ask: why am I so worried about being where that person is or having what they have? They are on a different journey than I am. I'm building what is right for me right now. And have a little patience, kindness, and love for yourself and where you're currently at. Maybe a little gratitude. Okay?
[00:06:05] The next one that I saw come up was the fear of not gaining any clients when starting out. So this was an someone who's thinking about starting a business. They're afraid they're not going to get any clients. And the second part of their fear was, being able to have all the knowledge to successfully meet the clients. And then in parentheses, they wrote imposter syndrome is real. So again, common theme here is not enough knowledge to meet the client's needs. So go back to that last question, but I'm going to the first section, the fear of not gaining any clients when I start. Be open to opportunities. Talk about what you do with your friends and your family, and create a space on your calendar to do the work when you do land a client.
[00:06:55] Energetically, are you open for business? Meaning like, do you even have the time to be serving clients right now? If you don't, you need to clear time on your calendar, because if you don't energetically have the space for clients, it's going to be really hard to bring clients into your. I know it's really hard to be detached from the outcome, but the best. Always come when you're not looking. It's kind of like, I don't know if you've ever had this experience, but like when you're in the dating scene, when you're younger or whatever, and you're like desperately looking for like, I need a boyfriend or I want a boyfriend or a girlfriend or whatever. And you're like on the prowl, they're really hard to find. But as soon as you're like, you know what, I'm not even going to try anymore. I'm just going to do me. I'm gonna go and have fun with my friends. Immediately. Someone walks into your life. It's the same with clients.
[00:07:46] Okay. If you already have a client or two and you enjoy working with them, let them know that you're accepting new clients if they happen to know anyone, good clients are usually the best referral source. And yes, you can actively market and put yourself out there, but it needs to be done with an energy of service, not desperation. And you also have to trust that the right clients will find you as you're out there taking action, whether it be on Upwork or adding value in Facebook groups or adding value in other group programs or doing podcast interviews.
[00:08:22] Side note. I do have a mini course on finding clients which I'll link in the show notes. You can find it at ambitiousbookkeeper.com/closer. Now let's ask the question. What's the worst that could happen if I don't get enough clients? Well, how much is enough? Do you know how many clients you would need to have the business you want? If you don't have enough clients, you may have to try something new, learn new methods for getting clients, put yourself out there more. More actively market. Figure out what you're going to do as a plan, so you don't end up there.
[00:09:00] Okay. The next one that was coming up for a lot of people was fear of failure. Now, when all you submit is fear of failure, I'm not really sure exactly what failure is. So my question is what would failure mean? What constitutes failure? I like to look at failures as learning opportunities. And like I said, a minute ago, when you make a mistake, if you have awareness of it, you will likely, never make that mistake again. So what would constitute failure for you? In a broad sense, say maybe you're thinking. You might have to go back to work and get a nine to five because you failed at getting enough clients to sustain your lifestyle and the income you need. But is that really a failure? It's only a failure if you make it one. You could look at it as an experience that gave you the chance to try out having your own business, learning some new skills like selling or networking or online marketing. And then you'll take what you learned from that and likely be better at your new role.
[00:10:01] Another fear that came up was inability to scale your business. So if your goal is to scale your business, you definitely need to put yourself in the room with people who have done what you want to do. Don't try to reinvent the wheel and go back and listen to episode 29, where I talk about scaling back to scale up, and start reading books on scaling a business like built to sell is a good one or hiring and recruiting, amazing teams. One great resources, teamwork by Natalie Dawson or make them beg to work for you by Dr. Angela Lauria, I'm going to link all of these resources in the show notes. And again, this all boils down to being open to continual learning and personal development and possibly being coached. So what would happen if I couldn't scale this thing? Is what you want to ask yourself.
[00:10:52] Now let's ask the question. What's the worst that could happen? You try to scale, you spend too much money doing it. You hired too many people and it doesn't work. So you have to fire everyone in my mind. That's the worst that could happen, honestly. If you're trying to scale. So journal out or write out what would it be, what it would be for you if you resonated with this one? And then write out a solution of what you would do to prevent yourself from getting to that point, and then you have your plan to scale.
[00:11:24] So you may have noticed a couple of common themes, fear of failure, fear of not knowing enough. And I hate to break it to you, but the more you learn, the more you'll realize you don't know. Therefore you'll always be learning if you truly care enough. And I just have to reiterate, I'm assuming you have the foundational knowledge in accounting or the experience in bookkeeping, but either way, even if you're new, brand new and you don't have an accounting background. Well, you're just going to start at zero. You're going to start a little behind everyone else. So you might really fall into that comparison trap. So go enroll in some courses, take some college accounting classes, and have the integrity to ask for help or refer something out when you truly don't know how to handle something and your own research isn't cutting it.
[00:12:12] An underlying theme with fear of failure, I think is fear of kind of having to throw in the towel. By the way that's always a choice, and it's always going to be something you think about doing. I still do. There is no way around that one. I still have imposter syndrome creep in. I still compare myself to other firm owners. And then I even ask myself, who am I to even have this podcast? But if this podcast has helped you one bit, I then have to ask myself who am I to deny someone the help that they need with the knowledge and guidance that I can provide.
[00:12:47] So I now ask you who are you to deny small business owners, the help that they need, the knowledge that you have to help them in their business?
[00:12:58] And I'm going to leave it at that. Who are you? Not to give it a shot and potentially help several small businesses, which then helps a bunch of families, the business owner, the employees, families, not to mention your own? Imagine the ripple effect that you could have by deciding to kick that fear to the side and just go for it.
[00:13:19] I'll talk to you next week. My friend.