Bookkeeping Business Freedom: TFB Spotlight on Cyndi Thomason of Bookskeep

Can you envision bookkeeping business freedom for yourself?

What's that, you say? It's not only getting free from your job by starting a bookkeeping business (if that's where you are today), but it's building a true business and making the transformation to business owner where your practice can run without you!

that's what's this TFB Spotlight interview will reveal – how Cyndi Thomason of Bookskeep was able to start per part-time bookkeeping business and grow it to the point where she doesn't need to work at all, if she doesn't want to… in less than four years!

Listen to her story here in this 43-minute interview.

Would you rather listen to the interview on the go?  Download the Audio Here (right-click and ‘Save As')

Interview Highlights

Cyndi Thomason started her business as a virtual assistant helping her girlfriend with a big contract. She was a stay-at-home mom at the time and home-schooled her daughter. It was a way to ease back into the workforce and supplement the family income. She started doing bookkeeping in the process and used QuickBooks Online. That was around 2012.

Cyndi never wanted to work with QuickBooks desktop and started with virtual bookkeeping services.

A book that helped her early on was the classic E-Myth Revisited by Michael E. Gerber. As a result, in 2014 she officially established her virtual bookkeeping business as Bookskeep. That year she also decided to attend QuickBooks Connect, and made sure her business website was up and ready before the conference so her brand would be in place right from the start.

She got most of her clients from word of mouth and referrals from existing clients. At QuickBooks Connect she met Mike Michalowicz and learned about Profit First. She joined Profit First Professionals almost immediately and began helping clients with profitability and cash flow. That changed everything because it also provided her with a new referral source.

Hiring Help

Cyndi hired bookkeepers early on because she found that the details of doing the actual bookkeeping was draining and she preferred the strategic side of the business instead.

Making the Leap to Specialization

Her bookkeeping business started as a general practice, but she received a referral to a business that was an e-commerce seller. That business owner sent her many referrals to other e-commerce businesses that needed bookkeeping and cash flow help. As a result, Cyndi developed a way for this type of business to implement the Profit First principles successfully, which these clients found highly valuable.

Cyndi struggled to decide whether she wanted to specialize in e-commerce businesses or not. She worked with Mike Michalowicz using the Surge process to work this out. Doing so helped her identify an Ideal Client within the e-commerce niche. Her business took off and got so many new clients that she now turns away clients who are not in the e-commerce field.

Because she found it difficult to turn away disqualified clients, a step toward achieving bookkeeping business freedom was to take herself out of the sales process altogether. She had one of her team members take over that role, and it worked well.

Using the Surge process connected her to key influential people in her niche, which resulted in a continuous stream of referrals. This also led to guest blogging on niche websites that are seen by business owners in the e-commerce field. That has caused Cyndi to be seen as a high-value service provider and expert.

KEY TAKEAWAY – When you specialize, you can grow very quickly by making strategic relationships with influencers in your niche industry.

Cyndi's business now gets on average about 30 leads per month.

One time when she did a Facebook live presentation at the request of a software vendor, she got overloaded with 76 leads in one day! Because Cyndi has so much new business coming in, she has become picky about the clients she will accept, even within her niche!

Achieving Bookkeeping Business Freedom

Now, her business can run 100% without her! But it wasn't like that when she first specialized and everything was growing quickly. At that time she was working long, crazy hours with no relief in sight.

Through the process outlined in the book Clockwork, she learned to define what her bookkeeping business did best. Since she was the one who delivered that (at the time), everyone else had to do all the other tasks to make the business run. Once she was freed to only deliver that core value to clients, she had the time to recognize how she could replace herself in that capacity as well.

Cyndi was well on her way to her bookkeeping business freedom.

You can learn the exact 7-step process she followed in the book Clockwork. A key proof that you've reached true bookkeeping business freedom is to be able to go on a 4-week vacation, completely unplugged from your business, knowing that it will run (and even grow) without you.

Cyndi was able to do just that with her husband (who also works in the business) this past summer when they spent the entire month of July in Hawaii. In fact, here's what she wrote on Facebook about her experience just a few days after her return:

What Cyndi's Business Looks Like Today

Now Cyndi spends the majority of her working time on business strategy and planning. She doesn't even know most of the clients Bookskeep serves, and she is on track to becoming a million-dollar practice.

Bookskeep has a total of 12 people in the business, including Cyndi and her husband, and  it runs 100% virtually from Cyndi's home. Her team members are all remote as well.

Cyndi's Advice to Other Bookkeepers

The best way to grow is to have a niche specialization. You will not have the capacity to grow your business and gain bookkeeping business freedom when you have clients that are draining you as a generalist. You cannot achieve expertise in everything and deliver high value.

The process of specializing and then getting the business to run without you will give you your life back. It took Cyndi 18 months to complete the Clockwork process, but the transformation has been nothing short of amazing.

Now What?

Cyndi has authored an Amazon #1 best-selling book entitled, “Profit First for E-Commerce Sellers“. She also has a plan in place to grow her practice to $5 million in revenue within the next few years.

Recommended Reading

Read and apply what you learn in Mike Michalowicz's books:

  • The Pumpkin Plan – how to specialize and dominate a niche specialty for explosive growth
  • Profit First – a simple system to guarantee profitability in every business
  • Clockwork – a practical, 7-step process for building a highly profitable business that can run without you

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About Gabrielle

Freelance bookkeeper, trainer and consultant who works with internet savvy business owners and bookkeeping professionals to maximize cash flow and support true win-win business success.
This entry was posted in Articles, Audios, Case Studies, Q & A, Videos, Virtual Bookkeeping and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Bookkeeping Business Freedom: TFB Spotlight on Cyndi Thomason of Bookskeep

  1. Michael Coombs says:

    This was an Awesome! – with a capital A – interview Gabrielle. It’s further conformation that creating a life of value with the requisite freedoms is not a dream. I have just ordered profit first with clockwork to follow.

    PS: completed my specialized training as a bookkeeper several weeks ago and got certified as a pro-adviser. For the pass few weeks I have been trying to get to at least one networking event a week while holding down a 9 – 5.

    • Gabrielle says:

      Thanks Michael – Glad you found it helpful!

      Sounds like you are on track for getting all your ducks in a row for your bookkeeping business and will have a roadmap to success using the guidance of these books and Cyndi’s example. Keep us posted on your progress!

  2. Gabrielle and Cyndi

    Great webinar/podcast. It resonated with me in so many ways. I’ve been a bookkeeper for 30+ years, a QBO Pro-Advisor. I am on overwhelm, but was looking to scale my business and hire someone….specialization is the way to go.

    Was thinking of specialization – bookkeeping for realtors, as I recently acquired my mortgage licence – so this would be a good way to connect with realtors.

    Out of Mike’s three books – which one would you recommend starting with? For those that spend a lot of time in the cars….these books are available in audio format thru Audible.

    Cheers

    Louise

    • Gabrielle says:

      Hi Louise – Sounds like what you are considering for a specialized area makes a lot of sense since you already understand how their business works and are “one of them.” That goes a long way in speeding up the trust factor.

      For what you want to do, my recommendation is to read them in the order he wrote the ones recommended – 1. Pumpkin Plan, 2. Profit First, 3. Clockwork. They are available on audio and Mike adds extra content that is not in his books too. So audio is highly recommended.

      Keep us posted on your progress!

  3. Hi Gabrielle

    Your pop up box asked for suggestions for future webinars – so what about

    -working with clients remotely – screen sharing with them for training purposes or when they have a QBO problem
    -secure sharing of documents when you’re working with a remote client.
    -systems, procedures,
    -collections of documents – for remote clients
    -how to set rates and present them to clients?

    Also I’m curious what are other QBO professionals doing – are you charging clients monthly for QBO access, or do you have them sign up and pay on their own?

    Cheers
    Louise

    • Gabrielle says:

      Hey again Louise – Thanks for the suggestions.

      We’ve covered all of these at some point or another on posts and webinars / classes. But it means that I need to do more of that! So thank you.

      To point you in the right direction in the meantime, here’s some of the articles here on the blog that speak to some of your requests:
      https://thefreelancebookkeeper.com/blog/?s=document+sharing

      Regarding QBO, though Intuit has just changed this somewhat in the US, you can use the wholesale billing feature in QuickBooks Online Accountant to bundle the (discounted) cost of the QBO subscription into your fees if you’re using flat fees or value pricing. When charging by the hour (not generally recommended) you could either add that to your bill or simply let the client have their own subscription and invite you as an accountant user.

      Hope that helps.

  4. Ruth Urban says:

    Inspiring! Definitely considering specializing. With being in business for 14 years and having 12 bookkeepers, I’m not sure how to make that change, but will work on it.
    Hope to see you at QB Connect.

    • Gabrielle says:

      Hi Ruth – Thanks for your comment. Yes, specializing is something that many of us find a challenge. My approach is to start where you are and look at your current client base. Is there at least one client that you wish you could clone? Are you interested in his or her type of business and like to understand it at a deeper level? Those are the seeds to specialization.

      Looking forward to seeing you at QB Connect as well!! Can’t wait!

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