It’s time for another deep-dive into virtual assistant niche selection.
We’re stoked about this series of posts because we see this as one of the biggest challenges that new virtual assistants need to overcome when first launching their business.
Honestly, rarely does a week go by where we don’t have someone email or post a question in the Facebook group surrounding the topic of niche selection.
Yeah, it’s definitely a major struggling point.
To help you work through the process of selecting a niche we came up with the idea of creating a detailed breakdown of some of the most popular niches. We wanted to answer the same key questions across a variety of niches so you could make an educated and confident decision without wasting a lot of time.
We’re going to get things rolling with a niche that you’re probably familiar with: Bookkeeping.
Is Bookkeeping The Right Niche for You?
Selecting a target market that balances passion and profit is part art, part science.
Too much of one and not enough of the other virtually guarantees you’ll need to make changes down the road — to the type of clients you’re working with, how you structure your services or even your niche in general.
While it’s great (and important) to love what you do, it’s equally important that you’re able to generate a profit. Not just a living wage but an actual profit for your business after you’ve paid yourself and all your expenses.
If you’re thinking that bookkeeping might be a suitable niche for your VA business it’s a safe bet that you like working with numbers. And that you’re not at all swayed by the fact that on occasion, you’ll spend hours hunting for a missing twenty cents when it’s time to reconcile accounts.
Of course, you need to have some common “cents” and confidence when it comes to numbers. The ability spot potential problem areas or mistakes will pay huge dividends for you and your clients.
You’ll also need to be confident in your ability to use one or more of the many accounting applications that are currently on the market — Quickbooks, Xero or Sage Accounting to name a few.
Services & Tasks You Can Perform as a Bookkeeper
Bookkeeping services can vary greatly depending on the needs of your clients. You might also find yourself performing different types of tasks at different times of the year. Here are a few examples:
- Entering payables and receivables.
- Performing monthly bank reconciliation.
- Sales tax reporting and submission.
- Helping to create year-end reports.
- Helping to interpret financial statements.
- Dealing with delinquent accounts
How To Find Potential Clients
Bookkeeping offers a variety of potential sub-niches that you might find appealing. In addition to the list of services above, you could choose to specialize in working with a specific type of business or client.
For example you might decide to focus on gyms and personal trainers. Or maybe you prefer to work with medical professionals or internet entrepreneurs. There are plenty of options available and a great degree of flexibility.
Of course there aren’t just many types of clients, there are also many sources. You could search amongst your target market on Linkedin or join a local business networking group.
We’ve also been known to send out the occasional bookkeeping opportunity through our VA Leads program.
Setting Your Rates
If you spend a little time searching the web, you’ll find a variety of sources that point towards an average hourly rate of about $20 USD. However, it’s not unusual for these types of payscale websites to report numbers on the low side.
We believe an hourly rate between $40-60 is more typical and is definitely inline with what Gina and I are paying our bookkeepers.
An important thing to remember is that like any virtual assistant niche, you can charge more over time as your experience and reputation grow. You might start at $30 per hour and increase your average rate to $60 after just a few years.
There’s nothing that says you need to charge on a hourly basis either. You could easily adopt an approach similar to Bean Ninjas and create packages that appeal to different sized businesses.
How to Learn Job-Specific Skills and Acquire Some Prerequisite Knowledge
When it comes to training there are plenty of options available including professional associations
If you live in the United States, you can visit the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers. In Canada you’ll find the Institute of Professional Bookkeepers of Canada and across the pond you can check out the International Association of Bookkeepers.
We’re also big fans of Bookkeeper Launch. if you want skill specific training an in-depth knowledge about how to build a business in this niche.
If you’re interested in learning business skills that are specific to launching and running a profitable bookkeeping business, we can’t think of a better place to start. The course requires an investment, but with such an in-demand service the time to earn back your investment is relatively short.
There are three tiers that you can jump into this program with – Pro, Premier and Team. There’s also a great discount (30% off!) for military, both active and retired, as well as their spouses.
Check out the video snippet from Gina’s interview with Holly from Bookkeeper Launch (the full interview can be found in our 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success course):
Your First Steps to Get Started
If you’re wondering how to get started and what your next steps might be, consider two potential scenarios:
1. You’ve already got some experience as a bookkeeper.
Maybe you’ve been working in the capacity of an employee or maybe you’ve been managing the books for your family business for the last 5 years.
Either way, you have a good handle on what it means to be a bookkeeper and you’re confident that with a little business training and planning, your freelance bookkeeping biz will be up and running on no time flat.
30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success will provide you with a rock solid understanding of what’s required to launch, grow and run your own VA biz. Whether you want additional, niche specific training is up to you.
2. You’re confident that bookkeeping is right up your alley.
You might be new to bookkeeping or have a little experience under your belt. All you need is some niche specific training and you’ll be off the the races.
If this scenario sound like you then a course like Bookkeeper Launch might be just what you’re looking for.
Like any virtual assistant niche, you have an opportunity to grow your business as large as you want or keep it small — managing just a handful of clients at a time. All you need to do is decide what you want out of our business and then put in the work to make it happen.