Is the Bookkeeping Business Academy Course Worth it? An Interview with Callie Sitek
Ben Robinson, CPA is all set to launch the first public release of his course, Bookkeeping Business Academy Course (now known as Bookkeeper Launch). The students who took his first run of the course, that started in June, have graduated and are moving forward. A question on some people's mind is: Is this Bookkeeping Business Academy course worth it? By the end of the 10-week course are you really in a position to start your own bookkeeping business? Is it worth the money and the time?
Callie Sitek was one of the students of this first class. Two weeks after completing the course, she already has her new business website up, is building a web presence, and is about to meet her first prospective client. In this interview, Callie talks about the course and how it is affecting her life.
Callie, could you tell us a bit about yourself?
I am a stay-at-home mom of an almost 3-year-old boy and a 3-month-old boy. Before I found Bookkeeper Business Academy I was working as a Virtual Assistant, way undervaluing my services, and doing some other odd and end jobs like typing for Virtual Bee. After my expenses, I was never making more than $5-7/hr. I started getting really frustrated and burnt out because I would work for hours and make nearly nothing.
So had you dealt with accounting, finances or bookkeeping as a VA?
Bookkeeping was not one of the services I offered as a VA. My only experience was doing my own books, poorly, and I helped with my dad's business' books when I was a teenager.
What attracted you to Ben's Bookkeeping Business Academy course?
I think it's the fact that I had tried to learn bookkeeping on my own about a year prior and failed miserably because I had questions, but no one to ask. I watched his three free training sessions and just knew that I had to jump. I knew that I had to invest in myself if I was ever going to be successful.
What were the best aspects of the course for you?
The people. Ben was so helpful and his teaching style is really easy to follow. Our Facebook group was also really nice – having others to talk to about questions and for support was so helpful.
In your opinion, do you need to be a whiz at math to be able to be a great bookkeeper?
This is a hard question for me because I am a whiz at math. It has always been my favorite subject. To me it doesn't feel like difficult math, but I would say basic algebra skills would be all you need.
How much time were you spending on “homework” during the course?
There really wasn't a lot of homework. In the beginning, it was mostly wrapping your head around accounting theory. As we progressed, we got into the action of bookkeeping. On average maybe 2 hours tops and that was mostly learning software and studying for certifications.
I've understood that Ben has you actually working on real aspects of developing your business even during the course. What did you have in place by the end of the course? What had you accomplished?
That's true. He encouraged us all to get started before we felt ready. By the end of the course I had my website up (The Radical Profits Club), been blogging for a month, my opt-in freebie finished for list building, and I was actively marketing myself on Facebook and Twitter. I veered from the course a bit to find my target clients, but Ben really gave the blueprint.
How long has it been since you finished the course? What stage are you at now?
The class has been over for almost 2 weeks now and I have my first consultation call with a prospective client tomorrow! I'm super excited and scared all at the same time, but thank goodness I have a set of questions ready to ask, courtesy of BBA (Bookkeeping Business Academy).
What previous skills of yours are helping you make this work?
I would say my experience with technology has helped me the most with learning quickly and getting my name out there.
And most importantly, how is this all working with your aim of being at home for your family?
Right now I am working more than I ever have from home and it is really hard, I'm not going to lie. Most days I just want to sleep – haha! But I know that once I get a few steady clients, I can slow down on the hustle because my clients will be with me on a continual basis. My eventual goal is to have enough clients to hire my husband to help so he can quit his job and we can have more time and money for family adventures!
Would you recommend this course to other work-at-home moms?
Absolutely! I have seen so many stay-at-home moms working so hard for so little, just like I used to do. Something that changed it all for me was the saying you can make more money, you can't make more time. Your time is your most valuable resource and it is worth more than $2 an hour or even $10 an hour! This is an opportunity to invest in yourself. It won't be easy and it isn't for everyone, but you owe it to yourself and your family to at least see.
Do you have any tips for those who are thinking of taking the full course?
If you are thinking of taking the full course PLEASE watch the free classes to see if this is right for you. It is not for everyone! If you can't motivate yourself, believe in yourself, or stick with things that are hard work you should probably look elsewhere. BUT if you have the characteristics of a great bookkeeper and you are ready to work your butt off (at first) so you can coast later with a great income, you need to do this for yourself. Also, if your family depends on your current income stream I would advise you to keep working until you get enough clients to replace that. It will take a bit of time.
Thank you, Callie!
UPDATE: Callie recently updated us on her progress – take a look at her follow up interview!
Have you taken the course? Are you interested in taking the course? Either way – comments or questions – just start typing below!
During the interview with Callie, she mentioned the majority of homework came when studying for certifications. Which certifications does Ben’s course allow you to apply for? What is the certification once you’ve completed the course?
Thanks for the info.
I know, Dan, that Ben’s course does allow you to apply for certification in Xero and Quickbooks for sure. I’ll find out if there are any other certifications encouraged within the course.
Ben himself doesn’t give anyone certification. But his Bookkeeping Business Launch course is accredited by ICB USA – International Certified Bookkeepers (http://www.icbusa.org), the world’s leading bookkeeping organization. And as a student of the course, you automaticaly get one year of free membership at ICB. This puts you in a position to take their exams, get accredited by them and also continue to enhance your bookkeeping skills after Ben’s course. US law does not require a bookkeeper to be certified in order to practice, but obviously it will put you in a better position to land the work you always wanted! 🙂
Let me know if you need any further clarification,
Are you still a virtual bookkeeper? If so, how is everything going? Better than you imagined? Pretty much what you imagined? Or are you looking to do something else with your life?
Actually I am not a virtual bookkeeper though I did a thorough review of the course by interviewing the creator and several graduates who are started bookkeeping businesses and are still happily continuing. If you want you can read the interviews of Amy and/or Holly to see what their experiences have been and you can also contact any of them via their websites if you want further information.
Hope this helps!
Can this course be applicable to me if I am not really tech savvy. I only know how to use computers software that I need at work.
You don’t need to be very tech savvy to be successful, but you do need to be comfortable learning new software. If you can learn the software that you need for work, then you can learn bookkeeping software too. On the marketing side, we offer some non-tech strategies in addition to the online techniques for acquiring clients.
Let me know if you have any other questions,
Your blog has been incredibly helpful to those who are skeptical about the course. But I have a few questions. I am a college student studying Accounting in order to get my CPA license and a stay at home mom. Would you recommend this course to students already learning accounting? Also, I plan on doing this sometime around the end of the year, when I hope to be able to afford the full course, do you think the prices will increase? Not sure if you could help me with these questions, but any input would be appreciated. Thank you again.
That’s a tough call, Jocelyn. The course is about 50/50 between bookkeeping skills and marketing skills. Much of the bookkeeping knowledge theory would be a waste, but the hands-on lessons are designed to help you get beyond theory and into application. Depending on how you were taught accounting, that could be a great asset. The marketing lessons would be of great benefit to you if you plan on being a stay at home mom and need to be able to create a virtual business.
There are no plans for any price increases.
Hope this helps,
It would be nice to hear about more bookkeeping businesses that have been successfully started from this course. I have searched quite a bit online and Callie is the only one I can find mention of. Has there only been one success story?
No, Jeff there are many. Two other graduates, with businesses, who I have been in contact with are Rocsanna – her site is Veterinary Bookkeeping Solutions and Kirstin – her site is Sustainable Bookkeeping. They are both happy to answer questions about the course and their careers.
They can both be contacted via the contact page on their sites and both are also willing to answer questions here in these comments so that others can benefit from their answers as well.
At the same time, your question has given me a great idea for a future post! Thanks!
Let me know if you have any other comments or questions,
Hi, there are people who take the course in Houston, Tx and have an actual business running?
Sorry for the delay in responding, somehow I missed this comment and just found it – this may be way too late, but maybe late is better than never?
When I asked Kelly, a member of Ben’s team, she responded:
Yes we do have Houston folks, and as a matter of fact, they are planning a get-together right now! So far, there are 8 people who are planning on attending. Our private FB group allows students from all areas connect; sometimes just virtually and sometimes in person!
Just thought you might like to know. If you have any other questions, they will definitely be answered much faster!
Thanks for this interview. I’m just curious, how do you find clients? Can I serve clients from remote countries?
A full 50% of the course is dedicated to showing you how to market your bookkeeping business and attract quality clients. This is a completely virtual business, so you can absolutely serve clients from anywhere you have internet! ?
I have been a bookkeeper for about 5 years now… I am just trying to understand how this works.. How do you bookkeep for a company from home.. seems odd. BUT I am interested and since I have experience is all of the training a must?
The whole process is based online allowing you to bookkeep for anyone and from anywhere – really attractive from my perspective. Have you joined Ben’s free video course? If you haven’t, that might give you more of an idea about how the whole process can be done from home.
I can’t really answer for sure if all the training is a must. But my guess is that most of it will be useful as there is a lot taught about how to run your own business as well as the skills needed to do the whole job online. And then you will be able to breeze through the portions you already know. One graduate told me that she actually had to unlearn some things as she switched from being a regular “old fashioned” bookkeeper to becoming a virtual bookkeeper.
Another added bonus of joining Ben’s free course is that you will be informed of the timings of his free question-answer sessions for people who are trying to figure out if this is the profession for them…
Let me know if I can answer any other questions,
How much does the 10 week course cost?
You can find the price of the ten-week course towards the end of this review of the course. (I hope you don’t mind that I am directing you to the review – then any visitor reading this will be able to get up-to-date information. The review is updated often, whereas the answer to this comment might not be.)
Let me know if you have any other questions,
I would like to know how Callie is doing now as it looks like this was posted last September.
Yes, Christine, it was posted in September 2015. When I last corresponded with Callie in January, she was pleased to say that she had 4 clients and that she was able to do the required work around the schedules of her family.
I’ve been watching her website, thesmartkeep.com, grow and am on her mailing list. In the last couple of months, she has formed a team, is preparing useful training (free and paid) for entrepreneurs and just last week did her first webinar (from which I learned a lot.) She provides useful and apt information on her site – personally it gives me the feeling that she knows her stuff and is ready to help to the best of her ability.
She had originally agreed to do a follow-up interview. I asked her about that yesterday and will let you know when that gets posted.
You can read Callie’s follow-up interview here.
Feel free to ask her or me any other questions you have!
Wow nice site! I like any online opportunity to work form home and earn. Virtual bookkeeping sound like a great chance to fill a need and start a home business at the same time. Thanks for all the reviews. Also we just love learning the skinny with online programs. My sister does bookkeeping. I will let her know about this site. Best regards,
I’m glad you found this useful Robert. Please do let your sister know about it. As you can see from Callie’s interview, it really is an opportunity to run a complete business from home. Ben’s interview gives some more details as well.
Hello, your offer to join the Bookkeeping Business Academy is interesting and would be worth checking out for people who are good with numbers.Previously I worked as accountant and know that it is tedious work. You need to be careful, because you bear responsibility for other people’s finances. You can not dream and fantasize. Everything is supposed to be in order.I think for moms or students with debts, or seniors or just people who need additional income, this bookkeeping business academy course is a chance to improve their financial situation. It seems like that is what Callie thought too! Glad she took the jump.Thanks for the information.All the best, Nemira
Yes, Nemira, it looks like Callie did think it was worth taking the dive. And she gave a pretty fair picture of how the course was for her and how things are turning out. Don’t you think?