Are you a father who’s realizing that there are a lot more resources available for stay-at-home mom jobs than there are for stay-at-home dad jobs? Are you looking for an anytime and anywhere career that lets you balance your work with your home life? A stay-at-home dad job that brings in a solid income while you help others?
If so, my recent catch-up chat with stay-at-home virtual bookkeeper Justin Boynton might be exactly what you need to read today.
Why virtual bookkeeping?
For one thing, freelance virtual bookkeepers can earn between $21,000 and $54,000 per year, working solo, with an average of over $38,000 annually, according to ZipRecruiter. It’s also a career that allows you to niche down and earn considerably more by evolving into an agency model or focusing on a particular business, as explained here in the Xero blog. For instance, Justin Boynton has grown his business into an agency that focuses on chiropractors.
Work/life balance for dads (and moms) is very possible with bookkeeping. This podcast episode from the I Love Bookkeeping podcast focuses on this topic. The ability to shift to a stay-at-home dad job is what attracted Justin to virtual bookkeeping as a career.
I first spoke with Justin Boynton, a banker-turned-virtual bookkeeper, in 2019. He explained how, after 15 years in the retail banking industry, he and his wife bought a new home, then found out they were expecting their third child. A need for some additional income led him to virtual bookkeeping as a part-time career that turned into a full-time stay-at-home dad job several months later when he was able to leave banking to focus on the virtual bookkeeping business he founded, Watch My Green.
Justin credits Bookkeeper Launch for helping him create a successful business that makes work-life balance for dads like him a high priority. Bookkeeper Launch, founded by accountant Ben Robinson, covered everything Justin Boynton needed to learn to become a skilled virtual bookkeeper, plus marketing, building a business, finding the clients he wanted to work with, and maintaining that all-important work-life balance while scaling his business to meet his goals (Read our in-depth review of Bookkeeper Launch 4.0).
Today, I catch up with Justin Boynton to see how his business has grown, and how Bookkeeper Launch continues to be a part of his stay-at-home dad life.
It’s been a little over three years since your last interview. Can you share what you’ve been up to in your virtual bookkeeping business since then? For instance, how is having a team working with you different from working on your own?
It is quite a bit different. We are currently working with 5 team members and I am more out of the day-to-day work than ever. It is a nice feeling knowing that things are getting done, while I spend my time working on systems and building the business.
Do you still use Bookkeeper Launch resources as a part of your day-to-day stay-at-home dad job life, or have you passed the stage where you need them?
I will definitely still use the resources that BL (Bookkeeper Launch) has provided. Not necessarily in terms of the specific classes, but more about the people that are in the groups that provide such a valuable resource to all the students.
When we last talked, you had a full-time stay-at-home dad job, and three kids in daycare. How has that changed?
I am still working from home full time, and I now have 2 kids in school and only one left in daycare. We are going to be very excited when the end of May comes around since that will be our last daycare bill!
Did the pandemic affect your virtual bookkeeping business? If so, how?
It did. It really helped to grow my business and it broke down the perception of needing a bookkeeper that was local. It made people realize that it was perfectly normal to do everything virtually. Also, we did lose some clients that went out of business, but that number was surpassed by the number of new clients coming aboard. It allowed us to work with our clients in capacities other than bookkeeping. All businesses had to change, and we liked to help them do that.
It sounds like your business had to change a bit too in order to help your clients in other capacities. What types of other things do you help them with?
Well, we have doubled the size of our team and doubled revenue over the past 2 years. The only other services we are offering are consulting services around the Zoho business software suite. We have become a partner with them and have found many new clients as a result of it.
In addition to bookkeeping services, we are helping businesses set up CRMs (customer relationship management), Project Managers, Subscription Services, and all the automation that goes along with it. It has been a learning experience, to say the least.
In regards to bookkeeping, we have really defined our niche of Chiropractors. We have actively marketed in those circles in the form of conferences and webinars and have made quite a few strategic contacts that are helping our clients.
In our first conversation, you mentioned that you had hired team members so you could spend more time ON your business rather than IN it, which is a good work-life balance tactic for dads and everyone else. How is that going?
It is going good, although I never feel that it is enough. I have come to the conclusion that a person will always be working ON their business. But, once you get systems down, it is just a matter of tweaking and changing things to improve business workflows.
I am right in the middle of the busy season, we are adding new clients, and I just took on a major role with Bookkeepers.com, so my time is stretched pretty thin.
How many regular clients do you have? Do you have a cap on how many your business can serve while still keeping your work-life balance intact?
We are close to 40 regular clients. We have replaced some of our smaller, less profitable clients with larger, more profitable ones, so though our number of clients hasn't grown much, our revenues and profits have. We don't have a cap on the number of clients, because we are in the process of hiring other team members right now, so I see that number increasing by quite a bit over the next few months.
You mentioned the importance of building relationships in your first interview. I noticed that, on your site, you offer a coffee meeting. What do you look for in that connection?
Basically, if the business owner and I can have a good rapport. If I can't joke and have someone laugh at something with me, I am really not interested in working with them.
Can you share what a typical workday of a virtual bookkeeping agency owner looks like?
A day in the life? Hmmmmm… start off by reading for about 10-15 minutes. Then check the calendar and email to see what is in store for the day. Once I feel confident with that, I will answer questions from teammates and make sure they have what they need to do their job. Then, I will follow up on any potential new business. I will also splash some networking meetings here and there. I will also occasionally block off some time for existing projects such as clean-up jobs and educational materials.
What is your favorite part about being a virtual bookkeeper?
The opportunity it gives me to live the life I have always wanted, all while helping teammates live the life they want to. And at the same time helping business owners stay on top of their finances so that they can get back to doing what they do best.
Do you have a favorite quote that inspires you in your virtual bookkeeping business?
“Tiny hinges swing big doors.” Ben Robinson told me that and I never forgot it. Small changes can drastically change your business if done properly.
Can you share some tips on building a thriving business, strong client connections, or on the realities of maintaining a work-life balance while working a full-time stay-at-home dad job?
- Find something that you are good at or that you love to do, and see if there is someone else who wants to learn about it. There is your opportunity for a business.
- Learn about what causes clients pain and work on taking that away.
- To build strong client connections, learn about them.Take notes and reference those notes next time you chat. It will show them you are engaged in learning about them.
- Working from home is great, but there certainly are distractions, especially when others are home. Get a good pair of noise-cancelling headphones and put a lock on your dock. =)
Thank you, Justin!
Virtual Bookkeeping Offers Work/Life Balance for Dads, for Moms… for Everyone!
Are you considering stay-at-home dad (or mom) jobs? Want to learn more about how other parents like Justin Boynton have created virtual bookkeeping careers using Bookkeeper Launch? We have a series of interviews with other Bookkeeper Launch graduates.
These conversations will show you how virtual bookkeeping can be a great stay-at-home job for dads, moms, or anyone who has a way with numbers, likes helping others, and is willing to build solid relationships. From a side-hustle, the way Justin Boynton started out, to the growing agency model he has now, virtual bookkeeping can be whatever you want it to be.
Read these interviews to see how other BL graduates use their training in their businesses:
Not only did Bookkeeper Launch help Justin Boynton and over ten thousand others get started in their virtual bookkeeping careers, but it also remains such an important part of Justin’s professional life that he has recently taken on a major role with the company.
Do you love numbers and helping people? Does a stay-at-home dad job you can build into your life sound perfect? Click here for a free video that will give you a better idea of whether virtual bookkeeping is the career for you. Or check out our in-depth review of Bookkeeper Launch 4.0.
Do you feel work/life balance for dads is as important as it is for moms? Do you think virtual bookkeeping might be the stay-at-home dad job you’ve been looking for? Have questions this interview didn’t answer? Drop a comment below – your response might lead to a future post!