[25] Scaling Bookkeeping as Service (across continents!) w/ Meryl Johnston, Bean Ninjas

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Today I’m talking Meryl Johnston all the way from the gold coast of Australia. She was kind enough to make the time early in her morning and late in my afternoon here in the US. Meryl runs a very successful productize service called Bean Ninjas.

They handle bookkeeping for a variety of clients not only in Australia but also the us, Canada, UK and New Zealand. They’ve been out for 2 years, going strong and growing steadily .

We talk about her early days and how she launched following the 7 Days method from Dan Norris. She shares her experience trying a variety of marketing channels: content marketing, Facebook groups, word of mouth, networking, etc. She shares secrets about tweaking pricing and their sales process. For example, why she chose to focus and say no to certain client requests, and how to deal with tricky client on-boarding situations.

Finally, we dug into team management, and best tools to follow members in different time zones.  I love to do these especially with productize founders. I hope you’ll find tons of useful nuggets in this episode.

Enjoy!

Episode Notes

[3:30] Differences about accounting and bookkeeping. Serving the US from Australia and why is important hiring locals.

[8:18] Before Bean Ninjas. From tennis to accountancy to becoming an entrepreneur. The difficulties faced when starting a productized service, and testing different marketing channels.

  • “As an accountant you get to see inside the workings of many other businesses”
  • “I felt like I was always working, because I was the point of contact for clients”

[17:52] Founding Bean Ninjas with a partner. Signing a co-founder agreement. Splitting responsibilities and assessing partner’s performance.

[22:44] How to make the transition from consulting to productize services as easy as possible for your clients. Testing processes and test hiring. Focusing on a single service and software to get the most of systematizing.

[32:02] All about pricing. How much to charge and what to include. Tracking profitability by client. Setting expectations with the team.

  • “We realized that with bookkeeping you’re sharing your financial information, and that takes a much higher degree of trust compared to other services”

[42:02] Details of the sales and client on-boarding process. Scoping process to see if the client is a good fit. How the first weeks look like.

[48:48] Team management. Paying by the hour vs paying by expected workload.  Managing check-ins and escalating issues.

[54:24] Content marketing to build trust. The power of customer cases.

Links

Meryl Johnston on Twitter

Meryl’s company, Bean Ninjas

Dan Norris – WP Curve on Productize Podcast

Robert Hartman on Productize Podcast

Xero

7 Day Startup

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