Q and A with Gentle Frog’s Rachel Barnett:
So Rachel, tell us a little about yourself. What do you like to do, and where are you based?
I can be found volunteering to teach QuickBooks workshops around the Seattle area and hidden in the back offices of nonprofits doing the glamorous work of data entry. In my spare time, I like to assemble puzzles and can often be found in Leavenworth wearing purple lederhosen for fun. Kidding, I do have the lederhosen, but it’s often too cold to wear it. I do, however, try to get over there 1-2 times a month.
Can you tell us a little about your business and your goals?
This is my second accounting business, and I love it, this business is focused on teaching people who want (or need) to be a DIY’er how to manage their QuickBooks. My goal isn’t to teach you everything; my goal is to distill 25 years’ worth of experience down to the handful of things you really need to know. I’ve been a bookkeeper since the mid 90’s; I’m passionate about working with tiny entrepreneurs (most of my clients count their fuzzy friend as their coworker but don’t have paid team members).
This might sound very open-ended, but what are your Do’s and Don’ts?
Don’t: Windows and toilets
Don’t: Upsell you into hiring me as your bookkeeper
Do: QuickBooks training one-on-one or one-to-many
Do: Workaround your schedule if there are special circumstances (such as a fulltime job or your VA is in another time zone.
What sets you apart from other QuickBooks consultants?
I spend a lot of time and money on continuing my education. I attend and host local meetups and accounting events. I attend webinars and national accounting conferences. I have accounting friends that I lean on and who lean on me for second opinions and advice. If I can’t do something well, I’ll try to refer you to someone who can — it’s a win across the board. All of these factors lead to me having significantly more positive online reviews on Intuits help page than my competition.
My existing clients know that if they have a simple question, they can email me a picture and I’ll try to help them with a quick answer without asking them to buy a paid session. If it’s a bit more than a couple of sentences, I’ll ask for a paid session, but there are many times two sentences and a picture from me is all they need to conquer the day. If I see a pattern of these requests from one particular client, I’ll recommend my Unlimited Plan, where for $99/month, they can schedule almost unlimited 15-minute support sessions.
Most of all, I do this because I want to, not because someone told me I should, or I thought it was an “easy job where I can make a lot of money.” I hear that a lot when people are considering going into bookkeeping. I record my training sessions and send a link to these recordings to my clients. I give people homework so they save money and can practice. I will recommend training durations based on the client’s personality and the topics to reduce their level of overwhelm. I’ve worked with hundreds of small businesses, if you have a problem, I’ve seen it and likely corrected something similar on more than one occasion.
What is something FUN about your business, or why you love doing it?
I love that I can be silly; some of my favorite clients will include frog puns in their emails to me asking for help.
I love that my clients APPRECIATE me; this is a far cry from being a W2 employee.
I love that when someone is really-super-mega stressed out, and they ask me for help, I can explain one or two things in a super calm and easygoing manner, and they will feel like they’re going to cry from happiness. I had one person cry, I was sitting next to her after a workshop, and I was like “oh sh*t, I’m happy you’re happy, but I don’t know what to do here.”
What is the BEST way you want people to get to you. Schedule a virtual coffee?
I’m all for talking shop, I do not sell people to sign up for a service. I want people to know I’m here and that if I can help, I want to, but if I can’t, I’ll do my best to connect them with someone. For example, I refer Nicole Lux-Ritchie out regularly. Nicole owns a Technology Guide business called Luxcentric, where she helps people hone their technology skills. It’s not always about accounting. www.gentlefrog.com/meeting