Small Business, Big Numbers
An Accountant's Guide to Landing and Keeping Small Business Clients

Chapter 1: Freelancers & Small Businesses: A Booming Market for Accountants, Bookkeepers, and Tax Preparers
Part 1: Working with (and Educating) Freelancers

As an accountant, you already know that different business entities have different tax obligations. But freelancers and independent contractors may not even think of themselves as a business, and that can lead to problems when they file their annual returns. That's why closing the knowledge gap (at least in this respect) is an important part of serving the small business market.

Educate this group by letting clients with 1099s know that they are expected to pay quarterly taxes, just like any other small business. You can explain how working with an accountant and using accounting software can help them save money in the long run.

But how do you reach out to small businesses? How do you market your advice to people who may not even realize they need it? Here are some tips:

  • Start with your existing clients. Ask if they know anyone who freelances or does contract work that you could contact.
  • Go to small business and freelancer events. Conventions, seminars, and community events are just a few ways you can meet small-business owners in your area. Offer to speak there about taxes or related issues in order to spread the word.
  • Leave fliers in coffee shops or co-working spaces. To find freelancers, you've got to think like a freelancer. These folks may work in libraries or other community spaces to help them stay focused if distractions at home are an issue. Leave business cards at these places and talk to baristas to build connections.
  • Offer referral incentives. Want to get your accounting business some word-of-mouth action? Give people an incentive to pass along your business card to freelancers or small businesses.
  • Be where your potential clients are. Once a week, or maybe a couple times a month, work in a coffee shop or co-working space to build relationships and make contacts.

The hardest part is getting started. After that, as you build a client base of freelancers, contractors, and small businesses, the momentum can grow as you become known for this type of work. Soon enough, you might find your schedule packed with small business clients, and you'll have the experience to handle them efficiently.

Next: Part 2: Working with Established Businesses

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