How to Get Your First Clients for a Bookkeeping, Tax, Accounting or CPA Business

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I started & grew a super dominant, outsourced accounting firm here in the Minneapolis region, and I'd love to help you learn how to do it, and you can hire us to build you an amazing website & setup Google ads to drive customers your way.

How to get your first business clients for your CPA, tax and accounting business

Starting a business is hard, but the most difficult part is finding your very first customers.

There's a ton of reasons why the first clients are the hardest:

Why getting the first clients is really hard for a startup accountant:

  • you feel like a fake
  • you're not confident
  • you have no experience
  • you have not practiced
  • you're making things up as you go
  • you might not be gifted in sales and prospecting
  • you're and accountant, not a sales person
  • you're not sure where to start
  • you're just awkward and bad at it

Starting your own tax and accounting firm is a beast, but it's made even harder for the reasons I mentioned, and a host of others.

Here's a free video I put together of some extremely practical steps you can take to get your first customers, and I'm sure it will be helpful.  

Watch the Video to Get Your First Customers

Video Transcription:

Hey. What's up, guys? If you're first starting this tax and accounting business, this outsourced accounting firm, we're going to talk about how do you go get clients really quick? What are the things you can do today to start going? Now, watch my other videos to talk about your messaging, talking about the value that you're going to add, and all of those things. This is going to be a how do you get your first clients?

There are two ways that you get your first clients. Now, remember, what we want to be in the business of, there's two phases, and then there's two things to get clients.

The 2 Phases of a Business Startup:

The two phases of your business are one, you have to build credibility by getting reps under your belt. I encourage people, when you first start out, you can do tax returns. Just find people to do their tax returns. Do them for everybody that you know, and earn a review. Build up some credibility, get some testimonials about how you handle it. Learn to execute, and prove that you can do the basic stuff and then grow into the ... And then, in phase two, once you have some of those signals, your website's up, you have Google reviews, Facebook reviews, you've got the engines humming a little bit, you can start really prospecting for businesses only and prune your book.

You can even, if your website's set up right, and you're good with people, you could probably just hammer and do business to business right away and do the outsourced accounting model. But usually you've got to get reps, get reviews, and then move into the business and then prune it. You've got to prune them, right? So you might be doing taxes for people. Then you might say, "Hey guys, you know what? I'm actually, all I'm going to do now is this outsourced accounting thing. But you can go to H&R Block down the road. They do a good job. I actually called Tom, Tom's ready to take you on." So there might be a got you there. It might feel weird, but you have to build credibility, get some reps under your belt, and then you switch and you prune.

The other thing that you'll want to do is how do you go get clients, right? So you have to be good at networking. There's a whole other set of videos that I have on this. It's how to be good at sales. These videos I have don't get a lot of views because, doggone it, most people think that they're going to be all right with it, or they're just scared of it. But learning how to draw out of people is really important. But here's the two ways that you do it. Either one, I recommend that you start doing in-person networking. People think it's obnoxious. It's hard, but here's where you go. BNI, I would encourage you to join a BNI, but only join the BNI only after you've visited every single BNI twice in your region.

So here in Minneapolis, there's about 15 of them in about a 30 mile circle. There's so many BNIs, but BNI is a membership networking group that meets every week. It's supposed to be like a professional referral group. They can get kind of weird. Usually it's filled with lots of people that need clients. It gets kind of weird, but they're not all that way, but a lot of them are, but you get to go there and visit twice. Then they're going to ask you to sign up, and then you make a commitment. You have to be there every week or get someone to cover you. They're a little stringent, but you can go there twice.

And everybody's looking to do an in-person meeting and build relationships and build liaisons, and to help each other out. So if you go to every BNI around there and you get to meet every business owner, and then you invest in those relationships over time, and you learn how to call on him and just say, "Hey man, just checking in," maybe build some friendships, maybe build some personal, professional stuff, maybe you help people out, you offer some free work here and there to earn some credibility as you're first getting started out, BNI is a phenomenal way. Now, the chambers of commerce can be good, too. My experience with chambers are that there's either, it's a whole bunch of insurance guys trying to sell insurance. And it's an attorney and insurance, a PNC, a life insurance, an investment advisor, and then it's people connected to the organization of the chamber who are trying to run for office, is usually what it is.

But you can get in there, you can rub elbows. You can build relationships, and that's decent at first, but you know what? There's a lot of these, like, so I'm not big on the intersectionality. But there's Christian business networking, there's Muslim networking for business entrepreneurs. There's women's groups. There's all sorts of networking groups and sales groups out there. Just go to And when you go on to Meet Up, you'll see that there's a lot of them out there. Just go build some relationships with people, but when you do it, make sure you keep their role at X, follow up with them periodically, try and find a way to add free value, trying to help them, whatever that is. Maybe you can just introduce them and know them, but what's really hard is meanwhile you're starving and you need some business. You get a little clingy sometimes.

But do the in-person networking, build relationships, bring them back and put them in a MailChimp account. Now, don't spam them. But email them periodically, call them every other week and just, "Hey, what's up, man?" Not in a fishy way so that it's peculiar, but maybe talk to them about [inaudible 00:04:53]. You can do all sorts of stuff. You can help each other. You can write for each other's blogs. You can, "Hey, I was wondering if I tagged you." Tag each other in social media, go onto their social media and share every time that they do something, share their stuff. I hate social media, but whatever, here I am on YouTube.

So that'd be the first thing, meet people in person, build relationships, and build those critical liaisons, because I'll tell you what, and here's the truth. If you nurture those and you add value in some way, shape, or form while you're doing it, they might not become a sale right away. But it's weird how many times, if you just stay in touch, it starts to percolate. It starts to percolate. "Oh Rob, you know what I thought of that guy, because I was talking to him and he needs a website, and yeah, I think he's going to give you a call." Oh, cool. And no matter what, it starts to work itself out. So that's the first thing.

Second thing is create content like I'm creating. I'm telling you, guys, some of you are good on Instagram. Some of you are good on Facebook. Some of you are good on YouTube. I really like YouTube. I think that my business has blown up in such good, positive ways because of our YouTube content. If you add value through inbound marketing, it doesn't have to be a video, it can be a written blog or something like that. But if you just go out, and I think if you create content that helps people connect with you, see essentially what we're doing here, every call I get is like, now, I'd like to think I'm an authentic guy, right? Don't we all think we're not weird and we're cool and whatever? But now you might be kind of cringey. Kind of cringey, maybe don't do a video, maybe just start blogging.

But the second way you get in front of people is you start creating content, either written or on YouTube, and solve problems and share them. So you can do it on social media too, but digitally you can replicate a lot of it. But I think without video, and without adding value through video, it gets really hard for you to earn some calls and to actually have that occur. So I would say that that would be the second way. You can start vlogging in a very consistent manner so that you can get more phone calls. Hopefully that helps you get your first clients, the first way, network professionally, get connected with people.

But here's the last thing. Man, I should've said this right away. You have to be driving towards a connect meeting if you're in professional services. You need to be able to quickly share, "Hey, this is what I do. What do you do? Cool. You know what? Nice to know you." Trying to help people, but you need to be really good at driving towards a non full commitment, whatever that looks like. "Hey, we do an analysis. If you ever want us to take a look at your taxes and see if maybe your accountant is leaving some money on the table. I don't know." That's an elevator speech on how do you pique interest about the value you add, but good luck, guys. God bless. Glad that you watched this video, and I'm anxious to hear your stories of success.

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