What Should I Blog About as a Small Business Bookkeeper? with Andi Smiles
The “What Should I Blog About?” series gives you examples of what real business owners are blogging about to promote their work in their industry. These interviews will spark new ideas for your own blog and give you encouragement in overcoming your blogging struggles. Check out other posts in the series here.
I'm thrilled to introduce Andi Smiles for this month's What Should I Blog About post.
Andi is a small business bookkeeper, financial consultant, and certified professional coach. She is passionate about helping self-employed women develop a transparent and loving relationship with their finances and discover their inner money badass. She believes that when we create a healthy friendship with our finances, we can engage with our business, and clients, from a more authentic and empowered place.
Andi has been blogging for her business for less than a year, and she is absolutely killing it! If that doesn't make you want to know more about her, I don't know what will! Andi is the best at taking a topic most of us would rather not talk about and making it easy and fun to understand.
Read on to find out how Andi's approach to blogging as a small business bookkeeper could help you manage your own blog!
1. Tell us about your business and yourself.
I’m Andi Smiles! I’m the creator of the BFF course, which stands for Best Finances Forever, and is a site dedicated to all things self-employed finance for women. Eight years ago I had a job that made me their unofficial bookkeeper and I taught myself how to use QuickBooks. A year later, out of the blue, I received a bookkeeping referral client and I thought, “Cool! Extra money!"
Little did I know that this side income would grow to become a full-fledged business with a fully booked practice, blog, online course, teaching contracts, and consultation packages.
Throughout the years I worked with a lot of self-employed women and noticed that so many of them were estranged from their money. Seeing the impact of helping these women re-engage with their finances put me on a mission to help small business owners develop a loving and transparent relationship with their money.
2. When did you first start blogging for your business? What did you write about as a new blogger?
I launched my business website and blog in September of 2016---six years after I started my business! As a new blogger, I seeded my blog and website with the most common financial struggles I had witnessed my clients go through and the questions I was most frequently asked by new clients.
The topics ranged from how to pick an accounting program and small business tax deductions, to lessons I learned about money from my dog, to the best reports to run in QuickBooks.
I also knew that I wanted to focus on the emotional side of money, so I created a four-part series that explored my personal struggles with money and how I moved past them.
3. What does your blog look like these days?
I’ve now had my blog for about eight months, and my vision for it has definitely evolved. Originally, I planned on writing more technical posts about the bookkeeping side of small business with how-to tutorials. But the more I wrote about the emotional side of money in tandem with creating strong business finance systems, the more I realized that this was my passion and aligned with my ultimate vision for my business.
Now, I write less about the technical how-to and more about financial self-care in your business. I still talk about systems, but I also focus on the emotional blocks that keep us from using them.
When I first started blogging, I posted once a week to seed my blog, but I also wanted to focus on creating digital products! Now I post twice a month and I’m exploring other ways to share my content. I’m really excited about adding more videos to my blog because I think sometimes our eyes can glaze over when we are reading about tough subjects like money.
4. What are some of your most popular posts? Why do you think they resonate with your readers so much?
My most popular post is called “The Epic Cheat Sheet to Deductions for Self-Employed Rockstars,” and it has gone viral on Pinterest with 56,000 shares. My two other top posts are called “7 Insanely Awesome Write-Offs that Solopreneurs Need to Know” and “How to Pay Yourself So You Actually Have Enough Money.”
I think all three of these posts are addressing a pain point for new business owners. Tax deductions are a topic that is shrouded in mystery for new biz owners, and if you research them, you often get technical accounting language. My writing style is very friendly and casual---I write like I am talking to my bestie about tax deductions, so the posts are accessible to readers. Also, all three posts have a valuable freebie attached that people can reference.
I think the owner pay post was a hit because it’s something people are wondering about but afraid to ask. Whenever someone asks me about owner pay they always say, “I know this is a stupid question but . . . .” There’s a lot of information small business owners think they should already know, and my approach is not to assume anything about what someone knows.
(Andi is so right about this! Making assumptions about your blog audience isa good way to miss the mark and lose potential clients. Learn more about avoiding dangerous assumptions here!)
5. Finance is a topic many business owners want to ignore. How do you write about an intimidating subject in a way that’s approachable and easy to understand?
I use a lot of humor, pop culture references, and slang in my writing. I’ll reference My Little Ponies and rainbows just to break up the monotony of reading about finance. To be honest, I think finance is kinda boring too, which is why I need to find ways to liven it up as a writer.
If I get stuck writing, I’ll imagine I’m having a conversation with my best friend, who is also self-employed. I think of exactly how I would explain something to her (ditching the formality!) and that’s what I write. Sometimes I even talk it out with “her” to really dig into how I want to explain something.
People have commented that they like the voice of my writing, and I think it resonates because it is my actual voice---I write about finance the same way I would talk about it to a friend, and it makes it approachable.
6. You consistently put out ridiculously high-quality blog posts---AND you create unique content upgrades for many of them! How do you manage all that content creation alongside the work of running your business?
Time blocking! I get asked this question a lot because, in addition to my business, I’m involved in several passion projects. Time blocking is the only way I’m able to manage (and keep track of) it all. Time blocking does take self-control, though. You have to be really committed to only working on that thing for the time allocated and putting on the blinders to everything else.
In terms of writing, having a daily writing practice helps a lot. When I first started my blog, I woke up at 6:00 a.m. every morning and wrote 1000 words. Writing is definitely a muscle that needs to be exercised---the more you do it, the easier it becomes. The content creation flows when you have a daily writing practice.
7. Any tips to share with other online entrepreneurs who want to blog for their business?
If you don’t know what to write about, make a list of everything people ask you about and use those topics as a starting off point---people will be thrilled to have your thoughts in writing! Also, if you get stuck or have “writer’s block,” talk it out. I’ve even gone as far to record myself and transcribe it. That not only gets the information out of your brain, it also makes it sounds more natural and conversational.
Thanks for sharing your blog strategy, Andi!
Stop by Andi's blog to see her stellar finance posts in action. If you want more in-depth help managing your solopreneur finances, don't miss her Biz Finance Launchpad! It's got everything you need to start creating healthy finance habits in your biz.