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Starting up my business and getting clients

  • Practice Licence
  • 2 posts
  • # 121012


I was looking for some advice on how to go about building up my client base.

I have not long passed my exams, most recently passing the level 4 self assessment tax return module. I do plan to go further completing level 4 however for now i am keen to get my teeth stuck into work and earning however i feel at a slight loss of how to advertise myself properly.

I have sent some letters to accountants but not had any response and i have set myself up on linkedIn.

Is there anyone that can offer me some advice on this and where best to start?

Any help would be appreciated.

Thank you

Jo Smile

  • Member PM.Dip
  • Practice Licence
  • 21 posts
  • # 121066

Hi Jo

It's coming up to two years since I was in your position, so I know how you feel!  I got my first client through a chance meeting, then my second through the first.... I think that's how it tends to go.  I haven't wanted a lot of clients so haven't gone hugely for marketing, but how you go about it will probably depend on what type of client you want to attract and what software(s) you want to work with.  "Any client, any software" would have been my thought at your stage, but I have found I like to work with small clients on a very individual and personal level rather than bigger companies , and I have found that two new softwares have been enough to master thus far.  But I am getting towards the end of my career and your objectives may well be different from mine.

You don't say where you are - if in Scotland then your local Business Gateway might be a good place to start for some suggestions.  I don't know if there are equivalents in other parts of the UK but I'd suggest you start building contacts however you can - landlord agencies might be worth contacting as there will be a lot of landlords starting to sweat about MTD for ITS quite soon?  Local charities or schools might value some help (though likely to be unpaid, it would be good for gaining confidence, building contacts and getting used to various software packages).

I also got some business cards printed and was working up to leaving them in various places but then I got clients so haven't had to use them yet.  It's so handy to have one, though - keep a supply with you at all times so that you can easily pass one on to local tradespeople etc.

The marketing courses I've attended applaud the power of Facebook for making business contacts (I'm not a fan so I have no experience there) and also joining any local chamber of commerce or similar in your area - all good for "networking" (I hate that, but it does get results!)

Last but definitely not least, I'd suggest you hook up with other ICB bookkeepers - e.g. through your local ICB network group - mine has been SO helpful over the last couple of years.  Some local members might even be looking for someone to subcontract to.  Our meetings are still taking place over Zoom and so I'm sure you'd be welcome to book in to any upcoming meetings and find out what the craic is - the beauty of Zoom is you don't have to be local to attend.

Hope some of those ideas will help give you a leg up - and persevere, even if it's slow to start with.  Good luck!

Pot B. Smile

Edited at 08 Feb 2022 12:29 PM GMT

Edited at 08 Feb 2022 12:29 PM GMT

  • 43 posts
  • # 121068

Hi Jo,

Congratulations on passing your exams and gaining your practice licence.

I started my business almost 10 years ago and was lucky in gaining my initial clients from a retiring bookkeeper, who was introduced by another bookkeeper so networking is key. I also met an accountant at a networking meeting who then referred clients to me (and continues to do so!) 

I set up a website, a Facebook page and a Twitter account as well as joining LinkedIn.  These seem to help clients to find me even though I'm not really active on any of them! 

Possibly check out joining your local Chamber of Commerce as they often provide networking meetings too and any local groups that offer support.

Don't forget to check out the job vacancies posted on ICB website too, a lot are London based but it does vary.

I took things slowly but had the benefit of working part time while building up my business but by 2014 I had gained enough clients and confidence to leave employment behind and concentrate fully on my bookkeeping business. I have been at capacity for a couple of years but I still receive calls and emails looking for a bookkeeper, the work does seem to be out there and MTD will only bring more opportunities.

I hope that helps a little and I wish you luck for the future.

Kind regards


  • Practice Licence
  • 2 posts
  • # 121072

Thank you so much for your responses, it has been very helpful.

I am in Derby so i need to have a look at any networking and i am also putting myself out there by contacting local Accountants, i am also in touch with another local bookkeeper however no work has materialised from it yet but i suppose i need to be patient.

I am in the process of setting up a website and a facebook page so hoping this also puts my name out there.

I will look at the ICB local network too. It does appear that making tax digital with hopefully create more clients so i just need to get my name out there.

Thank you again


  • Companion Fellow PM.Dip
  • Practice Licence
  • 42 posts
  • # 121086

The ICB bookkeeping community is very supportive! I would second everything that has been said. If you are into Facebook I would recommend joining our Facebook Groups, we have a special one for New Practices now:

ICB New Practices Group

ICB Members Group:

ICB Students Group:

We are also running webinars every month discussing some of the key components of setting up a bookkeeping practice from clients to compliance. The next practice webinars are on Wednesday 23rd February and details will be up shortly on the main events page:

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