Frugal Side Hustle: Bookkeeping with Kate Johnson – EP 320

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Want to turn your love for numbers into a money-making side gig? Try bookkeeping! In this special Frugal Side Hustle episode, Kate Johnson joins Jen & Jill to get into the art of bookkeeping. Learn everything you need to know to kickstart your bookkeeping journey and unlock the potential for a thriving side hustle! Listen in as Kate, Jen, and Jill explore the ins and outs of bookkeeping.

The best bookkeepers are good storytellers.


  •  The Friendletter. Do you want to save more and spend less? Only have 5 minutes a day? Then get excited because The Friendletter launches July 10th! We’re turning the newsletter on its head and delivering everything we know about saving money and having fun while doing it, to your inbox three times a week. Mondays are all about freebies. We’ll tell you what companies are giving away freebies or where you may be able to find free events in your area. Wednesdays are about saving, you’ll get tips to save on one budget category and an actionable step to take each week. And Friday will send you into the weekend with some spending psychology mental shortcuts to help you say “no” to the things you don’t value and emphatic “yeses!” to the things you love. So if you want to save more and spend less in 5 minutes a day head to right now so you don’t miss the first edition!

Kate Josephine Johnson owns Heritage Business Services, LLC, a virtual bookkeeping firm serving small business clients all over the United States. She can also be found helping others build a virtual accounting career they love inside her Bookkeeping Side Hustle Community.

Understanding the Basics of Bookkeeping

Bookkeeping is just the recording of the financial transactions of a business, says Kate. You don’t have to have a degree to take up bookkeeping, but you do need to have some education in it to learn the fundamentals. Education can come in the form of online courses, software training, and even textbooks. It takes time to learn bookkeeping, and you’re going to know quickly if you like it and if you’re inclined to it due to its complexity.

Jill says bookkeeping is specialized enough that if you get some education, you can charge more for your services. It has a degree of difficulty, but not a high barrier.

Essential Traits for Bookkeepers

Kate believes being a good storyteller and tech-curious are two skills needed most in bookkeeping. Being a good storyteller means communicating with business owners and knowing their financial statements like the back of their hand. Being tech-curious means being open to learning new tech, just as the world’s tech continues to evolve.

Navigating the Learning Process in Bookkeeping

Kate cites accounting fundamentals resources like the free resource Accounting Coach. It’s an Account 101 school where you can go take classes for free, with tests that you can pay for. Other resources include bookkeeping courses, and Kate recommends courses run by someone experienced in bookkeeping businesses. She also recommends getting certified in QuickBooks and Xero, the two largest cloud-based ledgers.

Kate herself took a course called Bookkeeper Launch, while running a community called the Bookkeeping Side Hustle.

Getting Started and Thriving in the Field as Bookkeepers

The more you know accounting, the more you’re going to know how hard accounting is for different types of businesses, Kate advises. She encourages getting a few clients from different types of businesses to know the niche you want to fall into and being confident as a bookkeeper. If you tell 100 people you’re a bookkeeper, you’ll probably get a client.

Never touch a receipt. Don’t go to any offices; let the receipts come to you and serve clients virtually. 

The most unexpected expense we discovered when going through our business or personal transactions

  • Kate: Transaction fees
  • Jill: Not charging for ancillary time
  • Jen: A membership canceled in October that charged her for a full year in January

Bill of The Week

Thank you Kate for sharing your bill about entertaining your family on a military base for MWR (morale, welfare, recreation)!

Thanks so Much for Listening!

Thanks so much for listening. Many of you know we have a private community where we do monthly money challenges and offer accountability groups. We want to congratulate one of our members for a big win.

At the end of last year I vowed to not buy any new *or used* clothing in 2023.

So far, so good! I have plenty, and even buying used clothing that you don’t really need takes up money, time, and resources[...] I have nice rewards (nothing over $150.00 by the way! No yachts or jets, lol) tied to each debt payoff and savings goal I have to keep me motivated.

I’ve heard you shouldn’t tie buying material things to trying to curb buying material things 😉 and I get that, but I find that it keeps me focused and motivated. Maybe someday I won’t need to think that way, but right now it helps.

Congrats! If you want to check out our monthly challenge community head to to see what challenge we have coming up next.

And keep leaving us reviews on iTunes or Stitcher, and sending the screenshot to And don’t forget to share your favorite quote from the episode by using the hashtag #FrugalFriendsNote. 😉

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