Founder, Florida Virtual Bookkeeper
Jessica Fox is an expert bookkeeper who helps other entrepreneurs build and maintain financially healthy businesses.
Florida Virtual Bookkeeper offers virtual bookkeeping services for freelancers, small service-based businesses, and nonprofit organizations. As a virtual bookkeeper, Jessica makes it possible for smaller businesses (those in the stage where they need some help with their books but don’t need or can’t afford a full-time bookkeeper) to get expert help and advice. She sums it up like this:
I get their books to make sense so they can make informed decisions. It’s not just about getting every possible tax deduction (although that’s important too). It’s about making sure that you know the pulse and the health of your business so you can make adjustments and help it continue to grow.
Like many successful entrepreneurs, Jessica has experimented with other businesses and side hustles in the past. After working in the corporate world for many years (and developing a great deal of bookkeeping experience), she left her job and experimented with turning her hobby into a business. She says “I did it just because I wanted to. It was fun at the time, but it didn’t work for a variety of reasons. I think it was not truly my passion.”
She decided to go back to the corporate world for a while. A bit later, though, she got a pretty powerful incentive to stop spending most of her life at work.
I became a mother, and I really didn’t want to go back to a full-time job after maternity leave. I really really really didn’t want to.
So then I started to explore alternatives, trying to figure out what I could do to stay home with my kids and still be able to contribute to the household.
After that crucial moment when she decided to commit to entrepreneurship, Jessica says “It still took a couple of years of trial and error.” Since she had a wide range of skills and experiences to draw on, she started out creating websites for clients. She quickly realized it wasn’t a fit. “I realized ‘Yeah, it’s profitable … but I HATE it.’” She decided to pivot and start doing something else.
It took me a while to figure out what my passion was: I’m that nerd who loves numbers. I realized I was a really good bookkeeper in the corporate world. I was a really good accountant. I had lots of experience, and numbers and I got along: the numbers only went one way, there wasn’t room for misinterpretation, and I didn’t have to figure out what the numbers wanted from me.
When I decided I was going to focus on bookkeeping, everything fell into place.
Jessica says that she loves her job, not only because she enjoys the work itself but also because of the positive impact she’s able to have on her clients. “I am honored to have helped several clients avoid bankruptcy or having to close down their business by cleaning up their books and translating the numbers into English.”
Her passion and experience have paid off. “In less than 12 months, my business has grown over 500% and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down.”
“Taking the time to set up systems and workflows will help your productivity and efficiency in the long run.” Here are two of the systems she’s found especially helpful:
- Her project management system, she says, “enables me to get everything done efficiently, on time and without anything falling through the cracks.”
- She manages her business finances strategically using an accounting system called Profit First. She pays herself first, regularly sets money aside for taxes, and keeps her operating expenses low. She says this is “life-changing, because before I found that system, I was always concerned about the viability of my business. With it, I pay myself first, I pay myself a living wage, and my business has grown both in profitability and new clients.”
Jessica says she joined Azlo because “This year, as my firm grew, I decided to make the leap and set up an LLC. This required me to open up new bank accounts.” She knew exactly what she wanted: an online bank that doesn’t charge a lot of fees. That’s how she found us.
I’m all about being online. I have a fully virtual practice; why would I want to go to a brick and mortar bank? There’s not a lot to choose from for business banking that’s online only, especially without being nickel-and-dimed with fees. As a new business, I’m especially conscious of the pennies; every little bit makes a difference and keeping operating expenses as lean as possible is important. That’s what appealed to me about Azlo: the fact that it’s free and it’s 100% online and mobile-friendly.
Building a business is a lot of work. As an entrepreneur working with many newly formed business, Jessica is especially aware of how hard it can be. “When you get started as an entrepreneur, you have to figure out how to wear all these hats at the same time. There are so many things you have to figure out on your own to help your business grow.”
She’s able to help many new businesses through Florida Virtual Bookkeeper, but she didn’t want to stop there.
Since I work with a lot of new businesses, I’ve noticed a common theme. They don’t understand what bookkeeping and accounting mean. They have heard it’s important, but they’re intimidated because the terminology is like a foreign language. A lot of people don’t have the time or desire to spend a lot of time decoding.
One night I couldn’t sleep and I got inspired. I started writing a concise guide breaking down the basics: “If you’re a new entrepreneur, this is what bookkeeping is, this is why it’s important to your business, and this is how to take the steps yourself or hire someone to help you.”
You can find her book on Amazon, in Kindle and paperback editions. If you’re one of the (many) folks who don’t love numbers, take heart—it’s approachable and short enough to read in an hour or so.