How far have you come?

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Sometimes we can only truly understand the progress we've made and how far we've come when we are able to take a glimpse at the past.

Today's post is a bit personal for me.  It's a bit of a walk down memory lane and it's sparked a few emotions.  

Tonight, I was doing just that courtesy of the WayBack machine, an archive of web pages.  I was looking at the site for my very first business I started when I was 20, 17 years ago.  It was a web design business and it really started memories flooding back.  

It wasn't long before I started looking at my first bookkeeping website from 2009.  While I'm surprised at just how far I've come since then, I was also struck by how I was using a lot of the things I still advocate.

My Website as it looked in 2009.

 

Ok, so I was getting a lot of things wrong back then.  The text is all about me.  I had a bit of an understanding of the ideal client, but I still wasn't fully aware of how crucial it was.  

Even here, though, I knew that it was important to have testimonials where potential clients could see them.  I was gathering leads, albeit with a custom designed system.  The tools we take for granted today weren't nearly as advanced back then.  

I was offering access to a cloud accounting system and supporting clients to do their own bookkeeping which was virtually unheard of.  

I'm actually quite proud of this first attempt.

A year later and things had improved 10 fold for me.

A year later in 2011.

 

Although still banging the drum about myself in the opening paragraphs, I was now turning some of the page towards the benefits to the client.  I was also using live chat software which was making a huge difference to my client numbers.  

Gone was the free download, to be replaced by a custom built quote system.  The potential client could get an instant quote emailed to them and it was all recorded on a backend system for me to follow up.  Which I did, often relentlessly. 

Even the blog was custom coded because the software that was on the market wasn't what I needed.  

Looking back on it, I can appreciate how much easier all of this is today.

On a side note, if you've ever heard my story about the client who was neatly filing away years worth of management accounts because he didn't know what they were or how to read them, that's his quote on the bottom right.  After we designed a custom one page solution.

I had totally forgotten about one later addition made to my site, though.  

Payment facilities added in 2012

 

In 2012 I added the ability to pay invoices online just by entering the invoice number and postcode.  This would pull the details from a database and send the client to PayPal.  This made a huge difference to my collections at the time.  A year or so later I was to discover GoCardless which would revolutionise things for me.

2013 would see me re-brand and become Ayrshire Accountancy.  It was the first time I would fully embrace the ideal client and the idea of offering three packages.

By 2013 pretty much everything had changed, including the name.

 

The ability to download a free guide was back.  By this time the online services had come a long way and I was now using mailchimp for my email and wordpress for the site and blog.  The need for custom coding was, thankfully, gone. 

The site was more geared towards my ideal client, and the client in general.  Though I had also, apparently, jumped on the trusted adviser bandwagon.  You can't have it all.

It's been really interesting for me to take a walk down memory lane.  I can see how much I've grown and developed, but also how little the tactics of getting clients has really changed.

How has your journey been?

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