Can I Lie About My Experience?

How to get real-world experience in a short amount of time
2 min read

This story appears in the May 2006 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Q:Can I say I specialize in bookkeeping for lawyers and chiropractors even though I have no experience doing so?

A: Unless you're as convincing as the con artist portrayed in the 2002 film Catch Me if You Can, you need to have some training or experience to back up your claim of specialization. Specialized training in bookkeeping for lawyers or chiropractors is probably not available, but you have several options for getting the experience you need. One is to get a job as a part-time bookkeeper in a law or chiropractic office. This will familiarize you with the procedures, vocabulary and jargon of that field.

Another option is to use pricing as an incentive to get your first clients, who will provide you with the experience you need. For example, you might offer the first month to three months of your services for free if your client is not satisfied. Volunteering to work for a low-cost community clinic or legal aid office is another option for gaining a lot of experience quickly.

You can also establish contacts and gain information about the field you want to specialize in by attending meetings or trade association events. These are often open to suppliers, and may allow you, over the course of conversations, to find out how many others are specializing in that profession and what their particular bookkeeping needs are.

Having a dual specialization is not a bad idea, but to obtain a solid ground in each field, you would be wise to acquire the experience you need in them one at a time.

Authors and career coaches Paul and Sarah Edwards' latest book is a new edition of Making Money With Your Computer at Home. Send them your questions at or in care of Entrepreneur.

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