I am the owner of A1 Bookkeeping & Payroll Services and full time stay at home mum to Matthew (6), Billy (4) and Addison (1).
When my husband and I decided to have our first baby, the plan was for me to give up my full time job as an administrator and be a stay at home mum. This was something that I had always wanted…however reality soon set in when Matthew was about 7 months old. My life suddenly revolved around bottles, nappies and housework. I loved being home with my son, but I missed the challenge, confidence and mental stimulation that working had given me. I started thinking about working from home and after a flyer dropped through my door about learning bookkeeping from home. Bookkeeping appealed to my organised and methodical personality and it was something that could work around my family so I jumped at the chance to study a new skill. It was the best career decision I ever made.
I started studying a long distance bookkeeping course in January 2007, had my second son in September 2008 and started my own bookkeeping business from home in April 2009. Since then I’ve passed my payroll exam and had baby number three!
The best thing about being my own boss means that I can keep my own diary and work around the needs of my children. I never miss school plays, sports days, those all important firsts and when the kids are ill, I can be there to take care of them. I do most of my “mum stuff” during the day and work once the kids are in bed.
For me, the most challenging aspect has been working by myself. When you work for an employer, if you are struggling for time or want to run an idea past someone you have colleagues that you can turn to for help and support. Running your own business from home can be lonely and daunting at times, which is why it is a great idea to network at local meetings or check out online forums. There are some fab business websites such as www.bizmums.biz for great information and support.
Here are my top bookkeeping/business tips –
1. Set up a separate bank account for your business. This is a huge must and will save you loads of time. Using a personal account means having to go through all your transactions to pick out the business items and you may also find that you are spending your hard earned income without realizing it.
2. Think very carefully before investing in accounting software. Some software can be quite expensive and if you are a new or small business, an excel spreadsheet will more than likely be all you need.
3. Your accounts need doing on a regular basis, monthly is good although it may help to look through your paperwork weekly or even daily and write on anything if you think that you might forget what it’s for. Let’s face it, us mums are busy and you don’t want to be struggling to remember what a purchase on your bank account was for 7 months later. It’ll also help you keep track of your bank balance and upcoming bills to pay. An unexpected large bill can be really bad news for your business.
4. It is very important if you work from home that you set boundaries for both your customers and your family. Teach your children that it is important to be quiet when the phone rings. If you work during certain hours, ensure family and friends know when this is so that they don’t come over for a cuppa and disturb you. Make sure that your customers know if you don’t take calls after 6pm at night or that you don’t work on Sundays so that you can have valuable undisturbed time with your family.
5. Invest in a diary and use it daily. If you find that you are having trouble finding the time to spend with your family, set aside time in your diary. No matter how busy I am, we always have a family night when the phones aren’t answered and emails have to wait. Keep your business and personal commitments in the same diary so that you don’t double book. I have a fab diary with business on one side of the page and family on the other.
6. Take any help you can get. Whether it’s paying a local teenager to mow your lawn, alternating car pools to after school clubs or sharing household chores with your partner. Being a mum and running a business is hard work, you don’t have to do everything yourself
7. If bookkeeping isn’t for you – maybe you are too busy or you worry that you’re not doing it correctly – then outsource it. Less paperwork for you means more time to focus on running your business and what you pay out in bookkeeping fees could be a lot less than you think, especially if it means that you are getting extra business with your additional time.
If you would like a free no obligation consultation about your bookkeeping needs, please use the contact page on my website www.a1-bookkeeping.co.uk or call me on 01246 431705. Everything can easily be done by email and post if you don’t live nearby and I answer calls up to 8pm at night, ideal if you want to chat once the kids are in bed.
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