Tell us your name and a bit about your family? When did you become a Mum and to whom?
My name is Karlene Rivers, and I’m a mum to Sophie and Joe who are 6 and 4 years old.
What’s your business called?
Can you describe it in one sentence?
Working parents supporting small businesses with Admin and bookkeeping services.
When did you become a Mumpreneur and what inspired you?
Prior to having my second child, Joseph, I was working as a Director of a Financial Adviser firm quite far away from home. I’d reduced my working week to 3 days after having my daughter, but they were long 7-7 days and with her starting Nursery and the arrival of my son, Childcare was going to be come an issue. I therefore decided not to return to the employed role and Organised You came about originally has virtual support firm to allow me to work from home around the kids.
I remember thinking that I would love to set up my own business, but that I didn’t have a product to sell, the only thing I am good at is the operational side of business. It took me a while to realise that I could provide that, as a service, to those that weren’t as good at it.
How did you fund your start up?
As my business is service driven, and originally I worked from home, there were no start up costs. I did, however, steal my husbands laptop!
How do you manage working around your children?
When I first started the business Joe was very young and still slept a lot during the day. I used to spend time doing work whilst he slept, and as the business grew I spent a lot of evenings and weekends working. I’ve also been very lucky to have help from both my mother, mother in law and my sisters with childcare over the years. As the kids have got older I’ve worked around school and nursery hours and whenever we refer to a working day in the Organised You office, we always mean a 9:30 to 2:30 day.
Can you describe a typical day, what tasks do you have to get done, how do you manage your time?
How my day goes is very dependent on where I am working. Unless I am travelling to London or somewhere far afield for the day I will take the kids to school and be in the office for just after 9. My day can be full of all sorts of things, from bookkeeping to compliance and I am quite often attending conference calls. One of my team Ant is frequently based from the office with me and there is a never ending debate about what music to listen to. We can get through a huge amount of tea bags in one day!
On some days I work onsite for clients, updating and maintaining their own Finance systems or holding meetings to move projects forward. I may be there to help one of my team solve an issue, to provide cover, or additional support.
Generally I have to be very Organised, as the business name suggests! I plan my weeks well in advance and have a very organised colour coded diary!
What challenges have you faced in your business and how have you overcome them?
There’s always a risk with what we do, that firms will encourage staff to go and work for them directly. I try to avoid this by providing my team with a really supportive, flexible working environment and a variety of client work that they wouldn’t get working with just one business. I want our clients to find value from working with us all as a team, and the array of skills and experience this gives them access to.
What’s the best thing about being Mumpreneur?
That I get to have a career but not miss out on any of the key moments with my kids. I can nip out of the office to see a Nativity plan and be back in time to attend a conference call. When my kids are sick they come to the office, curl up in our big arm chair or play with our box of toys. I feel like I have the best of both worlds and I love that I get to enable friends and colleagues to do the same.
What are your plans for the future?
To grow and help more Working Parents and small businesses. I’d really like to develop our Financial Adviser arm as we can really help Financial Advisers cope with their regulatory requirements. I’d also love to test my organisational skills with some event organisation.
What advice would you give for someone just starting out in business?
Always make time for business planning. A goal without a plan is just an idea.