Freelance Bookkeeping with Arden Bookkeeping

Tell us your name and a bit about your family? When did you become a Mum and to whom?

Hi my name is Claire, I’m 32 and live in Solihull. I have been married for 5 years to my wonderful husband Matt. In October 2014 we had our beautiful daughter Olivia.

What’s your business called?

Arden Bookkeeping Ltd

Can you describe it in one sentence?

Accounting support for local businesses

When did you become a Mumpreneur and what inspired you?

After having my daughter I had maternity leave for 11 months. Through this time I dreaded going back to work and leaving my precious daughter! After paying for the childcare it almost didn’t seem worth it but we needed the small extra income I would be left with so did not really have much choice. The role I was in was not suited to part time so would be 5 days a week. Maternity leave was over all too soon and off I went back to work. At first I quite enjoyed actually using my brain again and adult conversation! It felt good to remember my enjoyment of work and rediscover the professional side of me. But I hated being apart from Olivia all week, the first pay check came in and the majority swiftly went out again and I found it really depressing! I struggled with the morning chaos trying to get my daughter to nursery and then rush down the motorway to get to work in time and my mood took a serious nose dive. It was then that I spoke to my husband about the very scary idea of going solo!! We discussed it and agreed to give it a go for 6 months then reassess. I officially left my job 6 weeks after returning and took the leap into self employment.

How did you fund your start up?

Luckily the type of business I am in has relatively low set up costs. All I needed was a computer which I had, insurance, website and accounting software. We used my last salary to cover these costs and hoped for the best!

How do you manage working around your children?

I worked two days a week meaning I still had plenty of time with Olivia and she still got the benefit of going to nursery two days.

Can you describe a typical day, what tasks do you have to get done, how do you manage your time?

I drop Olivia at nursery for 8-8.30. I get home and have a cup of tea in a quiet house (such a luxury!) then start work at 9am. I check my emails and make a list of tasks for the day. Sometimes I have client meetings or have to go to a clients office to work. If it is a day at home I go up to my office (with another cup of tea) and work on whichever clients books I’m doing that day. I have to be structured as if I’m still employed so I have lunch from 12-1 then get back to it! More processing of invoices, bank reconciliations, calculations until I leave at 5pm to collect Olivia from nursery.

What challenges have you faced in your business and how have you overcome them?

I was so motivated in the beginning and would go up to the office first thing and work all day but gradually the temptations of working from home began to creap in. I would think ‘I’ll just finish watching this before I start’ or I’d phone a friend and end up chatting away for an hour or so. I quickly realised if I wasn’t careful it would all get the better of me and I would end up with nothing. So that is when I began structuring my day as if I was still leaving home to go to work. Of course there are still some days where I still have more of a doss day then I should but I am on top of my deadlines and my clients needs and so feel I can give myself a bit of slack ☺️

What’s the best thing about being Mumpreneur?

I love having the best of both worlds. I get to spend time with Olivia during these precious early years but not put all the financial burden on my husband. I get to enjoy being mummy and being boss lady! I’m also earning double the salary I was getting for full time employment for half the working hours. That is a great feeling!

What are your plans for the future?

Since starting I have increased my days to 3 per week and plan by the end of this year to increase to 4. I have someone working for me to help with the load and hope to train more people in the future.

What advice would you give for someone just starting out in business?

Have faith! The biggest thing is to believe in yourself and that you can make it a success. And for the moments you feel overwhelmed or unsure remember why you are doing it, your family are your motivation!

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?

I have always been an advocate for charity work and try to help others wherever I can. I am delighted to be in the position to have my business help others and regularly sponsor events, take part in fundraising and donate time and money. When I have needed help I recruit students at the beginning of their journey to help them gain experience and further themselves. If people had not had faith in me at the beginning of my career I would not be in the position I am now! I feel it is important to give back and hopefully one day they will have the faith in themselves to take this leap to.