What’s your business called?
My business is S Hayes Bookkeeping Services
Can you describe it in one sentence?
Bookkeeping, Payroll and Tax services for small business that are run by parents from your kitchen table
When did you start it and what inspired you?
Setting up my own business was not a whim, when I returned to work as a Mortgage Adviser in a retail bank after having my first daughter in 2008 my priorities had changed and it was time to start working for myself but I wasn’t totally sure what I wanted to do. By the time I had daughter number 2, 4 years later I had decided that bookkeeping seemed like a sensible way to use the skills I had and to set up my own business.
Whilst on maternity leave the opportunity to take Voluntary redundancy came up and this along with my eldest daughter had being diagnosed with a health condition that meant that she will need ongoing physio support until she is fully grown gave me all the signs I needed to make the step into self employment. In September 2013 I took on my first client and I now have 15 clients I work with on a regular basis.
How did you fund your start up?
My set up costs were quite low and most of it went to buying a good computer and software.
Most of my initial costs were around getting the relevant qualifications and licences to allow me to trade. Thankfully I have the support of my family and they have lent me the money to move forward
How do you manage working around your children?
Working around the children can be tricky and sometimes frustrating as things that should take an hour often don’t!
Part of what I do and the clients I seek are parents in the same position. I make it clear that although I am a bookkeeper first and foremost I am a mum and if my kids need me then I am around
Can you describe a typical day?
I work roughly 5 hours a day 5 days per week within my business and I try really hard not to work weekends.
I am normally up at about 7 am and begin the preschool breakfast battle with the girls.
I drop them at school, my eldest is in juniors and my youngest at nursery and then I normally see a client, either at home or at a local site. If I have no appointments I come home and fire up the laptop to do emails and work.
At lunchtime I pick up my 3 year old from nursery and we have lunch and play for a bit before doing the 3pm pick up of my 7 year old. After school I cook dinner and then take the girls dancing, swimming, brownies etc.
The girls go to bed about 7ish so once I have had a cuppa I crack on with some work and work until 11ish most nights.
I say I work a split shift but it means that when the girls are with me I am mummy. I have a separate mobile for work so if I am busy doing something else I can turn it off and focus and I tell clients that they need to leave me a message if I don’t answer. I always make a point of replying to phone calls on the day I received them though, even if it is just an acknowledging text saying I will call the next day. I also don’t have my work email on my personal phone only on my tablet, If I am out and about I check and respond to my emails once in the morning and again in the afternoon.
What have you found hardest?
The hardest part is making other people realise that I do a proper job from my kitchen table!
It’s not a hobby it’s a job like any other and ok I don’t work regular hours but I still have a work to do and because of the way I work I have to be smarter in the hours that I have available.
People think because you work from home you don’t really work at all and spend all day drinking tea and watching daytime telly!
What’s the best thing about being self-employed?
Without a doubt the best thing about being self-employed is the flexibility to manage my work load. As long as the work is done in the deadline it doesn’t have to be done right now!!
This means I can do hospital appointments, watch the school play or help with the school trip as needed.
What are your plans for the future?
My youngest daughter starts at school in September 2016 and during next spring I am having a summer house built in my garden and fitted out as an office. This way I will be able to separate home and work better. I am also looking at employing a member of staff by next September, preferably an apprentice who I can help train and help build their future.
What advice would you give for someone just starting out?
The biggest bit of advice I have is to make sure you have your partner/family on side with what you want to achieve. You can’t set up and run a business with children without the help and support of your family. As much as you want to be there for you children there will be occasions when you need to rely on the support of them to look after your kids whilst you move your business forward.
Secondly I would say believe in the business you are setting up and what you want to achieve – set and review goals on a regular basis, don’t be scared of the setbacks and have someone who you trust that will be honest with you. Someone who will tell you are great when you are having a wobble, but equally tell you that you are wrong if need be.