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.

Mum working from home on her accountancy business

Running an Accountancy Business: Wood Street Books

Ethne was so determined to become self employed that she decided to juggle starting up her accountancy business along with looking after a newborn.

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

I’m Ethne, long suffering girlfriend of Neil; not quite so long suffering mum of Erin who is nearly 3

What’s your accountancy business called?
Wood Street Books

Can you describe it in one sentence?
Accountancy, Taxation & Consultancy

When did you become a Mumpreneur and what inspired you?
I disliked my job intensely and had long had the desire to become self employed. I had a miscarriage in March 2013 which made me reassess my work/life priorities and I promptly handed in my notice at work. Fast forward 12 months and I had finally completed my long overdue accountancy qualifications and done all the leg work involved in becoming a self employed accountant just in time for Erin’s arrival. Then there was only the small matter of managing a start up as well as a new born baby!

How did you fund your accountancy business start up?
There wasn’t much outlay required; laptop and some software, plus AAT registration fees and insurance etc. Most of my start up capital came from a tax refund I received after leaving my job.

How do you manage working around your children?
At times working from home is the perfect solution; but when it’s not working it’s literally impossible to get anything done. I am very lucky to have help from Erin’s grandparents and she also goes to a local playgroup a couple of times a week which gives a bit of time to work so I’m not always doing late nights or weekends and compromising our family time together. But the minute something like illness strikes all of that goes out of the window: you’re saddled with the usual rigours of looking after a poorly toddler but with deadlines and client meetings mounting up. That’s when life gets really tough as a sole trader.

Can you describe a typical day, what tasks do you have to get done, how do you manage your time?
One favourable aspect of an accountancy business is that you pretty well know your work flow 12 months in advance. Everything I do is on a weekly, monthly, quarterly or annual cycle meaning I can generally plan my daily and weekly tasks around my domestic responsibilities. Most days see me in contact with clients over email, doing a bit of business admin and research or marketing. At the moment I have one full day (child and grandparent pending) to work from home and that’s when I do the bulk of the bookkeeping and accountancy I have scheduled for the week. I have a couple of weeknights allocated for work but I try to avoid working very late or at weekends as much as I can but sometimes needs must! This January all of my good intentions have gone out of the window as this year’s self assessment season has been non stop.

What challenges have you faced in your business and how have you overcome them?
Making money has been my biggest challenge as well as the ultimate goal. 9 months after Erin & Wood Street Books were born I was in a very precarious position financially. I was on the brink of giving up and going back to employment and a reliable wage when the perfect opportunity presented itself, while I was searching for jobs!

What’s the best thing about being Mumpreneur?
The flexibility to arrange my work life around my family and not the other way around.

What are your plans for the future?
Continue with steady growth for the next financial year or two then make an investment in a serious marketing strategy to expand the business and maybe take on an apprentice or find another mum in a similar position to work with me. And have another baby if we can!

What advice would you give for someone just starting out in business?
Start small and do absolutely the best job you can; 90% of my clients so far have come from referrals. If you are doing a good job your work will speak for itself. The rest of my income comes from opportunities I’ve found via conventional job searches. The employment market is changing rapidly and freelance and self employed opportunities are being created thick and fast so don’t rule anything out.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell us?
I wouldn’t have had the freedom or confidence to start my own business without the support of my partner, and I’m extremely grateful to him for being behind me 100%. Thank you Neil xxx
twitter/instagram @woodstreetbooks


Woman on iPad next to little

A freelancers market means that you don’t have to settle

As a mum, sometimes you feel you have to settle with juggling and compromise. You’re either in a job you don’t want to do because it fits around school pick up times, or, you’re not spending enough time with your little one as you have to be at a job which is longer hours than what you would prefer. You just settle for this as you can’t always see another option. Like many other mums in the UK, Julia struggled to juggle a career as a Data Analyst Team Leader with her two beautiful young children and felt that she was being pulled in all directions.

In a post Brexit market, one thing that comes with the uncertainty is a booming market for freelancers. So perhaps 2017 is the year to learn a new skill or qualification and take the jump into freelancing? We’ve all been there and sometimes it’s difficult to know where to make that change, particularly when it comes to employment. You spend a huge amount of your life in work, and it’s important for health and wellbeing to enjoy what you do.” Says Julia Hill, a 36 year old mumpreneur from Andover.

What do you enjoy?

Shortly after the birth of her second child Julia knew things had to change. Although she’d been in her current employment for 12 years, her job was no longer fulfilling her and her young child was in nursery, neither of them was enjoying it.

Julia looked at the aspects of her role as a Data Analyst Team Leader and realised that what she wanted to do was find something she enjoyed. In her role as a Data Analyst Julia realised that she loved was working with numbers so Julia investigated which roles included a large amount of numeracy and she settled on Bookkeeping.


Julia quickly realised that to have the flexibility of working around her children’s needs self employment was the way forward which would require some further studying. Then, she looked at which providers would be best suited to deliver the Bookkeeping qualifications she needed. After researching all options, Julia decided that the Bookkeeping course with Open Study College/ICB. Taking the bull by the horns, she signed up for ICB Levels 2, 3 and 4 Certificates in Bookkeeping.

Being out of the learning cycle for some time, Julia soon found that she enjoyed distance learning as it also gave her the flexibility to learn when it suited her and before long, in just one year with Open Study College, Julia had completed levels 2 and 3 with flying colours, achieving distinctions in most of the exams. After less than a year of studies Julia was awarded her own Bookkeeping Practice licence in June last year.

“As a mum with young children you feel that your employment opportunities are limited to either compromising your childcare or stacking shelves. I decided to be the owner of my own destiny and thanks to the courses through Open Study and ICB, I am now on the way to having a thriving Bookkeeping business which is rewarding for me and works for our family.”

This time of year, whilst you may be stuck in doors you can put that time to good use, reflect on what you want to change, investigate what you need to do and make plans for your better future for you and your family.

This post is in collaboration with Open Study College