Running a Business around Children with Additional Needs - running online business

Mum’s Business Story: GD Accountancy

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

I am Gemma and I am Mum to two boys aged 7 and 4. I unexpectedly became a Mum at 20 but was incredibly excited nonetheless and felt secure in my job having qualified AAT (NVQ Level 4 in Accounting). Me and my husband are childhood sweethearts and we’ve been married for 6 years.

What’s your business called?

GD Accountancy

Can you describe it in one sentence?

Providing a friendly and dedicated accountancy solution to individuals and businesses at competitive rates.

When did you become a Mumpreneur and what inspired you?

I opened my practice in April of this year. I have been inspired by many, but mostly my Dad who started his own small business some 10 years ago and I have watched his quality of life and happiness grow.

How did you fund your start up?

Luckily my business required very little more than a laptop to get started! I started work at home but it quickly became clear that I am more efficient working away from home so after gaining my first few clients (and fee income) I visited a recycling charity who cleared offices, canteens and schools etc. and was able to find all of the office equipment I needed to open a small office, at a fraction of the price of buying new. Having a presence on the highstreet attracted more clients and I have been able to fund software upgrades etc. from internally generated fee income.

How do you manage working around your children?

I have always been the breadwinner and have always worked full time. I still work full-time, but I was able to take my youngest in to the office with me on days that he wasn’t at pre-school meaning I was spending more time with him than I ever had before.

He has since started school and I have educated my clients to call ahead to make sure I am in the office before visiting which gives me the flexibility of doing the school run if I want to, even if it means bringing the kids back to the office for an hour or so to meet a deadline! I use a VOIP telephone number so when anyone phones the office it also dials my mobile, my laptop at home and my husbands mobile!

I have set up a remote desktop system so that I can access my data from anywhere as long as I have WIFI so that I can lock-up and go home after school pick up if I want to! Then if a client calls with anything urgent I can quickly remote-in from home and deal with it.

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

The beauty of my work is that I am dealing with a variety of people and businesses who all have different requirements so no two days are ever the same. In a typical day I normally have ‘work’ to do which may involve preparing a set of accounts and tax return, a payroll and a VAT return all in the same day! And as I am still growing my practice I try to do some social-media networking every day and I have meetings with prospective clients most days.

I use Microsoft Outlook to schedule appointments and set reminders but I still keep a diary in my handbag as well! I also use a simple workflow spreadsheet which I designed myself so I can check it every day and quickly see which stage each job is at and address any delays.

Since starting my business I have come to the conclusion that ‘you can only do as much as you can do’ and I no longer work myself to the point of being stressed when I feel I don’t have time to complete something. It’s not fair on my family, and it’s not fair on me. So now, if something can and will wait until tomorrow, it waits until tomorrow!

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

My biggest challenge has been gaining new clients. This is very much a word-of-mouth industry so I only needed to gain a few initial clients before word would spread. After my initial low-cost advertising campaign I began networking with social media and demonstrated how I embrace technology and could highlight key issues (such as the recent HMRC Making Tax Digital consultation) to my audience in real-time.

I am pleased to say that this has been successful and to date most of my clients have come through facebook, but now I am seeing more clients who have heard about me from someone else which is extremely motivating.

What’s the best thing about being Mumpreneur?

Definitely the flexibility it gives me to spend more time with my children. And not having to ask anybody for permission to go to sports day or parents evening! But I also enjoy being able to give my clients the service they deserve without being constrained by time/recovery targets and budgets.

What are your plans for the future?

I would like to offer employment opportunities within the local community so I would like to continue to grow my client-base so that I can achieve this. I also have plans for my children to join the business, but I think they have other plans!

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

Speak to as many people/businesses as you can, you would be surprised at how many will offer you support in one way or another. Reach out to people on social media – the worst that can happen is they will ignore your message or say no! This goes for real-life too, just ask yourself ‘what’s the worst that could happen?’

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

Only that I wish I had taken this step years ago!


How mums funded their business

How Real Mum’s funded their businesses

Our website now features the stories of more than 50 Mums who have started their own business so I decided to take a close look at the answers to the question “How did you fund your start up” and share the results An overwhelming majority funded their business using their own money in some way to start the business but 10 different sources were identified by the Mums who shared their stories. They break down in to three broad categories, using their own money, using grants or subsidised loans and other kinds of borrowing.

Funded with personal money

While most of the women who have shared their story have used their own money, where that money has come from varies. For 37.5% personal savings funded their business start up but money also came from saving up specifically to start the business, working part time to find the business and redundancy pay, which is how I funded my business. I’d often read about people being made redundant and then starting their own businesses and found the idea appealing, the idea of taking that negative and turning it in to something amazing really appealed to me so when I was offered voluntary redundancy while on maternity leave with my second child I was over the moon, particularly as I had been planning to leave anyway.

There is also another group who spent little or nothing on their start up, either by using what they already had “I used the power that is Facebook and existing materials, like paper and pens I already had” (Jackie Osborne from Bespoke Chic) or using a small amount of money upfront to buy in to a network marketing organisation, “To start my business it cost just £199 which is just amazing as many start ups can cost thousands.” (Kayleigh Stewart Business Coach).

Funded with Grants and Subsidised loans

While grant funding is difficult to achieve a handful of our Mums did manage to find something “I had assistance from New Enterprise who put me in touch with a business manager who helped me with my business plan and costings and we had fortnightly mentoring sessions. I also got a small allowance for the first 6 months which helped” (Frances Lilly from Lillylocket Fingerprint Jewellery). Caroline Wylie from Virtually Sorted had both a small grant and a loan. “Being under 30 I got a grant from Business Gateway of £1,000 and a soft loan from what is now The Princes Trust of £5,000.” The government’s Start Up loans initiative has also been of use for some Mums “I used some savings together with a government start up loan.” (Tracy from The Woodlands Nursery).

You can find out more about the governments start up loans and The Princes Trust by visiting their websites. If you are claiming unemployment benefits you may be able to get support from the New enterprise allowance


Funded wth Other borrowing

Just five of the a mums who shared their stories used other forms of borrowing with two being commercial borrowing and three borrowing from family members. Lucy Snell went down the commercial loan route to launch her first business “Cherry” by taking a “£20k personal loan from the bank, split between myself and my business partner”. Carly from Little Scrummers Rugby took a risk by putting £1500 on a credit card.

For some women family was able to help them out “My husband funded the my start up equipment. A massage couch, towels, oils couch roll, uniform tops and business cards. This costs around £300. He was then happy to find my further qualifications which cost around a further £300.” (BIA Sports therapy) “Thankfully I have the support of my family and they have lent me the money to move forward”. If you’re interested in commercial borrowing it’s often best to start with your own bank (assuming you’ve been a good customer) before moving on to try the others.

While there were lots of different types of finding mentioned, none of the Mums who’ve shared their stories with us have used investors to fund their business or tried crowd funding, we’d love to hear from you if you have!

Want to find a business you can start that will work with whatever funds you have? Check out “Mums in Business: Finding the right idea for you”

Looking for Mum’s business inspiration? Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

How real mums funded their businesses