Advice on Going It Alone

I'm a qualified CA but out of practice for 12 or so years now. I've been working in a specialist sector of industry doing accounts for the last 12 yrs.
I've got an oppotunity to decrease my hours as an employee and I'm thinking of going it alone.
I'm thinking of doing basic accounts and tax work initially and also some specialist work in the industry I know...possibly building it up from there.
I would want to work from home and advertise online so would not have business premises.
From those that have already trodden this path is it very slow going at first to get the income in. I would need £1500 net per month to survive. The aim to be build up in chunks until I reach this figure and then give up my paid employment completely.
How feasible is this for one person to do? I wouldn't have any help and would be doing everything myself to begin with.

Comments

It's possible

Mallock | | Permalink

It's easily achievable but work doesn't just walk through the door. Internet advertising has brought me some work but it is mostly the small tax return job with perhaps a let property so it's going to be a once a year job for a few hundred £.

If you rely on organic growth you will be waiting for years to get anywhere near £1,500/mth. You need to get out there and use contacts. Let people and friends know you are looking for work and hopefully things will start to come in a bit faster. If you use your industry contacts you have a much better chance of getting the level of income you are looking at.

However don't forget all the other costs you will have: software is really a must because of electronic lodging and you will need Co's Act Checklists and ML paperwork as well as CPD, letterhead, business cards and the essential PI insurance and practicing certificate.

Very often you will find that someone will ask you to do something that leaves you with a dilema such as doing someone's book-keeping and VAT Returns and maybe payroll - for the first of these jobs you will have to decide if you want to take on the cost of getting something like Sage to deal with clients on a bureau service - I find this a very good way to get regular cashflow and it is also a really good hook to keep the client with you.

It is never easy on your own because the work will sometimes arrive all at the same time and you will end up working every waking hour and the weekends and at other times you will be worried sick that you have nothing to do but eventually if you stick at it, it will come good and you will be looking for help. I have about 5 independant local book-keepers that I pass work to when I know it is going to be too much trouble for me or too expensive for me to do it. As a consequence I get a trickle of jobs coming back to me from them when they have clients who are looking for more or require a new accountant. I also get better quality records from them which ensures that I get a good recovery on the jobs.

I started out with about £10k of work from friends and family and I went on to buy a £40k block of fairly poor quality work from an unqualified accountant who was retiring. I worked on this and networked as much as I could and I now have over £200K of good quality work with a couple of staff. I never stop looking or asking for new work and it now has a momentum all of its own.

 

I am also working part time

Phillip12 | | Permalink

I am also working part time in a CA firm and trying to develop a business.

I have used Linkedin to track down old work colleagues, business associates, people I went to school with and all sorts of other people and let them know I am now looking for business.  I have done this in the last 12 months and have picked up some business.

Like yourself I had specialist industry knowledge, in the Aged care/retirement village Industry in my case.  I haven't been able to get anywhere with this so far.  Operators in this industry tend to gravitate towards accounting firms like Deloitte and PWC rather than an accountant working from home.  However it does give me the confidence to know that I can walk into a commercial enterprise and not be intimidated by the owners.  (When I first started out in CA work many years ago I would think I know theory but not the reality of what it is like to be in a business).

I have got fees up to about 13K pa but have been a bit stuck.  I keep getting small tax jobs but need a couple of much bigger jobs to build momentum.  These will not come from luck so over the next couple of months I will need to give some thought to my marketing strategy if I am really to make a go of this.  By this I mean working out who I am going to front up to and sell myself to, face to face rather than indirect marketing.

I used to have a job working

ChartStart | | Permalink

I used to have a job working for a big company like yourself, we had 10,000 employees, operations all over Europe and a final salary pension scheme. In many ways life was good.  I had a nice salary, the mortgage was paid off, regular bonuses, and  if I wanted a sneaky day off, I could take it.

But still…..there was so much nonsense that I had to put up with.

     Since I started my own business I have never once felt like this.  I have returned from the living dead.  I have gradually built a great team of people.  I help clients who appreciate what I do.  I love thinking about how I can develop and grow my own business.  On a Sunday evening I’m excited about the things I’m going to get done in the week ahead.

     Don’t get me wrong, i didn’t take the leap on my own, I was a franchisee for 3 ½ (long!) years, I’ve served my time and I’ve paid a very full price.

     My answer to this would be ChartStart – here’s the website www.chartstart.co.uk

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