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When to make leap to full-time practice

Interested to hear of others experiences and opinions

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Hi all,

Hopefully nice to have some lighter discussion here given the current situation. I'm currently employed in industry after working in practice for about 7 years, the last 15 months I've been building up my own portfolio of clients, building brand etc.

I'm now at the point of considering moving to full-time business, since I hate the company I work for (it makes me utterly drained and miserable). My business salary + divs cover around 70% of my household bills but I have savings to dip into that'd see me secure for 12 months (36 with Universal Credit, but I feel guilty to utilise that) on business income & drip fed savings.

Long story short, I'm nervous to make the leap but know time is sparse and it needs to happen someday soon, I'm not sure if I have the capacity to replace income fully without doing a bit of a sh*t job for some clients. So, when did everyone here make the leap? I'd be really interested to hear of any experiences and opinons.

I have a child, home and full-time mum as a wife so income generation falls on my shoulders. Naturally I want to push business as much as possible but need the time.

Thanks!

Replies (32)

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By Ben McLintock
27th May 2020 19:38

Is part time work not an option?

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Replying to Ben McLintock:
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By Makkusu
28th May 2020 11:25

Yes definitely so, just not at my current employer. I've written off any opportunities for now due to COVID but hope once there is some return to normality part-time work is the best option.

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By Wanderer
28th May 2020 03:33

Makkusu wrote:

......... since I hate the company I work for (it makes me utterly drained and miserable).

This should be your biggest driver.

Could you leave the main job, continue building up your practice and whilst doing so see if there's any sub contract work you could do for a local firm?

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Replying to Wanderer:
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By Makkusu
28th May 2020 11:26

Thanks - I've not considered this at all yet. I'll have to do some research into how to best approach seeking subcontract work, any ideas where to start or if there's particular agencies of sort to seek out first?

The practices I've worked for previously have usually outsourced overseas whenever they need.

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By SXGuy
28th May 2020 08:42

Personally, I think ultimately the jump should be when you are either confident or know for sure, that the income you will be receiving will meet the personal costs you have.
A lot of people, for a few years, will have to juggle building up their own business, whilst still receiving income from another, until the point where their own business can sustain the level of income needed to pay your own bills.

I personally, wouldn't want to make the switch and just prey that I get enough work to cover my bills at some point, id want to be sure.
If that means working all hours, then that's what it takes.

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Replying to SXGuy:
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By Makkusu
28th May 2020 11:33

Thanks & agreed! My issue is that I'm already putting in 3am starts to grow my portfolio, I can maintain that for several weeks before massive burnout since my day job takes me from 9am to 6pm, if I'm lucky can sneak in an hour in the eve too.

I think my point of consideration is when to make the leap of faith and getting to put an extra 8-9 hours of work into building the business a day, and seeing where it is at in 12 months time, with a further 12 months saving as buffer. Is that a fair risk to take?

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Replying to Makkusu:
Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
28th May 2020 12:00

If you are applying these sorts of hours to a part time practice whilst only covering a part of your full time earnings then either you are paid a really high salary in your full time role or you are massively undercharging your P/T practice clients.

I was earning gross fees of 20% of my full time salary doing on average 4 hours work a week on private client work (It actually tended to be bursts of activity, 12 hours say April,Jul,Oct, Jan and 15 hours May,Aug,Nov and Feb, the remaining hours then spread across the year) and maybe 2 hours average a week on non billable activities. If you are really clocking in the hours indicated I suspect something is adrift with your business model.

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Replying to DJKL:
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By Makkusu
28th May 2020 12:11

I'm not earning a high salary at all, lower than what it was in practice in fact.

I spend most of my time working on the marketing & expanding the website, as that's what will generate growth over the long-term. Actual time spent on clients is easily catered for with half an hour per day, but it feels too risky to just sit back and hope new clients come knocking at the door with pure luck.

If I need a 3 hour stretch to write a blog post, put up a new website page, write an e-book, 3-6am are the only hours I have. I am by no means efficient or educated in marketing but everyone starts somewhere...

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Replying to Makkusu:
Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
28th May 2020 13:46

Maybe instead think about growing by buying some fees as an alternative approach, whilst you may consider your current marketing has limited cost it really does have a significant cost, your time.

An alternative is buy in the marketing from A N Other using some of the monies accumulated to date by the business.

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Replying to DJKL:
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By Makkusu
28th May 2020 12:22

Thank you for the advice! Buying a block of fees had crossed my mind a few times, certainly will look into that, thank you.

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By ireallyshouldknowthisbut
28th May 2020 10:15

I set up out of necessity. I was on long term sick and couldn't hold down a day job. That was 17 years ago.

You can probably get some sub-contract work on the side whilst building up your client base. You might only get £20/hour on it, but its better than nothing and could add (Say) £1k a month for the first year for 1-2 days a week.

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Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
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By Makkusu
28th May 2020 11:30

Thanks for the tip, I'll be looking into that for sure!

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Replying to ireallyshouldknowthisbut:
Red Leader
By Red Leader
28th May 2020 13:03

I second that. Sub-contracting in another practice also helps to add to your practice experience.

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Replying to Red Leader:
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By Southwestbeancounter
28th May 2020 14:57

Red Leader wrote:

I second that. Sub-contracting in another practice also helps to add to your practice experience.


Definitely!

Gives you other contacts to bounce ideas off too!

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By jon_griffey
28th May 2020 15:02

I would be very wary of making the jump until the Covid crisis is over. We have the mother of all recessions round the corner and you don't want to find yourself having left secure employment and then half your clients disappear. On the other hand if millions are losing their jobs then a good chunk of them will be starting their own businesses, so your services could be even more in demand. It's difficult to predict what's in store.

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Replying to jon_griffey:
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By Makkusu
29th May 2020 00:13

I understand that fully but I don’t feel my employment is anywhere near as secure as my client base, It’s much more diversified like a good investment portfolio. I think redundancy is probably coming (no significant payout) since the company is struggling massively.

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Replying to Makkusu:
Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
29th May 2020 10:25

Appearances of diversity can be an illusion, so many business activities are nourished by other business activities and the connecting chains can sometimes not be that obvious until they start being impacted by things happening in a different sector that on first sight seems totally unconnected but on closer examination are linked.

For instance there are fairly obvious ones like no live football matches impacts outside catering vans impacts burger suppliers/roll suppliers, impacts wholesalers, impacts farms.

Less obvious, we have two event companies as tenants, they are obviously suffering, but we also have a joiner as a tenant which builds sets for events/films/adverts,at first glance cancellation of events like Edinburgh Festival/Royal Highland Show etc would not be considered to have a major impact on a joiner, but in this case they do, I suspect it they cannot quickly fill order book elsewhere it may be terminal.

We are likely in for the mother of all recessions/more likely a depression, an awful lot of clients will not survive- we are already risk evaluating our tenants and accountants, when they draw breath from all they are being currently required to do, ought to be doing similar with their clients.

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Replying to DJKL:
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By Makkusu
29th May 2020 10:54

What is your point? Don’t be an accountant? Or just, be scared.

What is happening is happening, I don’t see any point fretting about the future when I do not have secure employment in the slightest. I think the wisest choice is to work toward a diverse income portfolio, and if the country sinks well we are all sinking with it anyway.

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Replying to Makkusu:
Hallerud at Easter
By DJKL
29th May 2020 11:31

My point is choosing the correct time to jump from the ship, when the lifeboat is at the top of a wave or is in a trough.

However sorry to have even bothered you making the point, I will not bother responding further.

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By Cheshire
29th May 2020 12:02

Perhaps you should have mentioned the shaky job position in the first instance. But why would you not stay until the ship has sunk if its not that far off then get even what little payout there is, if with your new portfolio you cannot meet all your costs. Having a job you dont like is not all about you when you have a family to consider.

Or just jump! Youve clearly made your mind up. You can always send your wife out to work part time if you cannot pay your bills. That assuming she can find a job with this mother of all recession that is heading out way.

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Replying to Cheshire:
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By Makkusu
30th May 2020 09:40

True, I thought it might have been a given no job is secure at the minute. The dilemma is to put efforts into growing business now, or waiting in a miserable job, doing an average job for my clients, for the sole purpose of building savings a little. On the off hand I have security for 1-3 years of having a crack on my own. I prefer to take charge of my life rather than waiting around for the what if and that requires decision, not sitting around being riddled with fear, whatever choice it is I make.

And my family are the ones encouraging me to take a leap because we would rather make a humble living and be more present and attentive for our children, rather than trying to amass pot full of savings that require us both to disappear 12 hours a day whilst a stranger babysits them. Caring for family is subjective, you are tunnelling in on monetary support. It is one spoke of the wheel. I won’t “send my wife out to work” either thank you, she can do as she pleases.

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Replying to Makkusu:
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By Cheshire
30th May 2020 10:01

If I was tunnelling in on anything, it was quite frankly your rudeness to DJKL!

You say you are prefer to take charge of your life, yet you are having to ask the question of strangers as to whether or not you should jump.

No successful entrepreneur ever had to ask anyone else if they should go for it. Just get on with it if you believe in yourself.

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Replying to Cheshire:
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By Makkusu
30th May 2020 13:05

I can guarantee you all of the worlds most successful people have asked for advice more than once in their journey. It is simply foolish and stubborn not to. Make use of your resources, it’s wise.

Keep your family advice to yourself next time and maybe focus on your own parenting philosophies first.

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Replying to Makkusu:
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By Cheshire
30th May 2020 13:29

Had you right the first time.

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Replying to Makkusu:
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By Cheshire
30th May 2020 13:27

Muppet

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By Southwestbeancounter
28th May 2020 15:05

I started 32 years ago when I was made redundant from a practice, was living at home with the parents and had always wanted to run my own business so it was a 'no-brainer' for me!

I started very small, didn't steal clients from my former employer (which I could easily have done but didn't) and also worked on an ad-hoc subcontract basis for a couple of other local firms which worked out very well whilst building up my own practice.

The only advertising I did was local directories etc (as we didn't have the internet then!) and I found really simple and cheap ads worked a treat i.e. in the village journal and the parish news which cost very little and got me plenty of local work as I travelled to clients at that time so didn't want to waste time going further afield than necessary.

Nowadays I work from an office in the centre of town and rarely visit clients unless they are large enough (fee-wise) to warrant it or there is some other reason i.e. lack of mobility etc and the work is still paying the bills and sometimes I even enjoy it!

Good luck!

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7om
By Tom 7000
29th May 2020 09:57

work out what your commitment is on your own practice. ...say 3 days a week

call the local big firms and offer them 2 days a week to fill up the spare days.

When you get to working 60 hours a week. on both ... pack the subbies job in...

When you get to working 100 hours a week on just your clients- hire an assistant

thats what I did

Good luck

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By johnjenkins
29th May 2020 10:36

Sorry to dampen your ardour but if you can't make up your own mind how can you advise others? It's not just a question of taking on clients. You have to know what you are doing and feel confident in your ability to advise, not just put a set of accounts together. Take a good look at yourself and ask the question. Can I give clients the confidence that I know what I'm doing and that my advise is sound? If the answer is yes, stop dithering and get on with it.

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Replying to johnjenkins:
Red Leader
By Red Leader
29th May 2020 11:28

A little unfair I think. Look before you leap, etc.

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Replying to Red Leader:
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By johnjenkins
29th May 2020 12:25

Unfair, or practical advice for which I have not charged?

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By Hut15
29th May 2020 11:33

I was lucky - my employer made the decision for me by retiring and suggesting I went self-employed so I could still work for him P/T as he wound up the business. I kept it P/T while my kids were small but suddenly I was a single mum and needed a F/T income. I grew it slowly with child tax credits filling the gap until there was enough work. I did subcontracting for other accountants too.

Don't under estimate the power of locality unless you are in a city. I'm in a small country town and get so many clients because they want someone local. This means tapping into local advertising/news streams somehow (e.g.facebook boards etc).

Also, you mention how bad you feel about your current employment - it may be dragging you down a lot, and once you are free you can spread your wings and do well. Ignore the doom and gloom merchants, but be flexible. If you are excellent you will take clients from the poor accountants and they are the ones who will crash and burn in a depressed economy. Don't be anything less than excellent.

Good luck!

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By Matrix
30th May 2020 10:25

Starting out is really hard and it takes a long while to make a living. You need a lot of clients.

I found this forum indispensable.

If you go down the full time practice route (and I agree with DJKL that now is the wrong time to hand in your notice), then I suggest that you are a bit more gracious to the regular posters who have used their precious time and expertise to reply to you as you will no doubt be back here needing support.

Yesterday Rishi announced more handouts and one of my longest and most stable clients asked how to close his business. So take your time as it is changing day by day.

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