Drive

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Its funny, in an interesting way, how different things motivate different business owners. I can remember being in my insulated ivory tower when working in finance in big plc’s looking at some of the suppliers, advisers, consultants that we used who ran their own businesses and feeling quite envious about their position and how ‘in control’ they appeared to be.

Mind you the truth for many was that the calm exterior betrayed something very different, a constant battle to win work, manage cash flow, manage the workload, deal with awkward employees, the list goes on.

When I started my practice it was, I suppose, the final step which saw me move from being Group FD of a construction group employing more than 400 staff, to a small consultancy of only 4 people, to finally working for myself.

This wasn’t a carefully thought out plan, various things fell, or in some cases plummeted, into place and it happened. Once I’d made the decision to do it thought it was something I committed to 100% (it irritates me when people say how they commit more than 100% to something – how do they do that?).

I met someone several years ago who told me “…there are three things which drive people; fear, greed and sex..” While he may have simplified it a little, it probably does describe the general categories in which you can put people who you would say have drive. Fear – fear of failure. Greed - wealth, fame, power, praise.  Sex? – well, I don’t think that needs explaining.

My initial drive was from fear. Fear of failure. Having a wife who had given up work to look after our family and with a large mortgage I was the sole breadwinner. I didn’t have any real savings so it had to start working very quickly. I can remember early on how I use to lay in bed at night wondering where my next client would come from.

Without repeating myself too much, it worked because I mixed practice work with part time consultancy/subcontracting.  The contract work gave me the cash flow to pay the bills and allowed me to spend my ‘other’ time growing my practice – early on it was 7 days a week and 60+ hours a week.

After around 18 months I stopped the consulting/subcontract work completely. Now in year 5 work is stable and I’m quite happy to keep things ticking over as they are. I have no drive as such to do anything ‘more’ the fear of failure is a thing of the past.

Ah, I almost forgot the drive I like to do now is drive my tractor ;o)

About Kent accountant

Man of Kent

Chartered Accountant based in Kent.

After leaving practice very soon after qualifying, swearing never to return, in 2011 I did exactly that.

Now a sole practitioner and loving it, business growing rapidly and looking forward to the future as my own boss.

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07th Jul 2015 10:41

How I started

I started my practice while I had a full time job, then I took a part time job and then I was in practice full time and it suddenly took off. At each stage I was scared about taking the next step but I was ridiculously busy and cushioned by earning good money. I also had the support of my wife. Now, at 55 she has retired. Now I am try to work hard enough to ensure we have more time together although we are at least in the same house most of the time - she sometimes goes out for a day with her daughter and dog while I usually stay home working. On thursday we will be taking a day off and choosing a brother for our dog.

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07th Jul 2015 16:12

New dog

@Peter - that sounds good, we have two and they get on really well together. Both are still puppies 4 months and 6 months.

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07th Jul 2015 18:36

One is three and one was born about a month ago

Kent accountant wrote:

@Peter - that sounds good, we have two and they get on really well together. Both are still puppies 4 months and 6 months.

We are worried about the older one being bossy with the young one.

The older one was about one when she saw one of our old cats -see was about 13 at the time - at the other side of the car park. She started charging towards our cat but she's seen everything and as the dog got close she raised her paw ready to wack her and the dog skidded to a halt and ran away!

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07th Jul 2015 12:37

fear and greed

Fear and greed certainly drives the psychology of the stockmarket. Maybe it's like this:

Fear > Greed = Bear market

Fear < Greed = Bull market

 

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07th Jul 2015 12:48

Fear is good motivator

fear was my biggest driver when I set out, fear of failure and fear of having no money.

I had invested heavily into buy to let property in the early 2000's and nearly got ruined when the crash hit. This took a lot out of me as I was working all hours to pay mortgages on empty properties and nearly finished me both  financially and physically and was something I would never wish to do again.

Getting to the first milestone when you are generating enough money to pay your bills is a huge relief.

I suppose the question on everyones lips is have you ever had sex on your tractor?

LOL

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07th Jul 2015 13:04

Ha!!

@Glennzy - now there's an idea...

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07th Jul 2015 13:54

Well..

You can sow a lot of wild oats with a tractor.

I'm currently in the fear phase. Working full time and looking after quite a number of clients which have just been bought. Fear of running out of hours in the day..

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07th Jul 2015 14:08

Hours

@Pottedbeef - I know that feeling well.

Trying to discreetly take calls from 'own' clients while at work (consultancy/subcontract), getting home at 8pm from days work in London, eating and then working until 1-2am. That went on for about 18 months - I do wonder how I did it - its that drive thing.

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By Old Greying Accountant
07th Jul 2015 16:42

Or there is the Beeblebrox fourth alternative ...

... which i took, also known as the pinball method.

The three KA cite all all proactive models, this is a reactive method, I'm just this guy, things happen and I react to them!

When I was at school the careers office sent me for an interview at a local firm of accountants, I have been a ball in the pinball of life ever since, taking the path of least resistance!

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07th Jul 2015 17:28

Throw in...

A wife (lovely), 2 kids (average) and a cat that doesn't like me and there is indeed quite a lot to juggle. I am more of a morning type so you will find me at the desk at 5am until the youngest gets up and demands undivided attention. Luckily I 'work' 1/2 an hour from my house so this is not so bad but I take a number of calls during the day and go wandering away from the desk quite frequently.

Good to hear that you only did it for 18 months. only 17 more to go... oh wait....

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07th Jul 2015 18:38

It's time

Pottedbeef wrote:

A wife (lovely), 2 kids (average) and a cat that doesn't like me and there is indeed quite a lot to juggle. I am more of a morning type so you will find me at the desk at 5am until the youngest gets up and demands undivided attention. Luckily I 'work' 1/2 an hour from my house so this is not so bad but I take a number of calls during the day and go wandering away from the desk quite frequently.

Good to hear that you only did it for 18 months. only 17 more to go... oh wait....

To get a part time job or even give up employment all together!

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13th Jul 2015 11:12

You are of course right
Thanks Peter, I know it is what I need to do. I need to man up and take the decision rather than tread water doing both. Will be a big hit to the income though so am definately looking to reduce hours/do part time. Ideally I want to give up work entirely but until the seller is paid off in 12 months there won't be a whole host of cash to spare to do this. If it was easy I guess everyone would be doing it

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07th Jul 2015 19:07

@OGA

You must have been proactive when you decided to work for yourself?

 

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By Old Greying Accountant
07th Jul 2015 20:40

No ...

... long (very long) story, but it just happened.

I'm a very "ke sera sera" person.

I won't say events haven't scared me witless at times, but they were not driven by fear. I just take the easiest path, I am not good at decisions and have found they are largely irrelevant because things sort themselves out in the end. Decisions only really matter if you want things badly or have high expectations. There is very little I couldn't live without.

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17th Jul 2015 18:10

What happened?

Why have you removed your brand/avatar? 

 

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