Or rather I should say my accountancy practice.
It’s two years this month since I had the idea of starting an accountancy practice, I can remember the exact moment, I was on a three month contract with a Property Group, squeezing in three days a week alongside the other part time consultancy contracts I had.
I was thinking there had to be more to working for myself than this. I had had lofty ambitions of having an FD and FC type consultancy with perhaps several other consultants working for clients through my company. This never really got going, there was enough work for me but it was very much feast and famine and certainly never got to the point of being able to use other consultants.
I’d started to think of the numerous business owners I’d spoken to who didn’t want or need, or couldn’t afford an FD but did need financial and accounting advice and assistance. Quite, no very frustrating, the huge amount of networking and hundreds of contacts I had made seemed to be going to waste – no-one wanted me, or rather the services I was offering.
So I had the light bulb moment I referred to in my first blog post. I spent 2-3 days thinking this through and sent e-mails to several business owners I’d met. Within a couple of weeks I’d had a positive response from two which I followed up with meetings and managed to get them to agree to coming on board.
Two months later the practice was up and running and these were my first two clients, both coming from larger regional practices. I reduced their accountancy fees, offered an improved service and had £6k of fees!! (Not all my clients are this size).
The first 6 months saw slow and steady increase in client numbers and by Christmas 2011 I had around 25 clients.
At this point I was in catch 22, not enough clients to provide sufficient income to ditch the consultancy work and struggling to find enough time to see all new prospects and do the accountancy work around the consultancy work which was at one point around this time 4 days a week – for more than 3 months.
2012 was really the defining year for me, I gained more than 50 new clients and by the end of the year had stopped all consultancy type work – no more travelling to London at the crack of dawn returning home and trying to respond to around 30 e-mails a day and fit in all the accountancy work.
2013 sees me working on my terms, working from homes, getting a steady flow of new clients, occasionally spending a day out of the (home) office and seeing more of my family than I would ever have managed to if I’d stayed in full time PAYE employment.
So for anyone who is just starting out or just thinking about starting out, it can be done. The keys for me were hard work and not giving up. The thought of having to go back to full time employment in 2011 which I considered, after having worked for myself for 2 years didn’t bear thinking about.
Also the fact that my family were relying on me as the only breadwinner meant I worked harder than I ever have, for around 15 months it was 7 days a week and 60+ hours a week.
Was it worth it? Definitely.
So 2 years old and looking forward to the next 2 where rather than working harder I’ll be looking at ways to work smarter and sharing those experiences with you guys (and girls).
Happy Birthday to Me!
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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.