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Busy sole trader? You don’t have to wear EVERY hat in business…

Blog Carnival - Pink

“Mommy, a calculator will help you to work faster, just don’t tell anyone!”

Lily, aged 6 and 3/4

These wise words were uttered by my daughter during one of her many ‘pep talks’. I receive such nuggets of fabulous advice on a regular basis and it’s the innocence and excitement in such fantastic revelations that melt my heart and make the hard work worthwhile. I am a proud Mum to two beautiful girls, happily juggling my parental responsibilities, my dream bookkeeping business and a fulfilling home life.

I know how daunting and sometimes downright scary it can be to take the plunge and go it alone as a sole trader. There are an awful lot of ‘what if’s’ and potential minefields that line the sparkly promising road to self-employment. Whilst exciting and fulfilling, setting up your own business can often mean wearing an awful lot of hats at any one time.

When I set up my own business I fast became my very own marketing manager, IT consultant, legal eagle, social media expert, administrator, receptionist and glorified tea girl. Overnight. What I’ve gleaned from the process of trying to wear every single one of these hats in a very handsome fashion, is the realisation that it’s ok to ask for help. I am not a ‘Jack of All Trades’ and I do want to get SOME sleep. Otherwise, I couldn’t do my dream job properly and help people who are looking for that sprinkle of fairy dust on their accounts to make the numbers make sense and the figures stack up.

In my search to find suitably talented people to wear the hats that just didn’t fit my tiny little head, I’ve met some knowledgeable, inspirational and downright ‘lovely people’ in business. In my forthcoming blogs I hope to provide other small business owners with some useful advice, an insight into the advantages of keeping the numbers in check and some tips on how to make your bookkeeping work for you.

I’d love to read your comments, feedback, questions, even your own ‘juggling sole trader’ stories…. so please feel free to post a comment. If I can help you by wearing the bookkeeping ‘hat’ for you or if you’d just like a bit of friendly advice then please email me at sarah@bookkeepingboutique.co.uk.

Images provided by: Maggie SmithIdea goGrant Cochrane @ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Blog Carnival - Pink

A big thank you to Mums Business Directory for including my piece in the Blog Carnival this month. For many useful blogs written by many talented Mums in business click here.



8 replies to “Busy sole trader? You don’t have to wear EVERY hat in business…

  1. Good article Sarah. It can be extremely daunting when you start working for yourself, you need the full support of family and friends to begin with, but the hat scenario is one of the hardest to get. Essentially, you will be responsible for marketing, administration and the small matter of production. This is compounded by the differing skill sets required. Some people are really good at, say, production, but don’t have much idea about actually selling their products. You have identified the issue and a solution, but another issue that comes from this is cost. I completely agree that you should stick to what you’re good at, but the financial pressure often stops you from having the luxury of being able to outsource.

    There are, of course, many websites available that provide help and support, such as Business Link and the Donut series, and of course professionals like us will provide information which hopefully start ups and established businesses will be able to benefit from.

    • Thanks for your comments Nick, a very valid point that cost is of course an issue when outsourcing. In the start-up phase financial pressure is certainly an issue facing most new businesses, I can definitely relate to this on a personal level and whole-heartedly agree with you!

      Since entering the small business arena I’ve discovered what can only be described as a great ‘community’ When I started my business I wasn’t really sure what to expect, if I’m honest, but the great help and advice I have received from fellow small business owners (often free or at a token cost) has surpassed any expectations I may have had. It certainly works both ways, I am more than happy to promote a company that has helped me along the way or give a little free advice if requested. Building great business relationships has been an important stepping stone for me and can very often be an undervalued resource.

      For new start up clients I also provide free advice in the form of topic helpsheets relevant to their business structure and introduce them to any relevant business contacts I can think of that will prove useful to developing their business. Business Link and Donut, as you mentioned provide some great free advice, together with free workshops offered by HMRC.

      Thanks again for the comments :)

  2. Great Blog and one that I can empathise with as I have been working with a small team to revamp our Loans business.

    One tip I’d like to pass on that has really helped us is to use outsourcing websites like Odesk.com or Freelancer.co.uk to get a lot of work done. We’ve found a host of good people to work with in the fields of web development, PPC campaign management, SEO, Article writing, Graphic design and more. The prices are quite keen and you can review an Applicant’s past work history so you’re not hiring entirely blind. These sites have certainly helped us and I believe many businesses are not aware of them (or at least many of the small business owners I talk to) so I thought it worth pointing out.

    Just one question from me too: what is this Donut series that has been referred to by the previous poster? I’m not familiar with that and a Google search has only revealed some tempting waistline-busting recipes. Can you post a link please?

  3. Another useful post. As a freelancer, I don’t find oDesk and Freelancer, etc., very useful, as all the buying decisions (on jobs I’ve gone for) seem to be on price rather than service, and I’m not going to lose money doing work just for the sake of it, but provide a high quality and personal service, so I seem to lose out there.

    Anyway, just wanted to say I’ve written a couple of blog posts on outsourcing (of all kinds) which your readers might find useful:
    http://libroediting.com/2011/07/19/outsourcing1/
    http://libroediting.com/2011/07/20/outsourcing2/

    of course, one of the things I really do recommend outsourcing is the financial side of things – unless you’re ultra-simple with your business model, then it’s pretty well always worth doing!

  4. Pingback: Business Plus Baby Blog Carnival October Part 2 @MumsBusinessDir | Mums Business Directory Blog

  5. As a mum and a business owner I can certainly identify with wearing lots of hats! For the most part I don’t mind – sometimes it’s just the most practical thing to do from a financial and ‘learning on the job’ point of view. And if I’m honest, I quite like the variety! However I do find that if I don’t wear my ‘core’ hat for a while, because I’m too busy with the other hats, then my energy and enjoyment do get drained. So my advice would be to prioritise your core business – the thing you set your business up to do, the thing you enjoy the most, that you excel in, that uses your strengths and strengthens you in return. Then plan the other hats and activities to support and enable that core business to grow, whether that’s a hat worn by you or someone else, or a bit of both. Thanks Sarah!

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