Next week I'm attempting to have a whole week where I do not work on Bulldog Accounting. I'm not actually going anywhere (which would be a better way of ensuring I keep away from the computer) but I am determined that I will be having some time off. I'm tired, and I need it.
Since I started the business last May, I've had the best time. There's a huge amount to look forward to as well, including (shameless plug - but it is MY blog) the ICAEW Practice Conference 2018 on 15 and 16th November at which I am one of the speakers. Oh. My. Goodness.
So. In order to start off my sojourn from the business with a positive mental attitude, I thought I'd share some reflections on the past 18 months.
I am very pleased I have decided to work part time. The business (and my income) are growing more slowly that I think they could have,
but my quality of life is incomparably better. The dog is happy, I'm half a stone lighter and in much better shape (a result of the half marathon I completed a couple of weeks ago. Go team!)
Earning money through your own business is a very difference experience to being employed. Starting a business has had a significant impact not just on my income, but on the way money becomes available to me. Its an obvious thing but there's no steady, reliable wage coming in at the end of each month. Its taken some getting used to, and I still feel a bit at sea - especially just before my regular invoices start to clear - but I've got through the difficult first year, and my pipeline of work is getting better all the time.
I need to start getting out and about again.
For the first few months, I went to everything I could find that would put me in the same room as potential customers. Since the Summer, I've been spending time getting my processes tidied up and consolidating the clients I am currently working with. I therefore haven't been out as much and I'm feeling it. I'll be hitting the networking scene on my return with a view to growing the business at a faster pace for the next few months.
I think I might want some staff, one day.
I decided a few months ago that I wanted to focus on individual client compliance work rather than consultancy, largely because it offers me more flexibility in the way that I work (which is VERY useful for when the new puppy arrives next week). I'm still managing as a sole practitioner at the moment, but as Bulldog Accounting continues to grow (see point above) I will need to get more help. There are many forms this can take - I've already written a little about outsourcing - and I'm quite excited about the idea of having someone else working in the business with me. It won't happen immediately, but its definitely something I want to explore.
No job has ever been as rewarding
Aside from the fact I now work part time (around 30-35 hours most weeks, sometimes more sometimes a little less), running a small business is an all-consuming thing. This is why it is quite so tricky to step out of the business even for a relatively short time. Part of the reason it is so overwhelming is that you CARE. You care about ALL of it. In all my previous roles I have been an engaged and proactive employee but you get to a point where you simply cannot care about all of it - a) its too big, b) frankly, its not your job. I care about ALL of Bulldog Accounting. It has required a lot of compromise, learning, graft and humility (oh my goodness do you make mistakes) but it has been absolutely the best career decision I have ever made.
And - before I toddle off for a week - do let me introduce you to 8 week old Rocky who is joining Mr Bulldog, Esme and I at Bulldog Towers from the 31st October. How happy do I look here!