I'm a fully qualified Chartered Accountant who previously worked in public practice for almost 7 years. I recently quit my 'day job' in August 2018 to grow Little Miss Bookkeeping (bookkeeping business) and my other side hustle Aura Eve (online activewear and fitness accessories). Taking the leap into self employment was a very tough decision for me - I pondered over this for months and months. Safe to say, 5 months on, it's the best decision I've made! Once upon a time I had very 'cookie cutter' dreams - go to uni, get a good job, work my way up, become partner, run my own firm. Almost 10 years along this path I realised my dreams and desires had changed. I now want to work flexible hours, have the freedom to live abroad for parts of the year, do a job that I love and watch my business grow. Safe to say, I'm not your typical accountant!
What ignited the spark in you to start a new business venture or to make significant changes in an existing business?
How did the idea for your business come about?
Aura Eve and Little Miss Bookkeeping started in the same year - 2014. Back then I was only bookkeeping on the side to help a friend's new manufacturing business and Aura Eve came about when I dipped my toes into competitive bodybuilding and saw a gap in the market, particularly for women's lifting belts and then evolving into booty bands. 4 years on Aura Eve has grown and grown, with only now am I investing my time into Little Miss Bookkeeping and taking on new clients.
My visions for Little Miss Bookkeeping is to help other women with their start ups and small business. Educating and helping them kick their business goals. As having gone through the start up phase myself, I can relate to my clients and the similar challenges they face. I have such a passion for small business and not ready to give up being an accountant just yet! I'm looking to expand my reach in Australia and develop an online course that will help others start their own business, specialising on the accounting and bookkeeping aspect.
What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?
Having little to no additional cash to grow my business was hard. Not enough money to get someone else to do my website or extra funds to invest in marketing. So I chose to spend what little money what I had wisely - earn income, put back into the business and repeat. Slowly, slowly the business grew!
What books are you currently reading? And your recommendation for entrepreneurs to read?
I'm currently reading 'Start with Why' by Simon Sinek, a best seller ALL entrepreneurs need to read. I am also addicted to listening to Australian based podcasts, such as the 'Foundr' and 'Stevie Says Social'.
Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits?
How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight?
The people around me have always been supportive of my pursuits. Those who didn't agree with my way of thinking I always disregarded. I always knew what I wanted and the only person holding me back was myself! My mother, being the most conservative, recommended that I just slowly cut down my days at my old accounting firm before diving into self employment. I had already cut down to 4 days in the firm and 1 day working on Aura Eve. It was not practical or desirable to do a 3/2 split, so I made the decision to go all in. Haven't looked back!
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?
Discipline. Regardless if you have a big or small budget, existing or no customers and clients - discipline will get you to where you want to be. It's using the valuable hours in the day to GET SH!T DONE and not procrastinate, do things that you really don't want to do but have to and stick it out for a long period of time. Rome wasn't built in a day. Unless you are an overnight success, being committed, motivated and ultimately sticking to your path will bring you great success in the long run :)
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?
There is no such thing as 'work life balance'. It's an illusion that is never 100% achievable. Instead, prioritise the things that matter to you. Set time aside for business, time aside for friends/family and time aside for yourself. I love the quote 'you can't poor from an empty cup, take care of yourself first! It took me a very long time to really understand the concept of 'self care', now realising 'burn out' is a real thing.
What advice would you give to an upcoming entrepreneur locally and internationally?
1. Work smarter, not harder - learn to work more productively as time is valuable!
2. Seek professional advice where necessary - don't half ass important things, especially relating to accounting entity set up or legals.
3. Google is your best friend - not to say everything you read on Google is correct, but I do like the 'how to' videos around creating websites, setting up domains etc. If you have the time, it's a cost saver!
4. Keep learning - up skill continuously in different areas relevant to you and your business.
5. Ask lots of questions!