This year I set myself some goals – To be happier, to move into a nicer office space and to take on a member of staff. Exciting but obviously to pay a wage I’d need to bump up my profits to cover the additional expense.

I knew from looking at my clients list and previous year accounts how many clients I roughly needed to have on my books for my goals to be achievable.

It was 100 active clients and I was on 64. It had taken me 5 years to build up 64 clients there was no way I’d ever be able to make up that shortfall of 36 by the September in 9 months!

I took the bull by the horns, hit my goals and then fell flat on my face in embarrassment.

If you are thinking of growing your business or are currently in the process of, keep on reading! All the way to the bottom!

Here are my ultimate do nots…

Disclaimer – They aren’t sugar coated, they are real life experiences from the heart that have overwhelmed me, brought on anxiety attacks and reduced me to tears. I’m only human, these things happen and I’m not afraid to share that.

36 new clients in 9 months? – Yep I smashed that goal in just over 6.

I really didn’t think I would be able to pull that off, but I had my goals in mind, I sat down and planned out what I needed to do to achieve those and I changed my mindset. I believed in myself.

Lesson learnt – When you make a financial investment in business coaching workshops and personal development and then spend so much time and effort implementing such you will see the benefits. You can, and you will!

I’m a good accountant, I run my business around 2 children (1 who isn’t even in school just yet), It’s tough going and I single handily juggle a million and one deadlines – each month alone I’ve got payroll deadlines, CIS deadlines, VAT deadlines, corporation tax deadlines and Companies House deadlines!

I offer a door to door records collection and drop off service, so my clients aren’t taking time away from their work.

My rates are below average and I very often do additional tasks at no cost because I’m simply just a lovely person.

So, can you imagine how I feel when I get through a narky email? I am literally sat at my laptop thinking ‘Really?????’

Granted I’ve been a bit slack, but I must prioritize my workload and if your deadline isn’t the most urgent… You will be knocked down a few on my to do list. Same rule applies if you haven’t paid for previous work.

I breathe/eat/sleep my business! My children come second, my partner comes third and my housework is non-existent! If those efforts are not good enough for you (I work 24/7) please feel free to go elsewhere!

It genuinely upsets me because that/this isn’t the way I want to run my business and I very often cry but I promise you I work so hard there isn’t much more I can do. I’ve ended up in a sticky situation because all of my clients were extremely organised this year and for me to have brought in a member of staff – I would have of had to have quadrupled my fees and that isn’t what my business is about, I want to keep things affordable for my clients.

Lesson learnt – I am amazing! And I know that because the other Sunday I had a thank you letter dropped through my letterbox off a client with a £20.00 note in! I’ve just had a late-night text off another client calling me a darling because I helped her out very last minute. You can’t always please everyone and guess what that’s OK.

These last 9 months my software bill alone has gone from £110 per month to £300 per month and my rent has gone from £236 to £350. I’ve invested in new office equipment, furniture, personal development and that doesn’t even include my upcoming apprentice wage bill or the additional nursery fees I’ve committed to since September, so I can work more hours.

Argh! Why have I done this to myself? It’s because I want to be able to offer the best possible service to my clients.

Except I’ve made one vital mistake… I haven’t put up my prices and gosh it’s hit me like a sack of spuds.

Lesson learnt – It’s OK to increase your expenditure if you feel you need to, but make sure you reflect for those additional add ons in your client fees because it’s OK to increase your prices too. Keep on top of your numbers.

And by let go I mean outsource. I’m such a control freak, if I do something personally I know exactly what has happened and the standard of work is of my expectations.

I had 40 sets of accounts land on my desk in a space of 6/8 weeks – Can you imagine how overwhelming my life was? That was on top of my regular month to month bookkeeping, payroll and VAT returns! I think I might even still have the odd one or two I need to finish off.

I had no choice but to call in help by way of a freelance admin assistant and another bookkeeper. After all, 3 pairs of hands are better than 1.

Lesson learnt – Even though I like to think I’m good at multi-tasking, really I’m not! Wonder Woman does not exist.

This has been a hard one for me to overcome! I’ve wanted to give up on so many occasions…

Luckily, I’ve built up a really good network of business buddies around me and they’re always there on the other end of a phone call or message when I’m crying (I’ve cried a lot) to help pick me back up!

It’s taken me 6 years to get to where I am right now and I’m not going to give up because I’ve had a tough few months. And that’s all it is, a tough few months because now I have my swanky new office and a full-time apprentice everything will ease in time! (At which point I will be taking myself on holidays to recoup)!

Lesson learnt – Success isn’t given to you. You need to work hard and commit. And you also need to celebrate your achievements… Someone please send me the champagne over!

It’s every business owners dream to grow your start up business into something that little bit bigger.

For me I wanted to grow my business especially, so I could employ my sister and give her a career and income.

I wanted to grow my business, so I could have financial freedom which I could also pass on to my clients.

I wanted to grow my business, so I could help other small businesses.

To be able to say I’ve done that is an achievement, despite my mishaps there has always been a lesson learnt and by sharing my experiences I’m helping you that little bit more.

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