Why Mumpreneurs Should Make a Decent Profit

mumpreneur profitI've been reading Mum Ultrapreneur, partly because I'm doing some business book reviews for Mums The Blog, but also because I just love a good how-to-start-your-own-business book.

(What did I think of the book? I'll let you know when Mums The Blog publish my post…)

As I was doing a final skim through Mum Ultrapreneur's interviews with business mums, I nearly choked on my biscuit when I read:

"…lots of business mums I've come across said their husbands aren't at all [supportive]. Which I think is something important to mention. I've found that a lot of husbands, because they're so money focused, find it difficult to understand what they're wives are doing because they're not bringing in that much money. Lots of mums in business are only doing it because they really enjoy it and it's creative"

Alli Price of www.motivatingmum.co.uk

Photo by showmeone

It wasn't the bit about the unsupportive husbands. Not everyone has an entrepreneurial streak, and if you don't have one yourself, coping with  one in your partner can be unnerving.

What made my crumbs fly was this –

"Lots of mums in business are only doing it because they really enjoy it and it's creative"

One huge advantage of running your own business is that you can do it your way. But surely making a decent profit has to be a central goal of any business? True, most of us mumpreneurs have two aims – to make money and to fit our work around our families. But I'd assumed that the making money part was a no-brainer. After all, a business that you enjoy, is creative but only makes peanuts isn't a business. It's a hobby.

Many businesses go through periods where they make no profit at all, especially at the beginning. But the aim to make a decent profit has to be there for it to be a bona fide business.

I wondered why I was so rattled by Alli's quotation and I've nailed it down to three things:

1. A creative, enjoyable business that makes very little money is a huge wasted opportunity.

If the business makes some money, there's every chance that with a few tweaks it could make a lot more. Perhaps it needs more of a focus,  a business plan or marketing plan, a review of pricing, more training or business advice.

2. What's really going on here? Are we selling ourselves short as business mums?

Many of us Brits still see money as a slightly grubby subject and I suspect British women are particularly affected by this.

The trouble is that this belief can lead to women not having the confidence to ask for what they are entitled. I don't think it's a coincidence that many of the jobs that are done by female workers are the lowest paid. That, in turn, lowers the status of work that women do. Perhaps lurking behind all this enjoyment and creativity is a woman afraid to ask for what she is really worth?

3. I don't want anyone to think of my new business as a little hobby to keep me busy while I care for my babies

I may work part time, but I take my business every bit a seriously as I took my previous career. In fact, the stakes are even higher now. I need the money to keep a roof over my family's head and I want to set a good example for my children. I aim to do work that I enjoy, but if it doesn't pay me what I'm worth I'll find another business idea.

None of this is meant as a criticism of Alli Price or Mum Ultrapreneur. Both are passionate about helping mums to start businesses exactly as I am. I hope the quotation has been just a starting point for my thoughts and that these help a mum somewhere to get a decent profit for all her hard work.

Because it's hard work even if you do enjoy it.

What are your thoughts? Please do drop me a comment below.

One Good Way To Save Money as a Business Mum

Software can be expensive if you’re running a small business from home.

A good example is Microsoft Office – Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook (and sometimes a few other programs thrown in).  Bought from the Microsfot Office website, the Home and Student version of Office 2007 costs £99.99, but you cannot use it in ‘business situations’. The standard version costs £349.99 if buying from scratch and £249.99 if you’re upgrading from an earlier version.

The good news that you can get very similar software for free – check out Open Office. As an ex-Microsoft Office trainer, I  didn’t look at Open Office for years. I’d spent so long learning MS Office to the advanced level, I couldn’t face learning new Office software. But if you’re a regular Word, Excel or PowerPoint user, Open Office will look very familiar indeed. A few minutes exploring should be all the training you need. If you’re worried about the files being compatible with Microsoft Office – say, you need to send a spreadsheet to your accountant who only has Excel – don’t be. Open Office can cope with MS Office file formats.

It’s amazing that we all go out and pay hundreds of pounds for software we could (effectively) get for free, but I guess that’s the power of Microsoft.

There’s a lot of open source software out there – the blog software I use, WordPress, is open source and doesn’t cost me a penny. If you’re thinking about buying new software, it’s well worth Googling to see if there’s an open source equivalent. You could save a heck of a lot of money.

Top 10 Tips for Finding a Great Accountant (and why you need one)

When I started out as a freelance trainer almost ten years ago I knew I needed help filling out my tax return form and making sure my books were kept properly. But I was apprehensive about hiring an accountant because I'd never done this before. I didn't really know what an accountant should do or how to find the right one for me. If you're new to business you'll probably feel a lot like I did. Which is why I've asked my latest guest blogger, Amy Taylor of Amy Taylor Accountancy, to share her expertise. In this article, Amy covers…

  • What to look for in a great accountant
  • What a good accountant should do for you
  • Why you need an accountant
  • What to do if you can’t afford an accountant
  1. First decision : High street practice or sole practitioner?  The main benefits of a sole practitioner are lower fees and a more personal service.  They are often more flexible, and as they run their own businesses are much more likely to understand the pressures you are facing.  My clients chose me because they like having a regular point of contact and proactive tax planning advice.
  2. Talk to your business contacts and attend networking events.  Word of mouth is often the best way to find a great accountant.  Find out who your business contacts use, their experiences and attend networking groups which invariably will have at least one accountant in attendance who you can get to know informally before deciding on appointment.
  3. Check out Twitter.  It’s another way of getting to know an accountant informally.  See if they offer tax advice that is relevant for you as it’s a good sign they understand your business.  Follow some lists such as http://twitter.com/efficiencycoach/great-accountants and http://twitter.com/BookMarkLee/uk-tax-and-accountants to get to know some great accountants, including me http://twitter.com/amyaccountant .
  4. You absolutely WILL save tax.  A good accountant will assess its clients’ needs, identifying areas where tax can be legitimately saved and offer tax planning advice for the future.  Areas where I have helped my clients save tax is by advising on the best VAT scheme, identifying missing expenses, such as costs of working from home, broadband, insurances, carrying forward Class 4 NIC losses and advising on eligibility for child tax credits.
  5. Avoid fines.  Getting your tax return in on time is essential if you are to avoid heavy fines, and/or interest.  A great accountant will know all the deadlines applicable to your business and make sure you work together to meet those deadlines.
  6. Prove you are taking reasonable care.  HMRC have changed their penalty regime from 2009 which means that you must demonstrate a commitment to correctly declaring your tax liabilities, and taking the best possible care over your books and records.  What better way to prove your commitment than taking on a suitably qualified accountant.  It says to the taxman, look I know this is my weak area so I am taking responsibility for my tax affairs by appointing this expert to help me.
  7. Ask if your accountant will give you regular updates or a newsletter.  I provide my clients with personalised updates to their particular industry or background, to make sure they are aware of any changes, for example compulsory online VAT filing, etc, so they can plan ahead and take on additional accountancy services if required.
  8. If you have issues over affording an accountant, look for an accountant who offers special rates for start-ups.  I have very reasonable packages for start-ups as I recognise how finances can be pushed to the limits in the first year.  A good accountant will advise you on how to keep your books and records in order, to obtain the lowest fees possible.
  9. Another reason why it is important to have an accountant is if you move house. If you are self-employed you won’t have any payslips to hand over as proof of your income when getting a mortgage, so it is essential to have an accountant who can provide you with a reference, let the bank know your past accounting and tax history and future expectations of growth.
  10. If you get it wrong and choose an accountant who is not right for your business needs, don’t worry.  It is very easy to change.  Find a new accountant and they will write a “professional enquiry” letter to your old accountant asking if there is any reason why they shouldn’t work with you.  They will also draft a letter for you to sign which allows the old accountant to pass over all old tax calculations and accounts to the new accountant.

Good hunting!  For more information on accounting and tax services from Amy Taylor Accountancy, or a copy of my ebook “10 Top Tax Tips” for the self-employed, please ring me on 01767 260282 or email me at amy@tayloraccountancy.net.  Visit my website at www.tayloraccountancy.net. Amy Taylor Accountancy takes every care in preparing material to ensure that the content is accurate and up to date.  However no responsibility for loss to any person acting or refraining from acting as a result of this material can be accepted by Amy Taylor Accountancy