Entrepreneur Friday – Rachael Savage
Time for another Entrepreneur Friday. This week we have the fantastic Rachael Savage from Simplified Accounting. So grab a cuppa and take 5 minutes out of your day to read her fab interview.
Tell us a bit about your business
Simplified Accounting Limited provides accounting services and support to small businesses up and down the country, the ethos is no jargon and no tech talk … “keeping accounts simple” and “real advice for real people” being the tag lines but also being the way that I work. Accounts and the tax man are daunting enough for most people as it is – without an accountant baffling the client too – you need to understand your numbers and it is my job to ensure that you do.
What inspired you to start it?
I had worked with a top tier firm for over 10 years and was a manager working with small businesses and the level of help that these businesses actually needed compared to what they could afford to pay for was severely mismatched so I decided to bite the bullet and set up myself to work with these sorts of businesses but on an affordable level.
What is your career background?
I studied Maths & Physics at Uni and then worked as a research assistant for a few years before deciding I ought to get a proper job and kind of “fell” into being an accountant .. but I love meeting people, working with them and seeing that light bulb moment when they understand the figures within their businesses.
What is your vision for your business?
My vision for the business is to work with owner managed businesses to help them with their accounts and take the worry away from them whilst making sure that they understand the numbers behind the business. I currently work 9 – 3 to fit around school hours and that works really well.
You’ve balanced being a successful business woman with raising a family. Any advice for other women?
Adaptability, Flexibility and Honesty are key .. you will have those days where they have puked all over the floor and that’s an instant 48 hours off school so you need to be able to work around it .. luckily I have understanding clients and when I have had to rearrange meetings in the past for these circumstances everyone has been fine about it! It’s a case of being honest with your clients. Also, remember that it is ok to ask for help – be it the cleaning, ironing, childcare – we can’t do everything all of the time and have to decide what is important and what isn’t. Being able to make special assemblies, sports days etc has been fantastic. My daughter goes up to secondary school in September so it will be a lot of change for all of us and I am sure there will be new challenges to come!
How do you maintain a good work/life/family balance?
I have a colour coordinated diary (really!) and everything goes in it – work, husbands work, school activities, clubs, my activities etc – it’s the only way I can keep organised. I do try and stop work when she gets in from school and we spend time together on homework, relaxing etc and if I have bits that need to be done I can then do them in the evening. Weekends and work are a big no-no and I avoid working at the weekend as much as I possibly can.
What was your light bulb moment? When did you realise you wanted to be an entrepreneur/business owner?
It was when I was working late in an evening for about the 10th night in a row and thought why am I doing this .. and for someone else? It was that moment that made me think this is silly .. if I am going to work late, I want it to be on my terms.
What lessons have you learned along the way?
Organisation – you need to be really organised to run your own business and work from home as there can be too many distractions.
Mess blindness – I have to ignore the chaos that they have left the house in as they’ve gone out in the morning, it is time to work not tidy up!
What has surprised you about owning your own business?
The huge network of people that are out there on-line in groups like this and others that you can “talk” to, although you might be working from home on your own a lot of the time, I don’t ever find that I am lonely.
Who and what inspires you?
If it isn’t too cheesy, I am inspired by my daughter every day – she is dyslexic and has daily challenges because of it. But she doesn’t let it stop her, ever. She is determined at everything she does and enthusiastic and can turn her hand to whatever she wishes .. she’s decided she wants to be a lawyer or pro-snowboarder when she grows up .. at this rate either are possible.
Do you have a daily routine or rituals you do?
The alarm goes off at 6am as my husband has to leave the house at 6:45am, so I get up and make the packed lunches for him and my daughter and then sit out of the way with a cup of tea and catch up on social media and the news before she gets up at 7:15am .. that 30 mins of peace and quiet is bliss.
What obstacles have you had along the way?
Self generated ones mainly, the self doubt that we all have when we start out but you have to learn to ignore it and look at what you have achieved and what you are planning to do next.
What is one thing you wish you’d known when you first started?
That it is ok to say “no” .. if something doesn’t feel right, or you don’t click with a potential client you can say no, working with someone needs buy in from both parties. Now I will say no to people if needed.
Tell us your favourite tools that make your life easier (apps, websites, software etc)
My calendar on my phone is essential as is my to do book – it is an A5 notebook and has a double page spread each week under varying headings! Software wise I wouldn’t be without my accounts and tax packages.
What is your favourite quote?
“Nothing good comes after BUT” .. it’s from Big & Small which is a kids TV programme on CBeebies .. it just stuck with me when we watched it when she was little and it is so very true!
Rachael Savage is a chartered accountant with over 15 years’ experience and has been running her own practice looking after small businesses for the last 5 years, she prides herself on having a no jargon and friendly approach and ensures clients understand the numbers behind their businesses whether they are start up or established. When not working, Rachael either can be found pounding the streets in her trainers in preparation for the 10k events she’s entered this year or sat watching her daughter snowboard at one of the UK’s indoor slopes.
Thank you so much for sharing your story with us Rachael!
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