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Being a sole trader can be a lonely place...........

You still with me?

I've been in business for over 3 years now and have only just found the support and collaboration of other businesses that I am truly benefitting from.

When you first start out on the magical journey of being a sole trader your enthusiasm is your main driver, but what happens when you have got part way through the year and you find that you're not earning as much as you were when you were employed, you're still not 100% sure that you are doing the right things in the right space at the right time? I'm sure you've got your own answers swirling around in your head.

Where do we go to find that support?

There are networking groups, but it takes time to get to know, like and trust people, there are starter incubator programmes, if they are available in your area at the time you are starting out - I missed out by a couple of years and found myself not eligible to attend them.
There are business coaches but which one is right for me and have they run their own sole trader business in a similar arena to mine?

I was lucky to be able to go to branch meetings in South Yorkshire for the Institute of Certified Bookkeepers, but they were only every 6 weeks and sometimes I was too busy to go and so it would be 12 weeks before I could go and ask that question.

The internet is full of information but,

which bit is right and which bits should I avoid like the plague. It gets outdated very quickly, an article from 2005 is no longer relevant in in 2017.

I recently moved into the Barnsley Business and Innovation Centre and found all of the above, I'm no longer lonely, there are lots of business owners - sole traders and micro businesses - for me to talk to and ask questions of. I'm also finding that I am able to help other business owners with their journeys and that is an amazing feeling. They even have their own networking group on the first Friday of the month.

Not all businesses in the BBIC are service industry or what you would find on a business park, there is a wonderful group of Crafty people who meet once a month called Crafty Biz Barnsley and I have been going to the their networking events for about 6 months now, I used to love doing lots of crafts, but don't always have the time to dedicate to it any more. Every month they have a speaker who can help them with their business and I was recently honoured to be asked if I would give a talk on keeping good bookkeeping records.

Crafty Biz Barnsley

Last week the day of the talk came and although I knew what I was going to talk about and had prepared slides, I was so nervous, this was outside of my comfort zone. I went into the room and we set up the computer and projector and then waited for everyone to arrive, the room was packed, every seat around the table was taken and a couple of extra chairs were pulled into the space. Despite my nerves, the talk went well and the feedback on Facebook has been amazing, but I learnt a lot that night about how I needed to grab an audience's attention at the beginning and to make it super interesting for them. The questions kept on coming which was brilliant, but next time I deliver that talk to another group I will change it round a little bit - we are always learning no matter what we know.

Expenses

A lot of the questions were about the different expenses that they are allowed to claim against their turnover, there are lot of these so I will be writing again soon with some of the more well known ones and a few of the lesser known as well and how they are applied to your business.

Feel free to send me an email if you have any questions about keeping good bookkeeping records or pop over to my Facebook page and send me a message or give me a 'Like'



 

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