This Start-Up Story comes from Emma Willder, founder of Beyond Profit. Emma is an Accountant and Finance Manager who lives in Manchester, and started her business which specialises in supporting charities after an unusually long (and very patient!) wait to work for herself!
Tell me a little about you & your family, what your business is, and the inspiration behind getting started…
My name is Emma Willder and I am a mum of four boys aged 16 to 6. My business is Beyond Profit.
The inspiration behind my business is quite a story. I came up with the idea in 2009 not long after my 3rd son was born. I had seen that there was a real need for small and medium-sized charities to access quality finance and governance support but that the cost was a barrier. However my husband had just given up work to become a stay at home dad to our then 3 boys (at the time aged 4,2 and 0) so it was never the right time and the idea stayed locked inside on my like a caterpillar in a crysallis.
Fast forward 8 years (and another child later) and and quite out of the blue my husbands’ ex-boss contacted him to see if he would be interested in coming to work for her new organisation and a bit like in The Godfather… it was an offer we couldn’t refuse!
So, there we were 4 kids and 2 full time working parents. Chaos? Yes. Stressful? Yes. Any light to be seen at the end of the tunnel? No. When another unexpected and unlooked for opportunity arose, and I decided to take voluntary redundancy. Suddenly that caterpillar that had been hidden away began to emerge from its cocoon and here we are…Beyond Profit.
How did you make the leap from idea on paper to reality with your business idea?
I had been mulling over the idea for years. Thankfully my professional institute, Chartered Institute of Management Accoutants, put me in contact with Ian Ross, an experience member in practice (MIP) who helped support accountants make the leap into self employment. Ian was invaluable and put me in contact with several other MIPs who I could chat to about setting up on my own.
How did you get your first sale or client?
My first two clients were organisations I had worked with previously. The first one was my Trade Union who were in the process of merging with another union and required an interim accountant whilst the process took place, their Finance Manager having left knowing that their role would be made redundant.
The second client was a charity that I had help establish and supported in my employed role. They still wanted access to my skills set. I am happy to say that I am still working with them today.
What ‘lucky breaks’ or helping hands have you had along the way that have really boosted your progress?
Most of my clients come through word of mouth, so at the start I made use of all my contacts and networks that I had established in my employed role to let them know what was going on. This really helped secure some of my first clients.
What do you LOVE about your business and working for yourself?
I love the freedom it brings. Freedom to choose who I work with, what I do and how I do it!
What’s the scariest thing you’ve had to do since setting up on your own?
Taking on staff – in the beginning I was adamant that it was just going to be me but as my business grew I knew I needed additional support. I now have two part-time members of the Beyond Profit team and have recruited a third very recently.
Who else is in your support network, that you simply couldn’t manage without?
My Business Coach, my VA and the CIMA member in practice network.
What exciting plans do you have for your business over the next 6-12 months that you’d like to share?
Growth – taking on anther team member will allow me to expand my business even further, which is incredily exciting.
On your own start-up adventure?
I’m Lucy. I’m a Business Coach helping women who work for themselves to create beautiful businesses that make a positive impact on the world – sharing their skills, talents and creativity in a way that feels good AND makes great money, too.
I offer free 30-min Consultation Calls to enable you to get a handle on where you are now, gain clarity on your goals for your business and figure out what you need to do to get there, too. You can book your complimentary call with me here: www.calendly.com/Lucy-Green/30min
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