My journey to creating C.L. Shipley Bookkeeping Services, by Carol Shipley
“With a grandfather who was an accountant, and a father who trained in accountancy and ran a successful business it is no wonder that I was interested in figures.
Had I been a less headstrong teenager I would probably have trained to be an accountant, but I went a different route missing out college years and ended up in sales and marketing.
I sort of fell into sales and did enjoy it, I also had 3 and a half years running a business with my father from 2002 to 2005, and did all my own bookkeeping then, but after he unexpectedly passed away I closed the business and went back into sales. I worked my way up the ladder and eventually began working as a Sales Manager for a household plastics manufacturer, managing a sales team and looking after some of the larger accounts myself. I was staying away from home 3-4 nights a week and driving between 800 and 1,000 miles a week.
Early in 2014 family circumstances made me think long and hard about my life and what I was going to do. I need to work until I am 68, my 50th birthday was looming and I needed to work nearer home, I couldn’t continue in my current job long term.
Several times over the past few years I have looked at what is involved in becoming a self-employed bookkeeper, and each time I did this I didn’t find a way to progress it. This time I spent more time researching what qualifications were needed and what organisations there were along with providers.
After much research I decided that I wanted to go down the ICB route as they were are the world’s largest organisation of bookkeepers and they offered support and guidance to people wanting to set up in practice. I knew I wanted my own practice.
Then I found Training Link and signed up with them to do their MICB course. I couldn’t have chosen a better training provider, the support was fantastic, over and above what you would expect from a training provider. My first course arrived at the end of July and I took my level II Certificate in Bookkeeping final exam at the end of August, the results came through on the 2nd September and I was delighted to have been awarded distinction with honours.
I gave 3 months notice to my employer at the end of September and I moved on to level III and took my final external exam on the 17th December again passing with distinction. I was thrilled, I was now able to upgrade my membership to AICB and start my own business as a self-employed bookkeeper.
I got my practice licence at the beginning of January and immediately signed up 2 clients. I also took my Diploma in Payroll, passed with another distinction and another service to add to the bookkeeping.
I am hoping to have taken my Level IV qualification by the end of February which will mean I can upgrade to MICB level.
I have been busy setting up my new business ‘C.L. Shipley Bookkeeping Services’. Website, social media, advertising, flyers business cards etc. Then it was onto looking for clients. I find that telemarketing is working really well for me, after 2 weeks of telemarketing I now have 20 firm appointments with potential clients and another half a dozen who also want to see me but no appointment has been made yet, plus I have a few more people who may need my services in the near future.
I set myself a weekly and a monthly goal, and I have already achieved my February targets and am half way to meeting my March targets. I know that it will take time to build my C.L. Shipley Bookkeeping Services practice up but I also know that I will get there.
I am so happy to be working for myself doing something I enjoy. I particularly enjoy the problem solving. It is hard work, you need to put great effort into it to see the results, and you have to be a very self-motivated person if you want it to succeed. Everybody that knows me has commented on how much more relaxed I seem now that I am not dashing all over the place.
For me it has been a complete change of lifestyle. I still put long hours in, but I am not driving the distance that I was and I am at home every night of the week. I have more time to spend with my family and friends and that is what means most to me.
I think that 12 months down the line I will be able to make a decent living out of my practice, and I still have aspirations to having a medium sized practice with some employees Watch this space!
To view the C.L. Shipley Bookkeeping Services website click below. As a self-employed bookkeeper, I now have 14 clients.”