Do I throw in the towel??(19 Posts)
I have my own business, started in 2005. Was very profitable up until about 2009 when the recession took hold which also coincided with birth of DC1.
I was unfortunate enough to lose a considerable amount of money in 2011 through suppliers going bust and as a victim of credit card fraud. This meant me making my one and only employee redundant.
Since then it has been a real struggle, DC1 gets her 15 funded nursery hours each week and I was not paying for any additional childcare in order to cut costs. DC2 was born in November 2012, once again I couldn't take any time off and am trying to juggle raising 2 kids with a business and no childcare.
I do get some enquiries but I feel some of my clients have given up on me. I can't guarantee leads will convert to sales to its not worth paying for childcare as I may not make enough to cover costs.
I no longer draw a salary but the money I have in the bank is slowly dwindling from the few overheads I do have (phone, accountant etc).
I feel so lost, I used to be really confident and earn a good living but now I feel like such a failure. I am not a great mum as one eye is always on my emails, I am not a great business woman as I am trying to give attention to the DCs when I can.
I don't know whether to just give it all up, some days I want to but it would absolutely break my heart to admit defeat and I feel I would resent the DCs in some ways (which I know is unfair, it's not their fault).
I am permanently stressed out, when a deal comes in its the best feeling ever and my mood is lifted and I can't imagine ever giving it up. But there have been a couple of months where I've made literally no money (since DC1 was born) and its terrifying.
I am losing sleep over this, please help me!
Your dc is 3 months old? If you didn't own a business you would be on maternity leave. I personally would take a break, markets change. It doesn't mean you've failed you just need to have a new focus. Take some time out op. there are 2 good short business books on this. Who moved my cheese & my iceberg is melting. Basically by chasing the old you lose out on the new.
You have 4 years of great experience running a profitable business - so you absolutely know you CAN do it.
You tell me you're getting leads but you're not converting them - why is that? Hand on heart - are you letting them walk?
Having a small baby can really knock us for six confidence-wise so it might just be a case of upping your confidence levels again so that you're confident enough to convert.
Is it a business which needs to be done 9-5? I got up at 4:30 this morning to get cracking on. Emails don't need to be responded to right there and then - so you can kind of "save these up" and respond when you've not got someone trying to press all the buttons! Remember to set the mails to send at a TIME APPROPRIATE time - if you start shooting off emails at 4am people will think you're unhinged.
If however your heart just isn't in it anymore well it's time to wind up. You can always start again at a later date.
Thanks guys, it actually made me cry reading your responses. Just to be "given permission" to take a break is a relief. I haven't taken a day off without checking emails etc since DC1 was born 4 years ago. I also work from home now and it is exhausting trying to do emails, take calls, bookkeeping, VAT etc when you've been up all night with the baby and also keep the house clean, do ironing, sort out household bills, insurances etc.
I am drained.
Dolomites - I am in the live events industry so I deal mainly b2b so people expect a response immediately or at least during working hours. I think you're right that my heart isn't in it so much anymore, but with the work I do it involves "schmoozing" (for want of a better word!), client visits, multiple proposals of which sometimes none are actually taken up (depending on who happens to be Chairman at the time, LOL). So I can quote all day long but I don't get paid for it.
And I don't feel I can spend the time and money (childcare, travel) involved in going out to win new business. It's a catch 22.
Funnily enough I have always had a dream of doing something completely different, I have been wondering whether it is time for me to explore that further so this may all be a blessing in disguise.
Thanks again, I really appreciate all your advice.
I'd echo the other posters. Try to have a break. You are being v hard on yourself...
I think you are judging your business now (when you have 15 hours without 1 DC, but still with little newborn DC) with when you were childfree (when I imagine you had the flex to work 80 hours a week if that is what is took). And that is without considering the impact of the misery-inducing recession on an industry which I imagine has been impacted more than some.
It might be that you cannot do your Live Events business with your current set up? So maybe take a break or stop and do something else. Or is there a way to outsource (which I appreciate comes at a cost) some elements of what you need to do to make the business more successful? Cold calling etc?
Or there is always the option of a job (again, not always easy to come by esp if you want pt/flex) but some of the stresses you mention go away with a job as they are your boss's prob etc.
I really don't think anyone will see you as a failure. Starting and running a successful business is no mean feat, you need to celebrate that you did that. Life has moved on, so you might your business.
I have lots of empathy, I am often hard on myself and it takes somebody "outside" to say "Err what are you on about" to make me realise how hard I am being..
Err Life has moved on,
so you might your business so your business might have to do that same.
Definitely not a failure - and the further I get down this path the more I realise we've all got a huge amount of courage to go in to this game.
I've just taken vol redundancy and sounded out a colleague who could make massive money on the open market and he said "oooh you're brave".
Bloody well done you - it's not easy when you're juggling little ones. I started my business with a newborn but thankfully the only phonecalls I needed to make were flexible in terms of "when"!
Oooh Dolites that is exciting. I seem to recall from other threads how many hours you were doing in order to work and get your biz off the ground and be a mum etc.
Redundancy sounds like it might be what you need...are you going to focus on the biz or find a different job?
Sorry for the highjack OP.
Mean Dolomites. Blimmin app, cannot see the thread once I start typing!
Have you received maternity pay ? You were entitled if self employed .
(Sorry to hijack)
margot I wanted redundancy - just not quite this quickly! However, I got offered such an amazing package that it's a once in a lifetime offer (2 years+ money). So I'm going to give my business my "all" for 12 months and if it doesn't look as though it is going to be financially viable then I'll start looking for paid employment again. But there's no hurry for which I will be eternally grateful!
Pendipidy, sadly I am not self employed, I am an employee of my own limited company (the sole employee!) so effectively I have to pay myself SSP and wait till end of year to claim it back. Either that or I don't take a wage, but then I am not entitled to Maternity allowance so I will get nothing if I do not work. And as long as I'm working I can't claim to be on maternity leave, its a catch-22! like i said, i was once relatively successful so it made sense to form a company. It has become the bane of my life though, accountants and paperwork and record keeping! No time to actually earn a living!
If you are an employee of your own limited company then provided you paid yourself enough between weeks 17 and 25 of your pregnancy, you're entitled to pay yourself SMP, and as a very small business, HMRC will give you an advance so you can pay it to yourself.
Thanks flowery, I didn't know this and unfortunately it's too late now. Obviously my accountants are useless!
It's not too late op you can claim tax back up to 6 years. Give hmrc a call.
"so effectively I have to pay myself SSP and wait till end of year to claim it back."
Do you mean SMP? stat maternity pay :-) if so you can claim the whole amount in advance, get your accountant onto it. Your still allowed to work a certain number of days.
I think your heart is no longer in this fast paced b2b industry and you sound like you feel completely pulled in 2 directions: your old life and your new life. I would say that you clearly have amazing skills as a business woman as you have kept your business afloat despite all the setbacks you spoke of. Take a break and get rid of the stress, then you will be open to an new amazing opportunity that embraces both your old skills and your new life commitments.
Hi OP, I have often wondered if I was the only one trying to run a business from home and take care of a small child at the same time. I knew I wasnt, just wondered where the other stressed out shattered guilt ridden mums were!I can SO sympathise with you. I too struggle so much. My DS(16 months) is in nursery a few days a week, I can't afford more and wouldn't want to put him in for more days, but I still dont have enough hours in the day to run the business and take care of DS when he is at home. I often work till early hours of the morning after he goes to bed to fill the customers orders. I can't tell you the number of tears I have shed over not giving him enough of my time(I feel) when he is at home as I have been trying to work as well. I feel like I cheat him by never taking him swimming,or to rhyme time, ect.... It is so hard and you are not alone!! And like you,I never feel like I am doing either particularly well. I just found out I am expecting again and have decided with DH that I was going to do the absolute bare minimun to keep the business afloat, drop lots of clients and concentrate on the family. This obvioulsy isnt good for business at all but I honestly feel like I have been given a "get out of jail card, as I couldnt continue this way with a newborn as well. I dont know how you do it! With this next baby I am desperate to spend more quality time together and really enjoy those precious baby months. I agree with the other posters, you have been working so hard, you poor thing. I too, think its time for a change for you. I would close the business and give yourself a break. Stress is so bad for you, and I really believe that you can find something else to do that brings you in the money you need and improves your quality of life. Maybe you should give yourself a "Get out of jail free" card too!! Your life sounds incredibly complicated and I think you should find something new that works better for you. You so can do this!! Especially as you don't particularly want to continue in the same industry and the money isnt pouring in. There are so many reasons for you to make some big changes. Best of luck! Let us know how it goes!!
By the way, I also am the sole employee of a Limited Company and will be claiming SMP. I know you can do it as my DH and amazing DMIL (who is a book keeper) have looked into it in detail. I dont know how but I think it has something to do with PAYE. Dont know for sure though, but I do know that you can.
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