Digits Accounting by Hanneke Barlow
I am an accountant, a mom and an entrepreneur. I serve small, creative businesses with tailored tax and accounting packages. The accountant part of me is probably the only chapter of my life that is not chaotic lol and I guess that is one of the many reasons I love what I do as it brings structure and routine to my life.
Tell us what lead you to start working for yourself and starting your own business?
Standing at the creche gate, annoyed that the gates aren’t opened before 07:00 so I can get to my super important job, always worried about how late my 1 year old was making me. Wanting to swear at the teacher phoning to say my little girl is running a fever and I need to come and fetch her… I was so consumed with making a living that I completely forgot that I had one chance at making a life for my child. My super important job seemed less and less worth it and I made the bold decision to quite my job and get my life in order.
How did you get your first client and how hard/easy was it to build your client base that allow you to work for yourself?
I posted a very amateur ad on a local community Facebook group offering freelance accounting services. OH MY WORD. The response was incredible. I landed a permanent contract with a group of companies that literally changed the way I think about business and I count myself incredibly lucky to watch how impact and support far outweighs their profit goals and am learning from them every day! From there without any attempt at marketing my client base just grew at a rapid pace. I had to build a plane whilst already in the air and recently had to take a step back to reflect on what it is that I want to achieve and how I will achieve that.
What is a great tip that you can share with other nomadic business owners.
Working for yourself is hard. Find a work/life balance asap and stick to it. Get professionals involved where you’re not the master! Support other local businesses. Join communities like Nomads to watch and learn, get support and to have the feeling of belonging.
What has been/or what is your greatest challenge in working for yourself?
To stop working I am so incredibly passionate about my business and all the different aspects of it that I’m easily so consumed that I forget to stop and breathe!
What is your favourite thing about working for yourself?
Determining my own income and having a little flexibility when it comes to my kids.
How do you keep yourself motivated?
(Edited to take swear word out 😉) ... you just keep going. Big dreams but baby steps. Set smaller goals within your reach-for-the-stars vision and then celebrate them! Wake up every morning, look in the mirror and say ‘you got this’, out loud, and then laugh if it makes you feel silly. & lots of coffee!
How you do you balance it all between work and personal life?
Honestly there is no balance in my life at the moment. I relaunched my business with a new target market in mind and it has just exploded. So I’m working my butt off to put processes in place that would streamline the workflow & finally hiring someone to help with admin tasks, so 2018 is my year of setting up my business, pouring all my energy into it and then from 2019 the energy will go into finding the balance!
What has been your biggest lesson to date working for yourself?
I am crap with giving up control. But found the missing pieces the minute I gave it up.
Do you have any special or noteworthy projects that are coming up that you can share with us or what is a dream project or goal for 2018?
I launched a new branch focusing exclusively on female entrepreneurs and am absolutely loving the journey! I have a target set in terms of collaborations I’d like to reach within this year and am meeting them so incredibly fast!
Where can people find/follow you?
I work at Impact Hub Joburg Co-Working Space at 9 Walters Street Rosebank.