Meet the woman forced to adapt following a diagnosis for her child and the birth of baby number four. This is about discipline, deadlines and determination.
Prioritising the needs of her family was Gayle Wilson’s first concern, but making the leap to run her own business has seen that business grow month on month and her own confidence soar.
Mother of four, Gayle was a senior accountant at a successful firm but when her third child was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes she realised her situation had to change. Trips to the hospital and lots of time off nursery for her daughter when she was unwell meant travelling to work was becoming challenging.
The diagnosis was soon followed by the birth of her fourth baby, so during maternity leave Gayle made the decision that it would be better for her family to work from home.
In 2013 Gayle started her own accounting business, My Virtual Office (My VO Ltd), alongside her full-time employment. By September 2016 she left the stability of a full-time salary and made running her own business a full-time venture.
She felt daunted and worried about how she would attract new clients and support her family financially, but she was excited by the change.
“I had been unsettled and unmotivated in my full time working role and it was an ideal opportunity for me to work for myself and also face new challenges,” says Gayle.
Her motivation was born from her family needs but her vision was to make her accounting service more modern, flexible and approachable. “I want to move away from the stuffy persona commonly associated with the profession,” she says.
Working from her own home office, Gayle’s disciplined approach, setting deadlines and prioritising tasks, has seen her business grow month on month and she has been managing to attract a lot of her clients through word of mouth alone.
What do you love most about your business?
I get to deal with clients from all different walks of life and I enjoy building a professional relationship with them.
With four kids, when do find time to do your work?
When I can!! It can be challenging at times, especially during school holidays but I work around family life.
Where do you work at home?
I have a home office.
What do you find are the most challenging aspects of working from home?
The distractions from children! However, I had worked from home part of the week in my full-time job and had done this for around 8 years, so I have become disciplined to make it work.
What are your favourite things about being a homeworker?
I enjoy the flexibility of working from home around childcare and my husband works shifts so I can work my hours to fit around that also. I also like being my own boss.
What is your routine to get started for work each day?
I collate a weekly task list and prioritise as required. I also use excellent task management software that keeps me right with regards deadlines. Each day is different though.
What have you discovered about yourself since setting up a business?
I work well under pressure
What was the best advice you’ve been given?
Don’t give up!
Clients recommend me to their friends and family so I must be doing something right!
– Gayle Wilson, Founder, My VO Ltd
What advice you would give someone considering launching their own business?
It takes time and effort to build a business, don’t give up when you reach hurdles and take each opportunity that comes your way. Network, network, network!
As an accountant how do you use social media to market your business?
I only really use LinkedIn at present and have gained a lot of clients from interactions on there.
What are your future plans or aspirations for My Virtual Office?
To continue to grow steadily, and hopefully open an office and hire an administrator at the start of 2019. I would continue to predominantly work from home but this would be a good base.
As someone who has worked from home for several years, what have you found has changed the most with regards:
The support you have available?
You have to find support by either joining online network groups, business gateway, business clubs etc. It won’t come to you, you have to find out these things.
Your own mindset and confidence?
I’m more confident in how I work and my customer service.
The way in which you work?
I am more flexible with my hours.
I want to move away from the stuffy persona commonly associated with the profession
What do you think the secret is to achieving work/life balance?
I wish I knew! I think all working mothers struggle and have guilt at times around working, but you can only do your best. I would rather my children were proud of my achievements than if I didn’t work hard to create a successful business.
What do you think are some of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make with their accounting and finances?
Not keeping a close eye on figures month on month. Just guessing without physical reports.
What advice would you give to anyone thinking about doing their own accounts for their business?
Don’t! It is worth spending money and hiring someone to do this for you and then you know it is done correctly and it allows you to concentrate on the other areas of your business that you are good at.
Find out more: My VO Ltd
Want to read more in-depth profiles of home-based business owners? Find out how they’ve transitioned from a full-time job to starting up by themselves, how they’ve overcome obstacles and mindset issues and the logistical nuts and bolts of making a success of working from home and running a business. Inside each issue of The Homeworker magazine we interview and profile successful home-business owners and ‘solopreneurs’ to shed a unique and in-depth perspective on working from home and making it work. Subscribe to never miss an issue