Lizzie Banks invents a new use for Solo Expenses

In amongst motherhood and trying to make money as a blogger, Lizzie Banks inadvertently finds another way in which Solo Expenses can support small businesses, making it even more versatile than ever, and as such one of the most effective money management apps.

Ollie sat on the lounge floor as part of a circle of dolls and stuffed toys. He was drinking an imaginary cup of tea from the impossibly tiny cup given to him by his daughter Alice.

Lizzie came into the room carrying their son Jack and surveyed the scene, before turning on her heel and returning, moments later, with her handbag, from which she pulled her mobile.

“Alice, Daddy needs another cup of tea,” she said. The girl, engrossed in her game, came over with a tiny plastic teapot, and Ollie held out his cup. “Look this way and smile, Ollie,” commanded his wife, capturing the moment on her phone’s camera.

“What’s that for?,” he wanted to know.

“There’s an illustration for one of my Lizzie Banks On It blogs right there,” she informed him. “I don’t know what the topic is just yet, but that will illustrate it perfectly.”

“I’m not sure I want to be seen on the internet at a dolls’ tea party,” Ollie ventured. “I have to go to work and be professional with colleagues and clients; think about my reputation. I haven’t even had a shave.”

“And you’re wearing that sad old Aston Villa top as well, but I shouldn’t worry about it, Ollie. I’m enhancing your reputation. The people you work will know only one side of you; I shall be showing what a well-rounded and caring family man you are. They’ll think much more of you when they see this, even though it’ll show you up as a Villa supporter.”

Ollie had to agree. He was proud of her for starting her own blog, and of his children. “What will the topic be? You could write about how tough it is to be a dad with two children who has a job to hold down as well as who’s wife is obsessed with her own business…”

“Or I could write about how difficult it is for a woman to run a business when her husband isn’t as supportive of her efforts as he ought to be, if he knows what’s good for him,” she countered, hitting him on the back of the head with a scatter cushion.

“Domestic violence; there’s a topic right there. And making people spill imaginary tea; there’s another,” he said. But Lizzie didn’t like either. “I can’t write with any authority on the first, and the second isn’t anything like serious enough.”

Alice offered Ollie an imaginary biscuit, which he took with a smile, asking Lizzie about reaction to her blogs. The smile was a little weak. “It’s tough going. At the beginning adrenaline kept me going, but I won’t pretend it’s not tiring. Still, the Facebook and Twitter numbers are growing so I’m getting buy-in from people, and not just friends and family either. I still believe in the basis for having the blog, but you were right when you said the first year would be tough when it came to making a business form it. I’m trying not to lose sight of the fact that I’m doing this to generate income, not just giving people my opinion.”

The elephant in the room was ‘income’. Ollie turned to it. “And have you made any money yet?”

She hadn’t, and told him that failure to do so, at this stage, was to be expected. “But I haven’t forgotten that I’m in business. Here,” she said, giving him her mobile, “take a look at what I’ve done with Solo Expenses to show the investment I’m making in it.”

They swapped places at Alice’s tea party, and Ollie unfolded his stiffening legs to sit on the sofa. For a few minutes, the silence was broken only by Alice offering Jack a cup of tea and a biscuit. Jack blew bubbles in response.

Ollie looked up from Lizzie’s phone. “Well, I think you’ve found another use for Solo Expenses there, and it’s one I think I could use too. Just shows how versatile it is.”

Solo Expenses: A versatile tool
Expense Manager App
Lizzie didn’t understand his point, and with a furrowing of her brow and a tilt of the head, she asked him to explain. He did: “You’re a blogger. As such you don’t incur a lot of expenses. You’re not travelling or staying in hotels or buying spare parts for clients. Aside from setting up the web site, our resources are the laptop we already own, the internet connection we already have, and your own talent and imagination. That ought to suggest you don’t need to be a good expense manager because you don’t have any expenses to manage. However, the biggest expense you have is your time, and by giving that a cash value you’ve made it into something Solo Expenses can record. And that, Lizzie, means you’ve made it into a means to record a timesheet as well as being an expense manager app. Full marks!”

Lizzie smiled. “I don’t think Sunita and the others who invented Solo Expenses ever envisaged that,” she said. “They just wanted to create an effective and easy-to-use way for sole traders to look after money management and expense control in their businesses. And to be honest, I hadn’t seen it that way either. But now you’ve mentioned it, I can see just how effective I’m being with my time. I suppose that in the end that alone will tell me if Lizzie Banks On It really is a business, or just a hobby.”

‘It’s given us our money’s worth’
“It will, but there’s a way to go yet. For now, you’ve just got to carry on doing what you’re doing; keep writing; keep posting; and keep recording your time on Solo Expenses. We started with it as a free download, and since we started using the Business Owner package we’ve really had our money’s worth out of our investment in it. It’s become a good friend to this family and to our bank balance – and it keeps on giving; we’re more in control of our finances than we’ve ever been, thanks to Solo Expenses. It just goes to show the kind of good things there are on the internet if you look for them.”

Picture: Money Business Images via Dreamstime