Ollie’s gift gives new blogger Lizzie food for thought

Knowing what to write wasn’t enough of a foundation for Lizzie Banks’ brand new career as a blogger. As she was finding out, a business needed more than inspiration; it needed a structure too. Lizzie had to sort out its finances, and turned to Solo Expenses, the expense manager app, for help. After all, it was the only one of the money management apps to have been designed for sole traders, and isn’t that what she’d just become..?

Ollie had bought his wife Lizzie a picture as a sort of ‘welcome to your new business’ present. She looked at it now, on day one, hour one of her career as a blogger. The picture showed A A Milne’s Eeyore, who was saying: “This writing business. Pencils and what-not. Over-rated, if you ask me…”

“You’ve got it in one there, buddy,” she told him; “especially when it comes to the ‘business’ part.”

The writing was the easy element of her new business; her head was swimming with ideas and she was itching to get them down on paper – or on the screen of her laptop. It had all seemed so much easier and more straightforward when she’d made the decision, in the early hours of one morning after Jack’s night-time feed, to be a work-from-home mum. But as Ollie had pointed out, no matter how much she wrote, or how good it was, until she had clients she had no business, just a rewarding hobby.

She’d invested in a copy of the 2016 edition of the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook, and it sat now beside her laptop, invitingly red and yellow and crying out to be opened and pored over. There were scores of articles offering advice, and thousands of potential contacts with names and phone numbers. She felt certain that diving into its pages would yield gems that would set her on the right track.

But she resisted. What she needed first was a proper structure for the business, and a way of recording quickly and easily what she spent ready to compare it against what she’d earned.

Sole Expenses Personal Use: A no-brainer for sole traders
Expense ReportThat had been a no-brainer; she’d set up Solo Expenses Personal Use for just that eventuality, and it was ready to go. And as a free download, created especially for sole traders like her, there was no cost involved. That had been a good start. Not only would it record her expenses in the places she wanted to note them, she could create reports for the current month, or ones before, whenever she needed them.

If she needed more features later (and who knew where all this might lead), then she could invest just £2.49 a month and unlock loads of other useful features. She’d always know exactly how financially effective she was being in her new career. And hadn’t she read that businesses often failed early because of poor control of their finances? She was determined that wasn’t going to happen to her.

The important questions
That was why she was now trying to work out the other important numbers. How much should she charge for the time she spent? Could she charge on a ‘per-hour’ basis, or was a flat rate the way to go? Probably the client would dictate that. Should she try to apportion part of the household bills to the business? If so, how much? Where would she find pictures to accompany what she wrote? What would they cost? Did she need an accountant? With Solo Expenses Personal Use, probably not quite yet, but that would definitely come in time. And what should the business be called? That had been the hardest question so far, and she had struggled to answer it until she’d come up with ‘Lizzie Banks On It’, picking up on her surname and the suggestion that people could rely on her advice, drawn from the first-hand experiences of medicine and motherhood, about which she wanted to write.

The clever answers
In the end she prepared Solo Expenses categories for the headings she could think of as appropriate. It wouldn’t matter if she didn’t need them, Solo Expenses Personal Use was forgiving, and she could delete them later if it turned out that they weren’t necessary. The ability to record spending quickly and easily on her smartphone – which she already owned – was another key advantage; there would never be an excuse not to record an expense; no excuse not to be a first-class expense manger. Even if Baby Jack demanded her attention, Solo Expenses could be used one-handed with the flick of a thumb. And anyway, she was a woman. As such hadn’t she had the multi-tasking gene from birth?

So what next?
With Solo Expenses Personal Use lined up to deal effectively with her expense management, Lizzie was almost at the stage at which she could start to write her first blog. After all, no-one was going to employ her without being able to see her writing, and judge it for style and content.

Next step then, was a web site to use as a ‘shop window’, and to write some content for that to show off what she could do. Jack started to grumble awake in his Moses basket. Perhaps the first blog should be: “How to be creative when baby has other ideas…”