Jack and Sue go online as a business team

Being an accountant does have a few advantages, like being a tradesman. Your skills are portable, and there's always someone who needs those skills. Having a little extra cash to work with, Jack and Sue figured out a way of getting some more work for themselves.

Sue was an administrator, and a pretty experienced, if youngish, one. Partly by accident, partly by choice, she'd accumulated quite a range of experience. She'd also acquired some very good references in the process.

They were still doing it tough, if a lot better than before, and they needed, as much for their own peace of mind as anything else, some more income. So they decided to offer a package range of services, a husband and wife team who could cover all the needs of small businesses at reasonable prices.

They set up a website, and sent a general message to all their friends and business contacts, telling their network they were now in business. Online costs cut their overheads enormously, and they could afford to offer good rates. This was done, quite literally, on a shoestring, cheapest possible rates, and they designed the site themselves. It was simple, straightforward, and anyone could just email them with a click.

Every job, either self employed or as an employee, is based on an idea. As a business idea, it was actually a very good, realistic way to operate. Their budget wasn't even scratched by the website. Thanks to their own recent experiences, they had a very good idea what salable prices were for their clients. They were also offering considerably cheaper services, working from home, than the local accountancy firms.

The combination of low cost and Jack's freelance work, which had got him an excellent reputation, did the trick. When the local businesses learned that there was also a chance to take admin time and costs off their backs, they were very much more interested. It was like outsourcing for small businesses. Retailers, in particular, spend about as much time on administration and accountancy as they do in business. They're not kidding when they say there aren't enough hours in the day.

They were pleasantly surprised by the standard of service they received. Sue's greatest ability as an administrator was that she was an expert in getting order out of the messiest administration situation. However hopelessly muddled, she could clear up an entire year's worth of mess in a week, get it organized, and give the business owner a good clear operating system. Meaning, of course, that she was invaluable. Sue found herself extremely busy, but her skills as an organizer made that situation pretty manageable.

Jack, whose skills were the accountancy equivalent of a paramedic, was equally popular for his ability to achieve much the same level of healing as Sue for business accounts. Anyone who knows the kind of work involved in just doing basic small business accountancy will also know how difficult it can be. He also was able to create systems for their clients, which, for the record, was more valuable in the long term than the work he was hired to do.

Jack and Sue both worked on the theory that the better your operational systems are, the better your business can be. Their clients agreed, and they were to get a lot of repeat business.

Hard times do end, it's just a matter of making them end sooner. They were still nowhere near their original income, but life was getting better, daily.