• Tom Maughan

How did I end up here….hitman to hero

How did I end up here running my own business?

Now I know this is a question every business owner has asked themselves at least a million times. How?

Well, I reached out to a number of business owners of accountancy firms, to ask the question, how the hell did you end up running your own accountancy business? The stories that came back were brilliant, so I’m currently working on an article I’ll be sharing later this month….watch this space.

But, in the meantime, I thought I’d give you a little sneak preview as I am good like that! So, to kick things off, we asked Jason Holden, of Holden Associates….how the hell did you end up running your own accountancy business?

(Jason): Well way back when I had more hair and I was studying business studies, a lecturer asked what everyone wanted to do. How are you supposed to know?! So my flippant response was, I wanted to be a hitman. I thought it’s well paid, not too much competition and international travel. This lasted all of the 10 minutes it got a positive reaction from fellow students (not so much from the lecturer), so the joker had to decide….. was this a serious careers choice? How do you get into it? Was there a YTS (something that the government created a long time ago to get people into jobs for those who don’t know what it is)? What about the retirement package? Ah, there was the flaw, getting the bullet in this role would mean getting the bullet, okay time to rethink!

I had Uncles who worked for themselves, they seemed to like it, earned good money, nice houses, car, holidays etc. but what would I do, in the late 80s recession? There wasn’t a lot of choices so I applied to stockbrokers, quantity surveyors and accountants, after all who wouldn’t want me? Well, apparently everyone, except one local firm of accountants! I decided to accept my one and only job offer, and in my opinion they were lucky to get me and everyone else missed out.

The serious thought process behind my choices, was to choose something you can either do for yourself, or become a partner/owner in. After 15 to 16 years, working my way up the greasy ladder and having been in several practices, where the idea was to progress to partner, it dawned on me. I didn’t want to partner with any of those around me, in fact it was a client who got me thinking with the comment, ‘I had no idea what it takes to run a business until I put my money where my mouth is and took the risk’. So that was it, one Christmas I decided I am going to have a go, what’s the worst that can happen, odd that isn’t it, what’s the worst, well failure most would say, and at the start that’s what I thought. However, actually the worst is also the best, it is a success and it grows and staff join and then you have to bring in more money and so the roller-coaster goes, but is that a bad thing? Well, it takes you outside your comfort zone and all of a sudden it’s not just about earning enough to pay your mortgage and go on holiday, there are others now dependant on you …

The pride that comes with, in my case, some 15 years later still having a business let alone one that is growing and now also changing, well it is something I am very proud of! And then comes the friends who think it’s a better work life balance working for yourself, really, work life balance … like that client said to me ‘they have no idea what it takes to run a business until they put their money where their mouth is and take the risk’ oh don’t forget the hours…

Would I go back, well here is the thing, looking back I realise I was a terrible employee, the worst, and now I know why, I am unemployable which means I have to work for myself!

Thanks for your story Jason and so you should be proud! Such a brilliant story, I’m sure a lot of business owners will relate to …..well perhaps not the hitman bit! 🤣

If you’ve enjoyed this, you might quite like to read: ‘How the hell did I end up in tax?

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