Today marks the 15th anniversary to the day of the launch of Rivington Accounts.

Statistically only one in four businesses survive for 15 years so I’m very proud that we’re not only still here but we’re about to move to an employee ownership model.

To mark the milestone I thought it might be helpful to share some of my learnings  during my journey.

I was 39 when I decided to start my own business.

Some people would call it a midlife crisis but in my case it made perfect sense.

At the time I was a financial controller at Topps Tiles, which was a £200m plc.

I enjoyed it but the daily commute from my home in Chorley to Cheadle and weekly trip to Holland was exhausting and I wanted to spend more time with my family.

Both my daughters were at primary school and I realised they were growing up without me so I took the plunge and Rivington Accounts went live on June 1st, 2008.

Don’t get hung up about giving away equity

Starting a busy business from scratch is never easy, especially when it’s just you.

I’ve always loved the flexibility of being my own boss. I once heard someone say that ‘you can decide which 18 hours a day you work’ and at times that is what it takes.

It was especially tough at the start. I’d gone from a well paid job to being self-employed and I remember we didn’t go on holiday in the first year.

Running a business exposes you to lots of things that you can happily avoid when you are employed.  At Topps Tiles there was always someone else to do things like sales, marketing, bookkeeping, budgeting, HR, health and safety etc.

When you run your own business there’s no hiding place. It’s a matter of learning as you go.

Running a business is a lonely place so I joined a business networking group.

Before long I took on my first member of staff. Today we have 11 staff, the youngest of which was only five when I launched Rivington Accounts! That made me feel really old.

We now have over 400 clients, ranging from micro businesses to companies with a £25m turnover.

Around 80 per cent of our clients are local. Companies trust us with their tax returns and accountancy queries.

The 10th anniversary of the business coincided with my 50th birthday and I realised my reasons for starting the business were no longer valid.

5 minutes before this photo I was told I had skin cancer

My eldest daughter left home and my girls were growing up and no longer needed – or wanted – to spend as much time with me.

This led to some soul-searching on my part and I discovered my ‘why’ was to look after the future generation.

This is what led me to making the decision to move my business into employee ownership.

As well as giving the team the opportunity to run a business it also means that we don’t lose our identity and we continue to thrive.

So how do I reflect on the last 15 years?

I’ll avoid the ’15 things I’ve learned in 15 years’ list because just not me but I’ve never regretted taking the leap and running my own business.

My overriding feelings are pride that Rivington Accounts has reached the milestone and excitement about what’s to come next.