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Not many people set up their business bank accounts on the train. But that’s exactly what Louise Maidment did. Like many small business owners, she finds herself using any ‘spare time’ to tick off things on her to-do list. That’s how she found herself one day in June, sitting on the train from London to her home in Salisbury, Wiltshire, opening a Starling for Business account for her new business Bloom Lettering.

 Developing a business

The company, through which she makes and sells her calligraphy prints and cards, is one of two businesses she owns. She has separate Starling business accounts for each. Her second enterprise, Every September, a website design business, was launched early last year and grew out of work she did for Bloom Lettering. “When I started Bloom Lettering in the summer of 2017, I did my website myself using a Wordpress template,” she says.

Being both creative and business-minded, she recognised an opportunity to do the same for other small businesses. “For many of my clients, the idea of designing their own website is either terrifying or something that they simply don’t have time to do,” she says. “Quite a few of them were beholden to a developer. So if they needed a tiny change, they would be added to the developer’s queue and then spend time and money going back and forth on what needed to be changed.”

The difference with Louise’s service is that she not only designs a Squarespace website for them, she teaches them how to use it so that they can make edits or updates when they need to. “Many of my clients feel really empowered that they can do this themselves, especially when they didn’t dare to try before,” she says.

Louise smiles sitting on a sofa working

The name Every September developed from Louise’s intention to give her clients a feeling of new beginnings when they see their updated website. “I want to capture that back to school, new term feeling we often have in September - a positive feeling of a fresh start.”

 Choosing between WordPress and SquareSpace

There are plenty of options for people who want to create their own website. Squarespace is edited visually rather than through code or plugins. It is therefore often preferred by people with little or no experience editing websites. WordPress is often seen as a good option for people who know more about writing code or want to use a free template to start a blog.

Louise, 41, has always liked using and understanding technology, but she’s not a developer. For her, Squarespace was a better option. “When I launched Bloom Lettering’s WordPress website, I liked it but I didn’t love it - even after the hours of work I’d put into it,” she says. “I then started having a play around with Squarespace and set myself the challenge of transferring over the content from the WordPress site. It was up and running within a few days and I was thrilled with the result.”

 Organising your time

As a website designer, calligrapher and mother of two young girls, she has a lot to organise and think about. “You can have so much whizzing round your head that you worry you’re forgetting things, and you often do,” she says. One tool she uses to help her get everything done is the time management platform Asana. “It helps me clarify the process to follow when creating a website for a client.”

Louise sits doing calligraphy at her desk

Her advice to others starting a business is to remember that it will take much longer than you think and to do the behind the scenes set up for the business before you launch your brand. “There are often tasks on the to-do list that you never get to because you do the fun stuff first but you’ve got to be disciplined to do the boring bits too,” she says. “But don’t put off launching forever and don’t worry that it needs to be perfect, otherwise it’ll never see the light of day.”

A lovely example of some work from Bloom Lettering

 Organising your money

Starling is perfect for people like Louise who have multiple income streams. The real-time notifications keep you in the loop whenever money moves in or out of your account and you can switch between multiple business accounts or your personal or joint account, all from the Starling app.

“I love it. It’s so efficient and easy having everything all in one place,” she says. “Receiving a real-time notification when you’re paid is something that’s so simple but so great. I feel much more in control of my money. Starling is so proactive and helpful.”

Her husband is also a sole trader and has struggled with business bank accounts that seem to be designed for much bigger businesses. “When my husband applied for a high street bank account it was like he was running a PLC and had to fill out a 10 page application that took weeks and weeks,” she says. “Setting up a Starling account is super simple - I set up the one for Bloom Lettering on the train and when I launched Every September I opened another one for that. My husband and I both have personal accounts and a joint account - we’re Starling devotees!”

To find out more about Louise, visit Every September.

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