‘I won’t let my kids make the same mistakes as me’

How a royal cakemaker is ensuring the younger generation are a lot more savvy when it comes to businesses

Autumn Rabbitts

by closer |
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When Autumn Rabbitts launched her own cake shop back in 2021, she thought the biggest threat to her business would be opening something so soon after lockdown in such an uncertain economy, as well as juggling life as a busy wife and mum-of-five. The 40 year old had been making her own cakes since 2013 but was determined to expand her company and become an inspiration to her daughters, who are aged between eight and 24, as well as other women who are trying to make it in the business world.

She told Closer, “I started my cake business back in 2013, just making cakes from home, and then I expanded to open my cafe back in 2021 as we came out of lockdown. It was a hard decision to make because of all the uncertainty but I needed to do it. I have five girls and wanted to show them that I could do this. It’s a big juggle but I basically just work nights.”

But it was actually the stress of the admin that left her in tears and unable to cope, with Autumn ready to throw in the towel and give up on her lifelong dreams and close Sweet Solstice Café in Northumberland. Autumn – who is dyslexic and dyspraxic - admits she was ill-prepared for factors such as taxes, figures, and organisation, and made big mistakes, something she is making sure her five daughters will avoid by learning valuable life skills from a young age.

Autumn Rabbitts
Autumn Rabbitts with one of her creations ©Autumn Rabbitts

“I think this is the type of thing that you kind of need to be taught in school, I want my girls to know this stuff so they’re ready for life. Some schools are doing it already, especially in London, but it needs to be taught nationwide,” she said. “Kids need to know what they should be doing if they have a business idea, which gives them the flexibility to work for themselves and what help they can get. My girls will certainly know all of that. I have made some huge mistakes along the way, that I perhaps wouldn’t have made if I had more knowledge. As someone who is dyslexic and dyspraxic, I really struggle with numbers and organisation. Grappling with admin, taxes and paperwork on top of everything else was an absolute nightmare.

“The biggest mistake I’ve made was not getting a loan on a fixed interest rate. So, while all these interest rates have been going up, so have my interest rates that I am paying about 18%. I started off paying £500 a month and now they want nearly double that. If I’d actually known about that, I could’ve completely avoided that mistake. And accountants do not always help you and tell you all the different loopholes that you can use. That you can take this off every month, that you can pay for all of your stationery. You can pay for your travel if you're going to a meeting, you can pay for some food, etc. This, again needs to be taught.”

Autumn Rabbitts
Autumn Rabbitts has high hopes for the next generation ©Autumn Rabbitts

Autumn’s issues come as new research from accounting tech provider Sage revealed business owners find managing taxes more stressful than getting their business off the ground. And Autumn – who is the chosen cake maker for the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland - says that since using Sage’s new app for sole traders, her business has been transformed and wants others to follow suit.

“It was a game changer, automating everything into one space gave me precious time back to dedicate to growing business,” Autumn revealed. “I’m now able to see what periods are good and what periods are bad and am able to track sales across the year. My advice to anyone starting out their business journey would be to embrace technology from the get-go. Don’t wait until you’re drowning in paperwork like I did and don’t be afraid to seek help or guidance when you need it. I’m now finally feeling confident about what the next couple of years have in store.”

Sage has launched Sage Accounting Individual for sole traders, available on web and mobile to help simplify finances and taxes.

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