We are delighted that Michelle is joining the Expert Panel at our 2013 Conference taking place at Dynamic Earth.
What was your first job after leaving school/further education?
Investment Appraisal Analyst for Scottish Newcastle Brewery, this involved assessing the viability of loans and advance discounts on the back of future sales of alcohol that was supplied by the brewery.
When did you start your business & what prompted you to do it?
Started my business in June 2012, following a 9yr stint in Financial Services and having completed my MBA knew I wanted to do something different, that addressed my needs and wants in a range of areas rather than just continuing on a path because I felt I ought to.
What did you find most challenging at the beginning?
Initially lack of structure not just on a daily basis but weekly/monthly when used to a corporate regime, furthermore the cancellation of meetings with very short notice from potential clients/clients, this obviously happens in corporate world however you feel the impact much more now and finally I would say a fear of failure or lack of personal fulfillment.?
Who did you ask for advice & why did you choose them?
I am not shy of asking for advice and continuously seek feedback to learn and improve personally, so I asked a whole range of people to try and get the full 360 perspective and make sure that I was self aware in respect of what I was about to embark on, had support and to ensure it was a success for example:
- Friends & Family ? they know you inside out, the personal quirks you have and are normally quite brutal with feedback, not forgetting the support you need from them when taking on a change of this sort whether this be emotional, financial etc.
- Colleagues/Stakeholders ? these are the people who know what it feels like to work with me and fundamentally would see the same as a client, so critical to get their views not just on what I can do but more how I would fit and make it happen, whilst asking them what my USP is.
- Personal Coach ? professional advice sought in respect of career transitioning, really helped frame my thoughts and challenge the reasoning behind why I was deciding to do what I did, in effect cemented everything.
- Networks ? proactively and constructively using other networks ie MBA/CIMA/friends of friends etc, getting out there and speaking to people who have done something similar and learn from them.
How did you fund your business?
Very limited funding required given that it is me/my time that I am selling, however did have a Voluntary Redundancy Package which helped me not rush into things and spent 6 months reflecting prior to doing anything oh and the 10 holidays I had in the last 12 months to continue the reflection!
What would you do differently now looking back?
Think it is too early to say and things have been going tremendously well given the current economic climate, but maybe I should have taken the risk sooner and leapt earlier, hindsight is a great thing.
What or who has helped you to grow your business the most?
Having a good network has been the key to my business, especially decision makers and appreciating what I can do, whilst trying a range of new things which has helped me focus even more on the areas which I am more aligned to excel in and at all times actively listening and learning.?
What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced?
Not enough days in the week to fit in work/holidays/family/friends, I had in the last 3 years focused on having a great life/work balance (even whilst in a Corporate World) which is another reason I wanted to do my own thing, so I need to be careful that this balance does not swing to work/life balance and focus too much on the work because it is now my company.
What are the future plans for your business?
Continue on the upward trajectory that it is on, being flexible, dynamic and delivering added value for clients whilst developing and learning personally.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to set up their own business?
Do your research, understand your offering whilst believe in yourself if you don?t who else will? Ensure networking is productive and keep your eyes open to looking through different lenses, really appreciate your own anchors in respect of what drives you and why.? Not forgetting understand the activities and manage your cash!?
Tell us something about you that isn’t commonly known.
My working career started as a Bingo Caller in the summer holidays at a Caravan Park?also played in Hull Youth Brass Band and toured Europe.
And finally, why did you join WeDO?
I’m passionate about helping and adding value ? great network of like minded people who will hopefully make a difference to me and my company and vice versa whilst having a bit of fun on the way!