Here at Sparkle Up North, we want to showcase the amazing work northern female entrepreneurs have been doing, despite the effects of Covid on their businesses and their own health. In the third of our featured stories, we spoke to Michelle Mills.
When Michelle first started her business, she had no idea it would lead to her coaching other female entrepreneurs and creating an award-winning podcast.
A stay-at-home mum of three, whose partner often worked away from home, she knew she needed a career to progress in and a business to grow to take her away from being ‘just’ a mum.
‘It wasn’t even about the money, it was more for me,’ she told Sparkle Up North. ‘I knew that I needed something for myself to be productive. I knew that I needed something to focus on to get me through it. Otherwise, my mental health was just going to go into a big decline.’
She began a crafting business, crocheting items for children and making cloth nappies, before moving into slime and then press on nails. As a qualified nail technician of 10 years it was something she really enjoyed and she ended up setting up a YouTube channel to go alongside the business:
‘They were kind of like craft channels. My income was selling the craft items and the content I was creating and putting out was all secondary.’
But, as many of us know, being a mum and running your own company takes up a lot of time and so editing her videos soon became too time-consuming, she decided, instead, to focus on making her product.
But she soon discovered a passion for helping other business owners and found her passion for creating content reignited, deciding to revamp her YouTube channel in the form of a podcast.
‘There’s a limit to how many sets of nails I can make in a day, whereas there’s not a limit to how many people I can help in a day. That was a ‘pivot’ moment for me there and I have engagement on my podcast that I would never get in a group.’
Coaching fellow women in business
Michelle says that it was always her goal to become a business coach while her children were young, she has found her calling in helping people launch and scale their businesses – something they often can’t or don’t want to, do on their own:
‘All the tedious things that other people don’t like doing, that’s what I like to do! I’ve built so many successful businesses myself, I realised I couldn’t keep changing what I was doing, so I decided to change what other people do instead.’
As a coach, Michelle has worked with lots of women and men who have an amazing idea for a business, or something that they are really passionate to create, and she’s also seen that often they don’t know the steps they need to take to make it a success.
‘I come off a call with a client and I’m so vamped. It’s like my little addiction: starting everything up and going through the launch process, taking things back to the drawing board. And that’s what people need help with.’
Following her own good advice, she has decided to niche down to helping small business owners to grow their CEO mindset enabling them to scale up and think bigger:
‘If I’d known eight years ago, what I knew today, God, I’d be retiring now. Yeah, I really would be able to retire because I would just be able to put everything in to practice.’
Moving her business online when the pandemic began.’
Just as many women in business have had to move their sales and services online over the last year, Michelle looked to do the same with her products. It was a huge success and she is certainly positive about the affect Covid 19 has had on her:
‘I think if 2020 hadn’t gone on, I would definitely still be working as a nail tech, I don’t think I would have taken the online route as quickly as I did.’
It’s clear that running her business heavily through social media has helped Michelle on her road to success. She explains it has allowed her to reach out in a completely different way:
‘I’ve always been an introverted extrovert. I find that by connecting to people online, I get my message across better than if you meet me in real person. I’m not as bolshie as what I seem online.’
And that’s clearly resonated with a lot of female entrepreneurs. Since moving online, Michelle has found her voice and is helping women through her Facebook group and now, her podcast.
Award-winning podcast, She Makes Biz Talk
At the beginning of this year, Michelle’s podcast “She Makes Biz Talk” was named “Best Entertainment Podcast” in the Podcasting for Business Indie awards, even though the podcast was only 6 weeks old at the time of entry.
Michelle was, and remains still, massively proud of her accomplishment – rightly so we think!
We’d like to say a huge thank you to Michelle for sharing her story with Sparkle Up North and wish her the very best of luck in 2021.