29 June 2021|Brand Story, Female Founder Spotlight, Latest Posts
Michele is business and life strategist, who wears the many hats of entrepreneur, mentor, educator, author and public speaker. She has and continues to develop programmes and strategies built on her professional achievements and personal insights. With a natural ability to quickly assess situations by seeing the bigger picture, she identifies the underlying problems and provides unique solutions which ensure ultimate flow in business and life. This means that not only is your journey accelerated, but you are also given the knowledge and skills to deal with any future issues that arise. She works holistically, practically and systematically which ensures effective results.
Her natural talent for empowering those around her, coupled with her innate ability to channel her energy for a higher purpose, inspires Michele to work towards bringing to life her ultimate vision of a more compassionate and kinder world. Guided by her own journey of transformation, she helps others discover who they are and what they were born to do. She encourages them to step into this role, embracing their personal power so that they can unearth their full potential. Her latest venture Conscious Business Community (CBC), not just supports young businesses, but works with them collaboratively to bring altruism and ethics back into business and everyday life.
We were delighted to catch up with Michele recently to learn more about her entrepreneurship journey.
Can you tell us a little about your background and the company?
I am a qualified FCCA accountant, but after 30 years I finally packed it all in. Although I had an aptitude for business and accounts and was very successful at it, I never felt comfortable in that world. In hindsight, I realised the reason I struggled was because of a lack of ethics, where profit was put before people and the planet, a sea of competitiveness in a ‘dog eat dog’ environment and constant use of manipulative sales and marketing techniques. All of these completely went against my values.
I went on a self-discovery journey, reconnected with my spirituality and trained as a coach and NLP practitioner along the way. Realising that I was not the only one wanting to exit the ‘rat race’ and find their true purpose, I created the programme ‘Discover The Work You Were Born To Do’ to help those wanting to change career paths. As it happens, those graduating from the programme wanted guidance on how to start their business, and so I introduced a new programme ‘Getting Your Business off The Ground’. Conscious Business Community (CBC) is the next natural phase on this ongoing journey.
CBC is an online business training platform for start-ups and young businesses accessed via a monthly membership subscription. It includes online and offline support in the form of group sessions, training workshops and events. It is specifically designed for any one that is involved in the service of transforming lives for the better (life or spiritual coaches, therapists, healers or intuitives). We focus not just on the business development, but also ensuring that the member’s personal growth and wellbeing is supported as well. For us, it’s all about building a community, ensuring support and collaboration for all the members, so that we can all develop successful ‘conscious’ businesses.
How did the idea come to you for the company?
The idea didn’t happen instantly, but gradually developed over time based on a series of a few key events. The first of these occurred when I was working with my business students. They wanted to try to see if we could introduce spirituality into schools, so I said if they were willing to put in the time and effort, I would guide them. Although we eventually disbanded the project, mainly because it was not commercially viable, what did occur to me was how quickly and magically things came together when we were working towards a common purpose. The second happened when my students graduated from the ‘Getting your Business Off The Ground’ programme. I was so proud of them but the same time worried, because I knew how much I struggled in my own business and how little support there was out there. Time constraints meant I could not support them further along their business journey. So at the back of my mind I was always thinking about ways I could continue support them further. Lastly, due to the pandemic restrictions I could no longer run live workshops. This gave the time and space to finally convert the business workshops to digital training modules, something I had wanted to do since I started business training and coaching. These events merged and the idea of CBC was born, to work with others who share my vision, to create an ongoing supportive environment, and having the digital trainings meant that the members could work at their own pace. We build on this initial idea and the rest as they say is history.
How have you been able to gain funding and grow?
From the very start I was adamant that I did not want any angel type investors mainly because I was attempting something that slightly went against conventional online platform models and any outside investors may have insisted that we went down the ‘conventional’ route. I also looked at the business models of our main competitors and in the majority of cases it was a top down approach with 1 key person at the top getting all the fame, glory and money. I wanted to create a more equitable set-up. So I invited potential members to be investors. This allowed us to raise the necessary capital, but more importantly, the members get to share in the benefits of CBC and we have investors that really believe in our vision. We continue to give members and anyone who believes in our vision the opportunity to invest in CBC, whilst our membership continues to grow.
What are the key successes?
I think for me the biggest success has been bringing something to the market on our terms, and not wavering. We were determined to bring real value to young entrepreneurial businesses. Everything we offer is in line with our values and the ripple effect of bringing ethics back to business has begun, which means our mission and vision is already becoming a reality. It’s very liberating.
A close related second is creating a space embedded within the way CBC operates, allowing members to contribute to the future of CBC through ‘how can we help’ sessions. This allows the membership to feel included, but more importantly, their feedback allows us to keep our products and training relevant to the needs of the community. We also uniquely encourage them to provide marketing content that we share on their behalf. That way, they can train, put what they have learnt into practice and gain visibility all whilst being supported by CBC.
What were/are the challenges and how have you overcome these?
I think our biggest challenge has been to avoid falling for the temptation of ‘doing things how they have always been done’ especially in the area of marketing. We are still relatively new so our main challenges have been getting exposure to the right audiences as is typical of any new business. Thankfully we have an excellent PR team (shout out to PR with Perkes) who has been getting us the right exposure.
Logistics is also a genuine challenge with 8 founders, with some of them still in full time employment whilst they transition to self-employment. Planning group meetings is a real feat! It has however gradually falling into place with each founder finding their specialist role and taking ownership of it as we continue to grow and develop.
Of course the pandemic restrictions have meant that we have not been able to meet in person or run live events. Online training has its benefits, but I don’t think it is nearly as effective as live training. As much as we are thankful for the ability to meet online, I think we are probably all zoomed out.
I have to say though, overcoming most challenges seems effortless for some reason. I think this is because we are made up of a team that is aligned and committed to our vision; the challenges are approached in an easy, relaxed, blame free environment. Solutions are brainstormed and implemented in a creative manner. We operate from the perspective that if we have a challenge, it a learning experience. And learning moves us forward. We infuse our trainings with spirituality, and we walk our talk. When you operate in an atmosphere of genuine friendship, collaboration and a resolve of moving forward, you find that most challenges are easy to overcome with the suggestions and creativity of the team members.
What are your plans now/for the future?
The current plans are just to continue what we are doing, to grow our membership base, provide ongoing digital training and support our charitable projects. We are looking forward to getting into our in person training sessions once the pandemic restrictions have been lifted.
In the medium to long term we will be introducing a Conscious Leadership Programme, allowing our members to really step up in playing a leadership role, should they wish.
What would you like to share with others to encourage them to start their own entrepreneurship journey?
Employment has its place, but it can often limit your potential. If you have a desire to be more and do more (usually it’s a nagging thought at the back of your mind that you were destined for something better), then entrepreneurship is definitely the way to go. My world changed when I moved from employment to having my own business. The realisation that you don’t have to follow anyone else’s rules and you get to consciously create your own future is the most empowering feeling there is.
Can you share your top tips for entrepreneurial success?
· Have absolute clarity on your vision, mission, values and why you do what you do. This is the lighthouse that keeps you on track.
· Work with others who share your vision and values. It makes the journey lighter and more enjoyable because you are not fighting opposing forces. You feel more inspired and the creative fire within you is ignited. You are free to be your true self.
· Know that the people that work for you and with you are your most precious assets so acknowledge and value them at all times.
· You were not designed to do everything yourself. Know where you shine and step into it. Delegate everything else.
· When you make decisions, ensure that it is a win for everyone involved; customers, suppliers, shareholders, staff and the planet. If not go back to the drawing board and start again.
· Have frequent ongoing conversations with your customers. That way you completely understand their needs allowing you create relevant products, but it also keeps you abreast of changes in the market, so you can adjust your business model accordingly.
· You are your business and your business will only grow to the extent that you do. Don’t neglect your own health, wellbeing, personal or spiritual growth.
Who are the 5 people who inspire you the most?
The people that inspire me tend to be the ones who question or challenge the current business models of where the cost to humanity and the planet far outweighs any financial benefit. They aspire and lead the way with a new equitable, holistic and sustainable business models. Here are my top 3:
Leading the way in how to conduct business through timeless sound principles, integrity and genuine service.
John Mackey: https://www.linkedin.com/in/john-mackey-a824bb1ab/
CEO of Wholefoods Market – John paves the way to conscious capitalism, by infusing business with spirituality.
Lynn Serafinn: (now retired) Author of The 7 Graces Of Marketing.
Lynn’s insight into how traditional sales and marketing has damaged our society was life changing for me. She shows us how we can heal ourselves and the planet simply by changing the way we market and sell.
What are your favourite inspirational /motivational quotes?
There are so many. I am a confessed quotation junkie, but these are the ones that I tend to apply most in my life and business:
“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them” Albert Einstein
“Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them become what they are capable of being” Von Gothe
“Your business can only grow to the extent that you do” Harv T Eker
What are your social handles and website links so our readers can connect with you?
facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1416937981980301/
Special offers for TSF readers
We would love to offer the readers of TSF 1 month free membership with Conscious Business Community. This offer gives them access to our full Digital Training Library, all support sessions, community page and an invitation to join us on any charitable projects. Just click on the link or copy and paste into your browser and follow the instructions from there.
Here is the link: https://www.consciousbusinesscommunity.co.uk/offers/BYFFsYiL/checkout