26 April 2021|Latest Posts, Meet the Successful Founder
Michelle is a renowned construction professional who has worked within the construction industry for 25+ years. Delivering some entirely prestigious and formidable construction projects as Lead Project Manager and Quantity Surveyor.
Michelle worked her way up through the industry form the very bottom, joining at just 17 as a trainee surveyor. Moving through the ranks of trainee, assistant, quantity surveyor, project manager, associate and then setting up an independent construction consultancy a few years ago. With both CIOB and RICS accreditation, Michelle is a spirited professional within her field.
Michelle has gained some exquisite experience in high end and prime developments projects in and around London, and although initially operating as a free-lance, she quickly realised that there was an opportunity to set up a small independent consultancy whereby the clients’ needs’ could be more proportionately met by a smaller more flexible resource, than by a more structured traditional consultancy.
Could you tell us about the inspiration for the company and its journey and plans for the future?
In recent years there has been a marked increase in the creation of small independent consultancies, for many industries and roles. The move away from corporate and sometimes soulless entities has been driven by both staff and clients alike. We want a better more personal service, and relationship with those we work for and with.
Initially existing client base and the colleagues from previous work life’s gave Redshell the steady footing it needed. However, brand awareness and a real platform to push from was following the joining of a networking group, Qandor.
This was a pinnacle point in the growth of the brand and the business, and by default myself. Public speaking, podcasts and writing articles is never something I thought I would be able to do. But with the backing, encouragement and education of the group, small independents like myself come on in leaps and bounds.
My business model is not traditional, thereby external investment hasn’t been required for growth thus far. We have branched off into property and development, and funding for these directions has been available.
My key successes are of a very personal nature. Success on my own terms. I have a son, and I couldn’t bear the long nursery or school days for him whilst I was in London or on site. I missed out on so much of those first few years. But working entirely independently and autonomously, I can be incredibly flexible. Never struggling during holidays or half terms, or the school runs. I am there, all of the time. I designed a life I loved, my time is my own and I embrace the flexibility and freedom that this brings. Lifestyle choices first.
Of course, there are times when I work evenings or weekends, but it’s my baby. We are happy to aren’t we. It’s not work when it’s our own business.
The challenges can be quite daunting to start with, until you find your footings!
The regularity of workload, the slow and sometimes painful growth form accepting every role and opportunity that comes your way, to then choosing who and what to work on. Who is a drain of your time and energy, who is difficult, and whom doesn’t pay. Give these a wide birth, it’s just not worth it.
Our plans for the future are industry related. The inner drive has always been to gain the respect of my peers, again it’s a very personal plan. I am fortunate enough to have writing and speaking opportunities, and the ability to now put back into the industry, to make changes for the better. Its’ an industry I love and would love nothing more than for it to operate much, much smoother.
What would you like to share to encourage others to start their own company?
How would I encourage others is with the simple line ‘design a life you love’. Captures it all really. Entrepreneur’s have a drive, a passion for something. Be it an industry, a product, a place. Why wouldn’t you design a life around that, with freedom and flexibility. The days of giving someone else 10 hours of your life 5 days a week are surely numbered.
What are your top tips for entrepreneurial success?
Build your personal brand. And make it personal, people really do buy people.
Hire a social media manager, for websites, socials, marketing. Unless you are media minded. This adds a slick professional look to your brand.
Accept all invitations for talks, podcasts, workshops etc. Whether you think you are ready or not.
Get used to meeting for coffees, you may not work with these new contacts in the imminent future, but you would be surprised who comes back around. Also expanding your network, is also expanding your friend base. London can seem quite small sometimes and its lovely to see others succeed and be sure to celebrate their successes with them.
Join a networking group. Invaluable. Utterly invaluable.
Who are the 5 people who inspire you the most?
Nicole Bremner. I bought her book a few years ago, then almost fell over when I was fortunate enough to be part of her networking group. A natural leader and businesswoman, open, honest and relatable with it.
Matt Siddell. Founder of Qandor network group. His energy, commitment, enthusiasm and way of looking out for everyone is just faultless. If only we could have a spoon of what he’s on.
Lafina Diamandis. A GP, A property investor and developer, a health advisory an author and an all round lovely, lovely soul. Her content is perfect, relevant, informative, kind and considerate.
Kunle Barker: property and construction star. He knows. From working as a contractor to now hosting TV, podcasts, writing and advisory roles he is a true inspiration for rising to the top our fields, to then make change.
Beespace (Jade): a mum, developed a property business after leaving corporate world. The most amazing properties and home build of their own. Watched it all and very inspiring.
What are your favourite inspirational quotes?
She believed she could, so she did
Design a life you love
I have stopped asking people for directions to places they have never been
I am going to make everything around me beautiful, that will be my life
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