The Choices We Make
Michelle Lochan sees entrepreneurship as a key driver of balance for women. Michelle fundamentally believes that improving the conditions for women to make choices about the lifestyle they create for themselves and their children is crucial. Choice brings the opportunity to ensure that our own needs are fulfilled while also looking after those of our kids. Entrepreneurship offers this choice. And Michelle should know. At a time when she felt like she had nowhere to go, running a business offered Michelle a lifeline.
Many years ago, Michelle hit rock bottom. She felt like she had run out of choices. She was in an unhappy marriage with three kids and felt stifled. Her husband often worked overseas leaving Michelle fully responsible for the household and for the care of their kids for months at a time. When he came back life was difficult and unstable.
After hitting her lowest point, Michelle realised she needed to do something for herself. Being sole carer for five kids most of the year meant working out of the home would be extremely difficult. So Michelle decided to work as a freelance marketing consultant. Michelle had been successful in the corporate world before having babies and had actively been headhunted already for opportunities. Michelle made $90K in her first year of business! However, her husband wasn’t supportive of her success. She wanted to leave. He didn’t think she would. She did. But not before becoming pregnant with twins.
Now, Michelle is a single mother with five children who has been successfully running her own business for 7 years. After completing a successful freelance project in Trinidad and Tobago, Michelle discovered her niche area - Planning. So, Michelle launched ‘MarketStart’, a business offering planning support for entrepreneurs. Michelle describes MarketStart as ‘Your business planning partner’. She helps wannabe entrepreneurs to take their idea and ‘move it beyond being just a dream.’ Michelle passionately believes that planning is the most important success factor in any business as it grabs attention and provides important guidance when things get difficult. Michelle also believes that a business plan inspires people to move past their own resources. Whether they currently have the money or not, they know where they want to get to and this will help drive them when things get tough.
Michelle’s advice for newbie business owners is to get comfortable with the rollercoaster ride. There are highs and lows. Lack of money and rejection are almost ‘rites of passage’ of entrepreneurship but if we keep going, we will break through a barrier and get to the other side. Becoming an entrepreneur is about ‘changing your mindset and seeing things differently’ for Michelle. She says the path for every entrepreneur is to ‘keep going or you will stop and regret it. Stay the course.’
How does she do it? You may be wondering. Being a business owner is tough enough but being a single mom with 5 kids must make it really challenging! Michelle is very clear on this. A lifestyle adjustment is required. Entrepreneurs have to make choices about what is important to them and adjust accordingly. Michelle downsized her home so that it was more manageable financially and maintenance wise. She uses money wisely and makes decisions that lead to being able to maintain the flexibility having her own business creates. Money has sometimes been tight and she hasn’t been able to grow the business the way she would like but Michelle fundamentally believes that her business will grow as her children grow because she is fully engaged in both areas.
Michelle helps women to take their dreams forward to a whole new level as an investment in themselves and their own futures. She aspires to one day be a nationally recognised advocate for women’s entrepreneurship. Michelle wants to be a voice for social change and social justice. To help women to expand their choices and achieve whatever they want with their hearts and minds.
And, given Michelle’s success so far in her home and business life, there is no doubt that she will get there.