Hello, I’m Michelle and I’m the Director and founder of the This is Me Supported Employment Agency.
I’m 42, married with 3 gorgeous children, 2 amazing step-children and 1 grandson. I love being with my family and it was the desire to spend more time with them that helped me decide to start this business
I’ve had some great jobs over the years, starting in retail then moving over to housing management before working for a local Chemical Testing Company for over 10 years.
The diverse nature of the different roles gave me a chance to learn so many new skills but eventually, I realised that I’d learned everything I could from these opportunities and wanted to do something a bit different.
Encouraged by my husband Lee, who had been running his own successful photography business for over 15 years (and still does!), I took the brave decision to enter the world of self-employment and become a VA – Virtual Assistant.
Within my first year I was at capacity and during my second year I changed to become a limited company which was an incredible achievement that I was really proud of.
While I did enjoy the work I was doing and was very grateful for the contracts I had, I was working 16-hour days, not engaging with my family and beginning to lose sight of what I wanted to get out of life.
My work-life balance was all wrong and I decided that the pace I was working wasn’t sustainable. Something needed to change and I turned to one of my clients for inspiration.
As a VA I had been working with Pam Lawrence from Spectrum Enterprises CIC, which is a Supported Employment Agency for people with autism and had even taken on the role of support worker to Ruth Thompson from Sylvan Skills.
I could see what a difference a supported employment agency could make to individuals’ businesses and lives and it was a turning point for a lot of people.
Receiving support to help you achieve your goals when you feel like everything is against you, when you have nowhere to turn – the impact is incredible.
I wanted to give this feeling to my clients, I wanted to help as many people as I could.
I truly believe that everyone should be able to work if they want to no matter what their disability and this is absolutely possible with the right training and support.
From that desire to help, the This is Me Employment Agency was born!
It’s not always easy (it never is), there are challenges associated with any new business venture with cash flow being a pretty big one!
However, for me the biggest challenge has been matching the client with the right support worker.
The support worker needs to have the right skill set for the client but more importantly, the personalities need to match.
My clients put a lot of trust in their support workers so that relationship is extremely important.
With all of that said, I absolutely love what I do. Since April 2019 I’ve managed to secure 10 clients who all have support workers helping them to achieve their business goals which is amazing.
I’m all set up in my office and I get to spend much more time with my family. What more could you ask for!