This is Me – 1 Year On

Portrait of Michelle Dobson having fun throwing a snowball.

In 2019 I set out to create a new business, one that would support and enable people with disabilities and chronic illnesses to work. Little did I know that one year later I would have 15 clients to support with 5 more currently being assessed!

When I started This is Me, I did it because I know that many disabled people face huge challenges when trying to find work because of either prejudice, discrimination or sheer logistics. Having been a support worker myself, I’ve seen the Access to Work programme in action and I know that the difference it makes can mean survival and independence, both things that are incredibly important to those with health problems.

I’m so amazed by of all of my clients’ achievements over the year, seeing them grow and accomplish fantastic things is why I love my job. From seeing some who were complete tech novices, grow their business online and generate new sales to others who decided to change direction completely and start something new that aligned more with their values, it really helps me know that what I’m doing is worthwhile and is making a difference.

Any new business does come with its challenges though and there’s definitely been some downs in there with the ups. Finding support workers and matching them successfully with a client is always an interesting task as the relationship between the two is so important; it can make or break a business. Dealing with Access to Work themselves isn’t always the easiest task either. It’s a great programme and has so many benefits but there often seems to be a lack of consistency across the board that can be quite frustrating and difficult to work with.

Despite that, my plan is to continue supporting and aiding all of my current clients (and potential clients) in the future. The system isn’t always easy to navigate so I love that I can take all that worry off their shoulders and simply allow them time to work on their business.

I am proud to have built up a business that is greatly impacting others; it has created a network of people who all support and push each other to achieve and fulfill their potential. I do my job so that I can empower other people and enable them to do whatever they want. Everyone has the right to work, some people just need a bit of extra help.