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15 minutes with member Mischelle Tickner

Genuine love for her product and a passion to help other small businesses thrive has motivated Mischelle Tickner every step of the way.

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Mischelle Tickner

Describe your “aha” moment; when did your business idea first come to you

I am the type of person that has many “aha” moments, but for me it’s about understanding which one to move forward with. I was working in remote mine sites in WA with the National Operations Manager and the Ops Manager was a mentor to me. BUT, I was rarely home in my own bed and was getting tired of all the driving.

I decided to leave the comfort of my secure job and join a small company who did what I did in a consulting role. During this time, I met a lot of people and one stood out; we saw a gap in the market for contractor management, so another  ‘aha’ moment led to a partnership which changed my future.

Describe the “why” of your business

I’ve changed total direction from when I first started; I wanted to provide products to a larger range of clients and more time for myself. Now I’m building smaller versions of my products and getting clients that I would never have imagined. I see passion for their business and I want to help. I don’t see that in the corporate world, so this drives me and makes me love me business all over again.

List your three biggest business goals; which of them scare you the most and why.

  1. Launching the smaller versions of my new applications to the Australian marketplace.
  2. Take a good long holiday, whilst ensuring the business maintains itself. My business needs me refreshed and motivated to succeed and to be able to reach goal three.
  3. Launch new versions globally – I already have many clients asking for them in the UK, USA and China.

The scary one of course is the third goal. How do I support my client, this is my biggest struggle and fear along with how do I market this, etc. But the most terrifying part is launching and then not being able to deliver on my promises.

"Life is astonishing, there are massive ups and huge downs but I never want go back to working for someone else."

Has anything surprised you about working for yourself?

I think what surprised me most was the things I was prepared to do outside my comfort zone, we all have that little part in our brain that says this is too scary, don’t do it.

When I first started I didn’t believe at all that I would be able to get out there, make contacts and sell. I had so much knowledge in my area of expertise and sales was not part of this. I started with a trade show and talking to people and my confidence grew. After a few calls and chats to potential clients, I found that I had a natural aptitude for it and I adore it. I loved my product so I think that helped.

Once you became a soloist, what about your life changed almost immediately; what changes have been slower to come?

What changed dramatically at first was the hours I was working, but that was expected.

What also changed was people’s perspective of me and this was not expected. I was well respected in my work arena where people knew me and how I worked, then all of a sudden, I was a solo woman consulting in the mining industry.

I was an outsider and I got a lot of resistance from staff on sites, and that can really impact your confidence, so for me I had to learn not to take this personally. I slowly built into a strong driven person and that started to show when I was on site with clients so things started to change.  I’m more versatile and knowledgeable because of it.

What’s the best part of the life you’re living now you’re a soloist?

Life is astonishing, there are massive ups and huge downs, but I would never go back to working for someone else. My family are an amazing network and sounding board and they help make this all possible.

The other month I went into my office and two staff had pulled their money together and bought me flowers and cupcakes for no reason at all, they just wanted to say thank you for being me (literally that is what was written on the card) this is why I do this and for my clients.

Got a tip you’d like to share with our community about soloism? Can be related to systems, technology, health, mind, body….anything!

I am ALWAYS thinking, my brain never stops, so I carry a pen and notebook everywhere to jot down ideas or for the techy people (even though I am one) keep electronic notes. My businesses are forever evolving with the market needs and my dreams.

Lucy Kippist

is an experienced Australian editor with experience in writing, podcasting radio and television, with previous senior editorial roles at News Corp news.com.au, Kidspot and Kinderling Kids Radio. In her current role as editor of Flying Solo, Australia's #1 website for solo business owners she is pursuing her passion for women in the small business space. Connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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