Michelle Callipari has been a Mompreneur member since 2014, and is the owner of MSC Business Solutions, where she is a Freelance Administrative & Online Marketing Assistant. We are thrilled to share Michelle’s Success Story!
What is your business all about?
My business is about helping entrepreneurs and small business owners take back their time and regain control over the hours they spend working in their business. I help them delegate tasks that do not need to be doing themselves, so they can get back to doing what they love. I specialize in email marketing, online marketing, CRM and database management, document formatting, client appreciation and more.
What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
My father has been in real estate for over 45 years. He is my entrepreneurial inspiration. He created a wonderful life for our family without the security of a corporate job. I always knew I was wired a bit differently. I was never satisfied working for someone else and being dictated to about the hours and days I was told to work. I have always craved flexibility. It doesn’t mean I don’t like to work. I work very hard, but now I do it on my terms, not someone else’s terms.
What’s the best part about owning your own business?
Flexibility and the ability to choose who I work with. I have met some truly incredible people through my business.
Can you describe a typical day?
Alarm rings around 7:15am and I get my son up at 7:30am; we have breakfast and chit-chat together, and then I walk him to the bus stop at 8:30am. Then my own day begins. I normally do some “puttering around” while I drink a coffee. I tidy up the kitchen, maybe put on a load of laundry, talk with my sister who lives in Texas, or have a quick chat on Facebook with my mom or a friend, and if the weather is nice enough, I take my dog for a 20 minute walk. I find I really need this time in the morning just for me, with no rushing, to get my brain and body functioning together at the same speed. Then around 9:00am – 9:30am, I head to my office (aka the dining room).
Each work day is a bit different which is one of the things I love about what I do. I always start my work day with my email Inbox and my Task List in my CRM. I hate having more than 10 items in my Inbox so I get that out of the way first. I answer quick emails, delete anything I don’t need, sort emails that need to go into sub-folders and keep what needs to be done with more focus. Then I look at my task list which contains current projects and their deadlines. Typically, Monday to Wednesday are my busiest days to work on client projects, whereas Thursdays and Fridays I use for personal items like my own blog, newsletter, workshops, etc.
I work until 3:30pm which is when I pick-up my son off the bus. The next half hour is just for him. We talk about his day, empty his backpack, do any homework, etc. Sometimes I have more work to do and he will hang out with me and play on his iPad. We have dinner early in our house, around 5pm, and we are lucky to be able to eat dinner as a family almost every night. Most nights, if she’s not working, my stepdaughter joins us for dinner as well. Then it depends on the day. Sometimes we have swimming or another activity, 7:00pm – 7:30pm is snack, bath, book and lights out by 8:30pm. Then it’s mommy time! I love to read or watch a good series on Netflix, or I watch The Voice on my CTV app on my phone. This is my time to relax.
Who do you count on for help?
My family are my biggest supporters. They are always telling people about what I do (now that they understand what I do!). They are very proud of me and that makes my heart happy. I also have a Virtual Assistant Mentor that I can bounce things off of, plus I have a business coach. I have an amazing tribe!
Have you ever had to sacrifice something at home for work? Or vice versa?
Working Freelance in the Virtual Assistant industry, I can for the most part make my own hours. Most of my clients hold regular office hours, so that is where I keep my hours focused as well. However, I always tell my kids, that while I may not be there for everything, I will never miss the important things. My husband and I try very hard not to be out of town, or have a late night, on the same dates. We are very good with our schedules that way. Every once in a while we have a conflict and we are both out, but we have an awesome family support system to help us on those rare occasions.
What do you do on a day off? Do you even know what a day off is?
Days off mean time spent with family and/or friends. In the summer we love to golf and go to the beach. In the fall/winter, we are home often, hanging out, watching moves, going skating, playing games, and having fun dinners with friends and family. I definitely take days off, but I will admit that it’s difficult when you have a smart phone to be completely detached. To me, a day off is actually attending a networking meeting or conference. I’ve never considered learning to be work. I’ve learned over the past couple of years to take time here and there so I don’t burn out. Sometimes my anxiety makes me take a day off when I haven’t been paying attention to the signs my body gives me. I love what I do, so to put in a few hours on the weekend really doesn’t bother me, as long as we don’t have plans.
What does the future look like for you and your business?
I love the direction my business is taking, and my goal is to bring on 2 part-time sub-contractors with different skills than mine, so I can offer more services for my clients. I want to be able to offer them a “One-Stop Shop” so to speak, of highly skilled contractors. My goal is to also be a mentor to someone. My mentors have helped me in so many ways and I would like to give back.
Any tips for women thinking of starting a business?
YES! Lots of tips!
- Be confident in your abilities!
- Find a mentor in your area of business; one not in your area of business but someone who you admire.
- Get a business coach.
- Learn, learn, learn.
- Focus on your strengths.
- Buy in to every program, every class, every membership. Take your time and figure out which will best suit you.
- Promote yourself before you’re ready.
- Pretend to know what you don’t know.
- Focus on your weaknesses.
- Say yes when your gut is telling you no.
What is your “WHY” behind your business/being an entrepreneur?
My WHY is my family. I want to be home to support them and be a “present” mom and wife, but I also need my own outlet. I want to work. I want to help provide an income for our family to do things. It is also an amazing feeling to help other women succeed in their business, and if I can help them do that, that is awesome!