Interview with Michelle Niziol, founder of the Empowering Entrepreneur
Find out how Michelle Niziol started building her multi-million-pound property portfolio at the age of 18, and created an empire of six businesses while raising two small children.
And how she’s now using her vast business experience to help other women start and grow their own successful businesses through The Empowering Entrepreneur.
What’s your career background?
I bought my first house when I was 18, which was also when I began building my multi-million-pound property portfolio. The love of buying my own house and the process of purchasing it, led me to become a mortgage broker and setting up my own business.
This then led to me creating The IMS Property Group. I now own businesses looking after every aspect of property. An estate agency, lettings agency, property portfolio building company, and a property investment company, along with the mortgage business.
My success in this business led me to become one of the top mortgage brokers in the UK, winning various prestigious industry awards and becoming a ‘go-to’ broker for the media.
After nearly 20 years in business and helping many other business owners in every aspect of their business, I decided to completely follow my passion and set up my latest business, The Empowering Entrepreneur.
I now mentor women in business, to help them believe that they can do this! I help them find their way, overcome overwhelm, self-belief issues, increase sales, marketing and to believe their value.
How did your career change after having children?
I had got my businesses into a secure state before I had children, which allowed me to take time off whilst knowing everything would be safe and carry on ticking over. My career didn’t really change except I was stricter on separating work from my home life following having children.
How do you balance your work with your family?
Running six businesses, I have had to work hard at maintaining a work-life balance, and ensuring I have plenty of quality time with my children. I am incredibly fortunate to be able to employ a nanny, who helps look after the house as well as the children, enabling me to give them my full attention when I am with them.
I have also taken to working from home more, allowing me to spend lunches and breaks with them during the day.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
It wasn’t so much as an idea, rather a burning passion to give something back. I was never given any help either financially or guidance in business, and I often wonder what I could have achieved if I had, and the mistakes I could have avoided making.
I felt a real urge to help women in my situation, and create something my children could be incredibly proud of.
How did you move from idea to actual business?
I employed a business therapist, to help me work out how I wanted to help women and what I could do to make the most difference. I then recruited a small team to help build the business and put everything into practice. I guess I was also fortunate that it was my sixth business – so not much phases me anymore!
What’s your USP?
There are not many people offering affordable mentoring packages and mastermind groups to women in business specifically, and I feel many women are put off attending mentoring or mastermind groups led by men, so the fact I am just like them, with the same family challenges really helps.
I also am incredibly confident and a lot of women come to me looking for help on how to be more confident.
Who’s your target audience?
Any woman with a business, or business idea they’re ready to make a reality. My only requirement is that they are determined and committed to making changes and trying new things.
I work with women who are looking to start a business from home alongside their job, to women who run multi-million-pound businesses – it really doesn’t matter what stage you’re at.
How do you spread the word about what you do?
I find in this industry, my clients are my biggest marketing tool, as they show my proven results. They’re all great at leaving me reviews, sharing my content on social media and generally supporting me, as they know the difference I can make. I also do a lot of digital advertising, and even old school bus stop adverts!
What’s been your most successful marketing strategy?
Offering taster mastermind sessions. It has given me lots of content and social proof.
What’s been the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome?
I think working out how I can help women best. There aren’t many female-led businesses similar to mine in the UK, so a lot of it is unknown territory. I’ve sent out lots of surveys and hosted focus groups to define which direction I should head in.
And your proudest moment so far?
Everything has moved so quickly, we’ve had lots of media interest and I feel very proud of everything we’ve achieved.
But in honesty, it has to be speaking at schools through my charity, The Empowering Entrepreneur Children’s Enterprise. I’ve spoken at over 20 so far, and it gives me the biggest sense of fulfilment to be able to inspire the next generation, and show them they can really do anything.
Why is work so important to you?
I have never been financially motivated, rather just a desire to be financially free. My work is important to me as I like to constantly learn and improve myself.
I’m a firm believer that you can never be top of your game – you can always go further. I also want to be a positive influence on my children, and show them how much better a good life feels if you’ve worked for it yourself.
Who inspires you?
I’m a big Oprah fan, but above all I’d have to say Lord Alan Sugar. I was lucky enough to be a candidate on series 12 of The Apprentice, and over the months of filming, I learnt so much from him, Karren Brady and Claude Littner that I have taken with me.
What are your three top pieces of advice for someone wanting to do something similar?
- Take time in working out where your niche is, hold focus groups and speak to lots of people to find out what would really be of help.
- Know that YOU are your business. Put yourself out there in the media wherever possible.
- Invest time into social media and all the different platforms, it’s a brilliant place to find clients.