Re-writing the rules & doing things differently | Michelle Minnikin

mug with hustle written on it, entrepreneur, side hustleAfter leaving my last proper ‘corporate’ job in 2016, I decided to do what I’ve always wanted to and started my own business.

I needed to forge my path – so I did what most psychologists do and started a proper professional (aka boring) psychology practice. I was getting clients – supporting them with selection and assessment during recruitment processes and leadership development, but I felt like a funny coloured peg in a strangely shaped hole. 

Then I read a book that changed everything for me – Be More Pirate by Sam Conniff and things suddenly made sense. I realised I don’t have to have a boring psychology practice. I could create a business that was different, that was fun, and could challenge the way things have always been always done. The final piece of the puzzle came at age 40 when I got a diagnosis of ADHD. 

James Eves, my partner in life and business and I were chatting in the summer of 2020 about the fact the psychology practice was just not us, and once the decision was made that we needed something new, it took just 10 mins to come up with the name of Work Pirates. We were absolutely gobsmacked all the social media handles and domains were available. It was like Work Pirates was just waiting for us! 

We were already very well networked and used that to our advantage. We’re now working with some wonderful clients and have secured some sizable projects – for example, helping a firm of solicitors do the right thing for their employees.

Creating a support network has also allowed us to progress faster than we would have done on our own, so we’re growing a lovely community of work pirates who are collaborating to unf*ck work!                                     

Working with your partner is always interesting…we’ve been very deliberate about assigning roles and responsibilities to ourselves, which are based around our strengths. And as a person with ADHD, I’ve had to learn to ask for help, so delegating, eliminating or automating the stuff I’m not good at has been critical.          

The advice I’d give to anyone thinking of starting their own business is just to start – it doesn’t have to be perfect; it’s ok to be messy and feel unsure, and you don’t need any more qualifications! It might take a couple of iterations to get it right, but keep going.

Michelle MinnikinAbout the author

Michelle Minnikin is a Chartered Psychologist and Coach with 20+ years spent in organisational psychology, recruitment, coaching and personal development. As the Culture Captain (AKA Quartermaster) of Work Pirates, she’s on a mission to unf*ck work and loves helping aspiring Work Pirates re-write the rules and start their own mutinies. 

She’s also writing a book, Good Girl Deprogramming, to give women practical tools to understand the ways ‘society’ keep women and girls ‘behaving’ and to learn how to ‘misbehave’ – out Autumn 2022! Here she tells us a little more.

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