The Story Exchange, Michele Israel Educational Writing and Consulting, Michele IsraelYour Name: Michele Israel

Business Name: Michele Israel Educational Writing and Consulting, a company that works with large and small organizations to support products and programs

Type of Business: Other — Writing

Business Location: New York, United States


Reason for starting
I am just not an organizational person. This after many years of trying to “fit in.” Always a good worker, not the best at the politics and the structure centered around meetings, forced friendships, the politics of interaction… I was in a position that ended because grant funding came to a halt. And right after that, I was hired for a freelance project. And then another. I realized that this was something I could do… consult, freelance because while not an in-house “player” per se, I was super motivated, focused, able to work independently… and that’s how it began. I realized that being an independent contractor would be so beneficial for me in many ways… and it went from there. I was destined to work alone, if you will, though that does not preclude working with others. I just work better with more flexibility, choice, changing opportunities… and reporting to… ME! I am in the education field, mostly writing, and found that I had many different writing venues as a freelancer… this would never have happened to me in a full-time setting with a specific job title.

How do you define success?
For a long time, I really thought success was the position you held, the wages you earned, the publicity you received (being famous, of course)…and it is partly that. But, I also realized that success is in part, doing what you enjoy and that you are ultimately pretty good at. I just finished reading a book — Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. The idea that stood out for me was that for successful people, in addition to there being opportunity and a personal will, was that they engaged in “meaningful” work. My work is meaningful… it has an impact and I get some recognition for it. I would say that I am relatively successful. Am I making a mint? No. But, I get work, I get published, I have new opportunities to grow my skills… I think that is meaningful work… and it makes me feel successful.

Biggest Success
I would say that word-of-mouth referral is an indicator of my success. But, most recent… I was asked to write an article for a national magazine… and that was pretty amazing. But, I would not classify that as my biggest success…I think my biggest success is remaining independent.

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
I would say that building my repertoire is hard… I have a son, a husband, two dogs… I know that sounds like a “so what” sort of scenario, but I am also committed to family… and my son’s well being… so I would say the time balance is tough… and the resources for personal professional development. What I typically do is take on work in an area where I need to build my skills… and that is one way to address my skill gaps…

Who is your most important role model?
I don’t have one in particular…