Michelle Cummings is the founder of UsForYou Australia and provides full social media establishment and management services for busy tradies. Whether you’re a sparkie, a chippie, a plumber or a landscaper, UsForYou has got you covered so you can concentrate on what you do best.
Tell us about yourself
I consider myself a “community mum” by helping friends or new people I meet who may need a hand personally. I’m not blessed to be able to be a mum but in the same sense I have so many children in my life that I have looked out for. It’s something really important to me. I am an Aunty to 5 kids, which I love, and I am one of those people who, if I see someone distressed in the city, I’ll offer help with a kind word or offering some rescue remedy.
Once, I met someone who was a single mum who did not have anywhere to live so I took her in for a while. I have another friend who moved to Australia from Greece without any contacts in the neighbourhood. I cared for her and her 2 year old, but devastatingly for me they have returned back to Greece.
Originally, I’m a country girl from Newcastle and this is the second time I’ve lived in Sydney. I’ve been here for 8 years and consider myself an Inner West kid. I came to Sydney for its career diversity and the ability to spread my wings.
My previous work history includes being a sales representative with Pacific Brands where I managed over 500 small businesses and retailers. My objective was to move them online and onto Facebook to help them grow.
Tell us about UsForYou Australia. When did you start the business, why, and what business needs do you satisfy?
I started the business 2 years ago and the business kind of came to me. I found myself, through my background, coaching businesses on social media and helping them become more digital savvy. It developed from there and specifically tradies are my focus. I have developed a ‘New to Facebook’ package and I am in the process of developing another package to meet the ongoing technology needs of my clients.
I like working with tradies and fell into working with them from my background, family influence and career history. I come from a line of mechanics and my dad and both of my brothers are mechanics, and interestingly my partner is a mechanic too! Though, I don’t have a car!
I used to be the manager at Lowes Burwood Plaza and worked with brands such as Hard Yakka, King G, Hi Pages and Tradebusters Connect and merchandised the store to suit the tradies coming in. I find that my personal style suits working with tradies as I’m down to earth and straight talking.
What can clients expect from your service?
The ability to be social online with their customers and grow their business. My service is two fold in that I offer packages as well as marketing consultancy. I make appointments with my clients to conduct brand reviews and make recommendations based on where they are currently at, and where they’d like to be.
My current package is a guide for those who aren’t currently using Facebook for business. It provides specific detail and suggestion on how to establish their Facebook Page correctly the first time. It covers things like using the correct graphics and ensuring there is a clear call to action by making it clear how their customers can enquire about their service. We also ensure they are strategically following local practice.
What aspect of your business do you enjoy the most?
The coaching element of my business. I find that business owners can, at times, be resistant to change and so I coach them in a way that they feel comfortable in the direction I suggest to them. I ask them questions until they come to the realisation themselves that it can’t hurt to be online and active in social media.
I enjoy starting a conversation with someone who thinks there is no point or no value but by the end they are eating out of my hand because I can show them how they can grow their business. Coaching change resistant and cynical people is one of the things I do well.
What advice would you give to others considering starting their own business?
Set up the legal aspects of your business. When you’re a new business you can be very green in how you collaborate with others but if you don’t have an agreement in place things can get messy. I’ve seen it happen to a number of start-ups typically because it’s about having the confidence to do that early on.
Another tip is to engage your local network. There are a lot of other business people out there and the days of collaboration are here to stay when doing business in Australia.
Your business name reminds me of a famous Beatles song “From Us to You” Are you a fan? Is that where you gained the inspiration for your business name?
I am a massive fan of the Beatles! The inspiration of the business name actually came from a trip to the South Coast where I met someone else who was starting his business and he has a disability as well.
We agreed that we each have talent but we can’t do everything. We hold a collaboration where we work together and balance out each others’ strengths and weaknesses. If something is out of my comfort zone I ensure that my client still receives the best service by referring that aspect to someone more experienced in that specific area.
I am happiest when…
I’m in a hammock with a glass of wine, preferably on a beach!
Your most favourite pastime?
I have had so many adventures and generally live my life with the motto of carpe diem. But one of my favourite things at the moment is being a mad ‘Tweeter’ – I am so in love with it that it’s ridiculous! It is a new source of constant business inspiration for me.
Favourite spots in Sydney’s Inner West?
Marrickville – I’ve had so many good times there. It’s an old stomping ground of mine and where I lived the first time I moved to Sydney. I lived across the road from the Henson Pub, before it was cool. I also love Sydenham Green Park.