I interviewed Michaela Anchan because she is one smart woman who cares and support other women.
1) What do you do?
I’m the founder and director at Woolf Works, a coworking space and community for women here in Singapore.
Woolf Works is all about giving women the space and time to reach for their professional goals away from the home office and amongst a community of like minded women. I spent five years as a stay at home mum and trying to be a writer and an entrepreneur, but ending up feeling frustrated and lonely.
On the side, I also love writing so I do a lot of business based content and in my ‘spare time’ i write creative non-fiction and work on my great New Zealand novel. I’m also working on a book about how awesome I think coworking is for women!
Lastly, I’m a mother to a 7 year old daughter and a 3 year old son and a wife to a very supportive husband.
2) Why do you do what you do?
I saw a gap in the market for a quiet, calm, inspiring space that was particularly targeted at women who needed somewhere to Get Sh*t Done! We do lots of events for the community, both business and personal development based. We also encourage connections and collaborations and have found our community has grown a great ecosystem of freelancers, entrepreneurs and flexi-corporates.
3) How do you find time for all that?
I have an awesome Administrative Assistant who helps a lot with the behind the scenes stuff and I try to keep really productive! The life of an entrepreneur means long days, but I’m passionate about what i do, so its not a drag. My time is my own so i will often take an afternoon off to hang out with my kids, and I try to get to a yoga class 5 times a week. The more exercise I do, the more energy I have in my day-to-day, so I consider time spent on fitness an investment in myself!
Firstly, we have launched Catalyst, a three month program giving women clarity and confidence to return to the workforce after a motherhood break. I saw lots of women really struggling to find their feet, not knowing what step to take and feeling guilty no matter what they did, so this program is really a way to help them connect with themselves, feel strong and set some goals. All the group sizes are kept super small – max is 6 – so their is lots of time to share challenges and experiences.
Secondly – we are moving! We have proudly been Joo Chiat located for almost two years now, but with the expiration of our lease we have decided to explore a more central part of town. Its still top secret but will be announced soon and our move will be mid May.
5) What advice would you give to
– women: To quote Sheryl Sandberg: Lean in! It’s a great time to be a woman in the workplace as corporates are (slowly) waking up the need to become more flexible and aware of the need for a better work/life fit for all genders.
– entrepreneurs: Go for progress over perfection! Test things out, change it, test again. Don’t get paralysed waiting for everything to be perfect – just get it out so you can see how the market reacts to it.
– tech idiots: Get an understanding of the fundamentals but then take advantage of the world of freelancers! Fiverr and Upwork are great platforms for outsourcing work that isn’t your strength. Don’t waste time on things you don’t love. Dont spend a week trying to put together a website that someone else could build for you in a couple of hours.
– mothers: Make sure you aren’t putting yourself last on the list. We mothers can have a bad habit of taking care of everyone else’s needs before our own, then wonder why we feel so frustrated or disappointed with not being able to accomplish all we had envisioned.
Put yourself as number 1! If you are happy and satisfied, the rest of the family will thrive off your beautiful energy!
– wives: My husband and I recognise that we are in a busy season of our lives right now – we work long hours and often on opposite schedules, with him on late nights and me on early mornings. We try for date night every fortnight at least – but sometimes we have to settle for some good whatsapp flirting during the day to feel connected! Don’t put too much pressure on your marriage to be ‘perfect’ but recognise your needs and develop small strategies to keep those needs fulfilled.– daughters:I feel very passionate about raising my daughter to be ambitious and gritty and able to assert her needs. Its hard sometimes, and I feel lucky to have support from community organisations like Sisu Girls who are really pushing this agenda in Singapore. I am also conscious of my place as a role model and my daughter is a driver for me to keep building my business and my legacy.