I’m Michelle Rust, a self-employed management consultant, mum of two teenagers, and menopausal. I’ve worked in healthcare throughout my entire career and in the late 90s spent time within the fields of psychiatry and women’s health, the latter giving me a valuable insight into the menopause.
Years later when I became menopausal myself, I knew HRT was not for me. After much research I discovered CBD was linked to many health benefits, but there was only one problem with the current CBD market, it lacked trust and quality. So, I decided to create a premium brand of natural CBD using only the finest extraction processes, a brand based on honesty and integrity, and that brand is Potyque.
1. What has been your Best Life Project to date?
Our two fantastic children, who my husband Andy and I are so proud of ‘most’ days.
2. The unknown … what challenges did you have to overcome?
Two spring to mind, firstly, leaving the corporate world of pharmaceuticals over seven years ago and starting my own consultancy business has and still is a challenge and a huge learning curve for me. I have had to learn every aspect of running a business – overnight I became a business development specialist, an accountant, admin support, whilst also trying to deliver the best experience to all my clients on a daily basis. That added to starting a second business in 2019, when Potyque our CDB brand was created.
Secondly, embarking on a charity road bike challenge that saw myself and seven colleagues take up cycling, having never previously ‘properly’ cycled. Each ride took me massively out of my comfort zone and I still look back on that time with surprise that I achieved what I did.
As a team we had to plan the logistics of each ride and raise money for charity too.
We ended up doing four tours in total over three days for each Tour.. Basingstoke to Paris, Paris to Geneva, Geneva to Montpellier and finally four of the Tour de France climbs, with the most difficult being La Tourmalet. We raised over £56,000.00 for smaller charities and looking back, I am so proud and hold those memories close to my heart.
3. In hindsight…..what would you do differently?
Probably look for help within the business sooner than I did.
I now have fantastic support ‘behind the scenes’ for Potyque and I outsource the parts of the business that are not my area of expertise, leaving me to concentrate on what I do best. Why over complicate things.
I know I excel in my professional life when I have people around me to bounce ideas off, keep me grounded, have a laugh with and make the time an enjoyable experience. We spend far too many hours at work, so having fun is really important to me and keeps me motivated.
Some days, running your own business and working from home, I can see no-one or speak to no-one (except Treacle our cockapoo!) and it can be really hard to pick yourself up and do it all again the next day. I feel I have learnt to be more resilient and tenacious, otherwise I would achieve very little.
As time goes on, I am naturally becoming less ‘stressy’ and as I say on Potyque’s messaging:
“Potyque is the culmination of seeking relief and finding it. It’s living life to its fullest and feeling every beautiful moment. Holding on to the moments that matter and letting go of the ones that don’t.”
4. Next steps?
We massively underestimate the benefit of plants, and Potyque is very much a plant-based wellness company, so I guess the next steps are to help as many people as possible get benefit from Potyque.
It is a fantastic CBD oil (I would say that, but to be fair it’s true). Keeping it simple in our messaging and product offering and making sure everyone hears about the benefits Potyque can bring.
5. What lifestyle changes has lockdown made you consider?
Not ‘running’ at a million miles an hour.
I have learnt to slow down, spend quality time with my family and the importance of having a strong support network around me, even if it is currently via zoom or FaceTime.
Those friends know who they are and once we come out of the other side of lockdown, we will be partying hard.
6. Kissing frogs …. is there an unexpected person who has helped you and, if so, how did they do it?
Gosh, this is hard one to answer as there are a number of people who spring to mind over the years who have ‘appeared’ at the right time.
The nurse who attended to me when I was going into an operation age 21. She chatted about the pharmaceutical industry, put me in touch with a friend of hers who talked me through the role and pointed me in the direction of a recruitment company. Two weeks later I was on my first training course, having ‘landed’ my first job in the industry, a career which lasted 20 years.
When I was suffering with a constant excruciating headaches that resulted in quite some time off work, various medical investigations for all kinds of ‘scary’ possible diagnosis (thankfully nothing sinister). After about eight weeks of really feeling quite unwell, I was chatting with a lady I know who said ‘I MUST’ go and see someone she knew, who was a Cranial Sacral Therapist. She explained he would definitely know how to help.
After two hours of treatment, I walked out of the clinic with no headache and with huge relief, my family explained to me how they felt they had got the ‘old Michelle/mum’ back again.
Finally, my husband, Andy, who has always had the confidence in me to take that leap of faith and set up both my consultancy and Potyque. As he said, what was the worst that could happen? Regret not doing so forever?
He is my biggest critic and my biggest supporter… I couldn’t do any of it without him by my side.
7. My Inspiration ….who or what inspires you?
Perhaps a cliché, but my parents have always inspired me. As I was growing up, they worked so hard to create a balanced home life whilst running a couple of different businesses themselves. They encouraged me to take opportunities to stand out from the crowd and understand that taking the easy option isn’t always the right thing to do.
As a result, I very rarely let opportunities pass me by, I try to always say yes or find a way to make something happen. You never know what may come from that experience or where it may lead you.
8. How do you relax or do you struggle to relax?
Exercise is a fantastic stress buster for me and ultimately helps me relax.
The sessions are firmly fixed in my diary; I mix it up during the week, so daily walks with Treacle and much longer walks on the weekend. Three fitness sessions via FaceTime with my friends each week; a blend of HIIT, weights and strength yoga….. it means we can all catch up and have a laugh doing so at the same time.
9. Guilty secret pleasure?
Binge watching The Vicar of Dibley and Not Going Out from Season One with my 16-year-old daughter. It has made us both really ‘belly laugh’!
Oh and Double Deckers….
10. Words of wisdom
As a dear friend has repeatedly said to me over the years, “Don’t over complicate life. Keep it simple and the rest will take care of itself.”
I am finally listening!