Life After Yachting With Sisterhood By Michelle
We recently spoke to Michelle to discuss her transition for the Superyacht Industry to a land-based career. In the following interview, Michelle shares her advice for those looking to leave yachting, financial advice for yacht crew.
How long did you work on Superyachts? What was your role on board? and what yachts did you work on?
I worked on yachts for 6 years, my first boat only for 6 months because it didn’t feel right for me, the crew weren’t very aligned.
I then got offered quite a few positions on different yachts for my next experience which was super exciting, I selected the one which I felt suited me more & were in line with my goals, so my second boat was a service stew role. I literally threw myself in the deep end with this one, I mean I’d been a waitress for many years, & worked on the bar too but this was a whole different ball game; way more fast paced than any restaurant job.
I remember one of my first experiences taking a breakfast order from a table of like 20 guests, everyone giving me very picky, individual orders & I was like a deer in headlights lol! I’m always one for learning on the go, & always throwing myself in the deep end – it’s the only way I learn, & I really thrive off doing things this way.
My 3rd boat I got a job with my boyfriend (we’ve been together since we were 17, since school) & worked separately on yachts for around 3 years. We both met the chief stew of the boat at different times, so was definitely meant to be. We worked on this boat for around 2.5 years, it was a charter & private boat where we travelled to so many amazing places, we chartered a lot but we also had soooo much time off so we really got to explore.
When did you leave the Superyacht industry and why?
I left yachting after 6 years after having planned to leave for 2 years, as I had to research my chosen business idea. I have always been an entrepreneur at heart! In fact, that’s actually why I joined the yachting industry in the first place. I left to start my own eco womenswear collection.
Did you join the industry with a plan of how long you were staying? And did you plan an exit strategy as to what land-based job you’ll transition to?
I joined yachting to be a personal shopper to the rich & famous that holidayed on them, & my plan was of course to take this on land when I had enough experience. There was a monumental experience that halted this dream, & altered my direction. After this happened I wanted to start a business but I had no idea what to do it in, I was thinking & thinking for over 2 years until I thought I love clothes, & style so why not start my own clothing line. This opened up my mind to eco, ethical, sustainable practices within the clothing industry. I researched & taught myself everything from scratch for the next 2 years whilst on charter – I would do 1 hour of research on my break everyday so I felt like I was actually making moves within the direction I wanted to go. This was everything from fashion design, to ethical clothing factories, to fabrics, to business planning, EVERYTHING haha ☺ I gave myself 2 years to do this, & then when I left I went on holiday to Bali for 3 weeks to go & visit these ‘ethical’ factories I’d found, to choose one & then when I found a small family run one I moved to Barcelona & this is where my entrepreneurial journey really bloomed ☺
What is your current job role and where are you based?
I am the owner of Sisterhood by Michelle, where I help female entrepreneurs from yachting (or wannabe female entrepreneurs) create aligned brands, & make their entrepreneurial dreams a reality. I am based in the small Spanish city of Reus, one hour outside of Barcelona.
Can you tell us more about Sisterhood by Michelle and how the concept around the business came about?
My clothing line turned into more of a hobby, I found that I really enjoyed the process of brand creation, therefore I started my own Virtual Assistant business where I helped female entrepreneurs, (& then very soon specifically for women from yachting) with different aspects of their brands & businesses, from social media & marketing, to web design, to admin, to PA kind of jobs – I did EVERYTHING lol; that role taught me a lot & then I eventually organically transitioned into Sisterhood which is what it is today ☺
Since starting Sisterhood By Michelle, how many crew have you helped build their brands? Would you be able to share any case studies with us?
My mentoring programme is a 6 month process, & Sisterhood has only been in business for 1 year which is so crazy when I think how far I’ve come & grown. I’ve helped numerous amounts of women on various scales, & currently have 8 clients doing my 1-1 Brand Mentoring Programme right now – all women from yachting, that’s women still in the industry or who have already left now.
Do you believe the skills gained on board give crew an advantage when they leave the industry? And what are the most significant skills that you learned, and your clients, that helped you in your land-based role?
1000%. I think so many crew give themselves such a hard time when it comes down to the skills they’ve got from yachting (I mean I defo did, I kept thinking cleaning toilets, cleaning toilets haha). But, once you leave you actually realise that yachting has expanded our minds in the most amazing, beautiful ways. Hard work, attention to detail, creativity, social, culture, travel – I could go on forever, there are so many benefits & I am FOREVER grateful for my experience.
Any advice for crew on financially preparing for their life after yachting whilst being on board?
When you have a plan for what business you’re going to start after yachting, break it down & work out how much you will need to cover you for at least one year without getting a land based job. Everything takes so much time, especially within brand creation (I actually did a LIVE on this process the other day). Land life is not easy, and there are so many bills & things we have to pay for. Work out your goals, and break those goals down so you can work out the process. My boyfriend and I also invested heavily into Crypto. This has massively helped us on numerous occasions when both of our businesses needed a boost!
9. What’s your biggest success since leaving the industry?
Working with all the amazing women I get the privilege to work for. Along side, helping them create the dreams they’ve always imagined. Nothing beats it. If I won the lottery I would 100% still do it – I’m really obsessed with what I do!
10. 3 pieces of advice for any yachties considering their life after yachting:
Find an idea that’s aligned to you – one that not just makes you money! Also, give yourself the time to set it up properly, then go all in and work hard! And of course, ask me any questions you have about any of this hehe.
For more life after yachting articles, visit Superyacht Content Crewmess, here.