From a suburban mechanics’ workshop to international businesswoman and disrupter of a global industry, Rachael Sheldrick is an author, speaker, and successful business owner and mentor.
What started out as just helping her husband with the books at their mechanics’ workshop in Whitebridge has led to Rachael consulting to thousands of auto repair business owners across Australia, as the Workshop Whisperer, to help them achieve higher profits and more time with their families.
Rachael is also the co-founder of Raise The Bar Newcastle, an events company that brings entrepreneur speakers to Newcastle for the benefit of all Hunter region business owners and she is also the Vice President of the newly formed Lake Macquarie Business Limited.
- Tell us about the journey that led you to start your own business.
I think that I may always have known that I was going to be a business owner. By my mid twenties I was a bit frustrated being an employee and not having the scope to be as creative as I would like, so within a couple of years of working for a few multinational companies I made a break and decided that I would go into business for myself and that was the first of five start ups.
- What was your original mission for your business? And has it changed?
Well originally with GS Mechanical – which is the motor mechanics workshop that I own with my husband – I wasn’t actually going to have an active part in that business. I was just going to do the books and a little bit of marketing because we had just had our youngest child – we have three – but that very quickly turned around and the business was in such a bad state that I had to go into it full time. So I basically took over everything that was on the operations side of the business – admin, reception, marketing, accounts, and my husband looked after everything that was technical in the workshop. So my role has very drastically changed from that as well – now we have fulltime reception staff and I operate from a higher level because I am now also consulting to other mechanical workshops throughout Australia and New Zealand.
- Did you always know you want to be an entrepreneur?
Not an entrepreneur as such because I don’t think I really understood what that meant until the last couple of years but I definitely always knew that I wanted to be a business owner. My Mum was a business owner and my Dad, while he was a lifelong employee, had a lot of entrepreneurial spirit and was always brainstorming ideas with me from a young age.
- What do you attribute your success to?
Hard work. There is no other way to achieve success in business other than putting in the hard yards.
Even when you eventually emerge as a somewhat successful business it’s because of years and years of hard work in the background – there is really no such thing as an overnight success as anyone in business will tell you.
- What local entrepreneur do you find inspiring?
There couldn’t be just one as there is too much going on here in Newcastle. So I am pretty lucky that I am surrounded by amazing entrepreneurs – Adele Martin, Grace McLean, Heidi Pollard, Christina Gerakiteys, Melissa Histon – all these fabulous entrepreneurs that just inspire me all the time.
The aim of Raise the Bar is to raise the level of success and support for small business in Newcastle.