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Michelle Heng: “Don’t take no for an answer, learn the reason, work around it”

“Don’t take no for an answer, learn the reason, work around it” — I am queen at taking no for an answer. But, I don’t really take it as a no. I take it as a “not right now,” or I ask questions like “What if we did this instead?” or “How do we get to XYZ?” […]

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“Don’t take no for an answer, learn the reason, work around it” — I am queen at taking no for an answer. But, I don’t really take it as a no. I take it as a “not right now,” or I ask questions like “What if we did this instead?” or “How do we get to XYZ?” This approach has left me hopeful and has helped me land some of the partnerships I currently have with Everlaunch. This is one of the most life changing approaches.


As a part of our series about women who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Michelle Heng,

Michelle Heng is a Serial Entrepreneur and social media / brand consultant. Michelle has worked for several brands as talent and ambassador for The Black Eyed Peas, Buzzfeed, Taco Bell, K-Swiss, Remote Year, FXX, Erin Condren Design, Ouidad, Carol’s Daughter, The Lip Bar, and more.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

Growing up at risk youth and in a marginalized community, all I had was hope for better days. I let that hope drive me and have learned to survive and thrive no matter the environment or situation I was in. As a result, and being from NYC, the drive and hustle for business came natural to me. I’ve always been a dreamer, and my first dream was to be a singer on big stages. My first business experience was when I was in a pop punk band in 2011. I understood that if I was going to take my music to the next level I had to protect myself and learn the business side of music, and memorized all the legalese I needed to survive and protect my group of five talented beings. This experience taught me marketing, sales, networking, negotiation, social media, and automation. It taught me leadership skills, as well as operational skills. In 6 months we played Warped Tour, opened up for reputable bands, played incredibly popular night clubs, sold out shows, and created a really great community of fans all over the world. Although that period was short-lived, I transitioned into non-profit work, event planning, and kept building these skills that always found me the next business executive and supportive administrative positions. Fast forward to today, all of the skills and tools I’ve learned over the years compiled. I kept my ears to the ground about new companies offering new solutions, and I became a walking talking database for business resources. I became the go-to person for social media, the go-to person for strategic planning, branding, and business building — which led me to build Everlaunch, which is my brain in app form.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

Of course! I am currently building an Interactive web-app that helps first-time entrepreneurs overcome fundamental challenges in starting their business. Business building is hard, expensive, and overwhelming. We help entrepreneurs save money, time, and walk them through an experience in order to take them from start to finish. Although we are in beta, we have been receiving INCREDIBLE feedback that is helping us complete a more robust and accessible platform. Our goal is truly to change the face of entrepreneurship. We recently launched an initiative to help 1000 BIPOC start a business by July 2021.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

The funniest mistake I made was buying a TV from Target for our expo display…and having to walk from Target to our hotel. Things happen last minute, ALWAYS, especially when preparing for things like this. I could have ordered it a couple of days earlier and have it delivered to our hotel. But, I don’t know what was going through my mind. I had the option of Uber or if I would’ve waited an hour, one of my team members could have helped. However, I was a lost cause that day because the pressure was on!

We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact? I actually didn’t have a mentor until this year when I joined a mastermind. The Dylan Grace mastermind revolutionized my way of going about business, and really helped understand how I was limiting myself by how and what I was prioritizing. Dylan always shared these little gems that improved my way of thinking. Mindset shift was the biggest thing I needed to be successful. Then I joined another network called the Founder Gym. That also revolutionized my relationship to money as well as brought an INCREDIBLE community of mentors.

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

A major positive disruption is how social media has made it easier to make money, find clients, and create brands that tell incredible stories. Social media has changed how we reach communities all across the world. However, we can also see how it affects consumers negatively. There are several studies that show research on how social media can affect users in negative ways, like low self esteem, anxiety, depression. I know for myself, I used to play the comparison game. “I’m nowhere near this” fill in the blank, and as someone who struggles with depression and anxiety, I completely understand why this has this affect on me. Looking at the highlight reels of many well known public figures leaves me wondering if I am even working hard enough. Which is where I have to pull myself back and either unfollow the people who make me feel this way and make Social media work for me, by following things that uplift me and use it to advance my goals while staying connected with the people I care about. I’ve also reaped the benefits of building my brand online and taking advantage of what social media has to offer. It has helped me get incredible opportunities to work with large brands, meet incredible people, and connect with world-class humans. At the end of the day I consider social media as a “necessary evil.” It has definitely changed the game for businesses in the best ways. However, you can’t downplay the negative effects it has on people which is why I believe that social media should be used wisely and strategically while bringing value to someone’s life.

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

Most advice comes from books of people I dream of brushing shoulders with. However, I got a few good ones along the way.

“Understand that all feedback is given for improvement” — This helped me become someone who is mentally resilient when it comes to not taking things personally. Especially when I am constantly sharing and iterating on ideas.

“Nothing changes if nothing changes” Sometimes I try so hard to figure things out that I would keep trying the same things, the same ways — which is Einstein’s definition of insanity. This saying really puts things into perspective. If I don’t like the way something is going, if I am struggling in a certain area, I have to mentally decide to switch it up so that I can bring momentum back into the area of my life in which I am having trouble.

“Don’t take no for an answer, learn the reason, work around it” — I am queen at taking no for an answer. But, I don’t really take it as a no. I take it as a “not right now,” or I ask questions like “What if we did this instead?” or “How do we get to XYZ?” This approach has left me hopeful and has helped me land some of the partnerships I currently have with Everlaunch. This is one of the most life changing approaches.

We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?

Everlaunch isn’t going anywhere. In fact we are JUST getting started. We just launched the Business of Color initiative to help 1000 BIPOC start a business by July 2021. Our program launches in November and we can’t wait. We have a couple of things up our sleeves in order to make this happen and we are SO excited for what’s coming.

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by ‘women disruptors’ that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?

I think right now the playing field is being leveled by other women disruptors. However, the challenge is bridging the funding gap for BIPOC women disruptors. I believe if we continue to bridge the gap for funding and partnering/investing with female owned/ran companies, we can continue to see women disruptors on the rise.

Do you have a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us?

Currently reading Marie Forleo’s Everything is Figureoutable, and it has been ripping me a new one. Especially with chapter 4, the “No Excuse” chapter has challenged me to look beyond my words. My excuses really have no merit. It’s either I care or I don’t.. Looking at my own life and how I spend my time, and how much that time costs put things into perspective. This book challenges you to truly confront your limiting beliefs and use the words “don’t” instead of can’t. For example: I don’t want to do this instead of I can’t do this. Because truly I can do anything (within my own strength and the power of the internet) if I really wanted to.

Another book that changed my life is You are a Badass. This book taught me to become the version of myself that I love the most. The Badass who can do anything.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

It would be to take Everlaunch Global where entrepreneurs who have launched their business on our platform would invest into future entrepreneurs and help change the face of entrepreneurship forever.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Slow progress is still progress.

This is my life quote. Sometimes I am so hard on myself that I forget that what the work I am doing takes time. Takes hours, takes days, takes months. This quote helps cultivate mindfulness, patience, and kindness towards myself. I am on a journey and although there is a destination, I am grateful. As long as I am focused on becoming a better human, everything will fall into place, at its own pace.

How can our readers follow you online?

@elle.heng

@elleheng_

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

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