Inspirational People – Melissa Gijsbers

Melissa is a published author and mentor to young writers. She runs the Junior Writers Club, where she supports Australian writers aged 8-18. Since COVID-19, Melissa has pivoted her weekly writing groups from face to face, to online. As a result, she has been able to support and encourage even more eager young writers! 

Her passion for her work is undeniable, so we sat down with her to find out more about her entrepreneurship story.

Melissa Gijsbergs Gippsland entrepreneurship
Author Melissa Gijsbers

What inspired you to start your own business?

I have been a passionate reader and writer from a young age. After highschool, the only career option for writers was journalism, but it just wasn’t for me. At the time, I chose a career in admin, and after I had children, I pursued my own business which delivered business networking for entrepreneurial mums. When my youngest child turned 7, I decided to get back into my writing, and it was here that I discovered my love of fiction. 

Since then, I have published 3 books, with a fourth due to be released early next year. I have also launched a young writer’s group to support and encourage children aged 8-18. This provides a viable source of income while also giving me a sense of purpose and fulfillment! 

What’s one myth about entrepreneurship that you think should be busted?

I think there’s this myth that you need to be getting up at 5am every morning and working long into the night in order to succeed. For me, this is not viable, nor something that I wish to do. You can be successful and reach your dreams without doing that, you just need to find the approach that works best for you. 

What’s been the best thing about your adventure so far?

My favourite part of my work is helping the young writers and seeing them find their own voices! I like to bust a lot of writing myths, and encourage the kids to find their own unique style that works for them. The kids have such incredible imaginations, and with a bit of encouragement, they could be the next generation of Australian literature — and I like to think I’ve played a small part in that. 

I have also just published an anthology, which is a combination of 35 young writers from across Australia sharing their stories of the funny side to home isolation. There’s enough darkness in the world right now, so I’m proud to have helped these young authors put together their stories to bring a smile to the readers’ faces! 

Have you had any failures along the way where you’ve learned a valuable lesson?

I’ve learnt so many valuable lessons from the failures in my business. But one of my biggest realisations has been that it’s Ok to do things my own way. This has helped me to follow my heart and pursue my writing, instead of doing what everyone else said I should do. 

What advice would you give to someone considering entrepreneurship and self-employment?

Find something that you love, and work out how you can make it financially viable! There’s hundreds of people looking for the same job, so in some ways this is the perfect opportunity to turn your passion into a business. Services like Work My Own Way are fantastic, because they give you the tools and support to build your own business. I’ve found so much clarity in these coaching sessions, and I’ve loved having someone to bounce ideas off. 

“Don’t be afraid to try new things, because eventually you’ll find the one that clicks. If I hadn’t pursued other career avenues, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”

If you’d like to learn more about Melissa and her Junior Writers Club, you can find more information here.