When Rochelle Gilburn’s life came crashing around her after the sudden passing of her husband 18 months ago, she made a decision the event would not ruin her life. unLTD editor Richard Fidler took time out to chat to the young entrepreneur as she starts a new life in property

It’s a story of our time but different in many, many ways.

Life is going well. It’s going great, in fact. And then your world comes crashing down. Right now there are millions of people across Europe, and beyond, feeling that way, but for Rochelle Gilburn her suffering began 18 months ago with the sudden death of husband John.

John, a well-known business figure across the north of England and managing director of Owlerton Stadium in Sheffield, passed away from a heart attack to leave Rochelle to bring up their two children Maisie, aged five, and Joshua, aged three.

In a lesson to us all, Rochelle has refused to buckle – and instead embarked on a new career that is very different to the marketing executive roles she has held previously.

“The first six weeks after John died were a whirlwind as I was sorting everything out,” said 31-year-old Rochelle.

“After a while I was left twiddling my thumbs at home so I went back to work at the dogs where I was a marketing executive. It was only seven weeks after John’s passing, so it was probably too soon.

“It was difficult, but I wanted to make sure everyone was ok and John’s work was continuing at the stadium because he’d done so much. However, I quickly realised I needed a fresh start and made the decision to leave the role.

“I’d always thought about getting into property but there’s always a million excuses for not following your dreams. After John’s death, I realised life is too short and you just have to go for it.

“That’s when my new working life got started,” said Rochelle. “I was chatting with a friend who knows about property investment and she advised me to take a course so I did an evening, online course with Facebook over five days to give me the basic information.

“I liked what I heard so I did a further four-day course in Glasgow about how to structure my business and it has gone from there.

“I act as a property consultant for investors who want to add to their portfolio within South Yorkshire. I’m building up my networks with estate agents, solicitors and financial advisers as I put together a group of investors.

“It’s a good market to be in with other people who are doing a similar thing all being very supportive. We often work together to pass people on to the right person.

“I have access to great value properties that won’t be found on the open market. I recognise that interest rates are so low with the banks and people are looking for alternatives that will give them a great return on investment.

“But busy professionals just don’t have the time to look for the opportunities. That’s where I come in. I’ll take the hassle out of building a portfolio and manage everything from the purchase to the refurb.”

There’s no hiding behind the tough time the country is going through at the moment with the COVID-19 pandemic, but Rochelle advised people to be positive.

“I made a decision to not let what happened to me ruin my life,” she said. “I could have just stayed in bed and not done anything but there is lots to look forward to. It’s about not letting things pull you down and working hard for what I want to do.

“What I’m doing is building relationships with people and I think that is so important across all aspects of our lives.”