We had the good fortune of connecting with Melissa McFarlane and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Melissa, is there a quote or affirmation that’s meaningful to you?
My favorite saying is, “When you have an idea, the means to achieve it come with it.” Society somehow teaches us to feel fear in the unknown and one way we tend to avoid that fear is to re-create what we already have, rather than truly and fully leaning into an unrealized idea that we have. I love the perspective that our ideas are always taking care of us, pulling us into something that is waiting for us to meet up with it and play, and that there are clues for us to follow that will help us meet up with the vision, living and breathing as we imagined it could be. It’s such a friendly and calming thought: “I’ve had an idea. That means it exists in form somewhere – the parts are all available to assemble. I MUST be able to achieve it! I just have to learn to see and hear the clues – this is going to be a great adventure! I cannot fail if I keep the idea in mind, front and center.”
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Creative Successful Entrepreneurs focuses entirely on Creatives: actors, musicians, performers, coaches, teachers, healers, designers – those who have a lot of unfinished projects, big ideas, and a special talent that others gravitate to. I’m really excited about the 6 step process we use to help these unique sorts to harness their brains and talent and turn them profitable. We have clients who have been living off their spouse’s efforts for 25 years who now earn 25k and 50K in a month, using their talent. We’ve seen our Creatives actually improve their own creative careers over and over again as a direct result of building a business alongside their creativity. We’ve seen wonderful businesses come into view that help their owners’ families to thrive while being a real credit to society, and that’s just super-satisfying to me. Today we have clients from many countries and all across the United States, all of whom are working to make the world a more fun, inspiring, calm, intelligent and creative playground for all. I LOVE that! Now, I am especially proud to have created a totally unique coach certification. CSE is the only training organization in the world that trains and certifies coaches in two modalities at once: life coaching and business coaching. We do this because life and career overlap constantly and to be able to truly help someone realize all their dreams, a coach must be educated in both disciplines. I was trained as a life coach originally and have been coaching for nearly 30 years, however about 13 years into that run, after several stints on national TV as an expert coach, speaking on international stages, and working with Fortune 500 companies and high-profile individuals, I was still privately struggling to make a sensible profit at the end of the day. I realized I needed to narrow the wide net that my general coaching practice had served, and really develop ideal services to support a more specific niche, I thought, “If I only had a year to live, who would I really like to help or what problem would I most like to make a serious effort at least to solve?” I realized the folks I knew and cared about the most were my fellow Creatives: brilliant, forward thinkers, many double and tripled degreed, skilled at thinking and visioning outside the box, with deep intuition, most of whom are “multi-hyphenates” in order to pay the rent. From successful entrepreneurs and mentors, I learned critical secrets to building a functioning business for myself instead of a freelance career dependent on referrals alone. After struggling hugely to translate the language and mindset of these standard business owners to my own way of viewing the world and priorities and the process of making a living, I quadrupled my income and my client base in a year! In that breakthrough I realized how much I could help the artists and performers and healers and teachers I knew around me, all of whom struggled to make a real living, even though their talent was often the axis on which others’ success turned.. The problem I knew I could help them solve, was how to get out of their own way to make a beautiful living whilst making a more significant difference with their gifts. I made the transition from a struggling practice to a thriving business while raising my 2 kids – ages 6 and 9 at the start – completely alone, as my ex-husband couldn’t help. It was like turning a Titanic around. I was serving a large list of clients individually and it took all of the time I had in the day. Marketing and client management had to be squeezed in between 10pm and 2am. It wasn’t easy at all, but every tiny bit of it was worth the pain or struggle I moved through to get to the results we enjoy now. I’m so grateful now for that time because it taught me how to become truly independent. I learned to work in tight shifts and focus on ONE thing that I could do, instead of the thousands of things that others were doing and that I just couldn’t do at all. I developed a few mantras to get through; phrases that we teach our clients to this day: “This is right, why is it right?” and “There’s so much to do, but really just two things: NOW and NEXT.” I’ve learned how much we can do and how much we hold ourselves back. I’ve learned the power of love to transcend fear and transform our capabilities.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
One time I arranged with a blind date to go to the Getty Museum where, without actually meeting each other first, we were each to position ourselves in front of a piece of art we liked. Then we embarked on a cell-phone scavenger hunt, calling each other with a series of clues relating to the art we each were seeing as we moved through the museum until we ultimately found each other in the crowd. That was fun. So maybe we’d start that way. Then I’d take my guest out to Malibu and have lunch at the Malibu Seafood Cafe before going to camp overnight at Sycamore Cove and share a grilled dinner on the beautiful south-facing beach. We’d wake early the next morning with coffee at the campsite and then start our drive south, stopping perhaps to climb the cliffs at Paradise Cove or driving straight through to Santa Monica for breakfast at Back On the Beach. Maybe we’d rent skates and wheel on the beach path up to Temescal Canyon and down past Venice out to the south pier. Later that night, I’d take my guest out to Hollywood at sunset to see Mann’s and the star walk in its best light, and then head on over to listen to some good, new music at Hotel Cafe. Next day it’s up early to hike at Wildwood Canyon in Burbank (best view of the valley out to the ocean) and have brunch at my favorite cafe nearby, Basecamp and High Horse Dinette. We might stroll through Magnolia Park and shop at Phoebe Peacock or Mindful Next eventually ending up at Portos for coffee, hopefully missing the rush, since it’s a weekday. We’d catch something at Hollywood Bowl (where I saw a spectacular show with Ben Folds and John Maher a long while back) and then close out the night at an old favorite french restaurant where the clocks are all set to 8pm: California Canteen on Cahuenga Boulevard West.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are so many sources of my success, but for today I’ll highlight a little book I read early on in my life that allowed me to stay open to possibility, change and big dreams, called, “The Game of Life and How to Play It” by Florence Scovill Shinn.