We all face blind spots in our personal and professional lives and sometimes fail to see the problems that are visible to others. When you feel stuck, overwhelmed, and under pressure to perform, it can be hard to evaluate what you are doing well and what you need to improve. This is when it becomes imperative to hire a coach who focuses on you and what you want to achieve with your business, as we all have blind spots. While there are different kinds of coaches, strategic coaches help prioritize one’s leadership vision and deliver the desired results. They help you analyze and understand leadership behaviors under various circumstances and confront the barriers that hold you back from reaching your goals. Michelle Guo, strategy coach for creatives and founder of MAGICAVE Media LLC, helps freelancers and entrepreneurs get better at leading strategically to be more influential and create more impact.
Michelle’s interest in creative design and the desire to know more about how people think, work, and operate began early on in her life. She wanted to become an architect to apply her passion and make a difference in people’s lives. While pursuing her B.S. in Economics, International Relations, and Architecture at Syracuse University, she tried her hands at freelance designing and took up several side hustles to reinvent and give wings to her interests. This included working as an engagement and travel photographer, a branding and communications journalist, and a freelance commission artist.
In a short span, her career took a shift and Michelle decided to use her skills and knowledge as a paralegal and started working at an intellectual property law firm. Michelle said she initially enjoyed working with attorneys to draft design patents for inventors and innovators who spurred creativity with their brands and products. But with time, the nuances of the job, including sticking to deadlines and emphasis on profit maximization over people, hampered her mental health and creativity. Along with her full-time job, she pursued her MSc in Computer Science from the University of the District of Columbia. But the bug of freelancing kept nagging her, and she decided to take the leap of faith and get into entrepreneurship.
In any business, challenges in the form of confronting behaviors and non-conforming habits can hold you back. In a bid to make the lives of those who feel stuck easier, Michelle founded MAGICAVE Media LLC in New York in 2021. Her mission is simple yet manifold: to help entrepreneurs and freelancers utilize best practices, techniques, and technologies to manage their time, energy, and resources efficiently, leading to revenue growth and healthy work-life balance.
Coaching was Michelle’s passion as she found immense pleasure in learning more about people’s thoughts and behavior and aligning them to move towards their goals. With her company, she offers 1:1 coaching, online programs, and digital resources that are tailor-made with action-oriented solutions for new freelancers who are ready to take the plunge into creativity. Michelle believes that a coach should understand that when it comes to productivity, career, and achievement for creatives because no one-size-fits-all, and everyone has unique demands that need personalized strategies to be met. So, whether you are just starting out or looking to scale up, MAGICAVE Media can help you carve a business according to your lifestyle, values, and schedule.
It might happen that as an overwhelmed business owner, your personal and brand identity might get intertwined. To tackle this issue, Michelle adopts a holistic approach in her coaching that prioritizes your interests so that all your energies are directed towards fueling the same. The services are therefore informed by neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), a set of models, techniques, and strategies that help us understand how the brain processes the verbal communication we use and how they influence our cognitive behavior. It also helps in making the services more inclusive of neurodiverse individuals and their needs. Michelle states three pillars that she bases her coaching on – Integrity, Humility, and Accountability. As a woman of color and an entrepreneur, Michelle also feels strongly about equitable representation and aims at lowering the barriers that creatives face to build a sustainable and culturally competent coaching environment and workplace.
Like any other business, Michelle’s dream venture also faced its share of ups and downs. Having moved from freelance design to corporate legal work to running her own coaching business, she faced challenges that came along with it. But that also helped her understand the dilemma freelance entrepreneurs face when it comes to finding the intersection between creative freedom and financial stability. She had to juggle multiple things, including taking care of a severely disabled parent and maintaining her physical and mental health standards to face the curve balls life was throwing her way. Not one to be bogged down by adversities, Michelle worked her way around it by strategically managing time, directing her energies towards more productive things, and creating a schedule aligned with her values. This further helped her gain “a healthy work-life balance, a sustainable schedule, and an optimistic mindset.”
Crafting Your Dream
For Michelle, productivity coaching has been the optimum way to combine her desire to make a difference, her business acumen, and the acquired wisdom of the challenges that freelancers and entrepreneurs face. Once she had clarity, she developed an unwavering faith in herself and worked towards empowering fellow creatives who were in similar situations and wanted to transform their lives. She is of the opinion that everyone should take time out for some self-reflection and self-evaluation amidst all the hustle to know where they stand and where they want to go. That would help them get more clarity and set realistic goals that can be worked upon.
Michelle’s own journey of struggle has led her to believe that one needs a solid support system to thrive personally and professionally. “Not everyone will understand what you are doing and why you are doing it. So, find someone who has your back through thick and thin. Also, do not compare your journey with that of others. Do not rely solely on external validation to know that you are doing well for yourself. Have faith in yourself and your dream and follow it through,” said Michelle.
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