Discover how to start and grow a business that affords you the freedom to #WorkFromWherever.
Inside You’ll Find:
“This guide was not only incredibly inspiring, but also SO actionable. Thank you!”
My diverse and comprehensive background is what sets me apart and provides a solid foundation in all that I do. Over the last several years, I have started multimillion-dollar businesses in a variety of industries from fashion and home decor to online education. Because of this I am able to guide entrepreneurs towards growth in all kinds of industries from a place of practical, real life experience - and get people BIG results.
I was shy growing up but quickly learned to be more assertive and outgoing after landing a job in retail working as a “fragrance rep” at age 16.
It was terrifying at first, but ultimately it helped me build a little thicker skin. I figured out the best way to approach people, which phrases actually got them to stop, and most importantly: how to get over a fear of rejection.
I didn’t mind my job, but quickly realized this was not going to work for me forever. That became crystal clear for me when my boss forced me to beg for time off to meet my future husband’s family.
Right then, I vowed to never have to ask for permission to live my life ever again.
This was the inspiration I needed to find a way to earn a living while still owning my life and possessing the control to live my life as I saw fit. This experience clarified my needs and wants about how I choose to run my life, and even though it was years in the future, this decision was the first step towards my #workfromwherever lifestyle and goals -- and the sweet smell of success.
I learned that, for me, the control to live my life the way I saw fit was vital to the life I wanted to live. Although I didn't know it at the time, it was one of my first lessons in the Art of Entrepreneurship: live your life by design.
“Your inspirational messaging on staying true to YOU and your brand has enabled me to create a memorable, successful online business.” Sue B. Zimmerman, suebzimmerman.com
College was a formative time for me, when I met Devin, my future husband, and became fascinated with the world of business. I majored in organizational psychology ― the study of human behavior in business. I even wrote my 70-page senior thesis on how the role of emotion affects customer buying behavior. (Nerd alert!)
That foundation in psychology has served me incredibly well over the years, giving me not only the insight I needed to understand my customers’ deepest needs, wants, and desires in order to run a successful business, but also the foundation to create world-class trainings and help other entrepreneurs succeed. I found a way to put my passions to work in my business.
I share psychological selling strategies inside of my attache each week.
“You have impacted me in so many ways, Melanie. I have literally raised my standards because of you. Your presentation and style of everything you release - courses, posts, webinars - has inspired me to re-brand and focus on producing more attractive, quality content.” Auret Esselen,Essetino Artists
The summer of my Sophomore year Devin and I decided to start a Greek apparel company (even though neither one of us were in a sorority or fraternity). Inspiration struck when we noticed how much Devin’s sister was spending on Greek apparel ― and started making sweatshirts in our garage after class.
The learning curve was steep. After a year, things still weren’t working. We were struggling to consistently get orders, and we were $40,000 in debt from the cost of marketing and materials. We made one last effort to make things work by turning to online marketing. And it worked.
We started getting orders from all over the country. We set up our computer to make a “cha-ching!” noise every time we received a sale. It felt so cool to be at home making dinner and hearing “cha-ching” even when we weren’t out there “selling” or at our shop.
It got us addicted to online business, and within three years, we scaled to become one of the largest Greek apparel companies in the country.
Learning to properly leverage online marketing was game changer for our business, and I have come to believe the same is true for almost any business. A solid foundation in online marketing will allow you to scale your business in ways traditional marketing never could.
“After going through Melanie’s programs, I now have two successful online businesses. My husband has learned how to ramp up the business he owns and is excited about it! The best part is he now works from home! We have increased our income every year since we started Melanie's programs. This year we are on track to double our income.” Natalie Hixon, Strive for Progress
In 2008, Devin and I got married in Napa, and officially became partners in life AND in business. We decided to do a three-month honeymoon over the summer (our slow season). It was the first test of what later became known as our #workfromwherever lifestyle.
We went from Lake Como to Italy. We visited Venice, Paris, Ireland and Florence. And rather than slowing down our business, we found we were coming up with game changing ideas ― our best ideas were coming to us when we were OUTSIDE of the office.
Groundbreaking brainstorming sessions in the Tuileries Gardens outside of the Louvre led to business-changing ideas, like setting up our first Facebook ad campaigns. It was beyond amazing!
We came back refreshed and determined to hire and train our team to be able to work independently without using us as a crutch.
I learned that, as business owners, Devin and I didn’t have to be doing everything ― and in fact, our business could grow and thrive more if we were steering the ship instead of doing the paddling. It also helped me see first hand that real creativity and inspiration don’t have to come from a business book or a boardroom, but from getting out into the word to see and experience incredible things.
“I love seeing you and your computer in a Cafe in Paris. It's an aspiration and inspiration.” Lynne Dominick, The Roxy Grace Company
“Melanie, you have always been a HUGE role model for me. Travel and freedom are my two biggest motivators. When I founded my current business, it took 16 months to replace my day job income but when I did I quit and spent my first month as a full time entrepreneur in France. It was awesome! I've been working for myself for almost two years now and I've been able to spend time in Indonesia, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, and all over the United States. I feel free and it's amazing. But I didn't even have the idea until I started following you on Facebook.” Lindsey Catarino, lindseycatarino.com
Devin and I set a BIG goal to move to New York City. I wanted to be surrounded by a different energy, more creativity and a higher level of ambition. But it didn’t make sense to move the business there, so we decided to figure out what we would need to do to run the business remotely.
For a year we hired and trained and put systems into place that would remove us from the day-to-day operations. We even stopped coming into the office ― little by little. We went from spending all day, every day in the office to spending more and more time working from home (or wherever!) until we were only going into the office to check in once or twice a week.
It was fascinating to see how empowering our employees helped them step up and start to handle things that (by default) they used to come to us for.
Stepping back from the day-to-day operations of our business opened us up to have more vision for growing and innovating, instead of staying mired in the minutiae of operations.
We moved to NYC and on the eve of my 25th birthday, and I wondered what the heck was I doing? Such a big and scary leap to move across the country from my friends, family and business…
But it ended up being the 2nd best decision that I ever made (second to marrying Mr. Duncan - that is).
“You taught me that I actually CAN work from wherever. And that has been what I've been working towards this year. Building a dream team that will allow me to have the freedom to work from wherever. Melanie, you've changed my entire view of being a business woman.” Michelle Castro, Bliss Stamped Jewelry
I had been spending a lot of time in NYC with interior decorators, designers and people in the fashion industry, and I saw a gap in the market when it came to stylish, luxury monogrammed home decor. So, in 2010 I started a home decor business called Luxury Monograms, as a strategic way to balance out the peaks and valleys in the seasonality of our college clothing business.
I thought, since we’d already built one successful business, that I had ecommerce all sewn up ― but I learned every business has its own unique set of challenges!
Things didn’t go exactly as planned. I wasn’t hearing back from any magazines after sending out my press kit, I had all my product stolen from my booth at a trade show, and started to feel absolutely devastated that I wasn’t getting the sales I thought I would.
Once again, following the traditional route didn’t seem to be working for me, so I decided to buck the system and started reaching out to women’s lifestyle blogs and invited them to host giveaways of my products.
Suddenly, more people were interested. I landed the cover of Adore Home Magazine, got the call to be featured on Nate Berkus, got full product spotlight on Good Morning America, and were repeatedly offered sponsored slots on Martha Stewart and Oprah.
At the same time, I was getting amazing results using this new social media site called Pinterest to drive some serious traffic and sales to my site for free…
It was a lesson I had to learn twice, but following the crowd never got me anywhere. Innovating, following my instinct, and relying on my own fierce determination to succeed was the “magic” formula for both of my ecommerce businesses. I needed to step out of the box to be able to fly.
“It helps inspire me that you really "did it" and are not just teaching a theory.” Jennifer Kurko, Kiss Freely
Because I had figured out that online marketing was the way to go with my own businesses, I started attending a lot of online marketing conferences and meeting people who were selling information products online.
I saw so many people bragging about how much money they were making teaching other people how to start businesses online, but they didn’t even have any experience themselves starting “real” businesses. I found this very upsetting and in my opinion, many of these people were not qualified to be teaching on the topics they were teaching.
I felt protective of the people who were being mislead and possibly learning from unqualified sources.
That’s when I had my biggest AHA moment. I realized that more than anything, I was being called to help people build successful businesses so that they too could taste the sweet success that I had worked so hard to achieve.
As I reviewed my decision, it appeared as though this is what I had been made for.
· I understood and was fascinated by psychology and human behavior.
· I had an extensive background in selling.
· I had actually started multiple successful 7 figure businesses in a wide variety of industries.
I turned my passions and experiences into what I wish I'd had when I first started: unique online training to help people push past the million dollar mark and find success in their businesses. I believe that you must constantly be improving your skills, so I made it a focus to grow my skills in the area of creating online trainings in order to create my third business. Passion + Skills + Innovation = A thriving business.
“The BIGGEST impact and inspiration you've had on me is demonstrating that you can work in several lines of business and they can all be successful -this is my absolute dream.” Yasmine Bryant, yasminecheyenne.com
As you can see, I have learned and done a lot. My sincere hope is that I can I can inspire you and teach you some of the techniques I’ve used to become a successful (and well-balanced) entrepreneur as well.
Want inside access to my personal Attaché?
You’ll get comprehensive business strategies on topics like selling without feeling salesy, visual marketing, consumer psychology, website optimization, social media and more - sent weekly, straight from my desk. You’ll get access to the exclusive systems and strategies that I’ve researched and developed for my own businesses, packaged to be easy to implement in your business.
Building a successful business is an artform. You need both the skills and the right tools.