Yes, you CAN make your dream business a reality…
…and make a grown-up living from it, too. Pinky swear promise.
You’ve had enough of feeling that gut-wrenching dread on your way to work. Or the dry heaves. Or the knots in your stomach. Or the complete boredom that comes from an unfulfilling job.
Sure, you’re unfulfilled. Work is mindless and meaningless. You don’t feel helpful, or valuable, or authentic. It’s preventing you from making an impact in the way that you want to be showing up in the world. You don’t have time for yourself, or energy for your family, or confidence in the life – and business! – you envision.
On your best day, you think, “How is this my life?”
On your worst day, you hide in the bathroom to cry – often – and hope you’ve put on enough concealer to hide your puffy eyes from your colleagues.
I know those feelings first-hand, and I’ve personally worked with hundreds of creative women like you to get them out of their soul-sucking jobs and into fulfilling businesses of their own.
When you hire me as your career coach, you aren’t given one-time-only advice that only applies to a specific situation. You get the support and guidance of someone that clarifies your values, strengths, roadblock and goals so that you can make decisions that best support them.
You’ll be given homework to keep you moving forward – even if you don’t have The Answer yet – and will be held accountable for what you say you want to achieve. My superpowers are energy and optimism, and you’ll actually start believing that you can make a grown-up living doing what you love.
You’re ready to discover the What of your dream business, and take action with How you’ll get there.
While I don’t have magic fairy dust to sprinkle on you and – snap! – reveal all the answers (would you even believe me if I told you I did?), spending one-on-one time with me will have you break the cycle of getting up, going to work, coming home, binge watching The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (which might be my fave show ever, no joke), going to bed, and rinsing and repeating each and every weekday.
Instead, from the moment you sign up to work with me, you’ll be committing to doing what will give you the lifestyle and business you want and need. Think less mindless Facebook scrolling, happy hours, and how-can-I-get-out-of-this-job? bitch sessions and more of a focused, prioritized action plan to discover and achieve your passionate business.
Here’s how we’ll do it:
- 6+ 45-min Sessions
(via Zoom or Montclair, NJ. The amount of sessions and their frequency will depend on your career goals and challenges. Don’t worry – we’ll figure out together what’ll work best for you.)
- A Personalized Intake Form
(to hit the ground running from day one!)
- Weekly Customized Action Tasks
(because homework = clarity)
- A Juicy Post-Session Email
(that contains our session recording, my visual notes, your homework and helpful resources for even more a-ha! moments)
- Email Support
(so you’re not left hanging between sessions)
Packages start at 6 sessions for $2697 with installment plans available. I also offer single 75-min sessions for $647.
To learn more, sign up for my waiting list below and you’ll get first dibs on my no-obligation application this summer. I usually open up a handful of spots (or less!) just twice a year, and with rolling admissions and registration, time is of the essence. Get your priority access below!
from not-so-jubilant 9-to-5-er to published author / sold-out workshop leader / communication expert + owner of her own six-figure biz, AlexandraFranzen.com
In working with Michelle, I gained a ferocious sense of who I am, what I can do and how much to charge. The icing on the red velvet cupcake? Tons of creative, non-icky self-promotional tactics … and a fresh network of career comrades. Michelle opened me up to a world of ‘online entrepreneurship’ that I (literally) never knew existed. Crazy, I know. I still can’t believe that I get to be a Professional Writer For Realz, make plenty of money, work in my yoga pants (or, um, no pants), contribute to causes I love, travel the world and … you get the idea. Thank Baby Jesus for Michelle Ward.”
from event planner to copywriter & wellness-driven badass of LaurenCaselli.com
When I worked with Michelle, I had no idea that the support she gave me then (when I was wanting to quit my awful job to travel and hike all over the world) would help me get to where I am now (building a growing copywriting business and connecting me with at least two BIGTIME clients!). Like Steve Jobs said, you can only connect the dots going backwards, and one BIG dot was the 3 months I worked with Michelle. Michelle’s advice and encouragement allowed my confidence to explode. Not so much hemming and hawing, because now I just GO for things.”
Freelance writer to Writer and Creative Consultant at ChristyOShoney.com
Working with Michelle is the best business decision I ever made. From our very first session, I knew that I was in the right hands. It was unbelievable to me how just 45 minutes of talking made me feel so much stronger about my future than I had felt in years. I needed a lifeline when I was first getting my business out there, and she provided me with that and more. Crafting a clear, defined business plan that was guided (but not dictated) by her gave me the tools to believe in myself and my instincts all over again. Now I know exactly what it is that I "do", and I feel so much more independent and sure in my decision-making. That kind of confidence is worth so much.”
Why I can help you discover – and achieve! – your dream business
I’m Michelle Ward, PCC, and I’ve been offering dream business guidance for creative women as The When I Grow Up Coach since 2008. You may have seen or heard me in New York Magazine, The Huffington Post, Etsy, Newsweek, Freelancers Union, the Forbes Top 100 Websites for your Career List or 100+ other media outlets. I’m the co-author of The Declaration of You, which was published by North Light Books, and the teacher of Create Your Dream Career and Ditch Your Day Job, which were watched by tens of thousands of people live on CreativeLive.
When I decided to become a career coach for creative people (of all silly things for a grown-up to want to do as a job!) back in 2007, I put the wheels in motion to transition out of my job as an Account Manager with a verbally abusive boss who made me psychosomatic. My breaking point was having to run off a rush hour train to dry heave into a trash can at one of the busiest NYC subway platforms… and feeling fine when I was heading home and knew I didn’t have to go into work that day. Talk about a wake-up call!
Soon after, I got a “bridge job” as an Executive Assistant for a financial consultancy company so I could take back my nights, weekends, and personal energy to devote to my coaching certification and business. It took me two years and seven months to get certified and build my business up enough to be comfortable making the leap, but I was able to give notice in March 2010 to become The When I Grow Up Coach full-time. I’ve never come close to having to put my Plan B into motion, and I’m now making more money and feeling more authentic in my day-to-day than I even have before!
On a personal note, I’m also a boob cancer survivor, a Judge Judy contest winner, a pink ukulele player and an NYU alum with my BFA in theater who lives just outside of NYC with my husband and toddler. I take career changes seriously, but everyone who works with me says I infuse our sessions with energy, optimism, and playfulness. They’re my superpowers!
I’ve helped thousands of creative women define what they want to be when they grow up and how they want to serve the world. I take your creative career confusion and help transform it into a passionate, viable, grown-up business. I know for a fact that you’re no exception to this rule, and I’d be honored to do this work with you.
I’ve gone on this journey myself. As a creative, multi-passionate woman who did all I could to fit in a traditional, “secure” career box, I’m just like you – just a few years into the future. There comes a point that you can’t deny what you want for yourself, how you see your future taking shape, and the work that’ll bring you happiness and authenticity.
I have thousands of coaching hours under my belt, and I know what it takes to be a successful solopreneur.
I know you’re scared – that your idea won’t work, that you won’t follow through, that you’ll upset or disappoint your family, and that you’ll never find your answer (or if you do, you’ll change your mind eventually).
I know you’re in disbelief – that it can happen to you, that you’re special or important, that there’s room for your work and that people would want it, and that you can make money doing something that feels ease-y and fun.
I know that time is getting in your way – there’s not enough of it, you don’t have any to spare, that it’s too late or you’re too old or it never feel like the “right” time to make a career transition.
I know that you feel overwhelmed – with the choices you have and need to make, with how to just start, with what to do first, and how it all works together.
I know you’re lacking support – in the way you need it, from those who have done it and believe that you can do it, too.
I know – and you can trust – that…
…there’s always a How….baby steps build the strongest foundation.
…your career can be an And instead of an Or, and still feel focused and easily communicated.
…doing is 100x more effective than thinking.
…work can feel like play.
…the best way to feel authentic is to take the driver’s seat do your own thing.
…building a business is the best self-development tool.
…there’s no such thing as failure – just lessons learned.
It’s time to bring your interests, skill set, personality traits, education, experience and lifestyle goals into the business that lights you up and gives you the money and clients you crave.
advertising agency drone turned founder/editor of men’s style site StyleGirlfriend.com
I decided to work with a career coach because I realized I had zero passion for my safe, steady job, but switching careers seemed totally daunting. Michelle broke down what would have been a scary process to tackle on my own, into smaller, manageable steps, helping me make goals and then holding me accountable for ticking them off my “to do” list. It didn’t happen overnight, but I’m now running my own website and am even in the process of taking on freelancers. I’m 100% convinced I wouldn’t be in the position I am today without Michelle pushing me to take the first (and second and third…) steps to get here.“
from Senior Project Manager to Life Coach, Retreat Leader, and Podcast Host at JumpStartYourJoy.com
I'd been in advertising as a project manager for about 15 years, and while I was good at it, I didn't LOVE it the way I once had. I wanted to figure out how to do more work as a retreat leader, and find a way to also pay the bills, as I had a house, a toddler son, and I'd been the breadwinner in my family. Enter Michelle Ward! I loved working with Michelle because she helped me see what was working, what I needed to ditch ASAP (goooddddbye advertising), and how to put action steps around my dreams. I got focused, harnessed my "Excuse busting" ways for good, and went off to get trained as a life coach. Now I have a practice I adore, a podcast that's super joyful, and I get to create and lead retreats, too."
from blogger and interactive designer to professional journalist at OtakuJournalist.com
My life has changed SO much since I started working with Michelle. I'm now a freelance journalist, a consistent blogger, and I've had hundreds of downloads on my ebook. I have never felt more secure in my career than now! My only regret is not doing it sooner! Without working with Michelle, I think I would still have been scared of setting off on my own.”
One-on-one sessions = A lifetime of answers.
I have clients coming back to me 5 years after working together and telling me that they’re still using our session notes to guide them through their career decisions. It’s pretty much the best, especially because the a-ha moments are coming from their commitment to self-exploration and development.
Spoiler Alert: I don’t have The Answer for you.
Sure, I have the tools for you to get clarity around your dream business and how it could work in your grown-up life. I know the questions to ask, the ideas to hang your hat on, and the way to break down a Big Dream into totally manageable pieces.
The everlasting magic happens, though, when you commit to this process.
You have to go easy and be nice to yourself on the journey, despite past mistakes you’ve made or past courses, coaches and counselors that hadn’t worked out.
You have to believe that whoever told you that you can’t make money as a whatever-you-dream-of-being was wrong.
You have to stop trying to put yourself in a box and Pick One Thing, and instead embrace your multi-passionate nature and build it into your dream business so you can thrive.
You have to allow yourself to take time to find out what the pieces of your dream puzzle need to be, and how they all fit together.
You have The Answer, even if you don’t know it yet. And I can help bring it to the surface and make it something that you can articulate and take action on. I promise.
From creative writer to Modcloth's fashion writing editor to writer, speaker, and published novelist, EsmeWang.com
Right before our very last session, I’d scored a fashion writing gig at a fabulous company. Coincidence? I think not! I’ve come out of this with a better sense of how to invest my time both in my creative life and in the job that gets me “the dollahs”, which can also be completely creative!
Environmental and Human Rights Campaigner to healer, activist, writer & self-care mentor at ChristyTending.com
I made more progress through Michelle's intake process than I had in the previous 6 months in my business. Through our sessions, I've developed a deep and loving relationship with my biz. I know what I'm doing for work every day and I'm in l-o-v-e with it. With Michelle as my sounding board, I've been able to grow and move in new directions that I didn't think were possible, and I have a level of self-trust that I've never had before in my work. Yet, I'm still completely in integrity with my mission. It's hard for me to even imagine the person I was when Michelle and I first met. Honestly, I’m blown away.”
Operations Manager to Date Night Planner and Founder of DateNightPlanners.com
I knew a change was needed in my career but HOW was where I kept getting stuck. I wouldn’t have had the knowledge of how to start making money with my business, the short/long term plan, and stayed focused along the way without Michelle as my coach. About 3 months after we started working together I put in my resignation letter, and I am now a full time freelancer/entrepreneur who has transitioned my life, goals and finances around what feeds my soul. I have learned to use the fear to push myself further, learned to find revenue in joys I already had and be open to learning new skills beyond my expectations. There is a freedom in not knowing where I will be in a year, but I know with my skills and determination - which Michelle helped unleash through support and planning - that my future will be brighter that I could ever imagine.”
You CAN make a grown-up living doing what you love, but it won’t be easy.
You have to shift your mindset, make the time, take the baby steps, get your hands dirty, step away from the procrastination tools, put yourself out there, and get out of your comfort zone.
This whole process takes time, effort, and day-to-day motivation.
But you don’t have to do it alone.
No more spinning your wheels, or getting unfitting advice from friends and family, or putting pressure on to figure it all out yourself.
When you work with me, you not only get my proven process and expertise along with customized homework and accountability, but you get an outside (aka non-judgmental) perspective. My energy and optimism has a tendency to rub off during each and every session, too.
Ready to finally discover what you need to do to wake up each morning, this of the day you have planned, and realize you’re looking forward to the vast majority of it?
Isn’t it worth investing in your career to make your work into something that feels valuable, helpful, and ease-y?
Join me in making your dream business something that’s rooted in reality…
…in making the seemingly impossibly into something tangible…
…in spending the 2,000-ish hours of work each year (multiply that by however many years you have left ‘til retirement!) on the things that make you feel fulfilled…
…in creating a business you love while still being a responsible grown-up.
See that sign up form below? Filling it out means you want priority access to my one-on-one coaching applications before they open up to the public this summer. There’s no obligation!
retail associate to artist & studio owner to business and branding coach for the highly creative woman at TiffanyHan.com
By working with Michelle, I learned how to choose a career path based 100% on ME – who I was, what I wanted, the things I loved, and how I wanted to spend my time and live my life. Michelle taught me that being creative is an asset, not a liability, and that the key to career fulfillment was harnessing that instead of working against it. I remember that every single day, and now feel like the luckiest person on the planet to be able to do what I do for a living. This work does feel like play, and Michelle gave me the permission to let myself have that.”
office coordinator turned creative business specialist of EvolveandSucceed.com
I was a quietly unhappy soul who spent my daylight hours working as an government office coordinator. I found Michelle, we worked thru the different things I love and the details of how. NOW, I’m working for myself as an Online Marketing Specialist! I help other creative businesses succeed online, make 5x times as much per hour as my day job and get to travel to new places on my own whim!!!!"
Lauren Dearing Russo
from non-profit Associate Editor to the Coach for Creative Visionaries at LaurenDRusso.com
After working with Michelle I gained CLARITY and confidence. It really helped reinforce to me that I have plenty of skills that are viable, and that I don’t need to waste time doing on things that I hate doing just because I think I should be well-rounded. She helped me see what I was good at, and what I loved doing. I really appreciated Michelle’s awesome openness, and her ability to meet people where they are. She’s an amazing woman, whose positivity wouldn’t be maddening if it weren’t so incredibly inspiring! I send clients who are looking to figure out what they want to be when they grow up Michelle’s way, because I know she’s the perfect person to get them from “I don’t know what I want or what I’m good at” to “Here’s the plan! Let’s get started!”
Wanna submit your no-obligation application? You’re in the right place!
Please take a few minutes to answer the following questions, so I can learn more about your goals and challenges. You’ll get an email response from me within one week with my thoughts/resources and, if I think I’d be able to help you, a link to my consultation calendar for a free 30 minute call. I can’t wait to virtually meet you!
The Fine Print
Every session can be rescheduled with 24 hours notice. No-show sessions or ones that are cancelled with less than 24 hours notice will not be made up or reimbursed. Only sessions that have not taken place but have been paid for will be returned, as there are no refunds for sessions that have already occurred. If you do not complete your sessions within the time frame agreed upon, no monies will be returned either partially or in full. Them be the breaks, kid.