Looking to Excel in Your Career? Business Coach Melanie Towey Recommends Starting with Self-Investment

UPDATED: May 20, 2024
PUBLISHED: May 23, 2024
Business coach and certified EOS Implementer Melanie Towey

As a certified EOS Implementer® and business coach, Melanie Towey wants you to unsubscribe from what you think you know about success. She wants you to be a little uncomfortable in going to a place of your own truth, not the truth set for you by society. This is what she asks of the women in her Denver-based networking happy hour group UNSUBSCRIBE, and it’s what she asks of the leadership teams she helps become more functional and cohesive through the work she does in her own company. As someone familiar with asking hard questions and doing the work it takes to find the answers, she’s the ideal tour guide.

But when she started her career in the building materials and construction industry in 2012, Towey was asking questions focused more on “what’s next” rather than “what feels right?”

It makes sense, given that she hit the ground running as a marketing coordinator at a flooring company in Minneapolis with little chance to pause and reflect. When the company began building its first gallery nine months later, Towey asked for the management track.

She remembers thinking, “How hard can construction management be?”

Melanie Towey didn’t want to burn out

The answer hit her square on the hard hat at age 24, when she found herself on a construction site, never having read a blueprint before, leading the company’s first studio project—a multimillion-dollar build in downtown Minneapolis. Her success got her promoted to design and construction manager, where she oversaw the building of seven more projects.

When the company got too big for her liking, she transitioned to the sales department for a tile company, thinking things would be less frenetic. But she found herself leading two regions and supporting the company’s national sales strategy for 74 showrooms across the country.

“The wheels kind of came off of my life, personally,” she recalls. “I was doing 140 flights a year. I was never home…. I hadn’t dealt with any of my own stuff. I was really young…. By the time I was 27, [I was] managing 100 people… and it was like, ‘If this is what success is, I’m out.’”

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How to invest in yourself

Melanie Towey went to Denver to recalibrate near family and to do some soul-searching. She got her practitioner license in Rapid Transformational Therapy®, which utilizes hypnotherapy and other therapeutic modalities to reframe values, habits and emotions deep in the subconscious. “Once you can get through and access the subconscious mind, you can rewire your belief systems,” she says, adding that beliefs around worthiness and perfection can impede professional growth.

Her own belief systems were shifting so much that by the time someone recommended she read Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business by Gino Wickman, she knew she found what she had been searching for her entire career. The book outlined Wickman’s Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS), which he says, “helps leaders run better businesses, get better control, have better life balance and gain more traction—with the entire organization advancing together as a healthy, functional and cohesive team.”

Without a plan in place of what was next, she resigned from her corporate job the night before her 31st birthday and never looked back. She began coaching individual clients before becoming a full-time EOS implementer in 2021. Today, Melanie Towey has a thriving practice supporting the leadership teams of companies that have between 10 and 250 employees, helping them define and execute their vision, share accountability and ensure the team is cohesive and functional, so they can successfully implement the work.

“What [people] don’t see is everything that it took to get here,” she says, adding that being an entrepreneur is the hardest thing she has ever done.

Difficulties of starting over

The finances needed to start your own business, Towey says, can catch you off guard. After making good money in her corporate job and having no debt, she figured she’d be in great shape, but the results were not what she was expecting—including using up her savings and living in her parents’ basement for a couple of months.

Forging a new path meant she needed to develop trust with her audience. “My coaching is a big ticket and big client,” Towey says. “So, it’s not like you’re going out and people are like, ‘Oh, yeah, sure. I’ll sign up today.’ There’s a process of planting seeds to when you harvest [them].”

Still, it was hard to wait for the seeds to grow into a tree, and she spent those early days feeling like she was going to fail.

Now that she’s on the other side, she recommends that entrepreneurs create a budget, determine how much they need to live on, then cushion the final numbers. “Give yourself an extra six to 12 months,” she says, reminding her fellow high achievers that most businesses take three to five years to get off the ground.

Happiness and self-investment

Today, Towey counts herself lucky to be far off the ground, helping business owners and their teams get more of what they want out of their businesses and their lives. The trust extended to her has gone far too, as evidenced by the calls she gets from CEOs of billion-dollar companies asking for her guidance.

“If you’re a smart person, you know you need to go to the places that are hard, and oftentimes, we need somebody to help take us on that journey,” she says.

It’s a journey she knows she’d never be taking with her clients if she didn’t unsubscribe from her once-held definition of success, trusting that everything she did to get here would benefit them as much as it would her.

“Without the ups and downs… the sleepless nights and bank accounts down to zero, how do you turn around and ask somebody else to invest in themselves and to hire you to do it?” she asks.

Once you truly invest in yourself and others believe in you enough to invest in your services, she says, “There isn’t a return out there that is as great as what you will get out of that.” 

This article originally appeared in the May/June 2024 issue of SUCCESS magazine. Photo by Kristen Jensen Photography.

Stefanie Ellis is a food and travel writer, as well as PR strategist and content creator for her own company. She has bylines in The Washington Post, BBC Travel, Eating Well, Saveur and more, and her clients are thought leaders in finance, branding, healthcare and the food and beverage space, with a former NBA player and duct work company thrown in for good measure. You can get in touch at stefanieellis.com or on Instagram @40somethingunicorn.