with Mark McGuinness


Do you want to:

  • Create work that bears comparison with the very best in your creative field?
  • Reach the top of your creative profession?
  • Grow a thriving and fulfilling creative business?
  • Carve out a unique creative career?
  • Earn the true value of your work (not just the ‘going rate’)?
  • Create a fulfilling and abundant life for yourself (and your family)?
  • Make your mark on the world?
  • Stay true to your artistic vision – even under pressure, or surrounded by the temptations of success?
  • Suffer less, create more and enjoy life more?

Then you’ve come to the right place.

I help talented, inspiring and ambitious creative professionals to fulfil their potential – creatively, personally, professionally and financially.

As a poet, author, creative entrepreneur, husband and father myself, I know how hard it can be to strike the right balance between creativity and money, passion and responsibilities.

All my life, I’ve been learning, creating and facing up to the challenges that every creative person is confronted with. Since 1996, I’ve been coaching creative professionals like you to create more, suffer less, and turn their dreams into reality.

Now, all I have learned is at your disposal – to help you create the work, career or business that has your unique signature.

Here you can learn more about the kind of clients I work with, and how I help them. If you want to explore working together, you can apply for a coaching place and we’ll take it from there.




About you

You are a creative professional, such as:

  • An artist
  • An author
  • A commercial creative – e.g. designer, copywriter, web developer
  • A performer – e.g. actor, musician, dancer, TV/radio presenter
  • A creative director
  • A TV/film director or producer
  • A coach, consultant, or other creative service provider
  • An agency or studio owner
  • An entrepreneur

You are not a beginner – you have a few (or maybe more than a few) years’ experience behind you.

You may have achieved a certain level of success – creative, professional and/or commercial. But you know you are capable of much more.

You want to make big changes in one or more of these areas:


Deep down, you feel you are not fulfilling your true creative potential.

You may have produced work that pleased you in the past, and that others praised or paid you well for. But you are no longer satisfied to play at this level.

You want to reach for the stars and (finally) do the work you dream of. The work you will look back on with satisfaction when it’s time to shuffle off this mortal coil.

Maybe there is a ‘dream project’ – such as a book, a different kind of art, a product idea, a new business, or a whole new creative field – that you have been putting off out of fear, ‘busyness’ or other forms of Resistance.

Maybe now is the time to stop making excuses, stop putting it off, and get started.


Whatever your creative field, there are people in your working life who make a big difference to your success. So how you show up in these relationships is mission-critical.

Too many creatives are so eager to please their clients that they take on the wrong kind of client, and fail to manage their client relationships effectively. This leads to disappointing results and stress all round. If you’re facing this challenge, then the good news is, the best clients are a joy to work with – as long as you know how to find them, and lead them through the process.

If you hire contractors or employees, your communication skills are vital to getting the best out of them, and giving them the best experience of working with you. And if you have a business partner, then you’ll know that the levels of commitment and authentic communication the partnership demands is comparable to a marriage.

All of us are familiar with the temptation to sweep problems under the carpet out of fear. To hide behind email instead of having a proper conversation. To tell people what they want to hear instead of what needs to be said.

But shying away from difficult conversations will only compound your difficulties. On the other hand, a powerful conversation, skilfully handled, can not only solve the problem, but strengthen the relationship immeasurably.

Speaking or performing in public is one of our biggest fears. But the ability to stand and deliver – whether an impromptu speech to colleagues, a stage performance, a new business pitch or a conference speech – is one of the most important skills in your arsenal. It’s not just about closing a deal or getting your ideas across – when you can do it well, it’s a huge boost to your confidence (and a lot of fun).

Authentic and effective communication is challenging and scary at times. But meaningful working relationships are some of the most rewarding things you’ll experience in your creative career. So it’s worth learning how to create and maintain these through thick and thin.

Fame and Reputation

Creating great work is the foundation of your career, and if you are a creative professional, you also need to build a public profile on top of it.

You’re human, so naturally there’s a little ego involved here. But pragmatically, you also know that a reputation for stellar work is essential for attracting opportunities and making an impact on your creative field. Plus, it helps you command higher fees with relative ease.

Depending on your line of work, you may also need to attract an audience to achieve your goals: if you’re earning a living as a novelist or rock star, fame isn’t a nice-to-have, it’s essential to your success.

So if you don’t yet have a public profile that will bring you the recognition and opportunities you want, now would be a good time to start building it.

Partly this is about having a strategy – working out whose attention you need to attract (whether gatekeepers, customers and/or fans), and how to present your work to them in the most compelling light.

It’s also about courage: daring to step into the limelight, getting your work out into the world without apologising or hiding your light under a bushel. Maybe even baring your soul. And dealing with the inevitable criticism, demands and other pressures of success.


Money can be a great enabler for creators – it can fund our passions, and bring us (and our families) freedom and security. Yet many of us have a complicated relationship with money.

It’s a cliche for creators to say “I love my work so much I’d do it for free”. Yet the fact that money was never your primary motivation can create problems for you.

Some people seek to take advantage of this, by trying to push down your prices with emotional pressure or vague promises of ‘exposure’. Other times, you can be your own worst enemy, selling yourself short out of fear, or neglecting money altogether because of your limiting beliefs around money.

If this is you, then you’ll gain huge benefits – psychologically and creatively as well as financially – by facing up to the ‘money question’ and learning how to create a more prosperous future.

Like fame and communication, money requires courage as well as strategy. But you wouldn’t be on this journey if you weren’t up for an adventure, would you?

This path is not for everyone

When you travel an original path, a lot of the usual rules don’t apply.

You want to make big changes in your career or business. And because you are a creator first and foremost, you want something more than conventional career or business advice.

You want to work with someone who ‘gets’ your creative passion as well as your professional ambitions.

Someone who walks the talk as a creative artist himself, and doesn’t just tell others how to create.

Someone who won’t flinch from challenging your fears and Resistance. Yet who will do so with compassion and humour.

You want to (finally) play full out in pursuing your ambitions.

You are prepared to work hard, face your fears, and to have fun on the journey.

You don’t want someone to spoon-feed you ‘the answer’. You’d rather have someone ask you questions that help you find your own answers.

If this sounds like you, we should talk.

This page explains how I help my clients.

If you’re up for an adventure, you can apply for a coaching place via this page.

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Your Goals

How I help my clients

When you start working with me, you begin a journey of transformation that will affect all areas of your life – creative, personal and professional.

These are the main areas where I help my clients – all of them work on the first one, plus one or more of the others.

1. Personal transformation

You are the biggest asset to your creative career – and the biggest potential liability. Which means our work begins and ends with self-knowledge. All your creativity, results and rewards flow from this.

Coaching is a mirror that shows you yourself as you really are – your strengths and weaknesses, hopes and fears, blind spots and hidden talents. Once you know these, you are in a better position to switch on your superpowers, avoid your Achilles heel, and transform your life.

This is the hardest part of the coaching journey for me to describe here – it has to be experienced. It’s about transforming your mindset, connecting with your deepest feelings, facing down your fears, and developing new facets of your personality.

There aren’t so many techniques or specific goals as in the other areas we work on. Yet clients invariably tell me it this is the most powerful, memorable and valuable part of the coaching experience.

2. Extraordinary creativity

I can help you with all aspects of your creative work – from establishing effective working habits, fending off the demands and distractions of 21st century life, to connecting with your deepest sources of inspiration, and dealing with stubborn creative blocks.

I can also help you turn your Inner Critic from your worst enemy to a valuable ally – because a finely-honed critical faculty is essential to producing world-class work.

If you’re a writer, I can give you detailed feedback on your work-in-progress, and help you develop and polish your writing. Writing a book can be a long and lonely process, and my author clients tell me it makes a world of difference having me along as a co-pilot.

Whatever your creative discipline, I will encourage you to apply your creativity to every aspect of your life and work. You can achieve extraordinary things when you start treating your life, career and/or business as canvases for your creativity.

3. Powerful communication

There’s no point being brilliant unless the world knows it. So you need to communicate persuasively, to get the right people to work with you, buy from you, or help you in your mission.

Most of us are more comfortable with some forms of communication than others. But to achieve exceptional success, you need to communicate powerfully in many different arenas – in person, on the phone, via the written word; one-to-one, and to audiences large and small.

I will help you prepare, rehearse, revise and deliver all your important professional communications:

In-person communication and performance

  • Preparing for important meetings
  • Approaching difficult conversations with confidence and creativity
  • Psyching yourself up for electrifying creative performances
  • Designing and delivering powerful presentations
  • Networking without looking pushy or desperate
  • Getting the best out of employees and contractors
  • Having crucial conversations with your business partner(s)

Written communication

  • Wording emails that communicate clearly – and get the response you want
  • Crafting a proposal that inspires, instils confidence, and prompts action
  • Writing articles that position you as an expert and open the door to opportunities
  • Writing that book you’ve always said you have in you

As well as communication skills and techniques, we will deal with the root cause of most muddled and ineffective communication: fear.

When you start speaking and writing from a place of enthusiasm and creativity instead of fear, you will become a much more powerful and persuasive communicator – and more doors will open for you.

4. Building your brand

If building an online presence to create career opportunities or new business is important to you, I can help, based on over a decade’s experience of doing this for my own and my clients’ businesses:

  • Creating a brand that sets you apart
  • Choosing the medium (text, audio, video or images) that will work best for you
  • Deciding where to focus your efforts (blogging? podcasting? Twitter? Facebook? etc.)
  • Devising a media strategy to create content that delivers results
  • Using copywriting principles to attract people’s attention, and inspire them to take action
  • Finding the time to create, publish and network online while getting your other work done

5. Financial freedom

Money is one of your most important tools in creating an extraordinary career and an extraordinary life.

When you know how to create money, you remove a huge source of anxiety from your life. In itself, this is a massive boost to your creativity, not to mention your wellbeing. And used wisely, money can support your creative endeavours as well as providing the lifestyle you want for yourself (and your family, if you have one).

So it’s not surprising that money is often a big theme of my coaching work:

  • Dealing with your fears and limiting beliefs around money
  • Setting clear and ambitious financial goals
  • Selling high-end artworks and/or creative services
  • Raising your prices with confidence
  • Delighting your clients and customers by delivering outsize value
  • Using your online presence to attract new customers and/or business leads
  • Living a life of abundance (instead of scarcity) and generosity (instead of fear)

One of my specialisms is helping clients sell highly-skilled, sometimes-intangible and very valuable creative services – design, consulting, copywriting, editing, music composition, etc. The kind of service that is often hard to explain, but amazing for clients to experience. Here, I help clients to differentiate themselves from cheaper competitors, and grow their business by competing on value, not price.

If this sounds like the kind of help you are looking for, This page explains how I work with my clients, and how to apply for a coaching place.

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Mark McGuinness

I’m a poet, coach and creative entrepreneur, living in London, UK and coaching creatives worldwide via the magic of the internet.

Why creativity?

I’ve always loved creating. As a child, I was constantly making marks on paper, consuming gallons of paint and forests of pencil, charcoal and paper.

Even at that early age, I was interested in the psychology of creative process. I remember noticing that when a ‘drawing mood’ came over me, I had the seemingly-magical ability paint and draw whatever I wanted. But when I was in everyday state of mind, the picture never came out right, however hard I tried.

These days, I spend my time writing and helping creatives unlock the creativity in their psyche, and apply it to their art, their careers and their businesses. The great thing about working with creative professionals is their sheer enthusiasm for their work – I wake up in the morning and pinch myself that I get to work with such inspiring people.


As a teenager I fell under the spell of poetry. Guided by two wonderful English teachers, Sue Dove and Geoff Reilly, I was amazed to discover that I could spend an entire lesson looking at a single poem, and keep finding new things in it the longer I looked. It probably helped that I was growing up in the beautiful landscape of North Devon, described by one of the poets we studied – Ted Hughes.

My love of poetry led me to study English at Oxford, where I read poetry in English from Anglo-Saxon and Medieval times up to the present. I still read widely in classic and contemporary poetry.

My own poems have been published in leading UK poetry magazines, and in anthologies edited by Ted Hughes and Seamus Heaney.

For eight years I was on the editorial board of the acclaimed magazine Magma Poetry. I edited Issue 34 of the magazine, archived on archived on the UK poetry library here.

I’m currently working on a verse translation of Geoffrey Chaucer’s long poem Troilus and Criseyde. A passage from my translation was awarded Third Prize in the 2016 Stephen Spender Prize.

I share my thoughts on the poetry I’m reading, as well as news of my readings and publications, at: www.markmcguinness.com


I’m the author of the Amazon Creativity best seller Resilience: Facing Down Rejection and Criticism on the Road to Success, which does what it says on the tin for creative people pursuing their dreams.

And a co-author, alongside Steven Pressfield, Seth Godin, Stefan Sagmeister and others, of the best-selling books for creative professionals Manage Your Day-to-Day and Maximize Your Potential, both published by 99U.com where I’m a columnist.

I’ve been blogging about creativity, productivity, entrepreneurship and poetry since 2006; my three blogs have an average of 40,000 readers each month.

I’ve written a string of popular free ebooks, including Time Management for Creative People which has been downloaded hundreds of thousands of times.

I also wrote The Creative Pathfinder, a free creative careers course that has been taken by over 9,000 enthusiastic students worldwide.


After Oxford, when most of my contemporaries embarked on careers as lawyers, doctors, bankers and captains of industry, I took a different path: I followed up my interest in the psychology of creativity by training as a hypnotherapist and psychotherapist.

And when I started practising therapy in 1996, I discovered something unexpected for an introverted bookworm: I liked working with people. I also made another interesting discovery – as well as the people who consulted me for therapy, I noticed another type of client, who would tell me things like this:

“I’m the star of a West End play, but terrified to go on stage every night. Can you help me?”

“I’ve been paid a large advance by my publisher for my next novel. I’ve spent the advance, but haven’t written the novel yet. I’m totally blocked and it’s due in three months’ time. Can you help me?”

“I’m a creative director struggling to keep up with the pressures of my work. I love the job (at least I did in the beginning) but between demanding clients, difficult colleagues and an avalanche of work, I’ve lost my creative mojo. Can you help me?”

As a writer myself, I found I had natural affinity with these clients; not only could I help them, we had a lot of fun together. And they were the clients who went away and recommended me the most.

I realised most of them didn’t have a mental health problem: they were just creative, and creativity involves a lot of what Seth Godin calls ‘emotional labor’. So I set up a specialist coaching service for creative professionals.

Over the years, as well as hundreds of private clients, I’ve coached and/or trained staff at organisations including Al Jazeera, The BBC, The British Film Institute (BFI), Channel 4, Econsultancy, The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, McCann Erickson, Magnum Photos and The Royal College of Art.

I’ve also delivered presentations and coaching sessions at conferences including 99U in New York City and HOWDesign Live in Boston.

My work as an agent of change has been featured in media outlets including Creative Review, Vogue (US Edition), The Wall Street Journal and the Discovery Health Channel.

Creative entrepreneurship

I’ve been self-employed for almost all of my adult life. I’ve always liked to take things in hand and do them my way. Originally, I never thought of myself as an entrepreneur, but I gradually came to realise an entrepreneur is simply someone who makes things happen.

My first venture was designing tattoos, which taught me that selling creative work is at least as hard as creating it.

Later, as well as running my own psychotherapy practice, I spent several years as a partner in a coaching consultancy, delivering coaching and training to organisations including BT, Vodafone and Transport for London. The experience eventually confirmed my feeling that I’m not at home in a corporate environment, but it also taught me a lot about running a business and helping clients’ businesses succeed.

I then decided to refocus on creativity and went to the University of Warwick and took the MA in Creative and Media Enterprises. I studied business strategy, marketing, organisational structure alongside theories of creativity, intellectual property law and the creative economy.

One day, in the marketing module, I came across an ebook by Seth Godin that introduced me to the idea of blogging to spread ideas and attract opportunities…

On Valentine’s Day 2006, I published first blog post at www.wishfulthinking.co.uk. Like so many things in my career, it felt exciting and scary – I saw a big opportunity but well-meaning friends and colleagues warned me against “giving away too much of your valuable knowledge for free”. I trusted my gut and went for it.

It took a while for the blog to gain traction, but a few months in, I started attracting new business enquiries from companies that wouldn’t have returned my phone calls before. After that, my online presence developed into my main source of clients, as well as all kinds of business opportunities I never expected when I started out.

In 2008, my blog put me on the radar of Brian Clark and Tony Clark, two creative entrepreneurs on the other side of the world, and we founded LateralAction.com together, later joined by Sonia Simone.

We spent 2 years in partnership, which was a terrific opportunity to learn first-hand from some of the leading authorities on online marketing and entrepreneurship. Together, we created The Creative Entrepreneur Roadmap, an in-depth e-learning course to help creatives develop their talent into unique and thriving businesses.

My blogging also attracted offers of book deals from major publishers on both sides of the Atlantic. In the end, I decided to publish my first book myself, hiring an editor and proofreader to help me polish the text, and engaging the brilliant Irene Hoffman to design the book.

Over 5,000 copies later, the book is still selling every day, and the Russian edition will be published shortly by Moscow publisher Mann, Ivanov & Ferber. I’m in discussion with other overseas publishers about further foreign-language editions. So I’m happy I made the right choice to self-publish.

Now, I’m writing the sequel to Resilience

Over the years, there have been plenty of days when I wondered whether working for myself was worth the stress, but I’ve been constantly stimulated, learned every day, and met lots of wonderful people along the way. And I have the satisfaction of creating something original that has made a difference to thousands of creative people over the years and across the globe.

Family and friends

“Think where man’s glory most begins and ends,
And say my glory was I had such friends.”

W.B. Yeats

I’ll be the first to admit I’m obsessed with my work. I love creating things and helping clients. But Yeats was right: nothing trumps friendship.

I’m fortunate to share my life with my wife Mami McGuinness and our two adorable and mischievous children. And a bunch of friends stretching back to my teens.

And thanks to the wonders of 21st century life, I now have a more recent network of friends all over the world – many of whom started as readers, clients, business partners, or familiar faces from the digital street.

I thank my lucky stars for these people every week, and look forward to getting to know you too.


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Client testimonials

“I contacted Mark when I had an idea what I wanted to do – but the job didn’t actually exist and the logical voice inside me would very loudly shout: ‘You can’t have a job that doesn’t exist!’

“I had a disparate set of skills and had enjoyed successful careers as a graphic designer and motivational speaker – and wanted to combine the bits I loved of both careers. Designing a logo was fun, but not challenging enough. Advising businesses was well paid, but not involved enough.

“Mark helped me examine my motivations – especially my need for freedom, fun and purpose. He helped me clarify what I do for clients, what makes it different and special, and how to communicate this to them and get them on board for amazing (and profitable) adventures.

“I discovered that looking at how a company works – their processes, the people, and their product – and improving their brand through design, creative thinking and training is exciting enough to keep me awake at night.

“Mark also helped me turn down the volume on that very loud whisper: ‘Who are you to think you can do that?’

“Results – my income has more than quadrupled, my creativity has soared, and I get to use my quirky little clever ideas for achieving my purpose.”

Aileen Bennett, Roaming Creative Director / Idea thinker upper, CreatingClever.com

“Mark helped me understand where I need to focus my time in order to become more successful as a creative. He challenged me on some of my assumptions, as well as the language I have been using. He helped me to acknowledge what my true aim as a dark fiction author is, and where I was falling too far into the Shadow Career.

“Mark’s unique skill is being able to empathize as a creative professional, but also challenge as an ambitious entrepreneur.”

J.F.Penn, New York Times & USA Today bestselling author, JFPenn.com

“The two main challenges I faced when starting coaching were to put a price tag to the value I bring to clients, and to prepare myself to come back home after 2 years traveling across the world.

“I had very few doubts about coaching, I knew that with hard work and commitment I was bound to benefit from it. I had worked with a life coach a couple of years prior to that and it gave me a good idea of the process. I am also fully aware that top performing people (athletes, singers, CEOs and so much more) all have coaches to help them get where they are and to keep pushing forward. It simply makes sense!

“My results after working with Mark a little bit over 3 months were tremendous! I now understand and appreciate how coming back home is in no way the end of the adventure, but if anything a new exciting opportunity! I can now negotiate contracts with new clients that I would have not dared ask for. And I am now also at the helm of a new entrepreneurial venture – Outshinery – that came to fruition in record time with Mark’s encouragement and guidance.

“What I like the most about Mark’s coaching style, on top of the British accent (!), is how he is a creative himself. While I’m in visual design and not petty, it felts we really had a common ground, an understanding of the not so black and white world of creativity. We were speaking the same language. I also enjoy the longer sessions (2 hours) than usual coaching, and appreciated how we would usually split it even between my two main projects.

“Overall, on top of all the momentum I generated in the short amount of time we work together, I still to this day revisit and use the gold nuggets I have written down during our sessions. I truly highly recommend working with Mark to bring your A-game!”

Laurie Millotte, Designer and Founder, Outshinery

“When I first contacted Mark I was feeling lost, confused and extremely frustrated. I wanted to ‘put myself out there’ but I wasn’t even aware of the reasons why I struggled.

“I didn’t really know that coaching ‘for normal people’ existed. I thought it was just for olympic athletes and top CEOs. The reality is that everyone can gain from coaching. It is having someone who is there for you, 100% concerned about your own interests and success.

“As a result of working with Mark, I’ve embarked on a completely new adventure! In 3 months, my email list has grown from 0 to over 800 and counting… My YouTube channel has 1,600 subscribers and 50,000+ views and is growing every day.

“I’m creating new relationships around a totally new paradigm, based on openness to others, and I’m opening new channels of income. I never dreamt this could have been possible before!

“Mark is non-intrusive, stimulating and inspiring. He gently guides you towards your purpose whilst keeping you accountable to guarantee progress and eventually success.”

Fabrice Bourrelly, Artist, Architect and Virtual Reality (VR) Designer, FabriceBourrelly.com

“One question I ask people I work with when they want to develop a new skill is ‘Who is already great at the skill you want to be better at and could help you?’ So, when a publisher commissioned me to write my first book about the work I did, I had to ask myself the very same question.

“I wanted to work with a coach who was a writer, someone who had already been on the journey and could share their learning, their experience and could help me discover, learn and adopt the most useful ways to get better at writing. I wanted to work with a coach who had a focus on results and action.

“I found Mark.

“I had a book to write to a deadline. Working with Mark gave me a dedicated space to share my frustrations, my mini celebrations, my ‘stuck’ moments, my ‘overwhelmed with ideas’ moments and turn them into action. Learning what I needed to do to be the writer I wanted to be was all part of the journey.

“Mark helped me become clearer and more confident as a writer. As well as sharing his own experience, lessons and insights, he guided me to look at other writers’ work too. I became much more aware of the discipline I needed for my creativity to thrive.

“Experimenting with and developing the most useful way for me to manage the tension of generating versus structuring ideas was a simple and exceptionally powerful part of working with Mark.

“The result was achieved. I completed my first book: The SHED Method: How to Make Better Choices When It Matters.”

Sara Milne Rowe, Performance Coach and Founder of Coaching Impact

“I reached out to Mark for help with (re-)establishing and maintaining my creative practice, while balancing the demands of clients and the general day-to-day tasks of running a small business.

“I knew a standard business coach wouldn’t give me the guidance I needed, so I spent some time researching the right coach for me. I found Mark after reading some of his work in the 99U books; after our initial consultation prior to beginning the coaching, I had little doubt by the time we actually started work together.

“One thing the coaching has brought me is a little more sanity! I am now much calmer and more focused about my own needs and how the business needs to work for me.

“Setting aside time for my own creative projects, and valuing these in equal measure to client work, has re-invigorated my practice – which is now shaping up to be the kind of studio I set out to create in the first place.

“Mark’s varied knowledge and skills mean this is a relaxed but focused experience that is tailored to your needs. Mark understands the importance of creative time over the ‘pounds and pence’ approach of a standard business coach – perfect for any budding creative entrepreneur who doesn’t want to loose themselves to the bottom line.”

Helen Hughes, Owner, Helen Hughes Design Studio

“Coaching with Mark was one of the best investments I gave myself at the early stage of my career as an artist.

“If you want a gentle voice that can give you encouragement when you need hand-holding, as well as practical business advice, Mark is the coach for you. He is a lovely combination of creativity and business strategy.

“He helped me with my productivity when I thought my problem was that I didn’t know what to do. I did know, I was just too overwhelmed to see past my fears. He helped me structure my ideas into an actionable plan while sharing techniques to work with my natural creativity + productivity rhythms.

“Instead of fighting my creative + contradictory personalities, I learnt to work in partnership with the moodiness of my muse that also suited the practical left-brain context my business needed.

“(The investment in a coach also helped my mindset that this being-a-professional-fine-artist-life I wanted IS a business and businesses invest in themselves.)

“If you’re like me, you need a coach to hold your hand through your fears while still helping you with the big picture strategies. I highly recommend a series of sessions so you will get the best of Mark. He seems to genuinely be invested in his clients, always ensuring you have an action plan that suits your goals + abilities while holding you accountable to those actions. Us creatives need both the gentle nudge in confidence + a firm kick into action sometimes!

“Together we put a myriad of plans into a structure that suited my goals & stretched my perspective of what I thought was possible to achieve. I was able to develop a marketing strategy that made sense to me. I wasn’t left hanging with ideas & suggestions from Mark, we always outlined a plan to make them happen. This means I feel confident in what I’m doing, I’m less distracted by shiny new ideas & know which to focus on that suits my goals. Even if something doesn’t quite work out I have techniques and ideas on how to deal with that also.

“The structure of my action plan + confidence I gained from Mark’s coaching gave me the courage to pursue my creative (some may say ‘crazy’) idea to develop my own kickstarter program over winter 2011 (June-August).

“This resulted in raising over $3,000 and I’m having my first solo exhibition next month. I have my first body of work, a group of collectors and the encouragement to keep going in my new career as a fine artist — despite the scary and lack of security.”

Brenda Mangalore, Artist, Sashé Studio

“I decided to work with a coach because I felt I was missing someone to guide me through the next steps of my business. Working for yourself, there are no set ‘rules’ as to what you’re supposed to be doing next and I wanted some added perspective on what I thought I wanted to, and then how to go about doing it.

“In the past, I’ve been disappointed with highly priced coaches who haven’t taken the time to get to know me or my business. (One coach, on both sessions was typing and catching up with their own work during our conversations!) I was really hoping that wouldn’t be the case with Mark, and it wasn’t.

“Mark was very aware of my business, and had researched what I did, what my site looked like, he even noticed things on my website that I had forgotten about. It was very useful getting that fresh perspective from someone who notices the details and understands a creative business.

“I was about to launch my first proper eBook and Mark really helped me through the process, in particular with the anxiety that comes from a launch. Above all else, he made me realise it was okay to pace myself and celebrate each step, rather than pile on the pressure and feel consistently inadequate by comparing my efforts with what I ‘should’ be doing.

“Mark’s coaching style is very calm, methodical and focused which matched what I needed. He’s got a good sense of humour and I felt I could be very honest about my fears and opinions and have him understand where I was coming from without judging me.”

Amy Harrison, Copywriter, HarrisonAmy Copywriting

“Through our coaching sessions Mark taught me a broad range of personalized skills applicable to the day to day business of my art practice and how to build a strong presence online.

“He provided me with tailored solutions for time management, how not to freak out about things, how to routinize my work so that I am creating new artwork consistently while also taking care of the business side. Two sessions were focused on branding and identity helping me to better speak about my art and present it.”

Rachel Marsden, Contemporary Photography, Rachel-Marsden.com

“I was growing as a creative professional. I was taking on more responsibility at work, earning that proverbial seat at the big table and it was happening fast. Although that’s great, I needed to know if I was really spending my energy on tasks that mattered to me. I needed to know if what I was doing was actually helping my career goals or if I had ventured off track. I needed to better understand how to get to my next career level.

“I was in dire need of some good advice and not the kind recruiters, friends, or co-workers can give you. Nobody tells you what your next steps should be in life. I mean, who isn’t slightly confused? Since I found Mark’s Creative Pathfinder course enlightening I decided to reach out to Mark for some personal one-on-one coaching.

“We connected on Skype over four sessions. During that time Mark honestly listened to my situation and helped me see past the clutter in my head. Together we made a plan to attack and re-focus my energy on steps that could really make a difference in my life. His inspiration has been truly valuable to me and the further I travel down the path we established the more valuable it seems.

“Our sessions have long been over, but I feel like I could always contact Mark at any point. I feel like I got more than just four sessions… I feel like we’re friends.

“Would I do it again? Yes.”

Bradley Derry, Industrial Designer and Creative Team Leader, BradleyDerry.com

“I had been working as an independent consultant for about half a year when I saw the announcement about Mark’s New Year’s Resolutionizer program. I was immediately intrigued by the title, as I had never really been able to keep any New Year’s Resolutions before.

“I knew I needed to do something to fix my working life: No matter what changes I tried to make, I was not getting enough sleep, client projects always seemed to be due at the same time, and I never knew whether I was making the right decision when I spent an hour networking instead of working on a client project. I was always tired and had more mental angst than I wanted.

“Most of my friends and former colleagues, who had ‘normal’ jobs, didn’t really seem to understand my decision to strike out on my own, and the traditional kinds of advice didn’t seem to apply to my situation.

“I had the sneaking suspicion that Mark could help me, yet I couldn’t help thinking that the Resolutionizer cost a bit more than I wanted to pay. I had never tried coaching before – and certainly had never considered working with a coach entirely online – and wondered if I might be spending my money foolishly.

“Somewhere in my head there was a voice that said, “You can save your money and solve your problems yourself if you just make a plan and stick with it for another six months.” However, there was a part of me that was tired of going through all of the trial and error on my own.

“I am so glad to report that I ignored that voice in my head, as the Resolutionizer was worth every penny, and more.

“Mark’s expertise was apparent from the very first call. He very quickly helped me to identify my most productive working patterns and to design not just a working life, but an entire lifestyle, that is based on working independently and works with my natural strengths.

“I have developed a more positive and relaxed outlook on life and am impressed that the program worked so quickly. I clearly got more than I expected: I initially signed up just to get some help with my New Year’s Resolution to get more sleep, but found myself addressing productivity and motivation and client management issues all at the same time!

“As someone who has always strayed a bit off the beaten path, I appreciated Mark’s ability to bring out my best qualities and help me capitalize on what makes me unique instead of suggesting that I try to fit into a box somewhere. Perhaps most importantly, I understood why I was never able to make that 6-month plan in the first place, let alone stick to it!

“The peace of mind I have gained through Mark’s coaching is invaluable. He is insightful, truly committed to providing outstanding service, and excels at making his clients feel comfortable. In fact, my experience was so good that I have signed on for the Money for Creative People program.

“Mark understands creatives and entrepreneurs in a way that most people don’t, and I highly recommend his services for anyone who feels that they don’t fit into the traditional mold. The world would be a better place if everyone had Mark’s gift for relating to people and helping them to create the lives they want to lead.”

E.W., Boston

“I have been a freelance writer and arts project manager for over four years. I decided to work with Mark over six sessions at a point when I was really struggling to balance the different aspects of my professional and creative life.

“I approached Mark because I had been to a seminar he gave on Time Management for Creative People and was impressed by his honesty and passion, and his mix of creativity and, for want of a better word, business.

“I was a little resistant to the very idea of coaching (taking, perhaps, that very English, ‘it’s a bit American/self indulgent/I should just stop whinging and get on with it’ attitude…) but I found working with Mark extraordinarily helpful. Because he took my work and the problems I was facing seriously, so did I.

“Carving time out of my week to really examine what I was doing, and how, and why, helped me to step back and take a more objective view of things, which in turn helped me to think about what I wanted to change.

“I found Mark professional, interested, and prepared to challenge my thinking and my habits.

“I wouldn’t say my life is perfect as a result (!) but I have managed to put strategies in place to defend my own creative time, and have developed more of an ability to take a step back when things are getting hectic, and check I am going in the right direction.”

Sarah Butler, Writer and Creative Project Manager, Urban Words

“I was having trouble deciding what to do for a job. It’s not like I was stuck for options, I actually had too many. I was at a social networking group and was explaining my dilemma to some of my friends who suggested I needed to see Mark.

“I had heard of business (and life) coaches before and had met a few, who in my mind I wouldn’t have consulted over what filling of sandwich I should have, let alone ask them for advice with problems I was having around making decisions about my business or career. Many people who pass themselves off as coaches are quite flaky.

“What Mark had going in his favour was I had great respect for the people who recommended him. He came with an ‘non-flaky’ reputation immediately. For some reason I got the feeling that he had made an effort to put himself out there and become known to people in a real way, rather than set up a website advertising his services.

“I got more clarity about who it is I am, and that who I am is OK. Instead of chastising myself for being ‘all over the place’ I began to realize that actually I was just very talented in lots of areas and sometimes that can be a little overwhelming for me to cope with.

“Instead of thinking I had to do it all, I was able to see what it was I liked doing the most. I realized that if I were to be successful at any one of them I would have to sacrifice some of the others and attached to that loss would be some pain. I got to see more clearly what the choices were.

“I came away more informed as to my processes, what it was I really really liked, as opposed to what I thought I should like. I left feeling like I wasn’t such a bad person after all for not having my whole life planned down the last minute.

“I also think that just having someone listen is powerful. Of course I have friends I can talk to but in those interactions I am mindful of my role in the relationship of having to offer up something to them. When I saw Mark I owed him nothing apart from paying his bill, the dynamics are different if you are being heard by someone who role is it to listen and guide and then charge you for that service. You don’t leave thinking “Was I being a selfish, self-centered person for talking only about me for the last hour?”.

“The fact that Mark was qualified in some psychotherapeutic discipline made me personally feel better. I understand that we are driven by a lot of unconscious material and that if I were to engage with Mark he would reveal those processes to me, and quite frankly I would have resented someone had read a few books on NLP pointing them out to me.

“He observed the usual boundaries – he was on time, he apologized if he got things wrong, he was smartly dressed but not intimidating in his style. My general sense was that he was very kind and that he actually cared. He had a good understanding of how tricky it can be to promote yourself in a world that doesn’t always accommodate or understand people who cover such a broad spectrum, as I do.

“I loved the fact he recommended books and websites for me to look at. I think with most things you face in life, its the feeling of isolation that makes it all the worse. By pointing me in the direction of others who shared the same experience as me and had faced the same ‘problems’ I was facing, not only was the isolation broken but the shame attached to being the ‘only one’ left me too.

“I felt like I had gone to see Mark with a tangled ball of wool (that was my working life and/or attitude towards it), over the sessions we untangled the wool.”

Debbie Davies, Creative Entrepreneur

“In my experience, the great challenge for the wild & creative is to interface with the ordinary & practical. Ideas need to meet action. The spirit needs grounding in the material. Mark McGuiness’s practice offers a seasoned, empathic and clear-headed approach to the marriage of these disparate realms — and it’s an essential service.”

Joshua Wolf Shenk, Writer, Shenk.net

“A number of years ago, I was frustrated with my job, career and boss. My osteopath recommended that I see Mark who was a coach. A coach at the time was new, at least to me, so I was a little concerned about what I might get out of it. After some contemplation, I thought a visit wouldn’t hurt.

“I can’t tell you how glad I am that I took that initial step. I went in for help with my work but when all was said and done, I got a new direction and insight to my life.

“Looking back, my job was driving everything. Mark quickly got to the root of the troubles and challenges that I faced. Mark was outstanding at guiding me to look at all the facets of the issues. He helped me bring out all the questions and then helped me down the path to discovering the answers.

“Mark has an approach that gives you a comfort zone to work through the process. The bottom line effect was a whole new way of facing difficult situations whether it was with my job or something else.

“It’s been 10 years since I first saw Mark and I have returned for coaching from time to time. Looking back, I would sum up the experience as going from feeling confined in a straitjacket (my old job) to freedom (my new business).

“If you’re looking for assistance, I can’t recommend Mark enough.”

Rosanne Bachman, Managing Director, Pinwheel Consulting

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Apply for coaching

I deliberately limit the number of coaching clients I take on, in order to give you as much time, attention and creativity as your ambitions require.

Here’s how I select my clients and help them achieve extraordinary things – and how you can apply for a coaching place.

Making 100% sure we are the right fit

Coaching is such a personal process, it’s essential to make sure we are the right fit for working together.

On my side, I know that I do my best work with a particular kind of person – a creative professional with a certain level of experience, and a certain attitude to their work and personal development. So before I take on a new client, I want to see these qualities in action.

On your side, you will want to know that I ‘get’ you and you feel 100% comfortable working with me. You will also want to see concrete evidence that I can help you and make a big difference to your work and your life.

The only way we can both know this for sure is by working together.

So when I receive your coaching application, if I think we may be a good fit, I will invite you a coaching session where we’ll play full out on your current challenges and goals. There is no fee for this session, and no obligation to book any further coaching.

On your side

When you work with me, you are not buying my time by the hour. You are gaining a partner who will be on your side and who will do whatever I humanly can to help you succeed. Someone who will speak up for your dreams and hold you to a high standard.

My goal is that one day, you will look back on our work together, and realise that your life and work were indelibly and positively transformed by it.

If you want to find out what this kind of coaching is like, the first step is to answer some questions about yourself.