Melissa Machat of ‘Re-Align Coaching and Consulting’: 5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Began Leading My Company

Jerome Knyszewski
Authority Magazine
Published in
17 min readJan 19, 2021


Boundaries, Standards, and Expectations are a priority when building a business.

When you’re starting a new business it’s easy to get caught up in saying yes to everything. You might feel like you can’t turn away business, you need to make money, and say yes to any opportunity that comes your way. I wish I learned the lessons I know now because the reason I burned out so intensely was because these three things didn’t exist in my life. I didn’t understand why I was so miserable and working 24/7 and I “had” to make money so I did whatever I needed to get business and get more clients. My life changed completely when I started creating boundaries around what I wanted my life to look like and working 7 days a week was not it. When it comes to leading a team it’s really easy to get caught up in emotions and opinions instead of setting clear standards and expectations and holding them to it.

As part of our series called “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Began Leading My Company” I had the pleasure of interviewing Melissa Machat.

Melissa is an entrepreneur and founded Re-Align Coaching and Consulting to help empower and teach entrepreneurs how to elevate their mindset, accelerate sales, and make the perfect hire in their business so they can scale with ease. Melissa is a certified Neruo-Linguistic Programming Master Practitioner and Mental and Emotional Release Specialist and possesses a deep understanding of what’s truly preventing someone from reaching their goals.

With more than ten years of sales experience, over $100 Million in Volume Sold in Residential Real Estate, and more than eight years being educated by multiple coaching organizations and mentors, Melissa understands how to build and grow a business in any market, and how your mindset can control your outcome and results.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

I am from the Los Angeles, CA area and never realized I was an entrepreneur at heart, even from a young age. I was always selling something whether it was real or imaginary, and I also loved performing and grew up in dance and musical theatre. I graduated from the University of Southern California with a degree in Theatre and after working as a professional stage manager in LA, I had an idea to move to Las Vegas, NV so I could audition for shows and benefit from a lower cost of living.

I got a job dealing cards in a casino while I auditioned for shows, and it was someone at my blackjack table that told me I had the perfect personality for sales! This led me to another great idea of getting my real estate license since I was ready for a “real job” and I started my career in 2009 in the bottom of the market which gave me a huge opportunity. Most agents were quitting the business since they didn’t want to work 2–3 times as hard to make half of what they were used to, and I was so used to making nothing that even a $300 rental was a lot of money to me so I started taking on all of the clients other agents didn’t want.

My tenacity and work ethic were the perfect combination for real estate and I built my business very quickly without any experience or knowledge of running a business so I learned everything the hard way and through experience. Almost 12 years later, I now have first hand knowledge and skills of sales, entrepreneurship, leadership, hiring, recruiting, and mindset which are all crucial to running a successful business.

What was the “Aha Moment” that led to the idea for your current company? Can you share that story with us?

I knew selling real estate was not what I wanted to do long term yet I felt like I wasn’t successful enough to start other businesses. This led me down a path of personal growth and development because I was constantly feeling like I was failing and hitting my head against a wall because I was stuck. I went to a Neuro-Linguistic Programming training and learned more in those 4 days than I had the past 6 years and I realized exactly what was keeping me stuck and why things weren’t working. I was inspired and empowered to start my coaching business and get out of my own way and I had my first paying client within 30 days of that event! It became my mission to help other entrepreneurs get out of their own way and I am sharing what I learned every chance I get!

Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?

I thought when I hired my first assistant that my business would double easily and when that didn’t happen, it sent me on a downward spiral of doubt, insecurity, and feeling like maybe I don’t know what I’m doing and I’m not good enough to run a business. I started growing my team thinking that would solve my problems, and it only amplified them. I didn’t understand that leadership is a skill that you learn and I thought about quitting, moving away, and shutting it all down because I was miserable and didn’t understand why.

I looked for answers in all of the wrong places and it took years for me to understand why things weren’t working. I was in the wrong role and had zero standards, expectations or boundaries.

I joke that I love learning the hard way and if there is a will there’s a way, so as much as I wanted to quit and start over I had other people depending on me and I didn’t want to give up on them. I also started doing the inner work to figure out why I was so unhappy and anxious and had some external events that forced me to slow down which gave me the space to get clear about what I really wanted in the first place. When you are clear about what you want, the answers and people will show up who can help you make it happen which kept me moving towards that vision.

So, how are things going today? How did your grit and resilience lead to your eventual success?

I can see now that all of the struggles and hardships prepared me for where I am today and I wouldn’t be where I am without them. I am so grateful for everything happening in my life right now and I am a perfect example of what happens when you remember who you truly are and live a life in alignment. Grit and resilience are everything because there is no failure, only feedback. Everything in life is a lesson and if you aren’t learning from your experiences, things will continue to happen until you learn from them. I’ve always been adaptable and I really will do whatever it takes to make things happen so even when I felt stuck and was hitting my head against a wall I was still searching for help and answers to see what changes I needed to make. That journey of looking for answers gave me the insight and experience I use today to help others and I now see that our biggest hardships and adversity we face can actually be preparing us for our purpose.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Knowing how to listen to a client and understand their goals and what they are trying to achieve is crucial if you want to know how to best serve them and help them get what they want. I have always been known for authenticity, tenacity, and commitment to caring about my clients needs and putting them before my own.

In Real Estate I would compete against other agents for listings and sellers would interview 5–10 different people, and they would choose me because I actually cared about what they wanted and was willing to do whatever it took to get their home sold. With consulting, it’s the same attitude and really being able to understand your clients pain points so you can help them with a solution. What makes us stand out is we listen. With consulting clients I am listening to their situation and helping them come up with a solution that’s in alignment with them instead of providing a one size fits all solution that usually is not as effective.

I help entrepreneurs with money blocks and whatever is holding them back and they aren’t sure what it is. I’ve had multiple clients that had big goals and they kept falling short. By really taking the time to listen and understand their pain points I could see what was actually blocking them and help them uncover what was holding them back. After our sessions they were inspired to take action and left all the doubt and fear behind and made immediate changes to their business and started seeing results they originally didn’t think was possible.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?

Where do I start? I didn’t know real estate was commission only or that you run your own business as an independent contractor so I just showed up and was like what do I do now? I thought I had to wear a suit and straighten my hair to be taken seriously and be successful, and I basically dove head first into the deep end without realizing I didn’t know how to swim.

With my consulting business I’d say the biggest mistake was thinking I had to have all of the answers or certifications before I could be taken seriously (common theme here), and the lesson in all of this is when I just went for it and showed up authentically, business came to me without having it all perfect. As far as funny stories go, I’ve tried getting into a home that wasn’t actually my listing (it was the house next door), recorded amazing videos realizing there was no sound, and pretended I didn’t have a full time job (the casino) so I told clients I was only available at 7am or 7pm on days I was working and they thought I was just really successful and busy!

Often leaders are asked to share the best advice they received. But let’s reverse the question. Can you share a story about advice you’ve received that you now wish you never followed?

I wish I didn’t believe that there was one way to be successful and listened to everyone’s opinions and advice about what I “should” be doing. It’s really easy to fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others and there are coaching companies out there that teach their models and their way which make you fit into their mold of how it should be done. I find most entrepreneurs are following someone else’s rules or advice and it’s not working because it’s not in alignment with what they are trying to build and create. I was taught that you had to get up extremely early and be the first one in the office and the first one on the phones. “If you weren’t first, you were last” was the mentality and that was really hard for me to follow and all of the rules to be successful left me feeling behind, beating myself up, and feeling like I must not be motivated or disciplined enough. When you start your day feeling guilty because you aren’t doing enough or you are behind, what kind of results will you find when your mindset is already focused on the negative? I truly believe you are rewarded for effort and as long as you are taking action and doing your job, it doesn’t matter when or how you are doing it.

You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

Adaptability, Ownership, and Empathy.

Adaptability- I embrace and accept change. I look at external circumstances as a guide for what needs to be done to achieve our goals and what we will need to change in order to succeed. I am always evaluating what’s working or what is not working and I am not stuck in my ways. This has allowed me to make changes that were necessary instead of resisting and fighting and being stuck in what was comfortable. An example of this is my real estate business. When I first started everything was owned by the bank or a short sale and I saw agents leaving the industry because they didn’t want to deal with it, yet others had the best years of their career because they adapted and helped the banks sell their properties or helped homeowners who were in financial hardship and had to short sale their home. As the market improved we transitioned back to a traditional market and I also shifted my business to go where the trends were taking us instead of being stuck and confused why things were evolving.

Ownership- I take ownership and responsibility for my businesses and successful leaders do the same. If things weren’t working then I needed to take ownership and see where I can improve or what my DNA was in the situation. An example of this is if something isn’t working or you are falling short on your goals, take ownership and see where you may have let your team down or not set them up for success.

Empathy- Great leaders have empathy and can listen to their customers and their employees which sets them apart. I am extremely empathetic and understanding which keeps me a few steps ahead because I can sense when things are off. This is about a deep understanding of your customers and your people and caring about their goals as well as your own. When you have a team working together with the same mission and vision in mind and it supports their own goals as well you will see the results that come from going in the same direction. At the same time if someone is off or makes a mistake or is going through a hard time, having empathy and understanding will allow them to feel heard and also not be afraid or hide from their leader.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

Make sure you are working in your strength zone and you allow time for rest and recovery. We are conditioned as a society to work harder and push through and grinding it out is almost rewarded and celebrated. If you are not taking the proper time to rest and recharge and take days off, then you will end up burning out. Pushing through only makes it worse and we have to train ourselves to slow down to speed up. Another major cause of burnout is not having leverage or trying to do it all yourself. If you are drowning and there is no end in sight then delegating and leverage might be the answer to sustain and maintain your business.

What are the most common mistakes you have seen CEOs & founders make when they start a business? What can be done to avoid those errors?

Spending money they don’t have, not being prepared for growth, and listening to everyone else without listening to themselves.

I was taught to lead with revenue, and how do you lead with revenue if you aren’t making money yet? There is a difference between investing in your business and investing while expecting a return. If you are not measuring what you are spending or the return you are expecting then that money can disappear fast. To avoid this, measure and track your expenses. Review your P&L every month and before you spend, have an expectation of the return you want to see and a timeline of how long you will test it for. Don’t be afraid to cut expenses if they aren’t helping your bottom line.

When businesses grow too quickly they usually suffer in customer services or the customer experience, teams can burn out because there is too much on their plate, and the worst time to hire and find help is when you are drowning and desperate. To avoid this mistake, make sure you are building a solid foundation and set yourself up to scale. Hire before you think you are ready if the revenue is there and makes sense, and a great hire will also bring a return on their salary.

It’s really easy to listen to everyone else’s opinions and follow what everyone else says you “should” do. Be careful who you are listening to and is it someone who has built what you are trying to build? It’s easy to follow someone who might have found success, but if they are doing it in a completely different way than you are, it might not be the best person to get advice from. I believe in having mentors and coaches as long as they help you listen to your own intuition and your vision and they can help you achieve your goals.

In your experience, which aspect of running a company tends to be most underestimated? Can you explain or give an example?

Having a team that is in alignment with the mission, vision, and values of your company. When you are clear on your mission, vision and values then it becomes easier to hire and attract talent to your world. Leaders spend so much time trying to change someone’s characteristics when they were never the right culture fit to begin with. An example is when I was building my real estate team and recruiting at a high level. I was not taking the time to make sure the values matched, I was just trying to hit my recruiting numbers. This caused a revolving door, low morale, zero culture, and I wasted so much time and energy trying to force people to do their job and improve their customer service. Once I learned this valuable lesson, I now understand that I cannot change someone’s attitude or force them to be friendlier, I will only hire someone who values customer service to the level that I do and is in alignment with our company.

Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Began Leading My Company”? Please share a story or an example for each.

1 . Make sure you have mentors and coaches who can help you build your business in a way that’s in alignment with you.

When I started my real estate business I joined a coaching organization that I believed was the way to become successful. While they do have a great system and foundation and I learned so much from it, it wasn’t actually helping me grow my business and in fact I became stuck and didn’t understand why. I wasn’t fitting into the box and their mold of how it “should” be done, and I lost my own way of what I wanted in the first place. I learned that I need to be clear on what I want and make sure I am following mentors and hiring coaches who can help me build it in a way that’s in alignment with my vision.

2. Boundaries, Standards, and Expectations are a priority when building a business

When you’re starting a new business it’s easy to get caught up in saying yes to everything. You might feel like you can’t turn away business, you need to make money, and say yes to any opportunity that comes your way. I wish I learned the lessons I know now because the reason I burned out so intensely was because these three things didn’t exist in my life. I didn’t understand why I was so miserable and working 24/7 and I “had” to make money so I did whatever I needed to get business and get more clients. My life changed completely when I started creating boundaries around what I wanted my life to look like and working 7 days a week was not it. When it comes to leading a team it’s really easy to get caught up in emotions and opinions instead of setting clear standards and expectations and holding them to it.

3. Leadership is a skill and have a plan in place to spend time becoming a great leader

I thought you were either a natural great leader or not and had no idea it’s a skill you need to learn. When I made my first hire and started my team, I did it the wrong way and didn’t understand why the business wasn’t growing or why results weren’t doubling. I thought the answer was I had to train more and stop what I was doing to help build the business and that’s a huge mistake. I learned a valuable lesson that the best leaders have a “I do it, We do it, They do it” mentality and you do not stop what you’re doing to teach, you have them shadow or follow you to learn until they can start doing it themselves. And if you are teaching something, record it so you can create your own training library to save time for anyone else who joins. When the results weren’t happening the way I had expected I blamed myself and didn’t understand why it wasn’t working. I thought I was a terrible leader and looking back I can see it was classic leadership mistakes I had no idea I was making. (see number 2!)

4. Understand how to manage your money and pay attention to your profit margins

I don’t know about you but when I became an entrepreneur I had zero money management skills and didn’t know what a profit and loss was! (true story). It was years before I learned to manage my money and get off the rollercoaster of debt and actually pay attention to what I was spending. It was a painful lesson to learn and this is what I now teach other entrepreneurs so they don’t make the same mistakes. The money that comes into your business is revenue or gross commission or whatever terminology your industry uses. That is not YOUR income to spend! Make sure you are setting money aside to pay yourself, to pay taxes, and to save and build reserves and the money you have left is not as much as you think it is to reinvest in your business. I also never learned how to expect a return from my money and expenses so I wasn’t tracking if the expenses or investments were actually working or not. I was spending way more than I realized and didn’t understand where the profit was at the end of the year. Again, a painful lesson to learn. I now visit my P&L monthly and any new expense or investment is tracked on whether we are getting the return we expect or if we need to make a cut.

5. Instead of trying to improve weaknesses, help your team find their strengths

I wish I learned about strengths based leadership when I was building my team. We waste so much time trying to improve our weaknesses, when in reality someone else is out there whose strength IS your weakness. When you keep everyone in their strength zone you can increase profit and results with ease. Instead of wasting time and energy trying to train someone or help someone overcome things they aren’t naturally as strong at, help them discover what they are strong at so they can stay in their zone of genius. I had a revolving door for a few years and never felt confident if I had the right people or not. This lesson taught me that sometimes you do have the right people, they are just in the wrong role. There could be another position within your company that features their strengths and they can shine instead of beating themselves up because they are struggling or you think you need to go find someone else. This also leads to really knowing your people and taking the time to help them self discover what their true gifts are.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

As a true entrepreneur at heart I would love to help animal rescues become self funded by creating a business to support the rescue. This is part of my vision and why I own multiple businesses and invest because I’d love for rental properties to pay for my lifestyle and the businesses can give back to foundations and those in need.

How can our readers further follow you online?

Instagram is where I spend the most time and would love to hear how this helped you! @melissamachat

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!