Quick disclaimer: We will be using adult language. So if you have children listening or if you’re driving in the car and they tend to tune in while you’re listening to the episode then this is not the episode for that. This is an ear buds episode. We use the language to prove a point in a story so just know it is with reason but this is a special episode where we use adult language. See you on the inside.
Amy Porterfield: Well hey there. Welcome back to another episode of the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast. I’m you host, Amy Porterfield. In today’s episode we’re going to explore three surprisingly simple strategies that can 10X your results this year alone.
To give you a hint at one of the major takeaways from this episode, all of the strategies we are going to dive into today require more of you and less of what you think you need to succeed online. In many cases these strategies, if you let them, will free you up and encourage you to stop doing more of the things that are actually slowing you down.
I’m not alone in this episode. My guest is Marie Forleo. She’s been on the show a few times already. Each time she returns we continue to uncover what’s truly holding you back from seeing the big results you desire.
You may already know of Marie. But, just in case you don’t I wanted to give her a proper introduction. Oprah has called Marie a thought leader for the next generation. Tony Robbins has called on her numerous times, most recently to attend the Shopify Build-A-Bigger Business event in Fiji where Marie was a judge alongside Tony and Tim Ferriss. Good company to keep, to say the least.
You may be familiar with Marie’s online training program, B-School. The B stands for business. Marie has graduated over 40,000 entrepreneurs inside of B-School across 160 industries. I would say that’s the gold standard for online courses.
Marie and I have been friends for almost ten years now. We met before I quit my corporate job. She was my very first mentor and has played a huge part in the success that I have today.
Before I bring Marie on I wanted to share two quick announcements with you. 1) Marie and I will talk briefly about this today but to give you a head start, Marie just released a three-part free video training series. It’s only available for a short period of time and it is exceptional. It’s some of the best marketing training out there today.
In her very first video she addresses the questions: Where should I focus? And How do I know I’m working on the right things in my business? Those are two questions many of my students often struggle with.
Don’t wait, this video series will come down soon so sign up for free at http:// www.amyporterfield.com/marie. The second thing I wanted to share is that I fully acknowledge that over the next few weeks as Marie releases her free video series and then begins to talk about her incredibly popular online training program, B-School, that you’re going to be hearing a lot about it.
B-School enrollment does not open until later in February but here’s the lowdown. B-School has created thousands upon thousands of success stories for people that are building their businesses online. Therefore, many people will be talking about the success of the program.
You’re going to hear a lot about it. Many of those people talking about it, including me, are affiliates for B-School. That means if you enroll in B-School, when she finally opens the doors, and you use my special link I get a commission.
What I want you to know now is that I have gained substantial success from the B-School program. Therefore, that is why I’m such an advocate of the program. I like to give it to you straight and that’s why I’m talking about this here and now.
As I mentioned, Marie was my very first mentor. She was the one that actually helped me take the leap from leaving my corporate job with Tony Robbins and going out on my own. She was also there by my side when I needed encouragement to take the leap to end my one-on- one consulting and move into the online training model that I have amazing success with today.
To say the least, I have a lot of admiration for the guidance Marie has given me to make these two huge leaps in my business. As I mentioned, today’s the first day she’s releasing this free video series. You’re going to hear a lot about B-School.
It’s quite a thing. If you’ve never experienced it before, get ready. It’s pretty cool just to see what her whole entire B-School campaign looks like.
Here’s some advice for you. If you watch the free video series and maybe even check out B- School when Marie does eventually open the doors in a few weeks and you realize it’s not for you, great! Just ignore the online chatter and don’t pay attention anymore. That is really important.
However, if you’re curious about B-School and you want to go on this journey then I encourage you to join us. With that, because I’m going to share my personal business-building stories related to how I’ve used B-School to create the business I have today.
I want to share those stories with people that want to hear about them and people who are genuinely curious about building their businesses online and maybe using B-School to get there faster.
I’d hate to be talking about B-School all over the web to people who might not have any interest at all. You know how good it feels when you’re sharing stories and insights and strategies with people that genuinely are engaged and interested. It’s a game changer.
That’s why, for the third year in a row, I’m bringing back my 30-day B-School pop-up Facebook group. For those of you that don’t know what a pop-up group is, it’s basically a temporary Facebook group that is laser focused on one topic. It is usually live for just a certain period of time.
In this case, as I mentioned, I’m going to get laser focused on my experience and knowledge of B-School for just 30 days. I’m going to share exclusive trainings and a lot of insights that I think you’ll find valuable if you’re curious about building your business online with a program like B-School.
The group is called Exploring B-School: 30 Days of Diving Into the Details. If you want to join me inside of this special group all you need to do is request access. Go to http:// www.amyporterfield.com/popup and I’ll take you directly into the group where you request access. Give us just a few hours and we’ll get you into the group right away.
It’s only for those that are really interested and curious about B-School, those who want to hear my stories of how I’ve used B-School, and want to ask me questions about how it would work for their business and how I went through it and how long it took me to go through it and how I approached the video training series and how I made it actionable.
It really, genuinely is focused on B-School. If you’re not interested then don’t waste your time. Here’s the cool thing. I’m doing live video trainings in this special group, trainings that I’ve never done anywhere else before. They are special to the B-School group.
Not only are we going to talk about B-School but you’re going to learn some new strategies along the way. Of course, as I mentioned, I’m also an affiliate partner of B-School so when it comes time I’ll share the incredible bonus package that I’ve put together this year that’s by far my favorite to date. It’s so, so good. I can’t wait to share it with you.
Because this is going to be a smaller group I feel like you will be seen and heard in new ways and you will really get the value you’re looking for. Again, go to http:// www.amyporterfield.com/popup. It goes away in 30 days so don’t wait.
Now that we covered all the things I won’t make you wait any longer. Let’s jump in to the good stuff.
Marie Forleo, thank you so much for coming back to the show yet again.
MARIE: I love you Amy and I love your audience so thank you for having me.
AMY: I’m really excited for this chat today because, as I mentioned in the intro, we’ve been behind the scenes cooking this up and I wanted to talk a little bit about where this all came about.
We’ve got a pretty mighty title for this one: How to 10X your Results in 2018 and Beyond with Three Dead Simple Strategies. Talk to me about this title because I think everyone needs to hear how it all came about.
MARIE: You know, you and I both pay a lot of attention not only to what’s happening in our own lives and businesses, but we do our best to listen to our audience and read the comments, to engage, to have conversations. In my life I’m always talking with fellow entrepreneurs who run businesses.
A consistent refrain that I’m hearing is people feel overwhelmed and over stretched and like they are drowning. There are so many things they feel like they need to do in order to run a modern online business that a lot of folks are feeling like they can’t keep up.
The more they feel like a hamster on a treadmill running faster and faster and faster working harder and harder, more hours, they are not seeing the results. What I noticed when I looked back at not only what works in our business but what I think is really going to help people really get the edge in 2018 and allow them to not just survive but to really thrive and enjoy their business and actually see results (revenue and profit) people need to do what the opposite is that they see everyone else doing.
That’s really where this came from, especially for me, I happen to inspire and engage a lot of women. We have men in our audience as well but when I looked at my own life it was like, “My responsibilities aren’t getting any less.”
There is laundry that needs to get done. There are homes that need to be cleaned. There are kids. There are pets. There are significant others. There are all of these things that we need to do. Yet, at the same time it feels like there is more and more and more and more stuff we’re supposed to be doing to run our business.
That’s just unsustainable.
AMY: I love what you say. We think we should be doing all these things but one thing that is unique about you, and I’ve been friends with you forever and ever so I’ve seen it evolve, you tend to zag when others are zigging.
You do the opposite in many different ways. This is a theme I’ve been talking about a lot lately and I thought this was perfect. I want to get into these three dead simple strategies that might rock my listeners just a little bit in terms of thinking they needed to do “this” but maybe they should focus in “this” area.
AMY: Okay, let’s do it. Number one is sharing the raw, real you. We’re not just talking video. We’re talking about in copy, in photos, in opinions; beyond everything you do, sharing the raw, real you. First of all, tell me why this is important.
MARIE: One of the trends I was noticing, Amy, for a few years now when I look around in the marketplace I’ve seen everything has become so pristine and plastic and apparently perfect. So many of us, I love Instagram too, but these curated feeds and all of these videos I started seeing, everything started feeling really fake.
When I was reading comments from my audience and emails and having conversations the other thing I was noticing was how people are getting caught up in perfectionism. They are seeing all of these really slick highly produced photos and everything is so perfectly on brand and everyone’s perfect coiffed with makeup and hair and styling and the perfect lighting and asking me how to do videos like “yours”, like Marie.TV, for example.
I will admit it is a show. It is a show! We do have that for that element. But, what I started recognizing intuitively and also looking strategically was that we have to let go of this perfectionism. First of all, it is not realistic. None of us walk around every single day perfectly coiffed.
I meet people on the street all the time and my hair is always in a messy bun. I hardly have any makeup on. Do you know what I mean? I have two pairs of jeans that I wear constantly. But I think what happens in the marketplace is that people are overestimating how important it is to have this polished look and underestimating the power of raw and real.
Like we said, this isn’t just about video content. If you don’t produce straight-to-camera videos or you don’t do any video content, it’s not just about this, it’s also about your photographs, your copy, it’s also about your ad, it’s about the entire energy you’re bringing into your brand.
Here’s what’s amazing about raw and real. It’s faster and easier to produce.
MARIE: It costs nothing besides your time and energy. You don’t have to go hiring a huge staff of people to coif you and then do post-production and all of this stuff. Here’s what’s most important. What I’ve seen is that when you put things out that are raw and real, engagement and conversions can go way, way up
AMY: That is definitely true. I’ve seen it over and over and over again. I mentioned this last year at the very end of the year. I’ve been watching the brands that are up and coming and the ones that are really making a splash and it feels like they are making a splash quickly.
If you look at their feeds you see a lot of raw and real.
MARIE: Yes. This really comes back to something I’ve always tried to do. It takes me back to the beginning. When I started my business when I was at the ripe old age of 23 I was so insecure, Amy. I had no experience. I had no MBA. I was thousands of dollars in debt. I just had a ton of drive and passion to build this thing.
This was when online business was brand new. It was when email marketing was just coming on the scene. No one had ever heard of an eBook or anything like that and there was hardly anything going on even in those days in terms of online advertising. It just wasn’t a reality yet.
In my mind, my very young, immature mind, I had this idea of what a successful business woman really looked like and acted like. That was probably formed when I was six or seven so I was thinking a successful business woman probably has a big office and wears a suit with shoulder pads and some kind of power suit.
I tried to live into that image because that’s what I thought would make me successful. But here’s the thing. Any time I tried to do that, to try and put out this image or perfectionist idea of who I thought I should be it really failed.
The other thing I was thinking at that time, it was a different frame, when I was looking at the world of personal development I realized there was no one I could relate to. Everyone I was reading and listening to, I wasn’t like them.
First of all, I was very far apart in terms of age. More importantly, it was about the values and emotional psychographic connection. There was nobody who had a big sense of humor that I could relate to. There was no one that really treated things with a sense of irreverence or fun or joy.
Everything felt really serious and really heavy and I wondered if I really belong in this world. Because no one felt relatable to me I actually had to step back and start communicating my content in the only way that was actually going to work. That was to be myself.
I’m from New Jersey. I use four-letter words every now and again. I don’t use perfect grammar all the time. I do have an odd sense of humor. So taking this combination of me failing at trying to put out this perfectionist image (because that was all I knew) and then also looking at the fact that I couldn’t really relate to anyone, so I might as well be myself.
That is when the whole thing started. If I trace back over 17 years of being in business I think that is one of the secrets to why we’re successful and why we have such an engaged audience.
AMY: 100%. What I love is that you’ve always taken that real raw approach. Ever since I’ve known you, you haven’t waivered from that. However, just recently you’ve done something that kind of goes even beyond that and you have Marie Unplugged.
You’ve got a really polished, really pro YouTube show, Marie.TV. But then you started to put out these videos that were way different. Tell me a little bit about that and why you did it. I am assuming it’s working but you’ve got to give me details.
MARIE: Absolutely. A couple of things. One point that is really important to make. Marie.TV has been around since I think 2010. In those days I started the show just looking at my web cam. There was no production then.
Then I was in my friend’s apartment that had a brick wall. Again, we were just shooting, run and gone. The show that is “polished” now has really evolved organically over time. But here’s the thing, I started hearing from people.
People said, “Oh my god, does Marie ever not look perfect?”
I was like, “Are you shitting me?” Do you not go back and see all of the old videos? I leave everything up. But then I realized I was actually making this mistake. Every week the only thing they were seeing is the show and it’s only my OG fans that know the other sides of me. Does that make sense?
AMY: It totally does.
MARIE: I was actually also getting antsy because doing a show every week for seven years is a very long time. It’s a very long commitment. As a creative human being I was feeling an itch to do something different.
It was an intuitive hunch. I said to my team, “I need some cameras. I just need some cameras you can give me and I can run around and talk to on my own. I don’t know what this is or how it’s going to turn out but I feel like this is something I need to do.”
That was in the summer of 2017, late spring or early summer. I got a few cameras and started running around and shooting. We published our first Marie Unplugged. It’s a simple vlog. There is no script. I never know how it’s going to turn out.
I’m just shooting me outside of the studio and that’s what “unplugged” means. It means not plugged in to all of the cameras, not plugged in to the place we normally do stuff. We published the first episode. I didn’t know how it was going to go.
I will tell you Amy, it blew us all away. In a matter of two or three hours it had over 900 comments. People were crying because they said they had no idea I live just like they do. You have no idea the level of relief that people will feel and the level of connection they start to associate with you when you show them different sides of yourself and allow yourself to be vulnerable and see the real you, all of you, and dismiss the notion of trying to be perfect.
I will tell you, first of all, that idea is deadly to our souls because it’s not real. Second, and most importantly, it’s a horrible business strategy. It gets boring fast. And you put a lot of pressure on yourself, as the marketer to always show up that way.
MARIE: Yeah, and it’s just not real. It’s really not. To be clear, for everyone listening, I’m not saying you can never do something that’s beautiful or produced. We have that and I still love Marie.TV.
I love that part of the show. But especially when people are just getting started or if you’re at a stage in your business where you want to experiment do not, I repeat do not, go out there and waste a ton of money.
Amy, I was talking to a dear friend of mine. She is a smart woman, an incredible genius. She was asking me about putting a particular campaign together. She shared with me, “I got a quote from a video team and they want to charge me $50,000.”
Amy, my jaw hit the ground. You know me, I literally stood up and shook her. I thought it was insane. I told her we could shoot exactly what she needed to shoot on her goddamn iPhone and it would look fantastic. I almost lost my mind.
The point of this is that the real you is what people want. I don’t care what business you’re in, people want to do business with another human they can relate to, someone who shows them all of who they are, the ups, the downs, the lefts, the rights, the good, and the bad.
People want all of you and don’t be afraid to share it.
AMY: I want to make this actionable for everybody. Talk to me a little bit. We’ve gone over these little tips a little bit so far but what does it look like? If you’re going to show up as the real raw you what does that mean?
MARIE: It means to give yourself a chance to experiment. Maybe do an Instagram post or a Facebook Live video or whatever method you use to connect with your market and don’t do it in a perfect location. Maybe you’re not perfectly made up or you don’t have ideal hair or you don’t have the most wonderful outfit on.
Maybe you’re walking down the street. Maybe you’re in the grocery store. Maybe it’s not a “set”. Perhaps what you’re doing is unscripted and it’s totally off the cuff. I did a video not so long ago, Amy. I was walking in New York City. This woman walked past me. I basically heard her crying on the phone.
She was talking about how she’s terrible at numbers, “I’m so bad at numbers. I can’t ever get this. It’s never going to work out for me.” I didn’t feel it was really my place to stop her on the street. But I took out my phone and made a quick video on Facebook telling, especially women, how vital it is that we stop telling ourselves stories that we’re no good at money, that we can’t crunch the numbers.
That is completely disempowering financially. That’s an example of something that could be unscripted and off the cuff that you just allow yourself to do. It doesn’t matter if you fumble your words. It doesn’t matter if you’re not perfectly articulate.
AMY: So true.
MARIE: Just put it out there. I would say in whatever way this strategy of letting yourself go fast, make it raw, make it real, and make it imperfect, however you feel like you could embody this in your brand, we want to challenge you to do this as quickly as possible.
AMY: We have a challenge. Tell them our challenge because this is a good one.
MARIE: We would love you to experiment and record an unpolished video for either Instagram or Facebook or whatever platform you’re active on within the next 24 hours. You could maybe share an idea for your audience. You could share an insight or an opinion or a tip, anything that could be useful or helpful or encouraging or delightful to your audience.
Let yourself do it. You’re going to feel the butterflies. Your mind is going to go nuts. You are going to think people are going to judge you because you look horrible. All of these things are things our minds tend to do. You’re going to just say, “Zip it,” record it, put it up there, and let it be. I will tell you, Amy, for anyone that’s brave enough to take on this challenge and do it more you will see how much more enjoyable and how much more quickly you can produce content and stay connected to your audience.
I think all of us, whether you’re a man or woman, however you identify, all of us can relate to this idea of trying to appear or be or perform from a place of perfection.
AMY: Yes! Okay, that’s kind of the gist of this whole thing.
MARIE: Exactly. So see if you can play just like you would be hanging out with your friends or just like you were hanging out with your kid or your buddy or someone you’re having a coffee, or a tea, or a cocktail with. What’s the way you would talk? What would be an opinion you would share? What would be something you would offer and not get all riled up and try to look official as you do it?
AMY: Fantastic. We talked about the real and the raw. The second strategy is probably my favorite because this is something I talk about over and over and over again. As Marie and I did this little pitch and catch session to try to figure out which strategies we thought would really make an impact she brought this one up.
I was like, “Ding, ding, ding!” One million percent. I love that we’re on the same page here. Here it is: Choosing email over social. Talk to me about this one Marie. Why is it so important?
MARIE: Oh my goodness. We have been talking about this and I feel like I’ve been saying this lesson for years and years and years but it just cannot be said enough. Here is the thing for all of us to remember. You do not own the connection with your customers when you’re connecting with them through the social media platforms.
You do not own that connection with your fans or your customers. To give people a very concrete example, which I think we’ve all experienced and feel, let’s talk about Facebook and how they really pulled off one of the biggest bait and switch jobs in history. Remember, Instagram is owned by Facebook.
A little history lesson. I think it was about 2008 or 2009 Facebook convinced all of us, everyone, small brands and big brands, to build up these fan pages. Amy, do you remember this time?
AMY: Oh yeah. That’s when I jumped on.
MARIE: Yes, this is a very free way to reach a massive audience. All of us are cheering, yay! We’re all in this lather. I remember some people in many brands even paid to acquire Facebook fans and likes.
AMY: I remember that.
MARIE: All of these campaigns, all of these contests, oh my god, like, like, like, like. Then it was around 2011 when Facebook really swept us all under the rug. Organic reach nosedived and crashed and now when we’re recording this in 2018 it is at an all time low. I think it’s anywhere between two and six percent and that will continue to decline.
The only way you can reach the fans that you encouraged and you worked so hard to acquire is to now pay for the privilege. And you have to pay a lot.
AMY: Hold on just a sec. I’m interrupting this interview with Marie because we recorded this episode days before Facebook came up with their recent update that they were going to start prioritizing the different newsfeed posts from friends and family over businesses, media, and brands.
This was a big announcement that just came out. It’s so cool because it further reinforces the importance of not putting all of your eggs in one basket with social and relying more on your email list, building up your email list, making it stronger, engaging with those that have given you their name and email and have told you they want to hear from you.
This big Facebook algorithm change only further solidifies the importance of email over social. Let’s get back to the interview.
MARIE: I just want to make a statement here. I’m not hating on Facebook. I’m not hating on social media platforms. I understand they are a business. They need a revenue model. But for you as a business owner you need to understand that their interest is for their bottom line not yours.
Any time people tell me it’s all about “my Instagram” or “my Facebook” I say it’s great, however, if you don’t have email as a priority I think you are putting your business in long-term jeopardy.
AMY: Amen. I am right there with you. Some people say email is dead. What do you say to that?
MARIE: Oh my god, that’s such a load of crap. Email marketing is not a trend and it’s not dead and it is not going away, at least not any time soon. I think the best proof is really from your own life. Amy, how much time do you spend in your inbox each week?
I know you’ve gotten better over the years. Certainly, I have as well. But most of us are constantly checking our email.
AMY: For sure.
MARIE: That’s one of the things we do.
AMY: I, for sure, open up the emails of those people I love to hear from. I never miss an email from them every single week.
MARIE: Exactly. So, there are some great studies about this. People can Google it for themselves. Some of my favorites are ones from the Direct Marketing Association that email marketing has an ROI of 3,800%. There was another study done by the Marketing Sherpa that showed 72% of people prefer to receive promotional content through email compared to social.
MARIE: Yeah. That’s one study. I’m sure there may be other studies that prove otherwise. But a lot of people, I know I do, if I’m scrolling through my Instagram feed, for example, I’m looking for content that makes me engage with that person whether it’s a story or image or something I can learn or laugh at.
But, any time ads start to come up I have to say I’m less likely to be, “Yah, wow, oh my god, I can’t wait to engage with that post.” However, like you said, when brands email me about special offer and when brands email me about something happening where I can participate and buy, if I respect that brand, if they have a relationship with me, I’m down. I’m like, “Thank you for letting me know about it.”
I think it’s important. Take this with a grain of salt. Even just look at your own habits. Do you go nuts when you see an ad on social? Are you like, “Whee, I can’t wait to share this with every one of my friends.”
Nine times out of ten, probably not. But from the brands you really respect and admire and who have built trust with you, if they send you anything in email that’s relevant you are going to be like, “Sure, I’ll take a look.”
The bottom line is that email still drives more conversions that any other marketing channel and that includes search and social. If you do your research and really investigate this you will see that to be true.
I think putting all of your efforts into social media is not only short sighted but I think it’s irresponsible because you have to own that connection in the relationship with your customers.
AMY: Plus, when you focus on email marketing it allows you to be a better communicator. Wouldn’t you agree?
MARIE: Yes! Oh my gosh, 100%. When you focus on email marketing you force yourself to write better subject lines. What are subject lines? They are mini headlines and that makes you a better writer overall.
So, if there is any kind of content coming out for your business whether you write blog posts, if you write books, if you write article headlines, if you have a podcast, if you have a video show, or you’re on social media and you have to write social captions when you’re writing in email form what it does is train you to communicate like a human, especially if you’re doing it right.
You have to talk to one person. You have to use short sentences. You have to get right to the point. I think focusing your efforts on email really challenges you and trains you to become a more effective writer and that means you’re a more effective marketer.
AMY: For sure. When we were talking about this you had a great example you shared with me. Will you share that one?
MARIE: Absolutely. One of our B-School grads, a mom, Michelle Anderson, is an addiction advocate. When she came into B-School she started with just a few hundred, I think it was less than 500 subscribers. She was not prioritizing email.
She was one of the people that came in and asked if I had lost my mind, “What is she talking about? Social media is everything.”
But, like a very good student, she trusted that I had her best interests in mind and at that time when she first came in she was doing about $12,000 in revenue. She said her business at that point felt a little more like a hobby than a full-time business.
She did B-School and went through the whole program. She was a rock star. She implemented all of the advice. Listen to this. She grew her list to 13,000 and is now generating several hundred thousand dollars a year and that’s largely due to the fact that she has prioritized and nurtured her email list.
Right now she is cruising with about a 45% open rate and that’s amazing and above industry standards.
AMY: Yeah, 45% is outstanding.
MARIE: Outstanding, yes. That also goes to prove a lot of people listening might think you have to have hundreds of thousands of people on your email list. First of all, 13,000 is an amazing amount of humans that care about what you have to say. But it’s not an extraordinarily large number.
It’s never about size. It’s about engagement. It’s about quality over quantity. Even for people who think, “Oh god, now I have another thing to build,” don’t think about it like that. Your email list is one of the most important assets you can ever build in a modern business.
If you prioritize it, take care of people, nurture them, and send them relative, interesting content they will open up and will look forward to hearing from you.
AMY: Looking back over your journey of building your online business, I think you knew this right from the get go, I don’t know if you just got lucky or what happened, but you’ve always been doing this.
MARIE: I was relentless when it comes to my newsletter. Basically, how I learned this, when I was training as a life coach way back in 1999-2000, one of the things they taught in my coach training through Coach University was that it’s not just important to be a good coach and have those skills, to be able to transform people’s lives, but you also have to train yourself to be a good business owner.
The one thing they said is that you have to build an email list. Because I was doing my coach training right out of college I was so still in and, to be honest I am still like this to this day, the person who wants to be the number one student. I am going to do everything someone who is smarter than me tells me to do because they are smarter than me and they have the results I want to get.
Back in the day, before anti-can spam laws and all that stuff, I was bartending, I was waiting tables, I was doing all of these side jobs to fund my business so I could basically get my business off the ground. I would take a yellow legal pad around.
Any time someone at the bar, someone in the restaurant, when I was teaching fitness classes and someone in my fitness class would ask, “Hey Marie, what else do you do?” I would tell them about my coaching business and invite them to sign up for my newsletter.
They would do it! They would put down their name and email and I would add them to my newsletter every single night when I would come home from that yellow legal pad. I still have people that are on my list to this day.
AMY: It cracks me up. It’s such a good story.
MARIE: It’s the truth. You and I both know people that have known me that long and who were actually around when I was running around with my yellow legal pad going, “Hey, want to sign up,” and get this my newsletter was called Magical Moments.
AMY: Stop it.
AMY: Stop, it was not!
MARIE: Oh my goodness.
AMY: I did not know that part.
MARIE: I was doing the best I can like all of us do when we’re first starting out. You’ve just got to dive in and do it.
AMY: That’s what I love. You just get in there and do it. And you do have a special quality about you around consistency. Would you agree? That is definitely one of your strong suits.
MARIE: Yes, consistency, I think, is one of the most underrated traits that creatives and entrepreneurs kind of overlook. When you are consistent with something, because it’s so rare, you have such a higher probability of making it over the long term because people don’t do it.
For me, being consistent and putting out content since the year 2000, this is going to be 18 years of me coming out and saying, “Okay, what am I going to say this week?” Over time we know this to be true. If you’re listening right now and consistency is one of the things you haven’t been able to build up yet and that’s the only thing you take away from this, please take it away.
You cannot overestimate how important this is. When you’re there drip, drip, drip and no matter what’s happening in the world and people come and go and you’re still hitting it and they are like, “Damn! I guess she really knows what she’s talking about. She is here for the long haul.”
That in and of itself has this intangible magic that is attractive to people, especially because so much else in their lives is transitory.
AMY: That’s so very true. Often times, with consistency, my students say, “I don’t know what to email about. I don’t know what to write about. I don’t know what to put in my blog.” They get really stuck around the ideas with content.
How are you always coming up with ideas?
MARIE: First of all, this is a great question. I will say that anyone who struggles with this is not alone. I have those thoughts as well. After doing this for going on 18 years, I am so with you. Here’s one thing. I have a core belief about money and about, particularly, creativity.
It goes like this. There is always more where that came from. I operate from a reality that there’s no way I can ever run out. There is always going to be something there. I know that might sound a little bit like, “Really Marie?”
It’s so incredibly powerful. That baseline belief, I would encourage you to adopt it for yourself. There is always more where that came from.
On a more tactical level, what you can do is start a little ideas doc. Any time you’re out in the world it’s all about how you see things. There are times when I’m walking down the street and I’m going to get a green juice and I notice a little chalkboard outside of a store I will notice the copy.
It gives me an idea to talk about their advertising and what they’re doing wrong or what they’re doing right. There are stories throughout my day. They are often silly stories but I will just jot down little notes. I keep a running document of all of the ideas, good and bad, I don’t judge them, that could possibly make for great content.
The other thing I want to say is this, a lot of people put too much pressure on themselves where they feel like they have to write so much. They have to write these enormous, long- form, multi-page blog posts or videos and they have to do it all the time.
You have to step back and realize most people are overwhelmed, overstretched, and time starved. They don’t want to read ten pages every week. Even if one week something you put out is, perhaps a quote or a question or challenge or just a little bit of encouragement, keep it varied.
That’s the kind of thing that will allow you to always find something new to write about, to talk about, or to comment on. I think the last thing I will mention is just to remember that we’re all human. Everyone is insecure. Everyone is overwhelmed. Everyone wants to feel encouraged. Everyone wants to feel like they’re heard and seen and understood.
If you take that humanistic approach to your content you will find that you will never run out of ideas because people always want to feel encouraged. They want to feel seen. They want to feel surprised or delighted.
Take the pressure off yourself. Don’t think it all has to be long and keep a running list of ideas. Don’t edit them at first. It’s not about judging them. Just put everything down that could possibly go and you will be surprised at how quickly you accumulate a very long list of things to share about.
AMY: Such wise words. I am totally on board with that one. We’re moving on to #3. Number three has me excited because I really haven’ talked about it in this way. Number three is embracing active sales prevention. Talk to us. Why is this important and what is it?
MARIE: First of all, it sounds like a horrible idea, right, for anyone who’s wanting to grow their business. You are like, “Sales prevention? I’m doing that already. I don’t need to do more of that. I need to flip it around.”
There is a very special meaning for this. What I mean by “active sales prevention”, it’s about knowing exactly who your product or service is right for and, more importantly, who it’s not right for. Then, it’s about having the bravery and courage to be transparent about that.
You have to be willing to turn people off or turn them away. Let’s take a step back here. A lot of business people, I was certainly one of them, I did this for so long, Amy, I was like, “My product, my coaching services are for everyone.” I wanted to change everyone’s life. I could help anyone on the planet.
If you really get rooted in reality we all know that’s not true. You could be the most amazing restaurant in the world, you could have the most incredible movie that has critical claim and reviews, and you’ll have a whole host of people who say, “That thing sucks.”
No product or service is for everyone. That mindset, if you’re trying to appeal to everyone it’s going to kill you. The other thing about that mindset is this, and it’s something not a lot of people realize, often times the mindset of trying to reach everyone is rooted in scarcity and fear, the idea that everybody has to like you and has to approve of you and adore you.
Conversely, if you’re clear about who your product or service is ideal for and who you’re not ideal for then all of the sudden you’re rooted in truth and confidence because you know there is more than enough people, prospects, and customers to go around.
Then, all of the sudden your business is rooted in love and respect because you don’t want to waste people’s time when they aren’t going to benefit from what you offer anyway. You want to help them find the product or service that will truly serve them and often times that’s not you.
This whole idea of sales prevention is about really owning who you’re right for and who you’re not right for and then being willing to express that and put that out through your marketing in various ways so you actively turn people off.
I want to tell you a few stories about this. I will try to make them fast. The first one I want to tell is actually about B-School. When B-School first came out the very first time it was in 2009 or 2010. We did the program and I was so excited about it and proud about it.
Once everything got through I think we had an 18 or 19% refund rate. To be honest, that’s industry standard when it comes to online courses. For me that was unacceptable. This was horrible. We sold way too many people into it that weren’t right for the program.
I went back and really started looking at my numbers and looking at the marketing and everything we had done in that first round almost ten years ago now. What I realized is that I wasn’t clear enough on who B-School is not right for.
I didn’t do a good enough job preventing sales. I got too many people in the door who weren’t going to be a good fit. So I changed the marketing. I really took a step back and said that B-School is right for these kinds of humans, here are the kind of business owners, here is the kind of business they would be at, what they are looking to achieve, the kind of person they are, that they are really going to benefit. All of these other people, it’s not right for them.
The next time I did B-School, the next time we rolled out the program, I actually implemented this strategy. I started to be a lot more vocal both in my copy and also when I was promoting the program. I told them “here” is who we are right for, “here” is who we’re not right for.
I remember there was one teleseminar. I got on it and a woman started asking her question. She eventually got around to asking, “Is B-School right for me?”
Here’s the thing, Amy, it wasn’t. There are hundreds of people on the call and I could feel this woman. She was a lovely, sweet person but I knew intuitively, based on her questions, based on her back story, and based on what she was looking to accomplish we weren’t right for her and I told her that.
There was silence because both the person who was hosting me and I think the woman who was asking the question did not expect me to say, “You should not do the program. This is not right for you.”
MARIE: I had done that several times but I said, “Here’s why,” and I outlined all of the reasons. I said, “Here are some other things I think you could try. And, by the way, if you disagree with me come on in. We have a wonderful refund policy but here’s my honest opinion, I don’t think it’s right for you at this moment in time.”
I cannot tell you, Amy, how many people wrote to us and let us know how meaningful that was because they knew I was telling the truth. From the results standpoint, implementing that strategy and building it out in many, many, many more ways allowed us to take our refund from 19% down to less than 2%.
AMY: Wow! For a $2,000 program, that is impressive.
MARIE: It’s insane. I am absolutely certain it’s because of active sales prevention. I have a more recent story from this.
Recently I was getting an itch. I’ve been doing a lot of new things lately. I’ve just had this creative outburst that I wanted to do something brand new. We did a show. I’ve always wanted to do a call-in show for a while because I love coaching people live. You know I do that a lot in B-School. It’s one of my favorite things in the world.
We did this live call-in show and I answered about seven or so questions. It was awesome. If you’re listening right now you can Google it and find it on Marie.TV live call-in- show. It’s kind of fun.
One of the callers was asking me what it really takes to succeed. I could feel she was struggling. I really related to where she was in her journey. So I started letting her know that I am not the fastest person around. I’m the turtle. Everyone wonders where I came from. It’s like no, no, no. I‘ve been doing this 17 or 18 years.
I just never give up. When it’s something I really want I am relentless. In the moment, you know me, I get a little fired up and forgive me anyone who’s listening, I’m going to drop a four-letter word so if you have kids around put on your headphones. I wound up saying I’m a relentless mother fucker.
That’s how I talk sometimes. I didn’t plan it. It was just in that kind of energy of the moment that it popped out. In the context of that question it made a lot of sense and the woman I was coaching laughed her butt off. I laughed my butt off. It was just all love fest and it worked.
We go into post production and we were looking at that episode and love it. There is so much value packed into that one show. My team was asking what we should pull to post on social media to promote the episode to drive people back to watch it.
The one thing that stood out to me was that quote. I remember, Amy, having this kind of conversation with myself. I also wound up having it with my team. They showed me some options for a quote card. All of them had the term “mother f*cker”. It kind of softened it so it didn’t actually say the full spelled out phrase. It was making it a little more palatable for the general public. I looked at it and said to myself, “That’s not what I said.”
I said the full phrase. I want to use the full phrase knowing full well that if I were to put it up on my Instagram some people would lose their minds because it’s just not in their value system. But when I looked at it I said, “You know what? My best customers and best expression of me is not the softened version.”
This was my own show. In the context of this question it worked and it’s really something I say. I’m not on NBC Nightly News. I’m not on a major network. This is my channel. I can do whatever I want to do. So we wound up posting the phrase exactly how I wanted it because it was authentic and true to my language.
The results were really surprising. Turns out, Amy, that is the second or third most popular Instagram quote we have ever posted.
AMY: Talk about the real and the raw. That is such a perfect example.
MARIE: Yes, it has over 422 comments which is the most comments we have ever had on any post. Here’s the other thing. I did lose a few people that day. There were people that were irate and that’s totally fine. They should find a different mentor that’s a better fit for them.
They really should. I’m not offended by that. I’m not upset by that but you know this Amy, you and I have hung out. That’s the real me.
MARIE: If someone doesn’t like the real me that’s okay. I don’t want to force them to like the real me but I would rather prevent that sale because you know why? If they got into B-School or Copy Cure or they got into another paid experience with me and then all of the sudden I’m speaking that language they would scream and run out wondering, “What happened? She fooled me. She tricked me.”
That’s why it was so important. The other thing I want to say is this. I also had some meaningful dialogues with a few fans who didn’t get it and were kind of upset at first. Then I went in and we had these great discussions in the comment threads. By the end we were all sending each other high fives and hearts.
It was this incredible opportunity where my fans who are really aligned and who I am really meant to serve (because they get who I am and my intentions) our connection went up 20 fold. For the small little sliver of people that didn’t like it, they can go find a mentor that is a better suit for them.
AMY: So very true. You know I like to make it actionable. So for those listening and thinking they want to embrace active sales prevention but don’t really know what that looks like for them, where do they start?
MARIE: I think it really begins with writing down who is your ideal customer and who is not. Can you start describing the people that are really perfect for your brand or product or service. This isn’t about getting it perfect. Just start writing something.
Think back into your history. Are there certain types of customers. Are there any patterns you notice where people are just miserable, they are coming back for refunds? They are the kind of people that, for whatever reason, you don’t seem to be able to serve at the level you would like to.
If you start writing that down then you can start asking yourself if there is an opportunity to speak more clearly to the people you are meant to serve and outright tell people, or maybe not outright but in some way, turn off some other folks.
Is there a way to courageously communicate who you are and your values and your views without hesitation? Here’s one of the things I believe. It’s not just about what you sell. It’s about what you stand for.
The more courageous you are the more of a stand you take for your values and who you are in the world and you have an opinion about it the more people are going to be naturally attracted to you, the more loyal they are.
Your copy is going to flow so much more easily. It’s way more fun to do business this way because you’re not hiding yourself. You’re not nervous. You’re not constantly worried that people are going to find out who the real you is. Remember, boring never sells. You have to remember that.
If you’re trying so hard to please everyone and so hard to be on the middle of the line and be so vanilla I guarantee not only are you not going to have the results you’re capable of having but you will eventually start to hate running your business because you’re not being the real you.
AMY: I love that. It’s so much more fun to do business this way, 100%. I totally agree with that. And I’m seeing it more and more in my own business so I’m glad we got to talk about this one.
Speaking of having so much more fun in your business, I want to transition a bit and talk about B-School. Since I have taken B-School, and I’ve done it for many years now, my business always gets to be more fun for me. I always dive in deeper and find new opportunities.
I want to take a moment and talk about B-School. Can you tell us a little bit about the program, why you created it, and what it’s all about?
MARIE: Absolutely. B-School is an incredible comprehensive online business training program for modern entrepreneurs, someone who wants to start or grow a business online and feels a little bit overwhelmed or doesn’t know where to start or doesn’t really know how to have the plan and structure they need in order to follow through. B-School is for you.
The reason I started B-School, Amy, is interesting. Back when I started my business, way back in the day, I was trying to learn how to do this thing. Again, online business was very, very new in the early 2000’s. I would go to all of these different business-building conferences and events and do my best to pick up ideas and strategies.
One of the things I noticed when I was there was that, first of all, 99.9% of the presenters were men. That was totally fine. However, what wasn’t fine was that a vast majority of them, not all but a vast majority, were talking about business and customers specifically like they were nothing more than numbers on the bottom of a balance sheet.
Everything was about how to extract as much profit as possible. I had this image of people being turned upside down and shaken so that all of the coins came out of their pockets. That just felt wrong to me.
Not only that, there was no heart or soul or integrity or conversation that integrated who I was as a human being, my values, my desire to serve along with this incredible vehicle that we have called business.
How do you do right by the customer? How do you stay true to yourself? How do you have a business that’s profitable and sustainable in the long term? I just felt there was a lot missing from what I was seeing.
In seeing that gap in the marketplace and learning how to build a business from scratch myself with a lot of expensive trial and error I said, “You know what? I can fill this gap because I bet there are a lot more people out there who really want to run a business but who want to do it in a way that is fully aligned with their values, that gives them a chance to express their real personality, and most importantly, makes a difference in the lives of their customers and the greater world.”
That is why B-School has come into being. In terms of the track record, we’ve now graduated almost 40,000 business owners from across 160 different industries. I think it is up to 130 countries worldwide.
I am so proud of the results and impact that our students create because they come in, they get a very clear structure, they learn how to tune out the noise of the marketplace, they learn how to tune in to the critical few things that matter, and they build something that’s going to last.
AMY: That’s so good. I’m a huge advocate of B-School. I tell so many of my students it is a “must” for them to grow their business and scale their business. That’s why I’m so excited for you to talk about it.
Just today you released a three-part video series absolutely free. Tell me about that.
MARIE: My video series is one of my favorite things about B-School time because we get to share some really tactical, actionable strategies that help anyone grow their business. The first video in the series is all about the six pillars of building a business.
If you’re just starting out or even if you’ve been in the game for a little while but feel overwhelmed and feel like you need structure and guidance to follow through, please, for the love of all things holy, go watch this video series, especially Part 1.
We are going to walk you through exactly what you should be paying attention to and what you can ignore so that you can wipe away all of the overwhelm and start to look at these six pillars of your business and focus on the one that you really need to move the needle ahead.
One of my favorite parts of this video series, Amy, is in Part 1 we have a little workbook that goes along with the video.
AMY: I love workbooks.
MARIE: It will allow you to not only absorb this content but to very precisely identify which areas of your business you need to work on and then you can actually do the action step right then and there. That’s Video #1.
Video #2 is one of my favorites. If anyone listening has any type of hesitation or still feels a little bit of resistance around marketing and sales, whether that is, “Gosh, I just want to do the creative side of my business, I’m trying to learn this marketing thing but I’m just not any good at it,” or, “I feel so slimy when I’m marketing. I just don’t know how to get into integrity and do it where I feel really proud of it,” or anything you could possibly have as a hesitation that holds you back from going full force, you have got to watch Video #2.
I will share a mindset shift around marketing and sales that I guarantee if there is anything in you that hesitates you will, first of all, have that block go out the window; and, second of all you will be so inspired to create the best, most effective, most heart-based marketing of your life that actually works.
In Video #3 we really tackle people’s excuses. All of us have excuses that can hold us back from taking our business and our success to the level that we’re really capable of. One of my favorite things to do, especially because of my coaching background, is to really dive into those excuses and knock them down.
If part of what you sense that holds you back is some excuses in your mind and some ways that you limit yourself and keep yourself small, you’ve got to see Video #3. That’s where we will help you shift that mindset and also give you some really powerful examples of business owners from a wide variety of industries who have been able to go from dreaming about it to actually doing it. Their results will floor you.
AMY: This is a “must see” video series. If you’ve ever said, “I don’t know where to start, I don’t know where to focus,” Video #1 is going to give you that answer. So go to http:// www.amyporterfield.com/marie is where you need to go to sign up and start watching the video series for free.
Marie Forleo, thank you so very much for being on the show yet again. I think I say this every time but this is definitely one of my favorites. I loved getting in to all of these strategies with you.
MARIE: Me too. Thank you for having me on.
AMY: Thank you. So there you have it. I hope you loved this conversation about approaching your business differently and focusing on the areas that can truly 10X your results. Remember, all of the strategies that we talked about today require more of you and less of what you think you need to do to succeed online.
Let that realization feel like freedom to you. If you do so these strategies will be easier to embrace.
A few final housekeeping items. Go to http://www.amyporterfield.com/marie to access Marie’s three-part free video series. It’s a must see and will come down soon. Also, if you want to join me inside my 30-Day B-School Pop-Up group where I will be doing live video trainings, answering questions, sharing my own experiences with B-School and much, much more then request access at http://www.amyporterfield.com/popup.
Thank you so very much for tuning in. Next week we are getting in to some big Facebook ad changes. I’m going to have Rick Mulready back on the show and it’s going to be a lot of fun so I hope to see you there. Until next time, make it a great week. Bye for now.