MARIE FORLEO: “I'm human. I have really awful days. I have dark times like everybody else, right? But this was different. And it was not connected to a specific event or happening, but I just felt this degradation happening, and it was scary, to be quite honest with you. And I felt myself not as creative and in more fear and scarcity and lack. And I'm like, ‘What is this? This is not natural.” And I figured out it was this thing, and specifically, for me, it was a bit of Instagram. And I will tell you this. In my position, which is awesome, and I feel really grateful to this, I have conversations with a lot of people who are extremely accomplished and people, some of them are household names. In these intimate conversations, they have revealed to me they cannot stand it. They don't talk about it publicly, but they cannot stand it. And after enough of these, of me just observing and also observing myself, I said, ‘I'm actually done with this.’”
INTRO: I’m Amy Porterfield, ex-corporate girl turned CEO of a multi-seven-figure business. But it wasn't all that long ago that I lacked the confidence, the budget, and the time to focus on growing my small-but-mighty business. Fast forward past many failed attempts and lessons learned, and you'll see the business I have today, one that changes lives and gives me more freedom than I ever thought possible, one that used to only exist as a daydream. I created the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast to give you simple, actionable, step-by-step strategies to help you do the same. If you're an ambitious entrepreneur, or one in the making, who's looking to create a business that makes an impact and a life you love, you're in the right place, friend. Let's get started.
AMY: If you know me, then you know that the Goal Digger Podcast, hosted by my friend Jenna Kutcher, who is also part of the HubSpot Network, is one of my favorite podcasts. What I love about Jenna's podcast is that she shares life and business tips, from productivity hacks and business strategies and mindset shifts to daily inspiration, and so much more. Episode 528. It's called “Surprise! I Wrote a Book!” It gave me all the feels because she shared the real raw story of what inspired her to write her very first book, and she shared her process. So good. Listen to the Goal Digger Podcast wherever you get your podcasts. And now, back to the show.
Well, hey, there, friend. So, I just had this wild realization, and that is this is my second February in Nashville. Second February. I don't even know where time goes. I definitely have been trying to embrace this significantly cooler weather. That's the nicest way I can say that I'm freezing my buns off. But I think that I'm getting more used to it. So Hobie is very proud of me. I am not complaining every minute about how my toes are going to fall off, so that's a plus.
But enough about the weather because today I have Miss Marie Forleo joining me on the podcast yet again, a woman who needs no introduction, but it's been a minute since she's made an appearance on Online Marketing Made Easy—two years, if you can believe it. Marie is truly my friend. I will call her when I'm struggling with something. We celebrate wins together. I really consider her someone very special to me. But she's also been a mentor of mine for thirteen years now, and she's a woman I truly admire, both personally and professionally.
Not only is Marie a successful entrepreneur, she's also a New York Times’ bestselling author of her book Everything is Figureoutable, she's host of the award-winning show MarieTV, and she's someone who's given back through her business from the very beginning, and that's something we're actually going to talk about today.
So, for this interview, we decided to do something a little bit different. So Marie and I just kicked back, and we let the conversation guide us wherever it was meant to flow. We talked a little bit about the old days and why it's important to reflect on those as an entrepreneur and how to avoid becoming a workaholic and how to create a company with purpose, one that gives back in a big way. We talked about the secret to eliminating procrastination, and we talked about how Marie uses, or doesn't use, social media, which I found really interesting. And, well, we got into so much more. I'm not even going to give it away. You just got to listen.
So, go ahead. Kick back with us, grab your bevy of choice, and enjoy this conversation with my friend and mentor Marie Forleo.
Well, well, well, welcome back to the show.
MARIE: Oh, Amy! This is a joy. We were just talking off camera. Like, this is one of my favorite things to do. I adore you so much. I adore your audience. Thank you for having me on.
AMY: Oh, my goodness. I feel the same way, and I look forward to this every single year when we get you on the podcast. You are the most—what is the word? Like, you've been on the podcast the most? You deserve an award. And every episode is always a huge hit. People love when we jump on here and have these behind-the-scenes conversations. So, I’ve been looking forward to this all week.
MARIE: I love it. Let’s dive in.
AMY: Let’s do it.
Okay. So, first of all, I want to take you way, way, way back. So how long have you been in business?
MARIE: I started, I believe it was the year 2000. So we are in 2022 right now, so that’s either the twenty-one- or twenty-two-year mark, depending on the month.
AMY: Oh, my goodness. That is incredible. And if I take you back to when we first met, that was around fourteen years ago. And so we met at this Frank Kern conference event, in the hallways. We were the first two people there. And if I take you back to that event, would you have ever imagined that you have the business you have today? Was this always the plan?
MARIE: No. And I love this question and I love talking about this because I remember, especially when I was getting started and in the early days, one of the things that I would hear so often, Amy, is the importance of having this super-clear vision. And it's like, you know, people would often ask that question, where do you want to be in five years, or where do you see yourself in ten years? And I felt terrible because I never had a good answer to that question. It was as though my brain wasn't capable of stretching out or seeing that clearly, and I was like, “I don't know. I just hope to still be in business.” And my heart was in the right place and I wanted to make a difference to people, but I also had this inkling that when it comes to technology, when it comes to the marketplace, it was like we were entering this whole new time where things moved so quickly. So it is almost arrogant to say, “Oh, I know exactly where I’m going to be in five years.” I mean, if you just look at this contextually within the last two to three years for all of us, none of us could have anticipated what happened in 2020 or 2021 or here we are in 2022 and how volatile things are.
So, no. I could not have imagined, back when you and I met, when we were at that conference together, I could not have imagined where my business would go, the impact we would have, the people I would be able to become colleagues with and friends with, and the difference that we can make in people's lives. None of this was clear to me.
I remember someone also asked me about MarieTV, did you have a vision for how that would go? Did you see it as this online show and seventy million views, or whatever? I'm like, “Are you kidding me?” The whole reason I started MarieTV—I don't even know if I told you this—was that when I got my dog, Kuma—
MARIE: —it was a cute little Australian puppy, and I'd never had a puppy before—I was spending so much time with him that it took away time for me writing blog posts.
AMY: Oh, my goodness.
MARIE: So I said, let me open my webcam and answer reader questions so that I could be consistent with my content. That was the beginning of MarieTV. I had no grand visions. I had no idea. I was merely trying to survive and stay on my consistency train track, and that was the beginning of MarieTV.
AMY: I had no idea. I remember it like it was yesterday, you getting Kuma, and, oh, my goodness, the cutest thing in the whole world. So the fact that that is why MarieTV came about, I love what you just said: It doesn't have to be this big, grand vision. And a lot of my listeners are just getting started, and they don't have that just yet, and I feel like sometimes that stops them in their tracks. “Maybe this isn't meant for me because I don't have that.”
MARIE: That’s right. Let’s dig into that a little bit more. We can feel so bad about ourselves, and everyone else has these big dreams and these huge ambitions and they see themselves with world domination. And one of the things that I've learned, both through experience and even from my own personal life, is bigger is not better. You don't have to have this gigantic vision or be this person who “I have to dominate and be on every stage.”
If that's genuinely you and that is the outpouring from your soul and your heart, bless it and go after it and enjoy it and embrace it and do it in such love and in such commitment. Beautiful. But if that is not you, and you have a dream that is, let's say, smaller in scale, simpler in scale, or it's even unknown at this point—you just have an inkling that you're meant to do something, and you sense it is your own business, and you sense that you're supposed to move towards it, but everything else is fuzzy—you have to listen to that voice because no small dreams are bad, and bigger dreams are not better dreams, but clarity comes from engagement, not thought. You are not going to take that next step or see the next unfolding for your soul's purpose or for the structure or potential vision for your business if you sit on your couch or stay in your bed or just think about it in your mind. You have to find some way to engage because when you do it’s like the universe comes back and meets you; the world comes back and meets you; real-world, concrete feedback comes back to meet you; and then, internally you get information that you would not have discovered otherwise. It doesn't happen through your mind; it happens through your heart and through your body and through engagement with the world around you.
AMY: Oh, amen to that. Yes, so perfectly put. I think that there are some people that absolutely needs to hear that today.
So, I want to talk to you about, you've built this successful business over the many years that you've been doing this, and one of the things that I love about your business is that you give back. And I feel like you've been doing that for many, many years; it's not something new that you started. So talk to me about how you built a business that gives back and how somebody who's just getting started could incorporate that when they're not making tons of money.
MARIE: Absolutely. So, to give context, I remember when I first got started in my business. And just to give a brief history of this, I didn't grow up with a lot of money, and money was actually a big pain point in our particular family. My parents got divorced over it, and I had made myself a promise when I was eight years old that somehow I would figure out how to earn enough so that money would never cause that amount of pain again. And so I kept that promise. And when I started my business, I knew that I just didn't want it to be financially profitable for me. But having open eyes and an open heart, you can see that there are a lot of challenges in the world, and money is a solution to some of those. It can help provide resources and possibilities and all kinds of beautiful things. But I also knew that I didn't have much, right? I was piles and piles and piles in debt, and I said, “Okay. Well, how can I set myself up to not only make a difference to my clients and my customers, but also make a larger difference outside of what we do with our products and our services?” And I started small, Amy.
I remember there was a coaching program that I had. It was called Virtual Mastery. And this is at a time in my life when I was still struggling to pay the bills. So I was bartending. I had my coaching practice. I was starting to get out into group programs. And it was a time when I would open my checkbook at the end of the month and be terrified that there wasn't enough. And yet I knew deep down that there was more than enough to go around. I knew in my soul that scarcity was not true. I knew it could be true temporarily, but I knew it not to be true as a universal principle or as the reality that I wanted to live into. And I said if I'm going to change all of my limiting beliefs around money, if I'm going to change my exterior reality around money and have more money in my bank account at the end of each month and keep that growing, I need to start living into what I know to be true inside, not the reality that I see on the outside. And so I made a decision, and I said, “You know what? This next coaching program that I have coming up, even though this feels scary to commit to, I'm going to commit 10 percent of whatever comes in to go back out to some organization”—I didn’t even know what organization but—”some organization that's doing good in the world.” And I just made that internal commitment, and I believe I actually even said it publicly when I was starting to market and sell that program.
Amy, was I terrified? A hundred percent. Again, I didn’t have enough money sometimes, like, the rent, everything, right, was not necessarily working out.
But that public-facing commitment and the internal commitment, more importantly, that I made to myself to do something different and to live into what I knew to be the truth, set me up to really go for it in that program. And I wound up selling enough that 10 percent turned out to be somewhere around, like, seven thousand dollars, which was so much more money than I could have ever imagined.
AMY: Right? I get it.
MARIE: And I found an organization that was called Girl Up, through the UN Foundation, and I wound up being their first donor, and it was all about empowering the six hundred million girls around the world who are denied access to education, to health care, to a host of other basic dignities that every human being should have, merely by factor of their gender. And that began my journey to realizing that I didn’t need to have a ton of money, a ton of experience, or anything to just stake a claim and to say I stand for more and that I’m going to give before it’s even proven to me that I have because I know inside what’s possible here.
And so that was kind of how I started. And we've just kind of grown it from there, and it hasn't been perfect, and it's not perfectly organized. Some people have, “Oh, my goodness. I’m going to have my own foundation,” and that’s beautiful and that’s awesome, but I’ve just gone along the journey to say, well, who's doing great work out there? And how can we funnel some of what we create in terms of our financial resources, but also in terms of our platform, in terms of our voice, in terms of the other assets that we have outside of money, to support greater change in the world? And that's been a super-fun process.
So, part of your question was, how can people get started? We actually have—and I know we’re going to talk about this more later—but in B-School, in module one, we help people start to unpack for themselves what a purpose-driven business might look like for them. There's no one formula. It doesn't have to look the same way. You don't have to commit forever. In fact, you can let it be this creative unfolding where you try out different things.
For example, one of the things that we do in our company is we offer scholarships, because we know with an audience in a hundred ninety-five countries around the world, economic realities, basically, the exchange rates for certain places, things are just wildly diverse. And for a lot of folks who would love to come take our programs, that's not really in their financial reality. So how can we offer opportunities for people who we can totally serve, but do it in a way that benefits us and that has everyone moving along towards the same? So scholarships are a beautiful way. There's another way that you might have a particular promotion or a campaign at a certain time of year where if you sell x amount, then you're also going to donate X amount.
So there are all these different, creative ways that we as entrepreneurs can think through and then execute on—ideas, possibilities, experiments—to have our businesses make a greater impact beyond what we do with our products and our services.
So I don't know if you want me to unpack any more there, but I think it's something that is so incredibly motivating, it doesn't have to look the same way, and it can be an incredible opportunity for you to inspire yourself to get beyond your own limiting ideas about, “Well, why would anyone care about what I have to do? Why would anyone buy from me?” and you make it about something bigger and more beyond yourself, that gets a fire under your foot. That makes you go put up that extra post, send that extra email, go find that affiliate partner, do whatever it is to do because you have a greater purpose beyond your own survival.
AMY: Absolutely. I love that you said that you knew that you could do more. And the fact that you decided to give even before you knew how you were going to do that. I've never heard you talk about how the first time you gave you were totally scared to do so. I love that honesty behind it. I remember I felt the exact same way, and I remember even someone in my family saying, “Are you sure you want to do that?” They knew I didn't have a lot of money at the time, and I was committed to giving money from a launch. And it made me second guess myself at first. Like, “Oh, wait. Am I being reckless? Is this a good idea?” And then I just, like you said, there was this knowing that, I don't want this business just to be about me and putting money in my pocket. I have to do bigger and better things for others as well. So I love that you shared that you were a little bit afraid.
MARIE: Yeah. I think most of us are. It's natural because there are so many messages that we've all received that are not healthy around money and possibility. And so many of us have been trained through the media, family, society, whatever—no blame but the truth—in this notion that there's not enough and especially when it comes to money. And we have to break those chains, and we have to bust through all of those limiting beliefs because what's possible on the other side is not just the transformation of our own relationship with money or our ability to be successful as entrepreneurs, but really to pass along a completely new consciousness that our society really needs.
AMY: Oh, amen to that.
Okay. So, as we’re talking about you building this business over the last twenty-something years, I wanted to touch on giving back. But I also want to touch on this idea of time management and kicking procrastination to the curb, which you are an absolute genius at doing. One of the things that I've loved from day one of knowing you is that you always protect your time. You are always very efficient, and I think the word intentional should be tattooed somewhere on your body because you are intentional about everything you do. And so I was hoping you could share with all of us some tips and some insights around not procrastinating, managing our time better, and focusing on the things that matter most.
MARIE: Yeah. You know, time is the most precious, nonrenewable resource that we all have. Money, believe it or not, we can actually get more of it, right? So if we happen to make some mistakes, we find ourselves in a rough place, we can generate more. Same thing if we stumble in our relationships, right? Nine times out of ten, forgiveness is possible. Healing is possible. Oftentimes, that's possible with our physical health, our emotional health, our mental health. We don't have to get it perfect. We can build it back up.
But time is different. Time is finite in this physical human form, in this particular dimension. And so we have to be really, really intentional. We have to be really caring about how we invest this precious resource because the older we get—and I'm sure you’ve realized this, too, Amy—you start to really feel into how finite it is, and it starts to feel like it's going faster. So I think taking a look at how you're investing that most precious resource of time from an objective standpoint and stepping back and saying, “Okay. Where am I in my life right now? What's most important to me at this stage and season of my life? And am I lining up how I'm investing this precious resource with what I say is most important?”
And I think one of the interesting things that I have to my advantage is the fact that I started my business in the late ’90s/early 2000s. That was before things like this—I'm holding up an iPhone—existed. It's also before a thing called social media existed.
AM: Ah, yes.
MARIE: And so there were not these constant pulls of interruptions, distractions, even the lure of what you could be doing, who you could be connecting to, what else you could be creating or should be creating or comparing yourself to. None of that existed. So I have this perspective on what it felt like before. And to be quite honest, the way that I live my life is as much, from a technological standpoint, in the ’90s as possible. I use this thing—once again, holding up my iPhone—as a tool. I do not let it use me, because I found there was a period of time where I was. And you know what, Amy? I was miserable. I had become so addicted. It's like it was following me around. Even if I wasn't thinking, I’d see myself checking my phone again.
MARIE: It was an unconscious habit. I’d go down these rabbit holes, and before you know it, my days were starting to feel like no matter how hard I worked—and I'm a very hard worker—no matter how much I was getting done, no matter how I was trying to push myself, it never felt like enough. I always felt like I was overwhelmed, I was drowning, I was behind, and I'm like, what is happening?
And so it wasn't until I really started to take a look at the facts, start doing the math about my time, started really getting more discerning about what I say yes to and what I say no to that I started to heal a bit of that addiction that I had and started to break some of the addictive, mental, and emotional bonds that were created, largely unconsciously, over the past ten years, you know, once cell phones were created and when social media kind of started growing. And I think the past two years for me has been so incredibly enlightening and freeing because I've largely removed myself and just opted out of what everyone says you should do in terms of how often you should be online, how much you should be posting, how often you should be engaging. And I'm like, nope. I have never run my career or my business by following the pack, and I'm certainly not going to start now.
AMY: Ah, yes. Amen to that.
MARIE: Yeah. It's been a game changer.
So, feel free to dive into anywhere else if you want me to go into, but I'll just stop there.
AMY: Well, I'm curious: do you have rules? Do you look at Instagram? Do you scroll through Instagram or any other social?
AMY: Okay. Talk to me. How do you not do that? I feel that you could give me such a gift. I feel like I am addicted to that, that I’ve got to look.
MARIE: Hey. Not just you. Look, most people. Myself was included, too. But here's what I noticed, Amy. I was like, “What is happening with me?” I knew I've always been a pretty optimistic, healthy kind of person, and I started watching my mental and my emotional health start to deteriorate in a way that felt really unnatural. I'm human. I have really awful days. I have dark times like everybody else, right? But this was different. And it was not connected to a specific event or happening, but I just felt this degradation happening, and it was scary, to be quite honest with you. And I felt myself not as creative and in more fear and scarcity and lack. And I'm like, “What is this? This is not natural.” And I figured out it was this thing, and specifically, for me, it was a bit of Instagram. And I will tell you this. In my position, which is awesome, and I feel really grateful to this, I have conversations with a lot of people who are extremely accomplished and people, some of them are household names. In these intimate conversations, they have revealed to me they cannot stand it. They don't talk about it publicly, but they cannot stand it. And after enough of these, of me just observing and also observing myself, I said, “I’m actually done with this. Done.”
I love it as a marketing channel, just like we've done commercials in the past for B-School that show up on television. But I don't turn on my television one hundred and eighty times a day. I use it as a tool intentionally, for when it serves the business, or if I want to watch a show, like Yellowjackets. You know what I mean? Like, something I'm like, oh, I can't wait to be here intentionally to do this. Otherwise, I'm like, no. If I'm observing the impact and the impact is not good, then it's not good for me. And it can work for other people. It might be super healthy for other people. They may love it. But I've learned over time that if the impact on me is not good, I am brave and courageous enough to say that's enough.
AMY: I love that you said you found yourself realizing you thought you weren't doing enough, and I can certainly relate to that. I’ll scroll through Instagram for ten minutes, and I could quickly—and I've done amazing things in my business—
MARIE: Yes, you have.
AMY: —and I just quickly say, “I haven't done enough. I'm not doing enough right now. I need to do more video. I need to do more social. I need to do more emails.” It’s quickly I could go down that road, and that's the sickness part of it.
MARIE: It is the sickness. It is a paradigm that I've actually called now time stress. We can talk about this, hopefully, at a different time, but it is an entire universe. It's a mindset. It is a reality that most of us, if we're in that world again—not everyone, but many of us—can get sucked into it. And time stress is the world where you constantly feel overwhelmed, you constantly feel behind, you're always comparing yourself, you're never coming up as enough, and you're always feeling exhausted. It's like you're in that proverbial gerbil/hamster wheel, where you're pushing yourself so hard, you're exhausted when you go to bed; you wake up the next day, and you're starting to lose your passion for the thing that you love, and you don't have anyone to talk to about it. It probably feels embarrassing. It may even feel shameful because you don’t know where to turn, and you don’t recognize that you’re stuck in a paradigm. It’s not you; it’s the device. It is what it is training you to do neurologically; neurochemically, in terms of your emotions; and, also, from a mental and emotional stand place, for most of us, it's not healthy.
AMY: Absolutely. I'm so glad we brought this up and talked about it because a lot of people that listen to this podcast, when I bring on guests like you, who are very accomplished, have these big businesses, doing amazing things with digital courses, they want to know what it looks like behind the scenes. What are your daily practices and habits and rituals; what do you believe in; what do you not believe in, in terms of what gets you to the success you want? So this is the stuff that I love to talk about.
MARIE: Yeah. And you know, you asked me about rules. For me, it's really about observation, right? So if I'm doing anything in my business and it's not feeling right or I come away just walking like, oh, gosh, like I got hit by a Mack truck emotionally or mentally, I'm not doing that again. I don't care what the potential benefit is, I'm out. And so for me, social is an opportunity to reach our audience with our content, but I don't have to be there, posting it. I don't necessarily even have to be there “engaging.” We can tell people, “Here's where you can come find Marie. Come find her on the blog.” Or if I do open up Instagram because I do want to respond, I treat it almost as a blog post on my own website.
MARIE: Does that makes sense? So I’m engaging with my audience right there on that post that I want to engage with. And I also have pretty strict rules, to be quite honest with you, just like I have big boundaries in my personal life. If you don't behave like a kind, nice person, you're out.
AMY: You’re out.
MARIE: I wouldn't allow that in my personal space. If you had come to our studio in New York City and behaved like that, you would literally be escorted out. And so my mission and my desire to live in joy and creativity and connection and cooperation with people, that is my boundary. And while I don't wish anyone any ill will, but if they're not on that same wavelength, I'm not the person for you, and that's okay. But you're not allowed to come in and toxify the area, because I also care too much about my audience, and I care too much about my team to allow anything less than that.
AMY: Oh, absolutely. You know, what you said there got me thinking. I recently saw a quote from one of our mutual friends, Kate Northrup, and she was talking about, you know that little voice in your head that says something like, “If I could really do it the way I wanted to do it, I would do it this way”?
AMY: And she wrote, “Do it that way.” And I thought, okay, it’s so simple but profound as well.
AMY: And I feel as though that you have built a business like that. You don't do things like everybody else. You don't do tons and tons of interviews. You are not seen anywhere, everywhere, all the time, any time, kind of thing. And you do protect your space at a deeper level than most. I feel, would you agree, that you're doing what secretly how you want to do it, you’re actually doing it outwardly?
MARIE: Outwardly, 100 percent. I think one of the things about me, for better or for worse, is I don't really have a poker face. Do you know what I mean? And it's hard for me to tell a lie or to fib. It's not a part of my constitution. And part of what I think my God-given gift is is around joy, creativity, empathy, compassion, connection, fun. Again, I have my hard times. I have my dark days. I have anxiety at times. I have depression at times. Those things are all very real, too. But in terms of my professional work in the world, what I just described is what I'm here to give, and I'm not going to allow anything to take me off track from sharing my God-given gifts.
And I have never fit into a typical mold, you know? Between the hip hop and the spirituality and the online business and doing things in very unique ways, it's not like I'm doing it to be different. Those are the only things that feel good in my soul and in my body. And I learned very early on when I tried to be the “professional” version of Marie Forleo, meaning my early childhood idea of what a successful businesswoman should look like and should sound like—which was with big shoulder pads; a power suit; tall building, corner office; big, sleek windows looking over midtown Manhattan; and who spoke with such eloquence and professionalism and so much intelligence—I basically was crying in a corner because all of my creativity was limited. It was suppressed. That's not who I am at all.
I'm the first in my family to go to college. I often make up words. I can do Papa Smurf moments where words come out twisted. You know what I mean? It makes absolutely zero sense. I have a very strange sense of humor that I like to share. I was talking with someone yesterday. They’re like, “You know, I always know I know your content. There's all this depth, and then three guys will show up in a mankini.” I’m like, “Exactly.”
AMY: So true.
MARIE: And so any time I’ve tried to not do that, I fail. And the times when I just allow myself to be the real me is not only when I feel most at home, but I have observed it's when I can make the biggest impact. So I’ve just learned through pain to stay the course and to let the chips fall as they may, even if it looks very different than what everyone else is doing.
AMY: Oh, I love that. Absolutely love it.
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Okay. So, you’ve been around in this space for a while now as an entrepreneur, the online space, marketing specifically. What changes have you seen recently, and maybe even what do you think is coming down the pipeline, that's different than what we've seen in the past?
MARIE: Yeah. It’s a great question. So, I do think there is a continuation of siloing that's happening. I think people are actually, more and more people—going back to our conversation before—I don't know if this is an intuitive sense or this is a part of my reticular activating system because I'm paying closer attention to it, so I see or sense more of it, but I do think that people are spending less time on social or recognizing some of those negative impacts.
So, we had this experience. I think it was in 2021. What was it? Like, a few days at the end of September, where Facebook and Instagram went down for a few hours. Do you remember that? So that happened, actually, when we were just launching our Time Genius program. And in that program, it was all about, “Okay. So, you're going to focus,” and people were—they’re like, “Marie, did you set this up?” I'm like, “I swear I did not.” But my reason for bringing this up is, because so many people were like, “I can't reach my customers. It's all these hours. I have all these ads and all this stuff happening,” whether it was a day or a day and a—I forget how long the actual blackout was—but it made me go, “This is why we teach people to cultivate their own opt-in mailing list and—”
MARIE: “—other things outside of social.” So it can be a mailing list, like actually mailing something like a postcard to someone. It can be text based or SMS or all of these different ways outside of typical social media where you can maintain that relationship with your customers.
So I think it is getting more challenging. In terms of staying top of mind, you have to be more effective at your copywriting. You have to be more integrous in terms of delivering value and really creating trust. You can't phone it in anymore because there's too much competition. There's too much volume out there. But if you know how to do it effectively, you will win as a business owner.
So I think there’s going to be a move away from social even more in the upcoming years. I think it's critical that people up their ability and understanding of email marketing and how to make it effective.
I also think that people are continuing to move into spaces where you don't necessarily have to have these huge, complex websites anymore. It's just so much about funnels, so much about just immediacy in terms of making an offer that's genuine. And people can turn around, in terms of a profit, very, very quickly now. I think that's extremely different than it was in the past. I think there was a longer turnaround time from when you could attract someone to your business to having to build that trust to I think we can do it pretty quickly now because people are so comfortable spending money online and making online purchases.
AMY: Yeah. I love that. I would love to see more of that. And I do, I watch people online now and how quickly they get online and how they could be successful online, in terms of whether it be courses or memberships or coaching programs or products, you can get there faster. I don't want it to sound like you and I had to walk to school uphill both ways—
AMY: —but it is different than even—
MARIE: It is different.
AMY: —thirteen, fifteen years ago. So that's exciting.
MARIE: It's 100 percent different. Yeah, I think it is, too. And I mean, you think about the technology and the tools that go along with that, right? I was telling someone, my god, my first website, I had to barter with my dad's friend to create an HTML—you know what I mean?—basic site.
MARIE: And now everything's drag and drop, and it's like, this is—
MARIE: —incredible. So for anyone out there, no matter what stage you're at, there's so much possibility for you to create speed and momentum if you understand strategy. And I think that's the really important piece. I think that people can get themselves in a lot of trouble by just staying on the surface and looking at what other people do and kind of copying it or modeling it from a surface level and go, “Oh, she does that. Amy’s doing that. I should do that.” But they don’t understand the strategy that you understand from really having that deep psychological education about how to inspire people to take action, how to have a business be sustainable. I mean, you've been doing this quite a long time, too, my friend. And that, I think, is the difference between folks like us and other people that kind of are a flash in the pan but then it's all gone in, like, a month or a year.
AMY: For sure. And I think talking about strategy is important. I want you, in a minute, to talk about B-School because I learned that strategy. My foundation was through B-School, and so that has helped me immensely to grow the business I have today.
But before we get there, I want to ask you a question about, so we're looking at your business, how you've grown this business, what it looks like in terms of your values and your principles and how you run a business, and I was thinking about how you've invested in yourself and in your business. So I've got two questions around investing. The first one would be, what if you had to start over? What if this beautiful business you created, it was gone? So you didn't have an email list. You don't have social-media accounts. You're starting from scratch. What would you, or how would you, invest your time and energy from the get-go?
MARIE: So, I think the first thing I would do is making sure I am choosing the right ideal customer.
AMY: Ah, yes.
MARIE: Choosing the customer who not only I am meant to serve, but based on my goals for the business—how much money I'd like to earn, revenue and profit, the kind of impact I want to make, the products and services, all that mix—that that particular customer is excited for the solutions I'm providing and is happy to pay for them. One of the things I've run into so often over time is, “Oh, my gosh. I love this particular market,” or “I have these great products and the services. But my ideal customer can’t afford it.” And I'm like, “Then they're not your ideal customer.”
MARIE: There are many, many different ways—kind of going back to where we started in terms of giving back—there are a myriad of ways that you can serve a particular market who you want to make an impact on that do not have to be your main primary paying customers. So you don't have to limit yourself. But when it comes to having a for-profit business, you better think and choose wisely. And people forget that they get to choose their customers. They almost think like, “Well, the customers I have…” it’s like, well, who chose them?
MARIE: You did. And you get to choose again if they're not the right fit.
MARIE: So that's number one.
And then number two, it would be about understanding their fears and frustrations and their dreams and aspirations at such a deep level that when I mirror them back to them, they would feel like I was inside their head and their hearts and that I knew them better than they knew themselves. And once I could get to that level of understanding, to make an offer, that would be my next step. I would use that understanding to create copy, to create a landing page, to create a funnel.
And I don’t know in this dream scenario if I don't have any of my relationships, but I didn't hear you say that, so I'm going to assume I still have had the relationships that I had.
AMY: We’ll give you that.
MARIE: I would go to my colleagues, my friends, and see how we can create a win-win opportunity if they reached a portion of my ideal clients or customers to get that offer in front of them in a way that would be integrous and, again, would honor the colleague and that would also honor the audience.
AMY: Oh, collaborations are everything. Especially when I was getting started, that was a huge backbone of my business, those great collaborations, either someone helped me or I helped somebody else. It goes both ways. It was incredible. So I'm glad you brought that up.
So, when I was thinking about you investing in your business, if you lost everything, I'm just curious in general, what was one of the most important investments you've ever made in yourself, whether it be professionally or personally?
MARIE: I think it comes on two levels. So the first one would probably be the fact that I took the leap in my coach training back in the day, when I was still working at Mademoiselle magazine.
AMY: Talk about that. Some people don't know that one. That's a good one.
MARIE: Oh, my gosh. So, I had started off on Wall Street, on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. I had become disillusioned with that particular world, and I was like, ah, I just heard that small voice inside say, “Marie, this isn't who you are. This isn't what you're meant to do. This isn't who you're meant to be. You got to leave.” That was terrifying for me. I don't have a trust account. I had thousands of dollars in debt after college.
And then, I took the leap of faith, though, and I found a job in the ad-sales department of the magazine Condé Nast magazine. It was gourmet, so I got to eat great snacks all day, which is awesome because I love food. But six months into that job, I kept hearing that same voice come back, like, “Marie, this isn't what you're supposed to do,” and I was literally like, “Amy, oh, my god, what's wrong with me? I'm such a hard worker. I want to make a difference. I want to earn a lot of money. I want to make a great career, but I can't stand it. I feel like I'm dying a slow death here.”
And I went to the H.R. department. I said, “Hey, can you get me a position over in the editorial side of a magazine?” I wound up at Mademoiselle. And six months went by, and that same voice came back, and I was like, literally, I felt like banging my head against the desk. I’m like, I'm just broken. I have no ability to focus. I’m such a loser. It was one of the worst times of my life.
But when I was at work one day, I was on the Internet, probably when I should have been doing something else, and I stumbled upon an article about a new profession at the time. You got to get this, 1999. That new profession was called life coaching.
AMY: That’s so wild.
MARIE: No one had ever heard of it before. This is brand-new territory, right? And I read this article, Amy, and something inside me lit up like a freakin’ Christmas tree. Now, there was part of my head, because I was twenty-three, that said, “Who the hell is going to hire a twenty-three-year-old life coach? You can't keep a job. You keep quitting. You've got tons of debt. You're totally insecure. You don't know what the hell you're doing. This is the dumbest thing ever, Marie. One more thing you're going to fail at.”
But there was another deeper part of me that was like, “You got to do this. You’ve got to do this. This is part of your life's path.” And so the investment I made in myself was signing up for that life-coach training, putting it on a credit card—again, totally in debt, right? Like, just making it happen—because I had the trust. And that introduced me to the idea, which at the time—you have to get this is over twenty years ago—that you could work from anywhere. There was no office. There was total freedom, and freedom is my highest value.
And one of the best things that—and that was Coach University that I went to. One of the best things that they did, in Coach University, was they had the track of learning how to be an effective coach, which is a craft in and of itself. But they also emphasized—and I am thankful to them for this day—it doesn't matter how great of a coach you are if you don't understand how to run a successful coaching business.
MARIE: And if you understand how to run a successful coaching business, that means that you understand how to position, how to price, how to market, how to sell. All of those things no one had ever taught me before, and I was like, of course, because if you are really good at what you do, it's not enough. It's not enough to have the arrogant position that people should just come find you because you're so good and because you work so hard and because you care so much. That's not enough. You have to go out into the marketplace, you have to get in front of the people you're meant to serve, and you need to communicate in such a way and deliver so much value that they can't wait to work with you. But that’s on you; it's not on them. And I got that message very clear. So that was the first big investment.
The second best investment was I remember that there was a marketing event. I was in New York City. I was living in a studio apartment, tiny, tiny, tiny, with my ex-fiancé, and I found out about this marketing event. And again, money that I did not have, but something in my soul said, “You have to be here.” There were all these different marketers speaking, all these different business people, and now I was understanding the power of business and marketing, but I didn't have any education. So I remember going on to some forum, back in the day, and asking for a roommate because I didn't have any money, if anyone wanted to share a room to go to this event. And I remember getting to the event, sharing a room with this sweet woman, and that was kind of the sparks that flew in my mind, where I really started to understand the incredible power of doing marketing right. And that was probably one of the best early investments I ever made in myself.
AMY: Okay. So, you did not set this up for me on purpose, but you actually just gave me a great transition, because a lot of people will learn marketing from what they see online. But very few people have invested in how to do good marketing, like full of integrity, that feels good to you, feels good to your audience. And so that is why I am such a big fan of B-School. That is why I went through B-School. I've been through B-School many, many, many times now, and it literally changed the way I do business. So I would love for you to talk about B-School. It's coming up soon. At the time that this is released, it's not open for enrollment. But talk about B-School. How many years have you been running it? Why did you create it? What is it about?
MARIE: So, I think this is our thirteenth year running B-School.
AMY: It has to be, right? Thirteen, yeah.
MARIE: I'm pretty certain it is. If it's not, it's twelve. You know, like, we're right there.
AMY: I think it's thirteen because I've been in business for thirteen years, and it was the first year that, around that first year, that I went through B-School. So I feel confident about that.
MARIE: Yes. Okay. So, the why. One of the things that I experienced when I went to this particular event and then I started trying to go to more events was, first of all, I was so grateful to just get any kind of information, but I observed something kind of interesting. There weren’t many women around. I was, like, lack of a better word, it was just a sausage party. I was like, what is going on here? You know what I mean? It was just interesting.
And many of the conferences, not all, but a lot of times, the speakers from the stage, they would talk about customers like they're nothing more than numbers at the bottom of your balance sheet. It's like, “We've got to extract as much profit as possible.” And, you know, there’s highlighters and bangs and flashes, and you're just, like, what? You know, it's like a WWE match. And I'm like, “This does not necessarily match with what my vision is for business.”
And, you know, my dad was a small-business owner, and one of the things that he taught me was you just revere your customers. You care for them. You overdeliver for them. You fall in love with them. And I didn't really hear any of that stuff in a lot of things that I was learning about.
Plus, the actual education itself, there wasn't a lot of humor at that time. There also wasn't a lot of esthetic. It was very dry. It was very technical. And I'm like, gosh, I feel like there's this much better way.
And so simultaneously, Amy, I also had my dance and fitness career. I was a Nike elite athlete, and I would often travel around the world, and I would hear from a lot of people, many of them women, who would say, “Gosh, how are you doing what you do? How do you have this successful coaching practice? And you have all these dance workshops, and you're doing this, that, and the other thing, and you don't seem crazy.” And I said, “Well, it’s because I understand sales and marketing in this online-business thing,” again, which was brand new at the time. And they said, “Well, I have my own idea to do something, but I want someone else to run the business. I'm just the creative person.” And Amy, I wanted to take those humans, shake them lovingly but enough to wake them up, and some of them I wanted to slap just a little bit because I'm like, “You're never going to make money. Why are you giving away all your power? This is not that difficult.”
And so many of them thought marketing and sales was this lowly activity, like they needed to be a used-car salesman, or they were going to need to be aggressive or manipulate people or annoy people. I'm like, “No. There's this whole other way to do things, where your heart and your soul can come through. It can be full of your best values of your humanity, like compassion and listening and empathy and understanding and connection.” And they were like, “Wait, what? I've never heard of marketing and sales talked about in this way.” I'm like, “Yes. Please come to me.”
So all of that made me realize that there was a huge opportunity to teach small-business owners like me, who don't necessarily have MBAs or Ph.D.s, who aren't sitting on stacks of cash or tons of VC money, who want to start something on their kitchen table or in their garage and do it in a way that gets them incredible results, that retains their personality and their ethics and their values, all at the same time. And so that's where B-School was born from, and it's a six-week transformative experience that people also have access to the content for life.
So we walk you through the core foundation of B-School, which is these core six modules. Module number one is all about profit clarity. It is one of the most world-shaking, transformative experiences you will go through, not only transforming what you think your business is, who you're doing business with, but how you position yourself in the marketplace to basically eliminate competition. And I feel like that's something that you and I have done very, very well.
Module two is all about websites that sell and don't suck. A lot of people spend a lot of money on their websites or they put a lot of time into it, and it's just like a pretty brochure. It's not really high converting. They don't understand the pieces that they must have, that all this other extraneous stuff just actually sends traffic in the wrong direction or stops sales. We teach you how to fix those problems very quickly.
Module number three is all about what your communication plan is, and it doesn't have to be overwhelming. You don't have to create content 24/7, 365, out of every orifice and constantly post in order to be successful. When do you have time to actually run your business?
Module number four is all about, once you have those foundational pieces in place, how do you have other people get excited about sending you traffic? How do you get that audience building and that traffic growing? We teach you both free and paid ways to do that.
Module number five is about creating products and services that practically sell themselves. This is where it gets really exciting, where you're able to communicate about what you do in such a way that people go, “Wait. What did you just say? I need to have that now. Here’s my credit card.”
The same product or service can be positioned in two very different ways. One person is going to hear crickets; the other person is going to have lined around the corner. And it's not about the quality of the product or the service. We're going to assume that you're excellent at that, but if you don't know how to price, position, and communicate, you're dead in the water.
And then, module number six is marketing, marketing, marketing. This is about understanding the deep and timeless psychology that all of us share as humans, where we understand it in such a way that we set people up to win. We can help them bypass their own procrastination. We can help them feel safe in making their purchases. We can help them feel even more satisfied about what they say yes to. But it's only if you understand all of those foundational pieces and you can communicate your marketing in such a way that this happens seamlessly, almost behind the scenes, so people don't even feel it. They just feel safe. They want to do business with you, and you create raving-fan customers.
That's the core of B-School. And then, there is so much more, as you know, with our bonus trainings, with our B-School mentor coaches. I mean, it is a virtual library of training and support that literally does not end. So I'll be quiet there because I know I said a lot, but that's a bit about the nutshell of B-School.
AMY: I'm so glad you walked through it, because I'm sure a lot of people listening have heard about B-School but have never enrolled in it. And knowing here is the foundation—absolutely the foundation I followed to build the business I have today, and I go back to it again and again. I mean, you talk about email marketing, you talk about social media and different ways to put yourself out there, and you talk about funnels and products and programs and all of that. But what I love most is that you are going to insist that people are building businesses they love. Like you said earlier in the interview about choice, you're choosing your audience. You're choosing the kind of business you want to create. And everyone knows my story who's listening here that the first two years of building my business, I built a business I hated, and so knowing that you teach people how to build a business they love, that’s sustainable, there's a reason you're here twenty-plus years later.
AMY: And so that’s, to me, the best part about B-School.
MARIE: Yeah. And we have very tactical tools that will help you identify for yourself what you are doing in your business that's not only making you miserable, but not making you money. So it's not just about the feel-good things, and it's not just about kind of hard exercises. You're going to look at hard numbers. You're going to compare things. You're going to do some strategic exercises that you can see very clearly for yourself what changes you need to make.
And I will tell you over time—and Amy, you know this as well as I do—I've seen people cut their hours, sometimes in half, if not quarter, and make double and triple the money. I've seen people remove things from their business that weren't working, that they were trying to force, and then open them up to these huge new opportunities. We've also had B-Schoolers come back who had wildly successful businesses, and then a life transition happened, and they're like, “I want to do this again and reinvent myself and create a whole other business.”
And I think the thing that's different, in addition to what you've said, is we teach timeless principles. If you're looking for the latest on algorithms in Instagram, don't come to us. That's not what I'm going to teach you, right? If you're looking for the late—“Oh, my god. What am I going to put in my YouTube?” I don't give a crap. That's not what we're going to teach you. We teach, we give you the curriculum. It's not that that stuff is unnecessary, but if you don't have the foundational pieces, you're missing out. None of the little top-level tweaks are going to give you those big paydays, I promise. And it's certainly not going to create the confidence in you and the ability to thrive no matter what's going on in the marketplace, no matter how the tools or technology changes.
That's why I'm so confident in everything that I do. I'm like, look, this algorithm, that one, this platform, that one, I've been around twenty-something years. I've seen all kinds of things change, and they will continue to. But the reason I thrive is what you said: not only have we built a business that we love, but, also, we understand the deeper underpinnings so we can ride all those changes, because we understand human psychology. And that's what most people are missing.
AMY: Absolutely. B-School is about learning these strategies, these modern marketing strategies that are timeless, and that's probably one of the things I love most about the program.
But here's what's really cool. You just released, just yesterday, a training series that's absolutely free for people to engage in right away. They don't have to wait, even though the doors to B-Sschool are not open yet. Tell me about this free video series.
MARIE: Yeah. The free video series. It's a three-part series, and what we wanted to do was to really give people even a basic-level foundation about the core six pillars of B-School to help them self-identify what pieces they have in place, and then where they can actually start taking action today to start building or growing the business of their dreams.
And so in the first video, we're, really, walking you through that six-pillar map and helping you find where you are so you can map out where you can go.
In the second video, we're teaching you some really good understandings about marketing and about the psychology and the mindset that we invite you to adopt if you want to thrive, no matter what's happening in the marketplace. And if anyone listening has any bit of resistance towards sales and marketing, like either you think you're not good at it, it's too hard, it's slimy, it's aggressive, you don't want to be like all those other people, please, for the love of all things holy, pay attention to video number two, because I guarantee you I will shift and change your understanding of marketing together.
And then in video number three, we kind of tackle head on all of the most common limiting beliefs and excuses that all of us can use to hold ourselves back from being the entrepreneurs that we are meant to be. All of the fears, all of the concerns, all of the things that we can use to keep ourselves stuck and we just, again, go at them head on, peel them away so you can see the truth of what you're really capable of.
So I would recommend people go through that series fully. You will get so much value out of it. Even if you never do B-School, you will walk away with an action-packed, personalized list of what you can do better to start or grow your business in a way that's going to be profoundly profitable and sustainable and joyful for you.
AMY: Absolutely. So it just released. It is only for a limited time. It's absolutely free.
AMY: So amyporterfield.com/marie, that's where you need to go. Amyporterfield.com/marie. Go there right now. Sign up. You can get started right away. Video one is available for you. But again, it's only for a limited time, so do not wait. I'm really excited for everyone to take advantage of this free video series.
Okay. Before I let you go, something new—you've been on the podcast so many times, but I've never done this before—something new that we're doing with our guests is we're doing rapid-fire questions. So I've got five rapid-fire questions for you. Are you ready?
MARIE: I'm ready.
AMY: Okay. Question number one, who is someone that's inspiring you at the moment, and why?
MARIE: Okay. I just came back from a Joe Dispenza event, and he teaches a lot of meditation, which I'm a huge meditation fan. And the reason that he inspires me, because I was just in an experience with him, and he really made so much of the work not about him. He made it about you as the participant and really empowered people to be in charge of their own success, and I respect that a lot.
AMY: Be in charge of their own success. Yes.
Okay. What's one daily habit you can't go through your day without?
AMY: So, I didn't know that about you. So you mediate every day.
MARIE: Yeah. Well, I'm someone who has an ADHD brain, right? So it can be challenging sometimes. And I've found meditation to be one of the key things, that and movement and exercise, that from a mental and emotional standpoint is what keeps me healthy. Everything else, you know, whatever, sometimes—not that I forget to eat, but, you know, it can go a couple of hours. But meditation and exercise, if those ever slip off, I can feel it big time.
AMY: Oh, yeah. That's fantastic.
Okay. What is the best advice you've ever received when you were first starting your business?
MARIE: Mm. I think, really, that it goes back to kind of my ethos. It doesn't matter how great your product or your service is, but if you are unwilling to market the bejesus out of it, you are stealing from those who need you most. So that's my interpretation of the advice that I was given, that it's just, like, look, it don't matter how good you are, but if you don't know marketing and you can't execute on it, you're going to be sitting, holding your hands up and going, why isn't anyone coming to me?
Okay. So, what is one piece of advice that you would give to someone in their early stages of their business as they build it?
MARIE: Fall in love with marketing and never stop educating yourself on the subject.
AMY: Ah, yes.
MARIE: Just assume you’re going to produce a great product, and you're going to work at that product or that service. But marketing is, if not more, but definitely equally as important to your craft.
AMY: Okay. That's a good one.
Okay. The final question, I'm so curious what you're going to say. I’m glad no one asked me this question. I have no idea how I would answer it. But I know you can figure this one out. If you could have one song be the soundtrack to your life at the moment, what would it be?
MARIE: Oh, easy. I might not get the name of the—I don't know who actually does it, but it's, “Let's get down. Let's get down to business.”
AMY: Okay. That is one million percent your song.
MARIE: It's totally my song. And it makes me feel like I'm back in the ‘90s, in Miami, in the best way possible, dancing in a club at, like, 4:30 a.m. And then, going to go out and then going to go back to the club. So, “Let’s get down to business.” I will listen to it all day, every day, all year.
AMY: Okay. That’s fantastic. It’s absolutely perfect.
Marie, I cannot thank you enough. This has been such a treat to have you back on the show. I could talk to you for hours and hours and hours, and I always learn something new, and I feel like I know so much about you already. So I'm so glad you came on the show again. Thank you so much. I cannot wait for my audience to dive into your free training series, and, hopefully, a lot of people are going to be joining B-School because it is the program that I literally recommend every single year at this time. So I couldn't be more proud to tell people about B-School. So thank you so very much for being here.
MARIE: Thanks for having me on, Amy. Love ya all.
AMY: Love ya.
Okay. I think I know you pretty well, my friend. And I think you're a sucker for Marie content, just like I am. Like, who isn't, right? What I love about Marie is she brings value to the table no matter what. I've never known her not to. She doesn't waste our time, she gets right to it, and she delivers insight that we can apply to our lives right away.
I think my favorite part was learning about how serious she takes meditation. I thought that was really cool. And I learned a little bit more about her in terms of her boundaries around social media. I knew a little of that, but it goes deeper than I thought, and I really respect that.
Now let's have some fun. I want you to go grab her three-part video series. Again, it's amyporterfield.com/marie. Easy as that. Amyporterfield.com/marie. Type it in your browser right now. Sign up for the video series. You're also going to get some resources and worksheets that go along with her videos. I'm telling you, this is a free training that you'll walk away from thinking, “Whoa, I would have paid for that.” It's that good. So go check out her free video series before it's too late. You are going to love it.
All right. So, I hope you enjoyed this conversation as much as I have. And I'll see you same time, same place, next week. Bye for now.