Transcript: The 3 Crucial Stages of an Online Business

February 5, 2015

AMY PORTERFIELD: Hey there, Amy here. Welcome to another edition of the Online Marketing Made Easy Podcast. Today’s episode is extra special because I’m introducing some brand new content that I’ve been working on for a while. 

The content is focused around the three stages of your online business. I’ve been working on this content because my goal is to help you spend your time more strategically, spend your money more strategically, and make sure you know when to work on a project and what to work on depending on where you are at specifically in your business. 

If I had a blueprint like this when I was just starting out, I know for a fact I would have spent my time differently, my money differently, and I would have seen results more quickly. The thing is, I really started to create this content because I wanted to give you more confidence. 

It’s no secret that we all become more confident in our business when we know what we are doing is the right thing to do, it’s right for us, it’s right for our audience, and it’s getting results. 

When you’re building a business there are a few things that come up that you don’t know what you don’t know. So I want to help you fill in some of those blanks as well and really eliminate some of the stress and overwhelm you have as you are building your online business. 

Today we are actually going to just review the stages and I’m going to make sure you understand what each stage looks like so you can identify yourself in the specific stage where you currently are. 

Here’s the deal, in the coming months I’m going to drill down on these stages even more. In each stage there are actually different levels. There are specific marketing strategies that you must focus on in order to build a solid foundation for your business and move on into the next stage. You might be in the monetization stage now but you might have missed four or five things in that start-up stage that will really help you increase your revenue in the monetization stage. 

There are definitely different things you should be doing and I’ll explain what those things are and why you should be doing them to get bigger results in your online business. That’s actually coming in the coming months. 

But, like I said, for today we are going to drill down on these stages and really help you understand what they look like and what’s most important for each stage. 

To help me go through these stages I’ve invited my great friend and mentor, Marie Forleo, to actually offer insight and her feedback based on her own experience of going through these different stages. Over the years she  has  built  a  multi-million dollar business. 

But there was a time when she was deep in the trenches starting her business, list building, figuring out programs and products, figuring out how to start a blog, what to do on video. All of that happened during the course of growing her business, of course. She’s going to shed some light on that. 

If you don’t know Marie, Marie was actually named by Oprah as a thought leader for the next generation and one of INC’s 500 fastest growing companies in 2014. She has a pretty big mission for her business. Everything she does is to help you realize your greatest potential and use your unique talents to change the world. 

She teaches through her award-winning show, Marie TV, and also has an extremely popular training program called B School. I invested in the very first B School program and it truly shaped the success of my business. That’s why I’m so excited to bring Marie to you today because she can offer so much insight and feedback in terms of what these stages look like and how to navigate through them gracefully. 

In addition to that, today Marie just launched a free video mini training series all about building your business online. A lot of the things we are going to talk about, the stages of your business, you can see in the content she shares in this free mini training series. 

You can get it at It’s free. It’s a three-part mini training session all about building your online business. It’s only up for a limited 

time so definitely make sure to sign up so you can get the free mini series before it comes down. 

Now it’s time to jump into the interview so we can investigate these three stages of your online business and offer some insight and tips to help you make a bigger impact in all you do. Here we go. 

Marie, thanks so much for being here again. I am so excited you’re here. 

Marie Forleo: Oh, I’m honored to be back for a return. Thank you for having me. 

Amy: This is going to be awesome because we’re doing things a little bit differently. As I mentioned in the intro, we are diving into these three stages of an online business. But, before we dive in I want you to share with people, just in case there are a few people who are new to you and your business, tell us a little bit about what you do in your business today. 

Marie: My business is all about helping people reach  their  greatest  potential  and really use their gifts to change the world. Whether that means learning how to start or grow a business, whether they want to make a major change in their career, or their relationship, or their lifestyle, or they just want to bring more soul and passion and fun to everything they do, my business is all about giving people the tools and strategies and resources to create real and lasting change and make those things happen. 

Amy: You do that how? 

Marie: We have our show, which I love. It’s a weekly online show. It’s actually an award- winning show. It’s called Marie TV. Every single week we have a new video where I A some Qs, meaning people ask some questions about how to get things done in their life and we give them the best answers we can. 

We have incredible guests that come one because obviously I don’t know everything, no one in the world knows everything, so we try to find really smart people with awesome ideas that can really create change. We also do that through our newsletter, through social media, and of course, we have this incredible program called B School. 

It is an online business school for modern entrepreneurs. It really gives people concrete tools and a system. If they have a gift, if they have a business, or have a concrete idea and they want to use the modern tools of entrepreneurship like the 

internet and social media and being able to use all of this digital communication to get their business, products, or ideas out there and do it in a way that is classy, elegant, and full of heart and soul and full of personality, we show them how to do it. 

Amy: I’ve been through B School a few times now. So we’re going to talk about that a little bit today. But the reason I chose these three stages of business for us to kind of dive into is because what you teach in B School is directly related. A lot of people that go through B School are usually in one of these three stages, probably stage one or two, so they can really relate to what you are teaching because they are  in  the trenches right now. 

I thought that would be a perfect fit there. Before we go any further, you’ve got to share that stat. I don’t know where I saw it but it was something about the kind of traffic Marie TV is driving versus New York Times. 

Marie:  Oh yeah, actually that is a really fun thing. It was just the other day, there are two people in the world, two of my personal heroes, Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl Wudunn. They are the co-authors of two bestselling books, Half the Sky and A Path of Peers. They are also Pulitzer Prize winning journalists and they are amazing. 

I was at the NASDAQ yesterday helping Sheryl ring in the start of the bell and I was there because we had done an interview with them on Marie TV and their PR team came up to me and said, “Thank you so much for all of your support. Everybody on our team loves you.” Then they said they ran their social media reports and when the book A Path of Peers there was a spread on it in the New York Times and when we looked at all of the numbers my interview drove way more traffic, a ton more engagement, than a piece in the New York Times. 

I told them they needed to write that down and sent it to me in writing. It is really interesting and made me really proud because we have been doing our show for years. It started off with me just looking into the webcam. It has evolved and has grown over time. But it really makes me proud because when everyday people like you, and everybody listening right now, want to make a difference and get a message or idea out there you don’t have to be major media. 

In fact, the little people, the people like me are crushing major media when it comes to impact and engagement and reach. I thought that was really, really exciting. 

Amy: That is so exciting. I love to hear that. It speaks volumes. So congratulations on that. It is so well deserved and is just an exciting stat to throw out there. 

We’re going to dive into these stages. Stage one is the start-up stage. I’m going paint a picture about what this stage looks like and then we are going to dive into what Marie’s business looked like when she was in this stage. As I mentioned earlier, Marie’s business is highly evolved from where she started and it is extremely successful. 

She has done all of this online so she is a perfect example of what a business can do through the different stages. That is why I wanted to do this today. 

So here’s what the start-up stage looks like. During the start-up stage you are testing the waters a bit. You have started to create a viable online business based on the ideas, passions, and skills you have. What is great about this stage is that you have some flexibility for trial and error because there is no doubt you will mess up a lot in this stage. And that’s okay. 

So you are feeling your way in the dark at times and maybe fumbling a bit. So this stage is all about stamina and hustle and grit. You are really in the trenches. You are just starting out. You are the primary source of cash and energy so you are doing it all. During this stage you are focusing on understanding your target audience. You are creating content, you are building your email list. You are networking. This stage is all about adding value, giving more than you are asking for in return. 

This is a pivotal time because your success here will determine if you can move into that coveted second stage which is all about cash flow, consistent cash flow. We will get there in the second stage. 

Knowing that we all go through this first start-up stage, Marie tell us a little bit about what your business looked like during this stage. 

Marie: Oh goodness. Amy, I was such a hot mess. When I started, my start-up stage was messy, like most people’s. I was scared. I was running completely on passion and drive, not on experience and certainly not on education. I was about 23 years old. I wanted to start my own life coaching practice which, again, at the time it was so interesting because I was rolling my eyes at myself. I was skeptical of myself and asking who was going to hire a 23-year-old life coach. But at the same time I couldn’t’ deny that this was something that felt more right than anything I had done before 

from working on Wall Street to working in a magazine and having all of these big, prestigious jobs. 

I was bartending many, many nights a week. I was a personal assistant to people. I would take any odd jobs I could all around the clock so that most of the time during the day I could focus on figuring out what the heck  building  a  business  actually meant. How do you do this? How do you put all of these things together? 

For me, I was terribly insecure about my young age so I was also dealing with some of the emotional hurtles of not believing in myself,  not  thinking  I  could  do  it,  not thinking I had anything valuable to share. It wasn’t just the technical aspect of what I need to do, step A, step B, step C in order to get money in the door and to make this thing real, but also all of those psychological mind set hurtles that many of us struggle with when we are starting a business. 

Those were some of my biggest challenges. As a life coach getting down to brass tacks, I wanted to figure out how to work with people who I could create real results in their lives. At that time I was trying to hook my friends and not even have paper coaching. I just wanted to coach them for free. I told them I would coach their dog, I would coach their grandma, just get me people I can work with so I could feel confident, not just from textbook learning but from real world experience. 

I was messy. I was all over the place but I was constantly moving. 

Amy: I think you make so many great points here. Two really stand out to me because, obviously, I went through this stage as well. One is that you do a lot of stuff for free to get the experience and to build up those testimonials and social proof. You don’t want to do everything for free, of course, but this is the time that you are offering yourself to people so that you can get that experience. So that’s one thing I am glad you brought up. 

Another thing is the mindset. The mindset is crucial in every stage but it really plays a big part in stage one because that mindset could be telling you this is too hard, go back to corporate. It’s easier to get a full paying job and have somebody else take care of the insurance, jump ship fast. That voice could come in your head really quickly. 

Marie: Yes, definitely. I think one of the advantages I had was because I graduated school early and got out there and had the job on Wall Street, I had the prestigious jobs at magazines, I had done a couple of things in the “corporate stable world” so I 

figured out after a few years that I could not do that. I was not meant to sit at a desk or stand on a floor. 

I knew I wasn’t meant to work for anyone else. That was really the thing that drove me past all of those emotional and psychological hurtles that we all face. I knew I had to make this work because I tried the other route and that just isn’t me. This was just not going to cut it. 

Amy: I think so many people listening can relate because I was there for sure. I never wanted to turn back. And you took a huge risk so you really wanted to feel confident in the fact that you could do this. So there are a lot of reasons that are also pushing you forward. 

There are a lot of doubts and fears that come in, but those voices in your head telling you, “You can do this, this is a must, you are going to do this,” is a really loud voice as well. I think that is what keeps us moving into stage two. 

Give me some insights here. From your own experience and the fact that you’ve touched millions and millions of lives in terms of people that are entrepreneurs and small business owners, when you are in stage one what matters most? 

Marie: Really, it is discipline and developing habits. I am so grateful that in my early coach training one of the things they cemented into our minds was the importance of an email newsletter. You’ve got a gap. 

This was back in the early 2000s, like 2001, where people would look at an email newsletter and wonder what it was. They would look at them like they were alien. No one had them. It was insane. 

I remember developing the habit of creating consistent content. Another lucky thing that happened for me, social media did not exist when I was starting my business. That was actually a really, really good thing because I trained myself. I had bartending jobs, I was getting practice with coaching clients. I was doing assistant jobs. I was going to seminars and was trying to get trained up. I was going to Toastmasters to try to learn how to public speak. 

I was doing all of these things and I realized that if I didn’t create content consistently my business was never going to get off the ground. So that is something I think is so 

crucial. It is weird because, Amy, when you are in the start-up phase you can also feel frustrated because there is so much pulling at your attention. 

You’ve got to wear a million hats to get everything going. But one of the things you do have to train yourself to do is be disciplined enough to do the things that matter the most given what your business is. If you are running any kind of online business, consistently publishing content has to be one of your disciplines. It just has to be. 

If you are not able to really train yourself to set deadlines and keep them and to keep your word with yourself you will never get to stage two. 

Amy: That’s so important. This is something I really struggled with in the beginning, consistently. Because I was saying yes to everything. I thought every opportunity that came my way was the next big thing, or could be, so I couldn’t say no. 

That pulled me in so many directions that I  wasn’t  consistent  with  my  content creation and I struggled with that. Let’s talk about some of those danger  zones because I know this is one of the danger zones. I wasn’t sure what was important yet. So that really started to send me down some wrong paths. Do you know what I’m talking about there? 

Marie: Oh yes, absolutely. These are some of the danger zones of stage one. Again, I made all of these mistakes ten times. One of the biggest mistakes is called creative cul-de-sac acts. I call them cul-de-sacs because you are driving down the street and there is a little circle at the end and you just have to turn around. 

I would always think of myself like this when I was considering the following ideas: What’s my elevator pitch? What should I say to people when I meet them and they ask me what I do? 

Just to give people a little context here, Amy, I have always called myself the multi- passionate entrepreneur because, while I was passionate about life coaching, I was also passionate about business and marketing and spirituality and fitness and dance and hip hop. So there were so many things I wanted to do early on in my career that figuring out how to get it all into one sentence would stress me out. 

I remember early on with my relationship with Josh, my fiancé, the love of my life, I remember spending times walking on the beach which was supposed to be so 

relaxing but I would just cry to him, “But I don’t know how to explain what I do when someone asks me what I do.” 

What I should name my business, because I was young and insecure about that, I thought if I chose some corporate kind of name with a logo that would somehow make me seem and appear more professional. Or maybe I should name my business myself because that’s the only thing that’s consistent about me. 

There are creative cul-de-sacs that all of us get stuck in and we can literally waste hours and days and months without making a decision and without moving ahead or doing things that truly matter. 

Amy: That’s so true. Before I took B School, I didn’t realize that these even existed. But now when I train my students and they say they don’t know what the logo should look like or even things like their website, they feel like they should change the branding, or whatever, and I am wondering if they have an email list yet, do they have consistent content that is going out. 

I don’t even want to hear those problems just yet. There is a time and place for it but there are so many things that are so much more important in that stage one. 

Marie: Yes. That is so, so true. Here’s the reason why, when you are putting out consistent content and building an email list you are moving things  forward  that actually matter. When you create content if something bombs you will figure out that nobody responded to that or you didn’t receive any joy creating that content, you need to pivot a little bit and move ahead and evolve yourself. 

When you actually have people to engage with on your email list, you’ve got five people who are listening to you, that’s awesome. That’s how you get to ten. That’s how you get to 100, to 1,000, to 100,000. If you never start those things and are tinkering around with pixels on a screen wondering if something should be magenta or hot pink. I think, “Oh my god, stop it.” 

The other thing that is a danger zone to look out for, especially when you are first starting out (though it does plague people through every stage of business), is comparing. It is so easy to see people you admire that may have a business, a brand that may have a success level that you would also like to experience. You can get down on yourself thinking they have done it already and there is no room for you. You think you will never get there. 

Something seems like light years away and then you waste so much time and energy and emotion and passion being down on yourself rather than staying in your own lane and realizing if someone else is successful that means it is possible. 

Amy: Yes, definitely. 

Marie: Use that as an inspiration and think about it, in our particular industry, I’ll talk about my industry for a moment, there is Oprah, someone I love and admire and have had the great fortune to meet a few times and to work with her team. There is Tony Robbins. There are all of these incredible people that are out there that have done brilliant work in the world. 

That just means that it is possible for more people to do it. It doesn’t mean they have the market cornered or they are the only voices that matter, not at all. You need a cacophony of voices. You need all kinds of people out there. That’s what makes the world great. 

Amy: That is so true. I am so glad you brought that up because I do think this is something that plagues probably every stage. It happens most in stage one and can be most dangerous in stage one because you are developing yourself and it’s a time when you compare yourself to other people and then there is a danger of copying what other people are doing. 

Marie: Yes. 

Amy: That comes up a lot, right? 

Marie: Oh my goodness. That’s big. I also want to state that is natural in  many respects. Here’s the deal. When I was little, I studied fine art. In fact, I thought I was going to be an animator for Disney or a fashion designer. Those were two of the things when I was growing up as a little girl that I thought I was going to wind up doing for my career when I grew up. 

One of the things you often do as a beginning artist, many of us do it as kids whether we realize it or not, is you see something and you copy it. You see a drawing or you want to trace the lines. You want to follow along and that is the way many of us begin to learn. 

There is nothing wrong with studying people we love. There is nothing wrong with looking at how others do what they do and apprentice on some level, even if it is just on a mental level. But what we want to be aware of is not copying other people’s stuff. We don’t want to plagiarize and you don’t want to try to be someone else because they are the best them they can be. You can just use their essence to inspire the best you that you can be. 

This is definitely not a black and white area. But I think for us to be able to be conscious of it and to check yourself before you wreck yourself when it comes to content creation or branding or how you position you in the world you can start to feel from within whether or not you are parroting someone or you are really saying, “Wow that inspired me, I loved their confidence. I love their energy. I’m going to bring energy to what I do.” That is a very different thing. 

Amy: And I think you know in your gut. I love the word “inspiration.” That’s how we want to look at other people’s businesses and what they are doing, inspiration. A good friend of mine, Melanie Duncan, always says something that I am going to get wrong but she says something on the lines of, “You can never compare the back end of your business to the front end of somebody else’s business because you never get a real picture as to what’s going on behind the scenes.” 

Just like you said, stay in your own lane. I think that’s the safest place to be, especially in stage one. 

Marie: Yes, for sure. The other thing that comes from that too is you are going to get to figure out what makes you unique and you are really going to be able to leverage that. For me one of the things that just comes naturally, it is a part of who I am and who I’ve always been since I popped out of the womb, I am silly and goofy and irreverent. I’m not the most politically correct person all of the time. I am not the most buttoned up, perfect form on every single thing I say. I don’t always use correct grammar. But I have a really weird sense of humor and personality and that comes out. 

By the way, it’s one of the things that sets us apart. It is not put on. It literally is an extension of who I am as a human being. 

Amy: Yes. So true. And it comes out very, very clearly in all of the Marie TV videos. I’ll make sure to link to your videos because it’s very obvious who you are in those videos and I love that about you. 

The last thing I will say about stage one is this is the stage, in my opinion, you have to tell me what you think, Marie, but this is the stage where, if you have a little money put to the side, you invest it in training such as online education or different training programs or different classes you really need to really understand how to be an entrepreneur. 

Marie: Oh my goodness, yes. Hallelujah, yes. One of the reasons I worked so hard wasn’t just to fund my business and save up a couple of hundred bucks to  get someone to build a very simple website for me. I was also working really hard to fund my own self education as an entrepreneur. I signed up for online classes. I would get myself to seminars. I would buy every educational product that I felt called to buy because I wanted to learn how to market. 

I wanted to understand how to write effective sales copy, this copy,  that  copy.  I wanted to understand how to be a great public speaker if I could. I wanted to understand what it meant to really run a business, all of the things I needed to do. I was passionate. I still am passionate. I consider myself a life-long learner. 

But you are absolutely right, this is the time to invest in yourself, invest in your own education because, honestly, most schools don’t teach this. Even people that come out with an MBA, we’ve had many people that have MBAs and PhDs that actually go through B School and tell us it is worth more than they spent in years in a highly academic environment because it is so much more practical and actual. 

I’m not just saying that about my program. There are many great educational programs out there and many great people you can learn from if you take the time and money and energy to invest. 

Amy:  I agree. I still invest in a lot of online training program. I am more selective now but I remember my first year I probably purchased a new one every single month and poured into it as much as I could. That is truly how I got educated to run this business so I’m a huge fan of investing in those training programs. 

So we are moving on to stage two which is my favorite stage. That is the monetization stage. That’s the stage where I am now. I feel Marie is in stage three but let me break the monetization down for you and then I want Marie to kind of share what her business looked like during this stage. 

Just remember that you can have one foot in one stage and another foot in another stage but you are usually spending more time in one versus the other. You can also be moving into one stage but you are not really advanced in that stage yet but you are spending more time there recently. I have probably been in this stage for a good two years but I am still spending time here. Just know that this is very fluid but there are very specific things that happen in each stage. 

In this stage you are making a profit. You have finally cracked the code and figured out how to monetize consistently. This is where you streamline your product offerings. You do more of what is already working and you focus on the few peak components that are actually generating revenue. 

In the advanced stages of monetization you start to optimize what is already working for you. You know what works, you’ve proven it works, and now you have more freedom in terms of creativity and support and cash to optimize what you’ve created. Again, there are more advanced levels in this stage. 

With this stage, when you are making money, tell me Marie, what did your business look like when you first started down in this stage? 

Marie: It was so exciting, Amy. 

Amy: It is, right? 

Marie: Oh my goodness. The very first kind of group program I put together was something called Productivity Secrets For Creative Entrepreneurs. This was years ago. It was my first time that I decided I would teach people en masse and I was excited about it. I remember getting all of the people on the line, which was huge for me. 

Quite honestly, when 40 people get together for anyone I am clapping because that is an amazing feat. It was so awesome to realize I had so much to share and that people wanted to pay attention. I recognized if I did certain things I could turn  it  into  a physical product and I just started cranking out coaching programs. 

I started recognizing the power of leverage. I have to tell you Amy, at my first stage of monetization I was still bartending a ton. 

Amy: That’s interesting. Okay. 

Marie: I still had side gigs. So I have always been the turtle. People may look at me and think I am the rabbit. I am not, I am the turtle. I am the girl who takes it slow, methodically, strategically, and I build over time. 

When I was doing some of my best monetization work I still had my bartending going and I still had some fitness stuff going. I was beginning to hire my first assistants because I realized I couldn’t handle customer service and handle the content creation and the tech and all of that stuff. So that’s when I realized I needed it to be more than just me. 

Some of the things I did during that stage was testing different content ideas and figuring out whether I wanted to have something last two months. I did a program in this stage that was 12 months long. I realized that felt like too much for me and I wanted to cut it back to ten months. 

There was a lot of experimentation that was happening but it was all profitable and it was all great. I was also learning, again, how to be a manager, how to be a leader. By the way, I don’t consider myself perfect by any means, but I really sucked as a manager and a delegator when I first started out because I was so used to doing everything myself. I am such a perfectionist that I didn’t want to let anything go. 

Amy: I’ll bet some people are shaking their heads and saying, “Amen, sing it sister.” They get it. 

Marie: For me, some of my biggest challenges during this stage were scheduling things out and figuring out how I was going to do it all. I felt like a plate spinner. I had tons and tons of things in the air and as the profit continued to build and as I started to get more sophisticated I started to gain confidence. 

It was during this stage when I had the confidence to do my first big live event. I started to build out mentorship programs. There was a program we had called Adventure Mastermind which was a beautiful membership program that involved one-on-one coaching and group work and traveling to these amazing locations and doing these crazy adventures from doing music videos to fitness classes and doing all kinds of fun things. It was really awesome. It was the first time in my life I remember charging $15,000 to participate in this particular program. 

I knew from an integrity standpoint that I would deliver at least ten times more value if not 20 to 50 more value. 

Amy: For sure. 

Marie: But, from an exterior standpoint, charging $15,000? I am a girl that came from very, very, very meager beginnings. So I was having an internal conflict with myself whether I could really charge that and whether I was really worth it. All of those things kind of happen. 

There is a lot of growth that happens in the monetization stage and a lot of figuring out where your sweet spot is, what you are great at, how you can serve people the best. 

Amy: When you are in this stage there are a lot of different things going on, so I have a lot of questions for you. The first question would be: Where do you think you should put your focus? Before, in stage one we were talking about putting our focus on discipline and developing habits. Now that we are in stage two what would you say our focus should be? 

Marie: This is where you start getting into really learning how to delegate,  really learning how to organize yourself, and really starting to set visions and goals for yourself and your company. These things are related. Here’s why: Most of us start off as a one-woman or one-man show. We have everything in our head, we are doing everything, and maybe we hire out little freelance jobs here and there. But we are kind of running the whole ship from our minds. 

Once your business starts to expand we have to break the habit of having everything in your own head. You have to get it down on paper and you have to articulate your vision very clearly so that you can delegate effectively. You need people on your team to see the vision of where the company is going so that they can pick up the ball and help you get there. 

It’s also a really good habit to not expect people around you to be mind readers. That’s one of the mistakes most of us make. We feel they just don’t get it. They are just not doing it. But wait a minute, have you really taken the time to write down exactly what you want, why you want it, why it’s important so they can execute at the highest levels possible. 

This is what it really takes to transition yourself from a one-person show into having a thriving company and a thriving team. When you write down those visions and goals 

for the next 12, 24, to 36 months this allows you to start forecasting out and really taking that money you’re making and thinking about new hires, to start building up a marketing schedule. 

In the beginning, most of us, rightfully so are doing it by the seat of our pants. We’re not thinking ahead to promotions that may happen six to nine months from now and then rebuilding out. If we are doing a promotion in six to nine months we have to start thinking about a strategy now, the creative behind it, deciding if we need to book a video crew. 

What are the things that need to happen so that I’m not stressed out and can actually have a life while I’m building this business. 

Amy: So true. You did something interesting and I’m pretty sure you did it during this monetization stage. You actually stopped doing a bunch of things. I was part of your Adventure Mastermind for two years. It was the best experience ever. Then you decided not to do it anymore a few years after I had not been doing it. My point being, where did those decisions come from and why did they happen here? 

Marie: I think this is in that latter stage of monetization. Once things are cooking, once everything is coming in and it’s slowing, what I started to realize was how full my plate was so I had to relook at my own vision, again get in touch with what the impact is I wanted to make in the world, and what the long-term game was. 

For me, I knew since I started the business that I wanted to impact the most people I possibly could. I wanted to make a tremendous difference to as many people as I could with the most integrity. 

When I sat down and really did an analysis of how I was spending my time, where the money was coming from in my business, and the profitability of each financial income stream I started to see some really important things, Amy. I realized no matter how much I loved that Adventure Mastermind program there was a 20 or 21 limit in that program each year. 

I also had a live event. Because I am neurotic and am a control freak I always like to have my live event in a certain environment. I didn’t particularly want my live events in big hotel ballrooms because I had a vision for them being in these environments that were intimate and theatrical. You remember the events. 

Amy: They were amazing. 

Marie: Yes, they were really, really special. So I looked at that and saw that there were 100s of people coming to the event. I could live stream but that would kind of degrade from some of the experience that I wanted. I decided to look at a program like B School. Wow! We are affecting tens of thousands of lives and it’s a high level, high brand experience and I really recognized if I wanted to reach the goal of impacting millions of lives in my lifetime I could not be spending all of this time on revenue streams that eat up so much time, have limited profitability, and limited impact. 

So I killed off a couple of million dollars a year in revenue when I killed off those offerings in order to focus on excellence and to reach my vision and my goal both from a financial standpoint but, more importantly, from an impact and lifestyle standpoint. 

Amy: It had to have been a hard decision. It wasn’t easy, right? 

Marie: Of course. 

Amy: Okay. 

Marie: No, of course it wasn’t easy. But this is the thing that happens in  the monetization stage, you really take the time and look at what you are doing. I think one of the things that happens for all of us as entrepreneurs, we are moving so fast everyday. We are going from the moment we get up in the morning until 11 or 12 at night and the next day we get up and do the same. 

On weekends we are so exhausted we need to party or just check out for a little bit and not think about it and you just do the same thing when Monday comes again. But it’s really important in the monetization stage to stop and analyze and really know your numbers. Ask yourself if something is the wisest way to reach your long- term vision and goals. 

As you remember, that’s where we started off when we started talking about this stage. What do you want? Where do you want to go in the next 12, 24, or 36 months? Are your actions lining you up to get there? 

I realized mine weren’t. So I had to make some pretty big changes. 

Amy: So important. Such valuable tips there. One more thing I will say about this stage and that is that you mentioned earlier when you started into the monetization stage you were still bartending. You were still taking on random clients here and there to do a bunch of different things in order to make money. But, when did you know you had to let go of all of that because it was time to focus on what matters most? 

Marie: That’s a great question. Again, I was one of those people who had side jobs for years. People complain about their day job, I thought, “Honey, don’t talk to me about that because I’ve done that for a long, long time.” 

What essentially happened was I got to a place where my fitness and dance career was taking off. I was doing a lot of fitness DVDs. If you go to Wal-Mart or Target you can still see me, really cheesy, on covers. 

Amy: Cracks me up! 

Marie: Oh my god. It’s hilarious. I have a huge cheesy smile and a really bad outfit. But awesome dance moves. 

Amy: It’s awesome. 

Marie: I was bartending and I had my coaching business and all of these programs. I recognized if I wanted to make the next leap (I think all of us have that inner voice that tells us something needs to change, it’s time to go to the next level). I kept hearing that voice and realized I was making enough. I knew it would be a leap of faith. I knew it was scary but I told myself if everything falls to shit (excuse  my language) I can always go back and get a bartending job. I will pay my bills and will not be homeless. I will make this work. 

But I have to reach my full potential and that means letting go of things that were no longer working for me. So I cut off working in a fitness capacity and dance capacity. That was really sad. It was really hard because it’s a huge part of my identity. But I knew it wouldn’t go away forever. I would just not be at the studio every week teaching 40 to 50 people. 

I also let go of the bartending gigs and said, “I’ve got this on my own.” It was a tough decision but it was obviously one of the best decisions I ever made because I knew, in 

order for me to reach the people I wanted to reach and make the impact I knew I was possible of making, I needed to let go of those side gigs. 

Amy: I think this is one of the hardest decisions most people make when they are building their business and they have these side gigs or a full time job and are doing things at night. I remember, I think I said this last time we talked, but I wanted to leave Tony Robbins about a year before I actually did. The only reason I stayed is because Marie was coaching me at the time and she kept saying it wasn’t time. She told me I wasn’t ready yet, this was not the time to do it. 

You encouraged me to be the best person I could be in that full-time job with Tony Robbins until the day I left. That was a huge lesson because I had one foot out the door but I couldn’t perform that way. So there was some integrity there that I just had to stay fully present in that corporate job, stay longer than I wanted, but it was truly the right decision. I wasn’t ready to jump off. 

Marie: And when you were ready to jump off you did it. 

Amy: Yes. I remember. 

Marie: You totally did it. 

Amy: It was huge. I remember dancing around in my kitchen when I let go of my final client and I turned up the radio really loud and was so scared but decided to dance it out because this was a big deal in my life. I remember it like it was yesterday. 

I think we all remember those big decisions. And one of the biggest decisions that usually comes in stage two if you do have clients, a job, whatever, you are letting them go so you can move into stage 3 which is what I want to talk about now, which is the expansion stage. 

I’m not there yet. You are definitely there. So let me tell people what it kind of looks like and then I want you to talk about that a bit. 

Although you are never done growing or expanding in your business, especially when you’re truly passionate about what you’re doing, in this third stage you have more financial freedom and creative freedom than you have ever had in the two other stages. Your mind is more open to think of other opportunities you’ve wanted to 

explore, and when most people are growing a business they fail to find time to celebrate all of those big wins. 

When you get into stage three you look back and you know you’ve done an amazing job. You do celebrate and you do spend time on the things you really love. So you spend more time there. For you, what does this look like? 

Marie: This is so much fun, Amy. This stage of the business, for me, is really such a joy. It’s very exciting and feels like a huge adventure. I built this business over a decade, from my laptop on my couch. I never had a physical office, never rented anything. I literally didn’t even have office space in my own house until less than a year ago. It literally all happened at my couch or at my kitchen table. 

I kid you not, friends would come over and they would be like, “Oh my god, the size business you run, you have nothing!” 

This stage for me, just last year, we invested in our own studio in New York City. That was primarily instigated because of how big and important Marie TV has become to our business and we love Marie TV and we just wanted to have a regular home to shoot in. You know what I mean, we wanted to have a regular place where we could always have our set and we could have fun things happen and things like that. 

For me, having an actual physical office was something I never even wanted or dreamed of. But now we have it and we absolutely love it. We get to do a lot of things differently now and I so enjoy it. So what I mean by that, in the beginning I would always work my tail off. I would work non stop, Amy. 

I worked seven days a week constantly because it’s what I felt I had to do just to keep a roof over my head and make sure there was food on the table and to meet my obligations. I’m not complaining about it. It’s just how I did it in the beginning. 

Now things are different and now I have a team, an amazing team, and I’m very conscious of making sure that their lifestyles are fantastic. They work really hard but I also want them to play hard and have time off. So that has become  a  very  big initiative for me, making sure that boundaries are in place so that when we are hitting it we are hitting it and making sure things happen. But when we are off we are off. 

One of the first times in my life, ever, this past holiday season I told everybody we were shutting the entire company down for two weeks. One of the things tht has happened in the digital landscape is an unset pressure that you have to be always on. 

Amy: Always. 

Marie: You have to always be commenting and always replying. You have to be always sharing and pumping out content. 

I think that’s a sickness. I do not agree with that philosophy at all. I’m a very engaged person and a very caring person but I’m not a one-dimensional person and I’m not going to follow the herd. 

I told the girls we were going to shut the entire thing down. Nobody is on email, nobody is doing anything. No small children will die. We happen to run the kind of business that life and death are not based on whether or not a tweet goes out or an email goes out or a funny video goes out. So we are going to set ourselves up to completely unplug. Everyone is going to take time to be with their family and just do whatever they want to do, whether they want to travel, whether they want to sit home, whether they want to work out. 

Can I tell you, Amy, It was the best thing that we’ve ever done. 

Amy: I can’t even imagine how wonderful that would be. I love it. 

Marie:  It’s brilliant. It’s really awesome. We just had a meeting the other day. I’ve always dreamed of having a small jewelry line. I’m not a materialistic person by any stretch of the imagination but I do love beautiful, meaningful things. I’m all about quality over quantity and there’s one particular jewelry line that I’ve worn for years. 

You know when you admire something and you’re a customer and you love it? It’s literally the only jewelry that I’ve ever said, “Josh can you just get me anything from there” because it’s just meaningful. 

Later this year we will be coming out with our own line with them. It’s Satya Jewelry. They are just an awesome, awesome company and I’m having so much fun designing and co-creating with them. There are just things I’ve wanted to do for a really long time that we are finally getting to do and it feels really good. 

Amy: When I heard that about the jewelry line I was so surprised because I just would have never guessed that was the next step. But that’s what I love about stage three. The things that come out of it are so different than you might even imagine them ever to be. 

So that’s where things get really fun. Of course, during stage one and stage two you want to find that down time. You want to find margin. It doesn’t come as easily and it’s probably not going to be shutting down the business for two weeks. But there are pockets of time that you can take those breaks. 

Stage three is where you’ve really, really got to reap the rewards of everything you’ve created. And I feel like you’ve been doing that but you are also not backing down. You’re going full force and everything that you’ve created has gotten even better. 

So we’ve got to talk about that. We’re going to wrap up but you’ve got to tell me about your free video series that’s coming out, literally today. I’ll link to it in the show notes. It is such an amazing video series I’m going to let you talk about it. But I’ve got to talk about it too because, one, I’ve already watched it and gone through the whole thing. 

When you talk about the stages of business, if you’re listening and you’ve found yourself in one of those stages or maybe you have one foot in one stage and one foot in another, thee videos that Marie created totally free support the stages of business. They help you move through more gracefully with less stress and more strategy. That’s why I am a huge fan and why I want to promote the video series. 

But you tell me a little bit about it as well. 

Marie: We really created this free video series in conjunction with B School. One of the things I stand for, Amy, is my very unique style. I am so committed to creating extraordinary content and really creating things that move the  needle  ahead  for people whether I am paid or not. That’s what our whole team does. We want you to have an absolutely outstanding experience with us whether or not, again, it is something paid or something free. 

What we want to do with this free video series is teach people all about the pillars of building an online business. This series is exactly the six pillars of what you need to do in order to build a business that runs. It’s not about the kind of shiny tools or latest tech things because all of those things change. 

What I wanted to teach people was the underpinnings, the timeless principles and strategies that no matter where you find yourself, any stage of business, or no matter what happens with technology, doing business is about understanding people. It’s about understanding how to pay attention to the critical few things that are really important so that you can ignore all the noise that isn’t. 

This video series walks you through the six pillars of building an online business. Then, we talk all about packaging and positioning and branding which is a really important thing. It’s not always about what you sell, it’s about what you stand for and it’s also about how you position and package it. 

So many people have brilliant products or services but they don’t understand how to communicate that to their customers in such a way that their customers go, “Oh my god, I want it!” 

You’ve got to be able to make yourself set out from the competition, not in a way that is like, “Oh my god look, we’re so much better.” But a way that really leverages your unique strengths, because you have them but most people don’t really know how to leverage that to set themselves apart. So we cover that. 

Then, one of the things I love that we talk about in the video series is really the common mistakes that hold people back from reaching the levels of success and impact that they are capable of. It’s all of those mindset things and the doubts that can, again, stop us. 

It keeps us small. It keeps us from taking that next step, not letting go of the things we know we need to let go of whether that is somebody else’s opinion of us, whether that is a job, whether that is a client, whether that’s an idea, even the first business that we started and we should move onto something else because we are  now evolved. 

We really walk everybody through some of those common mistakes and really how to go over them. 

Amy: It’s fantastic. And, of course, during the video series you’ll tell people about B School. It’s not open yet but it will be soon so people can explore that and see if it’s the right fit for them. Just a reminder, you can get Marie’s free video series at http:// 

I can’t even express how much I love this free video series. It’s completely top notch. You wouldn’t expect anything else from Marie. And, I’m a huge fan. So that’s why I wanted to make sure we brought Marie on here. I thought we could do something fun and different. And this is probably going to be my favorite podcast. Don’t tell anybody else, but this was good stuff. 

Marie: Awww, you’re so sweet. I do want to say one other thing if we have a moment. What I love about the three stages that you have created, Amy, and one of the things that I noticed, something else, about stage three, and we can all find ourselves there; first of all stage three is really about continuing to pay attention to what you want because, as everyone listening here, you’re going to be successful. More opportunities are going to come your way. But it’s so vital that you get clear for you what your vision is, where you want to take your life and your company. 

Bigger isn’t always better. More isn’t always what you want. And you’ve got to be really willing to listen to your own intuition to build the business that you want. The other thing about these three stages, I think all of us continue to go through them on a cycle. 

I’m in stage one again, in some ways, when it comes to the jewelry side or some of the other things we are doing. We’re in new territory. So I think the framework you created is so brilliant and we all can find ourselves circling through them as we go on our entrepreneurial journey. 

Amy: That is so well said. I’m so glad you brought that up. I was going to mention that. That is such a perfect way to end this. Thank you, so much, Marie. I really appreciate you spending the time coming on here with us and I cannot wait to see what you create even beyond what you’ve already done. So good luck in all you do. 

Marie: Thank you so much, Amy, thanks for having me on. 

Amy: Take care. 

Well, there you have it. I had so much fun with this episode because I really love to drill down on somebody else’s business, learn their frustrations, their challenges, and their successes just to see how someone else does it. I love to model other successful businesses. I hope you found some insight and really valuable feedback as well. 

I want to encourage you to check out Marie’s free video series. You can get it at It is definitely worth checking out and it’s only available for a week or so. So make sure you get it now. 

I have even more to share with you around these three stages. We just scratched the surface today. What I haven’t shared with you yet are the different levels within each stage. It’s all a progression that you move through as you grow your business. The more you know about where you’re at and where you should be spending your time the bigger results you’ll create. I have no doubt about it. 

Plus, I have an extremely valuable blueprint that you get to download in the coming episodes to use as your guide as you move through these stages. I can’t wait to introduce that as well. 

It’s coming up soon. Stay with me in the future episodes. I cannot wait to share more about the three stages of your online business. Thanks, so much, for being with me here today. I can’t wait to connect with you. 

Lastly, make sure to check out the show notes. I link to a lot of different resources and there is always a little bit more information in the show notes. You can find them at Thank you so much for being with me here today. I can’t wait to connect with you again next week. Bye for now. 

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