Do you know who’s behind the 8-figure juggernaut of an online course called “B-School”?
If you’re saying “Marie Forleo,” yeah, duh. That’s the obvious answer.
But, as I recently discovered, it’s not the whole answer.
Looking for an old email in my inbox, I stumbled on one between me and Marie. It made me laugh. I looked for more and found a buttload.
Turns out, all 2009, I plagued her with emails about setting up my website and my business.
They mostly boil down to this:
ME: I did x, y, and z – is that right? And I’m going to pay someone a bunch of money to do q, r, and s.
MARIE: Great! 🙂 But I told you to just do A and B.
Going through these questions and cries for help, I had many facepalm moments (Oh, if I’d only caught on when she said this!) and a head slap.
It hit me:
I’m responsible for B-School!
Marie must have created it so instead of bombarding her with questions and noob confusion, I could press play on a video. And she could have her life back.
I’m only partly kidding. When you spend your time answering the same questions over and over, that’s a pretty good reason to create a course.
Marie has updated and upgraded B-School every year, but all the advice she gave me here still applies! And every new or “could be better” business owner needs to hear it.
Some of it saved me from expensive, time-wasting mistakes.
Some could have saved me years of fumbling, had I followed it faster.
And some is just LOL.
And, now that I’ve reached the $1Million/year mark in my business and have, perhaps, an aura of knowing what I’m doing, it’s all a beautiful reminder that we all start at the start. Everyone you follow and admire (or despairingly compare yourself to) was a floundering noob at some point.
Check out these emails and you’ll agree.
(psst – Want to skip right to some business-saving advice from Marie…for $0?
Check out her free video series while it’s up.)
1. Why reinvent the wheel? (When your web guy wants to build everything from scratch)
This website was going to cost me a fortune, and it was going to suck. I took Marie’s advice just in time and told the guy, “You know what? I’m going to do this on what’s called ‘a wordpress theme.’” (Name of theme blurred because no longer relevant.) I got some other web guy—more douche than dodo, but he got it done—to design the site using illustrations by a wonderful artist I knew from my TV job.
2. DO NOT let your dodo web guy do it. (When your web guy says “what’s an opt-in form?”)
Marie told me I needed an opt-in, and I said “a what-in?” My web guy didn’t know what it was either, but guessed he could build me one. This was Marie’s response.
She had a mantra from the very beginning: “The gold is in your list.” As in, your email list. The thing you build with your opt-in. She’s never strayed from that, not in over a decade of teaching this stuff. List-building and optins are a cornerstone of B-School. (And any successful online business.)
Her other mantra: You don’t outsource your marketing. You fall in love with it, make it fun, and do it till the cows come home (and give you their money).
3. Put a bio in your lead magnet
It never occurred to me: Someone might download my lead magnet, 5 Secrets To Non-Sucky Copy and forget where it came from and who created it. They might even pass it on to a friend. Oh yeah, duh, have a bio in there!
If you have any of the questions or apprehension I had when I started, please save yourself a lot of time and money and get in B-School.
4. Not sure what to charge! (Maybe we do all go through this.)
Recently, on a panel, I claimed that I’d always been confident charging what my work is worth. Looks like I lied! I got pretty shaky on that when I thought someone couldn’t afford it.
5. I wish I’d turned it down. (When you settled for less than you charge.)
Yep. I undercharged. In B-School, you’ll have help figuring out how to position yourself at the price you want to charge, and have people paying you happily (without haggling).
6. Don’t put social on your home page!
I sent this screenshot to Marie, and she laughed. “Ten years later and I’m still saying the SAME DAMN THING! People need to hear this!” Don’t drive people over to social from your website. Marie dives into the “why” behind this in her “6 Pillars of Online Business Success” video, which is available for a limited time every February.
This is one bit of advice I’ve followed and shared faithfully. Look around here, and you’ll see not a single IG, FB, or LI badge. Instead, it’s a wonderland of ways to opt in to my list and stay in Shrimpland.
7. The name of the game (How to get email subscribers to opt in to your list and what the F to say to them)
It sounds simple, but I was really not getting it: how to get people on your list, and then what to do with them once they’re there. My business didn’t truly take off till I caught on and got consistent about it years later.
I now take the whole process for granted, so it’s quite the wakeup call to see how confused I was. If I met that “me” now, I’d say, “Please get in B-School. Trust me.”
Let’s just say, I was not quick with this opt-in learning curve. Again, “a what-in?” For a while, every time I asked a question, Marie answered with these 4 words:
(Re the screenshot of my first homepage design, with no menu, no optin, no info: You’re welcome!)
8. Stop comparing yourself!
We all go through this. I still do. Some people who seem to fly past you effortlessly in your business journey are full of doodoo, some take action more quickly. Doesn’t matter. Don’t look at them. Really, don’t look. Look away! Note: This conversation took place in a pre-Instagram, pre-Facebook era. Now, there’s way more comparisonitis to protect yourself from.
Be patient with yourself is as relevant as ever; I’d now add to it, “Stop following people whose posts make you feel behind, overwhelmed, down on yourself.” You won’t miss anything you need to learn or copy from them. Trust me.
9. Use relevant headlines and make it actionable
Oh boy, did I write some rando stuff on my blog. I was pretty stubborn about it. I’ve finally found a balance between stories that are fun to write (but have nothing to do with anything) and stories that tie in to a message relevant to my audience.
Also, when I title a blog post, I think about, y’know, clarity.
I don’t even remember which post was called “truffles and stuff” but it seems to have been about copywriting. (Don’t bother searching for it, url isn’t there.)
10. Pro brand image = mo money (Use your domain email, silly!)
When someone writes me now in a professional capacity and it’s from, like, an aol address…SMH. If you have a domain, use it for your email!
Marie talks a lot in B-School about being profesh. She’ll show you areas you might not have thought about where you and your brand could look way more pro. (And make way mo money.)
11. Start NOW.
As you can see, I was afraid to start using my domain for my email, because…well, I guess I wasn’t ready. Marie always says, “Start before you’re ready.”
And if you want to start a business but you feel “not ready” for B-School, that’s your cue. Start anyway.
You can start with Marie’s FREE business training videos, and see if Marie’s teaching style is for you.
Unfortunately, she’s no longer available to go back and forth on email all day (while building what will become an multi-8-figure empire), but you’ll get all the support and guidance you need in her program, B-School.
Created just for me, but you can use it too. You’re welcome.
You might find some of your questions—such as, “how did you two meet?”—answered here:
You’ll also hear about…
01:12 — Marie Forleo before B-School
04:10 — “I don’t have clarity on my biz idea. Who to serve, etc.”
06:44 — “My business isn’t really an online business. Is B-School right for me?” (And what B-School doesn’t teach)
11:26 — Laura before B-School
13:55 — Reality check – Fast or slow you’re in charge of the timeline (surround yourself with high achievers)
17:06 — “I’m afraid I won’t follow through. How do I keep my commitment to myself?”
21:18 — Getting your spouse onboard
30:38 — “I’m not sure if I’m ready.”
33:12 — As an author, are you going to be using B-School techniques to market your book? (UPDATE: Make that #1 New York Times Bestselling book)
Which of my 2009 questions or cries for help strike a chord with you? Are you at the stage of 2009 me? If you’re further along, do you remember being there?
TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS.