Marie Forleo is arguably the HBIC when it comes to internet marketing. Her brand, website, and information products are absolutely gorgeous. She positions herself so well that she was working relationships with Tony Robbins, Richard Brandson and Oprah. And it all happened 2 – 3 years after she got super serious with her marketing persona. But of course, this is not the full story. Let’s analyze how this bossbabe did it and how we can apply to ourselves.
How I Discovered Marie.
M.Fo, as her friends call her, showed up on my radar in 2010. I was in the middle of my undergraduate studies and geeking out on nutrition (this was before I decided to leave computer science in favor of a nutrition career). I started following a woman named Kris Carr, cancer survivor and green smoothie promotor. She and Marie are good friends, so she was advertising Marie’s Rich, Happy and Hot B-school (now just called simply B-school). In the training video, Marie outlines how she, for the first time, made 1 million dollars in her business (a business, I found out later, she started at the age of 27, 5 years of business at that point).
That blew my mind away. The fact that a millionaire was showing me exactly how she made money. She talked about being multi-passionate and following your dreams — ideas I could relate to. And she made silly dance videos to boot? She became my first ever mentor. The first person I ever looked up to thinking “I want what she’s got”.
How Marie Got Started
Marie describes her early beginnings in this video with Tony Robbins
Below I will highlight certain things in her past/start-up and my thoughts about them:
- She graduated valedictorian of her class in college. This was really interesting to me. It told me that she has a history/personality/tendency for success. It made me a little nervous that my role model was so different than me in this way. I was the girl who tried really hard to be valedictorian, but would never make it. I figured that was a strength for Marie that aided her in success.
- She followed her heart every step of the way. She embodies my belief of action begetting clarity and failure leading to success. She followed her heart and by following her heart frequently, she was able to get clear and focused. I used to wonder what she meant when she said that voice that said “you weren’t meant to do this” in the beginning was and felt like. For me, personally, it was only through giving my all and experiencing failures and personal struggles that I would experience that voice she’s talking about.
- She started trying to do it all at the age of 25. She was 25 when she saw that article about life coaching. So from there, she was starting a life coaching practice, teaching group fitness and making DVDs, working as a dancer/choreographer for MTV and Nike, and bar-tending at night. It sounds like a lot to juggle and when I first heard about this, I thought this meant that she’s just a woman on fire who’s able to go go go go. But after trying something similar myself (starting my own practice, working part-time for multiple companies, running a blog and auditioning for Disney/Broadway dance/singing gigs) I realized why she stopped doing it all. There’s no way you can achieve long-lasting/retire-early fulfillment from NOT getting focused. If Marie couldn’t do it, there’s no way I could.
- At age 27, she started narrowing down to just life coaching and business coaching. So it takes time to hit your stride and figure out exactly what you’re trying to do. Mare’s talked about how painful it was for her in the beginning to refrain from pursuing her other passions. She went for it, got it out of her system, and started focusing down. She talks more about how she “feels” her way in decision making in this video:
- At 32, she buckled down with internet marketing — creating the Marie Forleo you know today. This was when she went to an internet marketing conference, shared her idea with a fellow conference-goer who chuckled and asked if her “husband is a rich man”. That pissed her off so much that she was determined to make it work.
- She didn’t start out alone and she out-sourced as soon as possible. So, when I say the Marie we know today, I’m referring to her and her B-school brand. Which she started with the help of another awesome chick, Laura Roeder, for two years until they were ready to part ways. Not only that, but ASAP, Marie hired help in her business. She re-invests in her business, and it keeps growing. 😉
- She gets more and more focused. As her brand grew, she let go of offerings. No more live events. No more group coaching. More and more focus on her cash cow, B-school and youtube marketing. This is the point that I referred to earlier as her getting “super serious”. This was just about 3 years ago.
- It took time. It took a lot of time. When I first knew about Marie, it baffled me how no one else had heard of her. It’s 2016, more of my friends have heard of her, but still not everyone. It takes time. Marie isn’t doing anything different now than what she did a 3 years ago when she buckled down. Its just that she stayed consistent with what she was doing and as she got more money, reinvested that money in her plan.
Her Business Model
Her current business model, I think is this:
- An exclusive big ticket offer ($2,000) that is offered just once a year and this has most of her focus, even when Bschool is not in session. She has the time/energy to make it better year after year.
- Marketing, marketing, marketing. She grew her youtube viewership with her videos and the scholarship entries that must be posted on youtube. This adds people to her funnel who will grow to know, like and trust her because she consistently produces quality youtube videos. When B-school comes around, they’ll be the first to know.
- Speaking of marketing, she effectively uses affiliate marketing. She offers 75% commission to those who sell B-school to their list. Not only that, you have to be OFFERED a spot as an affiliate. Not just anyone can get to be one. This increases the quality of her brand when only people she feels fit her definition of success are the ones vouching for this program.
- She has one other program called Copy Cure that doesn’t sell as hard.
- She’s at a point now that she can get paid to do big speaking gigs.
- And I’m pretty sure she still does business coaching, but only through word-of-mouth if you manage to get in her circle — and she’s picky about who’s in her circle (notice who she’s friends with and who she’s not friends with… that’s not an accident).
- She still gets some sales from her book which she self-published.
But her business model started out like the rest of us internet entrepreneurs.
A sales funnel. Where you get a free gift. Then you purchase something small. Then you might purchase some of her other trainings. Then you might apply to join her $20,000 group coaching program (I’m not kidding, her group coaching program cost $20,000 and it was every year a group of 15 – 20 women. … CHA-CHING!). Then you might sign up for private coaching which was $10,000 per hour or something like that. This was her business just 3 years ago. And before that, it was the same — just cheaper prices.
How I Apply This to Myself
First of all, watching Marie grow makes me feel better about myself. It makes me feel like I can do it, too. Like its not too late. When I realized that I followed a similar path as her — struggling with multiple passions, finally getting focused, and learning how to expand business — I was reassured. Marie also teaches me to re-invest in my business. Show my audience I care with the design, with responding to every e-mail, etc. The care that shows through her brand is inspiring.
Another thing is the fact that she capitalizes on her personality. I mean more than just her brand voice (the fact that she’s silly and curses sometimes), but her type-A personality. I use a personality system called GEMS and Marie would fall into the Ruby category. Rubies love to LOOK good. They love to APPEAR as if they have status. Mary used this to her advantage, creating a gorgeous brand and getting some nice Oprah-brownie-points. She’s engaged to her partner, not married — likely partially because she wants her money to be her money. She’s a hard-baller, saying “no” to people and opportunities she doesn’t care for. She’s picky about who she gets close to and who she invites into her life. I mean, she is grade-A HBIC material. Annnddd that’s not necessarily me. LOL. My personality is much different than that. But the point is, she unapologetically utilizes her personality to push her business forward. I want to do the same.
Do with this analysis what you will. And if you have thoughts to share, join my e-mail list and let me know what you think!
Here’s to success & love 🙂 xoxo Udo