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How She Did It: Marie Forleo

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”. 

screenshot from one of her music videos


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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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:
  5. 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.
  6. 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. 😉
  7. 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.
  8. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. She has one other program called Copy Cure that doesn’t sell as hard.
  5. She’s at a point now that she can get paid to do big speaking gigs.
  6. 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).
  7. 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

Is Your Foreign Name Keeping You From Getting a Job?

I’m reading Chimamanda’s novel Americanah and somewhere in chapter 30-something, her characters start talking about Obama’s election campaign.

It brought back memories of the early 2000’s in which people would ask “Is America ready for a black president?”

At the time, I thought that question was insane — a self-limiting belief for a nation to hold. That racism was so blatant and ubiquitous that it would prevent us from having a president darker than a paper lunch bag.

Why would you look so poorly on yourself, America? Why would you tell yourself something that doesn’t need to be true? And even if it is true, why should that stop you, America?

I almost didn’t apply the same logic to myself.

When I first graduated I was seeking work, but very specifically I was seeking PRN work. That meant that I would be called into work only on an “as-needed” basis. It’s typically less hours than working part-time. I wanted to have multiple PRN jobs to get a wide variety of experiences. As a dietitian, the job market was full of openings that were full time. I lounged at any chance to work part-time or PRN.

3 months went by and I was jobless. I was utterly depressed and didn’t know what to think of myself. Especially when it felt like half my classmates already had jobs, and two of them had jobs at the same places I applied to. I kept wanting to know what it meant about me.

I went online to rant and I was told “It’s your name”.

I thought (and posted) “No, it can’t be my name. Half my class also has foreign names and they got jobs right away.” “I work in a medical profession. Foreign-ness doesn’t matter in health care like other industries.”

But the well-intended comments went on. “It’s your name.” “Change your name to something less threatening.” “You know, Americans hate things they cannot pronounce.” “Your classmates may have foreign names, but I bet yours looks even more foreign.”

For a week, I actually let that get to me. I bought into it, somehow. I was desperate for an answer that made sense to me — so I latched on to the stupid name thing.

The problem was that having this psuedo-explanation didn’t help me feel any better. In fact, I felt 10 times WORSE. I stopped applying for jobs. I lost the vigor I once had.

Other friends came in for support, urging me to throw out this name-business. That it has nothing to do with my name. That some of them were employers and would look at my resume first BECAUSE my name was unique. I didn’t believe them. Nothing could make me believe them because then I’d be back to “Okay, then why do I feel like a failure? What other explanation is there?”

It wasn’t until I got called in for a series of successful interviews and finally landed (my first among a few others now) A JOB.

As more and more offers came into my e-mail inbox and voicemail, the lie (or — if it is true — an unproductive belief) I chose to believe shattered. I realized how useless believing that made me. “How many more job offers would be coming in now if I had kept going that week I let that thought put me into a paralyzing depression?”

I was ashamed that I had let OTHER PEOPLE’S negative beliefs get to me and limit myself. I threw it out like molded bread.

And learned of other reasons why the job prospects were looking slow in the beginning:

  • Lots of competition with other new dietitians in the same area
  • Sometimes companies realize they cannot afford hiring a new person
  • Hiring staff was using up the rest of their PTO and thusly, unresponsive
  • Competition between a new grad with 0 years experience vs. someone with 30 years experience
  • Some people became friends with the right people at the right time
  • I was NOT applying to full-time positions that would have been more willing to have a fresh graduate
  • etc, etc, multiitude of reasons that you may never really find out until you walk a day in the company’s shoes

Self-limiting beliefs, any thought in which you give yourself the reasons you cannot succeed at something, are powerful. And utterly unproductive. But I was able to rise above it and Barack Obama is our president.

//<3 Udo.

Natural Hair without the Wait


A few weekends ago, there was a Natural Hair expo here in Dallas, TX that really blew my mind. I learned that in the 90s that 80+% of black women used chemical relaxers in their hair. Today, in the 2010’s that number has dropped to 27%. Whoa. The natural hair movement has come back full force.

However, I remember even as late as 2014, it was a struggle for me to find hair extensions, weaves, or wigs that matched my hair texture. I was natural and the world knew it. But I wanted to be all #longhairdontcare. At the natural hair expo, I met the creators of some awesome brands. Check out this list below (hopefully in time for black friday and cyber monday ;D):

Her Given Hair

A photo posted by hergivenhair (@hergivenhair) on

This line is awesome. The hair textures truly look like our tight type 3 and type 4 hair texture (even us 4C chicks). Human hair. She sells weft hair, clip in hair, and CLOSURES (praise the lawd). However, I wish she sold wigs, too. However, I think this line has the best quality of kinky type 4 textures out there.

Kinky Curly Yaki

This line was the first human hair line I found that catered to our hair texture. They have more variety in that they have different textures of afro-textured straight hair, type 3 and type 4. Same options as HGH — weft hair, clip ins, and closures. Unfortunately, no pre-made wigs.

Heat Free Hair

This one is also a quality human hair company, just like the previous two. What makes this company stand out is that they… have… WIGS! However, the wigs are quite pricey. But if you’re a woman who must have quality, this is the place.

King Me Hair

Same deal here. Human hair. She also has wigs! Less expensive than Heat Free and they are full lace! Her wigs are totally on my wish list 😉 Plus, I love that the creator stays up to date with her youtube videos.

Finger Comber

A photo posted by Fingercomber (@fingercomber) on

This line is not human hair, unfortunately, but it has the largest variety of natural hair wigs I’ve ever seen (including kinky straight, so let me pause and snatch that boo up right now. So about that kinky straight life). I’ve actually bought a couple of wigs from them and it fools EVERYONE.

Curl Kalon

This company sells pre-curled hair for crotchet. I first heard about this at a friend’s baby shower. One of her friends had the MOST AMAZING curls I’d ever seen. I was staring trying to figure out how she did it. Her hairdresser was there and gave me a link to this company. When they came to town, I snatched up my first few boxes and installed it. Stay tuned for a blog post/youtube video review. Let me just tell you up front, the compliments are never ending! This hair is a conversation starter everywhere I go.

Honorable Mentions

The following are links to more natural textured hair websites I know of, but haven’t had any personal experiences with (either with the hair or the creators). But totally worth mentioning so you know they exist! And if you have any other additions, make sure you leave a comment so I can put it in this post!

Quick Tip: Taking Care of Your Natural Extensions

Most of the companies I shared with you are 100% human hair. Which means you have to take care of it just like real, natural hair. I made the mistake of purchasing type 4C hair and treating it like synthetic. It was a huge, matted, knotted, got-to-cut-it-off mess! At the natural hair expo, I saw the creator of Obia Naturals, a fellow naija business girl who’s products support hair health and hair curl! Take care of your natural hair and the extensions with her products which you can buy at this link.

A photo posted by Obia (@obianaturalhair) on

A trial pack of the products are available at my amazon store, here. If you shop, I’ll earn a commission. 🙂

xoxo U. Happy Thanksgiving. Everyday alive is another chance to be thankful and be glad in it.

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