Hey, gorgeous! Today I’m interviewing one of my absolutely amazing mentors, Marie Forleo. She is an incredibly successful woman, a multi-millionairess and has created the iconic B-School. She's got a lot to share with us about money, business and life, so tune in below or read the full transcript.
I have interviewed Marie a couple times now. Last year, I asked her about her past – how did you grow up around money? What were some of the things you learned around money as a kid? This year, I thought, “Let’s go further.” How often do you get to pick the brain of somebody who is that successful – both from an influence and also from a monetary point of view? It’s kind of juicy.
In this interview, I asked Marie about things like, “What is one of the most recent money lessons you’ve learned? How do you deal with your money so you don’t get ripped off? What have you learned from famous people that you’ve been hanging out with like Tony Robbins, Oprah and Richard Branson?”
Denise: Hi, Marie. Thanks again for joining us. Our conversation last year was so juicy and I know we can go even deeper into it this year.
Marie: Thank you. Thanks for having me on. It's always a pleasure to talk to you, Denise.
Denise: Last year, we kind of talked a little bit about your upbringing around money and some of those lessons. I remember you were saying you ironed money and stuff like that as a kid.
Marie: That's crazy.
Denise: Yeah. It's really cool. I think my community loved hearing about that kind of stuff; how someone starts around money. (You can find that interview right here.)
I thought this year I would love to ask you about what you have been learning about money recently. One of the things that I love doing is just being transparently honest about money and also giving people role models of real wealthy women. It's pretty safe to say that you are a freaking successful, wealthy, multi-millionaire. Let's just claim that, right?
Marie: Thank you!
Denise: You're really, really freaking successful. What's a recent money lesson that you've learned, as someone who is a wealthy, successful woman?
Marie: I think, really, that there's always more to learn. To give a concrete example, a few years back, I had tidied up my wills and things of that nature and really made it a goal to be just completely debt free - no mortgages, no anything. I reached those goals, got some paperwork done and then realized there's always another level.
The thing that I'm looking at this year is going back into some of the paperwork, looking at some of the finer details and working with people who are just really good at helping someone manage and grow their wealth.
It's one thing when you're first getting started. In my own story, I was piles and piles and piles of debt. I grew up in a very middle class, working class household, so having money and understanding how to manage it, that was not really an issue. It was just always about, “How do we get by? How do you put food on the table? Can we save for education?” It was the bare necessities.
For me, I'm always about asking questions, continuing to learn and push myself to become more and more educated, more and more responsible.
That's really my money lesson this year. It's, “What haven't I handled yet? How can I find wise, intelligent people to work with, whom I trust, that can support me in reaching the next level of goals?”
Denise: I sometimes hear people say, “I want to make money so I never have to think or worry about money again.” You do need to think about it.
Marie: I understand that sentiment, though. I absolutely understand the emotion and the psychology behind that. I think that it's accurate. But, from a tactical level, that's not realistic, nor is it wise.
Perhaps, you'll get yourself to a place - and I think all of us want to - where you're not necessarily stressing over money anymore and you're earning enough and you have yourself set up so you're spending less than you earn, you're saving, you're investing. On that level, you're taken care of. But, you can't just set it and forget it. That's not how money works and I don't think that's a wise move for anyone.
Denise: Absolutely. I've just saw recently that Alanis Morrissett just came out and said that her manager embezzled multi-millions from her. We hear this all the time. How do you personally keep an eye on your money?
I've heard Oprah signs every check and still knows exactly what's coming in and out. What are you doing at the moment to make sure that things like that don't happen to you?
Marie: I look in my accounts and I talk to the people that help me and work with me - my accountant, my bookkeeper, my director of operations, folks who manage my money. I stay in close connection with them. It's not ever a long period of time that things go by where I'm not in there looking at what's happening and paying attention to it. It's never more than a few days or a week without me seeing exactly what's happening.
Again, I trust the people on my team, but even if you do trust the people on your team, mistakes happen. We also live in a world where there happens to be a lot of fraud and there's a lot of cyber security issues that I think we all have to be aware of and handle.
Even if everyone on your team is absolutely above board and has your best interest at heart, I think all of us have to take those precautions to stay engaged, to look, to be aware of what's in the accounts, to know what's coming in and out so that if something is a little funny, you catch it fast.
Marie: Oh, yeah. I think, too, there's a female thing there of trusting. I remember in the book Nice Girls Don't Get Rich, which is the follow up to Nice Girls Don't Get the Corner Office, she was saying a lot of women just assume that it's men - let's face it - in the financial world. We just assume that they know what they're talking about because they say things in a much more confident way. It can be a female thing of being like, “Oh, maybe they know more about it than I do,” and we don't trust our instincts around it.
Marie: It's being brave enough to ask questions. Whenever I am working with someone new or there's an opportunity - whether it's an investment opportunity - I have no shame. I'll say, “Can you explain what you just meant there because I don't understand. What's the paperwork on that? What are the possible indications? Are there liabilities.”
I want to understand everything. I think it's important that we don't feel a sense of shame around not knowing, around not understanding a term and being brave enough to ask the questions and just slow down the action. Say, “I need this in everyday layman's terms. Explain it to me.”
If you can't get it, if it ever gets the point where you still can't get it, it's probably not the kind of opportunity that you want to be putting your money into or the kind of person that you want to be trusting with your finances.
Denise: Absolutely. Actually I did that this week. We were meeting with our architects and they said some weird thing and everyone was nodding like, “Yeah.” I just went, “What does that mean?” I don't know. I'm not going to sign to something just because I'm afraid of looking a little bit stupid. He was just like, “Oh, sorry. That's a jargon term.” I was like, “Oh, cool.”
I was thinking, too, of all the famous people that you have met. You've worked with Tony Robbins, you've done stuff with Oprah, Richard Branson and all these kind of cool people. I suppose if you stood and looked at them, they kind of look like different types of wealthy people. If you didn't know who Richard Branson was, you wouldn't necessarily think he was this super rich guy because he looks pretty chilled, pretty normal.
What is a money lesson that you've learned from someone famous recently. We'll go into non-famous people in a minute, but those guys that you see a lot, what have you learned from them about money?
Marie: I think it's a reaffirmation of something that I know in my heart to be true. When it comes to money, there's always more where that came from. I don't and I haven't experienced any of the folks that you've named in any kind of way blowing money or being wasteful about it. But, there was certainly a sense of ease around it and a sense that there's more than enough to go around, there's more than enough to take care of people, to take care of family, to provide beautiful experiences and to really enjoy life.
There was a lack of scarcity. I think that the epidemic of scarcity, not only as it relates to money - it relates to time, love, status and people feeling, “If someone gets successful, they have the only top seat on the podium and there's no room for anyone else.” I think scarcity is one of the most destructive forces in the world right now.
One lesson that I have learned - and it just gets reaffirmed when I've been around folks like that or even other folks who aren't necessarily famous, but absolutely have achieved a certain level of financial wealth - is that lack of scarcity and feeling like, “There's not going to be enough to share with another person or to provide or a way to generate more.”
Denise: I suppose, too, that all three of those examples that I gave are very giving people as well.
Marie: Yeah. Very generous.
Denise: I've noticed in you, as well, over the last couple of years that that seems to have become an even bigger part of your life.
Denise: Philanthropy, right? Can you tell us a little bit more about that and how it fits into the overall wealth picture?
Marie: Yeah. I really do believe that when it comes to money, there is more than enough to go around. So many of us - not everyone, but many of us - especially folks who might be watching this video, have hit what Warren Buffet calls the “Ovarian Lottery.” We happen to be born in a particular place where we have running water, electricity and an opportunity to at least have some basic education and an opportunity to at least have some basic healthcare. Those things, most of us take for granted.
There are literally billions of fellow humans out there right now who did not win that ovarian lottery, who happen to be born in a place - not of their choosing; that's how the cards fell - and they are up against so many obstacles that many of us never even had to look at.
For me, it's about taking a global perspective. It's about recognizing some harsh truths that we're all equal in terms of our capacity inside, but we're not all equal when it comes to opportunity. For us to be able to level that playing field and not to be so insular and think, “I can't have the house that I want,” or, “I can't have the shoes that I want.” You know what? There's a kid dying out there because they don't even have access to clean water and these girls are denied education. These mothers are dying giving childbirth. This is insane that this is still happening in 2017.
For me, I think it's our responsibility. It's just an opportunity to really create a more just and equitable world. Why not use what we have to make a difference?
There's an interesting stat that I love to share with people. To provide education and healthcare and sanitation - for every person in the world, on a basic level - it would cost us $28 billion per year. Now, of course, that's a huge number.
Then you contrast it with what we spend globally on ice cream every year.
Denise: Or bottled water.
Marie: The global spending on ice cream each year is roughly $59 billion. That's over double of what it would cost. You have to look at that and realize that there isn't lack in this world. What there is a lack of is a lack of will to do something about it.
It's not about us not having enough resources, it's about that there's not enough of us that give a shit and care to be able to solve these problems. That's why it's such an important part of my life. I don't feel okay going to sleep at night thinking about other humans in the world, what they're going through, and not at least doing something to try and help.
Denise: Absolutely. I see women in our community who are starting their businesses and they feel icky about making more money because they're worried about money equaling greed. The women in our community, they don't act like that when they have money.
You think of the B-School community or my community, when women get money, they spend it in beautiful ways. Entrepreneurship is just the most empowering thing for women. I know you're really passionate about that. It's a great segue into B-School.
What is your big Why for B-School?
Marie: For me, it really is empowering women financially. Empowering everyone. Obviously, we have a majority of women that are in B-School. But the content and the curriculum, nothing is gender specific. We have our small, but mighty population of men who we love and they're always welcome.
When women are financially empowered, the entire world wins. Their immediate family wins because they always invest in their kids, education and healthcare. We're lifting up the next generation.
Their community wins because, again, research has proven that most often, women will invest in their local community as well. When you have stronger communities, you have stronger economies. All of a sudden, you start to see in a very, very clear way that when women are empowered financially - which usually means that they're also educated and it also means that they have certain freedoms - there's this huge ripple effect that happens.
In my own life, for me, when I was first starting my business, to be honest I was really kind of grossed out. When I started learning about entrepreneurship, it was in this new world of digital entrepreneurship. I didn't go to graduate school, so I don't have an MBA. When I went out and tried to start to piece together things on my own and go to conferences, it was 99.9% men who were up there teaching about small business.
Much of the time, not all of the time - again, this is a gross generalization and I'm not saying everyone; these are the broad strokes - I would hear them talk about their customers like they were nothing more than numbers on the bottom of a balance sheet. It was always about how to extract as much profit as possible from these people.
I understood, from in intellectual perspective, the idea of “maximizing profit,” but I will tell you that my heart and my soul was breaking. I was like, “This is not my idea of what business is about or what business could be about.” I always knew deep down that business could be and should be a force for good.
One of the reasons I started B-School was I wanted to provide an opportunity, especially for women, who wanted to learn about marketing and sales but who wanted to do it in a way that was full of integrity, transparency and congruency and that they could take their God-given gifts of what they were put on this earth to do and learn how to translate that into a business - should they so choose - and learn how to do it with integrity the whole way through; how to actually keep their personality aligned, how to be able to share what they believe in, how to be able to attract customers and retain customers and provide outstanding customer experiences.
Then, on another level, how to make their business a force for good beyond profits. Most women that I tend to meet, they don't just care about making it for themselves or getting more so they could have these enormous house or five closets full of clothes. I know in my own life, I couldn't give a shit less about that stuff. I really don't care. I wear the same stuff over and over and over. It doesn't matter to me.
Many women that I meet feel the same way. Yes, they want to take care of their children. Yes they want to take care of their family and make sure that things are safe and secure. But they also really, really, really want to see this world evolve into a better place and they're willing to work their buns off to make that happen.
Denise: Yes. Absolute. You see it happening in B-School, too. Someone becomes successful and they hire other women. It does have a ripple effect in everything.
It really is changing the world. You think of how many people have gone through B-School now - over 20,000?
Marie: Over 30,000.
Denise: Over 30-freaking-thousand people. That is like a town. That is like a little economy that probably has more GDP than some little countries.
A question that I've heard recently - probably over the last year - we're tending to this place where people go, “I can learn everything on the internet now for free. Why is it still relevant to join a course like B-School instead of like, 'I can find a little bit of marketing here, a little bit of managing there.'”
Marie: Absolutely. First of all, I think it's such a positive thing that there are so much free information out there. I will say, very plainly, everything that we teach in B-School, if you wanted to, you could go find it online for free. And more! Absolutely.
But there's this great saying by a gentleman named E.O. Wilson. He says: We're drowning in information, but we're starving for wisdom.
One of the things that I've noticed in my own life, because I'm a voracious, life-long learner, yeah, I could take loads of time and try to parse things together. But I will tell you that with the amount of information out there, it's actually getting harder and harder to parse through, to understand who the voices you can trust are and what the sequence is.
If you don't get the sequence right, it's not all going to work. If you don't have a source that you can trust and verify, if you don't have other people to connect with, if you don't have someone telling you and guiding you, “For your business, this is really relevant, but there's all this other stuff. You can just pretty much ignore. You don't need to do that.” Or, “You don't need to do that right now.”
When it comes to B-School, it's not about super videos. It's not about information that you “can't get anywhere else.” We've been doing this now since 2010. I've been in business for 17 years with over 30,000 graduates. It's about the transformation. It's about the experience. It's about putting yourself in an environment that challenges you to reach your full potential.
I'll say this - I know this for a fact - knowing is one thing, knowing information, it's like, “Yeah, are you doing anything with it? Have you actually used it? Is anyone pushing you forward?” If not, you've got to really ask yourself, “What's the value of all that free information?”
No matter if it's B-School or anything else, if you can find a teacher, instructor or trainer, someone you resonate with, who for whatever reason, their energy starts to pull out the best in you, run. Do whatever you've got to do - whether it's a $10 course, a $10,000 course, whatever it is.
I've noticed in my life that there are certain trainers and certain teachers who, even if I “know all the information,” I will go to that course again because something happens in me, something gets activated. I find a new level of commitment in myself, I find new ideas.
It's not about getting stuff for free, because it's all out there right now. I think it's really about saying, “What is it going to take for me to put these things into action and do I care enough to have community around me and do I want to do it in such a way where I'm really giving myself the best chance possible to get results?”
Denise: Yes. You know I'm a big fan of B-School. I joined in 2011. My B-School mug from that year just broke, by the way.
Marie: I have a little stock pile. I might have to send you an original.
Denise: I'm like, “This has stayed with me for years.” You know I'm a huge fan. Guys, stick around. I'm going to tell you a little bit about personally the results I've gotten out of B-School, what I love about it and my B-School bonus.
I'm a huge fan, Marie. Thank you so much. You have changed my life. I don't mind saying that to you every single year because it is true. All of my best business girlfriends, I've met through B-School.
Marie: That makes me so happy.
Denise: It's very, very cool. I just want to thank you. I love you and thanks so much for what you do. Everybody, join B-School. I'll tell you more about that in a second.
If you just have on final word of wisdom for our Lucky Bees listening?
Marie: Oh, yeah. I would say this:
You are on this planet for a reason. Your ideas matter. Your voice matters. Your perspective matters. If you don't work every single day to share it, the world will have lost something truly irreplaceable, which is you.
We say it at the end of every Marie TV, “The world really does need that special gift that only you have.” Whether it's B-School or whatever you're going to do, please, for the love of all things holy, get out there and share it and make it happen.
Denise: Thank you so much! See you soon. See you in B-School.
Marie: Bye, everyone.
Hey, it’s me again. How cool was that? I don’t mind telling you that I was a little bit nervous before that interview and I did a little bit of tapping. How often do you get to talk to someone who is that successful, both from an influential point of view, but from a monetary point of view? You realize, “Hey, they’re just normal people just like you and me.”
Marie has created amazing stuff with B-School.
I joined in 2011 and I remember watching one or two of the first lessons and I just went away and implemented. I created and marketed my first ever course, which was The Inspired Life Formula Course. It had five people in there. That was the start for me to grow my business into the million dollar business it is now. We’ve been at the million dollar level for a couple of years now.
You know what?
It really is because of B-School. I know you can do other courses and find stuff for free, as Marie said, but nothing really created that community for me like B-School. It created that sense of sisterhood. It created that economy. As I said, it’s a little economy. You can find clients in there, you can find mentors in there, you can find your suppliers, your next VA, your next website designer. It really is its own economy.
That investment for me in B-School has paid off multiple, multiple, multiple times. I’d really hate to think where I would be without B-School.
I also asked her at the end, “Why is it still relevant?” I’ve heard people say, “There’s so many courses out there. Why would I bother joining B-School?” Or, “Stuff like B-School is kind of irrelevant now.” It really isn’t. It’s joining a community, joining a space where success is the conversation. Marie does add new stuff all the time. But, as she said, it’s not so much about the content, it’s about everything coming together in one place and being somewhere where success is the norm. It’s absolutely the norm.
I hope you enjoyed this interview this week and I would love to hear from you and what ah-has you got from the interview as well.
See you later. Bye! Have a lucky day!
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