HOW TO TAKE YOUR BIZ TO MULTI-MILLIONS: THE MARIE FORLEO INTERVIEW
Today I have another special guest on the blog. A multi-million dollar entrepreneur who has been featured on Oprah's Super Soul Sunday and Tony Robbin's New Money Masters interview series.
She's got a lot to share with us about money, so tune in below or read the full transcript.
Today's guest is a really amazing woman. If you don’t know Marie Forleo, you are absolutely going to fall in love with her and really enjoy hearing about her views on money, her money blocks and some of the lessons she’s learned from creating a multi-million dollar company.
Marie is a self-confessed multi-passionate entrepreneur.
Like me, she started out as a life coach. She’s done fitness videos, she’s been a professional dancer, she has been interviewed by freaking Oprah, she’s been on Super Soul Sunday, Oprah considers her a thought leader, I consider her personal mentor and she’s also someone who’s influenced my life and business in a massive way.
Now take some time to listen to today’s interview and you’ll get a lot of juicy nuggets out of it. Let’s take it away for Marie Forleo.
Denise: Marie, now you probably know from the Lucky Bee community how much we love talking about money. But people aren’t very honest about money in our society - it's still a taboo subject. We’ve got a couple of questions for you and money blocks. A lot of people don’t believe me on this, guys, but money does not make your money blocks go away. This is a lifelong thing that you work on.
Are you ready, Marie?
Marie: I’m ready, Denise.
What was your first job and how much did you get paid?
Marie: My very first job outside of my family unit, meaning I used to work at my dad’s business; he was an entrepreneur as well. The first outside job I had, I was nine years old and I started babysitting for neighbors around the corner. I believe I was paid $10 an hour, which is actually really good given what minimum wage is still in this country. That was my first job and I remember feeling so excited to have my own money. It was the most unbelievably empowering feeling to have my own cash. I didn’t have to ask my parents for anything and I used to always dream about, “Okay. I’m going to start saving this. I want to start building it up. How much can I make?” I got really excited about the whole idea of being able to work and then get compensated and all the things I could possibly do with those funds. It was very, very exciting for me at that young age.
Denise: Was that because of The Babysitters’ Club books?
Marie: No. It was, honestly, because I wanted to work so bad. But, here, in the US, in terms of getting a job at a restaurant or one of my other “real jobs” was as a Carvel Ice Cream Girl. There were certain age limitations around that. I believe it was around 14 or 15. You couldn’t really get working papers or get approval to get a “real job” until you were that age. I was so excited, I just wanted to do anything. I remember talking to my parents about it and they were like, “Babysitting is something that a lot of people do.” I would walk around the neighborhood and I found a family, who was a young family, and the mom just loved that I was mature and I was really enthusiastic, so she gave me the position.
Denise: Ten bucks is good! I would have been stoked at nine for 10 bucks.
Marie: You know what was really funny, Denise? It was because I actually started pitching up-sells and adding value, even back then.
I remember us discussing the money. This woman, she was very fond of cosmetics and makeup. She had this whole beauty area in her bathroom. I remember when she was showing me around the house the first time she gave me the lay of the land.
I saw all these cosmetics and she was like, “Yeah, it’s a little disorganized.” I said, “Would you want me to clean that and organize it for you and put things in a color combinations and all that stuff?”
She was like, “Really?” I was like, “Yeah.” She was like, “Oh, I’ll pay you extra to do that.” I was like, “Fantastic.”
When the kids were down napping, I went and did some organization for her and would help her. I would always come up with new ideas of things that I saw needed to be done and then pitch my services.
For example, one time, because the kids liked me and because I did a good job, they were having a Fourth of July party. I knew how to work their CD player.
I said, “I could play DJ and I could play really good songs while you and your family have your Fourth of July party. I can DJ and play some good Prince and mix in this song and that song.” She was like, “Really?”
I was like, “Yeah, I can do it.” This is me, nine, 10 and 11 years old, hustling to get more work and to get more money. Denise: I’m not surprised. I really do think that entrepreneurial streak comes out at such an early age. For some of us, some people have said they come into entrepreneurship later. But for some of us, myself included those markers are there at such an early age. Do you think that’s because your dad was an entrepreneur?
Marie: I think that’s part of it. He was a small business owner from the time that I was born through most of my teens. There were many, many times and many weekends where the whole family had to go into work at the shop, it’s what we would call it, and we turned it into a party. We would help him get a job done. He was in the printing business, so there was all these huge pieces of equipment and a lot of manual labor things that had to get done.
Of course there was a technical side of it, which he handled, but they were just really practical things that kids, my brother and myself and my mom, could help. It was almost like a little assembly line. We could move things along. Rather than my dad being at the shop all by himself all weekend, the whole family did it together.
I really understood what it took in order to get a job done.
Sometimes things go wrong and you have to put in extra hours. We would turn them into a party. Our parents would order pizzas and we’d play music. My mom is one of the funniest, goofiest, most amazing human beings in the world, so there were games and running around in between taking breaks and actually getting things done.
That’s definitely part of where it came from.
Denise: That working side, do you remember talking about money? What was your earliest memory of linking work together with money? The first time you really realized that money was a real thing.
Marie: It’s interesting because I have a very early memory of money between six or seven years old. Maybe eight years old. My parents actually got divorced. It was over money. My childhood perspective, my view from what I heard and what I could understand was that there wasn’t enough money.
The whole reason that my mom was crying and my dad left and she wound up feeling so distraught and helpless and hopeless was because there wasn’t enough money. I remember the day that the divorce finalized and she was a wreck, naturally. She bent down and she put her hand around my shoulders and she shook me and she said,
“Don’t ever, ever, ever depend on a man for money. You need to grow up and earn your own money, and you need to be able to take care of yourself and be independent. Don’t make the mistakes that I made."
Very early on, I was imprinted both with an idea that the lack of money creates pain, that not enough money takes love away and, also a very clear message from my mom, that I was to make my own way in this world and be very independent. I don’t blame her at all. I just feel like it was a natural part of who I was as a human being and my DNA, but certainly our experiences shape us. Those were some of my earliest memories around money.
I remember after that starting to actually fall in love with money.
Any dollar that I earned by babysitting, I really loved it. I wanted to honor, respect and understand it so much that I would wash it in the sink and then I’d dry and iron it. I was into it.
But it wasn’t about worshiping money.
For me, what I saw was having money meant that I could keep love alive and that I could take care of people. I made myself a sacred promise very young that when I grew up, I was going to make so much money that I would have enough to take care of people’s pain. Now, I know we can read all into that, but to be honest, I’m really grateful for that experience because it gave me a lot of fuel and a perspective that I feel is really healthy around money and I’m grateful for that to this day.
Denise: Absolutely. Any of those experiences, I think, we can make into a healthy or an unhealthy relationship with money. I had a very similar experience with my mom saying, “Don’t ever rely on a man.” I really made that a negative story for a long time; that men have all the power around money. That’s how I chose to interpret that. I had to do a lot of work to undo that experience. There are no "good" or "bad" experiences.
It’s really what you make it mean and what beliefs you’ve decided out of those experiences.
Denise: Yeah. I know that when you started your business you had a bridge job, right? You were a bartender, I think, and coaching people on the side? It's where a lot of people start out in their business and probably a lot of people listening might still have a day job or they’re doing things on the side.
What was the very first thing you ever sold as an entrepreneur in the space of coaching or personal development?
Marie: First, just to be clear, I had five bridge jobs, like bar-tending, waiting tables, I was a personal assistant. I worked seven days a week because that’s what it cost. But the very first thing I sold in my business was one-on-one coaching sessions in a life coaching business. That’s exactly how it started out. I remember feeling incredibly insecure because I was a 23 year old life coach, terrified to ask people for money, did not feel adequate, did not feel confident and was just completely like a fish out of water. But I knew I had to do it. I knew I had to walk into that fear.
I had to do it anyway if I ever was going to achieve my dreams of having a profitable, sustainable business.
Denise: Do you remember how much you charged for that first coaching session?
Marie: You know, Denise, I actually don’t. I feel like I would have to really do some research to look that up because, funny enough, I just don’t want to give a wrong number. I know it wasn’t very much, but I’ve been doing this over 17 years now, so it’s definitely been a long time ago. I don’t know how much I initially charged, but I don’t think it was anything outrageous. I do know the first “e-Product” I sold was my book Make Every Man Want You as a digital eBook. That was $29.95 and it was the first experience of “passive” type of income, which all of us know that rarely any of it is passive. That’s a little bit of a myth. There’s a lot of work that goes into it. But, if you can get systems set up, it’s a lot different than, for example for me, showing up at the bar at the restaurant. Whereas, if I didn’t show up that night, there’s no way I’d get paid.
With an eBook, as long as my systems were set up right, I would get some money. Denise:
Yeah. And it’s freaking life changing, people. Earning money doing something that you love, but also earning money from something that you’ve created and get paid for again and again…
It’s life changing stuff.
Marie: 100%. I remember those first sales of the eBook. One of the first few was someone in Spain, actually. That moment of going,
“Whoa. I put my ideas down. I did my work, I did my research, I created this thing that I’m really excited for people to get. There’s someone halfway across the world that I would have never been able to reach otherwise if I was in an earlier era.”
I would have to get on a plane or we had to be in the same city. It was mind blowing.
That first taste of having a global reach and being able to be paid for something that you love, I agree with you.
It completely changed my world and it gave me that little vote of confidence to say, “If you got one sale, that means you can get five sales or 20 sales or 100 sales or 1000 sales or 100,000 sales.” That was really a very, very inspiring event.
Denise: You know, I had a really different experience with my first e-Product. I actually felt really incredibly guilty. I now know that was because I had a huge money block that you have to work hard to make money. Suddenly, somebody is giving me money for something that I didn’t feel like I earned, to be honest. It was a huge money block for me. It’s a good segue into the next line of questions because my audience is really interested in hearing about people’s money blocks, because until you've experienced it, they think, “Why wouldn’t you want to make more money? That’s amazing!” But, for women, it sometimes brings up conflicting feelings. At the start of your business, or really any point in your business...
Have there been times where you’ve experienced money blocks and conflicting feelings about money?
Marie: Absolutely. I mean, this wasn’t necessarily an internal block. The biggest money block when I started was a very real and tangible block of being tens of thousands of dollars in debt. That was more about going, “Whoa, there’s not enough and I’m starting at below zero.” In terms of one of the first money blocks for me was as a life coach, knowing, and I never lied about it, but it definitely was an internal tension for me because I was very passionate about helping people create a life they love and I was tens of thousands of dollars in debt. I had this internal integrity conflict.
“Who am I to help people when, clearly, girlfriend has got a lot of work to do.”
Not just in the financial realm, but in other realms as well. Then, as my business started to grow, Denise, every single time, specifically talking about money, I remember the first time that I was offering a program called Adventure Mastermind. Now mind you, previous to Adventure Mastermind, my highest price point was a couple hundred dollars or maybe a thousand dollars. I took a big jump to $15,000. Before I offered that program out into the world, I got headaches and got physically ill, because there was a part of me that was absolutely sure that I was going to over deliver on the investment, but there was an enormous amount of guilt and self-doubt.
Who do I think I am? Is this freaking crazy?
Those inner money conflicts can hold us back.
I remember being awake at night, crying. I remember the tension and trying to talk it out with people I trusted.
There was something deep in me that knew the price was right, yet there was all of this emotional static and turmoil that went with it. I experienced that a few times in my business and career where there was a tension in there. I never felt like I was out of integrity.
Again, it wasn’t about me feeling like I was ripping people off. But there was a lot of emotion and blockages. For me, it always comes out in a physical sense where I physically get ill.
Denise: I’ve heard you talk about that before. About getting ill. My audience and your audience are very familiar with The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks and the concept of upper limits, which I think is just a powerful concept to get through.
You have to read that book if you haven’t.
I’ve experienced this a lot in my business because I run one program, Money Bootcamp, and every couple of months I feel this upper limit and think,
“This is the most amount of students I’m ever going to have in this program.”
We’re at about 2500 students now, which is wonderful because after my first year in B-School, there were four people in my first program. I can feel it again and it’s the same false belief that, “Wow. 2500 is the most amount of people I’m ever going to have in this program.” Yet, you have done B-School again and again since I joined in 2011.
It keeps on growing and growing.
Have you experienced an upper limit for yourself around B-School?
Marie: You know, I have to tell you, there is this expansiveness in my own experience around B-School. I don’t know quite where it comes from, but every single year it feels like something is deepening and reaching out. It’s like the roots get stronger into the earth.
I also feel like the branches reach wider out into the world. I know that might sound a little strange, but I don’t tend to have blocks around B-School. Partly because I get so focused on the program and how we’re helping people transform their lives and I feel very connected to our community and I’m constantly hearing stories from our folks. Plus, to be really honest, we spend so much time on tweaking, refining and improving things that it’s like I have my head down so much I don't have time for that. B-School continues to grow year after year. I’m continuously grateful and wowed and it’s almost like I have to step aside a bit and be like, “Goodness. This thing has grown to be a life of its own.”
It’s natural to have upper limits around your success.
Something I wrote about recently speaks to this idea of upper limits and blocking ourselves. I was on the Steve Harvey show recently in Chicago.
Denise: Oh, I love him.
Marie: He’s amazing. Now, I’m quite experienced on camera. We’ve had our show now for five years, I’ve done fitness videos. I’m definitely not a newbie when it comes to doing on camera work. Yet, this is the first time of being in front of a live studio audience and it was my first time working with Steve Harvey. I was in the green room. I prepped for this, but for whatever reason, I felt a level of nerves and anxiety that I haven’t felt in a long time. I’m in the green room and the producers are coming in and they want to do kind of a quick run through before I go into hair and makeup and then actually go on the stage. They asked me the first question and, literally, I went blank.
It's like I forgot how to speak English, my mouth was open and my eyes were wide.
No words came out. It was like someone asked me something in Japanese and I don’t speak Japanese. It was the most stunning moment and it lasted three to five seconds and then I was like, “Okay.” I had to shake my head, I laughed at myself, I apologized and I said, “Okay. Can we try that again?” Then it all came out.
No matter where we’re at on our journeys, there are next levels that we want to reach.
Certainly around money and wealth and, for you, around the program and for us around B-School wanting to see our work grow and continue in the world. I think your reference of The Big Leap is genius. I think that’s the fun game for us.
How good are we willing to let ourselves have it?
How expansive are we willing to be? Where can we notice when we get nervous, contracted or notice an upper limit? How can we really observe it, be aware of it and step through to the next level?
Denise: Yes. I love it. Thank you. That’s very inspiring to me right now, knowing that I need to step aside and let my work take root, grow branches and grow bigger than myself. There are a lot of people listening who have excuses.
- “I’m too young,”
- “I’m too old,”
- “I need to lose weight.” That’s a huge one.
- “I’m in debt,” or whatever.
What do you say to those people out there who want to join B-School this year (and might have wanted to join last year), but keep on saying,
"This isn’t my year. Maybe next year.”
Marie: That’s a great question. You start getting to a certain age and I think it becomes more in focus.
You will never be as young as you are today.
There is no better time than this moment to get started on your dream.
Your dreams take time.
Denise, I love that you shared when you started your Lucky Bee program you had four people in there and now you’re impacting thousands. But that didn’t happen overnight. You built that. You did it over years with work, creativity, dedication and perseverance. The sooner you start, meaning right now, the faster you’re actually going to see the fruits of your labor. The next year is going to go by no matter what and you’re either going to be closer to realizing your dream or not. You’re either going to have people that you impacted, things that you’ve created, ways that you have grown as human being, where you can lay your head down on the pillow at night and say,
Yes. I am doing the work I was born to do.
I may not have all the results quite yet, but I know I am on the path.” Or, the next year is going to go by and you’re going to be asking yourself, “Why did I let this time pass? I’m a year older. Other people are doing it.” I know I have that conversation.
You see other people things that you want to do and you haven’t given yourself permission to get into the game.
The other thing I would say, and I am so proud of this and, Denise, you’re such a big part of this, our B-School Community is amazing and it keeps getting better.
Something that holds all of us back is we don’t have enough support around us.
We don’t have people we can be real with. That we can talk about how crazy difficult things are or celebrate with who are genuinely happy when we have those small breakthroughs. When they see our progress and celebrate with us, when they give us ideas and advice and encouragement when we need it most. Perhaps when we’re not getting it at home or our friends don’t understand us or there’s no one around who really gets our dream.
We all need support to grow
I can honestly say we have one of the most vibrant, beautiful, loving, connected and diverse communities on the planet of people who really do want to make a difference for all the right reasons. Just like with your philosophy, Denise, they embrace making money because they embrace it as a tool for doing good; doing good for themselves, for their families, for their communities and for the greater issues that our world is facing right now. There are a lot of them. It’s like putting yourself within this dynamic environment that will move you ahead and take you to places you could never have imagined you could go. But the only way to do it is if you DO it.
You’ve got to take that first step.
Denise: Yes, exactly. Thank you so much, Marie. Guys, stick around. I’m going to tell you a little bit more about what I got out of B-School over the last couple of years, where my business was at when I started and so on. Thank you so much, Marie, for that burst of confidence that I think people really need to hear.
They need to hear that people are real and face money blocks no matter what stage of business they’re at. Having money blocks doesn’t mean to not take action and not get into the flow of your destiny and where you’re going with your life and your business. Thank you so much for your time.
Marie: Thank you, Denise. It was a pleasure and an honor to be with you all.
Denise: I told you that Marie had some absolutely juicy nuggets and I personally got a lot out of our interview. I felt like it was a really massive a-ha and epiphany for me when she talked about how B-School has put down roots and grown branches and grown and grown. For me, that has just come at such a timely time because I constantly hit my own money blocks and every time I have a new influx of students into my programs I think, “This is it. This is all I’m ever going to have,” so she’s absolutely inspired me in that way.
Let’s talk about B-School.
If you haven’t done B-School, I honestly think you're missing out on an incredible community and also really great business training. Now, you might have seen B-School around for the last couple of years and thought, “I’m not going to join this year,” or, “What’s the big deal?” Sometimes you even think, “God, everyone’s doing that. I’m not going to do it,” because you don’t like to be like everyone else. I totally get it.
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Before B-School, my biz was very small.
I started out as a life coach at the end of 2010. Before then, I had tried a lot of different businesses and I had been one of those people who started a business every year and gave up within a few months.
In 2011 I wanted to start being a life coach. I started doing seminars around my town. I would drive around in my crappy little car and do these goal-setting seminars. It wasn’t really getting a lot of traction. It was going okay, but I felt really stifled by the limitations of the model. I was like, “I’m going to run out of people in this town to be my clients.”
Somebody told me about B-School. I just remember thinking, “Wow. $2000". I think I’d probably earned about $10,000 in my business at that stage. It felt like a lot of money. But it’s not like I had that $2000 lying around to do B-School.
It was a really massive stretch for me. I remember talking to my husband at the time, “I think I need a business course. I need some guidance and some community around me because I don’t know anyone who is doing what I want to do. I feel really lonely and lost and I don’t know how to do this by myself.”
I love my husband, but he said, “You’ve done courses before. When is that going to end?” I was like, “Never. Learning never ends, ever.” He was kind of like, “But don't you know everything by now?” But I did it. I put it on my credit card with a lot of faith, and I went for the four payment plan. I have to tell you, two of those payments bounced, and I had to put it on a different card. It was really embarrassing, but it happens. That's where I was at the time.
B-School really blew my mind about the possibilities of online business. I learned how to put together a program and how to pull together all the different skill-sets that I had into a business.
About two months after B-School, I ran my first ever group program. I was so proud of this and it was so exciting. I had four people on it. I told myself “Wow. This is the start of something big.”
That was the seed for me to create the Money Bootcamp, which currently has over 4500 students. But it started with those four. I learned how to do that from B-School and I learned by being part of a community of women who were doing amazing things in the world.
Doing B-School was life-changing for me, and it can do the same for you.
That year, I earned $60,000. That gave me the confidence to know that I could do this, that I could create a business. Then I doubled the next year, still being an active part of the community. I still needed the support and here's the best thing - B-School doesn’t go away. You get life-time access. You’re constantly in the community, you get every upgrade every single year. Marie has improved the program every year. The following year, I doubled my business. Then the next year, I doubled my business. I am in that B-School community every single day.
- I’m in the B-School mom’s group, where we talk about raising kids while building our businesses.
- I’m in the B-School Australian group, and organize local meet ups.
- I’m in the B-School woo-woo group for people who like woo-woo stuff.
- And I’m in the main B School group, which is about 15,000 people. Yes, it can get a little bit overwhelming, but it’s still an amazing resource every single day.
B-School still impacts my life every single day now as a million dollar business owner. I appreciate Marie so much for what she’s put together.
You might think, “It’s not my time.”
Well - WHEN is it going to be your time to do something? I highly rate B-School as an incredible community, an incredible business course and an amazing opportunity to be a part of a movement of female entrepreneurs.
Why wait another year to do something incredible?
You could be completely changing your life. Thanks again for reading Marie's interview - I hope you got lots of aha's out of it. xx
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