Note: This post from our founder, Laura Roeder, was originally published in February 2015. It has since been updated and serves as a resource for anyone who’s curious about the Marie Forleo B-School and Laura’s role in helping to create the program.
In 2009, I had just moved to LA and was transitioning from being a web designer to my new social media marketing business. I quit web design because I had hit a ceiling – I saw that with my old model, I was putting a cap on how much my business could grow.
I was serious about making some big changes – building the foundation for something that could grow into a multi-million dollar business and run without me.
Enter: Marie Forleo.
Who is Marie Forleo? When I first saw Marie onstage at a conference in late 2008 I thought – yes! This is the mentor I’ve been looking for. This is someone who understands me and what I’m trying to achieve.
Turns out my gut feeling was right.
A few months after we met, I wrote Marie a Big Fat Check to teach me everything she knew about business. The experience was transformational enough that I wrote the same Big Fat Check the next year. When something works, I stick with it!
The Real Story About The Beginnings of the Marie Forleo Business School
But by the second year our relationship had changed – we went from being mentor/mentee to being peers and close friends. We taught each other and constantly talked about problems in our industry.
Why was no one telling the truth about what it really takes to be successful online? Why were people acting like it’s some big mystery?
And more importantly, why did we have to go to scammy conferences to learn about online marketing?
After a long incubation period, we came up with the first iteration of B-School in 2010: THE Business school for making it big online. We poured our hearts and brains into the project – everything we had both learned about rapidly building mega-successful online businesses from scratch.
B-School is split into SIX core modules. Here’s an overview of how I’ve personally used each model to push my business into 7 figures.
1. Profit Clarity
Profit clarity is all about finding the sweet spot between what you love to sell and what your customers love to buy. You can look at what other businesses have done all you want, but in the end, you and your customers are totally unique, and you need to be able to find the right make-sense solution for YOU.
Profit Clarity is also the philosophy I used to create Edgar. I needed a social media scheduling tool that would work for me, but nothing like it existed – and I figured if I needed it, other people probably did, too! So I invested the time and the money it took to build Edgar from scratch, and it’s taken my business way above and beyond what I would have imagined! Focusing on giving myself and my customers EXACTLY what we couldn’t find anywhere else is the kind of profit clarity that makes Edgar a success.
2. Websites That Sell and Don’t Suck
WAY too many people get stuck on the building-your-website part – and they never get UN-stuck! You either get so worried about adding the right stuff that you never get off the ground, or you add SO MUCH stuff that your customers get turned off.
This is one I used to get stuck on ALL THE TIME. I’d get so psyched about a program that I wanted to share everything about it – and the website would get so bloated with details that nobody was actually reading it! It was information overload.
B-School teaches you what pages your site needs, what pages people actually look at, and what pages you can kick to the curb! By sticking to the B-School method, I was able to trim off all those confusing, unnecessary pages to make my site a lean, mean conversion machine. Want to turn your site into your best salesperson? B-School can get you there!
3. Your Slam Dunk Communication Plan
All the blog posts, email newsletters, and tweets in the world won’t bring you any closer to your customers without a PLAN.
A willy-nilly communication plan is just as bad as having no plan at all. That’s why I’ve been sending out our weekly newsletter, The Dash, every single Wednesday for SIX YEARS (time flies, huh?). Does that mean YOU need a weekly newsletter? Of course not! But B-School can help you determine exactly what you and your business DO need to connect with the audience you want.
4. List-Building Mania
Organic list-building is one of the biggest challenges any business owner faces – but it also has one of the BIGGEST payoffs. Using the B-School strategy has helped me grow my list to a whopping 80,000+ readers (and growing literally every day)!
The Marie Forleo’s B-School teaches you how to build assets over time and use freebies like webinars, cheat sheets, and other exclusives to cultivate the robust list of your dreams – and I’m living proof that it works!
5. How to Create Products and Services That Practically Sell Themselves
Ever hesitated to release a product or a service because you weren’t sure it would sell? Heck, have you ever ACTUALLY released it and found out it was a dud? (It’s ok – we’ve all been there!)
B-School is the ONLY place where I’ve seen the type of training that shows you how to refine your product and turn it into something that will bring you long-term success. Before I released Edgar, for example, I offered earlybird testing access to people who I knew would be honest about possible improvements. Opening the floor for feedback was a HUGE success, and it showed me that I could be confident rolling Edgar out on a larger scale – and I’m VERY glad I did!
6. Marketing Wisdom That Works Across Every Industry
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Marie is one of THE best copywriters working today (there’s a reason she’s a bestselling author, you know?). And as both a colleague and a mentor, she’s taught me a LOT about being a better marketing writer.
Case in point? Well, you may have noticed that I like to keep things pretty casual around these parts. Because while I teach serious business strategies for hard-working entrepreneurs, there’s NO reason why it has to be stuffy.
That’s something I learned from Marie and B-School, and wouldn’t you know it, it works – by keeping it real and not worrying so much about sounding “professional,” I’ve been able to show people that while marketing is work, it doesn’t have to be scary!
We went on to teach B-School together in 2010 and 2011, and then I left the project.
Why did I leave? Basically, it was a side project that turned into something much, much bigger. (At this point I don’t think the word “phenomenon” would be an exaggeration.) I was giving it side-project time while I ran my main business, and that just wasn’t working anymore. B-School had become a business of its own.
Since I left B-School, Marie has refreshed, recreated and made the school more and more effective each year. The success stories of the women that go through B-School leave me in awe. With B-School, it’s so clear that Marie is in the zone – she is one of the top online entrepreneurs in the world and actually manages to make topics like pricing and market research sound fun. This is a program that changes lives.
While I’m no longer an active part of B-School, it remains one of my proudest accomplishments. To see something that you helped to create become larger than you is one of the coolest, most incredible experiences I’ve ever had. I haven’t been a mom for that long, but this must be a little taste of how parents feel watching their children grow into adults that can thrive without them.
And that’s why I’m writing this blog post telling you about B-School.
B-School is a catalyst. B-School is a multiplier.
What was it really like founding B-School with Marie Forleo?
Want some more insights about what Marie Forleo is really like? Wonder what it’s really like to partner with a mogul like Marie? Here are the top five things that I learned.
Make it FUN!
Marie knows that if she’s having a good time on camera, you’re going to have a good time watching it. You can definitely credit Marie with every crazy video we made to promote B-School! Once I flew out to New York to find that she had gone to a Manhattan costume shop to rent us a variety of matching Lady Gaga costumes, including one that could only be described as a “space bikini”. (UPDATE: Just found that the video is still online! You can watch it here at the bottom of the post.) She was always the creative force in our duo, and she wouldn’t tell me about this stuff in advance. I would just show up and go along!
Maybe there aren’t any space bikinis in the current B-School videos, but if you watch MarieTV, you know what I’m talking about. Marie’s fun, creative delivery of business advice is what has made the show such a phenomenon so quickly.
Go Pro (Way Before You Think That You Can)
I like to think that Marie and I both taught each other ways to go pro. I was able to help her lay the foundations of building her all-star team, and when it came to creative matters she always insisted that we go one step farther than the norm. The first year we did B-School we hired a professional camera crew to shoot and edit our videos. Now don’t get me wrong, in retrospect they still look pretty amateur! But that humble start is what has made Marie such a video expert now. She always insisted that we spend the money on top-of-the-line editing, design and production – and it showed.
It’s not like either one of us had piles of money laying around that we decided could go towards professional videos. We just had the faith that the extra spend would pay off. (And we were right!)
Creativity Is Messy
You can tell that a lot of the lessons for me in partnering with Marie had to do with creativity. In my opinion, it’s her secret weapon as an entrepreneur. It’s no surprise that she used to be a professional dancer – Marie is excellent at expressing herself in a way that others can connect with and feed off of.
When we wrote copy for B-School, we would spend days sitting around our apartments in New York or LA, just riffing. Often I would type as fast as I could while Marie would talk – she would have moments of brilliance that we could never quite remember afterwards so I learned to make my fingers GO whenever she opened her mouth! We would go to bars, coffee shops, hotel lobbies, whatever and just brainstorm and dream with a trusty laptop to catch our ideas. It was a very iterative process – we would get out tons of language and then just keep improving it until the voice, tone and message were dead-on. We often took ideas from one place and moved them around to another. Marie is a very collaborative worker which would sometimes drive me nuts! It’s my nature to just sit down alone in dead silence and get my work done, but she likes to talk things out and play with the ideas.
This creative process, which seemed a bit “messy” to me resulted in honestly the best copywriting I’ve ever seen. Marie has used that copy for years because when something works, it works!
Turn It Up Times Ten
Marie is so fun to work with because she takes every idea and runs with it – she wants to not just make it better, but blow it out of the water. She was always coming up with new ideas for how we could exceed our own goals. She really has the ability to let the limits of her mind go, and come up with some big ideas!
I remember we had our “affiliate hit list” of people that we wanted to help us with the B-School affiliate program. (Now it’s an invite-only program, and Marie literally has to turn away affiliates so that the whole thing can stay manageable and high quality.) But it certainly wasn’t that way in the beginning!
We made a game plan for how we could go all out to reach these guys – and by the way, it was mostly guys. This is kind of funny since almost all of the biggest B-School affiliates have turned out to be women! In retrospect, I’m not surprised at all.
We went to tons of internet marketing conferences to shmooze and further our relationships. For a while we were traveling a LOT, and we’d always share a hotel room since we were talking B-School ideas non-stop! Sometimes that would lead to funny situations on its own – I remember one room in South Africa had a big romantic bathtub right in the middle of the room!
So when we went after affiliates, we went all out. We spent tons of time and money traveling to conferences, and even sent one affiliate an entire CASE of his favorite beverage. When Marie goes after something, she goes AFTER it!
Create Your Own Opportunities
We were at Jeff Walker’s Product Launch Formula conference, another one of our trips spreading the word about B-School and scouting affiliates. (We were also there to learn as much as possible. Marie and I are both big believers in “beginners mind” – that there is ALWAYS something more to learn!)
As we saw speakers up on stage referencing their products, we were clear that’s what WE wanted! If we got on stage everyone would know who we were and hear about B-School.
There was only one tiny problem: we weren’t speakers. And crashing wasn’t exactly going to work.
So we had an idea – we had just had a very successful B-School launch using principles that we learned from Jeff. Every conference loves success stories! Maybe we could get up on stage and share what we’d done. We also had just made a hilarious “fake sexy” launch video that we knew the dudes at the conference would get a huge kick out of it. So we went into action mode!
We (lovingly) cornered Kristen Arnold, a member of Jeff’s team, and showed her our video. We proposed the idea to her, and she said she would get back to us. Very soon after, we got our YES! But they wanted us on stage soon. I remember we were rushing around trying to get our video in the right format on a memory stick so that they could play it for everyone.
In the end, people loved seeing our video, and it was great to be able to tell our success story up on stage. (This was also the conference where someone told Marie we couldn’t do a million-dollar launch that year which I think is exactly why we ended up doing it!)
The key lesson in this was that we created our opportunity on our own – no one announced that they were looking for success stories. If you want to have Marie Forleo-level success it’s an important quality to take on – create your own luck, because no one else is going to do it for you.
Jump Forward to Marie Forleo B-School 2021
Six years on and the Marie B-School is still helping thousands of people realize their business dreams. More than 66,000 entrepreneurs have now passed through the school. You can read thousands of glowing reviews about how the school ACTUALLY works on the site.
Here’s a Marie Forleo B school review we loved:
The six-module formula is still in place and you take on a different module each week. The course takes place online over six weeks but you have lifetime access to all the materials.
How much is B-School?
A question that may be on many people’s lips…what’s the investment for B-School? With Marie, B-School costs $2,499 and you can pay that in monthly installments.
You can still sign up for B-School 2022
If you feel like B-School is for you, don’t miss out on next year’s enrollment! You can sign up from February 22 – March 3, 2022.
Have you completed B-School or know anyone who has? Let us know about your experiences in the comments!