Marie Forleo’s B-School: My Non-Affiliate Review

If you’re like me, you’re on a lot of online biz, marketing, and entrepreneurial mailing lists. This time of year, your inbox may be full of e-mails from people you’ve signed up to follow who happen to be plugging Marie Forleo’s B-School. It’s an online business program that’s only offered each March so that means one big launch period where prospects like us are inundated with wanted – or unwanted – information about it.

CC0 image courtesy of Pixabay.com

The Story Behind B-School Affiliates

The thing about B-School affiliates: They are VERY well-paid; to my knowledge, they get half of each $2,000 sign-up! So you can see why they’re motivated to convince YOU to join B-School, not in general but specifically using their own affiliate links.

The good part of this whole sitch is this: Because B-School affiliates are so eager to sell the program, they offer VERY nice bonuses if you sign up through their link. For example, I posted here back in 2015 about all the affiliate offers I was considering – and who I chose.

YES! I took Marie Forleo’s B-School in 2015

One of the challenges I ran into when deciding to sign up – or not, because hey, it’s pretty pricey – was finding UNBIASED reviews of B-School, ones that weren’t shared by someone who was going to make $1k if they convinced me to sign up. Well, I don’t want you to be in the same boat so I’m going to give MY review of and experience with B-School. Want to cut to the chase? I wholeheartedly recommend B-School for most online entrepreneurs. And I’m not being paid a cent to say that ;)

So Let’s Take a Step Back

First, some background about B-School, in case it’s brand new to you or you don’t know much about it. I’ll do the classic “who, what, when, where, why” to fill you in.

WHO: According to her site, Marie Forleo is “(a)n entrepreneur, writer, philanthropist and an unshakable optimist dedicated to helping you become the person you most want to be.” She started her online business with nothing and now runs one of the most profitable online empires around. Marie has been recognized by people like Tony Robbins, Oprah Winfrey*, and Sir Richard Branson. In other words, she’s teaching what she knows because she’s accomplished it herself.

*Yes, I’m now a big Marie fan and this blog post includes my review of her appearance at Super Soul Sessions in Los Angeles last year.

Marie Forleo at Super Soul Sessions 2016

WHAT: B-School is an 8-week online learning program for big-hearted creatives who want to build a meaningful, profitable business online. Getting your business up and running requires clarity, vision and the ability to execute consistently on the right strategies. Without a roadmap or guidance, the process can be overwhelming. B-School can fast-track your growth and save you years of expensive trial and error. – from the B-School Program Tour page)

The B-School curriculum includes 6 modules, with 1 module released per week starting Monday, March 6th. Each module contains 4-6 individual video lessons plus corresponding Fun Sheets (growth assignments and handouts) to help you integrate and apply what you learn to your business. You’ll also get two full weeks of implementation at the mid and end point of the program, where no new content is released. These open weeks are designed to give you a chance to catch up on the training, reflect and take action. Once the initial 8 weeks are complete and all content has been released, you’ll have access to the entire library of training materials inside the member portal and can revisit and review as often as you like.

WHEN: Marie Forleo’s B-School runs from Monday, March 6, 2017 for 8 weeks (through Sunday, April 30, 2017). Enrollment begins February 22, 2017 at noon EST and closes March 2, 2017. They encourage you to join as soon as possible because there is some pre-work you can do to get clear on your business idea and get focused before B-School begins.

WHERE: Everything takes place online. Marie and co. are based in New York so times are EST-based but they really try to accommodate others, at least in the U.S., as much as possible. Students come from all over the world and, of course, it’s impossible to be perfectly-timed for everyone. Everything is fully available to anyone, no matter their location.

CC0 image courtesy of PIxabay.com

Saving the WHY for Last

WHY: This seems like the perfect place for my review and recommendation – why i took B-School, what my experience was, and why you should or should not take it.

How I Made the B-School Decision, etc.

I’ve already written about B-School a bit on my VA Creatively blog here and here, where I talked about things like:

  • how I heard about B-School
  • who recommended it to me
  • the high-price barrier and how I was able to afford it
  • how I finally made the decision to take the plunge
  • how I chose which affiliate to sign up with
  • my experience in the first 3 weeks of B-School

So feel free to head over to those posts if you’re curious about any of that. Just remember to come back here when you’re done …

Sorry, More Background

Before B-School, I was a long-time work-at-home transcriptionist who had been slowly adding virtual assistance services to my repertoire. Honestly, even though I’d been doing the work since 2007, I’d only discovered that being a VA was a “thing” in 2013 or so.

So I changed my official title – well, the thing I told people when they asked, “what is it you do from home exactly? It’s like medical billing or something, right?” Ha! Yeah, no. I had some very steady medical and psych transcription clients but I could read the writing on the wall. They weren’t going to be my clients forever.

With new federal medical laws, doctors were being required (against their will, in smaller and rural areas like mine) to transition to EMR (electronic medical records) or else face hefty fines. I wasn’t going to wait around for these clients to go EMR, drop me, and suddenly be without income. So I started taking every free class and webinar about online business and entrepreneurship that I could find. (Huge shout out to Creative Live! I feel like I got an AA degree in online business from them and it was free, other than the few classes I purchased).

Then 3 female online entrepreneurial friends (who didn’t know each other) all told me within a few weeks of each other about how B-School had been the game-changer for them and, long story short, I signed up. My impression from their reviews and all the information I could find online was that I probably already knew a lot of the information being taught. However, the way it was organized, presented by Marie, reinforced by her staff – not to mention the crazy networking that goes on in the B-School Facebook Group – would make it more than worth my time and money.

My Actual Review (Thank You for Your Patience)

Marie and the Materials

And that ended up being completely correct. I did already know about 60-70% of the information that B-School taught. But it wasn’t about JUST the curriculum. For one thing, I really like Marie Forleo, how she teaches, and what she stands for. I felt like she was talking directly to me with each .pdf, video, and call. She’s very straightforward, knowledgeable, self-deprecating, and funny. She tells great stories to illustrate her points in a way that makes sense to my creative yet somewhat techy, multi-passionate mind.

I’ve listened to other heavy-hitters and I don’t connect with them in the same way, so I know it’s something special. If you want a feel for what I’m talking about, watch some Marie.TV; make sure and stay for the end of each episode ;) You may not connect with her in the same way and, if that’s the case, I’d have second thoughts about taking B-School. While she’s not like a 1:1 coach in this environment, B-School is definitely full-tilt Marie Forleo. If you don’t groove with her voice and message, this isn’t for you. But I suspect that if you’re taking the time to read this extensive review, it’s because you do like Marie Forleo :)

Another highlight for me was that the way she presents the information in workbooks, videos, the online portal, etc. was SUPER well-organized and just plain pretty to look at! Hey, I’m a visual person. It really did make a difference in how I absorbed the information. Heck, it motivated me to read, listen, or watch in the first place because it’s an eye-pleasing presentation. It’s like Anthropologie: aspirational. I know my site doesn’t look like Marie’s but it can someday, lol. So if you like a plain-text, straightforward, “just the facts, ma’am” type of presentation, maybe all the pretty colors and design will be distracting for you?

Psst! Keep reading … I have a way for you to get an idea ahead of time about how things look inside the B-School learning area.

The Information

Like I said, a lot of the info I’d already heard or knew from starting to expand my virtual assistant business, build my VA website, starting my social accounts, etc. The difference was, instead of this information/reference materials being scattered all over the internet and in my computer files, it was all beautifully organized in the B-School portal, available to access 24/7 from any device, and available for download to access offline as well.

Also, the information came from someone who, by then, I trusted and admired, not some random blog post or person I didn’t know that much about. Marie presents the information in several formats and also has live calls where YOU can ask a question to her directly or just listen to those from other students – who have the same types of questions you do. I didn’t have to piecemeal information together; it’s all there, A to Z. If I got stuck or needed motivation or encouragement, I had (and still have) one place to go.

The Learning and Implementation

B-School is an 8-week course with 6 modules and 2 weeks to implement what you’re learning. There’s an oft-repeated saying, “There’s no behind in B-School” because they don’t want you to beat yourself up or get discouraged when life inevitably gets in the way of your studies and you can’t keep up with every lesson, every task, every week. It’s a LOT of information and a lot of hard work. If you’re starting from scratch, it can be overwhelming.

Also, sometimes you need to contemplate and decision-make or prep before you can move forward and that’s okay. The information is always there for you to access because you’ve downloaded it and you have access to the portal. B-School materials are updated for each new session and the portal does close down for (I want to say) about a month every Jan/Feb. But they notify students via email any time something will be inaccessible or deleted so you have plenty of time to download it before then.

Then when the next round starts in early March, every alumni has full access and can “take” B-School again. In fact, the alumni Facebook group is full of people excited about doing B-School again, mainly for these 3 reasons: 1. Something came up and then never completed it in the past, 2. They’ve changed or added businesses and want to apply the B-School tenets to a different business, or 3. Now that another year or two has gone by from their first B-School run-through, they want to put the same biz through it again and make improvements and refinements. I think the ability to take B-School over and over is one of its best (and most cost-effective) selling points.

The Biggie: Networking

The ability to network in B-School is UH-MAZE-ing. I can tell you this: I’ve made WAY MORE than $2,000 just from the networking in B-School alone. For one thing, in the B-School portal, you can create a listing by name, business, and contact info and you also  participate in discussions under each lesson. So your name is out there and available to other B-Schoolers if you want to be found, to network, to make friends in similar businesses, etc.

For another (and more importantly in my opinion), there are the now-massive B-School Facebook Groups where you can network like crazy. I don’t mean blatantly plug your business because we know that’s super-bad form and not allowed in most Facebook groups anyway. {And the group moderators on Team Forleo do not mess around. They delete inappropriate posts pronto}. I do mean that you can make authentic connections with like-minded folks who are in the same place with their businesses, facing the same challenges, and asking the same questions you are.

When you’re in B-School, you go into a Facebook group just for that year’s B-School class. (I’m sorry, I can remember how many were in my 2015 group but maybe 2-3K?). Then when the current B-School session is over, they close that group and you’re invited to join the huge alumni group (as of this writing, it has 18,000 members!).

With a group that large, it can be easy to feel lost in the crowd but it’s what you make it and that hasn’t been my experience. I’ve made a consistent effort to take part in the discussions and, over time, have bonded with specific people who I really feel connected to. We’ve gotten to know each other, our businesses, and work ethics; we love to support and recommend each other; and we often DM or call each other. I can’t recommend B-School enough for making this kind of connection possible.

The bottom line about the networking is B-Schoolers love to support other B-Schoolers. Just by being a student of Marie’s, you know you’re on the same wavelength with most everyone in this group. Because you each spent $2,000, you’re most likely pretty dang serious about your business. And you’ve watched each other grow and succeed – it’s exciting and fun! People post their successes and milestones in the group and we cheer each other on! People also post their hardships; not only do the B’s support each other but Marie’s team shows such kindness as well, even sending cards and gifts to these students 💗

Who Might NOT Want to Take B-School

I read in another non-affiliate review from a few years ago that unless you’re a coach or someone who serves coaches, you shouldn’t take B-School and also that product-sellers shouldn’t take B-School. I couldn’t disagree more with that advice. Maybe it has changed since that attendee went to B-School several years ago. There’s actually an entire bonus just for product-sellers, Marie answered many live questions from product-sellers, and I’ve seen sooo many product-sellers in the Facebook group achieving great success. The first who comes to mind is Brandon Wagner of Crumble Co.  He’s not only been a huge financial success but also a success at giving back, an integral part of what Marie preaches in B-School.

So let’s use the B-School technique of ICA: Ideal Client Avatar. I’d say the ICA for B-School is: Jennifer, a 30-something young married who has worked in private industry but always been at least somewhat of an entrepreneur at heart. She knows she has more to offer the world with her work, not just from a ‘producing something valuable sense’ but from sharing her wealth with others. She’s spiritual but not religious, has a supportive extended family, loves to travel, and has a pug named Marley. (Ha ha, any B-Schooler alumni reading this, how did I do?!?)

So, yeah, if you’re a guy in B-School you’re going to feel outnumbered although very welcome. But there’s not that masculine, hardcore, hurt and hustle mentality you might see in male-taught courses. B-School definitely attracts coaches, or brings out coaching biz ideas in people who’ve attained expert level in their fields and now want to share their vast knowledge. But B-School also has artists, photographers, writers, bloggers, visibility experts, social media managers, and much, much more.

I can’t think of any one business group or type that would feel excluded in B-School or wouldn’t benefit from it. It’s definitely geared toward online business over brick and mortar! But if you’re a brick and mortar, you’re crazy if you aren’t also trying to maximize your online presence, sales, and marketing. There are also MLM’ers, teachers, and athletes in B-School. If you have a question like, “Hey, Erika. Are there filmmakers/jewelry designers/naturopaths in B-School?”, just ask me and I’ll let you know.

It’s a pretty wide range which reminds me: There are also B-School subgroups on Facebook where like-minded students (Woo-Woo Crew, want to give TED Talks, Ontraport users, etc.) and those from similar professions (coders, coaches, veterinary, etc.) can “talk amongst themselves.” There are also groups by geography so you can arrange meet-ups in your own area! Pretty dang cool, I tell ya’. They’re all on a handy-dandy list in the Facebook Group files section; 6 pages of groups by similar interest/profession and 4 pages worth by location.

The other thing I read in a negative review was that there was a lack of networking beyond meeting up with local B-Schoolers. As you can see, I completely disagree with that as well. If you can’t network, make friends, and establish a referral network in a group of 18K people who took the same extensive business course you did, that’s not B-School’s fault, LOL. And then all the sub-groups too! Yikes. With approval, you can even start you’re own.

Want to Check Out a Kind of “Mini-Mini B-School”?

I mentioned earlier there was a way to get a little peek behind the B-School curtain. Welll … Hurry! I don’t know how long this offer is available but right now, in the top bar of MarieForleo.com, it says, “Limited Time Only – Get Instant Access to a FREE 3-Part Business Workshop”. Click on that to sign up and you’ll get access to some videos and .pdf workbooks that are very much on the wavelength of B-School. Enjoy and I hope that helps in your decision … along with my 100-page review here, lol. (So I’m a little verbose! Sheesh).

In Summary …

Without hesitation, I recommend Marie Forleo’s B-School for most online entrepreneurs who want to start, build on, or refine their business.

There are negative reviews out there, too, and you should read them before you sign up. I sure did. Honestly, even before I took B-School in 2015, the things that stood out about the negative reviews was that they were older (perhaps the program has improved over time, eh?) and their experience seemed more self-directed than anything.

I go back to something I heard when I was trying to make this big decision: B-School or no B-School? And that’s that B-School is like anything in life. If you approach it with a positive attitude, willing to learn, eager and open to what’s being offered to you, you’ll have a good experience. The opposite is true as well: Those who look for fault usually find it. So approach B-School positively and I can’t see any way you won’t get your time and money’s worth.

Did I go to B-School and become the most super-amazing, 6-figure virtual assistant?! Nope. But that was never my goal. For me, being a mom comes first and I just wanted to improve and refine the VA biz I already had going, work about 30 hours a week, and be at home for my family. B-School helped me in so many ways, the main one being networking with like-minded online business owners. I learned how to figure out my ideal customer, how to market to them, what services they most needed, and how to communicate with them.

Marie herself gave me the confidence to charge what I’m worth and to obtain the clients I deserve. Since B-School, I’ve rarely had to “hustle” for clients and am usually fully booked. When I’m not, I don’t panic because I also learned how to see the big picture and a little woo-woo to get me through, too ;) I learned how to ask for help from my B’s and that I’m not alone in my entrepreneurial ideas, dreams, and struggles.

If this all sounds good to you, definitely give some good thought to attending B-School. However, if the money is too much of a hardship or Marie doesn’t ring your bell, don’t feel badly about it. B-School isn’t for you, at least not right now. Keep looking for the program that DOES resonate most fully with you and is within your budget.

I wish you so much luck and love in your online business journey! If you have ANY questions about Marie Forleo’s B-School, online business, working with a virtual assistant, etc., don’t hesitate to ask. Helping is what I love to do.

Take care,

 

What Can A Virtual Assistant Do? Create a Spreadsheet for Blogger/Podcaster Outreach

Virtual Assistants (VAs) like me can do so many different tasks to help you. Here is one example:

Create a spreadsheet for blogger/podcaster outreach

I’m working on a spreadsheet right now for a client who is starting a service-oriented health business. She needs to get the word out and one way to do that is to be seen and heard by the audiences of others in her same space.

To that end, I created a Google doc spreadsheet that we share – so she can make additions or changes. It has columns for the following information:

Name
Website
Topics they cover
Blog
Podcast
Guest blogging
Social Media Reach
– Facebook
– Twitter
– Instagram
– Youtube
– Pinterest
Notes

Screen Shot 2014-09-14 at 3.47.52 PM

I started the task by finding 10 well-known bloggers/podcasters in her niche. I filled in the blanks for each person – their name, links to their main website, topics, blog, and podcast. I also included whether they accept guest blog posts and, if so, included that link.

Finally, I checked each of their social profiles and added how many Likes, Followers, etc. they have on each. The Notes are mostly blank for now, although I did include details if she has already been in contact with the person.

Having this “bloggers/podcasters outreach” spreadsheet will be very helpful to the client. She can see at a glance who is out there, what their reach is, and easily click over to their site, blog, podcast, or guest blogging page without having to Google and then navigate each individual site.

As she progresses through making contact with each person, we can add notes, checkmarks, more columns, etc. to keep track of whatever information my client needs.

To start the list with 10 entries took me about 1.5 hours and cost her under $40. Her time and energy can be much better spent doing things for her business that ONLY SHE can do, like determining which services to offer, how much to charge, etc.

Using a VA (virtual assistant) for easy but time-consuming tasks like this makes perfect sense and that’s why so many entrepreneurs are using my services. It’s just plain cost-effective and smart.

Weekly Roundup by VA Creatively.com 08-31-14

Here’s a round-up of some of my finds from around the web this week. They’re geared toward creative entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, social media, working at home, and other things you might find helpful or interesting.

-You know those funny “som(ee)cards” you see on Pinterest and such? Look! You can make your own HERE.



– Here’s a GREAT READ for you bloggers, crafters, hobbyists, and creative entrepreneurs.

– Hey, come join me in class next Friday, 09-05-14! It’s FITNESS FOR CREATIVES and us types who sit at a desk all day. And it’s online and it’s free so no excuses. See you there ;)

– A new venture by a gal I’m very fond of: PERSONALIZE YOUR ART, baby!

– Some GREAT ADVICE from a successful blogger and editor.

– Wondering what work to outsource to a virtual assistant? HERE’s a great list of ideas by Entrepreneur.com.

– If you’re going to Pin images from your blog, make sure to DO THIS first.

– A PODCAST about creatives? I’m in!

Hope you enjoyed this weekly round-up from VA Creatively.com!

Listen While You Work at Home: Farideh the Singing (and Funny!) Marketer

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Have you met Farideh Ceaser yet?  I found her when she was a podcast guest for KELLY McCAUSEY, who I love and adore.  {Kelly’s taught me so much about working online from home and is the reason I finally saw this as a possiblity}.

Farideh is a singer who, while marketing her music career, found she liked the business aspect so much, she decided to marry the two into a new career.

In support of her marketing biz, she posts funny, short, but informative videos to her YOUTUBE channel.

I started out with her video “Get Back to Work, Girl” {no, that’s not me, nuh uh, I don’t do that . . . } and ended up watching all of her videos Sunday afternoon.  It didn’t take long; like I said, they’re pretty quick.

But if you need a laugh on a busy day, check out Farideh’s videos and give ’em a listen while you work at home.  Enjoy!

PS:  Farideh also has a PODCAST.  I haven’t listened yet but I’m checking that out for sure!

Listen While You WAH: Elisa Blaha Cripe’s Podcast “Elise Gets Crafty”

In case you’re wondering, in “Listen While You WAH” . . . WAH stands for Work At Home :)

I’ve worked from home for years and I’m always looking for new things to listen to while I work. That’s one of the MANY great things about working from home: You no longer have to put up with co-worker Joe’s political talk radio or Sandra’s country music blaring in the office all day. YOU get to choose what you listen to!

One of my long-time favorite crafters, ELISE BLAHA CRIPE, has her own podcast. Please read her blog post HERE for all the deets.

Even if you’re not a crafty type, I think you’ll enjoy Elise. She’s also a healthy mama, military wife, solopreneur, work-at-home mom, cook, gardner, DIY decorator, casual fashionista, runner, etc. The girl has a lot going on!

I admire her drive to get things done. She’s a goal-setter and super sweet, too. Oh, and she created the Get to Work planner I included in my huge planner round-up HERE. In her spare time, LOL.

Okay, I’m off to listen to Elise’s podcast while I work today! Two great episodes I’ve listened to already are one with a fave blogger, Sarah from YES AND YES) and the one with with ALI EDWARDS, another creative type who’s making a living working from home.

HERE is a link to the podcast on her website. HERE is the “Elise Gets Crafty” podcast on iTunes. I hope you give it a listen, too.

Please let me know what you think in Comments below!