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,

 

Marie Forleo B-School Update

I’m about halfway through Marie Forleo’s B-School and wanted to give an update.

It runs from March 9 through May 3, 2015 so we start Week 4 tomorrow. It’s kind of a catch-up week, thank goodness, because I’m behind . . . erm, not totally caught up. As you’ll hear again and again from your fellow students, “There’s no ‘behind’ in B-School!”

I started off strong, completing Module 1 and most of Module 2. But that’s where I’m stalled. I’ve been interacting a lot in the online group, trying to be an encouragement to others and providing helpful tips or ideas where I can. I’ve also offered my virtual assistant and basic website building services to students who’ve expressed a need. It’s such a great community and I honestly feel like it’s one of the best parts of B-School.

People post their progress and ideas, ask for feedback, talk ICAs and opt-ins and software, oh my! So you truly do learn in 2 ways: Not only from Marie and crew but also from your fellow students. It’s awesome to see what we’re learning being put into practice in real time and hear about the hits and misses along the way. It’s transparency at its finest and it’s all a learning experience.

This week will be the first Office Hours, where Marie takes live calls from students with their questions. I’m super stoked about that! I can’t make them all but will take part in as many as I can.

I’m also loving my Operation World Domination crew which I’m a part of because I signed up for B-School through April Bowles Olin and Mayi Carles. They’ve been sending out some great resources to help us along the way and held online video meet-ups where they share their B-School experiences and answer questions. They both have such contagious joy in all they do and that really helps keep me going.

Because this is tough. Like a lot of other students, I have a full-time job, a family to take care of, and loads of other obligations. I’ve missed some fun personal events and have spent many a late night at the computer (ahem, it’s Sunday at 11:46 pm as I write this). But I don’t think I or any other student is complaining. That’s what entrepreneurs do, right?

You work in pursuit of the dream and you go until you get there. You have friends pulling you along, cheering for you, and backing you up – if you’re lucky. If you go to B-School :)

Peace.

B School: I’m Going for It & Deciding Who to Sign Up Through

If you’re not familiar with B School, it’s an online business school geared toward women entrepreneurs that has turned out some awesome success stories. It’s put on by MARIE FORLEO and you can learn more about it HERE.

From MarieForleo.com:

B-School is an 8 week, interactive video-based training program that teaches smart, effective online marketing strategies to business owners who want more sales and more impact from their online presence. It’s designed to turn your business into a force for good that fuels higher profits and your higher purpose. In addition to B-School, Marie Forleo is the creator of the award-winning show MarieTV and has been interviewed by both Tony Robbins and Oprah as a thought leader for the next generation.

I first heard about B School through not one but THREE different friends who have attended. They happen to be three women I admire greatly and when they say it was awesome and I should do it, I took their recommendations very seriously. B School is also recommended by some online entrepreneurs I follow and admire – but more about them below.

One important thing about B School: It’s expensive . . . $2,000 for an 8-week online course (with unlimited repeats). Now, of course, that includes tons of learning, resources, etc. but still. That’s a LOT of money and not an amount I would normally spend on anything other than, like, a car.

So B School went on my “Someday” list, along with attending WORLD DOMINATION SUMMIT, writing my first novel, and getting an iPhone 6+ (which I finally got a couple weeks ago!). Then something awesome happened: A friend and pending client for my virtual assistant business offered to pay for me to go to B School in exchange for a commensurate number of VA hours helping her business!

Well, duh. No brainer. I said yes.

Once it became a real possibility, I started looking into B School like the over-researcher that I am. I checked out the GOOD, the BAD, and the UGLY (not calling you ugly, ladies! just acknowledging that not everyone loves Marie or B School, k?).

And then I decided to forget all the bad for the reasons Karen Yankovich shared on Facebook. I think largely what you put into things is what you get out of them. And all the women I’d spoken to who LOVED their B School experience had chosen to get a lot out of it.

Their collective advice for me is that, while I already know a lot of the nuts and bolts information about online entrepreneurship, they think I’ll get a lot out of the structure, inspiration, aspiration, group support, and business connections. Sounds good to me!

So, sure, nothing’s perfect and $2,000 is still a boat-load of money. Sometimes I think, “WOW that’s a lot!” and other times I think, “What better to invest my money in than ME?”

I love being a virtual assistant. It’s the best job I’ve ever had and I’ll always have at least a few clients because I ADORE helping people and watching their dreams come true. But I have big dreams for myself, too. I want to go bigger in my business life and my head is exploding with ideas of how to get there.

marie forleo

So I’m going for it. Sign-ups are from 02-18 to 03-04-15. My “sponsor” is traveling but she’s going to purchase it for me ASAP. In the meantime, I have a choice to make: Which affiliate to sign up through? Decisions, decisions.

Marie has hand-selected B School alums to be her affiliates which means they promote B School and she pays them a (cough cough pretty hefty cough cough) commission for each sale. Which I have absolutely no problem with because I’m an affiliate for people and companies that I believe in. It’s a business model I support.

Since they’re getting such a nice commission, B School affiliates go all out to entice you to sign up through them. They offer tons of incentives worth some pretty good money in the form of their own products, workshops, books, Q&A sessions, Facebook support groups, etc. The hard part for me now is deciding which one to choose.

If I were a purely good person, I suppose I would unselfishly give the commission to the person I supported the most or felt had turned me on to B School before anyone else (after my three friends, I mean). But, no, I’m selfish. I’m going to compare what each person has on offer and choose the package that I want the most :P

Does that make me evil? Bwahahaha!

So I’m gathering into one place all the B School affiliate offers I can find and will be comparing them for a winner. In case it’s helpful to anyone else, I’ll share my list below, with links:***Please be very careful when clicking on where these links take you. I’ve linked you to the information pages for each person’s B School bonuses. But if you go beyond that and click on links within their pages and then sign up for B School, you may be giving affiliate credit where you don’t mean to. So be careful! I’m not 100% sure how it works but clicking on affiliate links may “tag” you as that person’s sale and then the person you want to give the commission to won’t get it. Also, to qualify for their bonuses, they’ll verify that they got credit for your B School purchase. I’m only clicking around freely because my sponsor will be making the actual purchase from HER computer.***

Derek Halpern from Social Triggers

April Bowles-Olin of Blacksburg Belle and Mayi Carles of Heartmade Blog

Karen Yankovich, social media brand strategist

Amy Porterfield, social media strategist

Kris Carr, author, wellness activist, and cancer thriver

Alexis Neely and the Eyes Wide Open Collective

Danielle Laporte, inspirational speaker and author

Michelle Martello with Minima Designs

Gabby Bernstein, author, Today show regular, etc.

Nathalie Lussier, digital strategist

Andreea Ayers with Launch Grow Joy

Jenny Shih, business coach

Tracy Matthews, Flourish and Thrive Academy

Well, I could go on but I won’t. Holy heck, there are a lot of affiliates out there! I think this list is enough for me to go on. If you know of any good ones I’m missing, let me know.

Haters or not, I have to say I’m pretty impressed with the success of the B School alumni above – and with my three friends / women entrepreneurs / success stories who originally recommended B School. I’m *really* looking forward to it!

Now . . . I’m off to do my homework :)