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B-School BASICS

  • B-School is an 8-week interactive online video-based training program
  • It includes 6 weekly modules with training videos and audio, templates, resource lists, worksheets, private B-School member site, live group coaching calls and a really strong and supportive online community
  • There are 2 implementation weeks to work on what you're learning
  • It is really effective to take the course "live" with other students, but you can take it at your own pace if necessary
  • Once you've purchased B-School, you can access it year after year with no additional cost—and Marie has updated and upgraded the content year after year. I've accessed the course annually to refresh and reconnect (and to see what's new in the content and how Marie presents it! It's really top notch production.)
  • The cost of the 8 weeks of B-School is $1999 USD but you can repeat it as often as you like, and year after year.
  • Registration for the course begins on February 20 and goes until March 1.
 

What will be your shining B-School moment?

My love for school was true. Back in 2008, I published a book inspired by vintage elementary school memorabilia! (Out of print)

My love for school was true. Back in 2008, I published a book inspired by vintage elementary school memorabilia! (Out of print)

I've always been a keener when it comes to school. Thinking back to elementary school, I had a true fondness for my textbooks and early readers—to this day, I remember the size and feel of some of my favourite books. I can remember their page designs, how elements were arranged, the quality of the fonts, the style of the illustrations. In high school, I was the yearbook editor and gained some practical skills in photography and design. But my primary focus was always on academics, to get the best grades. Top marks were the measurable results of studying hard.

When it came time to choose a career, though, I followed my heart. My infatuation with typography and design led me to study visual communications in art college. To be in an environment where grades were subjective, where success was determined through critique and arguments, where there was no right or wrong, no 100% accuracy... it was a challenge for me to adapt. But I applied my work ethic to the projects and dove in.

As creative entrepreneurs, we can find ourselves in that odd space where there is no immediate evaluation of how well we're doing. How can we know the success of an idea? How can you grow a customer base from scratch? There are no easy answers. Sometimes there are no obvious teachers, either.

Prior to taking B-School, I had no training in business or marketing. My success was through hard work and good word-of-mouth. (Both excellent foundations for any business!) But I needed a way to look at my business objectively, to evaluate its merits and shortcomings.

I needed guidance, a teacher to help me find my way to the next grade up: to graduate from getting by to getting ahead.

I found the mentorship I needed through B-School. Although Marie Forleo is a virtual teacher, she's a good one! She's personable, forthright, skilled, highly knowledgeable and really convincing. And once I committed to B-School, I dedicated myself to it like any other school, virtual or not. It was an intense 8 weeks, but by enrolling in B-School, I created the time I needed to evaluate my business—even beyond what the course itself offered.

A few weeks into my B-School experience, there was the opportunity to comment beneath one of the videos. I'm usually a wallflower when it comes to such things, I don't typically comment online. But I decided to apply the marketing and copywriting skills I was practicing in B-School within the comment itself. My intention of the comment was to get noticed. I treated writing that comment like a marketing assignment. And lo and behold, just days later, it was highlighted in Marie's weekly newsletter to fellow B-Schoolers!

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Having this little moment of recognition from Marie was an A+. It was nice for my ego, certainly, but the encouragement and connections from the B-School community was what really made it special. 

What breakthroughs will you have during the course? What new insight will you gain? What can be created with your business if you spend the time? What will be your shining B-School moment?


POST 2, FEBRUARY 12, 2014

Proof that B-School worked for me—and how returning to my roots as a solo entrepreneur was the best decision I could have made.

Since taking B-School in 2014, I've taken a personal approach to my communications and marketing and I've embraced a forthright and honest style in my writing. I share quite a bit with my readers and go into detail about how and why I make decisions (like this: "When You're Supposed to Say Yes"). I've talked about the struggles I've faced in my business (see post #1 below). This is an approach that Marie Forleo teaches in B-School: communicating with one's customers should be a service to them. And so I offer my own perspectives, realizations, trials and errors with you so that you might also benefit from my failures and join me in celebrating the successes. I'm transparent with my business.

But I've never shared the numbers.

And so I went into Google Analytics and generated this graph, representing the past 10 years of UPPERCASE. From the very early days of e-commerce, selling artwork, greeting cards and handmade paper goods online, to the release of the first issue, the birth of my son... the graph tells the story of UPPERCASE's growth as a company and me as an entrepreneur.

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The magazine had modest growth in the early years. I had help in my retail space for a number of years, and with being a new mom and trying to grow my publishing company, I assumed the logical thing would be to hire more help for the magazine. As online sales were steadily increasing month over month and I was closing the retail location to concentrate on publishing, I brought on some employees specifically to manage orders and subscriptions. In 2012, I had a marketing manager, too. We were a nice little team for a while, but as you can see on the graph, there was no growth. Monthly sales were stagnating and the team and I weren't meeting the minimum monthly sales quota required to keep the ship afloat.

Desperate for a solution to keep my beloved publishing business alive, I used my credit card and enrolled in B-School. I started implementing what I was learning right away. I was scraping the bottom of my line of credit and faced running out of funds to pay my considerable print bills. As the sole earner in the family, UPPERCASE was the only thing supporting my family. I had to lay everyone off and forego my salary. I call it my big "reboot." I pulled the plug on my expectations of what a "real" publishing company looked like and returned to my roots: just me. (A few years later, with our son in school, my husband Glen took on customer support part time.)

Regular readers will know I'm a hard worker, but I never worked harder than that year following the reboot. The spikes in the graph are a testament to the extreme effort I put into kicking UPPERCASE into a profitable company. Without the burden of other people's salaries, plus monthly growth in online sales, I was very quickly out of the financial hole. And soon, UPPERCASE was turning a profit. And it continues to do so.

Taking B-School—and more importantly, taking B-School to heart—was the catalyst that I needed to put my company on the path to profitability.

Making a profit has never been my primary business goal. My goal all along has been to create a business that can sustain itself, that can fund my creative ideas and contribute to a global community of kindred spirit creatives while supporting me and my family. 

"Running a profitable, values-driven business can profoundly change the quality of your life."

When the stress of basic survival is gone, there is space for joyful creating and innovating within your business.

B-School encourages an approach to business that is big-hearted and socially conscious. You can see that exemplified in UPPERCASE. Since B-School, I've given away hundreds of free subscriptions to folks who need a creative boost and can't otherwise afford to subscribe. And this year, I'm planting a tree for every subscription and renewal. Together, we'll plant a little UPPERCASE forest. (We're at 439 saplings since the start of 2018.)

Sign up for Marie's free video training series. You'll find lots of valuable information within them! The second video, released on February 12, specifically talks about generosity and empathy in marketing:

"When you’re creating really effective marketing, the best and most loving parts of you are expressed. Because to be truly a modern marketer, you have to listen."

Look for Marie's third video to be published on Thursday, February 15th. Personally, I'm glad I paid outright for the course (well, on Visa) because the investment was motivation not to waste the opportunity of taking the class. But if you need some help, information on applying for a B-School scholarship will be in the third video.


POST 1, february 8, 2018

Why I needed B-School—and how it helped me keep and grow my business.

When I enrolled in B-School in 2014, I was having the toughest time I'd ever had in business. I had employees and big print bills, but I never seemed to be able to get out of barely getting by—a line of credit was the only thing that kept things going, issue after issue. I was searching for a mentor, someone to help me figure out what to do next. I couldn't find that sort of guidance locally and so I began looking for it online.

Before I signed up for B-School, I had a gut feeling that I'd need to make some big changes to my business. I wasn't sure what they would be, but as I went through the course, it become more clear that I would have to take back the control of EVERY aspect of my business. Including, in particular, the marketing and voice of my company.

Thanks to Marie Forleo's amazing course and excellent advice, I was able to "reboot" my company. Even though it meant facing some painful realities such as letting go of employees and returning to a company of one.

After taking a week to settle into the feelings of sadness and failure, I began to rebuild. Long-term readers might remember my very first newsletter. From that vulnerable spot, I began again.

I became more productive, my stress level went way down and I was inspired and happy to grow personally and in the business.

Taking B-School was a turning point. It let me discover the joy of business and its potential for living generously.

B-School has made such a difference in my life that I would like to share this with my community. I'm thrilled that Marie's team accepted my application of being an affiliate this year!

My readers are creative entrepreneurs like me—graphic designers, craftspeople, artisans, illustrators, makers... and like me, you've probably no official higher education in business or marketing. We've been learning by doing. Wouldn't it be nice to have someone help you through it?

Though some of the content seems geared at more of the coaching or mentoring type business, I've found that it is all applicable in one way or another and I've been able to use what I've learned in UPPERCASE as product-based business. I've truly benefited from the knowledge and tools that B-School offers.

I invite you to sign up for Marie's free 3-video workshop series. Each video is around 30 minutes and full of good, actionable content. (Click on the link below and enter your email address. You'll be taken to the video right away, along with a pdf download.)

Registration for B-School Opens
on February 20, 2018.

If you decide to enroll, please come back here for the registration link so that I'll earn your referral. B-School affiliate referrals are awarded to the "last click", meaning that the tracking link a customer clicked on LAST (and that drove them to purchase B-School) will get credit for the sale. Thank you!

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b-school affiliate

I'm an affiliate for B-School, so I will earn a generous portion of every registration that results because of my testimonials and promotional efforts. I applied to be an affiliate because B-School had such a tremendously positive effect on my business and I value what I've learned. And as someone who publishes physical products, it is also an intriguing challenge to help promote an online product like this while hopefully diversifying my income. If you decide to enroll, please come back here for the registration link so that I'll earn your referral. Signups to Marie's free training are also tracked. B-School affiliate referrals are awarded to the "last click", meaning that the tracking link a customer clicked on LAST (and that drove them to purchase B-School) will get credit for the sale. Thank you!

weekly newsletter

If you don't already get my weekly newsletter or my B-School messages, please sign up! I promise to send you useful information, regardless of whether you decide to purchase B-School. There's no obligation and you can opt out an any time.