Hey, everyone. It is Tara from The Bold Money Revolution Podcast, and we’re running a special series with our clients around having them tell their story. We’re doing case stories of what it looks like to actually tangibly realistically succeed in a year or in a period of time, because not everybody who has come on has been with us for a full year, but we’re really looking to show the honest and transparent results that people get no matter how big or how small they are and really unpack what was going on in their business when they decided to ask for help, because we understand that asking for help is often the biggest barrier, and then what transpired after they were supported through The Bold Profit Academy, or in Marie’s case, both The Bold Profit Academy and The Bold Profit Academy Plus, so we are here with Marie Parks.
Hey, Marie. She is half of the North Star Messaging powerhouse duo. Marie, tell everybody what you do and who you work with.
Marie Parks: Yeah. We’re a content marketing and content strategy, boutique now, firm. We work with largely service-based businesses earning six to seven figures who are established who are tired of content churn and they’re looking for more strategy, they’re looking to fix their funnels to be very strategic about their launches and generally be strategic about their content so that the CEO can actually create content as the muse strikes, not because they’re on the content hamster wheel of doom.
Tara Newman: The content hamster wheel of doom. Now the other fun thing I’ve been asking people, because the women in The Bold Profit Academy, I always say are established experts, they’ve often had professions, businesses, or careers prior to starting a business, and what was your career prior to starting North Star Messaging?
Marie Parks: I was a grant writer for nonprofits, moved into a director of grant management, and relationships with foundations and corporations on behalf of nonprofits. I did that work for about eight years. Then additionally, we’ve been in business for 12 years and so I think about our business in two phases, and the first phase is when we were just taking any copywriting project. I feel that also is a part of my pre-career before we really figured out what our true area of service and niche is.
Tara Newman: Yeah. More of a freelance type perspective than maybe the business that you have today is what I’m hearing you say. The reason why I’ve been asking people to share this is because one, these are women who, if they were to go into, go back to work, and to get a job, they would likely be making six figures, and yet at the same time their business isn’t quite paying them six figures, not paying them at all, and we’re trying to figure out as women how to get paid like the experts that we are. Marie is smirking at me.
Marie Parks: Yeah. This has been the question ever, which is one of the reasons your message has been so resonant for us and why we decided to work with you.
Tara Newman: Yeah. How do we get paid? How do we get the money into the actual bank account? So I’ve been having people share their stories because the reality is like 90% of women have had a dynamic professional career before starting their businesses and they didn’t start their businesses because they wanted some eight-figure Bali lifestyle dream business.
Marie Parks: It’s way too humid there.
Tara Newman: It’s way too humid, yeah. No, they’ve started their businesses out of necessity, out of wanting more autonomy and agency over their schedule, which are all really important things and to really get ahead economically, and at the same time, we’re not quite there yet. So thank you for sharing that. What’s your aspiration for earning income independent of an employer? Why might you not be looking for a job right now?
Marie Parks: Yeah. There are a number of reasons. I really value the time and freedom that comes with being able to set my own schedule, to be able to say yes to the clients that I want to say yes to. I’ve been able to take a four-week vacation from the business, two weeks, three weeks to be able to, honestly, for me, there’s huge value in just being able to run to the grocery store at 2:00 PM.
Tara Newman: Okay, so can we just pause for a second? Because when I left corporate, the only thing I wanted to do was go to Trader Joe’s at noon on a Monday.
Marie Parks: Thank you, yes.
Tara Newman: That’s my dream. Then people on the internet are talking about like these glass-bottom huts in the Maldives and I’m like, “I don’t fit in here.”
Marie Parks: Yeah, but what about the freezer aisle? I mean, come on.
Tara Newman: Who doesn’t want to go to Trader Joe’s after it’s been restocked after the weekend rush?
Marie Parks: Correct. Thank you. That is a legitimate motivating factor, to be able to travel. I love to go camping, hang out, and work from wherever but it’s nice to not have to ask permission for that. That’s part of it. Part of it too, I think circling back to being able to say yes to the projects I want to say yes to is enormous.
We’ve done a lot of work to get the business to this place but I am obsessed with our clients. They’re all amazing, they’re doing incredible work in the world, they’re deeply good people, and they’re experts also. I just love working with them, love supporting them, and it’s because we’ve been able to tailor our messaging, and to be able to say no to projects that weren’t a good fit for us. That is enormously supportive for my mental health honestly.
Tara Newman: Yeah. I was actually thinking about this the other day as well because I’ve been in business for about eight years and there are definitely these fruits of our labor that we get to pick later down the road that we don’t realize are there maybe necessarily or maybe we’re trying to achieve them too soon and it puts a lot of pressure on us. But there is something about building in the goodwill into your business where you’ve been nurturing it and taking care of it for a while and then it starts to really give back to you and you get to make different decisions about where you are depending on really the effort that you’ve put in along the way.
When you started working with me, we probably talked about a year ago, what was happening in your business? What was the urgency where you were like, “I’d love support”?
Marie Parks: Yeah. Our business was quite different actually. Despite having been in business for 12 years, we’re still always adjusting and adapting in binary ways. Where we were last year is we were splitting our energy between two different buckets of clients. One is the one that I mentioned, those established service-based businesses. At the time, we were primarily focusing on copywriting support for them.
We have a small team that includes writers and operational geniuses. That’s been the bulk of our revenue and the bulk of our labor costs. But we’ve also had this desire to give back to provide community, to provide mentorship, and to provide coaching to professional writers. Because there aren’t a whole lot of spaces like that and also we just have learned so much, we’ve refined so much. Like I said, that privilege of being able to work with just an incredible roster of clients, that’s because we’ve worked through systems, built our boundaries, and all those things that we wanted to convey all of that.
We were splitting our time and energy between building up both of these audiences in the hopes that the writer audience would become a bit more of a one-to-many type of model and that we would be able to add it as a significant revenue stream.
Tara Newman: Yeah. I remember when we first had this conversation, I was like, “The two of you are going to have to commit to focusing on one with me because I can’t split my attention between the two. They were too different.” What were some of those early breakthroughs for you as we started working through some of this?
Marie Parks: Yeah. One thing that you say a lot, and I think learning the truth of it was it is just as easy, if not easier, to sell a high-ticket item as a low-ticket item. Not only was it because of the nature of these writing programs that were like group programs, testing the waters, they were priced fairly low, they were priced in the three-figure range, but additionally, there’s a mindset I think broadly among creatives but certainly among writers were taught from an early age that “You’re never going to make money doing this. You better have a plan B. Don’t you want to go to law school?” whatever. So there’s this real bootstrapping mentality within that audience.
Despite the work that we were doing in terms of positioning, we were only getting a trickle of those people who actually had established copywriting businesses in our circle, the vast majority of people had no revenue to support it and/or had no mindset to support this idea of joining a community. We had to take quite a hard look at where is our revenue actually coming from, who values us, and really double down on that.
That was I think a huge insight from those early days. I know there were a lot more but I think that was the big turning point where we decided that it’s okay to let this go, this new project go for a little bit, maybe forever.
Tara Newman: Yeah. I’ve got an email that I’m sharing this week talking about pricing purgatory and how we have a, I don’t know if it’s just like service-based business owners, women, I don’t know what it is but there’s so many of us that just want to help. We want to be helpers and we want to make things accessible to the people who need the help, who need the support. So we price things below what they should be priced at. Really, that just keeps us overdelivering, undercharging, underearning. What I realized is that people are like, “Oh, this is a recipe for burnout,” this is a recipe for feeling not just burned out but used up.
Marie Parks: Yeah. Used up and self-doubting. You’re squandering everything; your time, your energy, and it is that question of, “Well, couldn’t I go back and get a nine-to-five job somewhere doing something like this that would be more financially supportive?”
Tara Newman: Yeah. At that time you were like, “Okay, this is not a viable offer and audience right now.” I always like to say right now because I think the desire for what you want to do is important but we needed to get your oxygen mask on first. So putting that idea down, and that was an important one to the two of you, and then I also remember when you first came to me you’re like, “Is our business model just broken?”
Marie Parks: Oh, yeah. That was the mantra.
Tara Newman: Like, “Is this agency model broken? Is it going to work?” We uncovered some important things. What did we uncover?
Marie Parks: There was a lot. I guess backing up, I think part of the reason we were asking this question is we had grown the team, therefore our payroll costs were quite high. We’re certainly not an inexpensive agency to work with. We had continually been raising our prices. I think some of this is economic that there’s been a bit of a push between inflation, so therefore, cost of living is going up, so therefore, our team was asking for higher wages so that they could continue to live their lives.
The other side of it is everything is going up and so our clients were resisting the idea of paying more. We were watching profit margins dwindle to the point where, to be honest, the first thing on the chopping block, we put ourselves on that chopping block. Not in terms of work, we were still working full-time but we weren’t bringing home personal income, or at least, not as much as we wanted and needed. That was a big part of it.
I think part of it too is we discovered there are instances certainly of overdelivery. There are instances of things that are nice to haves but they take an inordinate amount of time and the ROI is not there to justify that. Part of it was looking at the actual packages that we offer, are there ways to systematize even better? Are there ways to just drop things altogether, potentially outsource? We looked at a lot of that. I’m probably forgetting stuff so there are other things that you’re remembering.
Tara Newman: Well then we did the math on what it takes to pay two owners.
Marie Parks: Oh, my gosh. Yeah, that’s the thing, because I always say that you like to break up business partnerships but you’ll let us–
Tara Newman: I do. I’m known for breaking up business partnerships, but Marie and Jessi are the only ones that I’m allowing to stay together because I love them and I love their relationship together but you have you really have to have the revenue, especially when you do those Profit First numbers, you have to have the revenue to support two salaries.
Marie Parks: Yeah, it’s absolutely true. We love Profit First. We’ve read the book multiple times. I actually have that page where there’s the chart of like “At this revenue amount, these are your percentages, the top percentages. At this revenue amount, it shifts a little bit.” I have that page stickied because we go to it all the time.
But things are different when you have two business owners, especially two business owners who are working actively and this is their source of income. It’s not that we’re owners who have an operations manager and a president or whatever who are running the whole show on our behalf. We definitely haven’t gotten to the place yet where we are essentially board members in our own company.
Tara Newman: I think that conversation, when we got some real clarity around what you actually needed in terms of revenue to support the both of you, is where things got real. Listen, I’m confident, I know what I’m doing. Every so often people show up and I’m like, “Sh*t, how am I going to do this? How am I navigating this one?” I saw it from when we first started but you had to figure it out yourself. It was like, “Okay, how am I going to lead them through a series of thought experiments so that they could see this for themselves?”
If you guys got here and I was like, “Listen, you need to put down this writer sh*t. This isn’t going to work. It’s not going to bring enough money,” you’d be like, “But we loved our writers.” I know, it happens all the time. Through a series of thought experiments and implementation things, what I want to say about you and Jessi is like man, what made me go sh*t was when you handed me your budget, you actually had a budget, I looked at it, and I’m like, “Oh, we can’t diet this sucker down any further. They’ve already done that.”
Marie Parks: Yes. In fact, I do want to say that was like a win actually of our first month in The Bold Profit Academy that we went through an exercise that you have. I think it was $7,000, no it was more than that, it was some huge amount of money that through putting things on annual pay and then cutting other things that we did not need to have, I’m talking about technology and other ancillary support, it was like $7,000 I think over the course of the whole year that we were going to be saving if you’re just making some swift changes.
Tara Newman: And small. Ones that you wouldn’t even maybe see. That’s really the whole point of our onboarding is to help women make back that first investment into The Bold Profit Academy through these exercises that we have you go through very quickly to make some quick shifts. I know for you, there were a couple, there was the saving and you made some sales right out of it, sales right out of the gates that really supported you in getting started.
Marie Parks: Yes, absolutely. I think we were bolstered quite well but you’re right at that point. After we did that and we looked at what are we paying for monthly that we could strip to annual, things like that, for a savings, you’re right, we were quite lean and it didn’t feel like there was much else that could go.
Tara Newman: Yeah. We needed to generate serious money. We did a lot of work on selling and sales. What were some of the things that you took away from some of that work?
Marie Parks: It’s been a journey to get comfortable with sales. But for a while, I felt comfortable with sales. But I think some of the things that I’ve really taken away to improve that even more is to have more tools for close listening to understand, as you say, what is the job to be done to just better understand where they’re coming from. But secondly, I think one of the other huge takeaways is this idea of we’re missing out on opportunities to help people and sell to support them right when they first come in, that this whole system of nurture-nurture-nurture and then ask, they’re going to have found someone else by then, especially if they have an urgent need.
I think about this. I recently had a medical need and so I reached out to several different doctors, still haven’t heard back from them, this has been like over a week. But who I did hear back from was one of these service providers online where they just connect you with the doctor and you pay probably a fee that’s higher than I would pay at the doctor’s office but I got the support I needed right then. It’s that concept of maybe it isn’t a medical need that someone’s having, but certainly, if they’re coming to us with a launch coming up, it does feel urgent.
Being able to be responsive to them in their moments of reaching out is super important and that can be totally automated, and just keeping it simple, just asking, “Hey, I’m doing this thing, do you want to know more?” It doesn’t have to be a five-page email.
Tara Newman: I remember we’re big on conversational emails and starting conversations in The Bold Profit Academy and The Bold Profit Academy Plus. I remember on a call in The Bold Profit Academy Plus, we were going through it and Jessi’s literally writing the emails on the calls and sending them out. A number of you did that and got responses immediately. There we are, we’re sitting there and we’ve got responses coming in, which is important.
Yes, I think that there’s definitely been a shift for you there. I do remember you both took a market research approach, like what is the job, the main job that they’re looking to do, what are we focusing on to refine the offer, the message, the positioning that we already have because if we refine it, it starts to convert better and you have the numbers for that.
Marie Parks: Yes. Happily, our conversion rate has improved quarter by quarter this year steadily. We’re at five percent higher than we were at the beginning of the year. It already was quite a strong conversion rate. We’re close to basically a 70% conversion rate at this point, which I think really speaks to the optimization, the refinement that we took away from those calls with you.
Tara Newman: Yeah. To be honest, if it was any higher, I’d start saying you needed to raise your prices.
Marie Parks: Well, let us sell the new packages first.
Tara Newman: So we did raise the prices.
Marie Parks: Well, that’s fair. That’s the mind-blowing call of the year.
Tara Newman: Yes, let’s talk about the big juicy win for you, Marie. I think what’s great about how we work this up is I love the progression. You went from making some tiny shifts in that onboarding where you saved probably like $7,000 or whatever, then we started refining with the jobs to be done, the messaging, and the positioning. We decided that we were going to park the writer thing for a while because through the Profit First lens, you got massive clarity on what needed to happen around the money.
Then I have been steadily, gently, lovingly pushing the two of you probably since mid-year on selling. Not hard selling but I’ve been on you hard about selling. Either bigger packages or what was the quickest and easiest way to get you to where you needed to be revenue-wise, and then I don’t know what happened but you did something really bold, so just tell the story.
Marie Parks: Well, I remember the moment in which I realized this needed to happen. We were talking in one of the Bold Profit Academy Plus calls about our new offers that we were shifting away from copywriting being the primary offer into content strategy because this is what our audience research yielded, this is what people want, and it’s something we’re equipped to do. At the highest VIP tier, they can still get copywriting.
There are a number of clients we’ve been working with for years but there’s one in particular who is the biggest badass ever. She’s amazing and she really just has an amazing message and has big plans for the future to get that message out more broadly and has I think just a really wonderful business model to support that education. I was talking with you, Tara, about, “What price do I need to offer?” Because she really has too many needs to fit into our standard packages so I need to build her a custom package, what is that going to look like? It’s less about the package and more about what do I need for me personally to be able to support her at that high level.
Tara Newman: Yes, and but didn’t she say she’d pay you double?
Marie Parks: Yes, she did volunteer that information to me.
Tara Newman: I want to say this. She was saying to you on a call how much she values you, how much she values your support, and the results she gets from working with you. That she would happily pay you double and then you started talking yourself out of, as we all do, acknowledging that and receiving that. I’m like, “Okay, wait, she’s already said she would pay you double. That’s how much she values your work so let’s look at your work and the value you provide through the lens that she’s actually seeing it.”
Marie Parks: Yeah. She and I have such mutual love for each other and it really impacted me when she said that and also immediately, yes, I did go into self-doubt mode. But then on that call, we were talking about, “What would I need? Who would I need to be the person to make that happen?” I was looking at my personal income needs and suddenly realized that I would like to ask her for more.
Tara Newman: More than double, yes.
Marie Parks: Yeah. I said that out loud and you were like, “Okay,” and so I’m like, “Okay.”
Tara Newman: Marie will never sell and say anything out loud to me ever again, no.
Marie Parks: Well, and here’s the funny thing because after I end up having that call with her, you’re like, “Wow, you have balls,” and I’m like, “Okay, hang on. I didn’t know that this was a brave thing. If you had told me this was a brave thing, I would have been terrified to make this ask.”
Tara Newman: Exactly. Let me recap because we’re laughing through this, because it really is. See how much fun we all have together? You all should join The Bold Profit Academy just because we have fun. So, Marie, I talk about finding your invisible leads, this is such a good example of that because she was a client but you could be up serving her. I call it up serving, not upselling. Part of finding those invisible opportunities, those invisible leads is through up serving the clients that you already have who love you, adore you, and want more of you, they would just take three of Marie.
She said that she would double it, Marie gave this some thought, and we said, “Okay, well, what do you need?” Just because she said she would double it didn’t mean that Marie would want to do that work or, as Marie uncovered, she needed more than that so we start to talk through the value of what Marie provides through the lens of a $100,000 offer.
Marie Parks: My hands are sweaty right now even just thinking about it.
Tara Newman: If we go back and we listen to what Marie said at the very beginning of this episode, she said three-figure offers to this writing group. So we took her from a three-figure offer to a six-figure offer. We’ve added zeros in less than a year and we prepared you. I think we really prepared you for that conversation and I felt like we acknowledged and witnessed the fact that that’s a big ask.
Marie Parks: Yeah. After I made it I think. Just by a fluke of timing immediately after that call, there was a call between us. You really saw me come in on the back end of that. It was a conversation where she needed to think about it, of course, this was a huge ask. But I think even the support on the back end of that was so powerful to just say, “Hey, you did the thing. It’s out there now, what happens next?” Being really supported and shepherded through the aftercare I guess was also super valuable for me because it is enormously bold.
Tara Newman: It was. But listen, when you’re proposing packages like that, it’s not a one-step sales process. There’s going to be some negotiation. I said to you that I don’t care even if you get the $100,000, it was the asking of the $100,000 where all of those lessons came in. Now we have data that we can work with to refine and hone that offer, a sales experience of that magnitude, and it changes everything for your business.
Marie Parks: Yeah, absolutely, because it makes the opportunity a possibility.
Tara Newman: It makes the offers that you are selling prior somewhat irrelevant.
Marie Parks: Right. Also, to not be laughed out of that call was powerful. As of this recording, the conversation is still ongoing but I do know for certain that it will be a larger package than this past year, that it will be more supportive, and it’s going to allow me to focus so much more care, energy, brain power, creativity, and strategy for her because I will have that financial space and also that capacity space in my calendar.
I know that that’s going to be an outcome of this. We’re still fine-tuning all the details but it feels amazing to know that I could actually take a steady salary next year so I can show up for myself, for her, and for any other client that I have just at my best.
Tara Newman: Yeah, with more space. One of my biggest complaints with the online business culture is this small offer stuff. We started the call and you said, “Yeah, you always say it’s just as hard to sell a small offer as it is to sell a large offer, and the amount of volume that’s required to sell some of those smaller packaged offers.”
But what’s so intoxicating, it’s like sex and candy for women is that they’re small offers. You get to be small in your confidence, in your self-belief, and in your work to sell them. You don’t have to actively and proactively engage in some of the harder parts of sales around your emotional and your emotional capacity, your self-confidence, your self-trust, and all of those things. I’d love to hear you speak to that and who you became in the process, which is why I didn’t care so much about whether or not you actually got it, but I cared about who you became.
Marie Parks: Yeah. It’s interesting for basically 2017 until quite recently, maybe in the last couple of years, there was one refrain we kept hearing from different people, we being my business partner, myself, Jessi, so this would be from coaches, it would be from our friends in entrepreneurship, it would be from friends outside of it, family members, people who we would disclose a little bit of what was going on in the business.
The refrain was always, “You’re playing small.” I remember almost breaking down at one point saying, “What does that mean? Okay, so what should I do then?” And of course, nobody could tell me what that thing was because we had to figure it out for ourselves and for the business. I think it could have meant a lot of different things but ultimately, it is taking a look at that mindset, that residual mindset that I talked about a lot of writers have, but I think just a lot of people have of “You’re never going to make money at this. You need a plan B.” So you’re never quite giving your all to it and you’re not expecting much out of it.
I think it’s just been really tackling that for starters. Second, that audience research was supremely helpful in hearing from real actual people who have really actually invested in working with her company what is valuable about the work that we do.
Tara Newman: You were a little dragging your feet on that if I remember in the beginning.
Marie Parks: Yeah, definitely. We ended up having 18 calls. We did quite a lot by the end and just got amazing data out of it. Also, it was lovely to have those conversations with people but to just hear from them why it’s powerful and why it’s valuable I think was just really eye-opening because when someone is an expert at something, that feels easy to them and they forget that it’s not easy to other people or that they don’t have the space for it, whatever that means for them, whether it’s their time, energy, or the confidence in it.
Just remembering that there’s this thing that we do quite naturally that is valuable for other people was supremely validating. Then I think the other part of this that was a big shift was how we talk about ourselves. We’re not leading with “We’re copywriters anymore.” I think that’s a highly respectable position. It’s critical to the work that we do and I think having that expertise makes us better at the strategy work that we do. Also, to be able to approach people and say, “We’re your partner in talking about and figuring out how content can actually support your business goals” is so much more powerful than “I’m going to write a blog post for you.”
We may still write the blog post but it’s the why behind it. Honestly, just shifting how we’re even introducing ourselves has been a way of stepping out of being playing small and stepping into really embodying and talking about that expertise and the value that it brings.
Tara Newman: Yeah. Understanding the buyer psychology and why your people buy, and then I think what that allowed you to do was shift your services to the right or to the best target market that would allow you to be compensated in a way that you absolutely should be compensated. I think we see a lot in the online space around selling a great service that should be valued way higher to two entry level of a market, of a customer segment and really then hamstringing yourself and getting very frustrated because you’re selling something that should be worth more that maybe that person doesn’t need in that way and so, therefore, isn’t valued at the level that it should be valued from both parties.
But on the flip side of that, it’s really nerve-wracking to see yourself standing shoulder to shoulder with some people who you very much admire, who you think is playing a much bigger game, that imposter syndrome, that “Who am I to–?” that lack of confidence, we all get that. I get that.
What I love is that once you ratchet that up a little bit, like now you’re standing next to this woman shoulder to shoulder and you presented this package, there’s somebody else beyond that. There’s always a stretch and you’ve stretched once. Marie’s like, “Don’t make me do this.”
Marie Parks: I’m like, “I haven’t thought about this yet.”
Tara Newman: Once you’ve stretched once, you can stretch again. I think programs like The Bold Profit Academy are so important to help women or people in general just get out of their own entrenched neural pathways and to create a new one. Marie’s now creating that new neural pathway that says she can create six-figure offers.
As we wrap up here, who should be joining The Bold Profit Academy and what can they expect when they join?
Marie Parks: Yeah. Using I guess myself as a guide for that because I feel like it’s been so supremely helpful for me, I had experience, I had confidence in what I would have defined as confidence in my ability. I think a woman like that who you’re not just learning how to do this thing–
Tara Newman: Jessi and Marie wrote a fiction novel. They’ve been in business for 12 years, they’re pretty epic.
Marie Parks: Oh, thank you, and so there is a level of confidence and ability that is there. The lack of confidence, I don’t even know that I would have recognized it in things like sales, but I think it showed up in that question of “Is my business model broken for me?” Is there something in that person’s business that is keeping them from taking home the personal income that they’re looking for? Is there something that is keeping them small? Have they been told that by people?
Tara Newman: Are they curious as to what that means? Because Tara will tell you exactly what that means. She won’t tell you, she’ll show you.
Marie Parks: She’ll guide you. You discover it for yourself and then you’re not like, “No.” I think also, those relationships that you have with the people that you work with, you suspect maybe that there’s more opportunity to serve them higher level and to receive from them at a higher level but you don’t quite know how to do that because you already feel like you’re pushing up against a roof that is uncomfortable, there is a way to do that, it’s just a matter of having the tools, the confidence, the talking points, the support essentially to be able to be equipped to figure out what does that look like and how do I communicate that.
Tara Newman: Now, what if somebody were to say, because I get this a lot and I actually talked about this on another case story, but remember the Chinese finger thing that you used to put your fingers in?
Marie Parks: The finger trap.
Tara Newman: Yeah, the finger trap, that you get at the carnivals, I see people doing this. It’s like, “I don’t have the revenue that I need to invest but I know I need to invest to get my revenue up. Now we’re in the finger lock and we can’t break it.” I know that you can relate to that in some way because I don’t think that you guys had this investment all figured out when you got here.
Marie Parks: No. But we knew you, we trusted you, and our trust was well rewarded.
Tara Newman: What would you say to people who are in this finger lock and they’re like, “I can’t get out”?
Marie Parks: First of all, I reiterate, we saved $7,000. The Bold Profit Academy paid for itself.
Tara Newman: I will fully own the fact that the way we onboard people with those lessons is my pride and joy for this very reason. We got you. We’re with you. We want you to succeed.
Marie Parks: I don’t know that everybody is able to do that necessarily. Obviously, we were overspending in certain areas quite a bit. But I think the other part of it too is that what is staying stuck gaining you, as a wise friend of mine, Lisa Carpenter, likes to ask me, where is the confidence that continuing to do the same thing, continuing to hit your head against the wall, or go to the gurus who have another formula for you to try is going to be the answer, but there’s actually something deeper going on here and that doesn’t mean it has to be scary but it’s just probably something we’re not seeing.
Having that perspective from someone who’s wise and experienced in business and also in the emotional stuff that goes along with business is a value that cannot be understated so or overstated. Again, it’s like you’re going to stay stuck or try something new that is a deeper, more direct stepping stone in a community that’s super supportive.
Tara Newman: Yeah. We supported you through a lot of big emotions this year. I’m not going to share because that’s not my story to share but you achieved this probably, would you say this might have been one of the harder years of your life?
Marie Parks: Yeah, absolutely, just for personal stuff.
Tara Newman: Yeah. It was big, big stuff. It taught me things about coaching and about working with people, working with women around money so I want to be transparent and say listen, Marie and I are sitting here on the other side of this laughing but there were some real moments this year for both of us.
Marie Parks: Right. This isn’t just because I want to have a business that allows me to go to Trader Joe’s on Monday at noon, this is also like I’m a single-income household with obligations and this is my livelihood so there’s not really much to fall back on. I do have extremely kind and supportive family and friends so I know I’m not going to end up in a very dire situation but it’s definitely one of those things where this is important for me to figure out. It’s not just important, it’s necessary for me to figure it out.
That’s another thing I think that was a takeaway from this year is when your back’s against the wall, like you were saying, you are at your boldest. I think that’s a direct quote from you, but that’s part of what gave me the courage to make that big ask this year. I think now that I have done that and broached that, I can do it again because I know I didn’t die the first time.
Tara Newman: Yeah. I think that if you’re not letting yourself feel the weight of what is happening honestly, you’re missing an opportunity where constraint breeds creativity. I think that was definitely a part of your year is that the constraint brought a lot of creativity for you.
Marie Parks: Yes, definitely.
Tara Newman: I read this article on LinkedIn, LinkedIn did some research, horrified hate research on women in business and money, it keeps me up at night legitimately, you know this about me, that for the first time in years, we’re now moving the needle backward on yet another barometer for women and money which now is saying now we have women exiting entrepreneurship, which you and I are not surprised with at all, that we’re seeing a dwindling number of women in entrepreneurship and that we’re now going in reverse for the first time in years.
This is combined with all the other metrics on women right now that are just grim. They’re going in reverse so quickly from the pandemic, the associated fallout with that, and financial pressure and everything. I’m going to put you on the spot but there are women who are going to be listening to this that are in that position, who are in the position where you were this year, where you were strongly considering, “What are my options?” words of wisdom, inspiration, witnessing?
Marie Parks: Yeah. I guess I want to say that there’s no judgment here. First of all, our survival, and more than that, ability to thrive is the most important thing. If exiting ends up being the way to do that, you know what, take care of you. It does not make you less of a creative, strong, driven individual. Also, there’s still I think just an unprecedented ability for women to thrive and claim their freedom on their own path.
Sometimes that feels difficult to impossible. That is why having support, systems, and gentle loving cause are so important for that process because sometimes we are just spent. I don’t even have children but I can’t imagine between taking care of kids, taking care of the business, cleaning the house.
If you have a partner, making time for them, all the things, ailing parents, there are a million things on the shoulders of those of us who carry the emotional labor. To be able to create that freedom is just really powerful and we deserve to get paid for our work. If we’re going to be doing that on our own, we deserve to have the tools to have those conversations so that we can make that a possibility.
Tara Newman: I’m going to ask you one more question because I remember something you said to me, you’re like, “This is hard.” Well, you’re going through the offers, the sales, the selling, and the market research like, “This is a lot. This is hard.” I know we’re through some of that now. Have we made it any easier on you? It could be a no.
Marie Parks: Yes. I think what’s difficult from this perspective where I am now is the limbo where you’re like, “Now I am in a shifting place where we have new offers but we are maintaining the revenue with our prior offers that are still bringing that in.” It’s like when the pendulum swings, you’re at the bottom, it’s about to swing up the other way, and just hasn’t started yet so it’s like you’re feeling like you want to be in the future. It’s like when you’re moving house and you just like what have you done and unboxed.
That has been difficult but doing the research actually end up being super fun, having the data is super powerful. We’re now going to be leveraging that with some SEO. Yes, there’s still work in the setup but it’s paving the way towards a business that does have greater ease for us and actually fulfills a real need of our clients. That’s important.
Tara Newman: Yeah. I love that, about actually meeting the client’s needs and getting to make more money in the process.
Marie Parks: Yeah, exactly.
Tara Newman: Alright, Marie, I really appreciate you. Thank you for coming and sharing this with us.
Marie Parks: Thank you so much, Tara, not just for this time but for your mentorship and support this year.
Tara Newman: I received that. I received that.