B-School: One Size Fits Nobody

around the web nothing to do with art review

Marie Forleo's B-School is an intensive, expensive program promising to walk you through how to get your online business started or existing business growing. It's focused on creating your business's value-aligned marketing through 6 weekly modules. 

In February 2020 I signed up for B-School. A different online entrepreneur that I like quite a lot and have been following for years was swearing by it, and offered (what I thought at the time) was a very nice bonus incentive for signing up through her. I knew it was an affiliate program and she would get paid for my purchase, but that is the way of business, especially on the internet. Everybody is trying to sell you something. No one is offering recommendations and hyping other people's products for free.

I did some research on Marie's website, watched some of her videos to make sure her style wasn't a total turn off for me, and decided I'd been waiting long enough to start my dream business that I was going to commit to it. If this was the "build your online business 101 course," I was gonna take it and finally take action on what I'd been dreaming of for over 5 years.

B-School is a serious commitment, both in time and money. It cost $2000 to take it (in 2020, in 2021 it increased to $2500), and while they have a money back guarantee, it's got a pretty high bar to be eligible for it. They tell you up front you need to dedicate a large chunk of time a week to it to be successful.

I committed to working it each day by dragging my sad butt out of bed an extra hour early to do it before my full time job. I did the bonus module "Start the Right Business" and decided I was going to turn my art hobby into an actual job. I started the first module right on time, but by week 2 I was already in trouble.

Week 2 is all about your website. When you don't even have a website, it's hard to do the section. And in online business, having a website is pretty damn crucial. So I committed to creating my website for as long as it took. And I did. I stuck to my goal and created my website from scratch over 5 hours a week over the course of a month. And it was exhausting. I spent all the time I meant to spent on B-School on just module 2 and creating a website. But I was burnt out by then, which meant I didn't really tackle any of the modules in the remaining program, which was about 2/3 of it.

One thing I learned about myself through all this: online classes aren't a good fit for me. I've paid a lot of money over the years now (although B-School is far and away the most I've ever paid for a single course) and haven't seen amazing results from any of them. Not a single one I've ever taken has been worth the cost. I have an incredibly strong work ethic and drive, so I'm having to come to terms with the fact that modern systems of learning (online/digital) just aren't for me. Despite my self discipline, I just don't thrive in them.

If you don't want to be part of their huge Facebook community, don't do B-School. After I failed to get much from it the first time, I did more research into what people said benefited them the most, and most people loved the connections they made through the community. If you don't have the time or inclination to nurture yet ANOTHER Facebook group, that's a huge "benefit" that won't benefit you either. You also only get your first year to be in a smaller group of first time students, so I've totally missed the boat and opportunity on this one.

B-School is best for people already in business, or who are full time entrepreneurs. I don't know if there's any other way to carve out the type of time you need for this program otherwise. An hour a day was not enough. I needed larger blocks of time. With just an hour a day, I made progress, but it was slow. I had to pick up the threads of what I was doing and where I was in the course every day, which wasted some of the inadequate time I had allotted for it as it was.

I tried taking B-School again this spring, because you have lifetime access and can go through it even when it's not the 6 week live sessions, but I stalled out at about the same place. B-School is an immense commitment and I just don't know if I will ever find the ability to complete it. If I try again (they're doing a summer school live session this year) I will probably skip the first modules and try ones I've never done before, to see if I can get something out of them at least, and not have wasted quite as much of my money.

Overall, my feeling is that B-School is just too much. It's too much money, it's too much time, it's too much information. There is so much information included and Team Forleo means well by it; they give it from a place of generosity and kindness, but it is so overwhelming. Modern life is already too damn complicated, I needed a step by step course that provided more concrete examples.

B-School is a lot of ideas, a lot of theory, not enough specifics like "do this thing first, then this, and use this product." B-School is one-size-fits-all, and it's meant for too broad an audience: people starting with literally nothing, like me, and people who have been in business for years but want to level up. These two groups are at incredibly different stages in their business development, and when the information tries to address both, it really fits neither.

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