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 19 and goes until March 1.
Get these bonuses when you sign up through UPPERCASE
When you use my affiliate link to register, you'll also receive these UPPERCASE B-School Bonuses:
A one-year subscription/renewal to UPPERCASE, the quarterly print magazine.
Jot down your a-ha moments in a custom planner created by 2018 B-School alumnus Crystal Ink for UPPERCASE.
Complimentary membership to the UPPERCASE Circle, a gathering place for the creative & curious subscribers of UPPERCASE magazine.
Access to the private UPPERCASE + B-School community and discussion board for focussed conversation and support from Janine and your fellow B-Schoolers and Alumni.
Online group video calls and weekly B-School chats with Janine to ask questions and share your progress with the encouraging UPPERCASE B-School community.
The opportunity to pitch your ideas or business concept to be published in UPPERCASE magazine and books.
Access to UPPERCASE e-courses to be released in 2019.
POST 2 / February 19, 2019
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 don’t often share the numbers.
I’ve generated a sales graph from Shopify, from when I started selling online (October 2007) until the end of last year (December 2018). 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.
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. I’m donating 10% of proceeds from sales of Little U magazine to UNICEF ($4,800 was donated in 2018) and with every subscription or renewal, I plant a tree. (We're at 4,766 saplings and counting!)
POST 1 / February 7, 2019
Why I needed 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, but I wasn’t able to get to the plus side of zero. I was tired of working so hard to barely break even.
I desperately needed 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 became ever 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.
With the help of Marie Forleo's amazing course and excellent advice, I decided to reboot my company—even though it meant facing some unpleasant realities. I was $50,000 in debt with the line of credit and wouldn’t have enough funds for the next print bill, let alone paying myself a salary (and I was the sole earner in my family.) Letting go of my employees was particularly painful. But I returned to a company of one to start over.
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 the 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 for a second time 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 on first impression 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 very successfully. And in the years since I took B-School, Marie Forleo and team have been adding to the course content and have built up many resources for product-based business models. I've truly benefited from the knowledge and tools that B-School offers and I revisit the course year after year to gain more insight and find new ways of connecting with my readership.
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.
Registration for B-School is now open!
If you decide to take B-School, 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!
B-School experiences from other UPPERCASE readers
I single-handedly run a silk-screened apparel company called Mumble Tease using my own original artwork and ideas which I silk-screen by hand onto a colourful variety of apparel for men, women and kiddos of all ages.
I began my creative business very much from the creative side of things and have stumbled my way through the business side for close to ten years. And while that's worked out fairly well so far, I recognize that to take things to the next level, I need to learn about and embrace things like marketing (a term I didn't understand and was revolted by, prior to B-School), profit plans (planning?!) and communication plans (wait, more planning?!). I was hoping to gain knowledge that would help me to grow and expand my business in a way that was right for me.
I've learned a whole lot about marketing, something that I really didn't understand prior to taking B-School. One of the most helpful things I took away was the importance of sending a regular newsletter and gaining subscribers, and of how to do those things in an effective and classy way. I also watched a few videos on productivity that really changed the way I thought about and approached my daily habits and that helped me examine why I was doing the things I was doing, and how I was spending my time. It's definitely still a work in progress, but most days I feel like I'm using my time effectively, and that feels good!
Throughout the course there were some really big questions that I was asking myself, which could be very uncomfortable. But starting to think about those questions, and to work on answers, will lead me to more meaningful work on the things that I value and in the way that makes sense to me.
I found it to be a useful program, and would recommend it to other creative businesses. With so many new ideas and things to implement, I'm still working on my list of things to do from last year's B-School!
“B-School added a level of organization to both my life and business that was much needed. Being part of the program also gave me a new perspective on my own professionalism. And it added a ton to my to-do list!”
graphic designer and publisher of paper planners
The clear amount of information and insight is plenty and being able to dig into where I have the most need is appreciated. The B-School community is wonderful for feedback and support. I kept up with each week's release and dabbled in each video's worksheets. I liked waking up early each day to put in a good hour focusing on the course. It put me in the right mindset to start each day.
I discovered Marie Forleo in 2011 on my lunch breaks at my boring office job. At the time I was dreaming of a creative career that would feel more fulfilling, so I combined my tax return and my annual bonus and joined B-School in spring of 2012. I purchased B-School for the online business components - to gain clarity around my business model as a textile artist, learn who my customer was, and how to communicate and connect with them on the internet.
But I would say the most impactful part of joining the program and community was the shift in my mindset and the greater vision for my life.
Before B-School I had not been exposed to personal or professional development outside of traditional education or career paths, and it was incredibly empowering to find tools to build a vision for my life and business from a very personal perspective, rather than presumptions/appearances.
I would recommend other creatives invest in B-School because it is life time access and you can take it over again when your vision for your life and creative work evolves (because it will!) The principles in B-School have helped me navigate each stage of my creative evolution, and each year there are more bonuses and changes made in the program to keep pace with the changes in the online world.
The first creative business I started (painting fine art from home) felt socially isolating even though I had lots of commission work. I decided to find a bridge job, and started managing a cafe where the work was more social and dynamic, yet still fulfilling in a creative sense. When that brick & mortar business went up for sale, I was able to apply much of my knowledge from B-School to position and market the cafe as an attractive opportunity for the next potential owner. These efforts helped us successfully sell that business, and I moved on to my next venture with a sales commission too!
I now work as a print/maker, and teaching is a large component of my business because I know the social side of my personality craves that interaction. But I also know that if things change for me again, I will have the support and tools in B-School to help me evaluate opportunities and inform my next move with confidence in my decisions and my ability to adapt, rather than making hopeful bets on my dreams.
Felt textile artist
I joined B-School because as an artist I felt as though I was floundering. My work was being well received but I knew nothing about the nuts and bolts of running a business and didn’t know where to start. I was loving the work and what I was doing but wanted to feel like it was a sustainable way to be spending my time. I was really feeling like it may not be financially responsible to continue with the work I loved to do.
Making the financial investment felt tough when I was already struggling to make my business profitable. Although in the end, I felt it was good value and a resource I could continue to tap into.
It’s difficult to be an artist and to find the time to make your work let alone do all the other things that need to be done to make your business viable. There are many days where I feel like my skills are lacking in so many areas. That being said, B-School helped me to prioritize and set manageable goals.
I would say that if you are looking for some guidance in growing your business and understanding where you should be prioritizing your time effectively B-School is a great experience and good value. One of its greatest strengths is that you can continue to revisit it again and again as you and your business continue to evolve.
WandaWorks is a textile teaching business specializing in colour use through wool work, primarily traditional rug hooking. WandaWorks involves live and online teaching, writing for specialty publications, speechifying and the promotion of creative pursuits. WandaWorks has a subsidiary called Majic Carpet Dyes, we mix specialized colours to sell and support these colours with many methods and hundreds of formulas.
My business was floating along but with decreasing altitude. I also needed a fresh way to look at things. I wanted to feel more firmly in charge instead of being blown of course by every wayward wind or trend. I also needed a community of business owners for support and encouragement.
I set some pretty lofty goals but to my surprise achieved them. I upped my income substantially—it happened before March was over! I moved the bulk of my business out of my house—and achieved this by year-end. I am far more direct in my sales copy. These things alone have made enormous differences in my life and I’ve learned many, many more.
In this economy doing things old school doesn’t work. Scattering yourself everywhere on social media doesn’t work. Having focus, goals, a targeted audience, joy in your work by does. So does authenticity. B-School helps you gain the traction your great ideas deserve. It will mature your hopes and dreams into a profitable business.
“As a creative, the business part of working for yourself is often the hardest part to get right. B-School breaks down all the essential steps to running your own business in a way that feels manageable, applicable and exciting!”
surface pattern designer
healing journeys for your heart and soul
B-School helped me get focused, and prioritize. I was able to get clearer on my language and rebuild my web site. I also feel like it moved me to the next step over really treating my dream like a business.
B-School will take you to the next level of making your passion(s) into a business. The program is jam-packed with information, which can be a lot of work, and quite overwhelming, at times. One of the hidden gems of B-School is that you can come back into the program year after year. I didn't realize the value of that until now: Looking back to where I was last year this time, and where I want to take my business this year. I'm really looking forward to being in the B-school's flow. One suggestion: If you can, take this program with a friend. so that you each can support each other throughout the program.
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. If you decide to take B-School, 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!
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.