Why I Wish I’d Never Done B-School

I’ve noticed that it’s that time of year again. Time for the B-School promotions! One thing I’m really glad about is that most of the email lists I’m on that are promoting this online business training program are offering very clear ways to opt out of those emails. A few years back most people didn’t do that and you either had to endure two to three emails a week about it or you had to just unsubscribe altogether. I ended up unsubscribing from a lot of lists over the last few years!

One thing that I’ve noticed during the February promotion leading up to enrollment is that you almost never see anything about lukewarm or negative experiences with B-School. Naturally if you want to ever affiliate for B-School you have to stay positive about the program {and that affiliate fee is worth it if you can get it}. I found out a few years ago I have no chance of ever being an affiliate because of the size of my list and my success with the program {or lack thereof, really}.

But that’s OK because I like honesty. And I’m going to be really honest with you here.

 

With that…

Let me just say that this is my experience and this post is not meant to be an assumption of what your experience would be, or what anyone else’s experience has been, nor is it meant to suggest that people who have had a different experience are not being honest about their success and B-School’s role in it. I have another piece I’m working on talking about the online entrepreneur culture in the spiritual and coaching world, also through my experience, that will get into this a little more. So just know this is my story with the intention of giving another view of B-School not often talked about.

 

 

My Road To B-School

I did B-School for the first time in 2013 and as of now, 2017, I throughly and completely regret it.

If you haven’t been around with me since before 2013 you likely don’t know any of the backstory or what I did before B-School. I definitely think that for nothing else but context, I need to give you a little Cliff’s Notes version of how I got to B-School in the first place.

2001 – I started blogging on a personal level on Livejournal and Deadjournal. At this point I was mostly just blogging about my life, not doing anything like I do now. I fell in love with it and with connecting with people around the world through writing and writing communities. I started it just to connect with friends but when I found I was reaching and connecting with strangers and developing new friendships I was just all about it.

2008 – I start my first fully public blog through Blogspot. I was still blogging mainly about my life until…

2009 – I start my first self-hosted WordPress blog. I was still totally unsure of what I was doing but I started getting more focused and writing about Wicca and Paganism at the time.

2010-2011 – I was writing most of the blog posts for the College of the Sacred Mists blog {which seems to no longer exist}. When I was asked to start giving credit for all my writing to the woman who runs/owns the school/site I quit and put my focus on writing for my own blog and developing my site.

2012 – I spend the year getting really serious about my blogging and writing. Things were going so well that I start looking more into how to turn my blog into a business. I was offering tarot readings through my site and also had an Etsy shop where I sold ritual and magick supplies. Most of my clients came through reading my blog. I had a private business strategy session with a blogger who {at the time} I highly admired and respected. That session spurred me to look into the training that person had which was how I came upon B-School.

 

Marie Forleo B-School

Sure…but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be a successful business.

 

Up to this point I wasn’t making much money but I was truly and utterly happy with what I was doing. I was connecting with people, offering advice, help, and knowledge to those that wanted it. While I wasn’t big time, I felt big time because I truly enjoyed what I did. And for the most part I was doing it stress free. It was truly all about creating and doing what I enjoyed. But since I saw other people doing similar things and gaining lots of attention, and in my mind probably making a good income, I wanted to get in on that too.

 

 

Then I Got The B-School Pitch…

So in 2013 when I found B-School I was totally taken in by Marie Forleo’s pitch at the time. I still remember sitting on my bed with my iPad one morning seeing the first opt-in video for the free training series leading up to the launch. “Imagine waking up to thousands of dollars in sales that happened while you were sleeping.” YES! I like that idea! How do I do that!!??

When the promotion started I quickly whipped up a fund raiser to come up with the $2000 I needed to sign up. In about two weeks I actually made $3000 through my fundraiser. Because of that on the day enrollment opened I signed up, paid in full. I was SO excited!

Faithfully each week I read the lessons, listened to the audios, watched the videos, did the homework, and attended the Q+A calls. I felt like I was learning a lot and making progress! I was implementing changes into my blog and creating a real online business. YAY!

 

February 20, 2013…all signed up and ready to go.

 

 

Now I Wish I Hadn’t Done It

So why do I regret B-School? Because my “business” isn’t fun anymore and I can now say that the reason is due to the change in perception about what I do, how I do it, why I do it, and what constitutes “success” as a result of what I learned and experienced through B-School.

 

Here’s a snapshot of my perception of myself and my work before and after B-School.

 

😃 Before B-School – I blogged about whatever I wanted without feeling like I had to have a plan. I didn’t worry about things like SEO, bounce rates, and page session lengths. I was happy with my blog and social media because I had interaction and felt good about it, especially since I wasn’t ever thinking of analytics and monthly page views. I sent emails when I wanted and talked about what I wanted to talk about and didn’t worry about people unsubscribing or what my click through rate on my links was. Basically, I just didn’t worry! I did what I wanted, how I wanted, without feeling like everything had to be master planned to hit monthly goals in order to hit quarterly and annual benchmarks.

 

😩 After B-School – I’m always thinking in terms of business and not creativity. Are the colors of my blog right? Am I using the right theme? Am I posting too much on social media. Or am I posted too little? Am I marketing myself enough? Am I on message all the time? Is anyone sharing my stuff, and if not why not? Are my page views up this month from last month and what can I change to do better next time? Am I being too clever and not clear enough? Do people know what my “thing” is, what I’m an “expert” in? Am I attracting the right clients? Do I know who my ideal reader is? Do I know what they need and how to offer it to them in a way that will make me money?

 

 

I made these business cards shortly after B-School when I got it in my head that the only way I could be successful with anything was if I was a coach. 😞

 

 

 

Since B-School I’m always worried that I’m behind everyone else in my “niche.” I focus more on doing things that I think other people want me to do rather than things that I genuinely want to do. I’m always worried that I’m not being “inspired” by someone else to do something but that I’m doing it out of business FOMO because I feel like I have to be in constant comparison mode in order to stay ahead of the curve.

Most of the time I’m thinking that other people are doing what I want to do better than I ever could, so why bother.

And because I constantly feel like I’m behind and not doing as well as other people in my niche I became a course junkie for the next three years. You would be as shocked as I am embarrassed by the amount of money I’ve spent on training courses and business resources since 2013.

The worst part is there has been little ROI {return on investment} with most of these things. The stats on my blog are utterly abysmal and constantly bum me out, my email list stats were horrendous so I scrapped my list and started all over last summer. I ended up scrapping all my social media accounts except Instagram, which while my followers grow my engagement stats keep tanking.

Last year when I launched my Cosmic Wisdom Academy program I had my first five figure launch spending minimal money on the program. But the problem there was it didn’t turn out how I hoped or envisioned from all the things I’d heard and seen from other people who did these programs, even using all the techniques I learned during B-School and my subsequent course obsession. Plus it wasn’t as much fun as I imagined it would be.

It would make me frustrated because I would spend all this time learning how to do all the things…then I do all the things…and they wouldn’t seem to work. And in the meantime I’m now almost mentally incapable of enjoying what I’m doing.

I used to write and create when I was inspired. Now I write and create because I “have to.” Gotta get those minimum 3-4 blog posts a month {in addition to my weekly reading post on Monday’s}. Gotta make sure I’m branding everything and that my branding is consistent. No creating things that look different or using different colors, graphics, and fonts just because I feel like it…gotta have that consistent visual branding so people know what’s mine! Gotta stay in front of everyone as much as possible so they don’t forget me!

 

This is my Right Brained Business Plan biz book I made shortly before starting B-School. I feel like when I look at it now it was more like a useless wishful thinking vision board.

 

 

 

 

The long and short of it…

All in all, I find that since B-School I always feel like I’m in competition and catchup mode. I’m always thinking in terms of analytics and growth, not fun and creativity.

B-School turned what I loved to do into a job and now more often than not it isn’t fun anymore.

 

Oh…and it made me think it was all about the money. Money = Success 😠

 

 

You might be thinking “So just stop worrying about those things and do what you want to do and quit bitching!” I wish it was that easy.

I’ve been trying to do that for the last couple of years but it’s hard. Once you’ve started down that path it’s almost impossible to go back. As with many things in life, you can’t unlearn this stuff once you learn it. B-School kind of fucks with your head and changes how you see things and think of things. Not just your things, but things other people do you. Blogs and websites and online personalities that you enjoyed just for fun before turn into case studies of online success in your head. Before you know it you’re trying to figure out how they do what they do to have the success they have so you can do it too.

I have found that there is one real way to avoid this B-School Inner Critic. Hire someone else to see all those stats and deal with the business side of things so you can just do the work you’re looking to do. But that means having money to start with or having someone willing to do a lot of behind the scenes work for free, and that’s probably not happening for most people.

 

 

But Don’t Get This Wrong, I’m Not Trashing B-School

I’m not saying B-School is all bad. It’s a decent program with good info. Personally I don’t think it’s worth $2000 and much of it could be learned through personal research, study, and reading. The thing it does give you is a structure and it hands all the basics to you. It saves you time and, in a way, fast tracks you to doing the work.

That said, I definitely feel that B-School majorly messes with your head. It changes how you perceive yourself, what you do, why you do it, and how other people perceive it and its worth. To be fair, that’s kind of what it’s supposed to do, but in a lot of ways it has a negative effect that I certainly wasn’t prepared for and I didn’t have the support to figure out.

I’m also not trying to say I goth nothing out of it. Naturally I did since I hadn’t approached my blog as a business at that point and I wasn’t teaching or selling info products online yet either. So I did learn some basics about marketing and setting those things up which were helpful. The most helpful thing I learned was how to assess your money in your business, like how to know where your money comes from each month, where it goes, and how to create make adjustments based on actual numbers rather than hopes and dreams. But I imagine that if I spent the time looking around Pinterest I would have found blog posts about these things too.

B-School is a crash course in on the basics of online business. If you have $2000 to spend without going into debt for it, then go for it! But don’t follow the “advice” that Marie and other’s that promote the program will give…to put it on your credit cards, to borrow money from family, friends, or a bank. Don’t go into debt for this because you really don’t need it. Look at the structure of the program on the B-School site and then Google those things instead. Then when you have the money, invest.

And, yes, Marie and other coaches like her do use NLP techniques in their “free training” leading up to the enrollment pitch. So don’t be surprised when you find yourself in the “take my money” daze at the end of the enrollment sequence and you don’t totally know why.

 

 

My Little Bit Of Caution

It’s not just about making money and passive income. That source of those “thousands of dollars in sales overnight” is anything but “passive.” It takes a crapton of work to make that money, and a lot of the time it can feel like a lot of work for little payoff.

My only word of caution to you if you’re thinking about B-School is to take time to think about what you do, why you do it, and what you really want to gain from doing the B-School program. Are you truly ready to take that thing that you do because you love it and turn it into a business? If you are, are you clear on the fact that business does mean metrics, and statistics, and goals, and that not meeting those goals and seeing other people doing what you do and doing it more successfully, regardless of where they are on their journey in comparison to yours, can really be a challenge to work through? And you may…or may not…learn to tame this new inner critic that is born of B-School.

 

 

 

So Now What…

Rather than looking back on B-School after these last few years and feeling like I’ve made progress as a result, I feel far less sure of myself most of the time and as though I’ve been wasting my time because I haven’t had that “B-Schoo success.” And I get it, this all probably comes off a bit like whining, like “WAH…I’m not famous yet and it’s B-School’s fault!” No, that’s not it at all. I feel like where previously I was on track doing well, I feel that my experience with B-School set me back. At this point I’m working hard to reverse the mentally fucked up position I’ve found myself in so I can get back to doing my work without getting in my own way.

I also found myself feeling like I couldn’t be “just a tarot reader” and I needed to be a coach. That took me down a terrible and financially draining path over the last three years that I’ve talked about a lot in the last year or so. Now, I can honestly say, all I want to be is a blogger, a writer, a tarot reader, and someone with a strong Instagram presence who talks about magick, spirituality, and various lifestyle topics. I recently had a bunch of people through my 2017 reader survey ask me to start offering one-on-one sessions again but I don’t know that I’ll ever do that again. Part of me wants to, but part of me also knows the struggle I’ve had in the past to sell those sessions. We’ll see, who knows.

But the one thing I’ll say is this; it feels good to tell this story. I feel like I’ve held on to this so long, feeling like it was nothing more than complaining, so I just kept it quite. But now that it’s out I feel like I’ve let go of a huge weight that’s kept me held down and stuck trying to fit where I just don’t. So fuck the stats, fuck what the “gurus” say, and most of all fuck the fake business bullshit. Its time to just do what’s fun in a way that’s fun and let the money and success happy on its own.

 

😂 …yes, it’s ironic that this is one of my favorite movies… 😂

 

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  • Judy Kerr
    February 15, 2017 at 10:22 am

    Very good. And no, it didn’t come across as whiny, it just came across as your experience, and it makes sense. I’d love to make money with what I do, but there’s no way I’d want to turn it into a job. What you need is a business brain lobotomy. 😉 xx

    • Jess Carlson
      February 15, 2017 at 12:28 pm

      HAHAHA…I would totally pay for that…lol 😆👍🏻

  • Mary
    February 15, 2017 at 12:45 pm

    This was really refreshing to read, and didn’t sound whiny to me either. I’m surprised by some of the B-School newsletters I’m getting (one is a holistic MD I follow). You know, just getting these B-School emails make me feel I adequate! I want to be a person first, not a business. I don’t know if that is strange or not!

    • Jess Carlson
      February 15, 2017 at 12:49 pm

      That feeling of inadequacy is part of the sales tactic. “Picking at the pain points” I call it. I was surprised a few years ago when Hay House started promoting B-School. I thought for sure they were going to have a book from Marie coming out or something but that didn’t happen. The LAST people I want to see emails about B-School from is goddamn Hay House! But the affiliation fee for B-School is {last I knew} $1000 per signup, so half of the enrollment fee. That’s part of why you see people pushing this so hard…I know a few people that actually count on the B-School cash each year. And having had a foray into that last year I also know there is a specific and immense email schedule that you’re expected to follow. I kind of think of it as the “wear ’em down” sales tactic…lol

  • Jenn
    February 15, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    There are so many people out there with so many programs promoting all kinds of business plans/marketing magic/social media shamanism and ultimately, if what you’re doing doesn’t feel good or enjoyable? No bueno. I’m a marketer by trade and I’ve found that frequently when I just geek out and do the thing that feels most ME, as opposed to the things that I know from a marketing standpoint I’m supposed to be doing? That’s when I connect with the right people, sell all the stuff, and open awesome new doors. You know what’s right for you. I’m so sorry that B-School took away so much of that enjoyment in things you liked doing. But it seems like you’re getting your groove back, which has been awesome to watch.

  • Kelly st claire
    February 15, 2017 at 6:08 pm

    Great article, Jess. I never did B School but have done so many things similar. I went through the high dollar coaching that promised that encompassing 6 figure salary. It was promised as effortless, haha, yeah, right. It did take the fun out of everything. I’m now happy again because I scrapped all of that six figure biz coaching to listen to my own authority. im so glad you’re sharing along the way.

  • Janet Boyer
    February 15, 2017 at 7:31 pm

    OMG, I totally hear you! I’ve almost plunked down $ for these kind of “schools”–and I’m so glad I didn’t. Still, I struggle with the SAME things! I couldn’t have worded my experience better. One of my “words” for 2017 is “Soul”–and that means blogging or creating because it comes straight from my inner being (what I truly WANT to do)…not blogging to keep up with others or stay relevant or keep visible or whatever. One of my remedies is to stay offline days at a time so I’m NOT reminded of “what everyone else is doing” (or, who’s getting all the buss and backslaps while I’m still largely marginalized). Thank you for this! I needed the reminder yet again…

  • Renee
    February 15, 2017 at 7:46 pm

    I totally get a lot of this, although I didn’t attend B-School. And believe it or not I’ve spent a lot of time wondering what I need to do to be successful like you, you are my comparison 🙂 So that part, especially, really makes me feel like I’m not alone here 💗

  • Elsbeth Stoové
    February 23, 2017 at 10:55 am

    Hi Jess, I got to your IG through the webinar with Rachel Rouhana and instantly HAD to read this post because the title totally resonated with. And so does the rest of your post. I’ve said to people sooo many times “i used to love blogging, but now that it’s supposed to be my brand and business, I’m terrified!”. That, and the fomo, and always looking at others, and spending my days just reading other people’s newsletters, and buying more and more courses…exhausting and so demoralizing. Also, everyone’s website (mine included) starts to look the same, sound the same, have the same elements.
    I wanna escape!!
    Don’t get me wrong though, I do still like Marie and what she teaches, and I’ve met so many amazing people because of B-School. Both ‘famous’ people that I follow and a great community here in the Netherlands.
    I love how I found this post just as I was thinking I’m going to abandon all the rules and just start writing for fun again, sharing real stuff instead of an on-brand message that teaches you something.
    So….thank you!

    • Jess Carlson
      February 23, 2017 at 11:04 am

      Hi Elsbeth! Let me just say a big YES to everything you’ve said. I still appreciate Marie and what she shares but I have to digest it so sparingly. And as for other people’s newsletters and stuff like that I’ve become a HUGE unsubscriber. When I start to feel bad from reading someone’s stuff I’m out! 🙂

  • Michelle Wolff
    March 1, 2017 at 10:49 am

    Very well-written and glad you put this out publicly. Last year I was agonizing over these things and one of our mutual friends also said – nope, don’t do it, not worth it and I’m glad I listened. These things are soul crushers for creatives. Although I do hope that you’ll do one on one sessions for those who ask because I know they’ll benefit.