Marisa is the founder of Live Your Message, where she turns entrepreneurs into online superheroes so they can change the world from their living room.
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- Heroic – Marisa’s small business resource
- Selling the Invisible – Marisa’s Top Business Book
- Live Your Message – Marisa’s website
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3 Key Points:
- Stop thinking about how to get more leads; instead, focus on the customers you already have and turn them into raving fans.
- Take challenges — get out of your comfort zone and do more.
- Don’t be afraid to go against what other people are saying.
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Time Stamped Show Notes
(click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.)
- [00:57] – Marisa works with 7, 8, and 9-figure entrepreneurs
- [01:09] – She also creates experience-based products
- [02:09] – Her area of expertise is in helping entrepreneurs get noticed online, engage customers, and turn them into raving fans
- [02:52] – Share something we don’t know about your area of expertise that as Entrepreneurs, we probably should: 97% of people who buy information-based products and then don’t get results enter the downward death spiral
- [04:12] – Marisa developed the 10 steps to get people super stoked on your brand
- [04:22] – Step 1 is about constant wins
- [06:10] – Worst Entrepreneurial Moment: Marisa was trying to make a course on product creation. She set out to create a blockbuster and spent months thinking about what the core idea should be. On her due date she realized she had made something OKAY — it wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t an idea ON FIRE. Her husband forced her to stop working and had a conversation that eventually led to bringing out the true idea for experience products
- [09:58] – People need challenges
- [10:36] – Entrepreneurial AH-HA Moment: Marisa realized that people usually have a great idea that’s wrapped in a lot of layers that they have to unpack. In order to do that, one has to have the courage to claim the idea and create a new category of products, if need be
- [12:56] – Have the courage to go against what everybody else is saying
- [13:12] – “Not everybody is meant to be successful”
- [17:18] – The Lightning Round
- What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur? – “I had no idea what people would pay me for”
- What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? – “You can have everything in life if you will just help enough other people get what they want”
- What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success? – “I’ve gotten really good at compartmentalizing”
- Share an internet resource, like Evernote, with Fire Nation – Heroic
- If you could recommend one book to our listeners, what would it be and why? – Selling the Invisible – “it’s all about service marketing”
- [21:45] – “You can have everything in life if you will just help enough other people get what they want” – Zig Ziglar
- 22:06 – Marisa is giving away her Viral Product Checklist for FREE at LiveYourMessage.com/Fire!
Marisa: Hell, yeah.
John: Yes. Marisa is the founder of Live Your Message. This is where she turns entrepreneurs into online superheroes so they can change the world from their living room. Marisa, take a minute, fill in some gaps from that intro, and give us just a little glimpse of your personal life.
Marisa: Absolutely. All right. Well, I work with seven, eight, and nine figure entrepreneurs. And when you check them out online you can’t tell how awesome they are because their brand kind of sucks and their website kind of sucks. So I make them look like superheroes. And I’m also the creator of experience products, which is a new class of products that 10X retention and engagement and results for your students, clients, and customers. Personally, I live with my husband in Marina Del Rey and we’re business partners and best friends and all of that combined in one amazing bundle.
John: I love all of that. And I love, frankly, how people can tell it straight because that is – we shouldn’t light foot around when people just have bad brands or their website is crappy and it’s just a horrible user experience. I mean, Fire Nation, it’s 2018. We gotta wake up and smell the brand. I mean, it’s so easy – well, I’m not gonna say so easy, but it’s just not difficult to actually find a way to not look horrible online. Now, it’s not easy to look amazing online, which is of course where somebody like Marisa comes in, but you have to at least get to a bare level of competence if you’re really gonna be seen, heard, and cared about in this online world. Now, with that being said Marisa, what is your area of expertise specifically?
Marisa: Absolutely. So we’re in a world of 1.8 billion websites. So I help people instantly get noticed in that world. And also once you get customers, engage them from moment one of day one so they become hooked on taking actions, getting results, and ultimately buying from you over and over again. So branding doesn’t stop on the first impression. It’s actually something that you carry through to the entire lifespan of your relationship with your client to get them hooked on you in a good way.
John: Now, I have a pretty savvy audience, so don’t give us some surface-level tactic, tip, or tool. Let’s go a couple levels deeper. Give us something that you’re just seeing so many people do wrong that we should really be doing right.
Marisa: Absolutely. And I would not dream of giving you a surface-level tip. So we’re on the same page there. But here’s the thing, it’s a well-known secret that 97 percent of people who buy information-based products don’t get results from those products. And what happens is basically from the moment they hit that buy button, they’ve got all this energy and all this excitement and all this potentiality and then they enter what I call the downward death spiral where things that product creators are doing unintentionally cause them to give up, walk away, get stuck, procrastinate, enter perfectionism, all of those negative emotions.
So here’s the thing. You know, inside of our brain is the limbic system. It’s a part that loves to win. And when we’re clear in our expectations and moving towards them, it sends this nice cocktail of happy chemicals. Now, when we’re not, it suppresses those chemicals and starts to begin the downward death cycle. So imagine that you just signed up for some kind of amazing opportunity online. All of a sudden you go to your inbox and you’ve got, like, four emails. One of them’s gigantic long, or maybe gets stuck in the spam box, or whatever happens to be and you’re like I’m gonna come back to this later.
Now, say you actually open one of these emails. You go, say, logon to consumer products somewhere and you get to the membership site and there’s like dozens of videos and all this stuff to do and people just don’t know what’s happening next.
So I’ve developed a system called the experience formula, which is ten steps to get people super stoked in creating unstoppable momentum from day one. And one of the steps is constant wins. And constant wins is setting – creating a game that your customers can win. And setting up that very first interaction of what happens in the first hour after someone buys, for example, that’s going to have them realize that this is something different, get them so deeply engaged and already feel like they’re winning and they’re on fire, to use your term, and ready to keep on going for more. So that’s what I help people do.
And it’s also about how do you structure a program. A lot of people do things linearly and that kind of drops people into the deep end of the pool before they’ve even gotten to begin. And what if you’re able to dangle a carrot, and not just dangle it in front of people, but let them nibble this whole breadcrumb trail of carrots all the way to what I call mission accomplished and winning the game. So how can you structure programs, products, courses so you actually get people in deeper than they ever would go if you dropped them in the deep end of the pool?
John: Constant wins, Fire Nation, that’s something that I wrote down and I really hope you absorbed that as well. I mean, I think it’s critical we need to have that breadcrumb trail of constant wins like Marisa’s talking about. And just one question before we move on. Where do I get this cocktail of happy chemicals? It’s gotta be somewhere.
Marisa: Yes, it’s inside of your brain. You don’t need to drink any alcohol, you don’t need to go to the bar, you don’t need to go to the corner in the bad neighborhood of town. You can get it inside of your own brain when you do things that make you happy and set yourself up to win.
John: Well, you seem like a pretty happy person, Marisa. You seem like you have a pretty happy life. I mean, you’re married to somebody who you love spending time with and who you work with, and all these things are happening. But I wanna go to a dark place. And not, like, a dark personal place, but a dark entrepreneurial place and what you consider your worst entrepreneurial moment to date. Take us inside to that moment. Tell us that story.
Marisa: Oh, yeah. And it actually relates to what I was just sharing because before I discovered the experience formula, I was trying to create a product about product creation because I saw all of these people had these incredible product creation courses that were doing really well on the market and I knew that I wanted a signature product that was just gonna take our business into the multi-seven figure realm. And so I set about to create a blockbuster. And it wasn’t going as planned. I spent months just dancing around what the core idea could be and just being like is this it, is this it, is this it.
And I started creating something, because we were getting closer and closer to the launch deadline, called the [inaudible] [00:06:10] product creation. And it wasn’t a bad idea, but it wasn’t an idea that was on fire. And this is all about entrepreneurs on fire, right? So there’s a difference between just an okay idea, an idea that’s got the potential to catch on like wildfire where people are gonna be like oh my god, I’ve never heard anything like that.
And here’s the thing. As the market gets more and more crowded, you’ve gotta have that idea that’s got the potential to be really radically different in the marketplace, that you’re doing something in a way that nobody else has done it before. So I kept thinking and thinking and thinking and I realized that I was creating this derivative product. And it was new kind of, but it was kind of like everybody else’s product. And I was like this is not gonna be a blockbuster. But I kept writing and working on this too, so I created this entire launch sequence with all four videos.
And we’re two weeks before the filming date and still it was angst. I had to pull every single word out of me like squeezing blood from a stone, you know? And it was getting there, but it still wasn’t fantastic. And I was at the point in my career where I wanted to create something epic. And my husband basically came into the office and he was like Marisa, step away from the computer. And I’m like I can’t, I’ve gotta finish this video we’re about to go film. He’s like step away from the computer. Whatever you’re working on it’s not good enough, right? You’re not there yet. You’re dancing around the idea. Step away and let’s talk about this.
And I was like but, but, but, but, it’s – it’s – it’s fine. And he’s like since when have you been happy with good enough? So we went out into the kitchen and he’s like so what is this product all about? And we ended up just screaming back and forth at each other. He’s trying to pull this idea out and I’m just like it’s about experiences, you know? And he’s like well, what about experiences?
And in that conversation, two weeks before we’re gonna pull the trigger on this launch, the idea of experience products was born. And it’s a whole new class of products, right? And it’s really reinventing the way thousands of people are creating products online today because they wanna get their customers results. Because here’s the thing, 80 percent of your sales come from the back end if you’ve got a healthy business, but most people are just cranking through customers and trying to get more Facebook ads going and get more leads and more leads and more leads rather than turning existing buyers into lifelong customers.
And that was an incredible moment for me because I’d been up against this wall for months trying to just create a product from my head. And it was fine, but it wasn’t the kind of product that was gonna become a blockbuster. And I kind of believe if you’re gonna go out there and create a product today, should think about it like what is my next blockbuster? What’s gonna move the needle in the market? What’s gonna be radically different? What’s gonna get people so excited that they wanna pay attention?
And so that was the worst moment that became my aha moment because I went from angst and being just up against it to this massive breakthrough. But it took him calling me out on my stuff, right, and saying step away and let’s go deeper.
John: Fire Nation, I think you should go deeper in thinking about what Marisa just shared because let’s be honest. It’s so easy to be in our comfort zone and just to create something that’s good and to know that we’re good at something so we just stay there. But that’s what we need people and we need challenges, we need to be pulled out of that comfort zone because frankly that’s where all the magic happens. That’s where all the magic happens. And don’t you want magic to happen? Well, then get out of the comfort zone. Get called out by people, get challenged by this, get good constructive criticism. That’s where you’re going to create a winner. Not just something that does good or helps some people, but no, create a winner, create legacy, create amazingness.
So you did kind of hint, Marisa, that this is part of your aha moment. So kind of want you to get a little bit more into that because I just think it’s really important for us to unpack how you took that aha moment, that idea, and turned it into real success.
Marisa: Yeah, definitely. So what I’ve realized is a lot of times you may have a big idea and it’s like it’s wrapped in layer after layer of bubble wrap, of all this stuff that’s actually not core to the idea. But inside of all that stuff is a really darn good idea. So for me, I’d done mind map after mind map after mind map and I’m looking and I’m looking for the patterns and I’m saying well is this it, is this what it’s about, is this it, is this it? What is the hook and what is that big idea?
So when we found it and we realized I’d been saying – you know, this is the [inaudible] [00:10:30] of product creation, it was this new way of product creation and it was different from the old way because it’s not about you as the guru on top of the mountain and it’s really about engagement, for example. But when I really got down to what it was really, really about, then I realized actually this is a big idea.
And for me it was the courage to lay claim to the idea and to actually create this whole new category of products and to say you know what? I’m not interested in incrementally iterating what other people are doing. I actually wanna completely disrupt the market and create a new class of product out there.
Because we’ve reached the level of market sophistication where, if you look at the numbers, the self-paced home study, like online learning industry has actually been dropping the last two years in a row. In 2015 it dropped by something like 3.6 percent and I think 5 to 6 percent in 2016. So it’s been dropping because people are not getting results and they’re using all of these different ways of learning that isn’t compatible with how people are really designed, our natural chemistry of motivation. And also just the level of distraction we have today.
So for me the aha was really laying claim to what I was really kind of dancing around for so long and having the courage to say you know, all of these people out there who maybe are trying to build products so they really want to help people’s lives, that those products aren’t good enough and that we as an industry are letting our clients and our students and our customers down in a big way.
And nowhere is there a failure rate, like the failure rate for information-based products anywhere except for perhaps the insurance industry. And here we are, transformational leaders and we’re creating success rates that are the insurance industry level success rates, which is really horrible.
So, you know, for me it was about the courage to go against in a lot of ways what everybody else was saying because I’d asked so many people, you know, is it normal for people not to finish programs? Is it normal for them to get stuck and overwhelmed and frustrated? And I’d just been told that, you know what, Marisa? Not everybody’s meant to be successful. And that never really sat with me. I was never able to accept that. I was like well, surely I can create something that will enable way more people to be successful. And that’s really my responsibility as a product creator. And of course, I can’t take responsibility for my students and my customers, but I can be responsible to them and do my best to create a game they can win.
So for me that aha moment was recognizing that I didn’t have to believe the statistics and the numbers and the failure rates. And I didn’t have to design products or do my business in the way that everybody else was because it was actually not working. And I think there’s a lot in our online business, internet marketing industry that’s not working. And I see people all around me continue to do that stuff. And actually last year, 2017, was one of the worst years for so many people and our business grew. You know, we grew quite a lot.
So I think that ability to kind of zag when other people zig or zig when other people zag, or whatever the expression is, is so crucial to follow that own intuition that you’ve got and be willing to dare to put ideas out there that could be controversial or different. And that, for me, was my big aha moment to really have that courage to have a voice that would be different from what other people are saying in a pretty big way and challenge what other people were doing.
John: Fire Nation, Marisa’s gonna tell it to you like it is. She’s not gonna sugarcoat things and if you think she’s gonna start sugarcoating things in the lightning round, you’d be wrong. So stick around for the value bombs that are coming after we get back from thanking our sponsors. Marisa, are you ready to rock the lightning round?
Marisa: Oh, yeah.
John: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Marisa: Well, I was a documentary filmmaker in my last lifetime and I honestly thought I was an artist and I thought that artists were just meant to be broke. And I had no idea what people would pay me for. I didn’t think I had any skills or talents or expertise that people would pay good money for. I knew how to make things look good and sound good and tell good stories and I thought that was a recipe for being broke, but I didn’t realize that that was a secret of all business and marketing.
So it’s kind of funny, I just didn’t have a context. I didn’t know what I didn’t know for where my skills and my expertise could be valuable. And finding that context was major for me. And then recognizing ever since then, oh my gosh, I could bust through any limitation that I’ve ever had or preconceived notion of what was possible for me and you just don’t know the value of your skills.
John: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Marisa: There’s a quote from Zig Ziglar and it’s, “You can have everything you want in life if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” And I think that in the flurry of building a business a lot of people forget to put their customers first and think too much about what they have that they wanna offer, what they wanna do, how they wanna market. And when you flip to a much more customer-first perspective I think the world just opens up to you because everyone can feel it. Business gets easier, marketing gets easier, you’ve got customers who wanna buy from you over and over and over again.
And I just think that so many of the ways that people are out there talking about business and marketing, it’s just missing what’s fundamental, which is your relationship to your customers.
John: What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success?
Marisa: So I run three different companies and there’s so much going on all the time. And there’s good stuff, there’s bad stuff, there’s distractions, there’s slack messages, all of it. So what I’ve gotten is really good at compartmentalizing, which is turning on and off certain parts of my brain or things that I’m thinking about. So when it comes time for me to, say, create, and I spend about half of a day every single day creating, which is writing content, producing marketing, doing all this stuff which is either fulfilling on our products or bringing new people into our world.
But for me to be able to give that highly focused time, I’ve gotta be good at manning the switches in my own brain. So I’ve gotten super good at that compartmentalization so I can actually just get into creative flow every single day and just have massive output.
John: Recommend one internet resource.
Marisa: All right. So in the spirit of full disclosure, this is a company that I’ve built with my husband, Murray. And we’ve built a product, an internet resource called Heroic, beautiful websites that build your business. It’s kind of a cross between ClickFunnels and Squarespace. So it’s branded websites designed for conversion that match all of the online business models in our space, whether you’re a coach, an author, a speaker, a doctor, whatever it happens to be. Really having a site design for your specific conversion mechanism.
So we’ve built it, it’s super easy to use, and you’ve got some of the highest powered graphics that are available to you outside of Photoshop just integrated right then and there. So if you want that flexibility and the results and the beauty, we got it at heroicnow.com.
John: Recommend one book and share why.
Marisa: My favorite marketing book of all time as an uber marketing geek is Selling the Invisible. It’s a field guide to modern marketing by Harry Beckwith. The reason why I think it’s fascinating, because it’s all about service marketing, which is how do you sell something that’s essentially invisible, that isn’t a physical good or product or something tangible. You’re essentially selling a dream. And he also talks a lot about how 90 percent of customers are lost based on a single interaction. And so I think that if you wanna be an incredible marketer, learning how to sell the invisible is a great next step because if you can sell the invisible, then you can definitely sell what’s actually visible and tangible as well.
John: And Fire Nation, if you don’t wanna read it but you wanna listen to it and you’re not currently an Audible member, you can actually listen to that audiobook for free by heading over to eofirebook.com. Marisa, let’s end today on fire with you giving a parting piece of guidance, sharing the best way that we can connect with you, and then we’ll say goodbye.
Marisa: Well, I’d have to go back to that Zig Ziglar quote. And it’s so fascinating because I was using that quote in my launch and the Zig Ziglar company came up and was like I love that you’re using this quote. That you can have everything you want in life if you will just help enough other people get what they want. And a lot of times when you shift your emphasis from the money that you wanna make, the goals that you have, to being of service, a lot of times your business just takes off to another level because you’re giving people what they want. And when you do you get what you want.
So my gift for you is the Viral Product Checklist, which is the ten critical elements that every product must have to deliver huge results, create raving fans, and turn on the referral engine in your business. So it’s the ten core principles of the experience formula so you can create experience products instead of info products. So you actually get people hooked on your products, hooked on taking action, hooked on getting results. And you can grab that at liveyourmessage.com/fire. Liveyourmessage.com/fire.
John: Fire Nation, you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with and you’ve been hanging out with MM and JLD today. So keep up the heat and head over to eofire.com, type Marisa, that’s M-A-R-I-S-A, in the search bar. Her show notes page will pop up with everything that we’ve been talking about today. These are the best show notes in the biz, time stamps, links galore. Of course, head directly over to liveyourmessage.com/fire for that Viral Product Checklist. And, Marisa, thank you for sharing your journey with Fire Nation today. For that we salute you and we’ll catch you on the flipside.
Marisa: You’re welcome. And go out there and live your message.
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