Marshawn is a Reinvention Strategist and Founder of the Godfidence Institute – the only faith-based business and branding school for women and influencers. A former Miss America beauty queen turned Donald Trump Apprentice, turned Georgetown University Law Center trained lawyer, she is the voice for brilliance, branding and business strategy.
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Worst Entrepreneur moment
- Marshawn went from former Miss America beauty queen to Donald Trump’s Apprentice to a Georgetown University Law Center trained lawyer… and then ended up flat broke and clueless about her next step. Find out how this happened…
Entrepreneur AH-HA Moment
- You can never experience your glory zone living in your comfort zone.
Small Business Resource
- SpreeCast: Engage Your Audience. View public spreecasts I want to broadcast.
Best Business Book
- The Gift of Being Yourself by David G. Benner
Marshawn: I can’t wait.
John: Yes! Marshawn is a Reinvention Strategist and founder of the Godfidence Institute, the only faith-based business and branding school for women and influencers. A former Miss America beauty queen turned Donald Trump Apprentice, turned Georgetown University Law Center trained lawyer, she’s the voice for brilliance, branding, and business strategy. Marshawn, say, “What’s up?” to Fire Nation and share what’s going on in your world.
Marshawn: Well, what’s up everybody? And hey to you John. I’m so honored to be here and excited. Things are really, actually, burning up here, literally. Our company, our headquarters, are based in Atlanta, the sun is coming out, the trees and the season’s changing, and I think that’s really indicative of what’s been happening in our business, with our clients. We really help people to find their voice, elevate their visibility and to monetize the good stuff inside of them. So we’re really excited about all the changes that have been happening with our clients because I think that’s what entrepreneurship is really about. It’s not just about your own growth, but seeing it happen and seasons change in other people’s lives.
John: Know you nailed it. I personally love your mindsets and that’s why I’m excited to move into the one minute mindset questions. But even before we get into that, I mean, Marshawn, you’ve been on quite the journey. I mean, I shared former Miss America beauty queen, Donald Trump Apprentice, Georgetown University Law Center trained lawyer, I mean, you’ve had the journey. So Fire Nation, you better believe that Marshawn has some pretty amazing stories to be sharing with us coming up in just a bit.
Marshawn: This feels like this is gonna be my Miss America interview on steroids.
John: On steroids Marshawn…
Marshawn: I’m up for it.
John: …and this is where we go. So this is the one minute mindset. I’m gonna ask you five questions, five insights into your mind, and the first one being, ideally, what do the first 80 minutes of your day look like?
Marshawn: My life has changed a lot over the last several years. You mentioned some really unique experiences I’ve been blessed to have, but I started out, formally, in my real J-O-B as an attorney practicing law in one of the largest law firms in Atlanta. I left that to start my own sports agency, closed that down and started up the business that I have today. And I used to start off my day with a to-do list of all the things that you’re trained to do when you’re going to school and law school and practice law and take care of your clients, is to be organized and be productive.
But what I found is that the first 80 minutes, or the first part of my day is best, when spent in prayer, reflection, doing something fun or enjoyable or even just exercise, walking. Something that really stimulates the mind, the creativity, and really reminds you who you are. It gives you an opportunity to be grateful for, I guess, your blessings and the breath that’s in your being. And that, to me, is something that I’m not an expert at yet, in terms of doing it consistently every single day, but when I do that, that’s when I have the most impact, that’s when I have the most for my family, my friends, and for those that I’m called to serve.
So right now I’ve been spending the first part of my day reading. And we’re preparing for the biggest conference we’ve ever had so I have really been focused heavily on carving out just a little bit of time, at least 30 minutes a day, to do some reading, center myself before I deal with the crazy of the world.
John: See, I love this because, Fire Nation, how can we expect to deliver the type of impact that we’re looking to deliver to other people if we don’t first look inwards and say, “How am I doing today? What am I feeling inside today? How can I take a minute for myself?” This is your inner being so I love how you do that, Marshawn. I love how you’re now starting on your own agenda, not on somebody else’s agenda at the beginning of your day.
Marshawn: Well said. That’s a snap, snap. Absolutely.
John: I wanna get a couple more of those snaps, snaps. I’m gonna work hard for that. So Marshawn, what is your biggest weakness as an entrepreneur?
Marshawn: Weakness – I am clear about that that it’s my super woman-ish syndrome, in that I try to take on a lot of things for a lot of people. It seems benevolent and I think this is one of the things I’ve learned in coaching and working with women in particular, is that we have this – we feel like we have to take care of someone. We have to say yes. We have to do this. And then on top of being an entrepreneur you’re a mom, a wife, today’s my seven-month anniversary…
Marshawn: So all of these new elements are being balanced and my husband reminded me of something. I had a crisis of a file that I couldn’t find. We moved and I have no idea where this external hard drive is, but it has an application that is a part of a million dollar program that we’re about to launch. So I kind of wanted it. I was about to hop in the car, drive across town, go to our old house, see if I could find it somewhere and before I could even do that he had figured out a way to convert an older file. And long story short is, he looked at me and said, “You don’t have to do this all by yourself.”
And it was just a reminder that you don’t have to put the S on your chest and the cape on your back and try to be everything to everybody. That’s not what entrepreneurship, that’s not what success, that’s not even what life is all about. So I’m grateful to have someone who could give me a loving reminder but also crisis averted at the same time.
John: I love every part of that because we are all amazing individuals in and of ourselves, Fire Nation, but by individuals there are limitations because we have strengths, we have weaknesses. That’s why we talk about that right at the top of the show here. And by being able to identify those weaknesses that we do have and bringing on a team of people that actually thrive in those weaknesses, that their strengths are those weaknesses, those voids that we can’t fill ourselves, they fill perfectly. That’s how you grow a thriving business and a thriving life because you should not be doing the things that detract from that. And on that note, Marshawn, what’s your biggest strength?
Marshawn: Well, I found out my biggest strengths by discovering my weaknesses and I think that one of the most courageous things you can do as an entrepreneur is to really get serious about your weaknesses because that’s where your strengths are really being zapped. It’s like the kryptonite to your strengths if you don’t know what they are. And I always say to my clients that you cannot fix what you will not face and you’ll never maximize your potential, you’ll never operate in the fullness of your calling and your purpose unless you understand what’s holding you back and what’s keeping you stuck.
So part of what I realized, the hard way, is that my biggest strength is actually in messaging and helping people to find their voice. And I was really scared of that for a very long time, but when I look back over my life, when I was nine years old, I was creating a brand for my dad who started a computer company, and I’m creating his logo and an acronym for it, and I used to get in trouble as a kid for talking. So it seemed like a weakness because it was something I got in trouble with and then it wasn’t a strength in terms of something that was developed in my community with those who were around me.
So I chose this lawyer path and it really didn’t necessarily maximize my strengths. So I’m a big believer in people taking strengths assessments. I have all my clients that work with me in private coaching take the Colby test. And when I took that test I was so mad. I felt like the $150,000.00 I spent in law school could have better spent had I just known how I was naturally wired. So today I’ve built my whole life, my business, and it’s much easier because it’s my strength, but I help people with messaging, finding their voice. It’s one of the things I think I do the best on the planet and we all need to know what we do better than anybody else on the planet.
John: You cannot fix what you will not face. I love how you put that Marshawn. You have some great habits. They’ve been developed throughout the years, but what’s a habit that you wished you had?
Marshawn: I wish I was a ninja filer. I wish that I had the ability to file things in perfect order and organization. And this is one of the things I realized when I took that Colby test. If you haven’t taken it before I really recommend it as a resource. It’s only like $49.00 but the power in it, is it helps you be more focused. And what I realized, and why I left my law firm, was I was in a very prestigious job making $125,000.00 as a 25-year-old kid fresh out of law school, but I required research. When I took that Colby test I scored like a three out of ten on research.
So even though I was paid at a premium price, I had put myself through law school, $150,000.00 degree, $200,000.00 in scholarships, all to end up on the 22nd floor of this place where I didn’t fit and I was never built to fit. And I think a lot of people are in jobs where they don’t fit because we don’t know what we’re not good at. So I know I’m not good at filing, I know I’m not good at organization, I know I need it. So I wish I had it, but I know I don’t. So I have to hire other people to help me with it.
John: So Marshawn, you have a lot of awesome things going on in your life right now, but in the entrepreneurial sphere, what’s the one thing that has you most fired up today?
Marshawn: I think there is a special spark and a fire in a movement that’s happening right now with women that’s never been experienced before. It’s like…it’s like a new generation or a new idea, a new budding of something that – it’s like this new awareness where, wait a minute, we are smart. Wait a minute, we do have the potential to do all of the things that we have for generations been told were inappropriate, not right, that we couldn’t do. I know for me, both of my grandmothers cleaned homes and office buildings and hospitals because that was the only opportunity available to them.
My mom worked for the government and did very well, worked for 35 years, but that was the maximum opportunity. She even grew up in a time where there was separate bathrooms, where blacks went to one bathroom and whites went to another. So the opportunities were different. I’m a first generation entrepreneur who really has very few limitations, other than the ones I set on myself.
And so I look around with women today and realize that this is the first time where women have been able to be their own boss, been able to have ideas and not feel like they have to have permission to speak. And that’s what I’m most excited about is helping both men and women. I tend to attract women, I think, because I am a woman, but I have a lot of experience working with pro athletes and the fellas. And I will tell you, John, guys are much easier to work with.
Marshawn: They don’t ask nearly as many questions. They’re like, “Just tell me what to do.” Women ask why. But that’s what I’m fired up about is I’m excited to be a part of a movement and, I think, a trailblazer in helping women to understand that they can blend both faith and business. And so I’m honored to be a part of it, but that’s what I feel is the fire burning right about now.
John: I love this message you’re sharing Marshawn and I love the journey that you’ve been on as an entrepreneur, as a first real generation entrepreneur, and what I’m really excited for you to share is this. Because we all love to talk about the successes and the wins, but the reality, and it’s so important for our listeners to know, that even somebody like Marshawn, who’s had all these accolades and is currently just at this amazing place, you’ve had your obstacles. You’ve had your challenges and I would love for you to tell us the story of your worst entrepreneurial moment. So take us to that moment in time and share that story.
Marshawn: I mentioned I practiced law and I left and I started my own sports firm. It was very successful. When I made the leap from working into entrepreneurship, I had a client that was paying me to basically help with setting up the foundations and I had a $6,500.00 a month retainer, which was great. So I made the leap and then about two days after I left, it was my last day at my job, I remember because my stuff was still in the back of my truck – and yes, I am a girl who drives a truck because I’m from Texas – and that client lost their $100 million credit line, this firm did. So that mean they canceled all agreements, which also included me and my contract.
So here I just left this job, I have no income, or not sure where the next check is gonna come in and then that’s when I got really serious about finding clients. And I landed my first client that was independent, he was a football player. He had just signed a $62 million, seven year deal with the New Orleans Saints. And from working with that one client I built what became the fastest growing women owned sports agency in less than a year. Everything was great. And then I met a man, I fell in love and I ended up closing down my sports agency three years later to get married. And then I ended up calling my wedding off six days before the wedding because of infidelity.
And I realized I didn’t know this person that I was about to spend the rest of my life with. And I look at that as one of the worst, hardest, most difficult entrepreneurial moments. Not the business, and not even that contract, that $100 million contract that was lost, but really matters of the heart really bring us to our knees in ways that money and business never can. But I did find myself not only heartbroken, going through depression, which is something I had never faced. I’m like, “How am I gonna be a motivational speaker and have all this success beyond the Apprentice, Georgetown? How did I end up here at the bottom?” Not knowing how I was gonna pay my bills.
And so it was in that season of really coming back to myself and finding myself and spending ten months in prayer and reflection that I realized that this mess was really a message. But that was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever been through personally, spiritually, and also professionally. I don’t even – I guess the word may be more so entrepreneurially because I had to – I had been to the top of what seemed like the top of a mountain with the sports agency and then I find myself all the way back. And I knew that that door had closed and it wasn’t going to reopen, so I had to find an entirely new path.
John: One thing that I want to zero in on, Marshawn, is when you were talking about how you had that nice, comfortable retainer job and things probably, and you can correct me if I’m wrong, but could have kept going in that very good direction. But the reality was is that, you know, that fell off the plate and you said, you know what? I gotta get down to business. I need to hustle. I need to put my nose to the grindstone because sometimes, Fire Nation, the biggest enemy of great is good. When things are good, where is that striving need to be for great?
So I think that’s just a great lesson for our listeners right now to kind of take that in and say, “Am I living just a good life when I want to be living a great life?” And Marshawn, you’ve had all the experiences. I mean, we’re talking about your journey right now, but take us to another story. This story, though, is on the other end of the spectrum. It’s an epiphany, an ah-ha moment that you’ve had. Let’s just choose one. One story that you think will resonate with our listeners.
Marshawn: Well, I love what you shared as a honing in moment. And I always say that you can never experience your glory zone if you’re there in your comfort zone. And that, to me, is kind of what you’re talking about, the enemy of great, and that’s what I learned in part in that experience of losing the safety blanket of this retainer made me realize what I was made of. And when I came out of that break-up experience, this is really my ah-ha moment, the other end, the good at the end of the story.
In the middle of it we don’t feel like there’s gonna be an after, but when I was trying to rediscover who I was, I was still heavily identifying with the safety, the comfort, of being able to describe myself as an attorney, although it didn’t really describe what I had been doing or where I was feeling this shift. And I remember praying one day and saying, “God, you know what? Just help me understand, not why this happened because maybe I’ll never understand why, but help me understand how you want me to use this for a greater purpose, a greater good, because I know you’re not done with me yet.”
So the next day, literally the next day, I’m at a speaking engagement and I stop by a booth and I see someone who has an exhibit table. And they have these things that now I know they’re called information products, but I didn’t even know what they were. I knew I had a book, but I didn’t know what all these different things were. And I started doing more research online about marketing and information marketing. I was a pretty smart cookie, I had been very experienced, but there was a whole world I didn’t even know about.
And I saw something in this woman that made me realize, it was like I got a glimpse of a new me that I couldn’t see without seeing other people, seeing someone else doing what I didn’t even know was possible to do. So that’s, today, my ah-ha moment was really realizing that it wasn’t about me going back to where I had been. It wasn’t about me trying to resurrect the sports business, it wasn’t about me going back to the practice of law. Sometimes when things shift so dramatically, it’s really to wake you up and to get your attention and it’s an invitation into your true purpose.
And I believe that that’s where I am today and realizing that my mess really is my message. That the prophet also is in the problem and I started seeing all these people asking me questions and I started now to see this as an opportunity. They’re asking me how to. Instead of me just telling them, why don’t I put together a seminar? Why don’t I put it into a package or program? Something that I had never thought about before because I had never seen it. So my goal as an entrepreneur today, is to be an example. To be something that other people have not seen so that they can see it in a new way and therefore be it in a new way for themselves.
John: My mess is my message. Marshawn, how you put that, I just know our listeners are gonna resonate with that and to know that it’s okay. That your message can lay within your mess in so many powerful ways. It’s a really, it’s a freeing thought.
Marshawn: And it makes you connect like you’re a real person. People will look at you like you’re an icon and no one really buys from icons. They buy from people they connect with. And so one of the things we teach in messaging is that when you connect, you collect. And that your life is the master class for your life mission. And if you look for it outside of yourself, you may find some level of success, but you won’t find significance, you won’t find fulfillment, and I guarantee you won’t maximize your life mission of what you’re here for. So you can’t live your life mission without looking and learning from your life.
John: Love that. And Marshawn, I still have a lot of great questions I can’t wait for you to answer. That’s gonna be in the lightening round, but before we get there, we’re gonna take a minute to thank our sponsors.
Marshawn, welcome to the lightening round where you get to share incredible resources and mind blowing answers. Sound like a plan?
Marshawn: Sounds like a plan. Let’s do it.
John: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Marshawn: I think the No. 1 thing holding me back from becoming an entrepreneur was admitting it, was admitting it more than anything. I’ve been an entrepreneur since I was a little girl. I sold candy in elementary school, lemonade door to door when people weren’t coming to my stand, so I’ve been an entrepreneur for life, but I didn’t necessarily know what to call it. I just didn’t want to borrow money from other people.
John: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Marshawn: Wow, okay, so I think the best advice is actually a quote that I heard when I was actually competing in the Miss America system. And it is that people do not care what you know until they first know that you care. That helped me in every area of life, personal, professional, but also I think it’s one of the things that makes our company a successful seven-figure business. People don’t care what you know until they first know that you care.
John: I love that. What’s a personal habit that you do have that you believe contributes to your success?
Marshawn: By far prayer is the most powerful. I think of it as training, like being in the gym for your intuition and intuition is critical. I believe that entrepreneurship is the new faith movement. So you’ve got to spend time in reflection.
John: Do you have an internet resource like Evernote that you can share with our listeners?
Marshawn: Yeah, you know, so one of the cool tools – I’ve become a total geek and nerd, but I love SpreeCast. We’ve been utilizing it as a tool for live video webcasting. When we need to do something really quickly it only takes a few minutes to set it up and it embeds in all of our platforms. It enables great chat features as well and it’s instantly archived and they also do – it also has great SEO. So we like SpreeCast, S-P-R-E-E-C-A-S-T.
John: If you could recommend just one book Marshawn, for our listeners, what would it be and why?
Marshawn: One of the books that helped me come out of that challenging time when I was trying to find myself was a book called The Gift of Being Yourself. And I didn’t realize I didn’t know myself until I went through reading this book The Gift of Being Myself and I really found a whole new dimension that I didn’t know that I had. So it’s written by a psychologist, actually, by the name of David G. Benner. It’s a short read. You could read it in just seven days or less if you read a chapter a day.
John: Wow. Well, Fire Nation, I know that you love audio so I teamed up with Audible and if you haven’t already you can get an amazing audio book for free at eofirebook.com. And Marshawn, this next question is the last of the lightening round, but it’s a doozy. Imagine you woke up tomorrow morning in a brand new world identical to Earth, but you knew no one. You still have all the experience and knowledge you currently have and your food and shelter is taken care of, but all you have is a laptop and $500.00. What would you do in the next seven days?
Marshawn: Hopefully this place has mascara because that’s about the only other thing…
John: It’s identical to Earth, girl.
Marshawn: It’s identical to Earth so as long as we have mascara. That’s part of my basic food and shelter. The first thing I would do is I’d figure out what’s the biggest problem that’s going on that speaks to me, not just anything. I mean, I could find out something and figure out a way to solve it, but what is the thing that speaks to me? Because then I’ll figure – I think it’ll help me understand why I’m here. You don’t go into business without understanding your why, without being anchored in purpose and to me your why is about really your where.
I know Simon Sinek says, you know, start with why. I really believe we have to start with where. Where am I supposed to take other people? And that really, to me, helps people really get clear about their why. So that’s where I’d start. Why am I here based off of what is going on with people? What’s going on in this new world that I’m in? And that’ll help me to understand where I’m supposed to go and where I’m supposed to take other people.
The second thing that I would do, I’d figure out who the power players are. Who are the centers of influence? Because this is what I learned in every business I’ve started, from my sports agency to my current company. I won’t win a marketing game based off of marketing resources and budget, but I will based off of connectivity. If I can find those who are the most influential and find the message, which is, I think, my ultimate gifting, utilizing and partnering and helping other people buy into the vision of where people need to go, what’s possible, what can change based off of this big problem.
And then third, is I’d hold a workshop because every shift that I’ve ever had in my life, I thought about this and it started out with some small workshop. My very first one when I was fresh out of college, just had finished competing at Miss America, was third runner up, won $80,000.00 in scholarships, won talent and interview, and everyone kept asking me, “How did you do that?” “I had a workshop for $35.00.” Years later, when I was coming out of that bad breakup and knew I needed to do something different outside of sports, I had a workshop. It was a branding and business workshop.
That started at 35 people and in exactly a couple of – actually ten days, we have our next event where 400 individuals are coming in. We’ve done over $400,000.00 in pre-event revenue from that one event. And for me, events and workshops, that’s what changed my life when I was down and I didn’t know how to shift. I heard somebody else teaching and talking and I went and I studied with them. And so I feel like my life is a parallel and that’s why I teach. I feel that teaching is the most profitable, the most honorable, but also the most favorable thing you can do with your life and whatever your classroom looks like.
So as entrepreneurs, yes, we’re here to provide a service, yes, we’re here to help change lives and solve problems, but I think the most powerful thing that we can do that we don’t always tap into is teach. Teach people what you don’t know. You wouldn’t learn how to drive unless somebody taught you, you wouldn’t know how to even show up for yourself and the way that you do but for the lessons. So I think that one of the hidden jewels of true entrepreneurship and legacy entrepreneurship is teaching, sharing what it is that we know. Not just getting for ourselves, but getting for the purpose of giving.
John: Value bomb, Marshawn. ILT, these are really three letters that I really live by and I want you, Fire Nation, to absorb them as well. No. 1, the I is invest, L is learn, and then that third is T for teach. You need to teach what you – invested in yourself to learn the content, now turn around and teach. So Marshawn, love what you’re brining to the table. And I want you to share the best way that we can connect with you and then we’ll say good-bye.
Marshawn: Absolutely. Well, I would love for you to join me online at marshawn.com or even godfidence.com to stay connected to what it is that we’re doing, the events, the coaching the training. And I also have a complementary resource for your audience. They can get access to it at marshawnevans.com/fire. And so I wanna salute you on what you’re doing in terms of igniting passion in people. I wish that you had been around when I was a young girl trying to figure out why I had this passion for selling lemonade and candy. And you are igniting things in people that will have legacy beyond even what you can realize during your life.
John: Marshawn, I receive that. Thank you for that compliment and, Fire Nation, I want you to realize that you’re the average of the five people you hang out with the most. You’ve been hanging out with Marshawn and JLD today. So keep up the heat and head over to eofire.com. Just type in Marshawn, M-A-R-S-H-A-W-N, in the search bar, her [inaudible] page will pop right up with everything that we’ve been talking about today, her recommended book, resource, of course her website, godfidence.com and then that gift is marshawnevans.com/fire. So go snag that gift from this amazing woman and Marshawn I wanna thank you for sharing your journey with Fire Nation today. And for that we also salute you and we’ll catch you on the flipside.
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