While checking my Astrostyle horoscope t’other day, I noticed a testimonial from a lady who kinda looked like Nigella Lawson, so out of curiosity I clicked the link, and found myself at the website of “Multi-Passionate Entrepreneur” Marie Forleo… who describes herself as the (metaphorical) love child of Tony Robbins, Richard Branson, Oprah and Jay-Z, because she’s “part business strategist, part marketing maven and part spiritual ass-kicker with a side of hip-hop swagger”. Normally I shy away from in-your-face, uber-confident, self-promoting types, but Forleo has a way of drawing you in and disarming you with her “jersey girl” charm, unbridled positivity and sweary humour. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that she’s exceptionally beautiful… but she also has a rather inspiring mission statement: “My goal is to add more value to your world than you ever dreamed possible by giving you tools that you can immediately use to improve your business and life. Translation? I’m here to make you rich! Before we go further, let’s redefine rich, shall we? Because the rich I’m talking about reaches far beyond toys and cash. Rich means unlocking your spiritual potential, nurturing your health and happiness and using your unique talents to change the world.”
Back in the day, I actually took a year of Marketing at uni, before I had to pick a major and sided with Creative Writing instead. I’ve always been rather proud of the fact that I managed to score a “B” grade for that year, despite the fact my head and my heart were elsewhere most of the time… I mean, I diligently took notes and did my assignments, but I always had a nagging suspicion that there was something slightly “evil” about the subject. When I heard a lecturer cheerfully declared that because teenagers are so confused about their identities they’re much easier to manipulate, and therefore make for an especially lucrative cash cow, I felt a little piece of my soul die. But, oddly enough, the one thing they never taught us in our creative writing classes was that a working writer can’t make a living by sitting up in their lonely garret, typing away and giggling over their own jokes, waiting to be discovered. At some point, they have to accept that their precious scripts are products (ew!), that they themselves are a brand (double “ew!”), and that they need to market the crap out of themselves to get ahead (triple “ew!”, and “oh no!”). This is, of course, a lot easier said than done… especially if you’re an airy-fairy introvert like me. The solution is either to find a savvy, seductive schmoozer like Forleo and form a mutually beneficial alliance… or try to find the savvy schmoozer within, I guess.
Thankfully Forleo posts a new video on her site every Tuesday, offering free motivational tips and advice… and the ones I’ve seen so far have been a lot of fun and very informative, so I’ll have to start working my way through her archives. Obviously I can’t endorse her live events, because I’ve never been to one… for all I know she could spend the whole time poking people in the eye with a pointy stick and laughing… but that doesn’t seem likely. As far as I can see, Forleo has actually found a way to repurpose the “dark arts” of Marketing as a force for Good… so, yay for her!