Marie Forleo introduction


I'm Marie

You have gifts to share with the world and my job is to help you get them out there.

read more

This morning I spoke with a client who was feeling stalled in growing her online business.

She asked, “What’s stopping me from having success?”

I could tell she was looking for a deep, insightful, inner game type answer.

But that wasn’t what she got.  Here’s what I said next.

What consistent actions have you been taking to grow your online business?

Because I’ll bet what you say you want doesn’t match up with what you’re actually doing.

(Side note: This client came onboard because she wants to build a profitable, personality driven consulting and information business.)

Here’s the deal.  In order to grow a thriving brand online and sell products and services, you need to build your email list.

Your email list the end all, be all. They’re the people whom you love and nurture like they’re the most important people in the world.

Because to your online business, they are.

When I asked this gal what she was doing to grow and nurture her list she said, “I have a lot of people I talk to on Facebook.”

Me: “They’re not on your list. How many people are on your email list?”

Her: “50.”

Me: “How often are you mailing them awesome free content?”

Her: “Not enough,” she said. “Less than once a month.”


What this gal says she wants is not inline with her day to day actions.  I also sensed a bit of small list shame happening too.


50 people who care about what YOU have to say is an incredible honor and privilege.

And needs to be treated as such if you want any shot at growing those numbers.

FYI, every online big shot, at some point, starts with the same list size.  Zero.

So put that small list shame to bed now, k?

Here’s the deal: social media is cool, but building a high-quality email list of people you take care of by consistently delivering killer content (meaning content that educates and or entertains) is priority numero uno if you want to make money by selling products and services online.

Truth be told, this gal and I have had similar conversations before.

She’s aware of how important it is to build and nurture your email list.

As usual, it wasn’t a matter of knowledge, it was a matter of action.

Here’s the kicker.  She’s a smart, talented coach.  By not getting her business ass in gear, she’s stealing from potential clients who really need what she has to offer.

So how does this relate to you?  I’m hoping you’ll tell me.

If you feel stuck in building your business, it may be time for a self-deception reality check.

Get brutally honest as you answer this simple question.

Do your actions line up with what you say you want?

Do you say you want to make more money, yet you’re not taking concrete, strategic steps to make that happen?

Do you say you want to publish a book, yet you spend zero time writing it?

Do you say you want a life of entrepreneurial freedom, yet you’re not laying the groundwork to make it a reality?

If your actions don’t line up with what you say you want, you have two choices.

Either change what you say you want to accurately reflect your truth.  In other words, stop torturing yourself with a project or desire you’re not backing up with action.


Get off your butt and get to work.  Nine times out of ten, this is the answer.

Make no mistake, it will take time and a lot of hustle to see results.

Don’t whine. Don’t feel sorry for yourself.  Don’t compare yourself to others.

And especially for us sensitive types…

Do not give yourself license to fart around in the “why-am-I-not-successful-yet” head trip.

Just keep truckin’.

Because the truth is that while you’re lost in the mind-fuck land of self-reproach, other people are cranking out content, building momentum, creating results and making money doing the very thing you want to do.

Of course, we all need to get whatever support or education we need to do our thing.

But if you’re 100% clear that you really, really want the thing you say you want: get to work and don’t stop till you get the goods.

You may also like...
Add a Comment


  1. I had a similar conversation recently about the difference between wanting something and be willing to put the time and energy into making it happen. There’s often a world of difference between the two, and as you’ve demonstrated here, all you have to do is take a look at where you’re spending your time and energy to know what it is you’re really committed to.

    It’s not always a comfortable thing to look at, but it’s so worthwhile, because when you come to the realization that you don’t really want something you can let yourself off the hook and quit beating yourself up for not having it.

    And when you become aware that there is something you really do want, it gives you the opportunity to REALLY commit to it, to get into action to make it happen. That’s when the magic happens…when the Universe steps in with the help and support you need, when the most amazing synchronicities occur to move you forward in ways you couldn’t have imagined.

  2. marie

    @lisa: I LOVE what you just said here – especially about it not being a “comfortable” thing to look at. At first it can be like, “Oh shit!” and then it’s usually, “Oh thank God! I have some power here!”

  3. LOL! Exactly! And gaining that kind of clarity and recognizing that you DO have the power to do something is exciting!

  4. Great post, MF!
    I think another kind of self-deception comes in the form of, “I can’t get started till I figure out what I’m doing.” Fact is, we can’t really figure out what we’re doing without getting started.
    The illusion is that we’ll come up with the answer by thinking. Whenever I’m thinking instead of doing, I find myself standing in the kitchen eating bowl after bowl of Special K.

    I say, don’t give yourself license to fart around OR think. No farting, no thinking. OK.
    .-= Laura´s last blog ..Leggo my sample-o. =-.

  5. Synchronicity! I have been thinking a lot about this lately, and experimenting with it.

    I notice that it’s when I’m getting sucked into negative thinking that I don’t feel like doing anything. I found myself avoiding writing a blog post last week. I made myself look at why I was avoiding it and realized that the topic felt very personal to me and that I made up the lie that I had to separate myself from it in order to write it. Once I got back into being me, put myself into the blog and realized that was how it would best be done, then my energy came zooming back.

    I have been noticing how acting, at all, doing ANYTHING, breaks this sucky thinking. If I feel stuck, I go do dishes or make a treat for my neighbor. And then, any effort that I make toward my goal, even if it is far from what I ideally want, gets me closer to what I want. When I got my website up, I had no idea what I was doing. But, making it got me in touch with people who did. Whereas, if I hadn’t done anything at all, I would not have made the connections, learned what I did, or gotten in touch with the people I did by doing something (even if it seemed like a crappy something).

    Actions show our beliefs. We only do what we really believe in, so not doing anything shows that we don’t believe in our success. Doing something helps anyone to believe in themselves, even if it seems uncomfortable or scary–and it DOES whenever any of us do something for the first time. It’s a hope that we are successful, and a risk to be successful, that only gets confirmed after we act.

    I’m all fired up now! Thanks for the juicy talk…now a little less conversation, a little more action if you please. I’m getting to work.

    • Annika Gran

      @ane: “We only do what we really believe in, so not doing anything shows that we don’t believe in our success.” WOW! I could FEEL this in my body, when I read it. You are so so right! And I am so happy that I got to read Marie’s blog today. Thanks to you both!

      Maybe we should suggest NIKE to change their slogan to

      Cheers from Denmark

  6. Hey Beautiful!
    As usual, you hit the nail on the head. I’ve been thinking about this same topic a lot. Especially when I have people complaining about not getting what they expect from experiences. You must have a strategy in everything you do and you must take action. Period. Oh, and being receptive to what presents itself is pretty HUGE, too.
    Miss ya!

  7. Asma

    Hehe, I liked the part where you said do NOT give yourself license to “fart around” in the head trip of why I’m not successful. Because Lord knows I NEEDED that advice! Thanks, especially for the colorful verbage to hit some sense into me, lol.

  8. Perfectly timed Marie!

    I no longer suffer from “list shame” but there was a time that I did. So…after talking to my perfect coach, Gina Bell, I took action and created a one-of-a-kind virtual event. It built up my list, got me in front of ideal clientele and is something I’m so passionate about that I would do it for FREE (and it is free, for 5 days).

    The key point? I DID SOMETHING, and like I tell my own clients…action always feel better than sitting around whining.

    Consistency + Authenticity + Passion (oh…and fun!) = Results!

    Fab Post! Thanks!

    Kim E
    .-= Kimberly Englot´s last blog ..Calm things down in the bedroom! =-.

  9. Marie,
    I LOVE this blog. YOU so hit the nail on the head. I have so many clients who are afraid to get started on a simple prototype and wonder why they aren’t in swanky stores yet!
    Thanks for puttin’ this to paper.

    .-= Sarah Shaw´s last blog ..Are You A Goal Getter? =-.

  10. I know im guilty of ‘saying’ im gonna do things…and ‘rarely’ actually doing em. I keep trying to lay out the ‘perfect’ environment before i get my feet wet. For example, ” I need to learn this first, or I don’t have this yet, or I need to meet this person first”. If I keep waiting…ill never get anything done.

    Im learning that lesson…and now… I just ask myself, ” What can i do NOW towards my goal? Even if its an itty bitty step.”… and i find myself further towards my goal than i expected! Yippee!….:)

  11. Thanks, Marie.
    Great words of encouragement. I love your no-nonsense approach. For those of us who tend to spend too much time in our heads – you say just what we need to hear!

    Will cease the farting around immediately.

  12. Thanks Marie!

    This is the just the reality check I need right now
    Now I’ve got to get busy and take the actions in-line with what I want
    Gotta go!


  13. I was recently in an online class and one of the coaches asked the question: Are you in business for yourself or are you just pretending? Some of the people in the class realized that they weren’t doing anything systematically towards growing their business.

    Maria has asked the tough questions here and I appreciate the courage that it takes to do that.

    The little steps over time get you to where you want to be.

    @ Kim E – I agree: Consistency + Authenticity + Passion (oh…and fun!) = Results!

  14. Marie, you have such a way of saying things that somehow, well, kicks gets my butt in gear! I love what you have said here, *especially* the part about a small list being a gift that must be nurtured.

    THREE times this week (I kid you not) I have had ideas for blog posts or articles and in each case I: a) didn’t get around to writing them and b) saw them written by somebody else instead. Yes, I could still write them, and yes, they will be of value to my list, but aghhh, it will definitely have a “me too” feel when I do.

    Over-thinking will kill a business faster than anything else. It’s a fine line, I know, between being quick and being careless. But you gotta learn it sometime (and frankly, you just keep learning it every time you expand.)

    Big hugs!

  15. Swain McCaughrin

    Wow! Thanks for the reminder!!

  16. Rachel Stivers

    No more farting around. 🙂

  17. Hello Marie!

    I found this article to be very inspiring and motivational. You discuss here a lesson I learned the hard way and that is this: Knowledge is great but is powerless unless it is applied. Eventually it all comes down to action. Of course, things can seem overwhelming sometimes and that’s when I remind myself that all I have to do is take daily action steps. Some days those steps may be small ones ,but if I consistently take SOME action every day, I will certainly achieve my goal.

    Thank you for the reminder of what is a crucial ingredient to success in whatever we undertake.

    PS This is my first visit to your blog. I think it is very cool and I’ll definitely be back. 🙂

    • marie

      Hey Keith! Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment and for stoppin’ by AND in advance for coming back 😉

  18. I’m loving this stuff. Thanks Marie for the reality check. That’s so true, you have two choices, either give up if it’s not something you really want to do or get your bum into gear and do it!! It is really that simple….amazing!!! Love it, no farting and no toxic thinking!!! 😉

    • marie

      Hey Daniela – many thanks. What happened to your gravatar girlie? We see it as all black right now.

  19. “Because I’ll bet what you say you want doesn’t match up with what you’re actually doing.”
    Love this… this is exactly what I needed today to get my “buns” goin’ and out of the mind fuck in which I’ve been in!!! thank you for telling it like it is, Marie. I really resonate with your messages, content, & way of thinking and doing! Please keep ’em coming because this info & coaching style is what needs to be heard at least for me, really! not just the fluff or hype but the real deal! Thanks for shedding the light and having it sink it finally that my list is a gift! I have been completely neglecting them! Now, time to recreating and reconnecting with them and stop farting around!! Thank you! Lisa

    • marie

      YEAH Lisa (And Everyone Else Who Doesn’t Have One!) we need you a to get your gravatar (the little pic that would appear next to your blog comments:)

      You can grab yours here:

  20. My favorite thing you said in this post is that you are stealing from people who need your talents by farting around and not telling them what you have on offer. That’s such a huge mental shift from the idea that you are forcing yourself on people.

    • marie

      YES. Because if you have a product or service that genuinely helps people, you really are stealing from them if you don’t get your marketing butt in gear and properly communicate. So great hearing you on the Virtual Mastery call yesterday too!

  21. You so often take what is right in my head and put it into words!

    This is what I’m all about and part of my brilliance — getting people to implement what they already know, or spent hundreds (or thousands) of dollars buying products, attending seminars, etc to learn. All too often we HAVE the tools and the knowledge, we just don’t put it into action.

    In addition to helping solopreneurs build their business, I also help women with nutrition & wellness. And there are so many similarities….let’s face it, we all know that eating a carrot is better for you than eating carrot cake. But WHY don’t people actually do it? I find 1) they don’t really think they can do it 2) they don’t have a PLAN to actually do it and 3) they don’t take consistent action. Ditto for people in business.

    I’m all for self-improvement, but waaaay too often we entrepreneurs SAY we want to build a big business but don’t take the steps to actually DO it. So often my clients tell me that when they get stuck they find excuses to do other things: the laundry, the dishes (believe it or not), go to the store, or hit the fridge for a snack.

    It comes down to self-worth — do you really feel you are worthy of success?
    And one must have a PLAN. So often people tell me they know what to do, but they just don’t do it. And one big reason is because they have not put together a plan to put it all into action.

    Just like what you said!!
    .-= Dinneen Diette´s last blog ..9 Tricks To Make Halloween A Treat =-.

    • marie

      Ha! The dangers of working from home – > laundry, dishes and eating over the sink.

  22. Katie Borchardt

    Marie – This post is great and exactly what I needed to hear! I’m like, “why don’t I seem to be getting the results I want?” And duh!!…I’m not taking consistent action on things I want to accomplish. And I sit wonder why I’m not making more money. It’s funny, but somehow I had this idea that things would move forward with out having to take consistent action. What a stupid idea!! Thanks for clearing that up. And back to work.

    As always, thank you for making a difference in my life…daily. 🙂
    Love, Katie

  23. marie

    @laura belgray – now I see the brilliance of those threaded comments 😉
    @aneweed – YES. Doing anything (except perhaps the bowl of Special K) does get the wheels-a-turning 😉 5 minute dance party would also be VERY good for u
    @lisa manyon- yes, every experience does indeed present something. miss you too love!
    @asma so happy you appreciate the colorful language. sometimes I think I just entertain myself with it words like fart.
    @kimberly – yes woman. I love that Gina Bell too. congrats on that virtual event and thank u for sharing you had “small list shame”. It’s not the size of the boat, it’s the motion of the ocean.
    @sarahshaw – so freaking cool. I LOVE hearing about physical products.” have you seen my girl Alisa’s “Perfect Cheescake”? Her vid is on the Facebook fan page.
    @jazz – u got it girl! no waiting my friend. (read what Laura Belgray wrote above you!)
    @danielle. excellent. remember farting is good. farting around in your head, usually not 😉
    @laura h – off like the wind lady!
    @maryellen – GREAT share on that question. Is it a hobby/imaginary biz or are you in it for real, like to make some cheddar?
    @zara – crazy how that happens right? You have a “great idea” and so do lots of other people. I always find it fascinating (and a good motivator to act fast!)
    @swain – u r so welcome.
    @rachel 🙂 xo

  24. true that, information is free and there are really no “secrets” anymore, in order to make progress you have to take consistant, sustained, long term action, your daily routine should reflect your long term objectives, just be sure to focus on creating tonnes of value for others!

  25. Hey Marie,

    Thanks for this PERFECT and PERFECTLY TIMED post. You hit the nail on the head – another thing about it is, it’s like getting fit, just because you can’t run 10 miles today, is no reason not to run the 1 mile you can, and there is no way you’ll get to 10 without first running the one – therefore no excuses or reasons to beat oursleves up for not having been in action as much as we “should” – just keep starting (start not fart!) and next thing you know the habit and ability is there.

    And Zara, ditto with the non-actual writing (but taking note to write) of blogs!!! Start not fart – my new motto.

  26. Marie, Great post! I’m in the stage of both building my list and “just keep truckin’ ” stages. Thanks for bringing it home for me 🙂
    .-= Lisa Hines´s last blog ..Shine Part 3: Was it worth it and what I really got out of it? =-.

  27. Nikki

    thanks for your thoughts, Marie!
    It made me think about what my priority is. singular. boy was that tough! I have so much going on it’s no wonder nothing seems to move forward.

    to do it, i applied a technique i use in making collage. i’ll be working away on a piece of art and get too involved with it that i’m not seeing the big picture. best thing is to walk away from it for a time (this is easy because life is aways interferring)–but here’s the cool thing, when i come back i have fresh eyes and i can see my art piece objectively again.
    like what you were saying–stop thinking so hard. i said to me, “what’s your priority?” and always, it’s my novel. i stopped thinking right there. every other thing i have going takes a back seat to that.
    no more being pissed that the other (very) important things aren’t happenning, I feel most connected with myself when i put priority on my #1 priority.

    • marie

      you are so welcome! amazing how often “stop thinking so hard” is the answer.

  28. Amy

    Great post, Marie.

    I love the way you put words together. And I love how you’re able to convey through your writing how passionate you are about your readers and how much you care about our success.

    The question that you asked your client was spot-on for me. So often I find myself with thoughts such as, “This internet business thing really doesn’t work.” or “Maybe if I sign up for one more program, then I’ll have what it takes…”

    But, when I’m truly honest with myself, I know that I’m not doing all that I can do and already know how to do. I know that perfectionism comes into play quite a bit for me, but having read in your post about how I am stealing from potential clients I now realize that it’s time to unload the perfectionism baggage, move along and really get going.

    I’m not drawn to doing business with people who are seemingly “perfect,” so why do I think I need to be perfect in order to have others drawn to me?

    I know that I need to get out of my head, connect with my heart, and move into ACTION.

    Keep the amazing posts coming, Marie.

    Thank you for all that you do.
    .-= Amy´s last blog ..‘Tis the Season to…Simplify??? =-.

    • marie

      Right on Amy. In my experience, learning how to write powerful copy is one of THE most crucial skills in running an online biz! Your comment here is AWESOME copy (clear, personal, direct) so you have the chops my friend. KEEP going.

  29. Lori Latimer

    Well that was just the kick in the ass I needed today! All day I’ve been thinking that although, yes, I am unusually busy at my current “job,” I’ve been using that as an EXCUSE to keep from taking some of the first steps that I need to take.

    Like others here have said, I need to get out of my head, forget about everything being “perfect,” stop thinking I have to “know everything” before I can do anything, go with my heart, and start getting the small things done, even if I only have 30 minutes a night. Need to do a little less farting and A LOT MORE DOING!

    You continue to be such a huge inspiration for me…

    Hugs, Lori

    • marie

      Thank you and hugs right back woman! (and go get a Gravatar too so I can see your beautiful face! – this goes for all-ya’ll reading who don’t have one yet!)

  30. Marie,

    I’m SO glad you posted this. I was just beating myself up today about the size of my list (yep, it’s small, beginning stages still small). 🙂 But the way you’ve put it, makes me feel much better about it.

    AND, I realized today something I’d been holding back on & not sharing with them, which is why tomorrow’s mailing is going to be all that it is. I forgot I have even MORE to share w/them than I’d really taken a good look at. And now that I have, I have even more to shed light on so other families in the same situation can benefit! 🙂 Oh happy day! 🙂

    • marie

      Awesome Sunshine! – can’t wait to hear how it goes.

  31. Marianne Good

    A feed back on what is said. Mean what you say and do as you say!
    Say it, and make an action to do it! Have a realistic plan to make it happen in reality and you’ll reach your goal you’ve set up. Your true reward is your earned success! Be determinded. Be motivated. Be discplined. Be persistent like you are still standing walking forward in a hurricane trying to beat you down. Keep your head high and tell yourself You deserve to succeed!
    Have a successful day! Keep smiling!

    • marie

      thanks Marianne!

  32. Excellent!

    As a hypnotherapist I encounter the same situation with clients all the time. People come to me saying they want change, but yet they want me to wave my magic wand and have it all done for them. They miss the point that their thoughts have to change to the point where their perspective will zero in on the desire, as well as the need, for changed action in order for change to take place. People seem so scared of doing what they know will help them succeed… I think it is because if they never really try they have a built-in excuse for failure, plus people will have lower expectations of them. People fear success because they think that it would mean they have to be better than they believe they are. I address this through subconscious exploration, but THEY need to do the kind of work you suggest here to really make it happen. Well done!
    .-= James Serendip´s last blog ..Allergies and Your Mind… what the pharmaceutical companies DON’T want you to know! =-.

    • marie

      Thank you so much for your comment James! Had a big conversation on the “fear of success” yesterday with the gals in my rich, happy & hot program. It was fun, spirited and juicy 🙂 Hope to see ya round more!

  33. Exactly Marie! I’ve found that many people often don’t want to have humble beginnings but it is our humble beginnings that propel us to leap forward.

    A list of 50 people could have 1 person purchase a $15,000 coaching package. That’s not small beans, but rather they do buy the “high ticket” item or not, every single person precious and valuable. The time each person gives us, in this case in reading our emails, posts, tweets, etc, is priceless. It can never be returned and we must cherish that as we cherish life.

    I adore you!

    • marie

      I adore you right back Bea! 🙂

  34. Hey Marie

    Loved this post ” No more farting around” Stick your ass out and get into gear. Once that happens the dominoes of opportunity fall into place.

    Small actions daily lead to big results.
    Thank you for your brilliance
    .-= Tricia Dycka´s last blog ..How Many of Us know Vomiting Vicki? =-.

    • marie

      thank YOU Tricia!! Small actions consistently DO indeed add up. xoo M

  35. Erika Christiansen

    Thanks for the media inspiration Marie!

    I now have and know what a gravitar is! So much to learn.

    • marie

      you are welcome Erika. Great job on taking action and getting that gravitar up!

  36. Monika

    Marie, I flippin’ love you. I needed to hear this email. You are an uncanny gift. Thanks for being authentic my dear, sweet woman.

    • marie


  37. Hi Marie;
    I know this is an “older” post, but the timing of when I read it could not have been better!

    I arrived at work this morning feeling depressed and discouraged, asking myself things like, “Why can’t I seem to get my online business going well enough to be able to quit this boring-as-shit job”, and other similar questions. One of the first things that I did was turn on one of the audios I got when I joined your list, and then I took a couple minutes to visit your blog and read some of the older posts (since I only discovered it the other day!). This post was perfect timing for me and really jerked me out of that negative mindset. It made me realize that there are certainly better things I can focus on, and that my actions are not quite lining up with what I say I want!

    The part about the mailing list really struck me as well. Honestly, I’ve been whining to myself about how I’m not making the kind of money I want to online, and I wish my list was growing faster, and all that head trash. Your post made me realize that I need to treat my subscribers as the valuable people that they are – and the growth will happen on it’s own from there! It also made me realize just how far I HAVE come in just the last couple of months. I need to focus on what I have achieved and accomplished, instead of what I haven’t. 😉

    Thanks again for the “boost”! I’m sooo glad I came across you! 🙂

    .-= Jess´s last blog ..what’s in a name? =-.

    • marie

      You are SO welcome Jess. Thrilled to be of service 🙂 And just keep going. (btw – even when your biz is your full time thing, there will STILL be days that you want to pull your hair out. You just do it in your home vs. in an office and rather than beating yourself up because you think you “should” be working on your biz, you beat yourself up for not moving fast enough/not being creative enough/yada yada.) So have fun, stay focused on what you ARE doing and enjoy the ride!

  38. Shay

    I know I’m reading this months after the initial posting…however, today, this actually helped me! It helped me get off my bootay and stop listening to that crazy mind chatter that keeps reciting “you can’t do this” or “why are you doing it like THAT?” Thank you! Thank you! I have placed a notecard on my mirror and on my computer that says “Do your actions line up with what you say you want?”

    I needed that dose of reality!


    • marie

      You are soooo welcome Shay! 🙂

  39. Oooh yes – get off your ass!

    Love this article Marie – I’m going to bookmark it whenever I need a reality check.

  40. I came to this conclusion a while ago, and reading through your other archives have “not so casually” been pointing this out to me…I personally have two obstacles, the above mentioned of course (wanting and not necessarily doing) and having trouble with clarity on what the want it. Both are MAJOR hindrances on creating.

    Being honest with yourself, not only in your personal life, but also in your business life is the only way to get where you need to go. If you keep lying or fooling yourself you’ll only feel and continue to be short-changed.

  41. Daniyal

    Hi! Marie I have been following your work from the start and this is the best piece of advice I have stumbled on so far but I have a question
    How do you start building an email list from the scratch ?
    I know this might be a pretty stupid question but the fact is I am stuck on this no matter how hard I try I can’t just get the initial push. Thanks in advance

Comments are closed.