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Marie Forleo: Hey, it’s Marie Forleo and welcome to another episode of Marie TV and the Marie Forleo Podcast. Now, if you are someone who’s had money on your mind lately, I think you’re going to love today’s episode. My guest is here to show us how to go from fear and lack to total faith and abundance. Arian Simone is an entrepreneur, investor, international speaker, philanthropist and bestselling author. She’s gone from living in her car to building a successful PR and marketing firm from the ground up, working with entertainment clients like Sony, Universal and Walt Disney Pictures. Arian has shifted gears from working with billion dollar corporate clients to co-funding the Fearless Fund, a venture capital fund investing in women of color led startup companies.
Arian, thank you so much for making time today. I want to just give you a huge shout out and a big congratulations. This book is awesome. I had so much fun and you’ll see, you’ll see me. You probably can’t pick it up on this but there’s like little marks because I was eating my popcorn and I had my little, you know, my little fingers all over the book. I’m like, “No.”
Arian Simone: The grease marks.
Marie Forleo: I was like but that’s a sign of a really good book when you have your hands in it and underlines. It is just awesome. And this is your third book, right?
Arian Simone: Yes. Thank you. Thank you.
Marie Forleo: I loved every minute of it. So before we get into The Fearless Money Mindset: Broke Doesn’t Scare Me, set the stage for us. Tell us about your story in entrepreneurship because it’s such a good one and it’s so juicy and how you ended up living in your car and then applying for more than 153 jobs, oh my goodness, with no success.
Arian Simone: Oh my gosh. Yes. And it’s so interesting when you’re like set the stage. That’s how I titled the intro before. I’m like, let me just set the stage to get full context. For those of you guys who are watching and listening, I’m Arian Simone, I’m an entrepreneur, an author, investor, just lover of good vibes, lover of people. And after college, how this all pretty much happened, I went from Tallahassee, Florida. I went to school at Fordham University and I moved to Los Angeles, California, actually with a job. I was working for Nelly’s Apple Bottoms. Remember those those apple bottom jeans.
Marie Forleo: Bottom jeans, boots with the fur.
Arian Simone: Boots with the fur.
Marie Forleo: Yes.
Arian Simone: Yes. The whole world was looking at her and I was excited. And I was doing product placement. And I was placing product on from Jessica Simpson. I placed product from Tyra Banks. I even placed product on Oprah Winfrey. And I was like, okay, I’ve made it. I said, the queen herself is wearing Apple Bottoms. So 30 days into my job, they were like, “We need to talk with you.” And it was the president. So I’m thinking like, I’m getting a raise. I’m like, “I got Oprah to wear the jeans. I’m getting a raise.” So I go in there and they’re like, “Arian, we have some unfortunate news.” And I’m like, “Unfortunate? What’s happening?” And they’re like, “We have to let you go.”
And I’m like, “Let me go? I’ve turned this company around. Like I’ve been here 30 days and done all of this. Are you kidding me?” And they said, “Well, if it was based on performance, you’d be the first to stay.” I said, “What is it based on then?” They’re like, “Well, the company’s being sold.” I’m like, “They didn’t want to buy me with it. I’m confused.” And they were like “Arian, actually the whole team is going. You just happened to be the last hired so you’re the first fired.” And I was like, “Whoa.” News flash. I was 23, like is this really happening? And I literally had to just pick up my bootstraps and just get to work.
So over time in my apartment, I actually just ran out of money. I was applying for jobs. I applied for 153 jobs. Nobody hired me. Just ran out of cash over time. And my parents were not in a position at that moment to even send anything. So I said, “Oh God, this can’t be happening to me.” And I ended up moving from my apartment to my car. My mother got one of her girlfriends to put my furniture in storage and that’s pretty much what happened. And I would sell my clothes so that I could eat and put gas in the car. I ended up on welfare, food stamps, general relief. And I was, but I had an optimistic attitude for the most part. You know, I could see you looking at me now like, “Oh God.” Like, people start getting the teary eyes when they hear it.
But I was not in a situation of depression or down spirits at that time. I had one moment where I was just like crash because I was just so exhausted, like what is happening? But for the majority, I will say for 90% of the time I was on an adventure. And I knew that that was a short term situation for me. So I was not about to look at it like this was my destiny or this is what life had for me. I’m like, “No. This is short term. This is something I’m just going through, but I will get to the other side of this.” And through that experience, somebody reached out, they saw my work at Apple Bottoms. They just reached out months, months, months, months later. Because I was without a place to stay for seven months. And they said, “We’d like for you to do some PR marketing work.”
And I’m like, “Well sure.” But they said, “We’d like for you to paint our walls.” I’m like, “Yes. Picasso. I’m here.” Whatever it was, it was going to be a yes. I just wanted to earn a living, you know, and make money. But what I didn’t realize was the opportunity was so much bigger than me just doing whatever project. Well, they referred me to people who referred me to people and I looked up and I said, “Oh I don’t have a project. I have a business. I have clients. Oh gosh!” So I went and got office space and I lived out of the office space. And on the 19th floor, Steve Harvey had a morning show with all these different celebrities coming in at the door. And I slept on the 26th floor in the office space. And I built up a Rolodex and made a lot of contacts that way.
So the PR company ended up servicing all the pretty much major studios in Hollywood from Walt Disney to Sony Pictures to Universal. You name it. So we would do PR and marketing in the film industry. And I would say about somewhere along 12, 14 years, somewhere in there I started getting a nudge to be the business investor that I was originally looking for when I was 21, when I first opened my store in college. And that led me to where I’m at today. So I was raising capital as a 21 year old college student. I gave up on entrepreneurship to go get this job at Apple Bottoms and ended up right back in entrepreneurship. Like, so crazy. My detour just went right back to my destination. Thank God.
And then when I was raising capital though, I remember telling myself on the floor of my store, I said, “Arian, one day you’re going to be the business investor that you’re looking for.” And the manifestation of that promise now is in the form of the Fearless Fund, where we invest in women of color businesses, early stage, pre-seed, seed, and series A. So that’s I guess you would say the cliff note version of the story, the extended version has like, you know, me sneaking into the BET Awards and participating in this big booty contest. I mean, it gets ridiculous. But, it was definitely. I told you I was having a blast. I may have been living out of my car but I was enjoying life. Yes. So it has all these, all these wild stories in that version you’ve extended. But that’s pretty much to set the stage, my entrepreneurial journey and a little bit about myself. Yes.
Marie Forleo: And it sets up perfectly why broke doesn’t scare you. And it really does. It lays the foundation for this beautiful book. Again, I had so much fun reading this. Also I love the colors and the design. It’s awesome.
Arian Simone: Thank you.
Marie Forleo: So let’s dive into the philosophy behind the book, right? Because I think you and I share a similar philosophy in terms of the power of our beliefs and how unbelievably transformational they are. And one of the things that I really resonated with was specifically around the power of our beliefs around money. And you write, “Fear is the root of lack energy.” So let’s talk a little bit about what our fear has to do with money and setting and achieving our financial goals.
Arian Simone: Oh my gosh, everything. And I say, I wrote the book off of one premise that people have more fear in being broke than they do faith in having abundance. And when you make decisions based out of fear, they never fully show fruit. They never fully show profit. They never fully show abundance. And it’s even beyond money. If you make a decision out of fear concerning anything, it’s not the most profitable decision for you to make. So yes, I would definitely say that lack is definitely rooted in fear. And as we know energy, one is contagious and that what you focus on will expand. So if that’s where you place your energy, that’s all the things that you’re going to start attracting in your life. And it can just become very problematic if you operate from that space. So I definitely wrote the books so people can operate out of that space and not from that space and into an abundance mindset. Yes.
Marie Forleo: And it really is. I know some people sometimes, especially around something as tangible as money, you know folks can be listening and just feel whether it’s skeptical or thinking that, you know, oh we’re just talking about woo-woo ideas. And as someone who didn’t grow up with a lot. My mom grew up in poverty and it sounds, your family didn’t, it’s not like they were sitting on stacks of cash. I think it’s really vital for us to just emphasize, you know, as you were telling the story, Arian about you being in your car and the attitude and you weren’t down on yourself, you’re like, “This is a moment in time. I’m going to make it through this.” And you stayed rooted in your faith and had an adventure for the vast majority of it. Similarly, I feel so strongly that our mindsets around money, it is an enormous piece of the puzzle no matter who you are, how you grow up, what you encountered or what you’re even encountering today, would you agree?
Arian Simone: Oh I totally agree. I totally. Yeah. I’m 100% there. And it doesn’t matter your background, you know, your socioeconomic background, this is truly, it’s energy at the end of the day. And I’m just very big on the energy that I surround myself with. I’m very big on the energy that I bring into the room. It’s called currency for a reason. It’s a current.
Marie Forleo: Yes
Arian Simone: So you have to be mindful of what you’re attracting and what you’re, you know, what you’re pushing away. So you want to make sure that you’re operating in the flow of that. There’s something that you said to me during the book tour that was so powerful that I actually adopted for my life, I wrote it down. When you said, you know, you pay for something. You’re like, “Well, there’s more where that came from.” So I started doing that. I’m like, there’s more where that came from. I’m like, my friend Marie told me, some, a nugget I’m applying this.
So I operate from that space of abundance. Like yeah, not operating, saying, I pay for something like, oh gosh, what do I have left? Oh gosh, what is this? You know, because then that’s what you’re going to start manifesting in your life. I was like there’s more where that came from. There’s more where that came from.
Marie Forleo: There’s always more where that came from. Yes.
Arian Simone: There’s always more.
Marie Forleo: And I also want to say too, there’s always more, all the good stuff. Love, creativity, money, compassion, forgiveness, always more where that came from. This also, I want to make sure I say this because I want folks to get your book because it’s so good. For anyone going okay, is it all about energies? Like no, at the end we talk about very actionable principles in terms of understanding your savings and you need to invest, you need to have that legacy plan, your estate plan, your charitable plan. So the practicalities and we’ll get into that too. But it really does start with energy.
And one of the things we were talking about on your book tour, you know for me I often say, and people sometimes recoil in horror when I say I love money. And then they’re like, “”Oh wait, can you tell me more?” Because it’s that same idea, right? The energy you bring to it. It’s not that I love the paper. It’s just, can I bring that loving vibe to my financial life and to the inflow and the outflow. And when you have that mindset, you’re going to pay better attention to your money. And you’re going to own your self worth. Right? And you’re going to be able to walk into these situations.
I think one of the other pieces I love so much about your book and your stories, you know, Arian, you have tremendous faith, you have tremendous faith and it’s so inspiring. Can we talk a little bit about your faith and specifically how faith interplays with our money and our ability to earn it and save it and invest it and share it?
Arian Simone: Yes. I’m very much so rooted in my faith. I start the book off with the belief principle because I was explaining that you’re going to believe in something. You know by default, you’re going to believe in something. And you want to make sure that you adopt whatever that is for yourself, something that you can stand on and hold to. So for me, I am a Christian woman and that’s my belief set. And I believe in the Christian principles as far as to whom much is given much is required. I believe in the principles of sowing and giving, I believe in the principles in the Christian faith and I apply them.
I start the book off by talking about somebody who is actually an atheist or was an atheist at this point now. And he said, “Well Arian I don’t believe in anything.” I said, “Well, yes you do.” He said, “Well, I don’t believe that there is a god.” I said, “Well, that’s a belief right there. Did you hear yourself? You said, I don’t believe.” That’s a belief system. And then he was just like, “Oh gosh.” He had like a whole of epiphany by the time of the end of the trip. I was over in Cuba. And he was just like, “Oh gosh. I’m going to choose something to believe in.” I’m like, “Yeah. You are. It’s by default.” So that’s my choice. And that’s what I’ve chosen to definitely stand firm in. And it does affect your money. Whatever your belief principle is, it’s going to affect your money. I am convinced that abundance is mine. I am convinced that it is my birthright. I’m convinced that prosperity is mine. I am convinced like you cannot sway me any differently. Like, it’s unwavering.
So whatever you adopt in your belief set is going to be how you make your decisions, is going to be how you operate in life. So you want to be mindful of what you are choosing to believe because it’s going to affect all of your behaviors. So that’s what I can definitely, I would definitely share about that. I go into that principal talking about even having a winning mindset. And I give examples of a of a football game where the Patriots, I don’t know if any Patriots fans are listening. I’m not a fan of the Patriots but I can respect the winner. And they were down in a game like 25 points, it was a Super Bowl against the Falcons, 28 to 23.
And my girlfriend was like, “Oh Arian, it’s nothing to worry about.” I’m like, “It’s something big to worry about.” She’s like, “No Falcons are up by 25 points.” And I live in Atlanta. So rooting for the Falcons but I’m not like a Falcons fan. I’m not from here. But I was rooting for the Falcons. And I said, “Well, I’m concerned.” And she said, “Well, no, 25.” I said, “It’s the 25 points, Kelly.” I said, “They’re rejoicing at three points.” I said, “Anybody, who’s down by 25 that can rejoice at three, they see victory.” I said, “And that mindset is something so powerful.”
So when you hear my story…so fast forward, they ended up winning the Super Bowl, they come back clearly. But when I think of my story, the parallel is there like, I didn’t allow the car situation to determine my destiny. I didn’t see it as defeat. They didn’t see those 25 points being down as defeat. They saw victory. So when you can lay hold of your goals and you can lay hold of your dreams and you see them and you stay on them until they manifest, they are yours for the taking. So you want to make sure, like I said, whatever you’re going to believe in is going to affect your behavior. So the second you start believing in doubt, you’re going to start operating from a place of doubt. The second you start believing in faith, you’re going to operate from this place of faith. So you want to make sure that whatever you hold on to is going to be profitable for you in the end. I say, I’m convinced. I’m unwavering. You can’t tell me anything.
Marie Forleo: That’s what I love about you. That is what I love about you so much and it comes through in your writing and it comes through in your soul and your spirit. And very much I remember when I was sharing around Everything is Figureoutable, you know I had quite a few people like, “No, it’s not.” And I was like, “Yes. It is.”
Arian Simone: It is. It is.
Marie Forleo: And I’m real clear on that. You may not be clear and that may be your reality, but I’m very clear. And in fact, speaking of this, I want to go into, you wrote, I loved this sentence. Bold belief is a success tool that transcends gender gaps, ethnic disparity, socioeconomic boundaries, having a healthy mindset is critical. So again, I love to just give voice after having a show for gosh, over a decade now, one of the good and not so good abilities I’ve developed over this time is the ability to hear, kind of the audience members as I’m doing an interview and as we’re having a conversation. So I can hear potential folks listening to us, right? And going, okay, I’m on board or I want to be on board. But what about systemic injustices that exist in this country and all around the world? What would your response be to that? If someone is like so eager to get on the fearless money mindset train. And they want that unwavering belief too, but they have that other voice in their head. What would your response be?
Arian Simone: Yes. And it’s so true. That’s why I said in there, I said, I’m not trying to make light, you know, of any of the current injustices that exist in society. And honestly, globally. They’re everywhere. Injustices exist. We do live in this world. But I would definitely say read the stories of those who have overcome those. Because that is what’s going to give you the encouragement. I know I mentioned Steve Harvey earlier when I was talking about the whole living in the office and he had a radio station on, a radio show going on on the 19th floor. But when I listened to his story and I just heard it recently. But when I listened to the story of where he came from and all that he just overcame and how he just maneuvered through life. It’s encouraging. It is so encouraging.
So don’t get me wrong, different social injustices exist in life but you want to listen to the stories of those who have overcome those challenges. And you want to let that be fuel and inspiration for you and let you know that if it can happen for them, it can happen for you too. So I say, I’m not making light of anything that exists. Because of course, if it was my way, I’d want the world all rosy and bubbly and fine and equal and fair. But the reality is things do exist but you can always overcome the things that exist.
Marie Forleo: Thank you for that. Similar, I feel like you and I share a lot of DNA in that finding stories of inspiration of every different industry, of every different challenge in life. I was speaking with I think it was last week or the week before doctor Edith Eger who is a Holocaust survivor. And hearing her stories of forgiveness and compassion in light of some of the most challenging human circumstances that we can imagine. And I find so much hope in that. And just thank you for sharing that too because for me, those stories of human possibility fill my heart and they fuel my motivation and they expand my vision of what’s possible for us. And it fills right into your philosophy of energy and focusing on abundance and focusing on what we can do, knowing that the world is a very tough place. It’s not fair at the moment, but the more of us that adopt this mindset and bring this level of commitment to who we are and how we can contribute. I think that goes a long way to starting to make the world more of what we hope it can be.
Arian Simone: Yes. That, that is beautiful. And it’s also proof that there is something that we have truly underestimated about the human mind, that when people can come from situations like that and have such joy, it just shows you the power of the human mind.
Marie Forleo: Yeah. And that’s honestly, Arian, it’s why I do what I do. You know, like I love having conversations with brilliant souls like you-
Arian Simone: Thank you.
Marie Forleo: … who take the time to write books, to share these ideas. Because I remember when I first started even learning about the world of personal development and I loved all your the tales that you tell in here too, I was like why, how come this isn’t taught in school? Why didn’t I learn this as a child. And I know one of the other things you share is like, just us going back to that childlike curiosity and that childlike wonder, and that potential imagination, limitlessness that we’ve all possessed often as little kids. And reembodying that and how much fun that can be in terms of our ability to create abundance, financial freedom and all the things that we want to see happen around our money. I loved that. Are you still having fun with the nieces and nephews in your life?
Arian Simone: Wait, when you were talking about that, Carter just popped into my head. Like literally when you were talking about that, I was… Yes. I was definitely with my nephews. We were in the pool this Sunday. But yeah, they’re brilliant. They’re brilliant. So Carter started reading the book at six. Right? So when he gets to his part and he sees his name, he’s just like, “Wait, Arian. I’m not, I’m not five anymore.” I’m like, “Yeah.” But I said, “Carter, I wrote it when you were five. I can’t go back and edit this right now.” And he was just like, “Well, okay.” And he’s just reading through the book. And yet, I mean, he was teaching me how to play chess at three. I mean, just these brilliant young minds and how they’ll jump into a pool whether if they know they can swim or not.
And it’s just it’s truly amazing the mind of a child. Because the world hasn’t projected its fears onto them yet. So they operate from a purely fearless state. And I just remember, I talked about it in the book when I said, “Well, Carter make sure you save your Tooth Fairy money.” And I said, “You’ll be rich one day.” And he was like, “One day?” He said, “I am rich.” I said, “No. You’re right baby. You are.” I’m like, let me make sure I encourage this. I was like, “You are.” So I also mentioned his pre-K graduation before kindergarten when they asked all the young people what they wanted to be in life, all the little people. And he said a superhero. And I looked at his mother and I said, “Kelly, are you going to get my nephew straight? What’s going on here?”
And she says, “Oh no, I told him he could be.” She said, “I told him he could be a superhero at anything he desired to be.” And I said, “I love that you did not, you know, destroy his imagination in that moment but just guided it with purpose and direction.” I was like, “I love that.” And that’s the place that he actually operates from all the time. And I’m just like, “I can’t wait to see who you’re going to be later in life.” This is so awesome to me.
Marie Forleo: He inspired me so much throughout the book. Okay. I want to talk about, you wrote when you’re giving your attention to something, you are subscribing to that idea. And like just thinking about the world that we’re in right now and how many subscriptions we all have from Hulu to Netflix to Apple TV to you know all the things in our inboxes, you know all the newsletters or whatever. Tell us a little bit about the power of our consistent thoughts and spoken words, especially as it relates to our relationship with money.
Arian Simone: Oh my gosh. Subscribing to that idea. When I say what you focus on expands, it is real. But yeah. Your thoughts when you’re even just talking about the world right now, and it’s a lot out here to attach on to. So I would even say for me personally, I’ve had to take time. I took like three weeks off in July, right? I didn’t even get on social media because I was like, “I’ve got to decompress from all of this.” It’s a lot going on. So, yeah, you want to be mindful of what’s entering your eye gates and your ear gates, because it does have an effect on your finances. And if you’re surrounding yourself by a lot of people who are doubtful or negative, you’re going to start to, to adapt some of those thoughts even if it’s just subconscious, even if you’re trying. You know, even if it’s not intentional or not, if it’s around you, it’s going to somehow, you’re going to, like I said, subscribe to it. You are going to be mindful of whatever your thoughts are, period.
So I’m very big on keeping my gratitude list going. I’m very big on policing my thoughts. If a negative thought enters, I’m like, okay, give me two positive ones real quick. We got to erase that. That’s not what I’m adopting for my life. And being self aware. I think that is probably what’s key to that process as far as your thoughts are concerned is truly, truly being self aware of what you’re allowing in and out of, you know, yourself.
Marie Forleo: I could not agree more. I found myself this summer taking off more time as well. I felt like it was necessary to keep clearing my mental and emotional cash so that I could stay strong in every sense of that word and keep perspective. And I love what you shared. I think it’s so important for us. And I’ve been having my own wake up calls, like really re-examining my own patterns and going, where am I willfully giving over my attention, my time? What am I reading? What am I listening to? What habits have I created just unconsciously that at this moment are kind of exaggerated and no longer serving me. And I have to tell you similarly to you, you know I just took a week off prior to when we’re recording this. And my team asked me, “How do you feel?” And I said, “I literally feel like I set the reset button on my computer.”
Like I cleared my mental cache. Like I cleared out all them cookies. You know what I mean? On your browser window. And things are running so much faster and clearer. And so I love that you share that because it’s really a powerful analogy about thinking what are you subscribing to both in your own mind and also physically, you know social media, emails, messaging, news that you take in. You know what I started doing Arian, I don’t know if you’d like this. So I like keeping abreast of what’s happening because I like to stay informed. And I realized, so I love NBC Nightly News. And they have this new edition it’s called Kid’s Edition. So Lester Holt hosts this, right? And I started watching it. It’s for kids. It is awesome. Not only do they highlight what’s happening in the world, however, they also highlight beautiful things that are happening in the world.
And so not only do you, like, hear about world events but you also get that balance when you were saying like, oh if a negative thought pops in, like no, let’s bring in two positives. The other night they were just highlighting this particular dog that was a therapy dog. And being with the firefighters on the West Coast right now. And there was so much love and positivity that came out of this news broadcast. And I said to myself, I’m like, I wonder why they’re not doing these segments in the adult version because we all need to hear this. It’s actually quite awesome.
Arian Simone: I have to catch it. I do. I have to catch it. Just the energy of children gives you inspiration and hope. So I know they are just out there just spreading so much love in the world. So I love that
Marie Forleo: You also wrote in the book, don’t assume your money will know where to go. You need to dictate in advance where it will go. You must have a plan for it. If you don’t have a plan for it, it’s going to move to any undirected place and you’ll look up and wonder what’s going on.
Arian Simone: And you wonder, where did it go?
Marie Forleo: Where did it go? Tell us about being a smart steward for our money.
Arian Simone: Yeah. So one of the principles is definitely the stewardship principle. And I tell this funny story about how I was like had an addiction and in love with these Italians. But the Italians I was talking about, they were not people. It was Versace, Fendi and Gucci and every Italian designer you can think of. So I learned stewardship by force not by choice because I had to figure out life when I ended living out of the car. And I had to you know, budget and save and get scrappy. So one thing I can definitely say about stewardship, that is, that is just very true. And everybody knows that. They’ve had say, well, for the sake of this conversation, say if somebody gives you 1,000 dollars. If you don’t direct where that money is going, you start operating in your day, oh well let me go down to the restaurant and spend this. Or oh let me go to the dry cleaners and spend this. And oh.
It just becomes more so reactionary versus being proactive which it will be in the longterm very problematic. So you want to definitely make sure you do have a plan for your money. It’s no different than, just trying to give a different analogy so somebody can just see… Oh! When you were talking about tuning in tuning out. Like for me, I have to control my day. This is a good comparison. So I don’t get emails to my phone, they only go to the computer. Because my to do list for my day has to get done. And I check my emails when it’s time to check my emails. So if I start my day off by just checking my emails, then my day becomes reactionary. I can spend the entire day reacting and then nothing on my to do list may not get done at all.
It’s the same press practice with your money. If you just start going through reacting, reacting, reacting, and spending to what’s happening in that moment, then you’ll look up and none of your money goals have happened. So it’s the same exact thing. You want to make sure that you’re dictating where that’s going. And you’re dictating that energy.
Marie Forleo: Let’s talk about the Fearless Fund. When we were on your book tour, I just got so excited, especially about having this conversation. I was like, “This sounds amazing.” I know you mentioned it briefly at the top and I mentioned it in your intro but can you tell us a little bit more. Like what was the inspiration? What is the Fearless Fund? Why did you start it? Where’s it at right now? Because I’m so fascinated.
Arian Simone: Oh my gosh. And it’s honestly a great joy of mine. The Fearless Fund, like I stated earlier but I’m going to go much deeper into this. We invest in women of color businesses, pre-seed, seed and series A, which for those who are not familiar with the startup world, that’s early stage. So when somebody has a groundbreaking not idea, but business on the floor and it’s about to have a good run rate, we’re definitely looking at that. How this came about, we got into this to solve a problem. Currently right now, women receive 2.8% of venture funds. Women of color are less than a percent and African American women, we are at 0.00006% are recipients of venture funds. And it’s so wild because right now Black women are the most founding entrepreneurial demographic there is in this country. So right now we’re the most founded but the least funded.
So we see that there’s clearly a funding issue that’s happening. So we got into this space actually to solve a problem. I wasn’t aware fully to the extent of how deep this problem was but I knew when, that at 21 from raising capital that I made that promise to myself that one day I’d be the business investor that I was looking to have for myself. And for me, that’s a big deal because I love entrepreneurship. And I wanted to definitely get out here and help all the entrepreneurs. So when I started getting bit by that bug around oh my gosh, 2016, 2017, I’m like Arian, you’re going to have to, remember that promise you made to yourself, you’re going to have to act on this, you’re going to have to make a difference in this space.
So I definitely got into this space to make a difference, got everything pretty much started. And then my girlfriends, Keshia Knight Pulliam, goes by Rudy on The Cosby Show, she was like, “I’m in for this mission.” Ayana Parsons, she was in School of Business and Industry with me at FAMU. We got our five year MBA programs. We’re in there together. She was like, “I’m on board for this.” I’m like, ‘Thank you.” And they’re like, “We’re going to make history with this.” Now what we didn’t expect. We are the first woman of color fund that’s built by us for us. We had no clue of that. We just got into the space to have a multimillion dollar fund investing in startups for people who look like us. But it wasn’t until the media reforms, and Fortune people were just like, oh they’re the first to do this. And I’m like, “This can’t be.” I’m like, “Are you serious?” I’m like, “We don’t want to be the last but please come join us.”
But when we heard that, we were like, “My gosh, the industry is 80% White male.” It’s 2% African American. Of that that are females are less than that. And very few, even in our own race demographic have their own funds. They’re pretty much working for another fund. So I was just like, “Oh my gosh, we are far and few between.” Then what we realized is we knew it was underserved based upon the statistics. But when we got into the work of it, we started to see it. So the first pitch competition, Sara Blakely hosted it at SPANX for us. We announced it and there was like, oh my gosh, thousands of applicants in hours to the point where I’d tell my assistant, just stop that right now because we don’t know how we’re going to data mine all of this and get through this for this one event. So just push pause.
And then we had another one at the Facebook headquarters. Again, thousands of applications. I mean, it’s overwhelming. So for example, to apply to our fund, we set a criteria that she needs to be revenue generating 100,000 annual recurring revenue. But the reality is the woman we’ve been investing in lately, they’ve already gotten to millions. So it just shows you how underserved the area is, to where I’m just like, “Oh gosh.” So we have, like, this whole gap of people we’re trying to help that because we didn’t know we would be helping so at this end, you know to where we’d be in where our portfolio companies were already in the know before they came to us. And I’m like, “Oh gosh, now we have to figure out how do we also serve over here?”
So recently we came up with our Get Venture Ready Program that launches in the beginning of the year that people can apply for now so that you can get ready to present to investors that you have your corporate governance in place, that you have your pitches in place, your pitch deck. You’re going to go through pitching workshops. You got to have to go through product market fits so we can make sure this is a good viable business that you have your MVP together, your most viable product. Like there’s so many different things just to get venture ready. And we want to make sure that they are venture ready. That our demographic has three disparities, access to capital, lack of mentorship and lack of network. So we’re trying to make sure that we can provide as much in that area for people. So that’s our educational side of what we’re doing too.
Our portfolio companies, I mean, they’re rock stars. I’m so excited about all of the women that we’re able to invest in. Yeah. We got so many great announcements coming. I’m just, I’m in bliss with it because don’t get me wrong, it’s a great investment but it’s also good for my heart and my soul and it’s serving. You know it’s a great investment. They’re going to return extremely great returns. It’s already been proven. But it’s so good for my soul to be able to cut these different six figure checks for these women. And they’re just like, this is really going to help me employ people and make a difference in the community. And I’m just like, “Wow. Wow.” I’m sorry.
Marie Forleo: My heart’s bursting. No. Do not be sorry. My heart is bursting because when we first talked about this on your tour, I could feel it. But I was like, I want the richer fuller conversation. I also want to keep talking about it offline because if there’s anything I can do to support, I’ll support.
Arian Simone: Thank you.
Marie Forleo: Are you kidding? This is like, you know, again, part of the reason that I am still doing what I’m doing is I love seeing people win. I love seeing people win. And unlike you, you know, I don’t have an MBA. And so witnessing folks from every different background who have an idea and they bring it to market and they make a difference in their customers’ lives. It brings me to tears because it’s so fulfilling and can change generationally
Arian Simone: Yes.
Marie Forleo: What people see as possible. And so I’m just like, I’m so happy. I’m so happy for you.
Arian Simone: Oh thank you.
Marie Forleo: And I’m so happy for the businesses and all the lives that you’re touching and will continue to touch through this. It’s very exciting. What have been, have there been any…you spoke into the challenge around not recognizing like, whoa, we thought we were going to serve this particular demographic in the business in terms of hitting, you know, they’ve done over six figures and wow. The folks we’re investing in are actually over a million. Have there been any other unexpected challenges or gifts around launching the Fearless Fund. Anything else that you didn’t expect?
Arian Simone: Oh I can get into it. This is not for the faint. I will say that this is not for the faint of heart. We’re not the first because this was easy. We’re the first for a reason. Okay? First of all, we have to get SEC regulated. I mean, like just approved by the government. So you’re talking about months of paperwork just to get established and months of yeah, months of paperwork and a lot of resources even financially just to get something like this started. I will say when we were even talking earlier about people and people they’re projecting their fears onto you. So I will get into that. So we’re like the new kids on the block in the space. And everybody was just like, “Oh it’s your first fund? Well, don’t expect institutional investors. Don’t expect this. Don’t expect that.” And I refused all of that energy. I’m like…
Marie Forleo: Stop projecting that.
Arian Simone: Yeah. You don’t have to project that onto me. So that’s why I’m so excited. We have amazing institutional investors. We’re about to make some huge announcements coming up. So I can’t say just yet, but I mean, people who are in our space, they’re very well aware. We have amazing institutional investors from governments to banks, to nonprofit institutions. So that’s why I’m just like, yeah, to corporations. I’m like, you save that for yourself. That was your reality, but that doesn’t have to be mine. Okay? So that happened. I would definitely say that. So that’s why I like, I can’t wait to post these announcements so they can just read about it.
Marie Forleo: Yes.
Arian Simone: Yes. So that was definitely I would say one thing. Raising capital in a space where you don’t even have a network. So mind you, I’m shifting complete industries. You know I come from the PR and marketing world and running this business and now I’m in the venture capital world and I’m having to learn who the players are and who these people are and network and befriend and be at events. And I’m like, okay. But I remember what that experience was like before. And mind you, I did it even from one, the comfort of the car, then the comfort of the office. So I’ve been, I see how the dots are aligned and connect through my life. So I’m definitely prepared for it. Thank God. But it was. It was complete new territory. So people were like, “Are you having imposter syndrome?” And I’m like, “I’m just having to show up as my full self.”
So at first you walk in, like I said, it’s heavily White male. That just is what it is. So I don’t look like anybody else in the room. And I’m like, okay, well Arian, you’re going to have to show up as your full self. And my authenticity and I would even say our team’s authenticity, has definitely, I would say, has been our winning factor. People are attracted to what we’re building. They liked that we’ve stepped out, you know, to take a risk, to even be in the space. And I remember even, I mean, some meetings I showed up even with a pink wig on. But I had shown up in my full self. Keshia has shown up in her full self. Ayana has shown up in her full self. And it has yielded great dividends just from us being us. Yeah.
Marie Forleo: So excited for you. It feels like the beginning of something so big and I’m going to be here cheering. Like I said, we could talk offline about different ways, be happy to support. But thank you. Thank you for continuing to take risks. Thank you. You are such a bright and brilliant human being and your faith and your consistency and your positivity, it’s just, it’s really inspiring. It’s really, really inspiring. So as we wrap up today…
Arian Simone: Wait, I have to pause.
Marie Forleo: Okay. Okay.
Arian Simone: Because I know you. But this means so much coming from you. No, it does. I had a whole moment before I said Arian, I said you are living the life that you dreamed of. I remember when I used to study you guys, Marie Forleo, back in the day. Okay? I was addicted to watching the YouTube’s. I was on your website everyday. I was just like an addict before I met you. But I just never shared it. And even, I know somebody, my all old, old, old graphic artist, she’d be like, “Oh my gosh, Arian loves Marie.” So just to see that I am in the midst of people who have been, who I’ve admired that are just now peers. And I’m just like, I had that moment this morning. I’m like Arian, you’re living out your dreams. I was like, don’t you remember how you were just like, oh everything Marie, everything Marie. I said, this is so wild. So I had that moment this morning. So I just want to thank you for definitely just walking in your calling and in your purpose and being an inspiration to me.
Marie Forleo: Aww I wish I could reach through the screen and hug you.
Arian Simone: In virtual hug.
Marie Forleo: Yes. In virtual safe. And when we don’t need to do safe just… The hugs is the thing I miss. Thank you for what you shared. You are just, you’re such a powerful soul. And the reason, like, part of the reason I do what I do, I just, I love people and I love connecting with people and I love the sharing of ideas and possibility. And like you are such a beacon of this. And I have so many underlines in your book. And you know, this is what it’s about. It’s about people connecting and showing what’s possible and collaborating and looking for ways to go, like, what good can we do together? How can we share ideas? How can we share networks? Like I was just, as you were talking, I’m thinking about, thinking about B-Schoolers, I’m thinking about… Oh! This is another thing I want to say before we wrap up.
You know, I’m always surprised and delighted by the notes that I receive because you never know who’s watching the show. Right? You never know who’s listening to the podcast. If folks are listening right now and they are like, thinking about obviously we want them to get the book, yes, yes, yes. But in terms of the Fearless Fund, where should they go if they are interested in learning about all the things that you guys got coming up, who knows? There might be other people that want to participate, where can they learn more and and get involved?
Arian Simone: Yes. At fearless.fund. F-U-N-D. Yeah, fearless.fund. It’s all there.
Marie Forleo: And as we wrap up, what do you want people to take away most from the book, from Fearless Money Mindset. If someone’s right now sitting and they’re like, whoa 2020 has been a year. Money’s been perhaps a point of pain for them. Whether it’s always been that way or this year put them in a precarious position. What would you want to leave someone with?
Arian Simone: The subtitle would be the reason about the Broke Doesn’t Scare Me. I would want to leave them with you can always start today. You can always start today. You can be at rock bottom. It’s okay. You can always just start today.
Marie Forleo: You’re brilliant in every way. I adore you.
Arian Simone: Thank you. I adore you too.
Marie Forleo: Thank you so much for taking the time to be with us and to share this great book and to share this great work. And like I said, we’ll talk more about the Fearless Fund. And we all can’t wait to watch what you continue to create. So thank you my love.
Arian Simone: Thank you. Thank you again for having me.
Marie Forleo: Was that not awesome or what? I am so inspired. So now Arian and I would love to hear from you. What was the biggest insight that you’re taking away from today’s episode and most important… How can you put that insight into action starting right now? As always, the best conversations happen over at the magical land of marieforleo.com. So head on over there and leave a comment now. Once you’re there, if you’re not already, be sure to subscribe to our email list and become an MF insider, we send positive, loving, encouraging emails each and every week. And you don’t want to miss out. Until next time, stay on your game and keep going for your dreams because the world really does need that very special gift that only you have. Thank you so much for tuning in and I’ll catch you next time.