Content Creation

#32: Marie Poulin — Master Your Life and Business

Hosted by Josh Gonsalves
1 HR 47 MIN
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Episode Description

Josh is joined by Marie Poulin to talk about a wide range of topics, including the online education business, digital systems, mindset training & self-development, and how Marie decided to go from a generalist designer to finding her niche and going all-in with Notion.

We also get into building up self-confidence and creating content online. One of Marie's biggest growth channels is her YouTube channel, but it took her YEARS to build up the courage to start posting consistently, and it clearly paid off. Marie offers lots of great advice here for anyone aspiring to putting themselves out there on YouTube, or social media in general.

About Marie Poulin

Marie helps business owners level up their digital systems, workflow, and product ecosystems, so they can spend more time on what matters.

She previously co-founded Oki Doki with her husband, where they help folks create, launch, and market online courses and training programs.

Marie has quickly become the go-to expert in Notion, the wildly popular organization and productivity tool, and is the host of Notion Office Hours and creator of Notion Mastery, where she teaches you how to master your life and business workflows using Notion.

Sign up for Marie's Notion Mastery Course:

Connect with Marie Poulin

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  • 00:21 — Introduction
  • 05:14 — Marie's story
  • 07:35 — Fast-tracking your learning by taking courses.
  • 09:06 — Marie learned copywriting from Joanna Wiebe's Copy School course
  • 09:36 — Sphere of Influence by Andre chaperon
  • 10:39 — Ali Abdaal's Part-time YouTuber course
  • 11:04 — Descript Overdub uses AI to turn written words into voice overs using your voice as a sample.
  • 11:58 — Getting comfortable being on video and communicating your ideas is a crucial skill.
  • 13:50 — Meisner Acting Technique class helped Marie break through her shell and get comfortable being in front of the camera.
  • 15:19 — Marie suffered from severe performance anxiety. Read her Twitter thread about this.
  • 16:01 — 90-9-1 Rule for content creation on the internet
  • 17:18 — Imposter Syndrome
  • 17:52 — Marie hired a coach named Tanya Geisler who specializes in the imposter complex.
  • 18:07 — Marie talks about the benefit of working with a coach
  • 18:20 — Marie created an authority thesis, which is the evidence and the proof that you are the expert in what you do.
  • 21:22 — Marie describes her improv classes as being group therapy on steroids.
  • 23:37 — Receiving feedback from content you put out online.
  • 23:38 — Marie discusses being comfortable with your emotions to really be your true authentic self.
  • 27:12 — The importance of taking action and starting something, even if its smaller, not as exciting as your big grand vision.
  • 29:31 — The story of how Notion reached out to Marie to do their official live streams.
  • 29:49 — Marie used to do a webinar called Getting Started with Notion.
  • 31:22 — Doing livestreams in the moment, vs. preplanning each moment of a video
  • 32:01 — How Marie started to get noticed in the Notion community
  • 33:20 — Online courses and the online education industry.
  • 34:32 — Marie says the end goal of her program is not learning Notion. The end goal is like living a better life is being more sustainable be more effective.
  • 36:24 — is a software to build websites using Notion
  • 36:28 — Embedding personal development ideas within a course as "The Trojan Horse".
  • "Beyond the Dashboard" The theory of improving and facilitating your life with notion.
  • 37:00 — Using Notion for journaling and personal development.
  • 37:19 — The idea that Notion forces you to think reflectively about what you need as the user.
  • 38:42 — Using Notion to learn systems thinking and form connections between things.
  • 40:16 — Work the System book by Sam Carpenter.
  • 40:34 — Unschool's courses on Systems Thinking.
  • 40:50 — Using Notion to create structures and containers for your life so you can be more focused and productive.
  • 41:18 — Marie studies Permaculture, which is the systems in the natural world.
  • 44:06 — Finding the similarities between the natural world and the business world via Permaculture
  • 45:47 — Fighting the hero mentality and looking for help to learn quicker and accomplish more.
  • 47:31 — How Marie first learned about Notion
  • 51:13 — Our reliance on knowledge management / productivity tools and how much personal information we put into tools like Notion.
  • 52:24 — You can back up your Notion workspace in HTML and open it up offline in your browser.
  • 53:03 — This podcast is being recorded on
  • 54:24 — The Notion Mastery Course is hosted in Notion as an Enterprise Workspace.
  • 56:33 — Increasing sales by making small changes on the course landing page.
  • 57:10 — Marie says the students essentially write the sales page for her. Whenever she gets interesting questions or comments, she will use their own language for the copy on the site.
  • 57:53 — There is a wide range of people who go through the Notion Mastery course. Marie hasn't found a single "niche" just yet.
  • 59:58 — How do you actually use Notion? Marie says there is no "one" way. You have to set something up that clicks with your own brain.
  • 01:00:52 — Embedding mindset training in the course.
  • 01:01:13 — Acknowledging new students' feeling of overwhelm in the beginning of the course. This is the biggest challenge with her course.
  • 01:02:06 — Notion Mastery teaches you life-long skills that you can apply beyond Notion and in other parts of your life.
  • 01:07:47 — Selling your course on your own website vs. doing a Skillshare course.
  • 01:08:14 — Marie's sales process for her products.
  • 01:09:03 — Should you host your course on Skillshare or your own site? Are you looking for a revenue stream or authority growth?
  • 01:12:29 — Other online course software: Thinkific, Teachable, Podia.
  • 01:13:16 — Marie's experience building online course software with her husband.
  • 01:16:52 — Working with your significant other / romantic partner
  • 01:20:24 — Your Brain on Love book by Stan Tatkin
  • 01:20:37 — The Female Brain book by Louann Brizendine M.D.
  • 01:21:24 — How working with her husband strengthened their relationship
  • 01:25:22 — How Marie deals with the logistics of scaling her online course business with her personal assistant.
  • 01:27:21 — how to delegate work tasks.
  • 01:31:20 — Finding mentors to help fill your gaps and level up.
  • 01:32:02 — Being mindful of your demographic and not cutting off a large potential customer base by only speaking to one gender (only men, or only women, etc).
  • 01:35:42 — Helping women build up financial literacy and independence.
  • 01:37:17 — Marie speaks about "niching down" for the first time by going all-in with Notion.
  • 01:42:17 — Marie has a tight feedback loop with Notion. She sends Notion insights on the product from her students in the course.
  • 01:43:11 — Using YouTube as an evergreen, compounding growth channel for business.
  • 01:44:38 — Taking an iterative approach to content creation.
  • 01:47:02 — Transmedia and repurposing content on other channels.
  • 01:48:15 — Marie is going through a certification on Unschool's education facilitation to improve her facilitation skills.
  • 01:48:27 — Marie is figuring out her permaculture business framework that's emerging in her mind.
  • 01:49:12 — Optionality book by Richard Meadows
  • 01:49:36 — Outro

[00:00:00] Marie: Doubling down on Notion felt like a risk for sure. I was like, do I want to niche this hard and get known for a specific software? I was like, Oh, I don't know. I did not take that decision lightly, but I did decide I'm like, F it, this is a chapter. Let's try it. Let's like, let's just try it and see what happens, and worst case scenario, I have so many other skills and I've been doing all this other stuff in online courses that I would just shift gears and do something different.

[00:00:21] Josh: Hi, I'm Josh Gonsalves and welcome to Mind Meld. This is a podcast where I have in-depth conversations with some of the brightest people in the known universe. My aim is to spark deep conversations around interesting topics to find the tools, strategies, and philosophies that we can all use in our daily and creative lives.

[00:00:54] In this episode, I sat down with Marie Poulin. She helps business owners level up their digital systems workflows and product ecosystem, so they can spend more time on what matters. Murray is the host of the official Notion office hours and the creator of Notion mastery, where she teaches you, how to master your life and business workflows, using Notion.

[00:01:14] And for any of you who don't know what Notion is, it's the wildly popular organization and productivity tool that has taken the world by storm. And Maria has quickly become the go-to expert in Notion and probably has the best testimonial out of anything I've ever read. So here's the testimonial from Ivan Zhao, the CEO and founder of Notion himself.

[00:01:35] He said, Marie is one of the most knowledgeable Notion users in the world. When Marie showed the Notion team, what she was able to build with the product, it blew our minds. She's both a world-class expert and an exceptional teacher who has helped hundreds of people, unlock organization and productivity with Notion. She makes things possible with the product that are even beyond my imagination.

[00:01:57] So that's probably the best testimonial you could ever get from the actual CEO and founder of the product itself. So, if you are interested in Marie's Notion mastery course, clearly she knows what she's talking about. So if you want to master your life and business, using Notion, you can learn more or sign up for the course directly with the link in the description of this podcast. You'll get access to the course materials that are all inside of Notion, a ton of useful Notion templates, access to her online community and events, including weekly calls. So I highly recommend signing up if you're interested in mastering Notion.

[00:02:31] So in this episode, Marie and I talk about a wide range of topics, including the online education business and that whole space. We talk about digital systems, mindset, training, and self development. And we talk about how Marie decided to go from being a generalist designer to niching down and going deep on one thing, which in this case is Notion.

[00:02:52] We also get into building up self-confidence and creating content online because Marie's biggest growth channel right now is her YouTube channel. But it actually took her years to build up the courage to actually start posting consistently, which clearly paid off. So Marie has lots of great advice here for anyone aspiring to put themselves out there on YouTube or social media, maybe start a podcast, but we talk about building up that self-confidence and getting through that initial hurdle.

[00:03:20] And as always, if you found this podcast helpful or interesting, please share it with your friends or anyone else you think can benefit from this. And if you haven't already please subscribe to the podcast, you can subscribe on whatever platform you listen to podcasts on. So that way you can get notified when I publish new episodes every Monday.

[00:03:37] All right. So I hope you enjoy this episode, so let's get right into it. I'm Josh Gonsalves, and this is Mind Meld with Marie Poulin.  

[00:03:49] Marie thank you so much for joining me here on Mind Meld. We've been trying to do this for so long. You've been so busy and then holidays happen and pandemics. I'm so excited that we can finally do this. So thank you for joining me.

[00:04:00] Marie: Not even a pandemic can keep us apart. Yeah, let's do this.

[00:04:03] Josh: Yeah. If anything, the pandemic actually connected me with people more online. I started this podcast in the middle of it and I realized, Hey, everyone's on zoom anyways. No one has any excuses to to not do a podcast, no matter where they are in the world now.

[00:04:17]Marie:  Sneaky. I like it.

[00:04:19] Josh: Yeah. But for those listening, we're both Canadian, although opposite ends of the country. So it's really cool to have a fellow Canadian on here.

[00:04:26] So Marie, thank you so much and welcome to the podcast. Let's get this thing rolling

[00:04:30] Marie: I'm excited to dig in I know we've got some, some similarities. Like I spent nine years in Toronto. I know you work with your partner too, so I'm like, Ooh, this should be, this should be fun.

[00:04:39] Josh: Yeah, this'll be a lot of fun. I think there'll be some things I think I mentioned before that I want to bring up that, you know, you're doing so many podcasts and so many appearances. Now I want to do something a little bit different.  Of course, when you get into Notion, that's kind of the crux of, uh, your sort of online persona and what you're doing professionally now.

[00:04:54] So we're going to get into that. So anyone listening, you're going to get some Notion stuff, but there's so much more to this. Um, To human beings, of course. So, you know, there's a lot. So, you know, maybe for some people listening who don't really know your backstory, maybe not too long, but I'd love for you to kind of, you know, give a little backstory on what you've been doing and what you're doing now.

[00:05:14] Marie: Yeah. I mean the short, the very short path, I guess you could say, was went to design school. I worked at a design studio for four years. Went off on my own. Uh, so I've been solo preneur probably for 12 years now. Uh, then my husband and I teamed up in 2014 and the background was like design, web design, interactive design digital strategy.

[00:05:34] Uh, and then once I worked with my husband in 2014, we started doubling down on the online courses space. So a lot of the customers we were working with were people who had online courses. You know, digital products, eBooks. And I was just starting to see that the people that had the budgets to pay for web design were people that had way more than just services.

[00:05:52] Right. It was people that have productized services, membership communities, and high-end online courses. So I started working with so many people in that space that I was like, Okay like these people are onto something. There's something here. Uh, and then my husband and I, we ended up building our own course software.

[00:06:07] Decided that we didn't really want to do the course software side of things. So that's a whole other whole other conversation we could have, but just realizing, uh, spending a lot of your time working on very, very, very low end products and providing that kind of customer support is a challenge all on itself.

[00:06:24] And we'd both been pretty used to doing like a lot, you know, working with clients over the course of two, three years, doing higher end more strategic projects was way more our jam. launched a couple of courses of my own over the years. And so, you know, finally hit a bit of a weird runaway success with, with Notion.

[00:06:40] I was like, well, I guess this is my business now. And so, uh, that's a very like short, you know, last decade of, of work. So it's definitely meandered quite a bit, but it sort of started as web design and kind of evolved into workflow consulting now and teaching other people how to kinda, uh, yeah. Get their, get their shit together.

[00:06:59] Josh: That's awesome. Well, I think you you've found over the years of how to get your shit together by just going through all that. Awesome.

[00:07:05] Marie: not having it together for many years, trying to figure out what's the answer. How does this all work?

[00:07:10] Josh: That's awesome. How did you find that? Were you doing other courses yourself? How did you finally get to that point? Yeah.

[00:07:17] Were there certain ones?

[00:07:17] Marie: Yeah, I've definitely been online course junkie for many, many years. And I think part of it probably stemmed from. You know your own insecurities and perfectionism and like, ah, like, I don't know this thing, I need to ACE it. And so I was just always kind of. Who knows this stuff and who can I, how can I fast track my learning? Because I think I always sort of felt behind, even when I went to design school, I sort of felt like a bit of an imposter while I was there, that other people knew well-known artists and they were having these conversations and they seem so sophisticated. And I was like, I don't know who these people are.

[00:07:50] I don't know. what I'm doing. Like I don't belong here. And so I think that sort of feeling of incompetence propelled me, like, okay, I need to learn. I need to study. I need to read. Uh, and I also like, just as a super quick side, tangent, I didn't have a super healthy family upbringing dynamic. And so for me, I fast tracked through high school.

[00:08:10] I did, um, A night school and summer school every year and fast tracked, uh, five years into four years. So I could get the F out and leave. And so for me, I think education actually represented freedom. I was like, if I learn, if I, if I'm going away for school, like this is, this is possibility for me, this is freedom.

[00:08:28] This is a chance to make my life better. So I think inherently like education and learning more was this like exciting like chance for a better life. And I think that's kind of become ingrained for me. So. Uh, lots of online courses. I definitely studied them as a learner. And then also, just as a curiosity, like seeing how other people were making money on online courses, I was like, okay, like maybe one day I'll get to the point where I have something, you know, useful to teach.

[00:08:54] So it was a long time before I had the confidence to launch a course of my own. And so just over the years I've been iterating, experimenting the ones that I would say made the biggest impact for me, just off the top of my head. Joanna Wiebe copy school. I think copywriting skills is, and especially writing for conversion and for products.

[00:09:14] Uh, whenever you're marketing products, those skills have definitely compounded over time. Right? It's like, I think at the time it was a $2,000 course. So like, this is crazy. I'm paying $2,000. It seemed like so much money at the time, but that was, I dunno, five. Five or six years ago. And I feel like the skills I've continued to learn from that have, have really paid off.

[00:09:34] So that's one, I really enjoyed sphere of influence by Andre Chaperon really liked that one. He. He's definitely an introvert. Right. And it's mostly copy based. It's not a lot of video and I could relate to that. And I was like, wow, somebody can charge a thousand dollars for a course and you don't even see their face on video.

[00:09:51] I'm like, that's pretty impressive. So I love just kind of seeing that different formats of online courses. What are the ones that succeed at? What different price points, how do people structure it? So I think I was just inherently kind of curious and studying it from. Someone taking the course, but also thinking about, well, what would, what would my course kind of look like?

[00:10:10] And what's possible.

[00:10:11] Josh: Right. That'sawesome That's so cool. So it really just seems like. That it's not even like a niche, it's like more of like a full industry. And it's almost like a Maverick industry now where it's like, you know, instead of having to go to university and pay, like, in some cases, hundreds of thousands of dollars, like, especially if you're in the United States, you can now take a handful of online courses and get maybe sometimes a better education than you would going to school.

[00:10:34] Right. And you're learning on your own time. Most of the time, although you recently did one with, uh, Ali Abdaal right. Where it was like live. Well, not i guess live but virtual in-person and cohort based. So yeah, I'd like to hear about that. Cause you recently just started doing like YouTube, like pretty seriously right now.

[00:10:52] So I'd love to hear how that course kind of went. And you were kind of shift towards doing video. You just mentioned like a whole copywriting course of just doing writing. I've seen people now using, I don't know if you've heard of the tool descript. Um,

[00:11:06] Marie: I love descript

[00:11:07] Josh: Oh my God. Have you seen the, the overdub, the overdub feature?

[00:11:11] Marie: Oh, yes.

[00:11:12]Josh: Oh my gosh. So now you could probably do voiceover just by typing in there. It will take your voice. You don't have to actually record your voice anymore. So I can see so many people doing crazy shit like that. Using AI to teach the course, like there's so many crazy things,

[00:11:25] but I love the online course where it's like, you know, it's cohort based like the way Ali did.

[00:11:31] So I'd love to hear about that because this will be a really good segue into the whole YouTube thing. Cause I think that'll be a really interesting place to go.

[00:11:38]Marie: Yeah. I mean, I wish I'd had Ali course a year ago. Um, his course was phenomenal. I definitely I've been recommending it to everybody. Uh, And honestly, because I think regardless of whether you want to be doubling down on YouTube as a channel, I just think getting comfortable creating videos is such a useful skill.

[00:11:56]Again, just like copywriting, being able to communicate your ideas. It forces you to get comfortable being on video and communicating. And I think, uh, as more and more people, at least it seems like, uh, are trying to create an independent living as a creative, you're going to have to get comfortable talking about your work in some capacity. So we are all marketers in some form or another. So, uh, I just think his course is such a useful thing to think about, regardless of if. YouTube is going to be a huge channel for you. I think that there's just so many other skills. How you think about your own branding, uh, productivity from how do you actually, um, break down the task of creating a video into, uh, okay.

[00:12:37] Scripting writing, producing it, filming it, like there's all these different pieces, right? So I think a lot of people get really intimidated for obvious reasons. You're like, Oh my gosh, suddenly now I have to be a video editor or suddenly now I have to know how to, you know, there's so many moving parts.

[00:12:50] What tools do I use? What tech do I use? Right. So I think people. Uh, don't take the first step because there's so many things to know, but what I like about Ali's course is just breaking it down into, do you have, do you have a phone, right? Do you, does everyone have one of these in their pocket? Great.

[00:13:05] You have everything that you need to create a video right now. So just saying, just start with where you're at. You don't have to have all the fanciest equipment and lenses just get started sharing your ideas. So I wish I'd had access to that a year ago. Uh, it took me three years to get the courage, to do a webinar for the first time.

[00:13:22] I was so freaked out about, doing video. I did one of those hundred day challenges. So I did a video every day a vlog every day for a hundred days. And that was kinda my first. Like trying to start to get comfortable just being on video and sitting in that discomfort. I also, uh, five years ago signed up for The supernaturally shy intro to it acting class, which was definitely a life changing life changing in class. And then I tell people, if you can find a Meisner. Class the Meisner acting technique class where you live like in Toronto, there's gotta be some, I tell people like that is definitely a life changing class that I took.

[00:13:58] Um, so all that's to say, like trying to get comfortable being on video. Uh, has been a thing I've just been, invest, investing a lot of money in and working on for a really long time, because I do think it's a skill that, uh, improves every other part of your, of your life in business. Right? So being able to run a webinar, being able to have a podcast, being able to interview people like all of those skills are just they're leadership skills.

[00:14:21] There are things that are going to benefit you in so many ways. So, uh, it was not a channel I would have expected to enjoy and spend any time in whatsoever. But I think. Especially with Notion like YouTube is just the most natural way to be able to screen-share and explain an idea and to dive into a concept.

[00:14:39] So inevitably I was like, well I'm just going to have to get used to this. I'm going to have to get to get good at this. So practice makes perfect. And I just said, you know what? I'm not going to worry about editing.

[00:14:50] I'm just going to ship a video every week for 12 weeks and just, just do it. And I would just hit record and just go for it.

[00:14:58] I wouldn't edit it. If I had worried about editing it, I never would have shipped. And so there's a lot of, you know, crappy, crappy-verse videos out there, but that's how you you've got to get started somewhere. Right. So that's kind of how it started. Um, and happy to share any, any questions about like the, his course specifically, or kind of the parts that I really liked

[00:15:17] Josh: Yeah, no, I think this just a great segue, cause I know that's just the latest one you've done. And this is a great segue into getting you talking about that shyness and that anxiety. Uh, and like almost like performance, anxiety. And I think, cause I want to bring this up. You had this amazing Twitter thread where you went like deep in that I'll maybe put it in the description, this podcast, if you don't mind me sharing it with people, because I think it was so enlightening to see.

[00:15:37] Cause it's like, I think I heard you talk about this on other podcasts. Like, Hey, it looks like I'm all, you know, happy go lucky. I'm all the ready to go. And I'm all, you know, You know, lack of a better term, just like a professional at this. And then you're like, but in the inside you have that almost imposter syndrome of like, Holy shit.

[00:15:53] Like I'm actually really nervous here. And I think a lot of people have that, right? I mean the internet, I think will always have that. What is it? The 99, nine 90-9-1 rule, which is like, you get for a hundred percent of the people on the internet. You know, you have like 90% of people who are just lurkers.

[00:16:08] They're just consumers, 9% of people who are contributors. They know they might comment, like share stuff. Put in their 2 cents and then you have 1% who are creators. I think that's really interesting and you've become that 1% and that's true with anything like, you need to have a lot of consumers for whatever you're creating, whether that's, you know, in the business, people buying your course or whether it's just, you know, consuming free content online.

[00:16:32] But one thing he brought up that was so interesting. You just said that, like, this has become a crucial skill in this century now for business to be able to create digital media content, whether it's video audio or whatever. Which is so crazy because I went to school for media production at Ryerson university in Toronto.

[00:16:50] And. At that time, you know, digital media was like kind of a thing. The course I was in was called radio and television arts. They literally had to change it to media production because radio and television arts are literally dying. So I went in thinking, Oh, I'm going to make like TV and movies and stuff. Little did I know I was creating this skillset that would be used in all types of businesses all the time. And I think you did the same thing with web design because  when it comes to design and creating websites, All businesses need that, especially this year, more than ever, they literally need that to function.

[00:17:22] Otherwise they would die. So it's really cool that you've been able to create this sort of skill set that can be used in any industry. And then you've just used it for yourself. But, you know, obviously, like we just said, you weren't

[00:17:34] always comfortable with that. So what were some of the things that actually got you to do that, you know, to actually kind of break through and become not the 90% go into the 1% and actually start creating content?

[00:17:47] Marie: there's definitely a handful of things. I would, I would, uh, you know, credit that to One is I hired a coach. Who specializes in the imposter complex. So she...Tanya Geisler, she's incredible. Um, worked with her and I continue to, I work with her every couple of years. Uh, I did like a whole VIP day with her right before the pandemic.

[00:18:08] It's like that fine, fine tuning that you do to, um, it's work that you always go back to, I think. Um, so anyway hiring a leadership coach. And working with her, one of the things we had to do was put together your authority thesis, she calls it. So it's like the evidence and the proof that you are the expert in what you do.

[00:18:26] And so part of that was collecting testimonials. It was checking in with people that you trust, you know, what is it about you having them reflect back to you? The parts of you, uh, your, your natural strengths and things like that. So you had to do like, kind of do research on your own work in a way, your own body of work and kind of collect that evidence.

[00:18:43] Um, being able to discern the difference between when there's like legitimate criticism, like, Oh, I'm not where I want to be yet. And that's fine. It's a skill that I'm working on versus, Oh, like I'm not qualified to do that. And being able to be a little bit more objective about that and to be like, Oh, those are skills I still need to work on to get there.

[00:19:00] That doesn't mean I'm a complete imposter at this thing. Right. I have value to offer and being able to know the difference of like, when you're kind of like swimming out of your own lane and, um, no, this is a lane that I'm, that I'm swimming in. And I know that I'm just collecting some more skills than I, and I need a little that more, uh, to be able to do the work.

[00:19:17] So working with her, it was definitely life-changing work. And so I always kind of keep her in my roster of people to kind of tap into whenever I feel like I'm. Like, Oh, no. My career is like shifting a little bit and I'm feeling a little nervous about this is this the right direction. Like just kind of having somebody that knows you and knows your work and knows your integrity and is able to be like, Hey, here's what I'm seeing.

[00:19:38] Here's where you're playing small and here's where maybe there's more work to be done. And so, um, that was really, really incredible. Obviously the acting classes were, were huge because you're being put in the most uncomfortable situations constantly. Like I cried through most of those classes. I'm not exaggerating when I say that just out of sheer, nervous energy.

[00:19:59] Like I couldn't even control it. Sometimes I'm laughing hysterically. Other times I'm I'm crying and you're like, Looking into stranger's eyes very deeply for like five minutes, just sitting in a chair, very, very close in, very close proximity to another person, just feeling whatever energy they're giving off.

[00:20:16] So you're constantly put in these very strange, emotional circumstances where you are connecting very, very deeply with another person. And in some case, You know that person's had a bad day or that person is like, you can, they're feeling quite emotional. So you're learning to read micro-expressions and learning how to, um, sit with someone else's discomfort or anger.

[00:20:38] And so, you know, the teacher would often have us play with, play with emotion, where she'd like today, we're going to, we're going to play with rage. And so I want you to think about a time where, and they kind of have you almost to kind of like hypnotizing you into a state of, uh, Of anger or forgiveness or whatever.

[00:20:57] And then the other person across from you is just a proxy to experience that emotion, you know, like forgiving the person across from you. Right. Even though they haven't done anything to you, but they're just there as an actor, if you will, to help you process these emotions. So I was like, I had no idea what I was signing up for.

[00:21:13] When I signed up for this class, I was like, Oh, improv, I'll learn how to like, be on stage and get more comfortable. But it was way, way, way deeper work. It was like therapy on steroids. Group therapy on steroids. Um, and I actually signed up for therapy around the same, I think in the same week that I did those classes and the teacher told me, she's like, Oh, I've actually worked with people.

[00:21:32] Who've done that kind of work over time. And she was like, let me tell you that your therapy work will be like 10 X. You know, you're fast tracking that work because it is so deep. It is so intense. And I've, it was a life-changing year of my life when I did that.

[00:21:45] Josh: Wow. That seems like a huge paradigm shift to say the least.

[00:21:48] Marie: huge, huge,

[00:21:49] huge, like, I can't even describe. And the teacher is so perceptive, right? So her ability to read people's body language to sense their discomfort, to know what, what someone needs in a moment, she was like the ultimate coach in a way. So, um, each person kind of had a class to be able to work on a very specific or distinct thing.

[00:22:09] Right. Because the teacher's noticing everything they're so perceptive. So they're like, Oh, Marie, like let's work on our anger. Right. And I'm just like, I don't feel anger. Like. I'm a nice kind person. Everything's totally fine. Like I had, I was so disconnected from anger as an emotion. I just thought like, Oh, I just don't really get angry.

[00:22:27] That's like, just like not a thing that I feel and was very disconnected from it. And in a way that I had no idea and the teacher like picked up on it so fast. So she was like, Oh, we're going to, we're going to go there. We're gonna work on this. And it sounds kind of off topic in a way, but, um, All of this stuff is so integral.

[00:22:46] I think, to being able to be comfortable with your emotions, to sit with your discomfort, to, uh, show up in, in all of the nuance that you are, and like just not, not hide anymore. Like, it was just amazing to really, uh, learn, like, learn how to be yourself. As cheesy as it sounds, just learn how to, how to really be authentic and show up exactly as you are and all of your weird quirks and discomfort and know that it's okay.

[00:23:10] You're going to be okay.

[00:23:12] Josh: That is awesome. I honestly, I think like anyone listening to that we'll get so much out of that because like no one really talks about business or content creation that way you see a lot of people sort of like faking it, but I love. I can definitely see by watching your content and seeing the stuff you've been putting out, that it is genuine.

[00:23:28] Like it's very, very genuine. And just getting into that, how has that actually helped you with what you're actually doing right now with the YouTube content and webinars? Because you're talking about that emotional feedback. It's hard to get that. Like we even right now, we're doing basically a video call.

[00:23:44]And I can see your facial expressions, but our eyes aren't really meeting. There's like a camera here and it's like, you're not getting that full feedback, but then when you're doing live or YouTube, you're not getting any feedback until you see the comments sometimes. Right. So how do you, how do you take all that into account when you're creating content online?

[00:23:59] Marie: Oh, yeah, it's, it's such a challenge. And, um, and I think every creator is really unique. Like we all have different needs and we all have different ways that we show up at our best. And I think it's been a process to figure out, as an example, I've done some talks, not very many, like being on stage and actually doing a talk is absolutely terrifying.

[00:24:18] I did speak at MicroConf I was. For four months, I was pretty sleepless and, freaking the F out, it was a really, really difficult thing. And I think being able to distill your ideas into a really succinct presentation and be able to kind of cover. Everything that you want to cover and leave someone with something memorable.

[00:24:36] Like, I take that as second responsibility, right? I'm like, I'm not going to go up there and bomb it. So I'm going to hire a speaking coach and I'm going to, you know, I'm going to do all of these things. Right. So, um, it takes so much out of me. I was like, Oh, speaking may be not my best medium. I don't know.

[00:24:53] I was kind of conflicted. I was like, is this me playing small? Or is that just not the best way? for me to communicate. And I really struggle with that. And then, I mean, in a way that the pandemic hit and I was like, well, we're all kind of at home. Anyway, suddenly all these like talks that I had planned or whatever evaporated overnight.

[00:25:12] And I was like, okay, well, how do I transition this? Or, or kind of what is my best way of presenting or, or what have you. And I started doing the Notion office hours, right. So that was actually pretty. pretty terrifying too, because suddenly you're, you're dealing with, they have access to a pretty big audience.

[00:25:29] Obviously office hours was kind of small when we first started, you know, maybe like 20 people would show up or 30 people or something like that. And those just started a zoom calls that I tossed on Twitter. It was like, Hey, anyone want to like chat about Notion, hop on a call with me. And like, so strangers were just kind of showing up.

[00:25:44] And so I was learning. Uh, what does it mean to facilitate and to facilitate on the fly? Right? Because, um, as you know, to like being a good interviewer, there's certain skills that you're learning and you're trying to, how do you facilitate a really good conversation with someone? And sometimes people don't always give you that feedback.

[00:26:01] Right? So you're like, Ooh, some interviews feel easier, some are harder. And you're like, Oh, uh, you start to learn like, what are the skills that I need to be able to make a conversation feel interesting and easy. So. Um, the skills that you need to speak on stage are a little different than the skills you need to run.

[00:26:16] A webinar are different than a prerecorded video, right? So just immersing myself in all of these different mediums, running group, a running group, coaching calls, doing a webinar, recording, a YouTube video, doing a couple talks. You're experimenting with that feedback loop and you seeing people's faces or not seeing their faces.

[00:26:36] And for me, for example, sending out an email newsletter feels so stressful because I can't see. The their face. I don't know how, how it's landing, like, you know, is anyone listening? It feels very strange to put work out into the void and not really know who's listening. So with the YouTube videos, I knew that I was just going to have to, like, I don't know until I put it out there, how it's going to land right.

[00:26:58] So listening for that feedback, people being like, Oh, Hey, can you turn up your audio or like speak slower or, Hey, you know, you should really do some signposting so that I know what to expect in this video. Okay. Like there's a lot to learn and you have to be really open to that feedback loop I think. Uh, and that's what I really loved about Ali's course too, is just kind of, um, you know, encouraging you, like, you just have to put it out there, like you don't know until, until you get that feedback and the.

[00:27:25] Community. And the course was a place for you to share your video advanced and kind of get that feedback from, from people who are looking at it with that critical eye, so you can improve it. And then every time you ship a new video, you're just going to improve on the last one. So I think people kind of expect their first, you know, they have all these expectations about what that first video needs to look like, and they're worrying about their equipment.

[00:27:45] And it's like, just get the content out there. Like, just start by getting the content out there. You don't know if people are going to even be interested in what you have to say until you, you put it out there.

[00:27:53] Josh: That's such a good point. Like why would you spend so much time editing something and making it all perfect where like it's not even gonna land and you probably don't have that many subscribers. Nobody's going to really see it. Uh, Nat Eliason was on the podcast a couple of months ago. And he talked about this idea of start something small, like that, just have the idea.

[00:28:10] Start it out as like a Twitter thread or just a tweet. Do people care about that? Okay. Okay. Maybe that could be a blog post, you know, you can write it. Okay. That blog posts did well. Okay. Maybe now you can make that a YouTube video, so it doesn't have to start. Um, it has this grand thing. It can be the smaller piece of content.

[00:28:25] So I think that's really, really big. And one thing you just brought up there, I did want to talk about, so this is great. Um, sugue is the official Notion office hours. So first of all, I noticed, if you go onto your course landing page, you have like the best possible

[00:28:41] testimonial ever from the CEO of Notion himself saying that you're the most knowledgeable person of this platform in the world.

[00:28:50] Like you don't get a better testimonial than that.

[00:28:54] Marie: Someone's

[00:28:54] Josh: so

[00:28:55] Marie: you need to move that higher up on your page. Like that needs to be like the top. I was like, yeah, I probably should. Yeah,

[00:29:00] Josh: That should be your intro of all your YouTube videos. Just that part of like, with some music or something like it's, that's unreal. Like that's something you just, you hold on to that. You're just like, i got this, you just carry that torch. Just incredible.

[00:29:13] Marie: Added to my authority thesis,

[00:29:14] Josh: Huge. Right. That's mad. I guess it doesn't get better than that.

[00:29:18] The guy who literally created the software said that like, you don't get any better than that. Other than the people who said you did a great job teaching me this thing, like literally it's incredible. So I'm going to, this is going to be weird timeline wise, but I'm going to start with this. How did you get in contact with them to do like official Notion stuff and then we'll go backwards and how you actually got into Notion of the first place.

[00:29:39] Marie: So believe it or not Notion reached out to me.

[00:29:41] Josh: even better

[00:29:42] Marie: So I had been, yeah, like they, you know, they I'm sure they were. Paying attention to kind of, who's talking about their platform. And, uh, I did this webinar called I think it was called getting started with Notion. And again, that was like the webinar that took me three years to get up the courage to do, but, I'd never done a webinar before and I just, I just scheduled the date.

[00:30:01] I was like, I, if I never, I don't schedule, I'm just never going to do it. I'm going to make a million excuses for why it just, I'm not ready yet. And so whatever I did, the webinar didn't have great audio or anything. I didn't really have the pacing figured out. I had no idea how it was going to go. And it turned out to be more of like a here's everything you can possibly do do with Notion not getting started with Notion.

[00:30:20] So it was a very, what I delivered was very different than what I had promised. And so people were like, Whoa, like my mind is blown, but also like, That's so advanced, how the heck do you even do level one? Right? It's like, Oh yeah, I guess I didn't really cover. So it, it was really good for helping me realize where beginners were at again.

[00:30:39] Right. I needed to go back to what it was like to be a beginner. That's where the YouTube channel started. And so right after that webinar, I mean, yeah, it might've been like a week after that webinar, so yeah. I mean, actually the COO reached out and was like, can we chat? I was like, what just happened? Yes, of course we can chat

[00:30:57] this is crazy. So, um, yeah, we just hopped on a call, just

[00:31:03] Josh: That is awesome.

[00:31:04] Marie: called me on my cell phone, had a chat with him and he was like, we love what you're doing And, uh, you seem to have a way of showing what's possible with the tool in a way that people can really understand. And like, what could this look like? And I said, well, I've been doing these like zoom random office hours on, on Twitter.

[00:31:20] And I, I feel like my strength is being in the moment versus. Let me try and preplan and preschedule a, how to use Notion as a business, like having really buttoned down videos. So to me it felt more natural to do like we're friends hanging out, talking about Notion like an office hour style offer. Then it would be to say, Oh, let me help you create some videos to help your like onboarding videos or that sort of thing.

[00:31:46] So I was like, why don't we experiment with it? Let's do these office hours. Anyone can kind of drop in. We could have these different topics we could bring in guests. And so it was just an experiment and then they just kind of kept going. And so it was, you know, weekly every, every week for almost a year.

[00:32:01] Uh, and that was, that was the kind of the beginning of creating a relationship with, with Notion where I kind of became the face of their office hours. And then I became an ambassador. Uh, they had like the Notion pros community. Now they call it Notion ambassador. So, I had like a really great relationship with them, even when they see the videos that I'm creating.

[00:32:19] And, you know, people mentioned my name and Twitter all the time. So I'm, you know, Notion got to know me and they're like, okay. We know Marie is this person that talks a lot about our tool in her content and, and whatnot. So it was probably, uh, two or three months after starting those office hours that I had people being like, I would give you money.

[00:32:39] If you, like, if you made a course on this, I would pay you money. And I was like, okay, like, there's. Something here. And there was just so many questions in the YouTube comments. I was like, there's enough questions here that I could, I could fill a very big course with this information. So, um, and to your point about not creating too much in advance.

[00:32:59] I hadn't created any content for the course before I sold it. So I sold a beta version of the course and made $10,000 in a week. And I hadn't created any video content yet. And I am a huge believer in that. I tell people like, make your sales page and sell it. If you can't sell it, don't create it because you should be able to, to sell it first.

[00:33:19] Josh: Yeah, that's a good point. So I think we can definitely get into online courses. My brother has one. I think I sent you the link. He has one called executive advantage. It started out as just teaching people, LinkedIn sales tactics, and like whole automated sales funnel. It's grown to so much more. He, he put a little Trojan horse.

[00:33:36] There is a whole week on just mindset, which I think you have done in your course I haven't taken it. I really want to, to be honest. Um, but from what I've heard from people is that you. Maybe through the content or through you just showing your life and how you use Notion, you kind of put this Trojan horse of, I think someone else called it, like sneaking in the vegetables, putting in like, Hey, this is basically like a life coach, almost like a life coach sort of thing on top of just knowing the software.

[00:34:05] It's like, Oh, I thought I was just gonna learn Notion, but like

[00:34:07] you snuck something else under there. So like, what is that? And what was your thought process behind putting that there.

[00:34:14] Marie: I don't think it was necessarily intentional initially. Like I didn't realize that's what I was doing, but inevitably I realized like once you understanding the core mechanics of how a software works is one thing, understanding how to apply that in your life is another thing. And the whole point of learning how to use Notion is so that you can.

[00:34:32] Uh, the end goal is not learning Notion. The end goal is like living a better life is being more sustainable be more effective, whatever that looks like for you, right? For some people it's. I want to just manage my business. I want to know how to retrieve information quickly, right? It could be the knowledge management piece.

[00:34:48] It could be the project management piece. It could be that the team on those where everything lives, there's all these functional elements of how do we live our lives.You know, I don't, I don't want people to be spending all their time in Notion. Like the idea is that Notion is facilitating you, living a more awesome life.

[00:35:02] And whether that just comes from my own, you know, philosophies or, or whatever that I kept couldn't help, but sort of embed that in the course. It's like, well, we need to talk about your time management. We can't really, a Notion is not going to fix all the same problems that you had in asana and in Trello and in your daily journaling and whatever, like.

[00:35:19] It's just a different tool, but if you don't understand how to apply it in your life, you're just scratching the surface. Right? It's like, I couldn't really help, but inevitably I'm like, well, we have to go deeper. We have to talk about habit change. We have to talk about pushing through the discomfort of feeling momentarily incompetent while you're learning this tool.

[00:35:37] It's going to be very confronting It's going to be very frustrating, but why are you learning this? You came to it because you felt like you're scattered. Your to-do list is a million miles a lot, like all of those painful pieces. Well, that requires habit change, not just a tool change, right? So that's where we have to get past that shiny tool syndrome.

[00:35:55] You obviously made the commitment you made the choice. You saw something, in Notion that was, that felt magical for you. Let's take that to another level. Let's show you how to make your life more magical, not just, not just your dashboards, that Notion more magical. So I couldn't really help myself there.

[00:36:10] Josh: That's awesome. Well, it's obviously just like things that you think about the way that you live your life and you just kind of embedded that in the workflow, otherwise, because it's like a blank page, right? It's like, like you said, you can do. So much in Notion like you can do anything. People are now building web sites and using like to build their websites on it, people are using it for their company or softwares like knowledge management or, um, knowledge base, their actual knowledge base. So it's really cool. Like what people have done with it. I'm sure you've seen it evolve massively. I love that idea that, you know, you kind of embedded this almost like...maybe self-help sort of personal development side into it because I didn't realize I did that too. I was sending my friend. I was like, Hey, you gotta use Notion. Like he's a scattered dude. He's not really doing much i'm like man Like, just use this. I don't know why it would make your life better, but I'm like, wait, maybe it's the way that I'm using it.

[00:37:00] So when I was going through like my daily journaling, um, database and going through the way I use it, he's like, man, basically you're just like a life. This could be a life coach hub. I'm like, well, this is, I guess I'm my own life coach. Then I don't really know, like.

[00:37:13] Marie: Exactly. And I think that is honestly the magic of, of Notion, but I think it's the thing that people find the most frustrating is it, it forces. Reflexive thinking or rather it rewards reflexive thinking. I think so. Uh, it it's a tool. I think that makes you think about how you think because, and you have to be very aware of what of your own needs, because you're having to build your, your needs, right?

[00:37:37] Like Rome or I wouldn't even say Rome, but like asana is opinionated. It has a structure. It, you put your to do's and you're good to go, but in Notion you have to tell it what you want. And so you have to know what you want and not everybody understands what kind of has that level of understanding of their own processes and their own needs.

[00:37:54] And, uh, so if you're not very, very self-aware, and you're not kind of, um, in tune with how you work and what you need. It forces you to, to think that way. And for some people that is, it's not what they want or it's, it's quite frustrating and that's fine. Like it's not a tool for everyone, but those who've been willing, I think, to, to push through it teaches them systems thinking in a way, because you kind of have to give things a bit of a structure.

[00:38:18] So I find that's the part that is probably the reason why I've been drawn to it and that I'm aligned with it. But. Yeah, certainly the testimonials that are, that are the best are like, I came in expecting to learn Notion, but it's kind of like a course for how to live your life better. And I was like, that's cool.

[00:38:32] I like that.

[00:38:34] Josh: Maybe we can double down for a part two or like a Uplevel version of it where you really get into the weeds of that.

[00:38:40] Marie: definitely been on, on my mind. Yeah, for sure.

[00:38:42] Josh: that's awesome. And again, it's just like the facilitation for that. And what I find really interesting there is like, yeah, it's like, it's like, you're able to create something like the systems thinking.

[00:38:54] And I totally agree with, especially with the database, I didn't really understand databases again. I'm more of like, Creative designer, lots of web design. And it wasn't actually, until I started using actually web flow first, I started really understanding how databases work like their CMS. Like, it just clicked for me in my case now understand databases.

[00:39:11] I took that into air table. And then when I saw Notion I'm like, Holyshit this is just like the crux of it. All. This is incredible. You just ascend the ladder Ascension. Yeah. It felt so transcended. So you were also designer too. How did you start getting into systems thinking? Cause like a lot of people think it's like an either or right.

[00:39:32] You're very like right. Brain creative thinking, but then Notion and somebody thinks are like, left-brain for lack of a better term, more systems thinking, how did you get into that? And how'd you start building up those skills.

[00:39:43] Marie: Yeah, i mean I'm sure part of it was going to design school and you're, you know, having to think of things even like when you're working with clients in terms of. Uh, you're not just designing a graphic, you're kind of designing a graphical system, right? You're like, how do these translate across multiple parts?

[00:39:57] And then I think, uh, you know, I've, I've taken a number of taking a number of other courses too, like around systems thinking. And, um, I did a certificate in design thinking and innovation. So a lot of that stuff is like, yeah. How do, how does like one decision affect many other pieces of a system, right?

[00:40:12] What are the parts? What are the whole, what are all the things that are influencing? One another? Uh, Sam carpenter's Work the system is a really great, it's like a free ebook anyone can download highly recommend. It's such a great book. uh, Work the System

[00:40:24] uh, I always recommend that to folks that they kind of want, want a bit of like a business thinking systems thinking primer. That's a really good one. Uh, and I've, I've taken like unschools courses on design thinking. So I think I've just, I think I've always been drawn to it also partially because similar to you, like I'm a creative, I'm a designer and I feel very, um, naturally, like I'm a chaos monkey, you know, people like to say that, uh, that's my default state.

[00:40:51] And so if I don't give myself. Containers and structures to work within. I am all over the freaking map. Right. So I think I love the fact that I was able to design the structure that I wanted, so I can still be creative and have fun and have these pretty, you know, cover images for my journal, but it gives me structure.

[00:41:08] So it, I think it just felt like it calmed my brain. and so, yeah, I think I've just, uh, I've been studying it for a while and it's been kind of in my peripheral. And then of course, studying permaculture too, and just really thinking of, uh, like systems in the natural world and like, what are, what are almost these, um, universal truths within systems too, that kind of influence everything.

[00:41:29] So I dunno, I get really nerdy about that stuff and

[00:41:32] Josh: thats really cool. Yeah. Well, I noticed that the the massive Monstera behind you and all these, uh, Plants you have, and I noticed you do like hydroponics. Um, so is that just through planting through systems that got you into that or what's the opposite? Was it through planting that got you interested into systems thinking that got you into, um, sorry, what was the term that you were just recently

[00:41:56] Marie: permaculture?

[00:41:57] Josh: Yes. I'm not familiar with that.

[00:41:59] Marie: Yeah. I mean, I think the system stuff has always been, has always been interesting to me, uh, you know, through like design school and just thinking and design systems. And as I was like, Pivoting my career a little bit. I was like, Oh, am I like a design ops person? Is that what I'm doing, and I think with the clients that I was working with, once I started kind of moving past web design and doing bit more or digital strategy, you're having to come up with, well, how do I, how do I deliver these services in a way that is sustainable? Right? So, Oh, I need to systemize this. I need to come up with these standards. And so I was always trying to figure out in a way, how do I work smarter, not harder. I think I spent the first five years of my career. Honestly, probably working 80 hours a week for five years, for sure.

[00:42:40] Like, I was that person that would never go out with friends. I'm like, sorry, like run my own business, which means I work all the time and was, was really unsustainable in those first five years. And at some point I was like, okay, Uh, you're young now. And you can, you can pull these kinds of late nights, but this is not sustainable.

[00:42:57] And I'm going to have to learn how to work smarter. So it took it, it took some time to figure out like, what do other people know that I don't know, how are people going on vacations? Like, what is this? I needed to figure out, you know, better ways to work. So when you think in terms of systems, what are the things I'm doing all the time, right?

[00:43:15] Like what are the things that are. Uh, causing the most friction and why, how do I design those out? So you kind of think of any challenge that you have in your life as a design problem to solve and reverse engineer it. So, um, I don't, I don't know where that comes from, but you know, the unschool courses in design thinking and change making and disruptive design and just, how do we improve the way that we work and live our lives has just been kind of a, a fascination.

[00:43:41] And then I stumbled upon this, this flyer for a permaculture course. I didn't know what permaculture was, I feel like I'm seeing a trend here. I sign up for courses before I really know what I'm fully into Or like, I don't know, this course seems interesting let's see what it's all about.

[00:43:56] Not really knowing what I'm actually signing up for.

[00:43:58] Josh: i thats how people join cults

[00:44:02] Marie: it is a little bit of a cult Uh, I mean, if I, if I had known what was in store with the acting classes, I would never, I would never have signed up for them, for sure. So I was glad, and I think I signed up quickly being like, Don't read too much into it or you'll, you'll never do it.

[00:44:18] Uh, and so with permaculture, there was this flyer that said become a more conscious designer of your life, landscapes, and legacy or something like that. While saving time, energy, and money, something like that.

[00:44:32] That sounds very compelling. How do I, how do I sign up for this? I thought it was about gardening.

[00:44:37] I'm like, I'm confused. What is it? What does this mean? And so permaculture is really systems thinking, but influence from nature, right? You're thinking long-term, you're thinking sustainable. There were all these concepts in those courses that I was like, Oh, that's like the 80, 20 rule in business. Oh.

[00:44:53] That's I just kept finding these hilarious similarities. It's like, Oh, it's all the same language. It's just. Nature nature, like made this. So I'm like, it's almost like nature knows best. And so in a way we're kind of going back to these like laws of physics, right. Or it's

[00:45:08] Josh: Universal truths.

[00:45:09] Marie: yeah. So I was like, Oh, I just got extra curious about it.

[00:45:13] I'm like, tell me more and went down lots of little, little rabbit holes. So my next word is really applying the, the concepts from permaculture. Yeah. Making them way more accessible in business language. That's kind of what, what I want to be doing next.

[00:45:26] Josh: That's huge. I think that's amazing. It just seems like, yeah, you're going on this trajectory that is headed towards that way. Like it's like stepping stones and along the way, you're learning the things that you need to learn when you're there. Like, Hey, I need to get up this step. I don't really know. And you find someone like you're really good at, from what I'm hearing. You're really good

[00:45:43] at finding someone, taking the course, finding a coach. And a lot of people have this like hero mentality. No, I'll just do it.

[00:45:49] I'm the Elon Musk hero, but even Elon he had to find people to learn about rockets. He didn't just know how to create rockets for space X, right? He's like, Hey, you, you, you are amazing at creating rockets.

[00:45:59] Let's help me on this

[00:46:00] Marie: watch Those people. Right? Who, what are their habits? What are they doing? What do they know that I don't know, like just definitely leverage other people's experience and success too, to help you. I have to do it all by ourselves.

[00:46:13] Josh: That's awesome. So back on to actually that permaculture thing because I've been really thinking about, um, indoor growing with hydroponics, just because like, Especially during last year, we had a lot of time to think being inside. I'm like, Hey, there's all this unused real estate. And there still isn't the city.

[00:46:29] I'm like, wouldn't it be easier or better to like grow the food indoors closer to the cities. So you have cheaper, better quality food. So I've been thinking about a lot and I don't know what, I don't know. I'm just like, I, that's a cool idea. I'm sure tons of people are thinking about that. What are the constituent parts of that.

[00:46:47] And I never even thought about this idea of permaculture. So, you know, I'm going to have to join that permaculture cult and start learning this

[00:46:53] Marie: i'll send you some resources too. Cause there were lots of folks that in that class, uh, is very, very collaborative, right? Like you're sharing. You're having to kind of share your ideas and present them with people, even if they seem like these really big, wild long-term ideas. Like I want to start a hydroponic farm or like a, you know, of a restaurant that has like a garden tower, you know, rooftop, whatever.

[00:47:15] Like there's lots of people that kind of are exploring these ideas. And I think if we assume that we have to do it on our own, they're going to be a lot harder to reach. But when you make your ideas known and you collaborate with the right people, Your ideas are just going to accelerate. So yeah, it's a cool community to get involved in.

[00:47:31] Josh: That is really cool. So I'm sure for the folks who are saying they want to, if he probably hear a little bit more Notion stuff, or just like systems thinking theres few other things I want to get into, but, um, before we go further, I really want to ask, how did you get into Notion? How did you learn about it?

[00:47:44] How did you like start really working in it and then figuring out, Oh, I can actually like make a go at this.

[00:47:51] Marie: A friend of mine recommended it. Initially when we were doing a mastermind as a place for all of us to kind of keep our notes. And I was like, this is okay. I guess it's like another tool I have to have to use. And I didn't quite, I think it might've been been even before some of their fancy database and linked database functionality.

[00:48:08] Like it was, I don't even know at this point might've been three, three years ago or more. Maybe even four. So it was like, kind of before some of these amazing features had come out, it was before it had kind of hit this critical mass. That's why I was like, eh, I don't know, like it kind of fizzled out and we didn't really use it.

[00:48:24] But then a year later when I was taking my permaculture course, uh, I will say the permaculture course didn't have any kind of formal like content delivery mechanism. Like the classes were in person and we had, you know, sheets and random emails and the emails had like, Oh, foot-long poem at the, at the beginning.

[00:48:43] And it was just like a lot of content that was like all over the map. I was like, okay, this is very disorganized. And that's kind of how my brain already feels. And I was like, Oh, this is chaos. Like I am going to have to give this some structure. And we also had to document our process. So we, you know, I had to do a presentation of a year, year and a half long project.

[00:49:02] So we had to pick a property. We're going to have to make a map. We're going to have to document this over time. And I was like, well, I need something to do this. And I started an Evernote, but I was like, this is just a fricking mess. There's just so many data points and stuff. And so I was like, Oh, maybe, maybe, actually Notion could be a good.

[00:49:18] Tool for that. So I kind of like opened it up again and went back to it. And so funny enough, like permaculture was the reason I think I actually opened it up again. I needed a place to store really, really messy thinking. There was like YouTube video references and pieces of content and curriculum and mapping.

[00:49:35] And so I just needed a place that could accommodate a whole bunch of different types of mediums and different types of thoughts. A random thought plus a video, like just that there were so many different mediums happening at the same time. And so initially Notion was like a big collage, like, Oh, I can just Chuck whatever formats in here and play around with it.

[00:49:51] But then over time it's like, Oh, I can actually give this a bit of structure. What if I added all of the courses that I've taken, I'm going to add them all here. And I started pulling in that data. And then it evolved into, you know, daily journals. Well, what else can it do? Oh, my daily to-do list. And I just kind of kept experimenting with it.

[00:50:07] And once it got to the point where I was like, you know, I have so much stuff in here, but my business stuff is in this other tool over here. I think we we're using asana at the time. And so I was my husband and I were both in Asana, assigning each other tasks and stuff. Uh, so I had to make the case to him.

[00:50:24] I had to be like, Hey, check this out. What if we use Notion for this? And I had to rebuild a little bit of what we were doing in asana to kind of get that buy-in and he was definitely pretty resistant for the first, like, Month, but then once there was like a moment where it clicks and you're like, Oh, okay.

[00:50:39] Yeah, I see how this can be pretty useful. So, uh, he agreed and kind of the rest is history. So we doubled down on that, used it to start running all of our business. And we're like, this is actually pretty useful. Like, this is okay, what else can we do with it? And we just kept, kept going,

[00:50:55] Josh: That's awesome. Are you ever, like, I'm trying to figure out what you can't do with it? Like, it seems like every time I say that they add a new feature, add a new block and that's the other great part about it. Right. They collaborate with other tool sets. Like you can now embed any types of content, like loom, you can embed right in there, whatever you want, any kind of medium, which is so cool.

[00:51:14] But are you ever like, worried about how much data and how much stuff you're putting in there in your reliance on it? Like I'm pretty well, I rely on it quite a bit. Like I remember there was like one day recently it was down. And everyone all over Twitter was like freaking out. And it's like, yeah, like it's like, I guess until they have a really, really good offline version, like I remember traveling to China and I used that for all of my documents.

[00:51:39] And luckily I did do it offline because when I got there, I have no internet. And I was like, I could have been like stuck in China. Thanks Notion. But it just made me realize, like, are you kind of worried or weary about it at all?

[00:51:52] Marie: Probably should be more than I am. Um,

[00:51:55] Josh: Do you do backups?

[00:51:57] Marie: I do. Yeah, my assistant, uh, she does a monthly, uh, monthly backup, but it's not really in the best format too uh, for sure. And so I know that they are focusing on, uh, the reliability and the offline mode too. That's like definitely a big, uh, I think it's a big requirement too.

[00:52:11] Um, so they're, they're definitely pretty focused on that. I don't know. I'm pretty, a pretty risky individual. I'm like, I don't know, let's do this. Let's see what happens. So I probably could be doing a better, a better job of that, but, uh,

[00:52:22] I

[00:52:22] Josh: I mean, as long

[00:52:23] as you're doing the backups, right? Cause when you back it up as HTML or whatever, you can open it up offline and like Chrome or whatever. And it feels like you're just like clicking through Notion. Like it looks and feels like Notion just all offline. So that's, I guess as long as

[00:52:35] Marie: its kind of the

[00:52:36] same with any tools, right? We're so

[00:52:38] Josh: I know.

[00:52:38] Marie: so many different tools, right? It's like if our email goes down or if a Google was that we're like, Oh, wow. Yeah. I guess I'm pretty dependent on that. Right? It's pretty.

[00:52:47] Yeah, well, especially now, like over the last year, right. We're really dependent on, um, uh, digital technologies, communication technologies. It's insane. Kind of scary I don't know how zoom has been keeping up with this to be honest,

[00:53:01] Josh: this many people on it. I mean, we're not on zoom. People were on Not, this is not a shout out. I'm not getting paid by that. I just paid them this is a great tool though. Uh, yeah, no, I think that's a good thing to think about, right? Like our reliance on these things but i guess it's like, it's not an issue. until its an issue really, I guess. But, um, I was, uh, I was, I remember, cause I remember the first week or two, when I started using it, I'm like uploading personal stuff.

[00:53:29] I'm like shit, like. Do they have access to this? Like if you don't think about Notion the same way you think about Facebook and stuff with Facebook, you're like, you know, they're selling it to advertisers Notion isn't but now you're also realizing wait, Notion is free for people. So what's happened. I don't know.

[00:53:43] It's just things that I've been thinking about as a, I don't know, 21st century digital nomad.

[00:53:50] Marie: Like what did the employees see of my tracking? Yeah.

[00:53:53] Josh: Yeah. Cause I'm like I do daily. I know you're talking about this before I do my daily journaling in there as well. And it's like, there's some like personal stuff in there.

[00:54:01] Marie: Yup.

[00:54:02] Josh: So I don't know. I don't know. It was kind of, it was kind of interesting, good things to think about, I guess, at least I Hope I didn't, uh, incept something in your brain of, sorry, Marie. You're like shit. No, but I'm on that reliance to, um, uh, of digital technologies. Um, I wanted to ask you what platform are you using for your course? Because you were just saying how you created a software for hosting courses. Shut that down, and then you created your own course. It's interesting. So I would like to hear what you're using and how that's been working out for you.

[00:54:34] Marie: So the course is in Notion

[00:54:38] Josh: Oh, no way.

[00:54:39] Marie: yep. Yes. And so that's why I was like, wow. You know, that a tool is good when you are, you are actually preferring it to your own course software. Um, yeah. So they're learning about the tool in the tool itself, which is kind of interesting.

[00:54:55] You

[00:54:55] know, they're seeing embedded videos, they're seeing the way call-outs work and I can actually call attention.

[00:55:00] So it's kind of, kind of meta in a way, but they're also learning about permissions as well. Right. So, uh, initially we actually had the forum, the whole forum itself was, was in Notion as well. So they could add their, add their name. People could upvote it. So it was, I think people were kind of surprised like, Oh, wow.

[00:55:15] Like that's kind of fascinating that you're actually running an entire. Uh, course on there. So it's not super sustainable for other people. Like I have a enterprise arrangement with them, so I don't have to pay per, per student, but normally you would have to do that in order to be able to, to do that. So, I wouldn't say it's sort of like a mass, uh, I'm not saying that other people should be using Notion as their platform,  but it's pretty cool to be able to, actually host the course in Notion.

[00:55:42] Uh, and so Notion, uh, has given me access to that as, as a feature. So pretty neat.

[00:55:49] Josh: That is really cool. I honestly assume like I said, I haven't taken it yet. And it's just that I assume that people are using teachable. They're using like Gumroad and whatever else, like all these other platforms are like podia. I think. So it's interesting to see what people are using. Um, and I guess you just have, the landing page is hosted on a website.

[00:56:06] And what was, is that like a WordPress site, web flow? What are you, what are you guys using

[00:56:10] Marie: WordPress, a simple WordPress site. I think, uh, I forget the, um, the theme Elementor I think my, my designer used Elementor theme. Uh,

[00:56:20] Josh: That whole page is incredible.

[00:56:21] Marie: Thank you. Yeah. I mean, it's, it's, uh, evolved quite a bit, right. Like I used to live under my own brand name and at some point I was like, you know what? I kind of feel like this has an entity outside of myself.

[00:56:33] Like it's a product with its own name. Like it just started to feel like, okay, it might be time to kind of move this outside of my own identity. So I think we did that back in November. And I think that was. Uh, I think that was a really good switch. Like I feel, I don't know, it's hard to know like, Oh, does a sales increase, actually, it was it a result of, of, you know, redesigning your, your sales page.

[00:56:51] So it'd be cool to dig into the analytics a little bit and see if that makes a difference. Um, but I've been refining that page over time. Like every time you get, you know, testimonials or feedback, I'm like, Oh, that's really great. I should make sure to go and edit the sales page. So I'm always, you know, every couple of weeks I'm always kind of making some tweaks to that and really the.

[00:57:10] The students themselves, like they write, they write the sales page, right. So when you're listening to your people and you're hearing the way they describe things and even their frustrations are what gets them excited. I'm always pulling that language back into the page. Cause I know that's, what's gonna, that's when they're like, Oh, you're in my head.

[00:57:25] Right? It's like, well, I am, cause you've told me and I've been listening. So I clip all of that stuff into Notion like a creeper. And then I just add it to my sales page.

[00:57:33] Josh: That's awesome. That's so cool. Um, there's so many great testimonials on there that I've seen, so it's awesome, but you have to keep up with it, right? Cause you'll get another great one. And I love how you're taking're were taking their, their words and you're using that as their language. So if they're into it, then probably the people seeing this page are also going to feel the same way.

[00:57:53] So who are the types of people that come into the course? Like, um, you know, I'm sure it's a lot of different types of people. What are you, what have you been mainly seeing who is this course? Mainly

[00:58:02] Marie: wow. It is such a beautifully, fascinating range of people. Like we have an Italian diplomat. We have a surgeon who also has a permaculture farm, uh, project managers, you know, people that work at huge video game companies, uh, creatives, coaches, like it is all over the world and all over the map is just, I love it.

[00:58:25] That I think to me is the most fascinating part is getting to work with. So many different people from different countries, different backgrounds, different economic backgrounds, different intentions, right? Some people want to use it for more by getting their personal organization together. A lot of people who have ADHD and want to improve.

[00:58:46] The way they think like that is a very, very common use case. A lot of people mentioned that in the onboarding survey. So that's like, that's a really, yeah, interesting data point. Um, lot of coaches and people who are looking to kind of work with their clients through Notion as well, like how do they, uh, not just manage their own business, but then how do you collaborate with other people?

[00:59:06] Uh, so yeah, quite, quite a fascinating range. So it's been a process to figure out well, who are the, who are the best suited, right? Who are the people that are really going to be the best fit for it and try and again, continue to tailor the sales page to speak to those folks. Um, you know, like I'll give one example.

[00:59:23] Like we, I have a pretty amazing refund rate. I would say like in that I, we say no refunds. Um, and so I want people who are like super committed to this. I don't want someone who's like just dabbling with a shiny new tool. It's a commitment. It's like, you're going to be tinkering with Notion for quite some time, while you figure out your, your best process.

[00:59:41] But someone said, um, This course is complicated. I want my money back. I'm like, it's literally called mastery. Like we are, that is the point. Right. It's, it's sort of meant to be. Um, and you're also not learning something if you're, if you're not being challenged, right. I'm not here to feed you the answers like, yes, we cover all of the basic components.

[00:59:58] Like how do you actually use Notion? But to some extent, I can't tell you the best way to set up your space in a way that's going to click with your brain. And so, um, I think this kind of gets to a bit of a side tangent, but. I think a lot of courses tend to be packaged information. And with the teacher being like, here is the thing, here's the answer and it's info.

[01:00:17] And we're used to just like collecting info and that feels like comfortable and easy. So when we're going through a course that makes you feel momentarily incompetent That is is not everyone is motivated enough to get past that hurdle. And that is my challenge as a teacher is like, how do I make sure people are in touch with the reason that they wanted to do this course in the first place?

[01:00:39] And what is on the other side of that discomfort and how can I make sure to keep that motivation high enough, that they're willing to push through that discomfort, which is really hard.

[01:00:48] Josh: That's an interesting challenge. How have you been dealing with that?

[01:00:52] Marie: One of the first things I had to go back and do, and you know, this is related to kind of your, um, I think that your comment about your brother and the, and the mindset piece is like you have to address mindset in a course, uh, especially if you're dealing with a more advanced level of topic. And so I recorded an intro video and I make, I have a lot of copy in the very, very first thing.

[01:01:14] When people come into the course that acknowledges. overwhelm right? It's like, guess what you are about to're probably about to feel pretty overwhelmed because there's going to be a lot of new information. This is a very technical product. There are so many features to know my hope is to distill this into just the features that you need to know to get the most out of it.

[01:01:34] And there are a lot of use cases here, right? Because we've got business use cases. We got like. Examples of habit tracking and whatever. And for some, some people that's going to feel like way too much and too much tracking for other people that calms their brain. So how do you make sure that people get what they need, but they're not drinking from a fire hose.

[01:01:52] Right. I think that's the ultimate challenge with a course like this. So what I've tried to do again is in the welcome video, acknowledge the overwhelm, say like this is totally normal. Like here's, here's why, and let's acknowledge this. This is a process. This is not a thing that you're meant to kind of do in a weekend.

[01:02:06] You can be really ambitious about it and try to do that. But this is not really what we're, what we're looking at. These are lifelong skills that I'm hoping that you're building so that even if you decide not to use Notion, you have learned new skills that you can apply in other parts of your life. And so trying to set the stage a little bit and set that expectation as much as possible to acknowledge it and be like, I know it's going to be uncomfortable.

[01:02:29] Don't worry. We got you. That's why the forum is here. That's why we've got these pieces. If you're ever not sure we do new member welcome calls. So again, I brought in an assistant coach and so she's running a bit more of like a welcome orientation, kind of how to get the most out of the course. So actually addressing the experience of going through the course first and then there's office hours where people can of course, you know, drop in and ask questions.

[01:02:49] So, uh, and then also breaking the course up into. The sort of core curriculum and then resource library, because we have things like how to run your podcast on Notion how to do this on Notion. But if you went through that as a linear course, you'd be like, Oh my gosh, there's just like way too much here.

[01:03:06] And so encouraging people dip in to these ones and take what fits and leave the rest. You do not have to go through this, but so in a lot of ways, we're requiring people to self-manage and there's a lot of. Skills even involved in that. If you're not someone that's taken a lot of online courses, if you're only used to an academic style, of course.

[01:03:25] Right? So there's, there's a lot of nuance. Uh, I think when we're delivering information and help people get results. So I'm always looking at like, how can I make this better? How can I make sure that I've at least done as much as I can to reduce the overwhelm as much as possible, but knowing that I can't remove it entirely, there's still going to be that challenge is normal and I need people to push through it.

[01:03:47] So. It's it's a huge challenge.

[01:03:50] Josh: And again, that's like the systems thinking or more like the design thinking of it. You're actually thinking of the user experience. And it's great because you yourself have gone through so many courses and then you worked with so many clients that have built courses. So you're also a master in the course itself, not just Notion.

[01:04:10] I'm sure the master is, can take years to become a master teacher, to be able to

[01:04:15] Marie: I'm ompetent Yeah.

[01:04:16] Josh: Take things from your brain and just transport it to other people's brains in a way that makes sense for many different brains. So I'm always interested in that too. Like, do you think about that? Like how there's, I mean, you kind of just touched on it, how there's different learning styles, um, is that why you do so many different types of mediums?

[01:04:32] Have you thought about putting in different types of mediums?

[01:04:36] Marie: Yeah. That's why I try, I do try to mix it up, uh, such that there's, you know, video content. And then there's also the written component as well. And then some prompts and then templates as well. So it's like download the template, tear it apart, you know, mix it up. Don't feel like you can't delete any, delete the properties that don't make sense for your life.

[01:04:53] It doesn't make sense for you to track that. So, mix it up. Delete the properties that don't make sense for your life.

[01:04:57] It doesn't make sense for you to track that. So, Um, I am endlessly fascinated with, with people, for sure. Like just how they think, how they consume information. Uh, so I, I do get very fascinated about things from a pattern level, right? So when someone is like, I feel really overwhelmed and I don't, I'm too scared to post in the forum.

[01:05:16] I'm like, that's very interesting. Also as much as we are all unique snowflakes there's, there's not a uniqueness there. Like there's, there's a reason, uh, That challenge is not the only time someone in the course is gonna experience that. So like, is there something I can be doing at a design level to reduce the likelihood that someone's not going to post because they're, they're afraid of that.

[01:05:39] Right. Do I need post something in the forum that acknowledges, Hey, you know, if you've felt a little bit shy or like, what are the things that I can do at the pattern level to design for this circumstance and as much as possible try and reduce that. Yes, of course. You're still going to have edge cases where people are like, ah, You know, people on the fringe, whether it's like the the, the VIP people that are going to consume every single video that you ever do, no matter what, and they're going to do these deep dives and then people that just kind of scratch the surface.

[01:06:08] We there's of course, so many different types of people. And, uh, you know, maybe you've been following this on Twitter too, but there's lots of arguments around like, cohort-based courses are the way to go and then like evergreen. And so, um, you know, sometimes people, I think kind of. Uh, crap on, on evergreen courses.

[01:06:24] And I think I was pretty skeptical initially, too. I'm like people don't get results unless they have like access to the teacher and what makes for a really strong course at the end of the day. So, but one thing I think is really interesting that I've learned from Mariah Coz who's been like a really big influence for me in the online course world too.

[01:06:39] In how do you package and sell online courses? Uh, is she's like one week into a cohort based course. People are at wildly different levels. Right. And it's true. Already one week in Like you can say we're all going through this together, but the drop-off rate is fricking huge. Even if you have a live events and the teacher running the course different skill levels, different intentions, some people never intended to show up live They just wanted the content. Like you are inevitably going to get a range of people. And so knowing that was something like Notion. There's just, I think absolutely no way that I'm going to guide a group of even 50, 50 people through an experience. And like week one, we're learning this and week two, we're learning this heck.

[01:07:20] No, you have people being like, I already know that I want to know this, or like, I, your, your video is going too fast. Like. This is completely confusing. I'm like, that's so interesting that like, you know, 99% of people were like, this is amazing. And you have that one. That's like, this was totally confusing.

[01:07:35] So there's, there's inevitably going to be a bit of a range, right. With, with preferences and, and whatnot. So I don't think a cohort is always necessarily the best way to deliver an online course.

[01:07:48] Josh: Interesting. And, and why did you, I guess not why, but like, what was your thought process behind obviously doing it in Notion makes sense that it's the actual course, but a lot of people, I guess, who would have. Started doing a course of this, they might think like, Oh, I'll do a skill share. First. Is there like what I want to hear your thoughts on like doing a Skillshare versus this, or maybe doing a skill share light version that might bring more sales into the full version?

[01:08:11] I don't really know because, you know, we were talking before about like sales processes and you're not an overly salesy type of person. That's not the way you think about it. Where I think I sent you They have like aggressive salespeople, like ridiculous. If you get on the call then for sales, you're going to buy, they're going to like make you buy.

[01:08:30] They're going to put you in a corner until you buy, but where, like, you literally don't do

[01:08:33] that. So it's really interesting. Um, the two different ways. So I guess two questions there with Skillshare versus your own platform or Udemi versus your own platform. And then we can get into the sales things.

[01:08:46] Marie: Yeah. And I think Ali Abdaal had an opinion about this too. I think he was saying, uh, I might be misquoting him. I'm trying to remember what he, I think he was saying like, Skillshare is good. If you already have an audience, I think is what he was saying. But, but that's, if I think.

[01:09:03] Josh: I would've the thought the opposite

[01:09:03] Marie: If you're looking at it as if you're looking at it as a revenue stream, or are you looking at it as authority growth?

[01:09:08] Right? So I think if you don't have any audience, I think it would be great to do a Skillshare class because again, people are going stumble upon your chorus when they're looking for those things. So I think. And also something to take note of is you don't have to have original material in Skillshare. So if you have an online course or you're thinking about an online course, you can package like modules two and three as a skillshare course. And they don't have to be mutually exclusive. So if you're already doing it, you know, make, make a piece of that available on Skillshare too. So I think that's, that's one option. Um, I think I've been, I've been doing enough courses at this point, and I think because I can't help myself in terms of.

[01:09:47] This is not going to be a little course. Like I, I know that my tendency is like, we're going deep. We're going in together. And like, you're going to be learning a lot. And I think. It's such a, it's a good challenge, but it's such a challenge to distill complex information into a very small digestible course.

[01:10:05] And Skillshare is they're shorter, right? There's like fewer, Hours of watch time, they tend to be, um, a bit shorter and it could be a great place to do like an Intro to Notion or something smaller or taking my most popular YouTube video. And like, you know what, let's build this out into like a really niche course.

[01:10:22] So I might still do that. But I, I think I knew I wanted to lean toward a slightly higher price point because I know that I'm going to give more support. I'm going to be a little bit more attentive and I'm always adjusting and adding new material in the beginning because the course wasn't created.

[01:10:38] Notion was such a great tool because I could invite people in and it was like, Oh, this part's still in progress. This is coming soon. And people could vote up stuff. And so it was a very co-creative process. Notion is such a great tool for that, right. It didn't have to be complete or finished. It was very much in process.

[01:10:53] The first, I mean the first a hundred people that would have bought would have seen it in a very, very, very messy state. And that would have been hard for people. Right. And I was very clear on the beta page. I was like, if you were looking for a nice clean, tidy linear course, this is not that course. This is a beta in progress.

[01:11:10] Course, you are working with me to co-create this content I'm learning from you answering your questions. In real time, I did weekly office hours for like 90 minutes. And anyone that had questions like. Like I would just answer whatever they had. I'm like, Oh, that's so great. I'll add a module about that.

[01:11:24] So I gave myself permission to spend like three, four months like really building, being in that messy process, as uncomfortable as it felt, then it was time to kind of lock it down and give it a little bit more of a, of a structure. But I needed, uh, I think the co-creation process while it can be really intimidating if you've never done it before, it's the only way to make a course that actually makes a difference in people's lives.

[01:11:47] So, um, That wouldn't really work on Skillshare because it was like an incomplete thing. So that's, that's my 2 cents on that.

[01:11:55] That's awesome. That's a really good sort of like mental model on building out the course. Because you're right. If you have it in Notion, you're probably going to be designing course in Notion. I know I would, if I had a course of whatever, podcasting, wherever the hell, I would probably be like writing in Notion storing stuff.

[01:12:08] So just to be able to add people in they can get feedback, they can see it in real time, even as you're typing even. Um, that's a really interesting way. And then once it's done, then you could package it up, put it on your own website if you want.

[01:12:20] Um, Maybe not even Skillshare, but, um, what's the other one that everyone is using to host their own.

[01:12:25] Um, there's one really big one right now.

[01:12:29] Thinkific, teachable, podia. There's.

[01:12:32] Josh: Teachable Yeah,that's the one I was thinking of, but podia as well. And now there's like, again, maybe you'd be interested in, in this coming from like a web design background, but I don't know if you've been following a lot of the rest of the no-code space because obviously Notions of no code tool in itself.

[01:12:46] But I don't know if you've been following web flow and some of the ad-ons like member stack and outseta now is coming out. Um, these tools that people can like build their own course software without knowing how to code, which is really interesting.

[01:13:01] Marie: Pretty wild. Yeah. It's I think it's only, it's only kind of just begun in a way. I think it's just going to keep exploding for sure.

[01:13:09] Josh: Totally. So at this point you have no interest in, in building the software more. So you want to do the content. That's the way to go,

[01:13:16] Marie: Oh, Oh, well, I mean, personally, I'm not, I'm not the one that was doing the building. Right. So my husband was the one, uh, doing like who actually built the software. And then in a way the burden was on me to sell it or be the face of it or to marketing, like to talk about it. Right. And so for awhile it was like we had to talk all things online courses, but then we had people like signing up for the software that.

[01:13:38] Like didn't have any of that marketing capacity. And so there, they were thinking like, just signing up for the tool is going to make them their course. And then people would delay delay. So they sign up for a tool. Well, before they're anywhere close to producing content. Uh, and that was really hard. So they'd be like, Oh, can you extend my trial?

[01:13:55] Can you extend my trial? And the burden of working with folks that weren't shipping? Right. It was like, it takes up so much time and they weren't actually launching courses or they'd launched to crickets because they spent six months working on a thing that they weren't testing. And I was like, Oh, this is so.

[01:14:09] Hard and so frustrating and not exciting. Like, I don't want people to be paying for a software when they're like not making money because they're just not shipping. So I actually went and made a course called run your learning launch. That was like, we need to get people shipping faster. We need to get them comfortable with the idea of shipping in a learning process and not think, Oh, I need to hire a video editing team and be like, no, no, no.

[01:14:28] That's like, Version three, four, start with get some people who actually are willing to put some money down on this idea and work with them on it. So it was, it was a bit of a. course around teaching people that lean process when it comes to course development. So, um, and that was more fun. I'm like, I love the teaching side of it.

[01:14:47] Facilitating, seen creators actually activating and get their work out there, like thats more fun than managing the sort of behind me, the scenes of a software where people are paying you 29 a month and they're like, this thing doesn't work. And you're like, did you, I read the instruction. It was really hard.

[01:15:05] Josh: You get to figure out early on what you don't want to do. And you're like, Hey, I thought I wanted to, so we want to build scalable software businesses. Right. And then you realize, Oh shit, there's things that are not scalable in that business that you don't even realize. Right. Especqially when it'slike was it, was it a bootstrapped bootstrap software?

[01:15:21] Marie: So actually the very first course that I launched was digital strategy school back in 2015. Uh, and that did very well that made, that made six figures pretty quickly. Uh, and so we said, you know what, Ben, like, why don't you like, we'll stop taking on client, work on your side.

[01:15:37] Let's give you like six months runway to just build this product and to build a beta of it. So we've kind of always been like, the course makes the money to like bootstrap the ideas that we can explore. Right. And so it's been an interesting process to, to figure out what we each like. And then, you know, Ben got offered a full-time job anyway.

[01:15:53] So, so now we're like, well, Is it when you're not even that passionate about it. And then in the evenings, the weekends, you just want to relax. Uh, he doesn't want to be, you know, maintaining and managing the software. Like it doesn't bring in enough revenue to be worth going all in on. So it was like, ah, I think it's time to like pull the plug on this.

[01:16:11] Josh: Yeah, it's always tough. Right? I had to do that earlier this year, similar position I was working with, I'm still working with my girlfriend, Marisa just on a different project, but we're building a VR software and you're like, Oh, virtual reality, this is great for pandemic. Right? People are all going to go into VR, except it was targeted towards film festivals, conferences, events, everything that just got destroyed overnight in March.

[01:16:34] So we're like, Hey. We, we kept it going for last year. I think this will be the year we probably pull the plug. But it happens. Everything happens for a reason, right? We started other businesses, other projects. I got time to do this podcast, people to talk to people like you. So I'm super grateful for all that happened.

[01:16:48]but I think this is a great segue to kind of get some insight on how you made it work, you know, working with your significant other. And I would love to hear some, maybe tools, strategies, anecdotes, stuff that maybe didn't work, stuff that you thought could be done better because it'll help me now that I'm still working with Marisa.

[01:17:06] Marie: Yeah, we thought about that too. It's like, Oh yeah. Is there a guide to working with you're working with your partner? Um, we also joked to our therapist were like, Oh, is there like a special, uh, therapist who specializes in couples that run software together, SaaS companies, um, Okay. So yeah, a few things I would say, uh, you know, my partner, Ben and I are extremely independent.

[01:17:27] We've both been like running our own own businesses for a very long time. So even when we merged companies, we were still very much operating like two solo business owners under one legal umbrella. And so we had very few projects where we actually needed to collaborate together. Um, Total trust in each other's capacity and like absolute respect and like, you know, we both very much trust each other's decision making.

[01:17:54] And so if, if there's something that we felt strongly about, we would. Uh, we're good communicators. Like we can talk that out. There was, there was a time where we felt some tension and maybe you felt this before, too, but like where one partner is contributing more financially to the household or than the other.

[01:18:09] Right. And then, so there's moments in your career where you're like, Oh, well I'm the one bringing in the money and you work on the side project and then we're like, switching it up. And so, you know, if you're not feeling super confident in where you're at in your career, And your, and your partner is like thriving and like, woo.

[01:18:23] So there can be these moments of tension where you don't even maybe understand what you're feeling and whatnot. So we did some therapy around that and it was so good. Like it was, I just think everybody, even if you don't work together, all couples therapy is just such a brilliant part of being able to communicate that and like to tap into what's happening there.

[01:18:43] So that was, that was incredible. Uh, that process of just building more empathy for one another and, uh, uncovering stuff that maybe you hadn't articulated. So both feeling like we're contributing to the household, like it matters to us, right. We're we're creatives. And we want to be, you know, um, at the top of our game and like even just pushing ourselves to see what, what, uh, what's possible  Like, what do I want to do? Who do I want to be? And just making sure that each of us is. Yeah, like most aligned with, with our skill set and what we should be doing. And so, um, trying to, just trying to be there for your partner too, if you notice like, Oh, maybe they're not at the same place even in a day, right?

[01:19:19] Like maybe you're having a Epic day and your partner is like, I'm just having a terrible day. You know, it's like being able to, to regulate one another and to be there for one another, when you're at different, different points. Um, we also have incredibly, very different skillsets and very different styles and approaches.

[01:19:36] I don't know how you are with, uh, with your partner, but. I'm much more like front facing, even though I'm, I consider myself kind of introverted, I'm interfacing with people all day. Like I'm the, uh, maybe more of like the friendly face of the business and Ben as much more like doing the technical, the problem, solving the coding and whatnot.

[01:19:54] So we were never really stepping on each other's toes. It was sort of like, we were very clear on what each of our, our strengths and skillsets are. Um, but he had check-ins even like a monthly check-in, uh, Even if we're working on our separate projects, just making sure that we each have space to like, you know, throw it out there and talk about what I'm working on.

[01:20:13] Like I'm really excited about this. Can you be excited with me? Um, and there's an Epic audio book I recommend for every, every couple. Again, regardless of if you work together, is Your Brain on Love by Stan Tatkin. It is like, a must a must listen to you for every couple. I highly

[01:20:31] Josh: I'll check that out. Um, Marisa made me, well she didn'tmake me, she encouraged me and I was really into it to listen to the audio book of The Female Brain too. I think that's really great for men to listen to because there's a lot of evidence like, yeah, people don't like to admit, you know, just person to person brains are different, but women's.

[01:20:48]Brains, literally are a lot different than men's and we can, there's so much evidence and it really helps you understand and be more empathetic. So that was a really good one, um, for us. And then we were doing, she introduced me to like the love languages. That's somethin something I didn't even know existed.

[01:21:03] And like, yeah. I think us working together really made us a lot closer. Um, you know, in our personal lives and now it's like, we're, we're working together, still another project, but I'm doing my own thing as well. She does her own thing and it's cool that we can kind of have that middle ground, but now that you and your husband are doing totally

[01:21:20] separate things, have you guys seen a dynamic shift?

[01:21:24] Did you take some things from working together that strengthened your relationship How have things changed now?

[01:21:31] Marie: Yeah, what's changed. Um, I think honestly, one of the biggest changes I think. Ben realizing, I think he thrives in a leadership position with other people, uh, like he needed to be around other people. And so I think, you know, um, I'm sure a lot of solo solo developers can relate to this. Like you're just, you're kind of, and your own thing with these blinders on, and you kind of, don't always know, like when you're making choices about what technology stack to use and like even decisions that you make that are going to have consequences in four years.

[01:22:00] And you're, you kind of have this burden of figuring it all out by yourself. And so I think for Ben, it was just such a good. an Unexpectedly delightful choice. Right. It was a big choice. Like do, does Ben take full-time job? Do we want to do that? Is that, you know, like, and, and the offer came when our business was doing very well.

[01:22:18] So in a way we had a lot of leverage, it was like, okay, like, is this going to meet all of your, your needs? And so it was, was a very big decision. Like, do we shut down that side of the business for you? Because you could. Make a lot of money continuing to do what we're doing, but I think the benefits outweighed the cons there.

[01:22:38] And I think it, I mean, it was definitely the right move for him. I think, to be in a situation where you're working with teams, of people are learning more about product development, you know, engineering management, like there's just lots of, uh, people skills that I think he ended up learning as a part of that too, that.

[01:22:52] Has just leveled him up in so many ways to the books that he was reading. Like now he's he was reading like Carl Jung um, like, uh, like a short history of Carl Jung or something and, uh, deep listening and all that. I was like, well, this is awesome. Like, it's cool. You know, because you're going to work with people who don't agree or, or see, um, when you're talking about future of a product and you're making strategic decisions.

[01:23:17] And Ben is used to calling the shots on our own stuff. Like. We get to make our own decisions. And, uh, as an entrepreneur you're alert, you know, about so many different pieces, right? You have like marketing insight, you've got product insight, there's all these. moving parts So when you go to a company and you're a little bit more in a silo, And you're like, but I see what product is doing.

[01:23:35] And I want, like, I want to say in that, like, you have to confront that too, of how do you, uh, grow your own influence at a company and you have to, you have to be very willing to be like little bit more diplomatic. You have to listen carefully, you have to step up to opportunities to demonstrate your expertise.

[01:23:53] So I feel like there's just, whenever you make a big change like that, you're suddenly having to adapt to new circumstances very quickly. And I think it was really good for him to just. Get a really fresh and different perspective and to, um, I think renew his own excitement in his career, really.

[01:24:09] Josh: Totally cause you can get bogged down when you're so deep in the trenches on a

[01:24:12] product, a hundred

[01:24:13] percent.

[01:24:13] Marie: I don't think we realized kind of in a way it was kind of lonely for him again, because we were just independently working on our own stuff.

[01:24:20] I'm in conversation with, with Friends and masterminds all day long. So I'm, I'm in more of the feedback loop, right. Even like with my students have that in the same way. So I think that was like a really good, um, It allowed us to both feel like we were excelling in our career at the same time. And we could be like, yeah, like high five and like I'm reading this book.

[01:24:40] And so I think it actually kind of brought more, more life into it and, and now we have more to catch up on to where it's like, Oh, let's have lunch. Let's go for a walk. Tell me what happened in your day. And it just kind of creates a little bit more excitement.

[01:24:52] Josh: Totally rather than knowing exactly everything that they already did, or like, actually, I need to tell you what to do because I just got feedback from this person. Oh man. Yeah, that's awesome. Then for you going back into it, cause you're still like technically solo entrepreneur, but now you have like a team with you starting to grow that.

[01:25:07] How have you been thinking about that? Cause I know this course has been like growing, like mad your YouTube channel has been growing. I think said you made more money in the last month and like how many months before? So how are you managing that growth, um, on your, on your front?

[01:25:22] Marie: Yeah. It's been a lot, definitely a lot of growing pains. I'm I'm glad that I had my assistant on board around the time where I was like launching the course. And I knew there was like lots of moving pieces and I was having to manually invite guests in. So there was just a lot of logistical administrative stuff to do.

[01:25:41] And I was like, okay, if I'm managing multiple clients over here and people's online courses, like there was just. I had a lot of different responsibilities. So I knew I was going to have to reduce my client work and I was going to have to bring in some more help. So I continued to keep, uh, like upping my assistance retainer and, uh, she just kept taking on more and more responsibility and it was just freeing me up to be able to.

[01:26:02] Record YouTube videos and focus on the content. And I was like, this is incredible. All this stuff that was such a mental burden that I didn't realize was such a mental burden that like shallow work that you're like, ah, just needs to get done, but it like totally interrupts your flow. So having someone else who was like that work is so fun for me, I'm like, Oh, this is magic, right?

[01:26:21] When you find somebody who actually loves the detail work and can do that and stuff. So I was like, well, well, this is great. Like this is allowing me to actually improve the marketing, right. Just to spend time making the course better. That's amazing. So of course she was a big part, I think, of, of the course, uh, growing and being able to provide that additional level of support.

[01:26:40] So, yeah, this is going to be my first month of, uh, hiring her on full time, which is, which is pretty big and exciting. So, uh, it feels like a huge business milestone CEO pull up my, my big girl pants kind of thing.

[01:26:53] Josh: Yeah, no, that is, it is a huge milestone kind of grass because it definitely signifies a stepping stone. And how did you find her? How'd you get in contact with her and start working with her?

[01:27:03] Marie: Uh, yeah, two of my local friends, uh, on the coast here actually had worked with her as a administrative assistant. And it didn't take me long of bringing her on. Uh, obviously they had amazing things to say about her. Uh, it, I would say initially it took me a couple months before I could even give her enough to do.

[01:27:21] I just didn't really know how to delegate. That was definitely. I had told myself for years, I'm like, Oh, I'm like a terrible delegator. And I don't know how to, like, I had resisted the, I had resisted growing a team. Like it just was not a thing I thought I could ever do. I was very, um, like I'm like Paul Jarvis, like company of one, like it's, you know, I'm like the lone Wolf and I got this, uh, and it was, it's fine for awhile, but I think you do hit a bit of a cap while you're like, at some point I am the bottleneck here.

[01:27:47] I'm going to have to bring on some help. And I think a big shift for me was like, Once I started earning way more than I needed to pay my bills and actually had like savings and investments to speak of for the first time. Um, in my life, I was like, who do I need to invest in? Like, I was, I was like donating and I was getting money and I was like, okay, well be careful, Marie.

[01:28:07] Like, I need to. I need to slow down and ask myself who do I want to invest in? And why? Like what matters to me? What kind of impact do I want to make? And so, uh, actually, you know, building in like a, a donation strategy for the business as well, and like, um, how can I give back time? Or even like work with social enterprises and make the impact that I want.

[01:28:28] Um, so for me, money became this tool. I was like, Oh, what could, what cool impact could I have with this money? And who do I want on my team to do that? So being able to like pay a designer, right. To do that, the sales page redesign, and to actually make a brand for it, bring Georgia in full time. I was like, if I want more women to earn more money and get comfortable, earning more money, here's a chance to actually help women do that.

[01:28:54] And how can I help normalize conversations around money? So. It's just started. It was interesting to watch my own shifts. And what does it mean when you earn more and where do I want it to go and how do I want it to serve me in my life and business and what's possible and like, why not me?

[01:29:10] Josh: Absolutely. And I mean, just judging by the way that you've just explained all that you deserve it so much. Cause most people think, Oh, I'm going to go like first-class flight and go to like Hawaii or whatever. I'm going to go like buy some rental homes. You're like, no, how can I invest another woman? Yeah.

[01:29:25] Like. Clearly, you know, I think you can write that down in your, uh, what was the journal. This is, I need to remember this, cause I need to have this for myself. It's like the, um, you have a journal that you write for all of the, the, um,

[01:29:37] Marie: Wins and, and yeah, like the, um, all of the sort of wins and gratitude and things like

[01:29:42] Josh: Yes. Yes. And also there was something else that you, you brought it up before. It was like, um, here, here's all of the, yeah. The authority. Yes. There you go. You can add it to there, you know, it's like you, you just definitely deserve it. And it's really awesome to see you grow. Um, you know, just from the sidelines here, but I'm definitely gonna get into this course.

[01:30:00] Uh, for me, it was like, I'm like, I can, I have the hero mentality. I'm like, Oh, I'll just learn Notion. Like they have like their own help docs. And I'll just like watch random YouTube videos. Oh, go to your YouTube videos anyways. So like,

[01:30:10] Marie: thank you. Yeah, I think it's, it is a it's interesting because I can't, I don't think I would have paid for a course. I know because I'm the kind of person that is like, I'm going to poke around and, and, you know, click on everything and like discover it. Like, I was really excited and stoked to do that, but I think, uh, not everybody, not everyone gets as, as excited about that piece, but I think too, You forget how much knowledge you accumulate over the years.

[01:30:34] Right? Like, because I had kind of obsessed over and done all this personal development work and like what's the ideal routine and like what I'm sure, again, it stemmed from insecurity and, and perfectionism is like, must get better. Like, how do I figure out the optimal way to work? You know, it was like working on myself and I just figured out a bunch of things that work after so much trial and error.

[01:30:54] And so I think, I forget sometimes like bringing that into the course. Like, Oh, right. Not everybody has read those 24 books and gotten that nerdy about that. And so you kind of have to remember like, Oh, I've distilled what I think works and baked that into the course. And so, um, yeah, it's not just obviously not just a course about, about Notion, but I think every creator brings their own unique worldview and perspective to their materials, right?

[01:31:20] Like who are the mentors I've worked with and. Like something that is kind of interesting is I do I invest a lot in other women in terms of coaches. Like I, I hired a systems coach, Natasha Vorompiova, She was another coach that I hired after for Tanya. It was like, where are my gaps? What, who is a powerhouse woman who is doing that, that I can give money to coach with and to learn from amazing.

[01:31:41] Now I'm working with Randi Buckley on boundaries. She has of course, healthy boundaries for kind people. Like that sounds amazing. That sounds like just what I need. So, um, even though I'm in tech in a way, right? I mean, A somewhat, fairly male dominated space. A lot of my influencers are incredible women. So I bring some of those nuggets and perspectives and just things that I've learned.

[01:32:03] And so I'm going to come at it with a slightly different perspective. And so I would say 70%, 70 to 80% of my audience, at least 80% of my YouTube audiences is men. It used to be 99% women when I was speaking more to design. Right. So now, like that's an interesting shift too that. Like the gender has totally changed.

[01:32:24] And I have to be mindful of that too. Even in my, in my marketing, I keep, I try to keep my marketing very neutral as much as possible. I do not like the idea of saying I help female entrepreneurs and there's lots of women that do that. That's totally cool. Like that. That's great. I love working with human beings.

[01:32:41] I want to see a range of people. I love the idea that men and women traditionally do approach things a little bit differently and not all women, not all men. Of course, there's such a beautiful range, but. Being in like really male dominated tech, heavy spaces and conferences, and like going to microconf being in the SaaS world.

[01:33:00] Lot of male perspectives in there. And then the coaching world has been almost all women. I'm like, this is so fascinating how these two groups approach things very differently. So how I show up in my course, um, it might be a little different than, than what some of the men are used to. If they're used to a much more potentially tactical approach, like here's how you do X.

[01:33:20] And I might have a bit of a softer facilitation style and a bit more like exploratory or what have you. So that's been really interesting to just kind of notice uh, different teaching styles in different courses. And, um, you know, I, I call Ali out on this on Twitter is one thing I found frustrating was here's a list of 20 resources, but they're all men So if, and I've looked at sales pages for a course, I was going to sign up for. And every single test, there was like 50 testimonials and it was all male faces. I was like, maybe this course isn't for me. Like that's,

[01:33:53] Josh: You just cut off their audience, their potential

[01:33:55] Marie: Absolutely. And I think that's such an unfortunate thing that I think, um, a lot of men don't even notice it.

[01:34:02] Like they don't actually even realize that they're doing it, but they may not be exposed to different ideas. And so, um, I'm just a big fan of like investing in other people, investing in other voices that are not the most, uh, the loudest common voices.

[01:34:15] Josh: right. Or just the one that reflects your own. That's really interesting. Cause I make a very conscious effort to bring more women onto the podcast because I remember at the very beginning, it was like pretty 50, 50, and even my analytics was good. Oh, 50 50. I started going like literally 80% men, 20 woman. I'm like, Oh shit, literally 80, 20.

[01:34:32] I'm a okay its staring you right in the face. Then I did the whole section. I did like five just women in a row. So like, if you go down to last couple episodes, it's all women. So then when I started asking other men. I can tell who's going to be, open-minded already. I had this one guy that we're booked to record an episode next week.

[01:34:49] He's like, wow. I just see that you have so many women in your podcast. This is amazing. I'm like, well, the fact that you even acknowledged that it's really cool. cause I make a call conscious effort to do that?

[01:34:57] Marie: Yes.

[01:34:58] Josh: It's interesting. Yeah.

[01:34:59] Marie: I love and appreciate that. It is like, I find this, I'm very careful about how I, how I talk about it online. And I don't, um, you know, I don't even want men to feel like, Oh, cool. So you only like helping women make money? I was like, no, I help. I love helping all creators make money, but I do feel, I think a special.

[01:35:14] Um, fondness and just in my own life experience where, uh, women have trouble asking for money, right? Like negotiating is not kind of the default and stuff like that. So noticing those patterns and you know, like this is, this goes to another bit of a side tangent, but. Friends of mine who are in relationships that are maybe not healthy and toxic, but they have kids and they're staying because they don't have the financial means to be able to leave.

[01:35:40] Right. So it's like, I just feel this, I want more women to build up that financial literacy and that financial independence. So I'm like, how can I help? How can I help change that? It's a lot easier to make that change if you yourself have some capital to work with. Right. So, whereas before I'm like, I'm happy living this like simple life and let's optimize for like a stress-free living.

[01:35:59] And you know what? I think I actually care more about impact than I do about having a chill life. And I think I'm, I'm okay with that. Like it, that was an interesting shift for me. I think with watching what's happening with black lives matter. And I was like, how can I optimize for my own comfort? This is kind of bullshit.

[01:36:17] Josh: Right. Especially when you're standing by, okay. I am comfortable. But then you see stuff around you, then you feel like helpless. You feel like kind of shitty like, Oh, I could definitely could be doing more. Oh, 100%. And it bringing up the black lives matter. The people that you said, Oh, so you only help women are the same people that say all lives matter.

[01:36:33] Let's just put that out there. And you know, even if you were like, Hey, I want to help women, whatever less your mission, you can do that. There's gonna be plenty of men who are gonna set up hedge funds to help other men get rich. Okay. Like you gotta do what you can do. And there's so many, like little tidbits.

[01:36:48] I read so many little articles or maybe it was in a book there's like, you know, if you really want to help, um, The local communities, like I think this happened in Africa, you actually get you make the woman become more entrepreneurial. There's this whole thing where they helped, um, the woman in this village will learn how to make and sell bracelets.

[01:37:05] And it totally transformed the entire village. Not just the people. It was unreal.

[01:37:09] Marie: I love that When you, yeah. When you empower, empower women, right? Like everyone, I just think everyone benefits. Right everybody.

[01:37:17] Josh: Totally. So then in your course too, and like some of the stuff you're selling, you're, you're pretty broad with it, as you said, you're like, I don't want to just focus, especially with the marketing speak is pretty much to everyone. And especially in the SaaS world, they say to do the opposite niche down, have one specific like, um, target market.

[01:37:32] And you're kind of like doing not the opposite, but just like, you're like, well, whoever it's for a lot of different people, I'm interested to hear your thought process, especially in the marketing front there. Cause I know you're not doing heavy ads yet. So when it comes to targeting, I don't know if you are targeting.

[01:37:47] I don't know. Interesting, interesting

[01:37:49] Marie: Yeah. I mean, this is this, it's kind of funny too, because for me making this Notion course was me niching for the first time. Right. I was like, I've been a generalist forever. Uh, you know, mostly kind of worked with, with designers, but I'd often have people on my list who were not designers. And I was like, okay, like who, who are these people that follow me?

[01:38:04] And why do they follow me? Um, and so doubling down on Notion felt like a risk for sure. I was like, do I want to do I want to niche this hard and get known for a specific software? I was like, Oh, I don't know. Um, and I, so I did not take that decision lightly, but I did decide I'm like, F it, this is a chapter.

[01:38:23] Let's try it. Let's like, let's just try it and see what happens. And worst case scenario, I have so many other skills and I've been doing all this other stuff in online courses that I would just shift gears and do something different. Right. I have, I have other products. Uh, so in some ways it felt like a big niche where I'm like, Oh gosh, like this is all like all the people that have followed me in the past, or my friends are going to be like, what?

[01:38:41] And you were working with dokey and now you're working with now, like, what is this? So it, it, it felt a bit murky and confusing at the time. I'm like, who am I? What am I, what does it all mean? Uh, and so, yeah, doubling down a Notion, I thought that was pretty. Pretty niche. But as you said, like, well, Notion attracts so many different types of people.

[01:38:59] And so I think in a way, my niche is probably a little bit more of the small, like entrepreneurs, small teams. And I do kind of speak to that, like people who want to run their life in business in one place, like people who, uh, are seeking that integration, that work-life balance in a way. So in some ways it's, it's almost in terms of values and lifestyle a little bit, even if it's not overt in the marketing.

[01:39:22] So. Uh, yeah, I mean, I guess it is a bit of a marketing challenge because you're like, well, how do I frame it? If I, if I'd framed it like this, I might've missed out on those cool people who joined because of this one over here. So I think we're probably going to create some tracks, like, uh, and for coaches Notion for teams, like I bought, you know, Notion for teams.

[01:39:40] And so in the course we're experimenting with having these little tracks where it's like, Oh, Hey, we've got like a special guest session this week. Like my husband came in this week and did a session on how they're using Notion at, uh, Precision nutrition for a team of 120 people. So like, what are the challenges that come up when you're onboarding that many people, when you're, when you're getting people familiar with a new technology.

[01:40:00] So, um, the more and more that we do these office hours, and I see who is coming into Notion, I can start to say like, okay, we're noticing some trends here. These are the things that keep coming up. Maybe this actually needs to break up and be its own course. Maybe we decide on the sales page as a whole, that that is actually more of the target market.

[01:40:17] And so I think. I think being in that gray zone can be hard for people like you just want, you want to know the answer and have the sales page locked down and that you're good to go. But to me, it's a very iterative process where you're paying attention. Like who are those best customers? Who are the people that asked the best questions.

[01:40:32] that kind of enrich the whole community. How do we keep tailoring the, the content of the course and the content of a sales page for those people specifically? So. Uh, it's, it is a challenge, especially with something as, as open-ended, as Notion, but I'm hoping that by having these sort of, uh, tracks and identifying those unique use cases that we can kind of branch off and that might be a chance for our Skillshare course, right.

[01:40:53] It's like, Oh, let's do a, you know, like here's an example, my most popular video. Was one I made in 2019 was, uh, creating a weekly agenda from scratch in Notion and almost every month, month after month, that is still the most watched, video which is so cringy. Cause of course it's like the first video that you ever make when you don't know anything about YouTube or equipment.

[01:41:13] I'm like, God damn it. Um, And so that video I'm like, you know what, there's so many people looking for that and searching for that and like wanting to transition from a bullet journal to an agenda. It's like, you know what? I really should make a Skillshare course that is, uh, you know, designing a whole weekly agenda routine with Notion.

[01:41:30] Uh, so ideas like that come up. Like you can't really plan that stuff. It's just kind of has to happen over time and you have to be comfortable, uh, listening for that data and watching those signals and reacting to it in real time.

[01:41:42] Josh: Totally. I think that's the way to go. And I think like Notion does a great job on their homepage, right? This like Notion for students, for teams and like kind of just rip a page from their book. And I'm sure if you're close enough with them, you can be like Hey, so what are the types of people signing up? You want to let me know?

[01:41:57] I'm sure you can collaborate that way, but who are the types of people we can create our pages that way. Cause it's, um, synergetic relationship you have with them, right? If you're getting more people interested at, through your course, they're gonna be signing up for the software. Maybe eventually.

[01:42:09] Upgrading to a pro plan, which I think everyone

[01:42:12] Marie: we've got a pretty

[01:42:13] Josh: have an API c'mon notion,

[01:42:16] Marie: no, we have a really good feedback loop with them too. Right. Because, um, you know, I can feed them insight from the course I'll be like, Hey, do you know this many people signed up for the course this month? So it gives them an idea that people are really willing to invest in this as a tool for their future.

[01:42:30] So, uh, and we do a pretty extensive onboarding, um, You know, intake form too, just to like, what are the tools you've been using before? What's your biggest frustration, uh, what would make this course a success for you? What's your industry, your role. So it's cool to kind of see who is most attracted. And so my assistant will actually go through and, um, kind of do these monthly reports where it's like, Hey, you know, this month it was like 60% project managers, or we had people keep mentioning Google docs, or like, for example, the number of people that say binge watched your YouTube videos.

[01:43:00] It actually used the word bingeing. Right. So that's why I went back to my sales page. It was like, so you've binged all the YouTube videos. Like it's really just using their own words again. Right. So, um, yeah.

[01:43:12] Josh: is so great. And it's so funny, you said that because I was literally going to bring up the point that, you know, it was going to be your older videos that people find on YouTube, because it's such a good search engine. It's like finding an old blog post, but it's hard because you can't edit that video.

[01:43:24] Well, maybe you can Can you replace videos on YouTube? I don't, I can't

[01:43:27] Marie: can like make small edits or like cut stuff out, but I don't think you can full on replace the video, but I could be wrong.

[01:43:33] Josh: But hopefully they go to your channel and then they see, you know, browse by newest uploads or, Oh, it's a lot better. its just old whatever, but it's good that you did that right at the time you did. And this goes back to what we're saying earlier. Just like do it before you're ready. You know, write those blog posts, make those YouTube videos because you know, I might come back, you know, maybe not a month later, but maybe a year or two later, which is insane.

[01:43:54] Marie: it's like compound interest right. From, from creating. And so the sooner it's like get into the market sooner, like as soon as you can. And so, uh, forget, forget all the fancy stuff. Like I had people making fun of my hair, cause my hair was like really messy in a video. And I was just like, I didn't know anyone who was watching.

[01:44:09] I had like 50 YouTube subscribers at that point. Like I was just. Making a helpful video screw off. Right. So, so now I'm like, God damn people are watching. I have to actually put a little bit more, more effort in, so, but just start, you know, you just got to start.

[01:44:22] Josh: Yeah, but it's good at least you know that now, now it's like, you, you have like read this like quote, it was like, we don't rise to the, our highest standards. We actually fall to our lowest standards. So now like your lower standards, just keep rising, you know?

[01:44:37] Marie: Yeah, exactly.

[01:44:38] Josh: That's just kind of how I view it. So I think like, you know, even with this podcast, if you go back to the first one, it was like, just on zoom, wasn't using really good mics I didn't even post the videos cause of my no, it's really bad quality. then eventually Okay. There's like video involved now I'm using Riverside. So we have good quality. Thank God you have an awesome camera. So it looks really professional here while we both have great cameras, cameras, So it's, you know, it's, it's iterative and it just keeps going on.

[01:45:03] So it's interesting to see that grow, but,

[01:45:05] Marie: And I think, like you said that 1%, like it's a smaller percentage of people who are willing to push through that discomfort. Right. But it, it gives you such an edge. If you can just learn to like, sit with the discomfort. just shipping with wherever you're at, you are going to be, you're already going to be in the top 10% of people, for sure.

[01:45:22] Josh: Absolutely. It just takes time. You gotta stick through it and, you know, just pick and I couldn't get into Ali's course. I wanted to do as YouTube course, but he limited it. And by the time I wanted to get in, I was like, fuck

[01:45:32] Marie: I'm just like, do you hate making money? I don't understand. That's why I'm all like, evergreen is like that trickle of income. And I get it, you know, in his case, like he's doing these, um, live, live cohorts or whatever, but I'm still quite surprised that he's, uh, that he kind of capped it at such a small amount of people.

[01:45:48] Josh: Maybe For now he wants to keep it exclusive so that even more people want it for the next one. I think he's smart about it. He's a smart guy. I think I know. I think he knows what he's

[01:45:55] Marie: I've learned a ton in his course. Yeah. I like it. If, and when you, you get on that, like it's, it's a gem for

[01:46:01] Josh: A hundred 100 because it's great. He talks about the compound interest. He's he's showed his story about that curve and it just, it takes so much time. You got to fight through those little, little, um, tiny, incremental growth periods to get that exponential. Right? You got to have like a huge library of stuff before people can binge your stuff.

[01:46:19] You can't binge stuff. If there's nothing to watch.

[01:46:22] Marie: It's funny when I see people shipping products and there know like put, like put their sales page out there and they're like, nobody's bought yet. And I was like, how, how do people know what you're up to? I see no blog posts and you haven't shipped anything in two years. You're not on YouTube. Like, like pick a channel.

[01:46:37] Like you got to pick some channel to be producing some content out there. And obviously. Yeah. You know, I lean toward the ones that have more of that long tail. You know, YouTube, obviously as a search engine is huge. Having some written content. If you're already doing videos, can you, you know, transcribe that, like there's so many tools now to make that stuff a little bit easier, but there's kind of a, there's kind of no, excuse.

[01:46:57] You have to get your ideas out there and get people buying in on your ideas before they're buying it on your product. Right.

[01:47:02] Josh: Totally. It's a content game and doing this, I call it. Transmedia like, you kind of just described it. You know, you start with like a big piece of content. In my case is this podcast. These can be split up into 10 minute videos for YouTube. The the audio version. I then we'll do probably 10 to 30 second video clips that will go to Tik TOK, even.

[01:47:19] So some of the stuff might be on tech talks. If you're scrolling tech talk and you see

[01:47:22] Marie: Fascinating. Yeah,

[01:47:23] Josh: transmedia so maybe Tik TOK will be great for you. Do another little growth, little tik tok Here's 30 second notion tips on doing a tik tok Tik tok ismassive People are so underrating, tik tok It's awesome.

[01:47:36] It's amazing. Viral

[01:47:39] Marie: I've seen a video there. My friends always sending me amazing plant tik toks which I appreciate.

[01:47:43] Josh: Yeah, it's awesome. Right? Well, Marie, I don't want to keep you too much longer. This was such a fantastic conversation and went in so many different directions that I was hoping it would think it pretty much covered all the stuff that I wanted to. Yeah. Um, I'm super excited to keep seeing your YouTube videos come up and, um, Yeah, I just want to ask you a few more questions before we get going I have to end this off on a high note with this podcast.

[01:48:05] So I'll ask you right now. What is something that you're super excited about coming in the near future?

[01:48:14] Marie: Working on an, uh, certification on unschools um, education, facilitation, um, Certification, so to improve my facilitation skills. So I'm just really excited about, uh, continuing to do that. Um, and yeah, figuring out my permaculture permaculture business framework that's emerging. So it's, uh, I'm in that uncomfortable, you know, gray zone.

[01:48:35] I'm like, ah, it's forming. I don't know what it all means, what it's gonna look like, but it's, it's something I'm just looking forward to, uh, being in process with and talking more about, and just again, like throwing ideas out there and like seeing what sticks and seeing how it resonates with people.

[01:48:49] Josh: Oh, I love that. I think I smell a book coming. Maybe that's kind of what it's coming to it.

[01:48:54] Marie: Probably

[01:48:54] Josh: Yeah. Um, well, I mean, yeah, I mean, just judging by. Your love for plants, business systems. It just kind of makes sense that it will all come together that way. You know, I think there'll be like a unifying theory of life and business that comes

[01:49:07] out.

[01:49:07] Marie: thats it I'm working

[01:49:09] on it.

[01:49:09] Josh: That's what it is highly recommend reading. If you haven't heard of it Optionality by Richard Meadows, just by the way he wrote it, because it's his theory of everything. He just used optionality as his theory of everything. And then the way he broke it down, highly recommend it. I'm halfway through the book.

[01:49:25] It's incredible. I want him to answer me on Twitter so he can be on this God damn podcast, but highly, I recommend highly recommend his book. It's really well written. It's great.

[01:49:36] Um, yeah, so this is awesome, Marie, thank you so much. And before we get going, where can people find you online? Where can they find the course?If they're interested and yeah. Where can they connect with you?

[01:49:47] Marie: Yeah, Marie Poulin on almost all the channels. So Marie Poulin on Twitter. Twitter is kind of where I do my daily business musings and whatnot, uh, If you're curious about the course, if you just want to see a little bit more about kind of. Uh, my work and what I'm up to and blogging and whatnot.

[01:50:05] Josh: Uh, Instagram, if you'd like more of the personal behind the business life side of things, garden side of things. Uh, but you can pretty much search Marie Poulin and I think I own most of those channels. That'sawesome I had a, had to put an underscore at the end of my name. I'm pretty pissed off about it, especially when they're not like in use. You know, when your actual name is not in use. I gotta contact someone at instgram come on guys

[01:50:27] Well this was awesome. Thank you again. This was incredible and I hope we get to do this again and see where things go in the next six months or a year.

[01:50:35] Marie: yeah. Like hit me, hit me up in six months and let's see where things are going. But yeah. Thank you so much for having me. I really appreciate it.

[01:50:41] Josh: Yeah, no problem. And if you need a guest for office hours, see how people use podcasting, VR, crazy stuff. I've been using Notion for some really cool shit lately. So if you're ever looking for

[01:50:51] Marie: definitely. I'll be definitely hitting you up for that.

[01:50:54] Josh: Perfect. All right, well, take care. I know you're a couple hours aF um, ahead of me, so have a good night and for everyone listening, thanks for listening to the podcast and we'll see you next time.

Thanks for coming this far! if you're reading this, it is no accident. The universe brought you to this corner of the internet for a reason, and you're on the right track. I already know that you're an amazing person and I can't wait to connect with you!

— Josh

Episode Transcript

Josh Gonsalves
Mind Meld Podcast Host

Hi, I'm Josh Gonsalves, the host and producer of Mind Meld. I'm also a Canadian Academy Award-nominated director and Co-founder of Contraverse, an immersive media company. I'm a multi-media experience designer living and working in Toronto, operating at the intersection of design and exponential technologies to develop solutions that change the world for the better.

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