Momentum Podcast: 577
Nearly Bankrupt to Booming with Marley Baird Pt. 2
by Alex Charfen
The podcast episode I did a few months ago with our client, Marley Baird, turned out to be the most sought after and high-performing episode we've had in the last six months.
As promised, Marley came back on the show for part 2 of that episode to give us an update.
We dive into what's happened in her business and with her team since we last spoke, and reveal if she ended up going bankrupt or if she made it through.
Also, make sure to listen until the very end so you hear Marley's special announcement. I'll give you a hint, the opportunity she has coming up is something almost every entrepreneur dreams about.
Full Audio Transcript
This is the Momentum Podcast. A few months ago, I recorded a podcast with one of our clients that has been talked about, mentioned and brought up more than any podcast I've ever recorded with somebody. That client is Marley Baird from Marley Baird Media, and I'm so excited she's back today to give us an update on what's going on in her business, what's happening with her team, and to let us know if she went out of business or actually continued and grew. You're going to love the answer.
I'm Alex Charfen and this is the Momentum Podcast. Made for empire builders, game changers, trailblazers, shot takers, record breakers, world makers and creators of all kinds. Those among us who can't turn it off and don't know why anyone would want to. We challenge complacency, destroy apathy, and we are obsessed with creating momentum so we can roll over bureaucracy and make our greatest contribution.
Sure, we pay attention to their rules, but only so that we can bend them, break them, then rewrite them around our own will. We don't accept our destiny. We define it. We don't understand defeat because you only lose if you stop and we don't know how. While the rest of the world strives for average and clings desperately to the status quo, we are the minority, the few who are willing to hallucinate there could be a better future. And instead of just daydreaming of what could be, we endure the vulnerability and exposure it takes to make it real. We are the evolutionary hunters, clearly the most important people in the world, because entrepreneurs are the only source of consistent, positive human evolution and we always will be.
Marley, I am so excited to have you back. Before we even start, I just want to get this out there that the podcast that we recorded about the challenges you were having in your business is one of not only the most downloaded podcasts, but it has to be the most discussed and commented on episode we've had in the past six months. So it was awesome. Marley Baird: It was my pleasure too. And I still get so excited... I mean, it was very vulnerable to share that and painful in the moment of what we talked about. But when I still get messages from people being like, "Oh my God, I'm there right now." Or, "I had that, the PTSD is real." I'm so happy to just talk about it with them. Alex Charfen: Well, let's catch everybody up. For those who haven't heard the first podcast, this is actually an update to that podcast. So you can go back and listen to the last one I've recorded with Marley, but let's give everybody the one minute catch up on what we talked about the last time. Go ahead. Marley Baird: So it April this year, my business was broken and I know that you say if all goes well, it always will be, but it was broken-
Alex Charfen: It was broken in a way that's was not good.
Marley Baird: Not good. I was bleeding. I could have lost everything. My line of credit was in the six figures because my line of credit was... Personal line of credit was paying for the business, and I didn't have the right team, we didn't have the right plan, and we were about to go under unless we made a drastic change and thanks to you, we made the right change.
Alex Charfen: And the change was dramatic, Marley. It wasn't just subtle changes in the business. You actually made huge personnel changes, right? Marley Baird: Yeah. We had to let go of three people on the same day and they were very key people in the business.
Alex Charfen: It's interesting that... And I think that's why so many people were shocked by the podcast, because you know what we don't talk about as entrepreneurs? We don't talk about the challenges. We don't talk about letting people go. We don't talk about the emotional consequences of having people on your team and having things not work out. We talked about it on the recording we did previously, and I think that's what I heard most from people was like, "It's the first time I've ever heard someone acknowledge the pain I've been through."
I think as entrepreneurs we hide it so much because in most circles, when you hit $1 million, you're the winner. You have to pretend you're the winner, but we all know, there's a reason why I have a podcast called Million Dollar Businesses Are Broken, the Myth of the Million Dollar Business. A million dollars isn't enough because we're still falling apart when we're at that level. I just want to mention something. From the podcast we did, which everybody who's listening should go back and listen to, I recorded a podcast yesterday with the first member of our Catalyst Group, which is a group for six figure entrepreneurs, lower six figure entrepreneurs. Her name's Heather Wright and she joined Catalyst as our first member because she listened to your podcast, as our first member of accelerator. Just energetically, I thought that was amazing. She's like, "Oh, I love Marley and I've never even met her."
It was so cool. So let's get an update. Marley. Last time we set up what was going on in your business, you had to let go of three people. You're walking into the huddle to tell everyone what's going on. You tell me, what did it feel like going into that huddle that morning? Marley Baird: I was scared they were going to jump ship. I just had to let go of three key people, some people that the other members relied on or worked with every single day and they were shocked.
Alex Charfen: And reported to in some cases. Marley Baird: Absolutely. They were shocked, and I didn't know if they were going to say, "Well, we're out too," or, "Geez, this ship is going down so I got to jump before I go down with it." But it was the opposite and that shocked me and it's still makes me misty-eyed, that these people who are still with me today, they stayed because they believed in what we were doing and had faith with me that we were going to rebuild.
Alex Charfen: You know, Marley, so often entrepreneurs have that fear that if they're transparent and real with their team and tell them everything, they're going to run away. One of the things that I share is if you're transparent and real, it really doesn't matter what's going on, they probably will not run away. I'm sure there's cases where there's mutinies and there's cases where there's been mismanagement, but when you are transparent with human beings, isn't it crazy how quickly they step in to help?
Marley Baird: My team thanked me for being honest and for making the right decision. They saw it as the right decision too. Even in the future, there are personnel changes in a business, and when we have had to let people go, I have found, and this is also from what I've learned from you, that it's better for me to explain, "Here's why it didn't work out," instead of them thinking the worst case scenario and then having gossip or drama on the team because there's no reason why I need to hide what's really going on.
Alex Charfen: That's one of the things that we coach is that when you terminate someone, you let the team know what really happened in a transparent and real way so that they understand. Because here's what happens on most teams, Marley, is when somebody is terminated, everybody else thinks "I'm next." By telling everyone what was really going on in reality, you defused that feeling of I'm next, didn't you? Marley Baird: Yeah, absolutely. Again, they thanked me for that decision and for sharing that with them. I think that when... In other businesses, they keep things close to their chest and they don't share. For me to be vulnerable, they see it as refreshing or different, and I just see it as, how could I be anything different?
Alex Charfen: Here's how I always share vulnerability with people is that, especially as a CEO, when you're vulnerable and you tell people what's happened and you tell people the challenges you've been through and how you're feeling, it makes us as human beings feel tiny and small, and it makes us feel vulnerable. But what we don't realize is that the perspective from someone else watching someone be vulnerable, they look huge. They look like they're on top of the world. They look like they're capable and they're real and they're present and they're a human being that we can help. When you allow your team to see when you're vulnerable, it actually allows them to help you in the way you need. Is that what you experienced? Marley Baird: Yeah, and it gives them permission to also do the same. I never want my team to be feeling like, "I have to do this because I'm obligated," and then their personal, mental, emotional wellbeing goes downhill. Like my, my job as a leader is to create more leaders in my team, and that starts with me being vulnerable and transparent with them so that they can do the same.
Alex Charfen: 100%. So few business owners actually believe in that and practice it, but when you do, life just gets easier. But I want to take people back to the fallout. So last time we recorded a podcast, we let everybody know your company was imploding, it was a challenge, you had to let three people go, you're walking in the huddle and to let everybody know what's happening. We now know that the team stuck with you. What else did you have to deal with through all those changes, Marley? Marley Baird: We definitely had to deal with... I mean, we had to rebuild the foundation of... Here's what we sell, but how do we sell that better and how do we have the right team to be able to execute on this? So looking at the services that we provide, and now that we lost three people, how do we now take over that workload? And what surprised me was actually it was easier than I thought. I would think letting go of three people would be like, "Oh my God, now I have three times more work on my plate," which I think might've also said something about just how I had divided the workload among people. I had to take on the sales all by myself, so I was on sales calls a lot and I learned a lot. That was amazing for me to be able to speak to our potential clients or prospects myself, and then from there be able to create products and services based on what I myself was hearing, and that was what helped us move forward.
But there was struggle with... The people that I let go were obviously not happy. There were some situations where they came back and tried to get more money, and I had to send some... That tried to steal clients. Had to send some cease and desists and... I like hearing this from you too, as an entrepreneur we have to recognize and have that awareness for "where am I at emotionally? I am triggered." So first of all, it's great to have a lawyer to be able to do some of the communication for me, but also to take a step back and be like, "This is not me. This is not a reflection of me. But here's how I'm going to communicate tactfully, so I don't have any regrets," because I don't regret anything that happened. It's unfortunate, of course. It's business. When I have to let people go, it affects their families and I feel that, but I also can't support someone else's family to the detriment of my own, and it was at the time. So I had to really check myself and see what behavior will I be proud of in the future and who can I have to support me in this? Which, a lot of that was you. Thank you.
Alex Charfen: Well, and our team, right? When a client's in crisis, we jump in and we do what we need to, but most clients don't apply as well as you do and get as aggressive as you did about recovering this, because you didn't just kind of recover from this, right?
Marley Baird: Yeah.
Alex Charfen: I think even in one of the conversations we had, I remember either saying that to Deanna to tell you or telling you directly like, "Hey, sometimes when you're in a situation like this and there's a lot of operational drag and you get rid of it all at once and you recognize that there's some challenges with how things are set up, oftentimes it's like you've been pulling back a rubber band or a slingshot and when you let everybody go, it's multiplication through subtraction. You let go of the slingshot and things go crazy." Is that what you experienced?
Marley Baird: We were immediately profitable. To go from so many negative months in a row and hustling and trying to figure out what was going to work. We let go of those three people, which again was emotional for so many of us, but we were immediately profitable, and even just that freedom of, "Oh my God, I can breathe again," changed the dynamic, changed the energy and allowed us to move forward.
Alex Charfen: Now, it wasn't just that you are profitable immediately from cutting expenses. You almost immediately saw a lift in business too, didn't you?
Marley Baird: I feel like that was part of the energy thing, was I felt like I was drowning. That was the narrative in my mind every day is like, "Oh my God, I'm drowning, I'm drowning, I'm drowning." And then to get on the call with you guys, be like, "You're not just drowning, you're bleeding. So here's what we have to do. Triage." Again, it was bittersweet because I'm so sad to let these people go and know the fallout that they're going to have personally, and that now I have to go through this journey of recovering, and really I got a message the other day. It was like, "There's like PTSD with this." One of my employees just told me that she's pregnant and one of the other girls that I had to let go of this was also pregnant. I was like, "Oh my God, flashback." But his isn't the same situation. This is totally different. But yeah, with that pressure being offloaded financially, knowing that I can breathe again and I can actually pay my own bills this month, I felt like it put me into a different space creatively to be able to come up with solutions instead of being worried about the stress and how I was being dragged down.
Alex Charfen: This is one of those things we talk about all the time. It's part of our theory on momentum is there's two ways to get into momentum. You can do all the work it takes to get up and running and go, or you can just drop a lot of noise, purge a lot of drag, get rid of the things that aren't giving you momentum and it'll almost automatically happen. Did you feel a lot of that? Marley Baird: Immediately. We had profit the same day and I was like, "Was it that easy?" And it wasn't, it wasn't that easy because there was still, "Okay, now how do we be consistent? How do we grow from this and get out of the debt?"
Alex Charfen: So let's talk about where you are now because I want people to know not just how you've kind of recovered, but what's really happening in the business now, because the last podcast was a discussion on how you almost closed the doors and felt like you were going to have to. Where are things now? Marley Baird: I'm very glad to say that I did not have to move into my parents' basement. Alex Charfen: Because that was a consideration.
Marley Baird: If I want to keep playing this game, I'm going to have to sell my house. So bad. We rebuilt. Again, from what I was hearing from the prospects and the applicants on the phone, I was hearing exactly what they wanted. And there was definitely a period of stress where I was on eight hours a day of sales calls and then working another eight hours in the evening to fulfill those clients. What I learned in your program is the five core functions. Lead generation, lead nurture, lead conversion, fulfillment, and then retention upsell. I know your content pretty well. Alex Charfen: You could train it, Marley.
Marley Baird: When I didn't know what was going to happen, I was like, "I will go apply to work with Charfen." [inaudible 00:14:50]. Alex Charfen: You would be ineligible to work for us. I already know what you're capable of. [inaudible 00:14:53]. Marley Baird: Okay, so that's off the table. I don't remember what the question was.
Alex Charfen: No, no. You answered the question. When when entrepreneurs go through... Here's what's interesting,
Marley, is when you're going through this... I want to just come back to something you said. You said that you're feeling like a little symptoms of PTSD and then you laughed about it. It's like, "Oh, PTSD, ha ha." But here's what I think we need to really recognize as entrepreneurs and this is real, is that we expose ourselves to a level of trauma and pressure and noise that the average person would fold after really just a day in our lives. If you look at the ambiguity and the pressure and the things that an entrepreneur deals with in a 24 hour period, most human beings would check out after about four or five hours. They wouldn't even know I'm making a day of our lives. So when you look at how different we're wired, I think one of the things that we must acknowledge is that when we have stress in the business, when there's interpersonal stress, when there's things that trigger us personally, that actually does cause trauma, and it does cause the symptoms of PTSD. I can't imagine what it felt like with previous operator had got pregnant, there was a big issue with it. Now you hear somebody in the business is pregnant, immediately you start bringing in all that trauma from the past. Isn't that fair? Marley Baird: Absolutely.
Alex Charfen: I know you and a lot of our other clients I've actually started looking at how do you offload trauma? One of the things we talk about constantly is EMDR. I've used it, we recommend it for people all the time. We just put out an EMDR guide on how to go get EMDR therapy for trauma release. But Marley, would you mind just sharing a little bit about your experience doing that?
Marley Baird: Yeah, I tried EMDR. I even found someone, because I travel a lot, someone that does virtual EMDR that I can go over Zoom and have appointments with him that way. A lot of it was just like allowing myself that self care, which was hard to balance, to be honest because I had lots of sales calls now that... We had launched a new funnel right after letting those people go and we had a lot of applications and I was like, "This is great." But then having eight hours a day of sales calls and eight hours a day of then fulfilling for those clients that I was able to close, I was drowning and then had to look at, "Okay well where do I have to reinvest first in the business?" Hired a sales person. He's amazing. I should never do a sales call ever again because he's much better than me. And finding how do I take the time that I have and the ROI, the investment of that time is going to give dividends to not just me and my family, but my team too. I needed to heal from that so that instead of being triggered when an employee comes to me like "I'm pregnant," being like, "Screw you."
Alex Charfen: Or "Oh God, it's going to all fall down."
Marley Baird: That's the worst reaction. [inaudible 00:17:50]. That I could be present and let the baggage stay in the past. To heal from that, unpack it.
Alex Charfen: I think that's so crucial, Marley, because one of the things that we do as leaders in our business is we validate the people around us. We provide validation, we actually provide them a mirror for how they see value. So when somebody comes to a CEO and says, "I'm pregnant," if you can be in your body, untriggered and say, "Congratulations, I'm really excited for you," That actually builds trust and builds that relationship. But if you're in a place as a CEO where you've experienced previous trauma around somebody being pregnant or sick or needing time off or whatever the thing is that triggers you, and you're not in your body in that moment and you invalidate the request, it can actually challenge the trust you have with that team member. I don't think most CEOs go through the thought process of understanding when I'm present, I actually create more trust with my team. Marley Baird: Your video of being a CEO is the most spiritual undertaking, that... CEOs need to have that level of awareness and it's something that I feel is a priority in developing that awareness and no matter what you believe in spiritually, just to have that connection with yourself.
Alex Charfen: Yeah. Marley, in the time that we've worked together, I've watched you grow and evolve as an entrepreneur in ways that like... They're truly extraordinary. Where do you think you've experienced the biggest change? I'll share what I think, but where do you think? Marley Baird: I feel like I've stepped into... I didn't know this was what I wanted at the time, was being a leader. And it's not just being an influencer on social media, it's leading for my team, for my family, for my clients, so that I can develop them into leaders so that the business can move without me because of the leaders in my leadership team. For my clients to get the best results because they become leaders for their movement and having that vision so that instead of just, I don't know, regurgitating content that I see on social media, it's like, "What do I actually want and how do I create the plan to get there?" That it's more than just... It's not just me, it's bigger than me.
Alex Charfen: That's awesome, Marley. So let me share with you what I... Just my reflection on having worked with you and known you in this time. It's very similar, but I think what I've seen happen is that you've gone from someone who was trying to figure out how to sell a product and how to have a business, to someone who is creating this level of expertise in what you do that is now sought after and seen as a level of expertise, and I mean there's an announcement that we haven't made yet but you are clearly getting recognized as an expert in this field. Can we make the announcement?
Marley Baird: Yes, because it'll be live by the time that this podcast goes live, that I am speaking at Funnel Hacking Live this year.
Alex Charfen: I'm so excited, Marley. So it goes from... Let's take a minute and just look at what you've achieved. You went from having a business that you had built up to then having challenges, having to make major, major changes that most businesses, let's be honest, would not have survived and most entrepreneurs would not have stayed present through, to now building your business back up to over seven figures, and you're going to be on stage in what potentially could be what, five or 6,000 people in a few months? Marley Baird: Yes. I watched the video of when Russell asked me, because he asked me to get on Zoom, and so I watched the video again, be like, "That actually happened? It's still... Oh, okay. It's happening. All right. See you there."
Alex Charfen: It's extraordinary, Marley. There's more shifts coming. I can see them coming and I can just watch... I'm so excited to watch this evolution and I can't wait to see what happens once you're on stage. I think that could be the next accelerator that takes this business into an entirely new level and entirely new stratosphere. It's going to be really fun to watch.
Marley Baird: Thank you.
Alex Charfen: Yeah, you got it. Marley, thanks so much for spending this time with us. I think your ability to not only share what's happened but share it in a way that entrepreneurs hear is extraordinary, so after Funnel Hacking Live, can we have you back and then give everybody another update? Marley Baird: I will hold you to it. Yes, please.
Alex Charfen: Awesome. And for anybody who's listening, I want you guys to know what Marley does. So Marley's actually helped me. She flew into town with Wayne for a day and talked to me about how I was recording videos, how I was introducing them, what I was putting in the content and she made some minor tweaks that made huge changes in how our videos get viewed and how people pay attention to them. She's also the premier person out there... If you're putting out video content and you want to get more distributed video content, you have to look at what Marley's been doing. She's known now for some of the biggest names out there. Where can people get more information?
Marley Baird: Marleybairdmedia.com or hit me up on YouTube or Instagram. Alex Charfen: And did I give a good description? It's people who are looking to get the right type of video to drive business back to them, right? Marley Baird: Yeah. We want to create impact driven, profit focused video assets. Attention online is a massive asset for you to have for people to be able to find you and be able to indoctrinate them through your value ladder. So we create your visibility ladder for people to be able to find you and go through each level and indoctrinate them into your offers.
Alex Charfen: So for anyone listening, I just want to put this out there. I've been in production since I was 21, I've done hundreds of hours on live TV. I've sold hundreds of millions of dollars on home shopping and other stuff. And I've done, I don't know how many thousands of presentations and speeches, but the day that I spent with Marley completely changed how I still record videos for social media today. So she has a level of expertise that just isn't out there anywhere else. That's why I wouldn't hire you. You need to keep doing this because you're amazing and there's nobody else out there like you. Thanks for being here with us today, Marley. Check out marleybairdmedia.com, and if you want to get some more informations on Accelerator, which Marley's in, or Catalyst our new coaching program, go to billionairecode.com, fill out some information for my team, and we'll make sure we jump on a call with you.
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