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Marie Forleo Spent the Last 17 Years Building a Booming Lifestyle Business

Image credit: marieforleobschool.com

Marie Forleo is one of today’s most influential online business personalities. If you’re a life coach or consultant who has considered going digital, you’re probably a fan. Rightfully so, since Oprah named her a thought leader for the next generation. Forleo aims to help entrepreneurs build not only a thriving online business, but a life they truly love.

Forleo’s brand gained serious momentum after she was interviewed by Tony Robbins in 2011, and she reached celebrity status after appearing on Oprah in 2012. What is surprising, however, is that Forleo has been building her brand -- online, mind you -- for 17 years.

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During that time, she became an iconic example of strong personal branding, creating the award-winning online show MarieTV which boasts over 230,000 subscribers. She is also the founder of the popular online business course, B-School, which boasts thousands of graduates and has mentored young business owners at Richard Branson’s Centre of Entrepreneurship.

Here are five tips Forleo shared on how she built her incredible online business -- and how you can too.

1. Take action.

Not sure where to start? Instead of researching your options, get out there and experience things firsthand. She started on Wall Street, dove into a publishing career, dabbled as a Nike elite trainer and was even the face of a few dance workout videos. Eventually she stumbled on life coaching and knew she’d found the perfect blend of creativity and business.

Feeling unsure or stuck? Get out of your head and do something, Forleo says. Forleo insists action -- not thought -- produces clarity.

“Stop [thinking]. Write an email, make a call, take a step," she says. "Stop talking to yourself in your head and do something.”

2. Stay focused on adding value.

Forleo started her YouTube show on her couch answering questions. Today, she’s in a fashionable studio with a production team. Some have criticized her image, implying she is too polished and no longer approachable for the beginner entrepreneur.

She’s heard it all before. She explained that she formalized the episodes, because she could add more value if she scripted them out rather than creating them on the fly. Her show became more of a production, because she did what all smart entrepreneurs do -- delegated, so she can focus on what she does best: Create valuable content.

“For me to go through my closet is not a smart use of my time as a business person,"she says. "I realized as I was picking out my own clothes, it was a major stressor for me, rather than devoting my energy and attention to actually taking care of people and researching and writing. It's a no-brainer."

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3. Take care of your calling.

“[A key] for me was not expecting my baby business to pay the bills, not being in a race, being patient and being willing to be small and scrappy,” she says.

At 23, Forleo discovered life coaching and knew she’d found her calling -- but it would be seven years before that calling paid the bills. She built her business while doing other odd jobs, and she encourages other beginner entrepreneurs and small business owners to be patient.

4. Stay present.

Driven, ambitious types tend to focus on achieving a goal, only to set another, larger goal. Forleo realized early on that, if left unchecked, a goal-centric life can lead to unhappiness, constantly feeling behind. Find a way to enjoy the journey, because the reality, Forleo reminds us, is that life is short.

“Show up in every moment as if you’re fully meant to be there, and everything else will work out," she says. "You can always feel like you’re falling behind, or you can ask ‘How can I squeeze every drop out of my life?’ To feel consistent angst that you’re not good enough is such a disrespect to this precious life that we have.”

5. Stay in tune with your gut, even in business.

Forleo leads her own business with her heart, which has clearly served her well. It is also another reason behind her massive success, because she started teaching others to do the same, at a time when the entrepreneurship space was void of the “purpose in business” concept. No matter what experts tell you, your inner wisdom needs to drive all of your decisions, Forleo says.

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“Listen to your gut and your heart," she says. "That takes practice, but it’s important.”

For more insights from the interview, check out the video below.