Say no. — Warren Buffet said it best — “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that the really successful people say no more often.” When you say yes to something, you say no to something else. I’m someone who wants to serve, go above and beyond, and give so much to people. I want to overdeliver and say yes, but at the same time, I can’t give my all unless I’m very intentional with my time. I can give more to more people, if I say no to distractions and stay focused on the goal.
As a part of our series about entrepreneurs who transformed something they did for fun into a full-time career, I had the pleasure of interviewing Marley Baird. Working with top dogs like Daymond John, Cristy Code Red, Alex Charfen, Rachel Pedersen, Stephen Larsen, and having worked events with Gary Vaynerchuck, Seth Godin, Randi Zuckerberg, and Robin Sharma — Marley leads her dream team specializing in impact-driven and profit-focused video strategy.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a bit about your “childhood backstory”?
I was always a high achiever, but not because my parents put any pressure on me to succeed. I was never nagged to do my homework, or take on extracurricular activities — actually, my Mom would tell me to slow down sometimes but she also taught me to put in a minimum of 100% into everything I do.
My parents were my examples of hard work, commitment, and integrity which are my highest values. My Dad would go to work at his 9–5, come home to spend time with the family, and then work on his business until late at night and do it all again the next day. AND excellent with financial management. He worked downtown and never spent a dime on parking because he would walk for miles to get to work. Call it stubborn — but still, committed!
What was the catalyst from transforming your hobby or something you love into a business? Can you share the story of your “ah ha” moment with us?
I’m not sure if it was a huge ‘ah ha’ moment, but rather a gradual journey towards what the business is now. One of the reasons why I started a business was because my husband Wayne got into a dirt bike accident months before our wedding and couldn’t work. So, it was up to me to bring home the bacon! At the time, I was working as a dental hygienist which, lets be honest, people don’t even like going to the dentist, so working for one was kind of “meh”. I had picked up some social media marketing on the side for some local clients. That side business started to take off to the point where I was running to the bathroom between patients to hide and do social media for my clients, and I started making enough money to finally quit my full time job, which was a huge step for me.
I would say one of the biggest ‘ah ha’ moments was realizing that I could have freedom with my time. Instead of being stuck working at a job where I needed to get permission to go to a doctor’s appointment or take time off, I could create a life where I was free of that. Money can be replenished, but time is our most valuable and non-renewable resource. I don’t want to spend it doing something that I don’t enjoy!
There are no shortage of good ideas out there, but people seem to struggle in taking a good idea and translating it into an actual business. How did you overcome this challenge?
Surrounding myself with like-minded entrepreneurs. Investing in masterminds and events where some of the greatest ideas are floating around and there are people there to help you hone in to those ideas. Talking to business mentors and coaches who have been on the journey and have built 6,7,8 figure business from scratch from one little idea that they had.
What advice would you give someone who has a hobby or pastime that they absolutely love but is reluctant to do it for a living?
As cliche as it sounds, you’ll never really know unless you try. If it’s an idea that you keep thinking about, you’ll know deep down that you have a business idea that could potentially be your way to make an impact on the world and have the ability to do it full time. Start small — write your ideas down and do it as a side hustle first. You don’t have to start big right away, but the point is to just start.
It’s said that the quickest way to take the fun out of doing something is to do it for a living. How do you keep from changing something you love into something you dread? How do you keep it fresh and enjoyable?
It’s really what your definition of fun is. For me, I love my work. I was able to turn my hobby into a business, therefore I love working and I find that fun. I think it’s important to realize early on that no, it’s not always going to be amazing. There are going to be highs and lows, but it’s important to know that you can overcome them. I believe in working within your ‘zone of genius’, which is what each member of my team does every day as well. It’s easy to enjoy what you’re doing when you’re operating in your zone of genius and if it’s not, to delegate or outsource those tasks to the people who are really great at them.
Of course, it’s not going to be ‘fun’ all the time, especially when you’re dealing with difficult situations and putting out fires — but it’s also not ‘fun’ to stay stuck at a job that you really can’t see yourself doing 40, 50 years from now. It’s choosing which road you want to be on.
What is it that you enjoy most about running your own business? What are the downsides of running your own business? Can you share what you did to overcome these drawbacks?
I enjoy running a business with my husband, leading my dream team, travelling to work with incredible, world changing clients, and meeting some great entrepreneurs along the way. I’ve met some of my best friends being in this industry!
One of the downsides of running a business is making tough decisions, like letting people go who you really care about and are great people. Having a support system and a mentor helps me overcome these drawbacks. They talk me through tough decisions and give me real, honest advice.
Can you share what was the most striking difference between your actual job and how you thought the job would be?
The most surprising part about being an entrepreneur is how much I love being a leader. When I was in my 20’s, I used to work for a company that did events with famous speakers like Gary Vaynerchuck and Seth Godin and they would often talk about leadership. At the time, I didn’t really know what that meant. I had this mindset that I had to do everything myself but now I realize that to make the impact that I really want to make, I can’t do it alone. Now, a big part of my career is to lead a team. I’ve been lucky and fortunate to have mentors that have taught me about how to lead a team and I get to go further and make a bigger impact on the world because of them.
Has there ever been a moment when you thought to yourself “I can’t take it anymore, I’m going to get a “real” job? If so how did you overcome it?
There was a rough time when we were in the red for so many months and our debt kept growing to the point where I was afraid we would lose our house. Instead of throwing in the towel, and going back to a “real” stable job, I used it as motivation to learn, pivot, keep going and growing the company.
Today, as this interview is happening, I shared with my team on our daily huddle that we hit a 6-figure month — one of the most profitable months that we’ve seen as a company! When it feels impossible, that’s when you pivot instead of quitting.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Something that I put a lot of effort into, is getting to know my clients and their business. When we signed a new client, I took the time to audit her YouTube channel all the way to her content from 10 years ago. She had a video of her niece playing the flute and in the caption, she wrote about how her niece is actually her daughter but she’s waiting until she’s a little bit older to tell her the truth.
Because her level of fame is increasing, my mind immediately went to wanting to protect my client from a potential scandal. I worried that if her fans found this content from years ago, it could become headline news! I was torn between wanting to protect her, and my fear that she would be upset with me for uncovering this huge secret! I finally sent her a message, explaining that I wanted to remove this, only for her best interest, and I had no judgement towards this truth. I didn’t hear back from her for a while, which only increased my anxiety, fearing she would fire me or be upset thinking that I snooped so far back into her content to find this.
Finally, she gets back to me, bursting into laughter, and told me that it’s just an inside joke within her family — that she loves her niece so much that she often jokes that she’s her daughter.
At the end of the day, my client appreciated that I cared that much to bring it up, so the lesson for me was a great one. I realized that I’m willing to go above and beyond for my clients and that’s something I really pride myself in!
Who has inspired or continues to inspire you to be a great leader? Why?
My mentor, Alex Charfen. He is one of the most inspiring people in my life for how he leads his family, team, and business with the highest level of integrity and care. He’s dedicated his life to helping other entrepreneurs nurture their team, lead them with vulnerability and accountability, and has helped so many people grow their business to 7 and 8 figure levels so they can make their dent in the universe.
How have you used your success to make the world a better place?
We work with impactful entrepreneurs everyday who have a powerful message. We help them spread that message through the power of video marketing and the huge platform that is YouTube. We live in an incredible time where we can put a megaphone to your content so it can literally be heard by people across the world and even more so with the right strategy in place.
I’ve witnessed our clients grow their impact through video marketing alone and change the lives of their clients who go on to change the lives of the people around them too — it’s a ripple effect!
Outside of the realm of YouTube and video marketing, we’ve been fortunate to save multiple children through our financial contributions to Operation Underground Railroad and we are heading to Kenya next year to help build a school with our friends from Village Impact. One of the driving forces of why we do what we do is to create more impact and make a difference everyday.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)
- Don’t do it alone. — We often hear about self-made millionaires, but being self-made isn’t something I need to have as a badge of honor. The truth is, I learned from coaches and mentors along the way. Although I believe there is no such thing as “cutting corners” effectively, I can stand on the shoulders of giants to skip out on the guesswork and headaches so I can scale my business and make an impact bigger and better than if I were to do it alone.
- Family comes first. And that’s not just a cute saying — Many entrepreneurs start businesses because that want to give their family a better lifestyle, but somewhere along the way, they can get lost in the hustle and lose sight of why they started in the first place. But finding the balance and having strong relationships in your life is key to your business. Yes, I love my work but it’s meant to fuel my lifestyle — NOT run my life. My stability in relationships reflect in my work, so if I’m fulfilled and happy in my home, I can give my best to my work. If I’m fulfilled and happy in my work, I can give my best to my family at home.
- Know your numbers. — It’s so important to know your revenue and your expenses every single month. It’s crazy to me now that in the first year of my business, I didn’t know my numbers AT ALL which left me blind to any decisions I could make. I didn’t know if or what I could reinvest in, such as: growing my team, services I could buy, software to use. I didn’t even know what financial projections looked like to provide for my family. When you know your know numbers, you can make those decisions that grow your business and fuel your lifestyle.
- Don’t put people on a pedestal. — It does both of you a major disservice and denies yourselves of the opportunity to experience each other. We all have value and gifts that we can provide. We all have needs and problems that we need help to be solved. When we can appreciate vulnerability and flaws in each other, we can learn, rather than set unrealistic expectations from someone.
- Say no. — Warren Buffet said it best — “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that the really successful people say no more often.” When you say yes to something, you say no to something else. I’m someone who wants to serve, go above and beyond, and give so much to people. I want to overdeliver and say yes, but at the same time, I can’t give my all unless I’m very intentional with my time. I can give more to more people, if I say no to distractions and stay focused on the goal.
What person wouldn’t want to work doing something they absolutely love. You are an incredible inspiration to a great many people. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
One of the reasons why I’m so invested in video marketing is because it’s one of the most powerful online tools. If you can imagine 300 hours of videos are uploaded to YouTube every minute and 5 billion videos are being watched everyday.
Unfortunately, not all videos are positive or hold any sort of substance. So if I could inspire a movement, it would be to use this incredible online world to spread good instead of negativity. Create content that matters, rather than just content for the sake of content. We have so many resources available at our fingertips and an outlet where we can reach millions of people to create change.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“When we push the edges of our limits, our limits expand.”
We’re always growing in our capacity to be and to do things. When you push through those tough moments, that’s how you’re able grow who you are and how you get to the next level of your personal development. It’s kind of like the game Super Mario, where he gets to the next checkpoint and even if you fail, you always start at the same checkpoint. I’ve built my business to this level. Even if there are tough challenges, that checkpoint — the lessons I’ve learned, the relationships I’ve built, my experiences can never be taken away from me because I’ve built my capacity to that level. If my business failed today, I have the capacity and the ability to start again with the knowledge and the capabilities that I’ve developed.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.
Oprah because she is the epitome of a powerful, successful woman who is changing the world for the good but who is also not afraid to be vulnerable!
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.