When Marie Forleo, TEDx, and SXSW Said No: Is Everything Really Figureoutable?

Author’s Note 3/10/22: I published this in 2019 and my feelings about Marie Forleo, her ethics, and what her brand represents have changed since I wrote this. I encourage you to read these resources for my thoughts on Marie Forleo and her B-School brands. (Ultimately, the fact that there is no business relationship between me and Marie, including no interviews, makes it possible for me to share my honest thoughts with you. So, thank you again for saying no, Marie!)

Marie Forleo. TEDx. South by Southwest. They all told me no. Is everything REALLY figureoutable?

Back in June, I pitched Marie Forleo on an interview (watch the video below to see my failed pitch video and what I did in response). That same week, I got a no from TEDx. And then a few weeks ago, another no from SXSW. Ouchhhhh.


Because when people talk about failure, it’s almost ALWAYS through the rosy colored rearview mirror. A hook on a sales page that ends with “…and then I figured out this ONE secret and now I’m rich! Buy my program!”

As if failure and success happen in two different universes: BEFORE and AFTER, THEN and NOW. But the real story is that successful businesses are failing all the time.

I had my best year EVER. And some of my biggest fails ever. They happened TOGETHERRRRRR. And because I started Awkward Marketing to model the type of risk-taking content I teach my clients to create, I realized I HAD to tell you about these fails: the inevitable outcome of taking BIG RISKS on the reg. Not to throw a pity party. To throw a reality party.

And the REALITY is, that I still have an epic success of a business, even while I simultaneously learn from my epic fails.

As Marie says in her book, perfectionist brain says “Failure is unacceptable.” Progress brain says, “Failure is unavoidable.”

Oh, and in the end, in Everything is Figureoutable spirit I KINDA figured out how to land that Marie Forleo “interview” after all. Watch the vid to see how it all went down.

This vid truly has a lil’ bit of everything…me embarrassing myself in public, never-before-seen footage, a cameo from my mom, Brad having a money fight on a yacht, and some purty juicy life/biz lessons.

Cheers to succeeding and failing TOGETHER in 2020.

Rachael Kay Albers

Rachael Kay Albers is a creative director, business comedian, and brand strategist gone wild. She writes and performs about branding, pop culture, tech, and identity. When she’s not muckraking about marketing, Rachael runs RKA ink, a reinvention studio and branding agency for businesses that burn the rulebook. She's also on Instagram a lot.