Marianne Bird shows us how Bossing Up shaped her life
It's a brand new decade and what better way to kick off the year than with a special End Of A Decade Blog Feature. But, this isn't just a regular feature. This exclusive Blog Feature is my first Blog Feature of the this decade; showcasing the talented Marianne Bird; #BossQueen of her growing empire. This #Mompreneur knows a thing (or 5) about being successful. Building her brand, her businesses and her social status doesn't always come easy for this single mom of 2 but, somehow she makes it all look easy. Marianne is someone you'll want and NEED to have in your contacts.
When Travis Scott sang the lyric "H town, you got one," in his hit song Antidote, I'm certain he was referring to Hollister, California and wasn't referring to Hamilton at all; but he should have been. Hamilton has carried the nickname H Town just as long as Toronto has been called the T Dot, (well, up until Drake coined it The Six). In my opinion, Hamilton deserves Billboard hit music recognition because it has an abundance of "Fempreneurs" slaying the top small business charts. Just like a great song lyric and city title evolution, Marianne Bird is a show stopping example of how an evolution of oneself is literally done by Bossing Up your authenticity while growing, learning, reaching and re-branding your business. It's a natural progression of sorts; one that changes generationally.
When I asked Marianne to tell me a little bit about herself, I half expected a generic reply. You know, like the typical response of what title they hold, what their business provides, how many kids they have (if any), where they live and some of their hobbies. What I got in return was nothing short of brilliant. I'm certain she could launch her very own blog and be quite successful at it. Here's what she said:
From the day I came into the world I lived with a foster family for the first 6 months after birth until my mom and dad, Margaret & William Bird, adopted me. I grew up in Mississauga for the 30 years of life before I spread my wings to fly and move on. As a family we went to church weekly where I gained a strong foundation and understanding that we are all the same, to "Love thy neighbour", "Love Yourself" and give to those who need it most. I dreamt of becoming a Veterinarian at a very early age because of my love for animals. That dream was shattered early on when I learned that I wouldn't be able to save all animals. My love for all God’s creatures still remains and I do my part to protect what I can.
From a very young age my my ideal choice of play was not with dolls or girly things. I loved to be creative and paint and explore nature and play sports like street hockey with the boys and create cities in the sandbox with the small cars.
Because reading wasn't my strength, I learned through illustrative storytelling. I would gather as many books as I was permitted every Friday from the local Book Mobile and bring them home and look at all the pictures then draw them. I quickly learned I had a talent but little did I know at that time how that would have a huge impact on my future career.
By the time grade 8 rolled around I was given the title of Athlete of the Year and had the highest mark in art which helped me start my career at a very early age. I attended an all art high school in Mississauga and excelled there in the graphic art, commercial art, drawing & painting, architecture, poetry & print making programs. Leaving high school I was an Honour Roll student which gave me the edge to be accepted at two of the top design schools at that time local to where I lived. I chose Sheridan College over OCA because I had a vision that one day I would be my own boss and took an extensive business course during my design years.
Before my design career started, Track and Field played a huge part in my life from the age of 10 years old. I ran competitive for Mississauga where some of our big name track stars started their running/Olympic careers including Ben Johnson and Silken Laumann (Olympic Canadian rower) who also happened to be my 4X400m relay partner. We held the All Ontario record for 3 years in a row. My father played a huge part in my life. He was a marathon runner so we were always together cheering each other and supporting one another too. I believe to this day those years of me giving up chilling with friends after school and hanging out at night gained me the tenacity and grit I needed to always push forward and never give up.
Graduating Sheridan I was the youngest (only 20) to receive the Highest Honours award from the school, recognized by our local Parliament, received numerous awards, and was hired by a Japanese designer before I even finished College. I realized early on in my career I would need a good 10 years under my belt in order to gain me the reputation and knowledge in the industry I'd need in order to take that Leap of Faith and become my one boss. 23 years later I'm still doing my own thing and loving my freedom.
According to the Government of Canada, in 2017 there were 1.18 million employer businesses. Of those 1.18 million, 97.9 percent were small businesses. Statistics also show that 96 percent of small businesses survive for one full year whereas 85 percent survive for three years and only 70 percent survive for five years (Key Small Business Statistics). Did you know that 7000 businesses go bankrupt every year in Canada? Equipped with those statistics, what was it like for you to start your own business?
I still remember the day I opened my doors for business. There was no plan at all it was simply a gut feeling. I know I could do it. So, Monday morning June 1996, Visual Voice Visuals was created by me opening the Yellow Pages. I started at the first letter of the alphabet 'A' and started cold calling ... the rest is history. My design focus is in National Brand / Private Label food, Pharmaceutical and Supplements Packaging. I also do Corporate Branding and Interior Design. Some of my clients include; Kraft Canada/US, Novartis, Imperial Tobacco, Players Racing, Purina, Dare Cookies/ Candies Co., Corby Distillery, Molson Breweries, Jamieson Vitamins, Iovate, Sobeys, Costco and so on.
Throughout my last 23 years I'm blessed to have two beautiful daughters; Paris 20 and Sofia 12. Unfortunately two marriages didn't work out but I believe raising my girls on my own has given me that drive to grow and be strong and self sufficient. Life is meant to challenge us every single day, and challenge us it has but nothing will ever take us down, only lift us up more.
I love asking this next question because each answer is always uniquely different. Tim Ferriss said it best; "If you win the morning, you win the day." How we set up our morning sets the stage for the rest of the day. I've been trying to teach my children this for years and so far, I have 1 out of my 3 kids making their bed each morning. Our house is nothing short of a zoo; desperately trying to get out the door and to school on time, but it works for us. Ben Stiller dunks his head in a bucket of ice to wake himself up so I'm feeling pretty good with my zoo at the moment. What does your typical day look like?
4-4:30 am I get out of bed, make a coffee, meditate/listen to motivational speaker for 1/2 hr, run 7-10 km or go to circuit training gym.
6:45 - 8 am check emails, post on Social Media some days, prepare lunch, and set out my work day.
9 am my design workday starts and I finish up whenever the work is done. I also fit in calls and conversations with customers for my Wellness business too. Each day is never the same.
If you follow me on Instagram you know that I'm a self proclaimed empowering Queen ready to boost your positive attitude at any given time. Im also a Business Graduate who owns and operates an investment corporation, Author of 5 published books, successful Blogger (ahem), Business Coach, Actor, Wife and my all time favourite title of all...Mom. Now, I know that sounds like a lot but let me assure you, I allowed myself to grow organically while focusing on my vision & mission. As I grew both personally and professionally, I found my mission statement changed. A personal mission statement is basically your "why." It's your reason to succeed, your passion for doing what your do and your reason to continue with your journey. But here's the thing! Sometimes our journey's change. Life happens and puts us in a totally different direction. I know you resonate with this because your journey has changed over time. Your personal brand and business has changed and grown organically. You also know the value of an empowering woman with a steadfast vision and a kickass mission statement. All of these life moments have shaped the person you are and built the foundation of your brand. What is your personal mission statement?
To have a Vision and Innovative eye so Stylish and Uplifting and Aesthetically pleasing that we help change peoples Lives.
You have been crushing self employment for over two decades now, congratulations. What keeps you motivated?
There's still so much to learn and do in life that should be enough to keep everyone motivated daily.
Social media is leading the way in connecting businesses with their customers. Social platforms also allow businesses to increase awareness and visibility with their brand. It also allows your brand a worldwide voice and acts as an approachable and personal resource. It can also become a breading ground for e-harassment.
Sadly, this type of negativity is becoming more prevent in our society. I've known you socially for a short while through Facebook. I just adore your uplifting and empowering posts. But, with all great things, sometimes there is a little negativity leak. Can you tell me how you handle comments of envy or competition? How do you handle negativity?
Honestly, I'm a work in progress. It's beyond my comprehension that there is hate and hurtful people in the world. I don't understand those that have to be negative towards others.
I often talk about fear and how I've learned to change my fear of the unknown into a "why not" approach. I've blogged about it a few times now. Fear of the unknown is a real thing. I think at some level we all experience this feeling. How do you deal with fear in general?
Fear is all around us in our heads. I know that fear holds us back in our life. My idea to overcome fear is to START. Easier said than done but the more we understand that fear is only a thought that has been planted in our subconscious. When we let fear manifest it becomes worse. I feared quitting my full-time job to start my own business. The fear of failure, what if I wasn't good enough, or had what it takes set in? What if I had to go back to work for someone? What would people think of me?
I recently posted about inspiration and where it comes from. Check out that post here. What is inspiring you right now?
The idea of helping change peoples lives inspires me every day.
Who is inspiring you today?
I'm inspired daily by people who come from adversity, those who appear to have less that the norm yet become larger than life because they believe and love themselves and see how precious and short life really is. They all share a common message; no matter how bad life may look, YOU, your life and dreams are worth working hard for... Life is meant to live, we get one chance, so why throw it away. Live now!
Let's talk business! Your social profile on Instagram says, "creative.ceo.mom" with a description of Wellness, Fitness, Mompreneur, Professional Vibes and Creative Design. I mean WOW! That’s quite an introduction. Tell me more about these areas of your life:
Wellness - side business, loving this new chapter in my life, enjoying working on staying fit, healthy, and introducing natural clean products into our lives and others.
Fitness - running and going to the gym clears my head, I love to meet people who have the same interest and value their health.
Professional Vibes - I love connecting entrepreneurs and like minded business people together. I feel such good vibes when I do this especially when I know the two parties will benefit by the introduction.
Creative - is how I see myself and one of my strongest characteristics.
I think when we were first met when you bought my book "A Housewives Guide To Getting Your Blog Started." If I'm not mistaken, I think you have my 1st motivational book "Lush & Luxe: Powered by Positivity" too. Since our initial introduction, you've hit a few milestones. Tell me about your growth.
I'm a work in progress. I feel I've changed mentally, physically, and spiritually over the past few years. I'm discovering more about me now than I ever have. Staying open to new ideas and possibilities and meeting new people add to my continued growth.
Let's talk more about Melaleuca and your role in his business. How did this opportunity come about and what was it about this company that spoke to you?
My reason behind Melaleuca initially was simply a second source of income and to add to my retirement fund. I never gave much thought to retirement until I got into my 50s, and as a self-employed single parent, one income doesn’t always cut it these days. However, once I started my journey, I learned all about what the company really stands for, which is Enhancing the Lives of Those We Touch by Helping People Reach Their Goals. Melaleuca has firmly supported this mission statement for over 34 years. Everything they accomplish is done with an eye toward promoting the physical, environmental, financial, and personal wellness of those around them. I’m hooked. Going “GREEN” in our home was my first step and I believe it’s making a difference without all the chemicals and toxins that we are exposed to in our everyday house hold items. These toxins can contribute to illnesses, cancers, and depression. I want people who are open, to help see there is a cleaner, greener healthier (inexpensive) way to do this in their home. I’ve met some incredible individuals who, too have the same vision and want to help others and create a healthier, cleaner, lifestyle for themselves and families.
Wow Marianne! I can understand why you were drawn to this company. I know you're also part of a company called VoxxLife. They use Human Performance Technology (HPT) to assist with health. Can you explain this a little more?
VoxxLife is new for me. I recently learned about this technology and how it can help my daughter focus and sleep better and how it will help others with health issues, muscle issues, enhance performance if they are an athlete, have arthritis, balance issues, etc. My goal is to find ways to help people feel better. I feel so happy inside when I share info with people who want to help themselves feel better. So many don’t know where to turn for help. This is a new direction for me and one I know will also stick with me for years to come. Simply knowing I’ve helped someone is a wonderful feeling.
Health and well being is predominant in who you are as a persona as well as in your brand. Branding is a critical aspect to any business. Not only is branding considered the first impression to you and your business, it also allows your customers to gain a sense of what to expect from you and your company. It kinda goes hand in hand with your mission statement. Tell us more about your brand. Who is Marianne Bird and Visual Voice Visuals?
'ME' Brand simply put. A caring authentic person who loves to see the beauty in life, share her creative side, and share good positive vibes with those she cares about.
How was it building your brand and what obstacles did you have to overcome?
ME ... I'm my biggest obstacle and still am at times. I stand in my own damn way and fear creeps in and does his thing. I work on this daily. Sometimes money has become an obstacle for me too. Being self employed, we are at the mercy of the client paying on time ... that's been a roller-coaster ride and something I've never gotten use to.
A few months ago, you gathered with a bunch of amazing women from in and around the GTHA (Greater Toronto Hamilton Area), at an event called LadyBoss2019. You invited me to this event but sadly I couldn't attend because I was attending a wedding that same evening. I'm sorry I missed it but I did hear some amazing stories from that evening. Tell me a little bit about your experience at this event.
I can't take credit for arranging this event. Marleana Silva one to the Fempreneurs came up with the idea. I simply shared the idea with all the awesome women in my network who are entrepreneurs and who I felt would get a lot of value out of the evening. I suggested to Marleana to introduce 'PowerHouse' women like yourself Joanne, to share their story and brand to all the women who attended. I believed this would be an amazing way to engage women who are just starting out, those who are unsure about a business, and for those who don't even realize they have a talent yet. Obviously some growing pains but overall an amazing evening of laughter, sharing, learning and the best part... friendships being made.
A great way to network, for sure!
I know all about being a busy Wife, Mother and Fempreneur (aka Boss Queen), as I'm certain you do too. My husband often refers to me as being Super Human. Because I chose not to focus on all the things that go wrong in my day, doesn't mean they don't happen, it just means I don't broadcast them on my social platforms. Balancing personal and work life is quite a teeter totter. It's one of the main reason why I developed the work from anywhere lifestyle method in my Boss Your Business online class. I walk my students through the process of setting up your business to operate on autopilot allowing you can focus your attention on the things in your life that matter the most. For me that my family and developing more content to keep business savvy babes operating their businesses flawlessly. What tips do you have for us when it comes to keeping balance with work, self care and family?
I'm still working at this one daily. Definitely find 'ME TIME' even if you have to start 2 hours early ever single day. Exercise your mind and your body daily. Find what feels right for you. Balancing family and work can be very hard at times. I believe we all want time freedom but so many aren't willing to put in the time and effort to make that happen.
Being a full time Mom who happens to be building her own empire is rewarding and exhausting all at once. What is one thing you wished you knew before stepping into your Mompreneur role?
The one thing I wish I knew before stepping into my Mompreneur Roll is how rewarding, fulfilling and empowering it was going to be. Best thing I've accomplish in life next to bringing my babies into this life.
This is probably the most important question Im going to ask you and unquestionably the most powerful. How do you want to be remembered?
I want to be remembered as a woman who stood up for others, always gave back, did more for others in need, raise my daughters to be the best humans they know how to be, and someone who made an impact in this lifetime.
Thank you for sharing so much of yourself Marianne. I am that much more blessed to have you in my friend circle. I'm thrilled to exclusively Feature you and introduce you to my amazing group of readers, subscribers and followers. I just know there are plenty of like minded Femmes, Boss Queens, Business Newbies, Experts and Wisdom Seekers in my following that would love to connect with you further. How can others connect with you through social platforms?
World Wide Web:
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