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Allie Bjerk: “There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing”

I believe we are shifting into peer to peer learning, and like Uber shook up the transportation industry and Airbnb shook up the tourism industry, I truly believe online learning is in its infancy and the education industry (especially in a COVID19 world) will never be the same. I intend to share as much as […]

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I believe we are shifting into peer to peer learning, and like Uber shook up the transportation industry and Airbnb shook up the tourism industry, I truly believe online learning is in its infancy and the education industry (especially in a COVID19 world) will never be the same. I intend to share as much as I can about creating educational digital products and resources to help as many people as possible to understand the marketing and sales process in order to throw open the doors to their future in online entrepreneurship.


As a part of our series about women who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Allie Bjerk, a visibility strategist, coach and consultant. Allie has helped hundreds of business owners create visibility strategies and marketing plans behind growing super-profitable businesses for balanced and prosperous lives. Allie has taken her marketing agency experience and used it to lead entrepreneurs towards their goals through her transformational programs.

Allie’s mission is to help entrepreneurs to show up authentically, owning their expertise and not shrinking down from their big dreams. Her focus on inner-work, confidence, consistency, captivation, and clarity has set her work apart from other marketers and strategists, who focus on tactics and algorithms over the relationships.

Allie spent 4 years working for corporate web development and Internet marketing agencies before launching her business. She managed the and Social Media departments, teaching marketing, and training new agency employees. Allie left her corporate career after the birth of her first baby and a battle with debilitating postpartum anxiety that served as the catalyst for her to transform her life and never look back. She now lives an adventure and travel-filled life-based in Northern Minnesota with her husband and three young children.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Right out of college, I was desperate to find a job in my chosen field of graphic design and marketing. There weren’t many options at that time in the economy, so when I saw a job posted seeking an “Manager” for a creative marketing agency, I jumped at the opportunity — despite not having a clue what it meant. I found myself Googling “What is ?” in order to learn as much as I could prior to my interview with the agency. I fell deep into the world of online learning and education, and I was immediately more intrigued with the experts themselves and the process of marketing and selling digital products than the courses I was taking. Fast forward — I was hired by the agency and lived and breathed everything for two years (at least until I had my first child and my priorities shifted into entrepreneurship shortly after).

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

I’m not afraid to call out the B.S. I see in the “guru culture”. I often explain why many of their strategies work, from a marketing perspective, while also showing how they can be deceptive and prey on fear-based psychology. When it comes to digital products and courses, many influencers teach strategies that require huge email lists and being “internet famous” before they’ll work. The strategy that I teach includes building your list with digital products so that you can make money while growing your business and your following, instead of being stuck in offering “free value” for months, or maybe even years, before launching.

We all need a little help along the journey — who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

I’ve had so many mentors along the way — some of them from afar (learning from them virtually), and others ran masterminds that I attended in-person. Two of my mentors that I’ve worked with one on one include Frank Kern and Julie Stoian. They’ve made an impact on my life because we share similar values: online education is really about selling from a place of service and helping people, versus just teaching a way to make money online. Being the same person online and holding the same values that I have in real life is extremely important to me, and both of these mentors embody that — as well as being super-smart leaders and marketers.

One of the most impactful moments in my business occurred while I was at a mastermind event in Connecticut hosted by Julie Stoian. At this event, each business owner in attendance would stand up in front of the group, share their challenges and dreams, then ask for feedback, advice and suggestions from their peers. Yes, it was terrifying — you’re standing up in front of the group in complete vulnerability and ASKING them to judge you. But I noticed a pattern. Nearly every single person who stood up in front of the group said something to the effect of “This is what I’m doing… but there’s this big dream that I have that I ACTUALLY want to do.” We all had a bigger reality and dream in our back pocket that we kept there out of fear. We ALL shared thoughts like “What if I go after this bigger thing and I fail? What if I fall flat on my face?” After seeing that every single entrepreneur there shared my same fears, it awakened something in me that inspired me to think bigger. I remember writing in my journal on the plane ride home about this experience and I wrote “Why not me? Why couldn’t I become a coach, author and speaker?” It was then that I realized that it comes down to a simple decision. You can just decide that you’re the type of person to make your big scary dreams come true — after all, why not you?

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

Three of my favorite words of advice came from books I’ve read or concepts I’ve studied, including:

Learnability: I was a collegiate cheerleader, and I remember feeling so nervous and out of my league at tryouts. Here I was, in competition with girls that I perceived to be much more experienced than me, feeling like a tiny minnow from a Northern Minnesota town, thrown into a pool with sharks from the city. I knew that I had prepared for tryouts for months in advance. I knew, despite my present state of terror, that I had pushed my endurance to the limit and that I was strong and ready for anything. Ultimately, I ended up making the team and built some of the strongest friendships with the girls I initially found to be super intimidating. This experience embodied one of my favorite quotes about creating the habit of doing things that scare you, “Always go with the choice that scares you the most, because that’s the one that’s going to help you grow.” — Caroline Myss

On happiness: When I was pregnant with my first child, I became obsessed with designing the perfect nursery and carrying the PERFECT, most expensive designer diaper bag. I became obsessed with the hunt for perfection.

The bag I ended up buying was way out of my price range at $189, when I was making $17 an hour working at the marketing agency.

I had to work just over ELEVEN HOURS at my day job just to pay for it.

But it represented so much to me about what kind of mom I wanted to be when it was time… classy, well-put-together, elite, organized. (So, SO far from how things actually turned out.) And so far from what actually matters in life and motherhood.

I wanted a bag that would validate me for outside viewers. That would make me look like maybe I had my stuff together, despite being terrified that I had no idea what I was doing (and some days feel like I still don’t).

Carrying this bag to playgroups made me feel superior and proud that I was carrying a designer diaper bag, when others weren’t — I was painfully insecure. Those thoughts seem so misguided to me now and so far from what actually matters in life.

Financially, things are a lot different these days, but so are my priorities.

I don’t need other people’s permission to feel good about how I’m doing as a mom or in life. I had put so much pressure on myself and fell deep into the world of anxiety and stress over becoming the kind of mom I thought I was required to be. Eventually, I realized that the only thing that ACTUALLY mattered was the love my kids felt from me and the values that I could instill in them — others’ opinions mattered not! The quote “There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.” Aristotle really hits home, because especially in the world of parenting — there will always be opinions on each side of the spectrum, and trying to please everyone will only ultimately impact YOUR happiness and stress level.

On self-awareness: In Seth Godin’s book “THIS IS MARKETING”, he introduces the concept of “sondor”. According to Mr. Godin, “Sonder is defined as that moment when you realize that everyone around you has an internal life as rich and as conflicted as yours.” It’s like when you’re driving on a freeway next to other cars — you have no idea what the car next to you contains… whether it’s housing a tense conversation, a dance party for one, or is driving someone home after attending a funeral. We just don’t know what other people’s brains contain or what background story they’re bringing with them to project on future experiences. In a favorite quote by Carl Gustav Jung, he says “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” I’ve learned to assume everyone has my best interests at heart and that other people’s reactions to me are more about them than they are about me. My most life-changing realization was to become more aware of controlling my own thoughts, and become aware of what stories I tell myself about why or why not I can do something and to know that I’m always in charge of my feelings and reactions.

How are you going to shake things up next?

I believe EVERY business can have a digital product component and I intend to continue teaching them the strategies to make money online by dreaming big and starting tiny with small digital product suites.

I believe we are shifting into peer to peer learning, and like Uber shook up the transportation industry and Airbnb shook up the tourism industry, I truly believe online learning is in its infancy and the education industry (especially in a COVID19 world) will never be the same. I intend to share as much as I can about creating educational digital products and resources to help as many people as possible to understand the marketing and sales process in order to throw open the doors to their future in online entrepreneurship.

Do you have a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us?

One of my favorite authors and speakers has always been Brené Brown. Her studies on human connection have resonated massively with me. Even though she’s not necessarily talking to coaches, consultants and modern-day entrepreneurs, her advice about vulnerability is something that we can all take to heart when it comes to running our businesses in such a visible way. After watching her Ted Talk, The Power of Vulnerability, I realized that being vulnerable is everything — and in business, the strategic vulnerability will open up your world to attracting dream clients only. I realized after following Brene’s work that the more honest I was about the good AND the bad of life and showing up as my authentic self, I was naturally repelling the wrong people and attracting the right people — and that was fine. We live in a world of complete abundance and there is more than enough to go around for every business owner — and this Ted Talk by Brene Brown opened the doors to self-acceptance and awareness around showing up as I am instead of presenting only the highlight reel.

You are a person of great influence. 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 my grandma’s favorite things to do was encourage me to share compliments directly to people anytime I have them — she believed in the ripple effect of happiness and kindness. Now, I’m always the one complimenting strangers in the grocery store, because I believe that one little act of sharing happiness leads to paying it forward over and over, creating a ripple effect of kindness and happiness. Compliments aren’t necessarily business-related, but on that same thought, I believe if more people were lit up and happy with the work they were doing, running their own businesses and sharing their expertise as modern-day entrepreneurs (instead of spending their days stuck in commutes and in miserably 9–5s), they’d be happier, more present and intentional in their daily lives, leading to more content and connected families, thus creating a legacy of fulfillment and happiness ripples in a similar way to my grandma’s compliments.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

One of my favorites quotes of all time is “Change your thoughts and you change your world.” from Norman Vincent Paele. The truth is that we create our realities and every element of our lives is a result of a decision we’ve made. If we are in a less than ideal scenario, it’s because we’ve made the choice to stay there.

I’m always taking a mental assessment of how I’ve been feeling in various areas of my life or business and if something feels misaligned or isn’t fun anymore, I recognize my ability to pivot or choose a new option for myself.

How can our readers follow you online?

One of the best places to follow me online is on my Instagram account: Instagram.com/alliebjerk or my website, alliebjerk.com.

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

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