Marlo Higgins, of Iowa City, embodies the concepts of taking risks and overcoming fear with confidence, two key lessons she tries to instill in her clients. At several pivotal points in her life, Higgins has been willing to take a big risk that paid off with a big reward. Today, in addition to her business coaching business, Higgins occasionally writes for Forbes magazine and serves on the Forbes Coaches Council.
Higgins will soon become a published author when her book, “The Making of a Maverick: Building Champions in Business and in Life”, publishes this fall. The book will include client case studies, encouraging mantras and actions steps to achieve success.
In her consulting business, Higgins works with a variety of professionals, including independent business owners and entrepreneurs.
Higgins began her professional career in the human resources field with a two-year associate degree from Lowthian College in Minneapolis, Minn.
“I’m not a conventional four-year university student, and you’ll not find anywhere in my accolades or profiles anything about my education because it’s not something that I put any weight on,” Higgins said. “I don’t believe a piece of paper should tell you what you’re worth.”
For several years, Higgins chose to stay at home and raise her two sons. She made the most of that time, serving as a nonprofit community leader.
“In 2005, I had the opportunity to align with two other executives to start the vision of a company that produced fabric handbags,” Higgins said. She says that experience helped her better understand how to create a vision “and create it with infinite clarity.”
As vice president of sales, Higgins’ job was to set sales goals and motivate a sales team. That team went on to reach multimillion dollar sales in 36 months in 39 states and internationally.
“That got me on the road map and allowed me to be recruited by another company. I didn’t want to leave the company that I had helped build. It was like a child of mine,” Higgins said. “It was a difficult decision to leave, but I doubled my income in a worldwide recession without a college education. Not a lot of people can say that.”
She found great success in that position, and in 2010 interviewed for a national sales director position. She ultimately declined a big job offer, knowing in that moment that she had the courage it took to build her own brand.
“I threw their offer in the trash, wrote my business plan, and launched my own company brand, Marlo Higgins Success Coaching, and I turned it around in 30 days,” she said. “It’s been a sustainable, profitable organization growing 50 percent year over year for seven years straight.”
For Higgins, it is important to take risks, like launching her own brand, no matter how scary it may be.
“Instead of looking back and saying, ‘What would have happened if I would have done this?’ and asking ‘Should I?’ you should ask yourself, ‘Why not?’” Higgins said. “Is it scary? Absolutely, but you’ve got to overcome fear with confidence and you’ve got to be confident in your abilities, talents and value in order to take risks because risk leads to greater achievements.
“This is everything I teach, and I can say I’ve walked in these shoes. I’ve had to figure it out. I had to create. I had to execute, and I received results from doing that.”
Higgins will be bringing her message about igniting success to the HER Magazine luncheon on Oct. 18 at the Riverside Casino. (Read more on page 21.)
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“I am very grateful for the opportunity to be a keynote presenter for the event. I think the message that will be the most important for the women who get into the room that day is really the value of overcoming fear with confidence,” Higgins said.
*This article was originally published in the fall 2017 issue of The Gazette’s HER: Women in Business magazine.*