We enrolled in Chalene Johnson’s Marketing Impact Academy in January 2017. Since then, our business has become exponentially more diversified, automated, and profitable.
We have created a brand around ourselves, and it continues to strengthen and evolve as we do.
The actionable advice inside MIA has been invaluable, to us. But, it’s not for everyone.
The goal of this Marketing Impact Academy review is to share our experience as students over the last five years. In retrospect, we’ll discuss who the course is for and who shouldn’t join MIA.
marketing impact academy (mia) review
No matter where you are in the process, it’s daunting to think about. For us, we had a combination of starting a business from scratch (this lifestyle blog) and expanding an extremely modest side gig in health and fitness coaching.
What do you really need to know and do? A business plan? Investors? When do you register officially with the government?
When can you transition to full-time? Will you make any money? Can you DIY your business strategy from YouTube or do you need guidance from a paid course? How do you pick your business guru?
All of these questions (and insecurities) swirled through our heads in mid-2017, when we decided to leave our engineering jobs to travel and start our then-unnamed lifestyle/fitness/nutrition/who knows what business.
Honestly, that’s an accurate description of pre-Ryan and Alex Duo Life!
Thinking back five years ago, I marvel equally at how clueless and unconfident I was, but now, how surreal it feels today that we pulled it off.
And for this, I have to give all of the credit to Ryan who was the one who found Marketing Impact Academy and kickstarted our business.
What You’ll Learn In This MIA Review
Quite simply, we’ll share with you some in-depth information on the Marketing Impact Academy course with Chalene Johnson and what really made a difference in our business.
Plus, we’ll go into some basic details of how to sign up, the Marketing Impact Academy cost in 2022, what’s included, and if we think it will be worth it for you.
You’re probably also wondering why and how we chose to work with Chalene Johnson. On top of that, we’ll share our real-life numbers (which we’ve never shared before) and give you hard statistics on what this course has done for our business.
Finally, we’ll give you a few examples of the most important lessons we learned and how they 15X’ed our business income while reducing our workload by 10X.
Yes, we make 15X the money and work 10X less! No joke. Do you think we left our corporate sales and engineering jobs to work 60+ hours a week? Try 6 hours a week on average.
Yeah, that’s embarrassing to admit, but we’ve been enjoying full-time travel in South America since 2018, had a full-on home renovation for the past year, and now we’re taking an extended parental leave with our first child.
And none of that would have been possible without the strategic, step-by-step direction from Chalene Johnson’s Marketing Impact Academy.
Starting a business from nothing
Before we dive into the online course review and share our results, here’s where we were in 2017. Does any of this ring true with you?
Burned Out and Needed a Better Work-Life Balance
Ryan was a sales manager, covering all of Texas and Louisiana and working crazy hours while driving thousands of miles a week.
His blood and hair tests showed that he was severely burned out, sleep-deprived, experienced out-of-control stress, and had the testosterone levels of a 70-year-old at the age of 29. (He shares his full story in our article, “How to Recover from Burnout.”)
Once it became clear that Ryan was working himself to the grave, we knew that we had to make a drastic lifestyle change. We made an exit plan for our jobs and put in our notices.
Had a Small Side Gig We Were Ready to Elevate
The only thing we had going for us income-wise was a small Team Beachbody Coaching side gig that Ryan ran.
Our goal was to expand on his health coach beginnings and see if we could make a real online business out of it.
An Expiration Date of One Year
We don’t recommend putting deadlines on your dreams, but we have to be realistic. In the real world, we all have them.
For us, to give Ryan time to recuperate and remove ourselves completely from our former lifestyle, we set aside enough money to travel in South America for one year.
We chose South America because it was unknown territory for us, in the same time zone as the US for work, and offered a low cost of living to stretch every penny of our budget.
During our year, we would focus on our health, marriage, and our budding business.
Honestly, the deadline hung over our heads: in one year, we would know if we could continue or if we were broke and had to find new jobs in the US. It was that simple.
That is it. We had very little direction and knew very few bloggers and entrepreneurs to pick their brains. Luckily, before we left the US, Ryan had the foresight that we needed help and turned to Chalene Johnson.
Why Chalene Johnson’s Marketing Impact Academy?
But don’t let that deter you, as we met other entrepreneurs at the Marketing Impact Academy live event who were everything from doctors to consultants to artists to soccer coaches.
Like Chalene, we didn’t want to be pigeon-holed into only fitness. With her help, we defined what expertise we wanted to share, learned how to find and engage with our ‘lifer’ aka ideal customer, and offer them real, life-changing value with our work.
All while enjoying a wonderful work-life balance that gave us financial, location, and time freedom.
This is why we chose Chalene’s Marketing Impact Academy. And, to us it’s obvious we made a great investment. In retrospect, this is who we think MIA is designed for.
Who is the Marketing Impact Academy for?
After completing the Marketing Impact Academy course, we recommend her course if you’re:
- Either already have a mature business or starting from scratch
- Growing either an online or physical, in-person business
- Wanting to master marketing and advertising
- Utilizing social media and wanting to up your A-game
- Needing to expand your client base away from friends and family and learn how to attract your ideal client
- Learning which practical tools are commonly used to build a website, start an email list, make social media posts quick and simple, and where to find virtual assistants and help along the way
- Looking for guidance on how to price your products (either digital or physical)
- Wanting to understand how to give freebies and baby offers to create value for your customers so they find your main products
- Ready to make sales but feel like you’re “not ready,” an imposter, or waiting for the day to come when everything is before your launch
Chalene goes through everything above, and more, in her video course (which is constantly updated) following a simple formula.
If all you have is an idea or simply the motivation to change, that’s enough for Chalene. And that’s basically where we were at.
Ryan and I were complete newbies. We had no experience in building a website, email list, social media, or even how to make any kind of digital product.
So, we checked every single box above, but this course is still invaluable if you already have a mature business. We relook at our lessons constantly and are now 5 years in.
Chalene is insightful and a master at social media, marketing, and storytelling. Her course is filled with real-life examples from other clients who gained incredible value and direction from her course.
We’ll share a few concrete examples of what her course did for our business in a later section.
Who is the Marketing Impact Academy NOT for?
Most Marketing Impact Academy reviews say that the course is way overpriced. After reading those reviews and comments, I get the sense that people bought the course and didn’t put in the work to get a return on investment.
Did they actually use everything that is included, such as the 2 free tickets to Marketing Impact Academy Live? Probably not.
Truthfully, Ryan was scared of the price tag. In fact, he had the course on his radar in 2015. Even then, he knew he needed help, but he didn’t think he had the time to make the investment worth it.
By 2017, Ryan’s mindset had changed. Taking the course and succeeding at online business was a do-or-die situation (with dying being going back to corporate).
Therefore, if your business is new, the price tag is scary, and you’re just dabbling, forget it. Keep trying to learn what you can from YouTube. Wait until you are 100% committed to success. Then the investment will pay off.
If your business is mature and you have a budget for marketing training, Chalene’s training is a no-brainer.
What Is Marketing Impact Academy? What’s Included?
The course includes hundreds of hours of videos with Chalene Johnson, who is a serial entrepreneur herself and an 8-figure earner.
Here are the main Marketing Impact Academy topics:
- Brand and Business Foundation
- Email Marketing and Freemiums
- Social Media
- Video and Live Streaming
- Product Creation and Baby Offers
- Sales and Testimonials
- Content Creation
Here’s a snapshot of the categories on the course homepage.
To keep everything in order and on track, the course includes a 242-page “Marketing Impact Academy Playbook.”
In it, you’ll take notes from the online lessons and fill in many pages of worksheets. The worksheets are like your brainstorming guide, asking questions like:
- “What value is your ‘Lifer’ looking for?”
- “Choose 3-4 themes your social media content will revolve around.”
- “Make a list of at least 3-5 competitors in your niche, and do a Google search. What are they offering and at what price point? What results can their customers expect and in what time frame?”
These are just three examples I pulled at random from the thousands of prompts and brainstorming guides in the playbook. In a nutshell: this program is incredibly thorough. As Chalene likes to say, “Always overdeliver!”
Below is a screenshot from the Branding category.
The course itself is user-friendly. You can easily stream the video on any device, download it for offline viewing, or just listen to the audio like you would a podcast.
Also included in this section is the “Branding Deck,” which is a 56-page Google Slides presentation to help you identify your ideal customer and brand.
In addition to the video course, worksheets, and playbook, you have access to the Marketing Impact Academy’s online communities (their active Facebook group has 6,400 members).
We were fortunate to find another couple to partner with as MIA accountability buddies.
Lastly, several bonus programs are included:
- Online Income Quickstart (37 additional video lessons)
- IG Impact (47 additional video lessons)
- Marketing Impact Live (full videos from every year since 2014)
Plus, you’ll receive tickets to attend a Marketing Impact Live Event, which Chalene puts on yearly, in person in Southern California. We attended ours in 2018. It was the most motivational and inspirational event I had ever attended.
Not only did we meet tons of entrepreneurs like us, but the multi-day event also gave us the latest insight into branding and social media updates, and included inspirational guest speakers like Pat Flynn and Sean Cannell.
Key Takeaways That Sky-Rocketed Our Business’ Success
Even as I write this and review all of my notes, I’m seeing things that I missed the first, second, and third time around but am ready to implement now as a more mature business.
When you’re first starting out, it can be overwhelming, but with the easy-to-follow program, we were able to set up the most important things right away.
The most helpful things we’ve learned from the Marketing Impact Academy:
The Money Is In Your Email List
Be Confident In Branding Yourself
Just Launch It, Even If It’s Messy
Why You Need Freemiums (and How to Create Them)
Next, we’ll share how each of these massively helped us.
The Money Is In Your Email List
Your newsletter needs to be a priority. This is something that Chalene drilled into our heads from the start, and we are so thankful that she did.
It’s so easy to get lost in the game of social media — and it’s so freaking time-consuming! — so starting with a focus on our email subscribers was an action item we attacked from the get-go.
Ryan and I keep a tightly pruned email list with over 12,000 subscribers. These are the folks we feel extremely connected to, as they are our ‘lifers’ aka ideal audience. Before MIA, we had exactly zero subscribers.
We also interact with them every Friday with our weekly newsletter so they know us and our brand better than anyone.
We view our newsletter list as our direct access to our ‘tribe,’ so they’re the ones we can bounce ideas off of and share our products and releases with.
Also, since they’re highly engaged, our newsletter list click and open rate are excellent metrics when we want to collaborate with advertisers and affiliates. We’re convinced it was our email list that helped us land our book deal with Penguin Random House last year.
Be Confident In Branding Yourself
This one piece of advice is worth thousands of dollars, far more than the price of the course.
Ryan and I chose to build a website called ryanandalex.com. I know, real original, but we did it on purpose. After much deliberation in the months leading up to our launch, the branding workshop offered by Marketing Impact Academy helped clarify everything.
At the time, we weren’t positive about what we wanted to pursue with our website. Only fitness like before? Or would we branch into travel? No, we didn’t end up doing that.
If you had told us five years ago that our site would morph into a place exploring relationship science and psychology, I don’t think either one of us would have believed you.
So, thank goodness we didn’t jail ourselves to a specific topic. Some of our earliest contenders were “Get Freaky Fit” or, slightly better, “Ryan Gleason Fitness.” I cringe just thinking about it.
While everyone’s business and goals are different, Chalene gave us the confidence to name ourselves Ryan and Alex Duo Life with the website ryanandalex.com. This kept the doors open for when we wanted to pivot focuses and let our audience grow with us and we grew up ourselves.
Since then, we’ve seen friends who have been trapped by their business names — particularly travel bloggers who couldn’t travel during the pandemic or simply settled down.
Or others who had a strong focus on yoga but then one day, got tired of it. These friends ended up selling their website for 3 years’ worth of income, which is great for them, but not something we’re ever looking to do.
Plus, they lost all of their ad revenue and credibility that takes years to build with a new website. Now, their new websites are their names, just like ours.
With a domain like ryanandalex.com, we’re free to change and develop forever. It doesn’t seem to bother people that we’re just some random Ryan and some random Alex, as long as we offer value with solid content. In fact, our brand and domain have taken off quite well!
Just Launch It, Even If It’s Messy
Both Ryan and I are perfectionists, and that, frankly, can spell disaster for a small business. Although we never want to put out unprofessional content with even a single typo intentionally, sometimes it just happens.
Chalene stressed during Marketing Impact Academy to just get it out there. It felt like she was speaking directly to us.
We were paralyzed with the prospect of releasing a new product that wasn’t perfect. But until we learned to just do our best, launch it, and continue to review it, we would never have made our first dollar.
The main reason for Chalene’s rationale is a good one: you’re only guessing at what the customer wants and instead need their feedback.
You could spend endless hours going down a rabbit hole on a project, thinking your audience wants, for example, a budgeting tool for couples.
But only until after you launch your product, you might realize that the customers didn’t even care about that. All they wanted was a simple list of financial questions to ask their partner.
So now, we don’t overly stress and just launch our products, even if they’re “messy!” Get them out there, look at the data and feedback, and let that guide you.
Why You Need Freemiums (and How to Create Them)
Freemiums are free gifts for your audience to introduce them to your brand, add value, solve a problem, and grow your email list.
They are so important that the Marketing Impact Academy has five video lessons solely on Freemiums, discussing types of freemiums and how to create high-converting opt-in pages for them.
On our site, we currently offer 33 freemiums. Since our email system, Convertkit, tracks the number of subscribers of each, we know that nearly 50% of our email subscribers join because of just THREE freebies! Data is amazing, isn’t it?!
Knowing which freemiums offer the most value to our readers, we can tailor our content with more articles on those topics.
In a nutshell, thank you Marketing Impact Academy for teaching us the importance of freemiums (see course content below)!
Not only do they give our audience incredible value, we learn what they want, can better share our expertise, build trust with our brand, and capture email addresses.
How Can You Sign Up for the Marketing Impact Academy?
Here’s some good news for while you wait: Chalene is offering free workshops in the interim, with the following schedule:
April 21, 2022 @ 2PM Pacific
Monetize Your Social Media
(even if you have no budget, business plan, or followers)
April 22, 2022 @ 2PM Pacific
How to Slay Sales without Selling
(whether you already have a business or are just getting started)
April 23, 2022 @ 1PM Pacific
4 Secrets to Business Success
(unveiling the process every entrepreneur needs to know in 2022)
April 24, 2022 @ 1PM Pacific
More Money Masterclass:
The Top 5 Ways to Save, Build & Grow Your Finances
That’s right, this is 100% free and serves as a mini-introduction to the Marketing Impact Academy. We think you’ll be blown away by how much Chalene over-delivers.
While the workshops are free, you still need to pre-register for them here.
How Much Does Marketing Impact Academy Cost?
As of April 2022, there are two payment options for Marketing Impact Academy:
- Flexible Payment Option – 8 monthly payments of $349 USD
- Best Value Payment Option – $2,497 USD one-time payment
Both plans include:
- RECORDINGS FROM 2014 – 2021 MIA LIVE EVENTS – $12,000 value
- 2 COMPLIMENTARY TICKETS TO MARKETING IMPACT ACADEMY LIVE – $4,000 value
- ONLINE INCOME QUICKSTART – $497 value
- ACCESS TEAM JOHNSON VIA OUR PRIVATE MEMBERSHIP COMMUNITY – priceless
- PRIVATE FACEBOOK GROUP FORUM TO CONNECT WITH MIA STUDENTS – priceless
The one-time payment plan includes two additional perks:
- “How To Hire” Mini-Course – $497 value
- Printed MIA PLAYBOOK FOR STUDENTS ONLY – $197 value
There is a 14-day, 100% money-back guarantee for both of these payment plans.
Plus, did we mention you have lifetime access? This was critical for us since there are hundreds of hours of videos that we couldn’t possibly take in on the first (and second) passes.
Chalene Johnson continuously updates the videos, meaning that all information about social media and practical tools to grow your business are up to date.
Ready to sign up? You can register here to join the next open session. Don’t miss out! Again, you can join the waitlist free of cost as you wait for the next Marketing Impact Academy session to open.
Is Marketing Impact Academy Worth it?
Marketing Impact Academy impacted our business tremendously.
In 2017, before we knew the name of our business or what we would talk about, we joined Chalene Johnson’s Marketing Impact Academy. All we knew was that we had to leave our corporate jobs and cure Ryan of his health debilitating burnout.
We signed up for Marketing Impact Academy and attended a live event. It got us so incredibly motivated, confident, and reassured that we had a plan moving forward. We could do this.
Fast-forward four years to today, and we built www.ryanandalex.com from nothing. Here are a few statistics on how our business changed after Marketing Impact Academy:
- Our online business went from 5-figures in 2017 to earning 6-figures in 2022. This means we never have to return to corporate America again!
- Our website went from non-existent to over 100,000 monthly organic searches. The course Stupid Simple SEO also made an impact here.
- Our newsletter went from 0 subscribers to over 12,000
- We’ve diversified our income sources from one income stream to over twenty, between marketing, ads, affiliates, digital products, and other collaborations
- We’ve created 33 freemiums and 3 paid digital programs, including our flagship program Just Duo It. This program includes 12 monthly guides and 365 daily emails to transform relationships from great to freaking exceptional, and it’s pretty awesome!
- All of this was done with total time freedom. On average, we each work 6 hours a week, instead of the 60 we used to do with our prior corporate jobs
- Our online business has allowed us complete location freedom, and we’ve been traveling in South America since March 2018. Now, we’re permanently settled in Colombia
- We checked off a huge bucket list item by becoming published authors with Penguin Random House with our new book, Ultimate Bucket List for Married Couples: A Couples Journal for Planning Your Best Experiences Together. Chalene Johnson and her husband Bret Johnson even wrote an endorsement for the book!
Building a business from scratch is no easy feat, and we thank our lucky stars every day that we’ve been able to turn our website into full-time jobs. We firmly believe that without getting started with Chalene Johnson’s course, Marketing Impact Academy, we may not have made it.
The Marketing Impact Academy course covers so much content and over-delivers despite its relatively low price tag. It put us on the right path so that we could avoid the costly and time-consuming mistakes that she made herself and saw others make with their businesses.
Since Ryan and I had only given ourselves a one-year deadline to make our business work, her course was invaluable as now we are living the dream life we always pictured for ourselves.
Sure, we still have more to learn, but with lifetime access to the program, we always have a road map to becoming better with our business and serving our customers as best we can.
So, we give the Marketing Impact Academy resounding approval! But don’t take our word for it. Here’s the link to check it out yourself.
Where could you and your business be in just a few months? Don’t go at it alone, get expert guidance, and start making sales this month.
MIA REview FAQs
Is Marketing Impact Academy only for Instagram?
No, MIA is not just for social media or affiliate marketing. The course is for online business owners and covers everything from branding, product creation, email marketing, making video, content batching, and mindset coaching.
The goal of all of this is to grow a brand that people trust. After working through all the content in MIA, customers should come to you, not the other way around.
Is everything Chalene teaches available for free on the web?
If you have this question, you’re probably concerned about the cost of Marketing Impact Academy. Sure, there is a lot of information for free on Google and YouTube.
Could there be a little too much info?
The course is a roadmap to building an audience and business online. Chalene tells you exactly what is important and empowers you to take action through her worksheets and exercises.
When I pay for a course, I expect the instructor to give me just the important steps and none of the fluff. Chalene delivers.
Isn’t MIA only for Beachbody coaches?
No, MIA is for online businesses and even brick-and-mortar business owners. However, the course is excellent for Beachbody coaches and anyone involved in an MLM.
Does social media and online business change too fast for this kind of investment?
Yes, it changes fast, which is why Chalene encourages you to always have an email list.
Yes, it’s still worth your investment. I don’t think there is anyone in the industry more on top of social media changes and online business trends than Chalene Johnson.
Once you’re in her online MIA community, she will help you stay on top of these changes. Additionally, you’re paying for a lifetime membership. In our five years as students, the course had been updated and expanded several times.
Again, we give Marketing Impact Academy an extremely positive review. But, we also put in a lot of hard work implementing what we learned. So don’t expect instant success.
But don’t take our word for it. Here’s the link to enroll.
I have questions. What do I do?
If you have questions that we haven’t answered in this post, please ask in the comments section. We’ll do our best to help and then update the article accordingly.
Also, if you have an experience with MIA to share with readers, please do so in the comments.
30-Day Weight Loss Challenge
As engineers with a combined twelve years of health coaching experience, we needed to create a data-driven way for our clients to sustain weight loss.
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Hey we're Ryan and Alex
The creators of Ryan and Alex Duo Life. We are a husband-wife duo and “lifestyle engineers.”
After eight years working in the corporate world as engineers, we left our high-powered jobs to tackle our true passion — helping couples engineer their best lives.
The synergy of our engineering minds and ten years of health coaching experience produced Ryan and Alex Duo Life. Our mission is to help you transform your bodies, minds, and relationship as a couple.
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As engineers, we know these to be true:
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