FTW Wednesday: Marion Van Namen sings her heart out all the way to the bank

FTW Wednesday: Marion Van Namen sings her heart out all the way to the bank

This week’s for FTW [For The Win] Wednesday is a little different. I’m not featuring someone from the online business world, and am instead spotlighting a small local, brick and mortar business. It’s my belief that the lessons of business are true, no matter where or how you do what you do. And this week’s story shows that in spades.

This week, we’re featuring the lovely and talented Marion Van Namen of Sing Portland! Community Choir. Marion has been a client of Makeness for more than a year, and when we started working together, she had a simple idea and a whole lot of energy and love for her craft, but not much else. Together, we brainstormed, designed, and shaped her business from the ground up.  Today, Marion is the owner and Artistic Director for Sing Portland!, a Portland choir that requires no auditions or try-outs. Marion welcomes everyoneIn her first year, she hit every goal she set for herself and now spends her evenings proving to more than a hundred singers that truly, everyone has a song to sing. Marion followed her heart fearlessly. Here’s her story. 

[My comments are in italics.]


Makeness: So, What is the ONE thing you know that you have nailed in your business? Be specific.

greenchairstudio-marion-headshot-selects-003-webFollowing my heart. I’m passionate about awakening the musician in anyone. Too many people walk around this world thinking they’re not good enough, not musical enough. I was one of them. I believed my critics for years (oops – decades). No more! I’m done with “meeting someone else’s expectations”

I’ve collected a few supposedly proper stripes, and they never thrilled me.

[Her resume is really impressive. Don’t let the coy Dutch act fool you. But besides that, I love this line. Because when was the last time you actually thought about whether the ‘stripes’ you pursue actually make you happy?]

Sharing my passion for music is what makes me jump out of bed every morning. Seeing that sparkle in my singers’ eyes when they nail a tune, hear the harmony, is what keeps me going. And it only encourages me to follow my heart even more. My heart knows better than my head actually.

 [I can totally vouch for this. Marion has one of the biggest hearts of anyone I know. In her first year, one of my biggest challenges as her coach was to talk her out of giving all her profits away to good causes. Seriously… I am pretty sure Marion would give a stranger the shirt off her back if they needed it. And that generosity has served her very well. Her spirit of giving has connected her with organizations all over Portland that have helped her promote her work as a symbiotic relationship.]

Makeness: Tell us about all the things you tried that relate to this that DIDN’T work?

– trying to get into a proper music school

– competing

– the beaten path

– everyone else’s path

– do what’s “right” (according to WHO?)

– do what generates more money

– keeping my passion as a hobby

– more of the same, rather than thinking creatively how to offer my talents

– doubting myself

– beating myself up over things I should have done differently

[Man, we can b our own worst enemies at time, can’t we?!]

Makeness: What was the catalyst for getting your thing to work really, really well?

Inner work!!! And having a coach that totally gets how important that is. That isn’t afraid to listen to my tears and fears. [awwww shucks] Being truthfully passionate, and believing in myself. Sticking with the plan (accepting ups AND downs).

 [Accepting ups and downs. Hi. My name is Illana and I’m going to learn how to stick with the plan and accept ups and downs. Who’s with me?! Sometimes I teach my clients, but they ALWAYS teach me.]

Makeness: How do you know it’s working?

My singers love me. People asking always asking for more. Singers tell me I’m an inspiration for them – not just to sing – but on living life.

sing portland

Makeness: What influenced the direction you took ‘the thing’?

Getting Higher Choir in Victoria BC. Finding like minded people. Great partners, friends, coaches. 

I feel like I had this crazy idea that gave my passion hands and feet to go out and grow and dance in the world.

Makeness: What advice would you give to others who feel like their ‘thing’ isn’t working?

Be fearless.

Get good advice. Work with people you truly love, that you can share anything with, even the hick-ups that you don’t think are related. (yeah right – not related…)


Makeness: Anything else you think people should know about you or your business [as it relates to this topic]?

I think we’re all on this planet to remind each other and ourselves of our unlimited potential. We’re all co-creators of this universe. We can do ANYTHING.

For me music is the medium. Through singing together I can give people that reminder that they can do and be anything they want. It can be any other medium for you. Whatever you’re passionate about. I’ve seen people do it through financial advising, drumming, coaching, massage, film making, clothing design.

What medium shows you the endless possibilities?

 [Well now THERE is some damn good advice.]

Makeness: What are you currently promoting in your business?

The Summer Term is about to begin. If you are a Portlander who has always been told they can’t sing, join us! Learn more here.

Sequence 01.Still001

Makeness: How would you like readers to reach out to you?

email: marion@marionvannamen.com

Find us on Facebook

Check out our Newsletter


Are you TOTALLY WINNING at something? Tell us all about it and see your very own story here.


Please note: I have turned off comments on the blog because I have found that we have far more lively conversation inside the Makeness Insider Community on Facebook. If you would like to join us there, consider this your cordial invitation.

You might also like:

Opt In Image
Join the Makeness Insiders private Facebook community + get our free ebook, 'Start Something: 10 Rules for surviving and thriving in your first year of business'...
Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Pin on PinterestEmail this to someone

start something