Dr. Marvette Lacy Ph.D., (she/her) is the founder and CEO of Qual Scholars where she helps higher education folks finish their dissertations and start a profitable consulting business.
This week on the podcast Marvette goes over some common questions she’s received about the the new Finish your Dissertation Accelerator. Marvette also goes over why it’s important to invest in yourself.
Hey, Hey, welcome back to a new week. Y’all it is Tuesday. And so every Tuesday the people come out and they started mowing grass and lawns. And so if you hear that in the background, just know that’s what’s happening. Um, also on Tuesdays, I, uh, live across the street from a church and they do Together Tuesdays and they have all the good nineties Christian music playing, and they’re doing a dunk tank and you can hear it. And while it’s not directly across the street, it’s like a block over you cansStill hear it as if it’s next door. And so Tuesdays it’s just like, I have a wonderful opportunity to just have amazing background noise. That is how I am choosing to think about it. I mean, I wanted to share that with y’all. Um, so today we are talking about frequently asked questions. So last week I talked to you all about the, Write Your Dissertation Accelerator, and we received some amazing questions and I wanted to take this opportunity this week to address those questions, because, you know, typically I find that if a few people have those questions, more people have those questions and maybe for whatever reason, don’t ask them. Um, and maybe wondering, and so wanting to record this as a way to hopefully, um, give you more information for you to make the best decision for you.
Q1. What is Write Your Dissertation Accelerator?:
So one of the first ones is, um, you know, what exactly is the write your dissertation accelerator? And I do cover more of the logistical details in last week’s episode. And so if you haven’t had an opportunity to listen to that, I strongly encourage you to go do so this question is more about like, what is it and how is it different from the finish your dissertation program and how does Qual Scholars and all these names please help. So I wanted to take this opportunity to break it down. Okay. So qual scholars is the name of the company, the business, qual scholars, I came up with this, I don’t know, it was just, I remember being random, but I remember being like, I’m a qualitative researcher. We are all scholars. Let’s just put the two of them together. So qual scholars is the name of the company.
Finish your dissertation is our signature program that we have been doing, oh, two years at this point. And that is the comprehensive program that our students are in. Uh, we have been through many iterations of it. We’re constantly looking for ways to improve it, but that is the core program with all of the courses for each chapter of your dissertation, for the writing groups, um, for the amazing community or team of coaches, unlimited writing feedback, it is the signature program that promises that you will complete your dissertation in 12 months or less. And in our conversations, um, between Dr. Breeden and myself and our, um, reflection over how the finish your dissertation program or FYD has been going, we felt that we needed a little bit more structure in the beginning, particularly for new students coming into the program.
And we tested out a new, like a new sub-program, if you will call it summer, scholar summer school. And because that was a success, we decided to, um, incorporate that more into the structure of the finished your dissertation program. So when you’re in the finish your dissertation program, you will see like we will have various workshops and we try out different things, depending on what time of year we’re in and what we are seeing that students need. And we will offer sub programs to help people, because I am a strong believer that, you know, your dissertation isn’t necessarily about your dissertation. Like it’s about you as a whole person. And while we may be great at compartmentalizing, it’s just life doesn’t work that way. And yeah, you may want to work on that chapter too, but you’re, you’re thinking about that your momma light’s going to be cut off and you’re trying to figure out a way to send her money, right.
And where is your place to talk about the intersection of, I want to finish this proposal, but I got real life happening. Cause my momma light’s about to get cut off and I just need somebody to support or like somebody who understands or somebody to help me brainstorm, where do you go? Where you can like easily flow from topic to topic. And so that’s why we do these programs, but the scholar summer school series was such a success. And we were reflecting. We were like, we need to make this a core thing, not just a sub program. And so if you will write your dissertation accelerator is our orientation to the finish your dissertation program, right? So to recap, qual scholars is to company. Finish your dissertation program is the signature program. And write your dissertation accelerator is what we’re calling the orientation to the finish your dissertation program. And so write your dissertation accelerator is the first four weeks of you coming into the program. It is to help set the tone of you being in a group. It is the goal is to get you very clear what it is that you wouldn’t need to do in order to meet your goals and it’s to help you see what is possible for you to accomplish in four weeks with amazing support. And so I hope that that clears that up, but again, if y’all have any additional questions about that, feel free, feel free to ask.
Q2. Costs and Investments:
Um, so the next question, or yeah, the next question that I get, that people will tend, it tends to stop them from signing up. It’s like they have concerns about the cost they have concern about why does it, why the investment so much and what am I getting for the investment and why are you charging? And I want to speak to this directly. So one, if you listen to Dr. Breeden’s episode, a couple of weeks ago, we were talking about how, even though I knew I was going to hire her for the team and she was going to get the money, she was investing right back it’s it was important for her to invest because here’s the thing we can criticize systems of oppression all day long. And the way that we show up in our everyday life, we value the things that we pay for. Let me say it again. We heavily value the things we paid for, especially when those payments feel very uncomfortable for us. Right.
So think about, um, maybe the last larger purchase that you’ve made and how much more thought you put into it, how you think about it. Right. I’m trying to think of an example. You know, I think about like my brother and growing up, and my parents didn’t believe in necessarily spending a lot of money on clothes, especially my mama. Like she was like a hundred dollars for a pair of shoes. Absolutely not. And so when my brother was able to make decisions about what clothes he would buy, he would plan and y’all listen. Pre-internet right. So what was the book with the shoes that you would get like every month? And it would have all the shoes and they’re all it’s gonna, it’s gonna bother me, but I know y’all know what I’m talking about. And he would like go through the catalog or magazine, whatever you call it. And like circle shoes that he wanted. And this was like a whole like multi week situation before he would finally select the one pair of shoes that he was going to be able to buy.
And he would be willing to spend, like we would get a certain amount of money for back to school shopping. And he would be willing to spend most of his money on the pair of shoes, because in his mind, the shoes make the outfit. And so he would do that. He would clean his shoes every day. He would make sure to change out the shoe laces. He wouldn’t wear them to certain places. He would suffer and put the tissue or the paper at the top of his shoes, because most of the time they were air force ones. And what you don’t want to do to a fresh pair of ones is get the, um, get the of on the top, the crease on the top, that’s the word I’m looking for. Right? And so he would do that, but he cared for those shoes, love those shoes and was able to make them stretch more than the average person because of how valuable they were because of how much he had to invest in those shoes.
And I know y’all know what I’m talking about. Cause y’all did that too, growing up and your probably still doing it right. But I’m using that story to illustrate when you invest in yourself. And that investment is really uncomfortable. You value it differently, right? You pay more attention to it. You want to make the most of it. This is no different than investing in yourself and becoming doctor because this investment is not only about you finishing your dissertation. It is also about you. You go on to the next level, you becoming like you living out the identity of being a doctor. Now, other programs will just focus on your document and that’s fine. If that’s all you need, that’s fine. Do what you need to do. If you’re coming into our world in our program. What I will tell you is that, yes, we will help you with your document. We will help you figure out what to include in each chapter and how to make sure it passes your committee. More importantly, though, we will focus on you as the person. I am more concerned about who you are, how you show up in the world, how you want to show up in the world, how you want to think about yourself, the conversation that you have with yourself. Because I know that the school yo being in this program is like, your academic program is temporary, but you are going to be with you forever. And what valuable give is that to love being with you? What valuable gift is it that when you are at home by yourself, nobody else to talk to that you actually enjoy that, that you actually enjoy your own company, and that you don’t feel the need to distract yourself with TV, or you don’t feel your need to distract yourself with eating or distract yourself with alcohol or weed or whatever. That you could truly feel comfortable being with yourself.
Investing In Your Future:
So there’s an investment of 2,500 or 2000 if you pay in full, but this investment is more than your, about your dissertation. Like we are 100% confident, 1000% confident we can help you do that part. What I am asking you to also invest in is you, I’m asking you to invest in how you see yourself. I’m asking you to invest in your future. I want you to own your power. Like I want you to not only walk into your defense, but walk through life, being like I know I’m the shit and there is nothing you could tell me about it. That’s what we do in this program. That’s what makes us different. And if you’re not interested in that peace and blessings be with you, honestly, truly, like, I really want you to get what you need. And if you are listening to this and you’re like, no, this is what I want. This is what I need in my life. At this time, I invite you to sign up for the program.
So to recap, the investment is 2,500. You could either make a one payment of 2000, or you can make five payments of 500. That’s that’s the option. But I promise you will, you will get way more than you think. What does that include? That includes six months in the program that includes your first month, your first four weeks going through the accelerator, getting a clear draft of either your proposal or your complete dissertation and the remaining, um, five months support of doing the edits and helping you through prepare for IRB or prepare for your defense, um, preparing for collecting and analyzing data, preparing for your transition from your doctoral program into whatever is next for you. Because let me tell y’all, we have talked about it multiple times on this podcast. You think that the most challenging part is getting to graduation? What the people who have finished will tell you is the most challenging part, really is trying to figure out the in-between space of graduation and whatever comes next and trying to figure out what comes next, right?
Like a lot of people go into like, yeah, yeah, yeah, I’m a job search and it’ll be fine. But if you are going to be job searching for like a faculty position, you know, that starts a year before you actually finish and graduate. And typically you preparing to go into a job search is happening at one of the most critical times of your dissertation, like while you’re finishing and defending a proposal. So not only do you have the stressful situation of trying to figure out what the hell is this proposal going to say, and what am I actually going to do? And are they going to pass me? You also have the added layer of, and I got all these job announcements coming out and I got to make sure I applied to the application process takes a long time and a lot of energy.
And so what does your support look like in trying to navigate to large endeavors? And usually what happens when people don’t have support is one of them. One of them drops either. They don’t focus on the proposal to do the job search, or they don’t focus on the job search to do their proposal. And then what happens is a year later, right? Either you may have a job, but you’re stressing out how you’re going to finish the dissertation or you finish a dissertation. And you’re like me. And I was like, so what do I do next? Cause I did not do a job search. Right? But when you have that support, when you have folks in your life who can help you plan for both and help you navigate both, you then end up being like Dr. Breeden and being like, yep, not only did I finish this dissertation ahead of schedule. I also just have multiple job offers lined up and I’m not sitting here saying like, oh, she just was like floating alone. And she didn’t have any problems or struggles. I am saying though, that she was able to navigate both of those in a way that was authentic to her in a way that she could care for herself in a way that did not rob her of any of her peace or joy.
And so that is why we do six month agreements because really want you to be intentional about how you set yourself up. And most people choose to stay in the program for longer than six months, especially if they have started with us after they finished their exams. And they are working at the beginning of decided to stay a year and some even stay more because of the community that we have. So that is what the investment is. That is what is covered. And again, if you want more details about what is included, I invite you to listen to last week um, episode.
Q3. Can I join if I am not working on a dissertation?:
Another question I get is if I am not working on a dissertation, can I still join? Absolutely. So we do have some master’s students in our program. And especially we have master students who are in like a dual program where they need to complete their, their master’s degree first. And then they’ll go into a doctoral program. And we do, we have, we have had people who are, um, just interested in their master’s degree, because like I said, like, yes, we do have all those information about dissertation. And we usually talk about it from the lens of dissertating. However, the spirit, the core, our tools that we use again, it’s about you, it’s about you building your identity of how you want to be in a world. It’s about how you can heal from past traumas about how you navigate anxiety and depression, especially when it comes to writing. Um, we talk about how do you navigate your relationships with your advisor and other people in your program and field? Right? All of those things are not necessarily just tied to the dissertation. Right, they’re tied to the academy. They’re tied to the system, the institution of higher education.
And as long as you’re someone navigating higher ed, you’re going to find great value from this. We welcome folks across the academy because that is how amazing and grounding this community is how amazing and grounding a coaching is. So you don’t need to be a doctoral student. You don’t need to be working on your dissertation. We have people who are even in coursework, who just know that like, I want this type of support. I want this type of community around me. Yeah. I have people in my quote, unquote, real life. However, going back to what I said earlier, I don’t like a lot of people don’t necessarily have the space to talk about the intersections of life, the academy and everything else. And that’s what we provide here. And so people, you know, like want to be a part of that community and if that’s you, we welcome you with open arms. Nobody’s going to be like, you don’t belong here, you can’t sit with us, no, we will welcome you. Welcome you. So that is that question.
Q4. What if I can’t make each call?:
The next question I get is I can’t make it each week. Are the calls recorded or what happens if I’m not able to make it because I’m going out of town or something like that? While we strongly, strongly encourage you to be present during the calls. Like we also understand that life happens. We do. Not Everyone can make it to every single call, which is why we record the calls. And we upload them the wonderful Gabby Mallet, uploads them to our private member member portal. And, um, she does that within 48 hours. And you can watch it. I mean, cause even people who are on the call, they still like to go back and watch them because there’s just so much like so many gems drop that they want to be able to refer back to it.
And if you are someone who listens to the podcast and you listen to episodes over and over, just imagine having a like repertoire or like a vault of old videos so that you can go back to and watch over and over, that goes deeper. That takes the work that we talk about on a podcast, even deeper. And there’s a surprise coming that will make it even easier for people inside the program to re-listen, to calls while doing other things. So I don’t want to give too much away, but just know surprises are coming, but yes, calls are recorded, um, you can watch them as much as you need to. We’re also available in the Facebook group. If you have any follow-up questions, someone will be there to answer them. And so we have really intentionally designed this. So yeah, life happens, you miss it, but you can still get the information that you need.
Q5. Do you offer refunds?:
Do you offer refunds? So I do not. And the reason why I do not is because I want to work with students who are committed. I want to work with students who are ready to show up for themselves. Usually when people are looking for refunds, it’s like tire kickers. They want to see like, oh, I just want to see what you offer. I want to see what you’re doing. And here’s the thing, because I’m so confident in my program because I’m so confident in how we have structured things and how we have helped students and continue to help students. I’m standing behind my product. The no refunds is because I believe so strongly in it because I know if you show up your whole life will change.
That is why we don’t have any refunds because we want people who are just as committed. And I get that. That can be a big decision for some of you. And that’s alright. You get to have your process. You get to think, but I just want you to consider not having a refund. Like what if you, like not having a refund invites you to like have this one time in life where you fully commit to showing up for yourself, not needing a plan B, not needing a way out. What if you just took this opportunity to fully show up for yourself? What if you took this opportunity to believe just a little bit more in yourself and your ability to write this dissertation that you have, what it takes to complete this program.
Dr. Lacy’s Story:
I want to share a story about when I was working on my dissertation. Um, at this point I had known about like life coaching and online business for a couple of years. And I had been, I was the queen of downloading any free PDF Somebody was offering. Buying $15 eBooks about how to start your own business. Um going to free webinars, watching YouTube videos. I was doing all the things like there was not a freebie thing that I did not download. And I felt really good at first. I was like, oh, look at me. I’m making progress. I’m doing all the things. But I also had to be honest with myself, but girl, you’re not making any money. Yeah, you’re doing all the learning and the researching, but you’re not making the money. And the whole point of a business is to make money. Like I wasn’t interested in a charity. I wasn’t interested in like a free website.
I was interested in making money because my goal was, I don’t want to go into the academy. I want to work for myself. And in order to work for myself, I was going to have to make money, to be able to support myself. And so for two years, you know, that’s what I did. And finally I was like, okay, you have to invest. Like you’ve gone as far as you can go doing the free stuff, what would it look like for you to invest? And there was this program. Um, I think it was 2000. And I remember thinking like that is so much money. Like I can barely make my payments for my bills every month. Like, how am I supposed to afford that? And I went down this whole rabbit hole of like clearly business is just for rich people. It’s not for people like me. They like how dare they, they must don’t know how it is for real people out here. And then I just had to get real myself. Like, is that true? Is everything I’m saying? Is it true? And even if it is true, how is that helping me right now? Because I still have this goal of wanting to figure out this business and me sitting here complaining about how the system isn’t fair. It’s not helping me.
And is it true that there’s no way for me to find the money. And so I had to have some real hard conversations with myself and really look at my habits and look at what I was doing and being like, oh, that’s cute. You, you, you really not like, sure, let me be clear. I was making maybe what? Eight, $900 a month. I want to be clear that I, it wasn’t like I was just rolling into money, but then what I also had this thought of, but I’m also willing to take out loans to pay for education. And why am I so willing to take out loans for this institution that I don’t have any control over. That I don’t know exactly what I’m going to get. They’re making me pay for extra credit hours that I don’t even use. And I’m not even convinced that they, if they’re really helping me, right. Hence why I want it to have a whole like business because higher ed, I was just disenchanted by it. And I started really thinking about that. Like I have no problem signing a piece of paper to take out loans for school. Why am I different? Why don’t I see myself, my future, my goals of having this business just as, or if not more important than this program that I’m in, that I’m over. Like, I started to really sit with that and be like, what if I went all in on this goal? Like I’m going all in on being a doctor.
And so y’all reluctantly sadly scared. I made the first payment and I did the payment plan. I did payment plans for awhile because that’s where I was at. And I’m like, listen, I’m about to be the best student they ever had because I know have valuable this money is for me. Like I know technically I don’t have it, but I’m willing to be risky and go all in to make this work. And so that program I invested in, I showed up, I went to all the calls. I watched all the videos. I did all the work. And here is the part of story that you might be like, and, you lived happily ever after. No, I didn’t. I’m sharing a story on purpose. I did quote unquote, everything in that program. And I did not sign a client. Let me say that again. I showed up and did everything that the person told me to do. And I did not sign a client. Now you might be like, why would you share this story of you paying and it not working out because here’s the lesson because that version of myself took that risk. And because that version of myself showed up the way that she did, I was able to get to the end of that program and be like, man, that didn’t work out. However, I have learned some things about me. I have learned some things about where I, where my gaps are in my knowledge, because before joining, I was just like, I don’t get this business thing. And I’ve been learning. It’s not working. I just need to make money. Afterwards I was like, okay, this is how this coach showed up. This is what I did like about her.
But here’s some things I wish she would have done. Here’s what I liked about the community and the program and I wish we would’ve talked about these types of topics. And so when I went to go make my next investment, I had more information. And I did at the beginning, when I was going to make my next investment, I was able, I was more equipped to show up and make the most of it where I was able to sign clients. Sometimes you will invest in yourself and it won’t work out. Sometimes you can go all in on something, but just because you didn’t get the intended outcome doesn’t mean it was a failure. Doesn’t mean you make bad decisions doesn’t mean that it, you don’t know what you’re doing. It just means that there were other lessons that you needed to learn in order to get to the next step.
A lot of times we want people to make guarantees to us of like, I’m going to pay. So I’m going to sign up for this program and you got a guarantee, but here’s the thing. What I can not guarantee what I do not have control over as a coach, as a business owner is where you are in your process. How open you are, how willing you are. Right. I talk a lot about this with Yvonne. And she showed up open and curious. We went from January and her being like, you don’t understand my program, the type of dissertation. And you’re telling me ridiculous things to, oh, I finished it in three and a half weeks. It was a process. Right? But it’d be Yvonne would have came to me in February and being like, I quit. You didn’t do what you told me. I’m like, what, what you told me was going to happen, didn’t right. She would have missed her opportunity to grow. She would’ve missed our opportunity to find, like, to go through different situations because what she had to do before getting to the three-and-a-half weeks was learned more about herself and what she needed. Learn how to put boundaries up in relationships and tell people no, and remove herself from situations that were no longer serving her. She had to learn how to truly like take care of herself from a place of, this is what I want to do Not what I want, not what other people have told me. I should do. She had to go through those steps before getting to the part of finishing her dissertation.
Just like I had to go through the steps of learning, how to show up for myself, learning how to invest in myself, learning how to go all in, right. Learning like more about what type of business do I want, who do I want to work with getting more granular and not trying to just spin out and waste time. And like, I just want a business. I just want to make money. Just tell me what to do. No, I had to learn like, what do I want? What type of business do I want to have? I had to honor that I’m doing a whole ass dissertation while trying to start a business who does that? me. Right. But I had to honor where I was. And just because I paid the 2000 or whatever, and it didn’t work out the way that the sales page said it would doesn’t mean that it didn’t work out. I learned so much about myself. I have made some connections that I still have to this day and this online coaching space. I, and like for me, what was more important is that I showed myself, I showed myself that you can go all in in this business and you can finish your dissertation in two months grow, who does that?
And those lessons is what I use today to help you and clients, those lessons, that version of showing up for that 2000 investment. I am so grateful to her because without her, I wouldn’t be here. Without her I wouldn’t have the business that I have today. I would not have the opportunity to help other doctoral students do the same thing. And it started with me investing in myself. Yes. I very well could have went to that coaching. Like I need a refund because I didn’t get what you said. I was going to get. Her only job as the coach, as the business owner was to do what she said she would do. And she did it. She didn’t say, well, it doesn’t mean that it was high quality, right? Like you can go to McDonald’s and get a cheeseburger, but it’s not going to be the same type of, um, cheeseburger that you would get from that burger joint or from red Robin or something.
Right. But they stay all are doing what they said they would do, which is give you a burger. Now, the type of burger you want. Right. It’s a whole different thing. That was what was happening with that program. She did what she said she would do. And yeah she promised some results, but technically she did what she said she would do according to her agreement. And I had to show up, right? Like people in who teach your classes, they do what they, they show up and they deliver content. But it’s also your job to get what you need its also your job to figure out, okay, how do I take this information and use it? Yeah. I still attend like business one-on-one workshops. And I still get so much value from it because I show up to those workshops, not as a person, who’s like, oh, I’ve been there, done this, made multiple six figures.
What are you going to tell me? I don’t show up that way. I show up, like, I’m open to learning and to receive and whatever is supposed to be provided for me. And I make the most of it. What type of student are you? How do you invest in yourself? Do you think that just because you’ve showed up that you should get everything, or do you like, do you have this spirit of, I’m going to show up and make the most of it? I’m going to show up and learn. I’m going to make this work for me, because I want to be clear the, my programs, the shit! Like this isn’t about trying to convince you to do something you don’t want to do. What this is about is asking you, who do you want to be? How do you think about yourself? Do you trust yourself?
Do you believe that you will show up? Because that’s the last question that I usually get is I’m not sure I have what it takes to complete this program. I’m not sure that it’s going to be something that I followed through on. Nobody is asking you to 100, 1000% believe that you have everything that it takes to do this. What we’re asking, what I am asking you to do is be willing and open to just take the first step. We don’t need to do the whole staircase, just be willing and open and committed to taking the first step, because we got you. We got you, but you have to take the first step. First, you have to invest first. You got to initiate. We got you the rest of the way. So if you have any additional questions and you want to talk to someone, please come over to Instagram. Um, at qual_scholars, or you can learn more about the program www.qualscholars.com/FYD. And it will tell you all about the program and link you to the application process. Again, what would it mean for you to go all in and invest in yourself? That is going to do it. I will talk to y’all next week. Bye for now.