Building a business can sometimes feel like a lonely journey, especially when you're a self-made entrepreneur.
But it doesn't have to.
You can always draw on the empowering insights and experiences of others who have built successful businesses. These individuals can show you both how it's done, and that it can be done.
In this review, I'll be sharing my thoughts on the Sara Blakely MasterClass - a class that's all about building a business from the ground up.
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more information.
Sara Blakely is an American entrepreneur and the founder of the global women's shapewear brand Spanx.
In March 2012, Sara was named the world's youngest, self-made female billionaire by Forbes and one of TIME's 100 Most Influential People.
Sara's story began one day when she was getting ready for a party and realized that she didn’t have the right underwear to pair with white pants.
She decided to cut the feet out of control top pantyhose and wear them underneath - and just like that, her problem was solved and an idea was born.
At the time, Sara had been selling fax machines door-to-door for seven years, and she had no experience in either retail or fashion.
Yet, with $5000 in savings, she just went for it, ultimately building Spanx into a billion-dollar brand.
In this MasterClass, Sara Blakely shares her tips and tricks for building a successful business, even with limited resources.
The class covers a range of relevant topics, from prototyping and manufacturing, to selling and marketing, to building awareness for your product and creating your ideal company culture.
Having received no formal business education herself, Sarah built up her company through a process of trial and error.
She's made tons of mistakes and gained many valuable lessons along the way, and in this class she shares everything she's learned to make your journey as an entrepreneur easier.
Sara Blakely's MasterClass is 3 hours 30 minutes long, and it includes the following 14 videos:
As with every masterclass, this class includes high-definition videos, a downloadable workbook (with useful assignments that help you apply what you learn), and unlimited access to 100+ classes taught by other top instructors.
At first I wasn't sure what to expect from this MasterClass.
I had always viewed Sara Blakely as an "old school" entrepreneur who was wildly successful selling physical goods, but I wasn't sure if the class would be relevant to more modern digital business models.
However, I was pleasantly surprised.
First of all, I found the class to be extremely motivating and inspiring.
In the class, Sara talks a lot about how important enthusiasm is as an entrepreneur - and let me tell you - she definitely practices what she preaches.
The class is vibrant and you can almost feel the energy radiating from her as she talks about her experiences and the way she was able to overcome various obstacles.
Moreover, the principles she shared are universally applicable and relevant whether you're a newbie or a seasoned entrepreneur, and whether your products are physical or digital.
Beside showing Spanx Case Studies, the MasterClass also includes interesting external case studies where Sara sits down with various business owners and gives them advice.
As she analyzes their companies and answers their questions, you may discover that she answers some of your business questions too!
Here are three specific highlights I took away from the Sara Blakely MasterClass:
As you likely guessed, Sara Blakely's MasterClass is mostly targeted toward female entrepreneurs.
This comes as no surprise, considering that the mission of her brand, Spanx, is to invent and enhance products that promote comfort and confidence in women.
In the MasterClass, Sara challenges the common misconception that "business is war" or that it's an undertaking that's only suitable for men.
Through her example, she proves that this is completely false.
In fact, as Sara explains, to be truly successful in business you need a balance of both masculine and feminine energy.
You don't have to be ruthless or driven by a desire to annihilate the competition.
You just need to focus on creating value and doing what your company does best.
Sara's advice to approach business in a way that feels most true to you is an encouraging reminder for all of us!
As an entrepreneur, it can sometimes be difficult to know when to share your ideas with others and when to keep them safe and secret.
In the class, Sara reveals that she worked on Spanx for one whole year before telling anyone about it.
I found her rationale behind this strategy very insightful.
As she explains, it's human nature that when we get an idea, we quickly tell those around us, whether it's family, friends, or colleagues.
Yet, out of love and concern those people will tell you all the reasons why your idea won't work. They might unintentionally discourage you before you even get started.
Many million-dollar ideas are completely squashed in such moments.
Therefore, rather than telling people your idea just for validation, you should continue building in silence.
If you invite ego into the process too soon, you will spend all your time defending and explaining your idea - and no time pursuing it.
However, things can't stay secret forever. In the class, Sara shows you how to use your judgment and share your idea with the right people who will be able to help you move it forward, especially in the beginning.
In the last section of the course, Sara Blakely shares tips to help you master time management as an entrepreneur.
For example, she encourages all entrepreneurs to measure their success as the end of a workday by asking:
"Did I spend the majority of today doing what I'm best at?"
While she encourages people to start small and scrappy while they're first building a business and learning the ropes, she recommends hiring your weaknesses when you can afford to do so.
Ultimately the goal is to focus on activities that really move the needle in your business.
When you figure out what your strengths and weaknesses are and "bucket your time" accordingly, you will be able to work more effectively without feeling burned out.
This is so important, because as CEO, you're in this game for the long haul!
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the Sara Blakely MasterClass.
While it will not teach you every single step of building a business - which would be impossible, anyway - it will certainly build your confidence to get started and provide you with valuable insights to help you along the way.
One of my favourite quotes from the class is this:
"Every person in their life has had a million-dollar idea.
Whether or not you take action is what makes the difference."
If you're a doer, the lessons in this class will nicely compliment the industry-specific research you conduct for your particular type of business.
By taking advantage of all the resources available to you and imitating Sara's relentless determination, you'll be setting yourself up for major success!
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