For my birthday, my parents gifted me a subscription to MasterClass, so to kick-off the new year I decided to dive into one of the classes I’ve been most excited to take: Sara Blakely Teaches Self-Made Entrepreneurship.
If you aren’t already familiar with Sara, she is the founder and owner of Spanx, a global shapewear company that transformed the industry. She invented the original Spanx product and single-handedly grew the business without advertising, without any experience or formal training in business or fashion, and while maintaining 100% ownership of the company (which she still has to this day).
Sara is a genuine example of what someone with passion, commitment, and creativity can make happen.
Her story is definitely inspiring, but during this class, it becomes clear why she became a self-made billionaire. There are a lot of factors and variables to a business becoming successful, but the most important ones are all rooted in the mindset of the entrepreneur. In one of the lessons, she says, “I find that your ability to become an entrepreneur will be completely related to your ability to control your own thoughts and to have your mindset serve you and propel you forward every chance you get rather than hold you back.”
If I had to choose one word to describe Sara’s class, it would be empowering. Not only does she empower you with the practical business advice she provides, but she also imparts wisdom on the deeper, more personal parts of entrepreneurship that show how much of the power YOU hold in creating your own success.
If you’re an entrepreneur at any stage of the game, I can’t recommend this class enough. It’s a short class that packs a lot of punch.
Sara Blakely Teaches Self-Made Entrepreneurship
Who It’s For
Whatever stage of business you’re in, whether you’re trying to come up with an idea or working on scaling your company, this class offers applicable advice and knowledge that Sara learned from every stage of her own career. She covers everything from how to nurture your ability to tap into new ideas, bring an idea from concept to reality, and establish your business all the way to sales, marketing, and growing your company.
Her Teaching Style
Sara is like a fun, relatable, brilliant friend sharing her wisdom and experience with you. I loved how open and honest she was about the many struggles she’s faced throughout her career. She doesn’t paint a fairytale picture of entrepreneurship, nor does she paint a grim one ─ she talks about the role signs, intuition, and visualization have played in her journey, as well as how important it was to her from the beginning to not buy into the destructive idea that “business is war.” She communicates the realities of entrepreneurship with an encouraging, inspiring spirit.
As I mentioned, Sara gives her take on a wide range of topics. While it’s not an intensive course that serves as a step-by-step model for creating a business, she does offer a solid foundation of principles that will help you think outside of the box and foster a mindset that will support you through every phase of entrepreneurship. It’s a deep-dive into the thought process of one of the most successful self-made entrepreneurs in history, which is incredibly valuable to anyone who wants to embark on the same path. She talks about why she’s made the choices she’s made and what her mindset/approach is to several facets of the journey, even what she posts on Instagram.
I took a lot of notes during this class and there were so many moments that got me thinking. Here are a few takeaways that I’d like to leave you with:
“Take that snapshot of where you want to end up and then you will subconsciously, without you even realizing it, start making decisions that get you to that snapshot. So, are you sitting at a table with world leaders? Are you sitting on a balcony covered with bougainvillea that’s growing on the vine looking out over the ocean? Or are you, in my case, sitting on the Oprah show and talking to her about something? And that was my visualization. I set that visualization when I was in college. Oprah didn’t know me, I didn’t know Oprah, I had no idea how I was gonna end up on her show but I was sure I was on her show because I saw myself talking to her and I called the next ten years plus ‘filling in the blanks.'”
“It’s important to know your purpose when you’re on an entrepreneurial journey because if you start with why and you stay connected to the why, that’s going to fuel you. That’s going to fuel you through this very intense, very difficult journey.”
“One of the most common misconceptions about entrepreneurs is that we had it all figured out before we even took the leap. That is not the case at all. We figured it out along the way and so can you. […] Entrepreneurship – my friend Reid Hoffman said it, who I love, who created LinkedIn, he said it best. It’s throwing yourself off of a cliff and assembling the plane on the way down.”
“Nobody is fearless. But I’m courageous. For me, courage comes from gratitude. It comes from such a deep gratitude for who I am [and] the opportunity that’s been given to me. I often look at my mom and my grandmother and the women that came before me and I think, they were not given the same opportunities. My mom was given the opportunity to be three or four things and I was born in the right place, at the right time, and that I give so much gratitude for and that propels me forward and makes me want to get up each day and that’s a lot of where my courage and my drive come from.”