Spanx founder Sara Blakely is here to teach you all about how to invent, sell, and market your own products as a self-made entrepreneur in her MasterClass. You’ll learn how to bootstrap your way to success starting from essentially nothing.
The Sara Blakely MasterClass was easy listening for me and was a bit on the light side. I definitely recommend it to anyone with the knowledge that it isn’t going to get into the nitty-gritty of business specifics. However, learning about how products are invented is a good indicator of where you can go to start having your own products made.
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Who Is Sara Blakely
Sara Blakely is the founder of Spanx and has been named as a Time magazine “Time 100” for influential people in the world. If you’re a woman in particular, you’re likely familiar with Spanx. She has a net worth of over $1 billion which is impressive. Since she has sold a majority stake in Spanx but has retained her status of net worth of over a billion dollars.
Blakely is also the author of the book The Belly Art Project.
What Sara Blakely’s MasterClass Covers
Sara Blakely’s MasterClass is a deep dive into building a business and self-made entrepreneurship. It covers a ton of information on developing physical products which I find to be a strength in comparison to other business courses that speak mostly to company culture and setting up service-based companies. Having a product made is an ordeal and Blakely goes into a decent amount of detail on the subject. (However, I will say that much of it seems to be based on her experience alone rather than outlining a typical situation and how to go about getting started.)
This class is made up of 14 lessons and spans 3 hours and 30 minutes. It is a tad longer than their average MasterClass as of late and covers a decent amount of topics. As with anything business-related, it can be difficult to cover everything and the space is always changing so only evergreen topics tend to be covered.
The 14 lessons in this MasterClass are as follows:
- Finding Your Purpose
- Developing Your Big Idea
- Entrepreneurial Mindset
- Make It
- Sell It
- Build Awareness
- Marketing Case Study: Mented
- Pricing & Positioning
- Positioning Case Study: Wellround
- Building a Culture
- Culture & Growth Case Study: Fellow
- Spanx Case Studies
- Sara’s Survival Guide
MasterClass has developed a newer tiered membership with $180 being the lowest option. They do the marketing tactic of breaking out things on a monthly cost rather than the annual price despite not allowing for monthly billing. (This is a major pet peeve of mine.) The prices for memberships as of writing are as follows:
- Individual – $15/mo or $180
- Duo – $20/mo or $240
- Family – $23/mo or $276
This class comes with a 48-page guidebook. This guidebook contains a lot of useful information and assignments you can complete as you follow along with the course. Some of these assignments include things such as logging all the product designs you encounter during a week that bother you and brainstorming in multiple places every day over a week period to figure out where you do your best thinking.
The section on prototyping I found to be especially useful as this is one of the more difficult areas for those who are getting into designing a brand new product and don’t know where to start.
What We Liked
I thought the guidebook was especially useful as it breaks down a lot of information that is useful for those who want to make a new product or improve upon an existing product. This MasterClass really highlighted the process of having prototypes made and having products produced which is a nebulous and overwhelming step in the process of building a product-based business.
What We Didn’t Like
Some of the lessons on managing a business felt very corporate. If you know you know and if you don’t I’m about to explain what I mean by that. Spanx is clearly a corporation and corporations tend to have an odd idea of company culture and how everyone should be a big happy family. I would have liked to have seen her focus less on building a team in the final lessons and more on building the business. It will be so long before most aspiring entrepreneurs are in the hiring phase that it seems silly to dedicate valuable lesson time toward hiring people.
There was also a focus on bootstrapping and how she started with a few hundred bucks to her name. While yes, clearly that’s impressive, I think there’s a big focus on how anyone can do it and you can too if you just try hard enough. This is, if we’re being realistic, wishful thinking. I would like to see her sell less of the ‘started from nothing and here I am’ ideology and more of the ‘realistically this is what you can do with what you have’.
How to Get the Most Out of This Class
You’ll get the most out of this class if you watch all the lessons, read the guidebook, and follow along with the assignments. I don’t recommend skipping out on any of these elements as they are all quite useful to the overall message of the course.
Who Is This MasterClass Best For?
This MasterClass is best for those who want to build a business that has a product focus. Business majors and service-based business owners will also pull useful information from this course.
Who Is This MasterClass Not For?
If you have no desire to ever run a business then I think it is unlikely this MasterClass will be a wise use of time. There are many other MasterClasses available on the platform.
However, if you want to at least try the course, for my non-business peeps I recommend watching ‘Finding Your Purpose’ (Lessons #1), ‘Developing Your Big Idea’ (Lesson #2), and ‘Sara’s Survival Guide’ (Lesson #14). These lessons will give you a look at her journey and her big picture advice that is more applicable to those from all walks of life.
Similar MasterClasses You Might Like
MasterClass has a decently healthy collection of business-related courses to pick from featuring big names in business. Sara Blakely is just one of them. Check out these other business MasterClasses and a few related options that are tangential to business.
If you like TK’s MasterClass, you’ll likely enjoy the following:
- George Stephanopoulos – Purposeful Communication
- Elaine Wlteroth – Designing Your Career
- Daniel Pink – Sales and Persuasion
- Chris Vos – The Art of Negotiation
- Bob Iger – Business Strategy and Leadership
- Howard Schultz – Business Leadership
- Diane von Furstenberg – Building a Fashion Brand
Final Takeaway – 3.5/5
This isn’t the best business MasterClass available in the MasterClass library. Not by far. However, if you want to build a product-based business then you’re not going to find anything else that gives you an in-depth look at prototyping and building a product from the ground up.
While I do feel like some of the messaging surrounding bootstrapping is a bit uncomfortable, it is overall a course I think the business-minded will take valuable information away from.