Thanks for the sharing MJ
Two articles with TIMELESS Fastlane advice...
10 Lessons You Won't Learn in Business School
10 Lessons I Learned from Sara Blakely That You Won't Hear in Business School - Forbes
Notice the process. It took her TWO YEARS to create. In the meantime, she told very few about her "idea".
Don't misinterpret this for "Don't listen to the market" -- rather than, don't take your friends/family advice/opinion as sacred.Don't Seek Validation from Others
Sadly, most people avoid failure by not taking action. If you don't take action, you can't fail!Fail big
Sara’s beloved father followed Wayne Dyer’s guidance in teaching his children the power of failing big. Each day, her father would ask – “So, what did you fail at today.” And if there were no failures, Dad would be disappointed. Focusing on failing big allowed Sara to understand that failure is not an outcome, but involves a lack of trying — not stretching yourself far enough out of your comfort zone and attempting to be more than you were the day before. Failing big was a good thing.You CAN figure it out – you have the ability. Sara knew absolutely nothing about women’s undergarments, patenting a new product, manufacturing, marketing, product development, website development, online commerce, and more. But that didn’t stop her. She researched what she needed to, hired out what she couldn’t do, and marched forward with undying commitment and energy. Don’t stop yourself from pursuing an idea because you don’t think you have what it takes.5 Startup Tips from Sara Blakely9) Don’t worry about the outer “stuff” until the time is right. Sara worked tirelessly from her apartment creating her product, avoiding investing in outside office space or other marketing and business tools until the product had taken off. She didn’t have a formal website until she made it on the Oprah show and needed one. Anything that wasn’t essential to building the product and getting the name out there simply wasn’t a priority.
Top Five Startup Tips From Spanx Billionaire Sara Blakely - Forbes
Guys, this advice is rock solid and quite simply, as Fastlane as you get.
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Thanks for the sharing MJ
Great share MJ, this is an amazing success story.
Here is an interview where she talks about things that are constantly argued over on this forum (i.e. should i get a patent before i release the product etc etc.) - 'Extra' Interview with Spanx Creator Sara Blakely | ExtraTV.com
Also, I am really starting to notice that business school has a strong negative effect on entrepreneurial spirit.
I know MJ went through it and I have just finished it myself, and the truth is that they consistently deter you from starting a business.
Why? Because all you hear in business school is how hard it is, the amount of legal work, how hardly anyone makes it .... and probably most importantly they only talk about venture capital! ... Bootstrapping does not exist in business school.
With 5 years of people telling you that you can't make it and teaching you only skills that will make you a good employee, its no wonder you see so many people that don't go to business school make it.
They do not have the mental barriers and their lack of knowledge on how hard it is actually allows them to take action.
Talk about a new twist on an old product.
My sisters cut the feet out of pantyhose 35 years ago to use under their pants to keep warm when they would go skating in the winter BUT the difference is this woman thought it could sell as a product and did the work to make it one.
Wow...GREAT story MJ, that absolutely epitomizes the FASTLANE! I just found another adjoining article on Forbes about her that had some great parts as well. Here are a couple of my favorites:
"Like many startups, Spanx began life as an answer to an irritating problem. The panty hose Blakely was forced to wear at both Disney and Danka were uncomfortable and old-fashioned. “It’s Florida, it’s hot, I was carrying fax machines,” she says. She hated the way the seamed foot stuck out of an open-toe sandal or kitten heel. But she noticed that the control-top eliminated panty lines and made her tiny body look even firmer. She’d bought a new pair of cream slacks for $78 at Arden B and was keen to wear them to a party. “I cut the feet off my pantyhose and wore them underneath,” she says. “But they rolled up my legs all night. I remember thinking, ‘I’ve got to figure out how to make this.’ I’d never worked in fashion or retail. I just needed an undergarment that didn’t exist.”
Blakely, then 27, moved to Atlanta, set aside her entire $5,000 savings and spent the next two years meticulously planning the launch of her product while working nine to five at Danka. She spent seven nights straight at the Georgia Tech library researching every hosiery patent ever filed. She visited craft stores like Michaels to find the right fabrics. She sought out hosiery mills in the Yellow Pages and started cold calling, only to be told no repeatedly. Immune to rejection thanks to years selling door-to-door, she decided just to show up. At the Highland Mills hosiery factory in Charlotte, N.C., she was turned away, only to receive a call from the manager two weeks later. He had daughters, he told her, who wouldn’t let him pass up her invention. (Today the Spanx line is manufactured in 15 countries, including Thailand, Israel and Honduras; the cotton crotches are still hand-sewn in North Carolina).
This one is my favorite (Reminds me of your "Toilet University" MJ!)
"To save $3,000 in legal fees she wrote her own patent from a Barnes & Noble textbook, setting aside $150 to incorporate her company, but couldn’t decide on a name. After a succession of terrible ideas she settled on Spanks, substituting an “x” at the last minute after reading that made-up names sold better. “The word ‘Spanx’ was funny,” she says. “It made people laugh. No one ever forgot it.” In the summer of 2000 she spent evenings on a friend’s computer designing her packaging. She went for cherry red and, with the help of a graphic artist, created a blonde cartoon model with a long ponytail called Sunny—Sara’s animated alter ego."
"Blakely was still working her day job at Danka, keeping her side business top secret, sitting up all night shoving Spanx orders into white padded envelopes from Office Depot. She was 24/7 customer service, answering phone calls from her bathtub or bed. Her then boyfriend quit his job and took care of shipping and handling.Unable to shell out for advertising, Blakely took on marketing and p.r. She tore out journalists’ bylines from magazines and called them. She took over morning staff meetings at department stores to show sales associates why Spanx shouldn’t languish in the beige hinterland of the hosiery floor but be sold alongside womenswear and shoes. If that didn’t work, she improvised, once sneaking some red Spanx packages onto a rack she bought at Target and placing them by a cash register in Neiman. “All the staff assumed someone else had approved it, until they caught me on CCTV,” she laughs."
Here is the full article if anyone wants to read the rest of it:
Undercover Billionaire: Sara Blakely Joins The Rich List Thanks To Spanx - Forbes
Building my stats one day at a time...
Anybody else see the difference between having a passion to solve a problem that the market needs, and "do what you love"?
In all these interviews, I don't see "do what you love" being mentioned. Yet, you can bet Sara loved solving this problem and seeing people overjoyed at purchasing the solution.
Great articles! BTW, do you see yourself saying to your children before going to bed "What did you fail today?". Never thought about this, but one of the things that I really will do is to give entrepreneurial DNA to my next generation
"She stayed at Danka, working 9 to 5"
Here again the notorious "I don't have time" excuse is crushed into a pulp. She became a billionaire by working a full time job, and pursuing the Fastlane on evenings and weekends. WOW just WOW.
This one also caught my attention... I always thought talking about your ideas was a great way to validate the market needs and have others help you refine it... her approach was different.Sara explains that ideas are vulnerable, fragile things. Wait until you’re completely read to move forward before you share it with people. Meaning well, they’ll shoot it down, offering all the reasons why it won’t work. But when they do, you’ll be ready to deal with it.
Thanks for sharing this one!
Palmera Tech -- Web Development Done Right!
Boring and steady makes you money. Do not get distracted by shiny objects.
When you are obsessed over your own life and its happiness, the TV simply cannot compete.
thanks for sharing! i really have to get something done damn :X
So important and amazing. People need to start encouraging friends and family to do this more often. We are all going to die one day, why not live life like this, why live safe, what is the point?Sara’s beloved father followed Wayne Dyer’s guidance in teaching his children the power of failing big. Each day, her father would ask – “So, what did you fail at today.” And if there were no failures, Dad would be disappointed. Focusing on failing big allowed Sara to understand that failure is not an outcome, but involves a lack of trying — not stretching yourself far enough out of your comfort zone and attempting to be more than you were the day before. Failing big was a good thing.
so great.Blakely remembers almost begging business owners — like the proprietor of a Clearwater, Fla. fruit and vegetable shop — to buy her products. “The produce stand man’s objection was that he didn’t have an electrical outlet,” she says. “I said, ‘If I can overcome that, would you buy my fax machine?’ Do you know what I did? I went to the business on the corner and asked if I could run an extension cord to the produce stand. That was my first sale. I did this for seven years.”
"Ask me for anything," said Napoleon to his lieutenant. "Anything but time."
So..........you're saying she didn't have business cards and office name-plates made9) Don’t worry about the outer “stuff” until the time is right. Sara worked tirelessly from her apartment creating her product, avoiding investing in outside office space or other marketing and business tools until the product had taken off. She didn’t have a formal website until she made it on the Oprah show and needed one. Anything that wasn’t essential to building the product and getting the name out there simply wasn’t a priority.
It may be coded into the genes from the days when we actually had things to fear (wolves etc.). We can know this and take action that overrides these outmoded instincts.why live safe, what is the point?
I know Sara, dated her good friend back then when she made her first prototype. Went to her stand up comedy act. Great girl, happy for her as she decided to take action.
Did anyone watch "Getting Back to Business" on Cnbc last week? It was a town meeting in Atlanta for small businesses. Sara was one of the guests along with Kevin O'leary. They both had some excellent advice for anyone looking to start a business.
Here's the link:
Getting Back to Business: A CNBC Town Hall - CNBC
Watching it know. I absolutely love Olearies views on regulation, 100% true. I love his lemonade stand analogy.
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