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Entrepreneurs! Is this worth $20-40k?

Satvik Gupta

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So, I got accepted to Draper University program which is for 4 months. And I just calculated the total costs, it's coming around $30k to $40k. I also have an option to switch program to "Hero Training" which is basically a 1-month program and costs around $18k.

Now I'm wondering if that choice is still worth it? I'm having a hard time deciding if I should go for it or not.

Link to course for which I got accepted: Semester in Silicon Valley

For those of you who haven't heard about Draper University, it's basically a boot camp for entrepreneurs which is highly selective and 40 people are picked each year for it. It is founded by Tim Draper. The program promises how it will help the student to turn an idea into a business. People like Elon Musk give guest lectures and at the end of the program, students can pitch investors which will come to the university to get funding.

(Brief background about me: 17, leaning towards the entrepreneurial side, not going to college/taking a gap year. My parents are willing to fund this expense but to be honest, I REALLY don't feel comfortable in taking such big amount from them)

Any thoughts on this situation would be appreciated.
 

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404profound

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So, I got accepted to Draper University program which is for 4 months. And I just calculated the total costs, it's coming around $30k to $40k. I also have an option to switch program to "Hero Training" which is basically a 1-month program and costs around $18k.

Now I'm wondering if that choice is still worth it? I'm having a hard time deciding if I should go for it or not.

Link to course for which I got accepted: Semester in Silicon Valley

For those of you who haven't heard about Draper University, it's basically a boot camp for entrepreneurs which is highly selective and 40 people are picked each year for it. It is founded by Tim Draper. The program promises how it will help the student to turn an idea into a business. People like Elon Musk give guest lectures and at the end of the program, students can pitch investors which will come to the university to get funding.

(Brief background about me: 17, leaning towards the entrepreneurial side, not going to college/taking a gap year. My parents are willing to fund this expense but to be honest, I REALLY don't feel comfortable in taking such big amount from them)

Any thoughts on this situation would be appreciated.
How does the program fit into your strategy?
 

Maxboost

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So, I got accepted to Draper University program which is for 4 months. And I just calculated the total costs, it's coming around $30k to $40k. I also have an option to switch program to "Hero Training" which is basically a 1-month program and costs around $18k.

Now I'm wondering if that choice is still worth it? I'm having a hard time deciding if I should go for it or not.

Link to course for which I got accepted: Semester in Silicon Valley

For those of you who haven't heard about Draper University, it's basically a boot camp for entrepreneurs which is highly selective and 40 people are picked each year for it. It is founded by Tim Draper. The program promises how it will help the student to turn an idea into a business. People like Elon Musk give guest lectures and at the end of the program, students can pitch investors which will come to the university to get funding.

(Brief background about me: 17, leaning towards the entrepreneurial side, not going to college/taking a gap year. My parents are willing to fund this expense but to be honest, I REALLY don't feel comfortable in taking such big amount from them)

Any thoughts on this situation would be appreciated.
What's the payback period to recoup that $40k? Is there a success track record? testimonials? How many people who have gone into this program and made their investment back? What are you trying to accomplish?
 

Merging Left

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The program promises how it will help the student to turn an idea into a business.
I don't know if those are your words or theirs, but be wary of promises like that. I haven't heard of Draper University, and it seems it's only a few years old (founded 2012), so be cautious that you're not being sold a dream. Who are the notable alums, what companies have they founded, and where are they now?
 

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I'd want to know who'll be there and what exactly the course is going to give me that I can't get elsewhere. If Elon Musk was going to show up and take questions, and an Andreessen Horowitz partner shark tanks your pitch, then that's high-end stuff and I'd say definitely yes. If it's just going to be aspirational fluff, and sitting listening to Guy Kawasaki saying things like "just work harder" with his trademark smug face, with cringe TV fireplace in the background, it's probably a no.
 

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If you have an idea that makes CENTS you can pitch and if you need the college credit it could be worth it. 4 months sounds pretty intense and personal. But also the "incubators" are turning entrepreneurs into commodities for the venture capitalists.

Does your business idea require venture capital to execute?

Would the 20-40k be better spent on your own business? That is enough to start many types of businesses.
 
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Satvik Gupta

Satvik Gupta

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I don't know if those are your words or theirs, but be wary of promises like that. I haven't heard of Draper University, and it seems it's only a few years old (founded 2012), so be cautious that you're not being sold a dream. Who are the notable alums, what companies have they founded, and where are they now?
I agree with you. Draper does do some CATCHY marketing. I did contact many alums, some of them are doing a job, some of them did business which failed, some of them are running a business.
 
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Satvik Gupta

Satvik Gupta

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I'd want to know who'll be there and what exactly the course is going to give me that I can't get elsewhere. If Elon Musk was going to show up and take questions, and an Andreessen Horowitz partner shark tanks your pitch, then that's high-end stuff and I'd say definitely yes. If it's just going to be aspirational fluff, and sitting listening to Guy Kawasaki saying things like "just work harder" with his trademark smug face, with cringe TV fireplace in the background, it's probably a no.
You're right. I'm gonna email them and ask more about this.
 
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Satvik Gupta

Satvik Gupta

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If you have an idea that makes CENTS you can pitch and if you need the college credit it could be worth it. 4 months sounds pretty intense and personal. But also the "incubators" are turning entrepreneurs into commodities for the venture capitalists.

Does your business idea require venture capital to execute?

Would the 20-40k be better spent on your own business? That is enough to start many types of businesses.
Honestly, my idea does not need a VC. And 20k (hell, I can get the ball rolling in even 1-2k)
 

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404profound

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I'm just gonna be 100% honest here.

I really don't know. I thought that the skills which I'll learn from this bootcamp will help me in my future business.

Now I feel like I'm really stupid.
You're not stupid, you just haven't fully thought this through. Your education should be a tool to accomplish X, not the accomplishment. Anytime you invest in learning, it should be to build knowledge and skills for a known goal. So it seems to me you are playing strategy roulette; you are being proactive and investing the effort to learn without knowing if it's a needed tool. You would be wise to consider what your end game is here.
 

MJ DeMarco

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I can't see anything being worth that much in terms of practically knowledge you can learn somewhere else.

However...

The networking opportunities might be well worth it.

You might meet a business partner, an investor, someone very impactful in your life.

Don't know enough to make an educated decision, but $40K for some kind of class feels like a total money grab while using authority to justify to the cost. (You'll hear from Elon Musk!)

I paid $200 (not $20K) to hear from world famous professionals at Masterclass.com -- so I'm getting the same outcome there. Not sure if shaking their hand is worth the premium.
 

PaulRobert

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Going to be very blunt here...

Entrepreneurship can not be learned by taking classes. Entrepreneurship is learned by doing. Doing actual business. Setting everything up, learning the ins and out of a business, failing, networking with people within the industry, selling to potential customers, getting rejected, going up to bat again, getting your first customer, getting your 100th, etc..

Having speakers come in and talk is great and all but YouTube has 1000s of interviews of high profile entrepreneurs. I had Steve Wozniak speak at my school (didn't go anywhere special) and while he did say some things that stuck with me, it was reworded from other speeches that he had given to other colleges.

Take a certain % of the 18k and figure out how to start a few businesses out of it. Even if you fail, the education you get from it is priceless.
 

Mr.Brandtastic

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$40k?! You could buy a successful online business with that. I'm WAY too cheap to ever dream of spending that on some type of program, even if Jesus, Gandhi, and Ben Franklin were showing up.
 

Envious

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Check out the Alt MBA by Seth Godin, it’s a similar concept but much cheaper and the whole course is basically you launching a business/ project. No theory just action if I remember correctly.
 

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Check out the Alt MBA by Seth Godin, it’s a similar concept but much cheaper and the whole course is basically you launching a business/ project. No theory just action if I remember correctly.
You can fund 4 $10k businesses with that and fail at the first 3 and still come out ahead.

I’d say no.
 

Envious

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You can fund 4 $10k businesses with that and fail at the first 3 and still come out ahead.

I’d say no.
I think the AltMBA is around $3,500 last time I looked into it. It's not for everyone and i agree money could be spent better elsewhere.

But I agree $40k is ridiculous imo.
 

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To put it in perspective, what would be the best possible outcome? Nobody is going to come up to you and say "hey, although you're 17 with no experience, I see unique talent and ambition in you. I would like to hold your hand and give you 500k VC money to start this exact business idea I have and Elon Musk is going to help you for fun!" :smile2:
 

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I wouldn't.

If you built something valuable people are gonna call you. You wouldn't have trouble getting investors or getting partners.

It doesn't matter who or what course you took or what college you went too. The universe gives zero shits.

Save the $40K.
 

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Like MJ said, you're basically buying connections. Figure out how good those connections will be and if they're worth buying.

Also weigh in how much $40k is for you and your family. For a wealthy family it's a drop in the bucket. For most families it's too much.
 

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I'll make you a deal..... for ONLY $10,000 you can fly here to Fort Worth, I'll make you a reservation at one of the finest hotels in the area. I'll pick you up from the airport then have dinner with you at one of the finest restaurants in the area. You can pitch me your idea and if I like it.... I might be an investor. We can visit for the entire weekend if you wish. And at the end, I'll even shake your hand and if you want, I'll take a picture with you. See how I just saved you $30,000! You can't beat that deal, so when can I mark the calendar for your visit?

Just to be clear, you will pay for your own hotel, airfare and food. You will be responsible for all tips and gratuity. $10,000 payment in cash must be received immediately upon your arrival. If we choose to eat at Taco Bell symptoms may include but not limited to, tenderness, cramps, or pain in the abdomen (usually in the lower left side but may occur on the right) that is sometimes worse when you move. Fever and chills, a bloated feeling, abdominal swelling, or gas, diarrhea or constipation. Nausea and sometimes vomiting and loss of appetite.
 

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I'm in the same boat as most people that have already spoken. You can pay $40k for someone to teach you to start and then you will still have to fund business OR you can just use the $40k to fund your business and work on getting connections from this forum (which will be worth their weight in gold. See posts from 2018 Fastlane Summit).

Now quit making yourself excuses and just start.
 

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How does $40k compare to your family's funds?

Could your family use these connections? Do they have businesses that would benefit? Are you trying to come to the US and this would help make that happen? Could some of you family come on this trip with you?

Some of those answers might lead to 'yes, do it'.

If it were my kid based here in the US, I would show the multiple other cash flowing businesses that we have bought and funded for less than that. Unless we had an idea that needed shark tanking, it would be 'no'.

Hope that helps! You have already gotten a lot out of this either way!
 
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Satvik Gupta

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Thank you so much, everyone! I really want to thank every one of you individually, as every reply has been filled with value and a different perspective which I never thought of!

So, what is my final decision now? I have decided NOT to go for this boot camp as I don't really have a clear idea of what I want out of it, and as everyone mentioned here, it's REALLY expensive which will drain my bank account and also leave me with 0 real-world experience.

Now I'm going to take a gap year after high school ends (in like 20 days!) to open my own service-based business (selecting between copywriting, web design, SMMA) and document my whole journey as well.

I know most of you might argue that I should attend college and try business as a side hustle, but I'm not clear about my major so that might result in a huge waste of time and money.

Once again, thanks, everyone! :D
 

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Thank you so much, everyone! I really want to thank every one of you individually, as every reply has been filled with value and a different perspective which I never thought of!

So, what is my final decision now? I have decided NOT to go for this boot camp as I don't really have a clear idea of what I want out of it, and as everyone mentioned here, it's REALLY expensive which will drain my bank account and also leave me with 0 real-world experience.

Now I'm going to take a gap year after high school ends (in like 20 days!) to open my own service-based business (selecting between copywriting, web design, SMMA) and document my whole journey as well.

I know most of you might argue that I should attend college and try business as a side hustle, but I'm not clear about my major so that might result in a huge waste of time and money.

Once again, thanks, everyone! :D
I think you made the right choice. Also, shameless plug a few forum members here that have provided massive value have come out with some great courses on those types of service skills. You may want to consider checking out the following:

Relevant section of forum, basically the Internets best source of free info on getting started making money ever:
Hustles, Freelancing, Bootstrapping

@Fox course for web design and selling:
Fox Web School - Is your web design business struggling to stay alive? We can help.

@SinisterLex freelancing, upwork and copywriting
Advanced Upwork Proposals: How To 10X Client Responses Fast
Start a Freelance Business: Take Back Your Freedom Now!

@Andy Black for adwords:

MARKETPLACE - Andy's AdWords Course - Get found by the people already looking for you
 
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Satvik Gupta

Satvik Gupta

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I think you made the right choice. Also, shameless plug a few forum members here that have provided massive value have come out with some great courses on those types of service skills. You may want to consider checking out the following:

Relevant section of forum, basically the Internets best source of free info on getting started making money ever:
Hustles, Freelancing, Bootstrapping

@Fox course for web design and selling:
Fox Web School - Is your web design business struggling to stay alive? We can help.

@SinisterLex freelancing, upwork and copywriting
Advanced Upwork Proposals: How To 10X Client Responses Fast
Start a Freelance Business: Take Back Your Freedom Now!

@Andy Black for adwords:

MARKETPLACE - Andy's AdWords Course - Get found by the people already looking for you
Thanks, man!

I might get my hand on SinisterLex's or Fox's course because I've been following them for quite some time and both of them seem to provide huge value!
 

MJ DeMarco

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Are you living in India?

$40K in India is a lot of money compared to the US. Another thing to consider.
 

DrunkFish

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Yeah man, with my current business model, if i can put in the work i can easily make 10k a month, if not like 50k. I'm only at a few grand at the moment, but this is with literally zero overhead other than internet, computer, time, sales skills, skills related to my biz.

I didnt, and MANY others didnt have to go to a super high cost type deal like this to learn/finally succeed/finally make money.

This kinda seems counter intuitive. Id rather pay someone the, what i thought of as high price, of $5k or something to have someone whos done similar before, mentor me.

Someone doing the advanced version of what im doing now asked for $3k to mentor me and while I'm not doing it, it's probably a good idea and i'd probably make a ton more money. Haha
 

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