In early 2015, I decided to create my own do-it-yourself MBA that combined applying the lean startup methodology, automating more of my online business processes and following the advice of Silicon Valley’s most successful innovators.
I set a goal to take one online course per month and supplement it with books, podcasts, a mastermind group. While I had previously worked for many years in digital marketing and been through both Startup Chile and Launch Academy, I knew that I still had a lot to learn.
While a traditional MBA can be helpful if you want to work for a big multinational corporation, a startup-focused Lean Entrepreneurship MBA is a better path for creative entrepreneurs who want to work for themselves and develop more autonomy, mastery and purpose in their work.
The best brands in the world are built by the founders who are self-directed, passion-driven learners. This form of self-directed learning is the most effective way to stay relevant in a fast-paced, knowledge-based and innovation-driven economy.
When you are intrinsically motivated for your work, you will always be getting better at doing it.
The Lean Entrepreneurship MBA Curriculum:
In a decade working in digital marketing, I have learned my most effective strategies and tactics through online programs, joining mastermind groups, attending conferences, building relationships with other entrepreneurs and reading lots of books.
I have found that the fastest way to learn is by finding creative entrepreneurs and leaders that inspire me and then model their success in my own way. There is no better way to massively accelerate your success than by exposure to teachers and mentors that get consistent results by applying the right habits and mindsets.
Based on my experience following my own lean entrepreneurship MBA, here are some of the best ways I’ve found to become a more successful entrepreneur:
1. Take Y Combinator’s How to Start a Startup
If you want to take a course on entrepreneurship, you want to take it from the best in Ycombinator’s Startup Class. Ycombinator is the #1 startup accelerator in the world and alumni include Dropbox, AirBNB, Stripe, Coinbase and Reddit.
2. Study lean methodology and the Lean Canvas.
To understand the lean way of thinking and executing ideas you should start with reading Eric Ries ‘ The Lean Startup. I would also recommend completing the Lean Canvas for all of your startup ideas, regardless of whether it’s a website, app or online course that you want to launch.
3. Work in a coworking space or apply to a startup accelerator.
My first experience working in a startup accelerator was when I went through Startup Chile in 2011. Working in the same office with entrepreneurs from 35 countries completely changed my outlook on business and life. Find a startup accelerator or a coworking space in your area where you can be inspired by others and feel a sense of belonging.
4. Attend as many conferences, retreats and workshops as you can afford.
The best way to learn many soft skills is in group settings where you are challenged to level up your life. Attend conferences in your chosen industry, unplug at retreats and regularly attend workshops to learn new things. Subscribe to the Startup Digest for your area or consider moving to a major startup hub or a digital nomad hub.
5. Take new connections out for lunch every week.
One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received is to try your best to never eat alone. Meet new people that inspire you at events that interest you and then follow up with them promptly to take them out for lunch and build meaningful friendships.
6. Build your leadership platform with public speaking.
We all know that many people feel they would rather die than do public speaking. Most people don’t make much of impact because they don’t face their fear and anxiety. The best way to establish your authority and become a better leader is to regularly do public speaking engagements. Start with Toastmasters and then network to find Meetups or local TEDx events where you can speak.
7. Learn how to apply Agile Methodology in your work.
To manage yourself and delegate better to your team in the execution process, I would also recommend gaining a practical understanding of Agile Methodology. This is how Silicon Valley companies like Facebook, Salesforce and Google overcome the inertia of being large corporations by creating nimble startup-like teams within their organizational structure that can rapidly prototype, iterate and innovate.
8. Always be experimenting and trying to solve meaningful problems.
There are over 800,000 failed apps in Apple’s App Store. The only way to have great ideas is to have a lot of them. Then you need to actively create content and share how you solve a problem for your target market. This is why you need to create your own website and use digital media to become a creative storyteller.
9. Build your own social media tribe through brand storytelling.
If you’re building a business, you should also be building your personal brand as a creative leader and founder. The best way to do this is through brand storytelling and making the story about your audience and how you solve their problem. Nobody buys the features, they buy the story.
10. Always be taking online courses and educating yourself.
The only way to stay ahead in an innovation-driven economy is by being a lifelong learner. Study the new digital industries that taking off, travel and experience the world’s amazing cultures and read at least 2 books a month to learn different perspectives across a wide range of disciplines.
Commit To Designing Your Own Education:
When you commit yourself to designing your own education, you will create your own opportunities. The author Mark Twain once said, “the secret to getting ahead is getting started.” There is magic in boldness so start small, learn through the process of trial-and-error and you’ll be amazed at what you can do.