To submit requests for assistance, or provide feedback regarding accessibility, please contact

Business, Politics & Society

Developing Your Big Idea

Sara Blakely

Lesson time 16:43 min

Sara explains the importance of dedicated thinking time for developing your idea. Learn how to filter your ideas, how to differentiate yourself from your competitors, and when to patent your ideas.

Sara Blakely
Teaches Self-Made Entrepreneurship
Spanx founder Sara Blakely teaches you bootstrapping tactics and her approach to inventing, selling, and marketing products that consumers love.
Get Started


[MUSIC PLAYING] SARA BLAKELY: Ideas are gifts from the universe. Every time I have them, I capture them right then. The more that you write it down and pay attention to them, the stronger the gift and the connection will become. And you will start being flooded with more and more ideas. [MUSIC PLAYING] One of the things in finding your idea is to get quiet. It's really important to find out for yourself when do you get your best ideas. For me, it's in the car. And it took me a little bit of time to figure this out. But once I figured it out, I have purposely created what my friends call a fake commute. And so I live six minutes from Spanx. But I will wake up an hour earlier, or I will leave my house an hour earlier, and drive around town aimlessly just to get in my best think time. And it's when I'm driving, and the radio's on, and then I'm flooded. That's where I solve problems. That's where ideas come to me. For Albert Einstein, I found out that his best ideas came to him when he was shaving. So maybe there's something to do with that rote activity. But for me, it's in the car. And that was a big moment. In fact, I actually thought of the name Spanx while sitting in the car. I was in traffic in Atlanta, and I'd been spending two years trying to figure out the right name for my product and my invention. One bad name after another, I wrote them on rental car agreements, scrap pieces of paper. I had, like, gum wrappers with names on them. And one day, sitting in the car, the word Spanks, S-P-A-N-K-S, came to me. I actually visualized it across the dashboard in my mind. And I pulled off the side of the road, and I wrote it down. And I thought this is it. This is perfect. My product is all about the butt, makes your butt look better. No-- no smooth-- smooth canvas. And so I went home that night, and I typed in S-P-A-N-K-S on a website called, which is where I spent a lot of time as an entrepreneur, and for $150 trademarked it with my credit card. And at the last second, I backspaced the K and the S and made it an X. Because I did research that made up words do better for products than real words do. And that all came to me in the car. So find out what it is for you, and then carve out-- and look at your calendar, and say, where is that time on my calendar? Where is it for you? Is it in the shower? Is it when you're running? Is it when you're also in the car? But ask yourself this question. And I'm not talking about where you go through your massive checklist of things to do. I'm talking about where does your mind wander. This is really critical. And if you're watching this right now, and you say my mind really doesn't wander, then that's the first step you have to take. You have to change some certain aspects of your life. And most likely, you'll have to carve out time where you're alone. And it's harder and harder these days to be alone. Oftentimes, we're searching not to be alone. But that's where the real connect...

Find your big idea

With little more than an idea and a drive to find her way, Sara Blakely went from selling fax machines door-to-door to becoming the world’s youngest female self-made billionaire in 2012. Now the inventor, entrepreneur, and founder of Spanx teaches you to open doors and close deals. Learn Sara’s customer-first approach and her tactics for prototyping, branding and building awareness, and bootstrapping your way to success.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Sara is so inspiring. I know I will be watching parts of this over and over. I love the case studies... I love her honest and open guidance. I feel like I have path - not an easy one - but one that I can follow.

I was looking for a motivation in difficult times of my business and yes, I have found it. I would definitely appreciate sharing more Sara's mistakes and what she learnt from it. I like the course and I will see if I am successful in implementing the principles from course.

As an entrepreneur starting a business from nothing, I love hearing the story of Sara doing the same thing. The insights that she gives hits the bullseye of where I am at and what I need to hear to learn and be better and smarter.

Excellent Class. I really enjoy the fact that this is a Woman that wants to empower other women to be the best they can be.


Jennifer B.

I have had to go through this lesson a few times, and each time I pick up something new. Thanks Sara! My BIGGEST takeaway is what problem am I solving for my client! I am STILL thinking on this, journaling now, and hoping it will jump out at me. This will allow me to get 100% certain on my message and service.

Stefano R.

Ideas come through when I smoke. And I ended 5 months ago! should I restart...?!?!?!

A fellow student

I am already engaged on the process of developing my idea, really great & insightful

Christopher N.

Fellow note-taking students, there is a "hide" button at the top left corner of the video.

A fellow student

When I pause the presentation to write down notes from her powerpoint, the download popup is in the way. Please move it off to the side.

A fellow student

Wow incredible mindset with practical advice on getting started. Amazing start!

Naomi L.

Ideas are gifts from the universe. I am going to say that to myself every morning. Thanks Sara!

Laina B.

Probably the best introduction class on the website. It is real, organised, detailed, advice not just 15 minutes about her life.

Kelvin C.

I am a student of computer engineering, haven't started my own business yet but hopefully i will come up with at least an idea and rollover start my own way so soon

A fellow student

Wow. She's a natural teacher! I've seen 3 other master classes-but hers was top! She is very practical and she breaks it down for you. She's passionate too! My wife got me a pass today so now I'm watching and learning as much as I can. Thanks Sara and thanks Master class!