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.
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[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.

What a heart warming and motivating story.... class... inspiration...

She's a smart lady - sound, accessible advice for a budding entrepeneur.

Sara is an absolute inspiration. I've been waiting for her to teach a class or write a book for years! So excited Masterclass was able to get Sara as an instructor!

Sara Blakely's class was the reason I got Masterclass, and it was amazing! Her class in itself was worth more than the $180 I paid for the all access pass in my opinion.


Carolyn S.

Dynamic, powerful and creative woman! But I hope Sara has an electric car when she is driving aimlessly around for an hour - so she doesn't add to the polluted air/climate crisis. Seriously - I was dismayed to hear that. Let's make having a healthy planet more important than having a lot of money. Make sense? Entrepreneurs for healing the planet.

Flora C.

I want to start a soap business but there is so many soap business out there. I plan on using Haitian products but not sure what will make it different.

A fellow student

This truly rocks. Love the lessons. Simple straight forward and valuable reminders of my own journey.

Ian M.

Sara - Maybe you did this class for the money... (there’s that), but I think, it’s because you truly want to give back, to share, to do good work . It’s not the money... it’s love. What a GREAT class, brilliantly executed. Thank you. Truly!

Leah S.

If your ideas come in the shower like me, buy a waterproof writing pad and pencil!

Electra A.

LOVE this! Thank you for doing this class Sara. Your sincerity & enthusiasm is palpable. Great suggestion to log all our ideas. I wish I would have committed my ideas to ONE notebook instead of random scraps of paper here & there over the years. You are right about protecting the energy around a new idea. Almost like a seedling, you have to give it a while to grow roots & get grounded, otherwise it won't grow and flourish. Excited to watch more videos! THanks again!


YES! For me, it's the SHOWER! Ideas just flood. I'll stay in there forever figuring stuff out.

Alexandra S.

I loved this lesson. I get my best ideas on my spinning bike and in the shower. But most of the time when alone I am thinking about my business. I can't imagine what my life would be like without these ideas and thoughts. I especially liked the advice about the patent and wasting time. I will pass this on to a friend in a group who is having a terrible time being sued by Entrepreneur magazine for using the word Entrepreneur in her business name. Probably best to rename and not waste more time and money.


What a powerful AWESOME class with so much important points. You answered in less than 20 min about 15 questions I was wondering about for the past 3 years with my big idea. I feel like I want to jump from joy and hug you and say THANK YOU FOR CREATING THIS AMAZING CLASS. SO CLEAR SO SIMPLE TO UNDERSTAND SO MANY NUGGETS OF PRINCIPLES INFORMATION. I LOVE THE PART THAT YOU SAY TO ASK HOW WE ARE DIFFERENT. TO BE VERY CLEAR TO OURSELVES!!!!!!! SARA, YOUR A GIFT TO THE WORLD. 🎁🙏❤️WE ARE LUCKY TO HAVE YOU AS A LEADER AND AS A TEACHER. YOU CARE SO MUCH ABOUT OTHERS SUCCESS. I remember hearing you say years ago in a interview that you never went after someone that copped your ideas. That stuck in my mind and this is something that I value as a person. You chose to spend your energy and time with positive ideas and implementing rather than fighting. THIS WAS I BIG MINDSET CHANGE FOR ME. THANK YOU SARA ❤️❤️❤️❤️. ON TO THE NEXT VIDEO NOW 📹📹 -MATANA JACOBS NEW YORK

Nimi I.

Sara, you're amazing! Your fake commute is polluting the atmosphere though. :)