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Sara’s Survival Guide

Sara Blakely

Lesson time 14:34 min

Sara shares her wisdom for surviving the ups and downs of the entrepreneurial life. Learn the grounding philosophies that were key to her success, from building a support system and bucketing time to managing self-doubt.

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.


- How do I cope with the ups and downs? Tequila. [KIDS CRYING AND SCREAMING] JESSE: Lazer. [KIDS CRYING AND SCREAMING] [MUSIC PLAYING] SARA BLAKELY: Cue the Cheez-Its! [MUSIC PLAYING] As an entrepreneur, there's going to be so many ups and downs. That's just the name of the game. It is literally obstacle management and turning obstacles into opportunities. Don't expect that there's going to be days, even weeks, without major stuff coming at you. That's normal. Everybody's been in your shoes and, and had to navigate the same kind of onslaught of unbelievable ups and downs. And it's just how you handle them. And that's what takes you back to mindset, and being prepared mentally for this challenge, and not letting yourself get defeated too quickly. [MUSIC PLAYING] When you become an entrepreneur, you become the boss. I mean, I went from selling fax machines door to door-- I'd never been anybody's boss in my life-- to suddenly, oh, wait, I'm an inventor. And I came up with this idea. But now I'm a business owner. And now I'm the boss. I'm somebody else's boss. So where else are you going to go for support? Family, I have lifetime friends that I've always kept close to me. I put in inspirational, motivational messaging and content that I know can turn my psyche and my mind around. I joined a entrepreneur group very early on of like-minded people because I didn't know anyone like myself at that time. And they happened to be all men. But I joined this forum, and I'm in the group with them. And they were sharing their business problems. And I was able to share my business problems in a safe environment. So I would say find anybody else that's going through what you're going through. And then it's really important when you're starting out as an entrepreneur to create a board of advisors that's your support system. I'm talking about the people that make you feel good, that can give you the energy and the pep talks that you need, and know who they are. Write them on a piece of paper. I wrote down the four or five people in my life that make me feel the most confident, make me feel the best. And they didn't even really know they were on my board of advisors, but they were. And they were the people when I was hitting the valleys, which happened often as an entrepreneur, the times I wanted to give up or the times that I thought I cannot do this anymore, I would pick up the phone and call them. Surround yourself with that kind of content and support during the ups and downs, and you'll make it through it. [MUSIC PLAYING] It's important to take calculated risks. Yes, we're entrepreneurs. We're starting our own business. We are risk-takers by nature, but we are smart risk-takers. We are calculated risk-takers. For example, I didn't quit my day job until I had already landed Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue. So I was literally selling fax machines during the day, coming home, and packing and sh...

About the Instructor

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.

Sarah's authentic energy is an inspiration. Thank you.

Loved Sara's story, and learned so many useful tips on how to create and hold true to your vision!

Sara Blakely I LOVE YOU!!! She inspired me so much that I just started my new bussiness

Sara is SUCH an inspiration. Her journey is very relatable and her success makes it all seem possible for the rest of us.


Tania S.

Sara was AMAZING from beginning to end. Everything she said was true, every advice that she gave was helpful and every story she told was insightful. This class has truly inspired me into taking my ideas to the next level and trust myself and my abilities to the best extend. I am very grateful for people like her that contribute and help others reach their full potential, for me that's goals. But the thing that I loved the most about this class is that it was very human and vulnerable. She said many times that was a huge differentiator on her journey but taking those attributes that most people would say are negative into something positive, wow! It blew my mind! Thank you so much for everything I learned during these lessons. They were absolutely amazing!

Karen T.

This is my fourth Master Class - I found Sara's the most exceptional class to date. I started my event company 28 years ago when no one knew what an event planner was in my city. Because it has a corporate focus I have seen and brought in the best of the best speakers both locally, nationally & globally so I feel like I know what I'm talking about. I have lots of Spanx in my wardrobe probably have the first one bought in Neiman Marcus in San Francisco that was really thick elastic. I still have it & used when I had a bad butt running injury last year. Sara may want to add that to her line. I also bought a new bra, black pants & a Fellow teapot.

Murugi K.

Thank you so much for your time Sara and for being honest and vulnerable as you shared your lessons in self made entrepreneurship. I am going to continue on this journey of entrepreneurship!

Lynne C.

Sara is a great leader of our times. Her purpose driven, values focused, authentic approach is inspirational. She honours the feminine, whilst respecting the masculine and she cares deeply about her people, her product and her customer. Thank you Sara, you are a great role-model for all of us.

Tal S.

This was one of the best masterclass I have taken - super honest, smart, to the point, witty, fun, engaging, and inspiring - salute

A fellow student

This is a FABULOUS class. I am realizing that somehow I need to figure out how to run what seems to be a social space (like a church or community center) as a business. I have had this thought before - but it is now more prominent in my focus. I have been affiliated with another popular Conscious Dance "brand" that is moving in a direction I don't resonate with - just to get local visibility (since being affiliated with them is free). Yet, the space I hold for people to move their emotions out and in - in a safe non-judgmental space - is differentiated. I do have a vision that is different from the vision of the other "brand" (and they really don't have a unifying message upfront. It was so grassroots they just let the vision form as they went. good and not so good points tot that.) I experimented with having a required orientation before people could enter the dance space - which I realize now is onboarding people into the culture I see fit. But people who have danced in these communities for years balked at me, or challenged me asking me to let them in without it. When I moved to Nashville, I dropped that and attempted to become just a typical offshoot of this "brand" (tho there is no franchising with this group, no guidance so that more people can use it to get people dancing. Again good and not so good things about this.) And it hasn't worked for me. Thanks Sara for giving me a lot to look at, to see and mull over as I think about how I can communicate my message/vision clearer to those that are committed to the small space we have here - so that I can grow this as I envision. I have been saying I want to eventually replicate this model so others can franchise it for their communities. That is a business. What an evolution of my own soul this journey is!

Eloisa G.

Great and inspiring business history. This is a really MasterClass. Thanks Sara!


I enjoyed this class very much;it is thorough and inspiring. It makes me so happy that integrity and appreciation of the staff are as big a part of the company as the products themselves.

Lauren B.

Wow! everything Sara said had meaning. Just a wealth of information! I loved it!!

Ashley M.

Sara is amazing. This has been the best lesson so far. I will go back and watch over and over.