How to Bootstrap a Startup by Creating and Selling Online Courses

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How to Use Your “Know-How” to Bootstrap Your Startup (InfinityFoundry)

We are born curious. When did we stop questioning everything that intrigued us? Have you ever asked yourself if you could create an online course? We hadn’t either, then after taking an online course The Freedom Formula – right here on Thinkific and learning all the ins, outs and tips around online course creation from Shaa Wasmund MBE, everything changed.

Fast forward 6 months and we have our first online course – The Curious Entrepreneur. Here is our story.

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The power of shared passions and accountability partners

We met because of a shared passion for learning, in particular we had a deep interest to learn about entrepreneurship from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). This led us to participate in the MIT Global Entrepreneurship Bootcamp program in South Korea in 2016.

After meeting, we spent a lot of time thinking about what we wished we had had when we started our entrepreneurial journey, and asked the same question to many others. The more we dug, the more people we spoke to, the more we realized that the vulnerability, resilience, passion and perseverance, plus having a goal to work towards relentlessly, were the areas that people felt apprehensive or uncertain about.

We looked at what was involved if a student, corporate or parent returning to work wanted to take the plunge into entrepreneurship. What would they need to prepare themselves for? What entrepreneurial strengths could they play to? As mothers, ‘accessibility’ of the information in a centralized way was a big consideration and our research confirmed it was super important that people must be able to slot ‘learning experiences’ into their busy lives.  

Taking time to invest in yourself, to rediscover curiosity, will give yourself something that will bring you great joy for a lifetime. Online courses allow you to learn new skills from the comfort of your own home.

The moment the penny dropped

The seeds of The Curious Entrepreneur were planted at MIT last August. We ran a crowdfunding campaign to cover our flights to get to Boston – Sally from Australia and Rachel from Italy. Shame had left the building. We were in pure hustle mode, and hungry – our ikigai (our reason for being) was at stake.

On the last day of ‘New Ventures Leadership’ teacher training at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) we received encouragement from Shaa Wasmund MBE which pushed us to learn HOW to create an online course. Shaa Wasmund MBE supported us in a way that she does everyone – wholeheartedly. With kindness and selflessly wanting to help others succeed.

At this point we realized that a whole new trajectory had been opened up to us. The penny dropped. Ironically, our entrepreneurial learning had started online but before doing Shaa’s course, we never connected the dots or considered it a possibility for us to bootstrap our business. Until Shaa Wasmund. Until we learned about Thinkific.

A vision formed, hinged on curiosity

Now, our vision is to inspire those who are curious about entrepreneurship: to guide them in the way we were guided; to push them to identify and ignite their unique entrepreneurial strengths and traits and to re-tap into the power source that being curious provides. There are many moving parts to the rollercoaster that is entrepreneurship. As with the articles we share, our goal is to encourage others to examine the interests that simmer below the surface.

Why have we placed such a focus on curiosity? Being curious makes you more open to change and makes you more nimble. And being open minded leads to learning and understanding. Entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, and really anyone in business needs to be curious and to keep asking the right questions in order to stay ahead of the pack.

In an effort to inspire more people to rediscover their curiosity, we have created a free, short and fun mini-course The Curiosity Challenge. It is a powerful first step towards becoming empowered to become more open-minded, bring ideas to life, create jobs, and maybe even help them discover a new path like we did – to create an online course and bootstrap their startup with their own ‘know-how’.

Why Thinkific

Thinkific made the creation of our first online course a JOY – we won’t lie, we had to dig deep to create this course. It was hard work. While we thought we were resourceful in previous salaried jobs, as entrepreneurs resourcefulness has now taken on a whole new meaning and dimension. It is about squeezing every last bit of value out of everything we do – as much as our energy and imagination allow.

But we did it, and now we are on the other side.  The tools, tips and support from Thinkific actually get you through the painful moments when you feel like quitting! They’re not only responsive, they also seriously care that you have what you need to continue.  

So, what does this mean for you?  

We all have unique skills. An accountant may think, well there are thousands of accountants just like me. Wrong! None of them have had your upbringing, the same education, the same work experience – the diversity of your life is what brings great learning opportunities. This means that any course you put together will BE unique. Hello, Greg Smith the Founder of Thinkific was a lawyer and bootstrapped Thinkific by selling courses on how to get through law exams!

You don’t have to do it alone either. The other option is to do what we have done at InfinityFoundry: we combined our complementary experience. We learn from each other every day, we tap into each other’s networks and grow our InfinityFoundry network together. And it’s all centred around trusted relationships – so it is rewarding, enriching and expands the possibilities to grow your business exponentially.

Paying it forward is an intrinsic part of who we are and how we operate at InfinityFoundry. Supporting each other and asking for help is more important in the space of entrepreneurship than anywhere else we have worked. Coming full circle, The Curious Entrepreneur course is designed to help you find your entrepreneurial superpower. 

Where will your curiosity take you?

Ready to cultivate YOUR curiosity and practice ‘putting yourself out there’? Take the opportunity to rediscover how curious you were as a child and gain new tools that will last you a lifetime. Come and grab our free Curiosity Challenge mini-course and start to explore!

How to Use Your “Know-How” to Bootstrap Your Startup @InfinityFoundry Click To Tweet

Rachel Hentsch & Sally Coldrick are both MIT-Certified Teachers in New Ventures Leadership. Their shared passions led them to co-found InfinityFoundry. Incubated at MIT, InfinityFoundry is building a global community of aspiring and active makers, innovators and entrepreneurs. They advocate curiosity, diversity and storytelling as powerful learning tools.

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