← Sahil Lavingia

The Minimalist Entrepreneur

If you follow me, you know I care about mostly one thing: more people should be starting their own businesses. Gumroad helps people do that. My fund helps people do that.

This course is also about helping people do that.

The goal of this course is to help you think differently about entrepreneurship. It exists because, after Gumroad came to a screeching halt in 2015, I had to think differently about how to rebuild my life–and my work–in a way that would make me happy.

This course is not about raising tens of millions of VC dollars, nor is it about building a one-person powered-by-Amazon dropshipping business. There's nothing wrong with that, but this course is about how to build a sustainable business that matters.

Curriculum

This is a four-week course, consisting of eight classes.

We'll meet every Tuesday and Thursday from February 2nd to February 25th, at 9AM PST.

  1. The minimalist business

    The real problems with VC-driven startups and IPOs from the perspective of someone who traveled that road (and then skidded right off). Also, on the irony of a “lifestyle” business.

  2. Community first

    Designing a vision for your business by working backward from problems worth solving for people worth solving problems for.

  3. Make something they need

    Leveraging your experiences and assets as an entrepreneur to hit the ground running.

  4. Sell to your first 100 customers

    Don’t launch, sell. Debunking the myth of “virality” and how to market your business like a grown-up.

  5. Market like a minimalist

    Turn strangers into fans, and fans into customers. For free.

  6. Grow sustainably

    No profits = no payroll = no business. Letting go of Silicon Valley sloppiness and acing the fundamentals: operations, legal, finance.

  7. Build the house you want to live in

    Getting the culture to fit without ever using the word “culture-fit.”

  8. The moral company

    On the ethical significance of providing a product in return for payment. And exploring what comes next.

We'll meet every Tuesday and Thursday from February 2nd to February 25th, at 9AM PST.

Topics that will be covered

  • Bootstrapping a customer-focused startup that solves real problems for paying customers
  • Finding and vetting a business idea that leverages your unique strengths as an inherent competitive advantage
  • Creating and leveraging a strong community of customers to kick-start your business’ growth
  • Successful sales tactics since sales is the best way to build your early traction, not Facebook ads or viral tricks
  • Marketing without costs by turning your strangers into your fans, and fans into customers
  • How to nail fundamentals like operations, legal, and finance so you can maintain profitability as you scale
  • Building a company culture that isn’t about beanbags and snacks
  • Using modern workplace options such as remote work and fractional work to build an awesome team without a high full-time headcount

After taking this course (if not during it!), you will be able to start your own business to serve a community, ship a value-additive product for them, and sell it to a hundred customers.

Cohort-based courses

There's no way I could do this alone. Besides my co-instructor Julie Mosow, I am working with a new startup by AltMBA co-founder Wes Kao and Udemy co-founder Gagan Biyani to make this course happen.

The benefits include...

  • Learn with a cohort of peers

    This course is designed to facilitate peer learning and interaction through Zoom breakout groups, an active online community, and group projects.

  • Active learning, not passive lecture watching

    I won’t just talk at you. I will engage via live Q&A, so this feels more like an interactive seminar than a massive lecture hall.

  • Accountability and feedback

    You’re an entrepreneur. You can figure things out when you have to, but sometimes it’s helpful to have feedback and accountability to increase your chances of success.

  • Guest lecturers

    There'll be guests who will come in and provide different perspectives on how to be a Minimalist Entrepreneur.

But this is ultimately my course, and I will work hard and be present to improve the experience as much as I can.

Frequently-asked questions

If these don't answer your questions, please email me or DM me on Twitter.

  • Who are you?

    I'm the founder and CEO of Gumroad, a service that helps creators get paid for their work–to the tune of $175 million a year. Before that, I was the second employee at Pinterest and built Pinterest for iPhone.

  • Who is this course for?

    This course is for people who want to build meaningful, sustainable businesses, are willing to put in the hard work and time to make that happen, and who are willing to help others succeed as well. This course isn’t a solo journey.

  • Who isn't this for?

    People who are trying to build billion-dollar companies to "change the world." Or people who are trying to "get rich quick." Or people who are trying to work four hours a week.

  • What's the time commitment like?

    It's at least two hour-long Zoom classes–Tuesdays and Thursdays at 9AM PST–with assignments, every week. The more you put in, the more you'll get out. I would recommend 5-7 hours a week dedicated to this class, if not more.

This is a course with limited seats, priced at $850. We'll meet every Tuesday and Thursday from February 2nd to February 25th, at 9AM PST.

The first cohort is now sold out. If you're interested, please sign up for the waitlist:

Register via Gumroad