I recently ran a bunch of experiments to determine if there is a business model for FounderSensei with entrepreneurs as our target customers. I've learned a lot from these experiments. At the end of the day, I like FounderSensei better as a free service for entrepreneurs. So, we are going back to that and I'm excited to do it.
Below are some of my thoughts on the topic.
To Matt French from Up Global / NEXT Program
As you know, I've been running a ton of experiments on FounderSensei products, to determine if we can turn it into a business. I've come to a conclusion - I like FounderSensei better as a free service and as a give back to entrepreneurs.
The idea of charging entrepreneurs for mentorship is not a good one. When you look at what they can pay, the revenue isn't meaningful. But more than that, charging entrepreneurs creates a misalignment between Sensei and Apprentice. As a Sensei, my highest priority is to help the entrepreneur succeed and to help make his or her dreams come true. Taking precious dollars from him or her, works directly against that goal.
As a hustling entrepreneur who is scrappy and fighting for survival, would I pay a fee for mentorship? No, I would not. Case closed.
What prompted me to think about charging was really StarterSchool.com. They are in the adjoining conference room at 1871. They charge $33k per student for a course that is inferior to FounderSensei. I was feeling like kind of a dope for giving my class away for free. I now know this analysis was flawed. StarterSchool serves a different market and what they are doing is just irrelevant to what I'm trying to accomplish.
We did get a number of teams to signup for the Challenge. We also sold some personal coaching at a pretty good hourly rate. I'm refunding their money and offering them free admission into our next Group Learning Class, which I hope to kickoff soon.
I'm traveling today but let's talk next week if that is convenient for you.