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A Review of Pop Up Business School: Start Your Business For Free!

By Laura @ IWMLB Project | What business shall I start?

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Mar 02

‘I want to start my business but I don’t have any money’

WAIT! What if I told you there was an awesome 10-day workshop that taught you all you needed to know about setting up a business? And the best bit? You can do it for free!

I attended the Pop Up Business School in Hounslow (UK) over the last 2 weeks. I was in the process of setting up my business and wanted to see if there were any hacks and tips to propel me along my way.

It was INCREDIBLE and gave me the motivation I needed to go all in!

Pinterest Pin Review of Pop Up Business School


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What is the Pop Up Business School?

The  Pop Up business school was set up by Alan Donegan and Simon Paine about 9 years ago.

Alan was fed up with the typical business advice that said ‘write a business plan and get a loan’.

Alan believed that going into debt should not be the way people start out in business. This is what makes starting a business ‘risky’. By eliminating the debt, you reduce the risk.

By reducing the risk, you reduce the fear. If you reduce the fear, the sky is the limit!!

So, he and Simon set out to teach a new way of thinking.

How did you find out about it?

I met Alan at the UK Chautauqua last year, a week-long event about ‘Financial independence, early retirement, and happiness’. You can read about the 2018 event in Greece here.

Alan and his wife Katie had organised the event (which was insanely amazing) and Alan gave a presentation on ‘How to start a business with no money’.

I’d already set up the blog but was too scared to do anything with it. I decided to sign up for the business school to see if it could give me a kick up the backside!

How long does it run for?

The business school runs for 10 days over 2 weeks from 10 am until 3 pm. The agenda is published beforehand so if you are unable to attend all of it, you can choose which days are most relevant to you.

In order to get the most benefit, it is best to attend the whole thing, but it isn’t compulsory.

Pop up business school agenda

How much does it cost?

Well, you aren’t going to believe this, but 10 days packed full of information on everything you need to set up your business is going to cost you, drum roll…….

NOTHING. Yup, that is right. No pounds, no dollars, no zlotys.

“But how is this even possible?!”

Well, this is the awesome bit. The workshops are sponsored by local councils and housing associations who want people to be able to make their own money and boost the local economy.

They pay for the workshops so that you can attend for free!

Winner winner chicken dinner.

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Why should I go?

If you are procrastinating, scared, overwhelmed, curious, unsure, miserable in your current job, then Pop Up Business School is exactly what you need.

It will give you all of the tools to decide what your business is, who your customers are, where to find them, how to set up for free and so much more.

Photo pop up business school hounslow

Pop Up Business School Hounslow. Can you spot me?!

Can you really set up a business for free?

There are a number of ways that Alan and Simon go through to set up your business for free. I’ve detailed a couple of them below.

  • What can you borrow?
  • Can you sell things you don’t use to generate cash for the business?
  • Google search ‘how do I get X for free?’
  • Sell before you create – take pre-orders for your product and use the money to buy the materials.
  • Build a free website (Pop Up Business School shows you how to use Weebly but there are also others out there you can use for free)

Alan talked about a book called Free Stuff Every Day by Mike Essex which has some great tips and tricks – obviously see if you can get this from your local library for free!

My biggest takeaways

There were so many fantastic pieces of advice, but these are the ones that resonated the most for me (I am sure everyone there took something different from it as it depends on what stage of your business you are at).

1. Sales are the transfer of enthusiasm from one person to another. I love this!

2. Find people with problems you can fix. Don’t pitch what the product is, pitch what it means to the customer.

3. Clearly know who you are targeting. It is very difficult to target people you can’t see.

4. Passive vs proactive marketing. These are very different things. Passive marketing is giving someone your business card, proactive marketing is taking theirs.

5. It’s a numbers game. Massive action and effort are required to get a few sales.

“I’m in! Is there one near me?”

The Pop Up Business School is held in a number of locations around the UK, you can see if there is one near you here.

If you live in the US, there have been a couple of events held at the Mr Money Mustache headquarters in Longmont, Colorado.

Photo of pop up business school longmont USA

Pop Up Business School At Mr Money Mustache Headquarters in Longmont.

If none of these locations are any good, never fear! Pop Up Business School also has a step-by-step online guide to help you start your business from the comfort of your own home!

You can find it here at Step-By-Step Start Up.

They also have a YouTube Channel if you want to check that out here.

And finally,

I really cannot recommend the Pop Up Business School highly enough, it really does help to streamline your ideas and get the confidence to go for it!

What’s the first step you can take to start setting up your business today?

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About the Author

Hi, I am Laura. I set up the 'I Want My Life Back Project' after burning out in a corporate job. I quit in May 2017 and set about getting my life back!

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